(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 remember the first exciting appearance of the Overmind and how cosmically powerful he was. This is the second coming of Galactus, I thought to myself. We finally have a being to stand toe-to-toe with Big G that is not bound by vows like the Watcher.
Well, needless to say, while fans even today talk about “The Galactus Trilogy” and “The Kree-Skrull War,” when was the last time you heard of “The Overmind Opus”? Probably not recently. Great potential, but never really mined, I believe.
For the uninitiated, the Overmind is an alien belonging to the Eternals of Eyung, and was born uncounted millennia ago on the planet Eyung (“Eternus”). The Overmind (aka Grom) acted as one of their warlords, leading massacres of entire species. He was also the reigning champion in their gladiatorial arenas. When his race had engaged the Gigantians in a war about to lead to mutual absolute destruction, Grom's physical prowess led to his being chosen as the receptacle for their entire population of several hundred million minds, and was launched in a protective capsule, unconscious for thousands of years while assimilating them into one single mind.
When he awoke in the recent past, he piloted his ship to the nearest inhabited planet which happened to be Earth. Here he came into contact with the Fantastic Four, who had been warned of his arrival by the Watcher. The Overmind took over the mind (neat turn of phrase, eh?) of Reed Richards, and battled the FF and Dr. Doom. The group was unable to stop him until the Stranger (!) intervened and shrank the Overmind into a subatomic microverse on a dust mote, where he was left completely isolated with no available conquests and went mad from the strain.
He was later discovered by another collective consciousness known as Null the Living Darkness (a lot of concept beings out there, no?). In this broken state, Null managed to take control of him and sent him on a campaign against a parallel universe Earth inhabited by the Squadron Supreme. The Overmind, now a conqueror, mentally enslaved both the Squadron and this Earth's leaders, while posing as U.S. President Kyle Richmond, and began construction of an interstellar armada to invade other worlds. When Hyperion brought the Earth-616 Defenders to assist him, they managed to free the Squadron. Meanwhile, Null had leeched away the Overmind's mental energies, but another psychic composite entity of seven human telepaths, empowered by the assembled heroes, managed to defeat it, and came to inhabit the weakened Grom.
The Overmind then returned with the Defenders to their Earth. For a while this entity was welcomed into the Defenders' ranks, and the loose ends of the seven psychics's old lives were tied up. He assisted the Defenders in the rescue of Daimon Hellstrom from the Miracle Man. But the Overmind grew uncomfortable and eventually left, while making them forget it was ever one of them. It tried to find a purpose by attempting to help Millwood, New Hampshire, a town of 800 people dying of chemical poisoning, by controlling their minds and making them ignore their ailments, in order to foster the illusion that they were well. However, the Overmind was convinced to let them be aware of reality rather than an illusion. (All of a sudden, he’s Glorian? lol)
When the Squadron transferred to this Earth, the Overmind's original psyche was stirred into awareness and absorbed the telepaths into his own billion-wide whole. His psychic powers were replenished and his true mind reasserted itself. He once more mind-controlled and kidnapped the Squadron to take revenge against the Stranger by organizing a raid against the latter's Lab World. He freed many of the Stranger's superhuman captives to fuel his enslaved ranks. He locked the Stranger in a stalemated mental battle. When several Watchers arrived on unrelated business, the Overmind was wrought by paranoia, believing the Stranger to have summoned them for assistance, inducing psychosis, and enabling the Stranger to capture him as a subject of study.
The Overmind had the potential for so much good in the Marvel Cosmos, and instead he, who should be among the Cosmic Elite, is instead a footnote in the sagas of the Defenders and the FF. Sad.
Awesome suit, though!