What the D'ast? Deathurge
(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
I don’t know a whole lot about Deathurge’s background, but I always dug his visual. Another one of those great cosmic characters spun out of Marvel Two-in-One, I wouldn’t mind seeing this guy back at all – especially since Oblivion has been about in the pages of Guardians of the Galaxy!
An agent of Oblivion, Deathurge seems an entity of some cosmic significance. He claims to fulfill the embodiment of the life’s urge for self-destruction and would often appear to those who wished to die, granting their desire by dealing their final blow. For example, years ago, when the Eternal colony on the planet Uranus had ultimately become a society of pure ennui, thanks to their discovery of the Theory of Everything, Deathurge appeared to them. With their welcome, Deathurge destroyed their protective dome, killing them all.
In more recent years, Deathurge has appeared as little more than a minion of Maelstrom. When Maelstrom’s lieutenants were captured after securing an experiment deriving from the Terrigen Mists, Maelstrom ordered Deathurge to slay them all. He soon revived the lieutenants by way of cloned bodies. In a similar way, when Maelstrom lost his powers due to accidental exposure to the experimental Mists, he cried out for Deathurge to kill him, and Maelstrom was revived in a cloned body as well. A second time, when Maelstrom was defeated by the Avengers and the Eternals of Olympus, Deathurge once again killed his “master” at his own request, and he was again revived in a cloned body. However, Deathurge predicted that Maelstrom would die again and, next time, would not be able to use his next clone. Enraged, Maelstrom dismissed Deathurge.
Deathurge appeared next to Quasar when the hero investigated the Eternals of Uranus. Quasar was also feeling extreme angst over his recent appointment as Protector of the Universe, allowing Deathurge to battle him, sensing that Quasar was calling out to him. Quasar nonetheless forced Deathurge to flee, but the entity warned Quasar of a time when he would beg Deathurge to kill him, and he would refuse.
True to Deathurge’ earlier prediction, Maelstrom had been unable to revive his clone, but his physical death allowed Maelstrom to eventually take on the cosmic role of Anomaly. As Anomaly, Maelstrom also became an agent of Oblivion. Maelstrom bade Deathurge to eliminate the race of Watchers, who may interfere with his plan to collapse all of existence into oblivion, and Deathurge somehow managed to prompt a thought to the Watchers that their mere existence violated their oath of non-interference in the worlds they watched. This “thought virus” threatened all Watchers who would appear to die upon contemplating it, until Quasar managed to come up with a counter argument that stopped the plague and also resuscitated the dead Watchers.
Maelstrom later forcibly took Quasar’s Quantum Bands by cutting off his hands, leaving the hero to die, and Deathurge fulfilled his promise by refusing to aid Quasar in his last moments. He was chased off by Ghost Rider. Maelstrom and Deathurge finally tried to reduce all of existence to oblivion by collapsing the universe into a massive black hole. By this time, however, Quasar was revived and used as a champion by Oblivion’s counterpart, Infinity, and Quasar managed to send Maelstrom into the black hole instead.
Perhaps the most curious aspect of Deathurge was the strange bond he shared with Craig Hollis, Mister Immortal of Earth. As a newborn infant, Craig witnessed Deathurge carrying the spirit of his mother away, as she had died in childbirth. Deathurge promised his mother that he would look after the child, and young Craig had “D’urge” as a playmate while growing up, although most thought he was playing with an invisible friend. This lasted until the time Craig’s first true childhood friend, Terri O’Doughan, and Craig became lovers. Deathurge came to collect Terri’s soul, but an enraged Craig was left behind.
More recently, Maelstrom once again wanted to end existence, this time ending all things, even Oblivion itself. Deathurge confronted Maelstrom, but Maelstrom continued unabated. At the same time, the Great Lake Avengers (
Because of Deathurge’s capture by Mister Immortal, the spirit of Monkey Joe was able to pass beyond without Deathurge’s help, and this led Oblivion to deem Deathurge unworthy to continue serving him. The being approached the recently-deceased Doorman to become his next harbinger and angel of death. Six months later, Oblivion answered Deathurge’s appeal, as he was still stuck in the form of a squirrel. Deathurge convinced Oblivion to let him try and claim the soul of Tippy Toe, Monkey Joe’s replacement, instead, and Oblivion obliged. Unfortunately, Tippy Toe never fell into any of Deathurge’s deathtraps (only Mister Immortal) before the stroke of midnight, and Deathurge was once again abandoned on Earth, and still a squirrel.
Leaving such a great cosmic character in the form of an Earthbound rodent is … well, is nuts! Rocket Raccoon aside, we need ye olde Deathurge returned to us in a new saga post toasty!