The One-Above-All is Marvel’s undisputed strongest character, nevertheless it was solely this yr that Immortal Hulk made it one of the fascinating.

While followers can all the time debate which of the Avengers or X-Men are extra {powerful}, with regards to the Marvel Universe as a complete, there’s solely the One-Above-All. A standard monotheistic god determine in Marvel lore, the One-Above-All (aka Above All Others) is the custodian of the whole Marvel multiverse, far above Galactus, the Celestials, and All-Father Odin. But whereas the One-Above-All could sit on the high of Marvel’s energy ladder, the character has been deeply flawed nearly from its conception… till this yr.

Al Ewing and Joe Bennett’s Immortal Hulk #50 redefined the One-Above-All, because the Hulk’s cosmic Odyssey ended within the Below-Place – the hellish realm that lurks below all creation. There, the traditional Hulk and his extra worldly Sunshine Joe persona confronted the demonic, Cthulhu-like One-Below-All, solely to find that it and the One-Above-All are one and the identical – that Marvel’s satan and its god have the identical relationship because the Hulk and Bruce Banner. This was particularly alarming because the One-Below-All had involved Hulk in a plan to completely extinguish the Multiverse, sick with hatred on the existence of something however itself.


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The greatest problem Immortal Hulk #50 fastened was fairly how simplistic the One-Above-All had grow to be. In Marvel tales, energy tends to come back with complexity – Galactus is an energy-being with the obscure reminiscence of getting as soon as been a person, the Celestials have such alien intellects that even speaking with them is harmful, and the Beyonders are so far above mortals, simply one in all their youngsters is maybe the best risk Marvel’s heroes ever confronted. Marvel’s cosmic forces are people with personalities and views, however they’re additionally unknowable, and that is communicated each of their attitudes and of their designs (most of which originate from the inimitable pen of Jack Kirby.) And but on the high of the tree, the One-Above-All is usually depicted as an omnipotent floating head harking back to any variety of alien despots or magical tyrants the Avengers may cope with in a single problem. In phrases of scale alone, Immortal Hulk makes the One-Above-All really feel worthy of its title.

While respecting the glowing physique utilized in prior comics, Immortal Hulk‘s One-Above-All fills the sky, its eyes subtly however creepily drawn like mouths. This is becoming, because it speaks not in its prior informal dialog, however in epic, scriptural pronouncements so summary, it feels as if the heroes are merely there to witness them, with any solutions to their questions coming from their very own potential to determine which of the cosmos’ grand truths are most related within the second. The One-Above-All’s connection to the One-Below-All likewise suits with Marvel’s advanced cosmic ecosystem – probably the most {powerful} being is the one least acquainted to a human perspective.

This One-Above-All is not higher simply because it is extra advanced, however as a result of that complexity suits into Marvel Comics’ bigger, gestalt idea of a universe which gives countless questions and solutions however can by no means be completely understood. As numerous artists and writers (including Alex Ross) have advised, the best method to differentiate Marvel and DC is that the previous is extra outlined by sci-fi, and the latter by fantasy. Immortal Hulk takes a fantasy uber-god and reinterprets it as science fiction.

As it did with Hulk’s lore, Immortal Hulk takes previous One-Above-All tales and gives a satisfying rationalization for the way their incompatibilities really point out a bigger reality. Now, the time a divine determine appeared to inform Spider-Man he is a hero, or the time the Fantastic Four met god in the form of Jack Kirby, can sit comfortably with the occasions the One-Above-All was written as an enormous, indifferent multiversal pressure. What had been as soon as largely unconnected tales with very completely different conceptions of Marvel’s supreme energy now match collectively, expressions of the concept an not possible being seen from completely different views will manifest in several methods. In 2021, Immortal Hulk took the One-Above-All and adjusted it from being a bland, inconsistent head within the sky to the infinitely harmful, infinitely intriguing thriller the Marvel Universe deserves.

Next: How The First Hulk Redefined The One-Below-All

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