(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
If you like the In-Betweener, you have to love Jim Starlin’s two salutes to colored ink blots, Lord Chaos and Master Order. Between Starlin and the late Mark Gruenwald (oh, how you are missed, sir), these two “Abstract Entities” made quite a name for themselves and their power during the 1980s. They kept company with the Living Tribunal and Galactus, rubbed elbows at Cosmic Entity parties with the Beyonder and the Shaper of Worlds. Mr. Purple and Mr. Yellow (usually) were the stuff!
No sign of them among the concept entities during The Thanos Imperative, though. What a perfect opportunity for the In-Betweener’s return, missed! Oh well, I guess we MC fanboys should be thankful what we can get, eh?
Like I was saying, although like most abstract entities the precise origins of Lord Chaos and Master Order are unknown, it is known that they serve as the opposing forces within a dimension called the Magick Realm, a place between fact and fantasy from which many magic users draw their power. Chaos and Order attempt to maintain a balance of power between them for the well-being of the universe; but unlike the opposing forces Death and Eternity, which coexist reasonably peaceably in the outside universe, Chaos and Order are almost constantly at odds with each other. That is why they created the In-Betweener as a third force to serve them and further their eternal conflict.
Eons ago, Chaos and Order were among the abstract entities who permitted an experiment which placed the powers of the infinite in the hands of mortals by allowing energy from the universe of the Beyonders to slip through, leading to the creation of the Cosmic Cubes. In recent years, Order and Chaos manipulated Spider-Man in a battle against the Death-worshiping mad Titan Thanos. Order and Chaos implied that, in a struggle against Death, they had manipulated Spider-Man's destiny so that he could free Adam Warlock from his Soul Gem to defeat Thanos.
Order and Chaos next conspired with other abstract, metaphysical and omnipotent entities within the Dimension of Manifestations in an attempt to destroy the Beyonder, apparently an energy collective from the Beyonders' realm that had gained sentience and nearly upset the balance of reality. (How the later revelation of the Beyonder as an Inhuman relates here is unknown – at least by me, lol!) Later, when the Fantastic Four attempted to transport six Infinity Gems from the Magick Realm to their own universe to save Big G’s life, the In-Betweener secretly infected them with the essences of Chaos and Order, causing them to fight over the control of the gems. When the In-Betweener then ventured into the outside universe in an attempt to kill Galactus, the Silver Surfer summoned Chaos and Order to rehabilitate Galactus and reassert control over the In-Betweener after Galactus cast him back into the Magick Realm.
When Thanos obtained the Infinity Gauntlet, Chaos and Order were among the cosmic entities that sided with Adam Warlock and confronted the mad Titan, demanding that he surrender the Infinity Gems which granted him power rivaling that of Eternity. Thanos easily defeated those assembled against him. Chaos and Order then joined the battle against Nebula, Thanos’s supposed granddaughter who has stolen the Infinity Gauntlet from him; Nebula destroyed the abstract entities who opposed her but was soon relieved of the Infinity Gauntlet by Warlock, who used it to set the universe aright. With Nebula defeated, Order and Chaos joined other cosmic beings at Warlocks’s trial to determine his fitness to wield the Infinity Gauntlet. Warlock promised to chose five other protectors for each of the Infinity Gems.
When Nicholas Grant, former head of Mys-Tech’s Warheads Kether Troop, was transformed into Audit, he confronted Master Order under the false presumption that Order had created him to bring balance to the universe by auditing souls; but Order denied any part in Audit’s creation and killed him, with Chaos later revealing he had created Audit as a gesture of reconciliation with Order. Most recently, Chaos and Order again opposed Thanos when he obtained the omnipotent Heart of the Infinite, although they were again unsuccessful in their efforts to defeat him.
Whether dealing with cosmic entities or magic users, one thing is clear: as long as there is imbalance between Chaos and Order (and there will be), our fave guy the In-Betweener has job security!