Some weapons become more iconic than the fictional characters that use them. Others are a vital aspect of a character’s personality. In this column, we take a look at some of the greatest fictional weapons of all time.
It’s one of the most simultaneously terrifying and thought-provoking weapons in all of fiction and has been used to shape some of Marvel Comics’ most epic stories. It’s the Cosmic Cube!
In the history of the Marvel Comics Universe, there have been many Cosmic Cubes. These are actually containment devices, designed by many civilizations throughout the cosmos to contain vast amounts of power from the real of the Beyonders – omnipotent beings from another dimension. While few know the true origins of the Cubes, many understanding the pure power they possess. Both heroes and villain have battled to gain control of Cosmic Cubes to assert their will over the universe, as whoever holds the Cosmic Cube has the ability to reshape reality!
Over the years, the Cosmic Cube has sparked epic battles and choices that have impacted the entire universe. For such a small object, the effects of the Cube have reverberated throughout the Marvel Comics Universe. But what power truly lies within the Cosmic Cube? And what role may it yet play in both the Comic and Marvel Cinematic Universes?
Warping Reality Around Thoughts
While there have been several Cosmic Cubes crafted over the years, they each grant their user to the power to control matter and energy. With so much at the will of a Cosmic Cube user, anyone in possession of this power can reshape reality to his or her own will.
In its first appearance in 1966’s Tales of Suspense #79, an Earthbound Cube was forged by A.I.M. to transform any wish into reality. However, civilizations around the universe, including the Skrulls, have made their own Cubes, filling these containment units with the necessary power to reshape reality. However, since these Cubes are containers, they can be drained of their power when used again and again. Once drained, they are useless, or as Star-Lord once called an empty Cube, “a cosmic paperweight.” Just make sure they are empty before you toss them. Many villains have been defeated for their oversight.
Additionally, the Cosmic Cubes hold a secret that few characters know. The Beyonder energy that fills the Cubes is alive and will eventually become a sentient being if left in existence for long enough. Several Cubes have become sentient beings, including Kubik and The Shaper of Worlds. However, their personalities are formed by the will of the Cube’s user, making some into insane and destructive villains.
Inspiring Comics’ Most Epic Fights
With so much power residing in such a small object, the Cosmic Cube has been at the center of titanic fights between good and evil. Dr. Doom, Mr. Fantastic, Thanos, Magneto, Captain America, The Red Skull, MODOK, and more have all battled over the Cube at one time or another.
On one of his many quests to control the universe, the villain Thanos obtained the Cube. Althought The Avengers and Captain Mar-Vell oppose him, the villain uses the Cube to will himself to become part of everything in order to be in complete control. However, Thanos discarded to Cube because he believed it to be drained of its energy. In truth, there was power still left in it, which was taken advantage of by Mar-Vell, who stripped Thanos of his power and shattered the weapon to restore the universe.
If any two characters have been wrapped up in the war over Cosmic Cubes more than any other, it’s Captain America and The Red Skull. Over the years, Skull has used Cubes in his plans to permanently defeat Cap and conquer the world. However, Captain America has been the driving force behind Skull’s many defeats by tricking Skull, dissolving the Cube before it can be used, and employing many different tactics to defeat his enemy. Cap and Skull even teamed up during the “Operation: Rebirth” storyline to stop a rogue group of terrorists from using a malfunctioning Cube. However, it was all a plan by Skull to trick Captain America, leading to the hero’s imprisonment within the Cube itself. Of course, Cap eventually escaped and destroyed the Cube, which led to the Red Skull being vaporized. However, the Skull had actually absorbed the Cube’s power to be more dangerous than ever, only to be defeated once again.
Most importantly, the Cosmic Cube played a vital role in the “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” storyline. The Cube not only saved the Red Skull by transferring his consciousness into the body of his enemy Aleksander Lukin upon his own assassination, but was used by Captain America to restore Bucky Barnes’ memories, who had been brainwashed to be an assassin for decades.
With so many version of the Cube floating around, the destruction of one is never a permanent end to the weapon’s role in the Marvel Universe. In recent years, the Cube has played a role in cosmic stories, with the Guardians of the Galaxy using it to fight an enraged and dangerous Thanos. One thing is for sure, when a Cosmic Cube enters the scene, something big is sure to happen.
The Cosmic Cube on the Big Screen
A weapon as powerful and important as the Cosmic Cube could not stay out of Marvel’s live action and cartoon interpretations for long, and in recent years the cube has played an incredibly vital role. However, rather than essentially grant wishes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Cosmic Cube (referred to in films as “The Tesseract”) is a source of pure energy, which has been used by villains across the centuries.
First appearing in Captain America: The First Avenger, the Cosmic Cube is discovered by The Red Skull in Europe. An ancient artifact, the Cosmic Cube was hidden by man for centuries after being somehow lost from Odin’s treasure room in Asgard. Skull used the Cube as an immense power source to supercharge his Hydra army, which gave them advanced technology and weapons that could vaporize a target in an instance. Eventually, Captain America defeated the Red Skull and Hydra, with the Skull grabbing a damaged Cosmic Cube. The Cube opened a portal into outer space and vaporized the villain, most likely sending him to a far off world.
The Skull’s fate was only a small taste of the Cosmic Cube’s true power. In The Avengers, the Asgardian Loki uses the Tesseract, which had been held and experimented on by S.H.I.E.L.D., to open a portal into outer space. Using Stark Tower as the catalyst, the Cosmic Cube’s portal allowed the Chitauri Army to pour into New York. Thanks to The Avengers, the Chitauri and Loki were defeated and the portal was closed. The Tesseract was used by Thor to transport him and Loki back to Asgard, where it is now stored.
However, The Tesseract may have a greater role to play in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Guardians of the Galaxy, The Collector reveals that many objects of great power, including The Tesseract, were created eons ago and are known as The Infinity Stones. Together, they can power The Infinity Gauntlet, which was recently revealed to come to a culmination in 2018 and 2019’s The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and 2. With the cosmic villain Thanos destined to control all six Infinity Stones, who knows what The Tesseract may yet do and who will be left standing by the end?
For more on this cosmic weapon, read Greatest Fictional Weapons: The Infinity Gauntlet!