What the D'ast? The Shaper of Worlds
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.) By Byron Brewer The Shaper of Worlds! A mighty sounding name for a very powerful cosmic entity in the Marvel Universe. In fact, back in the day when the high power entities and concept beings would gather to discuss the Beyonder or Molecule Man’s fate, the Shaper of Worlds was right there alongside Lord Chaos, Master Order, Eternity and the Living Tribunal. But when I saw artist Herb Trimpe’s design for him the first time around in Incredible Hulk #155, all I could think? Skrull in a Box, lol! The Shaper is a powerful being, but I have always thought the bottom hardware a bit – well, Green Acres Meets Mars! That aside, when they were teamed, I loved the SOW/Glorian stories of the time. The fact that a cosmic being was actually doing something benevolent (for many, at least in the short-term) with his power was comforting. To sleep, perchance to dream. Ahh … the Shaper of Worlds generates illusions that cannot be distinguished from reality. Its initial reach is limited to a few meters, but increases when used: He can transform an entire planet in 21 hours. His illusionary realities last for four years, unless the Shaper manipulates them again to be kept. He is most attracted by grandiose, interesting and unusual dreams, no matter if they are harmful or not – although he can be convinced to deny a “dream.” (Good thing the Shaper and Norman Osborn didn’t run into each other; talk about grandiose!) A little history: Thousands of years ago, the Skrulls developed an artifact to modify reality following the wishes of its user. It was the first Cosmic Cube, apparently created by forming a meta-singularity, which was really an opening to a different universe. The universe was inhabited by mysterious beings called the Beyonders (not to be confused with the being from the Secret Wars books), who apparently wish to improve the development of sentient life. An X-Element from that universe crossed the singularity and was trapped in a perfect Force Cube created by Skrull scientists. The Skrull emperor took the Cube and declared himself a god! He reigned for many years but, unknown to all, the Cube had potential to become a sentient being itself. Through years of use, the emperor involuntarily printed some of his own traits onto the embryonic consciousness of the Cube; it began to develop its own personality. The Cube, acting on its own, transformed and destroyed some star systems in the Andromeda Galaxy. By the time the Cube had reached emotional maturity, it had destroyed civilizations in two-thirds of the inhabited worlds of that galaxy and, as a result, the Skrull Empire succumbed to barbarism. (Eventually, the Skrulls would reconstruct their empire, but they spent countless centuries in the process.) The Cube transcended the emperor’s madness and developed its own personality. He changed its body to look like a Skrull from the waist upwards. Motivated by its powers, he dubbed himself the Shaper of Worlds. Apparently due to a similar fault in the emperor, the Shaper has a very limited creative imagination so he looked for intelligent beings whose imaginations who give him patterns to shape the worlds. The Shaper travels through the worlds of the known (and perhaps unknown) universe even today (as far as we know), giving substance to the imagination of lesser beings. Earth is a favorite “fishing ground” for him, but it would be nice to see some dream-granting among the stars, now, wouldn’t it? Who will be the next beneficiary of … the Shaper of Worlds?