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Beginner's Guide to the Cosmic Cube

Such great power in so little a thing.

 So much power in such a small thing.

Editor's note: You might have seen this recently and in case you weren't sure what was going on, allow us to fill in some gaps.

When it comes to items of absurd power in the Marvel Universe, you’ve got your gaudy Infinity Gems, your function-over-form Ultimate Nullifier and then, the most stylish of uber- weapons, the Cosmic Cube. This galactic geometric’s been around since the 60s and has been having something of a comeback lately, showing up in the pages of ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN & WOLVERINE, THE THANOS IMPERATIVE and even ULTIMATE AVENGERS. What’s really thrown the gristle onto the grind and gotten the ever-so-curious fans talking, however, is this telling, leaked image from a certain superhero period piece that’s coming to theaters this summer. Supposedly, the Cosmic Cube’s been renamed Tesseract for said flick (dropping the alliteration to sound a little less comic-booky.)

Some fans might not be familiar with this thing but, really, what could be easier to understand than a Cosmic Cube? Like Sauron’s One Ring to rule them all, this little box grants tremendous power to anybody, from lowly schmucks to fearsome space lords. That’s simple enough to grasp, right? == TEASER ==

Would you believe you're looking at a Cosmic Cube here?     

Well, as I mentioned, the Cube’s been a fixture of Marvel continuity for five decades. Thus, its history is much more complex and messy than its neat-and-tidy cubic form. Not only does the Cosmic Cube's existence stretch eons back into Marvel mythology, it’s also been the subject of many retcons and revisions over the years.

At basics, the Cosmic Cube is container for a massive amount of primordial energy that grants whomever holds it the nigh-omnipotent ability to reshape reality. Earthlings and other species throughout the cosmos have created their own Cubes over the years and, after a certain amount of time and usage, a Cube will actually gain sentience and become an incarnate being whose appearance and personality is shaped by those who've wielded it. Thus, while human-used Cubes will become humanoid entities like the Beyonder or Kubik, a Cube used by aliens like the Skrulls will look like the Shaper of Worlds. Similarly, if a good person wields a Cosmic Cube, the resultant entity will be good. But if a villain wields one? Hoo boy…  

 ...as if there weren’t already many important reasons for a villain to never possess something so powerful.

Uh-oh.    

The aforementioned spoilery image will seem fitting to anybody who’s been a fan of CAPTAIN AMERICA comics for more than a little bit. While other villains like Thanos and the Magus have wielded the Cosmic Cube to grand and hideous result, the one who’s used it the most is the already-grand-and-hideous Red Skull. The first Cosmic Cube to show up (in print) was a creation of those evil eggheads, A.I.M. and the Skull subsequently stole it from them to shape the world according to his warped principles. He lost it in a battle with Cap, of course, because he got overconfident, but he’s gotten his hands on it and other Cosmic Cubes several times since then. The Skull’s so closely identified with the Cube that, even though his recently-introduced Ultimate universe counterpart is significantly different than his 616 counterpart, he still received his own Cube very quickly.

 The Goddess shows that power comes in all shapes and colors.

Enough talk about history and ownership though. Let’s get to what the fans really care about - - power stats! I don’t know if anybody’s ever sat down and worked out whether the Cosmic Cube’s got a greater degree of omnipotence than the legendary, all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet (if there even is such a scale.) However, maybe it’s telling that the sequels to THE INFINITY GAUNTLET mini-series, THE INFINITY WAR and THE INFINITY CRUSADE, saw the previously-mentioned Magus and the sinisterly-benign Goddess needing to collect several Cosmic Cubes to rule the universe like Thanos had with his godly glove. What's additionally interesting about those circumstances is that the two villains collected Cosmic Cubes from across the multiverse and discovered that they didn’t always have to be so square. There were, indeed, Cosmic Spheres, Tetrahedrons, and so on.

Whatever shape it is and wherever it comes from, the Cosmic Cube is not something that should fall into anybody’s hands - - least of all the Red Skull's. If Steve Rogers is going to be taking on a Johann Schmidt who’s got this in his arsenal, the Sentinel of Liberty is going to be in store for one hell of an uphill battle to save the day.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon   here  &   here .  Follow him on Twitter:  @tompinchuk 

34 Comments
Edited by JTS_Boanerges88

I just hope they stay true to canon for the movie.

Posted by KurtWagner

I'd better like all new episodes of the 3-Minute Expert.

Posted by ForbushBug

One thing I've wondered about the Cube as it pertains to Cap and the Winter Soldier... the Cube responds to the thoughts and wishes of the wielder. So even though Steve said "remember who you are," couldn't the Cube latch on to Steve wanting the Winter Soldier to be Bucky and alter reality to fulfill that? Or at the very least craft a more idealized persona for Bucky instead of that of the kid that did Cap's dirty work behind his back?

Posted by Nova`Prime`
@ForbushBug said:
" One thing I've wondered about the Cube as it pertains to Cap and the Winter Soldier... the Cube responds to the thoughts and wishes of the wielder. So even though Steve said "remember who you are," couldn't the Cube latch on to Steve wanting the Winter Soldier to be Bucky and alter reality to fulfill that? Or at the very least craft a more idealized persona for Bucky instead of that of the kid that did Cap's dirty work behind his back? "
Good point, but I think Cap is one of those guys who won't let ultimate power corrupt him and he won't change the world or anyone in it to suit his own image or what is best.
 
Now onto the above article. Really well written and very informative, not many people understand what the cosmic cubes are or where they come from. Also don't forget in the Infinity War Magus didn't only have a bunch of cosmic cubes he also had five of the six infinity gems and even with that amount of firepower at his begin call he was defeated by Thanos and Warlock, although Warlock triumphed because he knew how to use the gauntlet where Magus did not.
Posted by VillainousV

.........Now all I need is a beginners guide to the rubix cube and I'll have all my cubes covered!!!!!!

Posted by ImperiousRix

Great write up.  Can't say I was super familiar with the Cosmic Cube. 
Furthermore, I didn't even know it was gonna be in the Captain America movie!  Having bigger stakes for the movie certainly ups the conflict they could include in the film.

Posted by dewboy01

I knew my idea would come true!!
Posted by FoxxFireArt

In story writing you take a HUGE risk even having an item of such power in your frame work. Too much temptation to use it, or it becomes silly when it falls into the hands of so many. The item will lose the mystique if it's used too often. Much in the same way Doomsday became less powerful after his initial introduction. It's ironic however fictional power can even corrupt real world authors.
 
I feel it's far more interesting to have a seemingly every day item with an epic story behind it, ala The One Ring.
 
Using the Cosmic Cube in Spider-man would of been infinitely better than that god awful deal with the devil. Though, still insane to use such an item of power for such a menial task. What was in Quesada's head the day he thought that up, seriously?

Posted by goldenkey

Im glad they changed the name.  I want the movie gritty not campy. 
Posted by DH69

not a fan of the name "Tesseract" but what do i know mabye the studio has a  good idea changing its name like that 
 
studio's always make good decisions when it comes to a comic book movie *cough* spider-man 3 *cough*

Posted by Eyz

Haaa...the cosmic cube...honestly not a fan :/

Edited by Blackestnight
@FoxxFireArt:   Using the Cosmic Cube in Spider-man would of been infinitely better than that god awful deal with the devil. 
 
Thanks You, that would have been much better, but it wouls still have to a be a deal with someone who'd not give him both aunt may and MJ someone twisted. It was hard to write out of that corner.  Maybe have Loki do it as Spiderman did save him in 541 was it and Loki said he owned him. He's a god, and yet bound not to use such an enormous use of power without some type of trick or exchange for it.
Posted by FoxxFireArt
@Blackestnight:  
Well, notice I didn't say best choice. Just better than what was done.
 
Loki is almost the Norse version of Lucifer. He's always the treacherous and cast away child. Though, the idea of the price being he was tricked into losing his marriage would have been much better. It would of made him more the victim and less the cowardly brat who couldn't who couldn't take responsibility.
 
Now, they have their protagonist being the type of person who crawls to the devil to fix his messes. Oh yeah, that's a role model for the kiddies.
Posted by NXH
Posted by Eyz

The cosmic cube making a comeback? Sure.
 
Why?
Because it even showed in the upcoming Captain America movie's concept art:
 http://eyzmaster.blogspot.com/2011/01/movie-news-heres-red-skull.html
Cross media-advertisement.
'nuff said!

Posted by dondasch

Omnipotence.  Gotta get me some of that !

Posted by comicbikerscott
@JTS_Boanerges88 said:
"I just hope they stay true to canon for the movie. "

 i also hope the movie does its own its suppose to be a cinminetic universe i think marvel studios eventyually get back blade spider-man and the x-men back
Posted by Crimson Eagle

I am not a fan that the cube will be called "Tesseract", but it does sound realistic. Sort of like an Indiana Jones touch to it.

Online
Posted by Theodore
@NXH said:
"
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hahahahahaha
Posted by InnerVenom123
@NXH said:
"
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WIN.

Edited by InnerVenom123
Posted by Jekylhyde14

A fine write-up, Thomas. Allow me to add my favorite Cosmic Cube moment. In Super-Villain Team-Up #17, HITLER GETS TRAPPED INSIDE A COSMIC CUBE: 
 

Okay, so it's not REALLY Hitler and it's not REALLY a Cosmic Cube. It was the original Hate Monger who was an exact genetic clone of Hitler getting trapped inside a faulty, artificial Cosmic Cube that Red Skull was trying to mass produce. They "failed to capture the essence of the cube" and instead of creating a Cosmic Cube they created the perfect prison (I guess the two are pretty similar in a lot of respects). They forget to mention this to Hitler, though, who tries to use the Cube and ends up locked inside of it to this very day. That's what I call a happy ending. Thanks Red Skull! 
Posted by spystreak

Nazis with a cube that can do anything well that's evil and would result in the death of the soviet union and all the commies hell if they have that kind of power I'm joining I have blonde hair and blue eyes and the uniforms are bitchin time for sinister music mwhahahahahahahaha  
    
Posted by LP

Actually, I didn't know a lot of the things about the Cube until I read this. Thanks guys.

Posted by kingofallrobots

I'll take two !

Posted by Pr_Beyonder

Very nice.
Posted by dewboy01


The cosmic cube's our one way ticket to our retirement: no money problems, no taxes, have our walk in refridgerator, walk in oven, with free food, any clothing, any house to live with a nice big pool.

That cube's like our first basic step of living in god's kingdom.

Posted by PowerHerc

The "Beginners Guide to the Cosmic Cube?"  Where was this when I had one?  I sure could've used it.
Posted by Om1kron

you have passed the essay writing test with an A++ Pinchuk! 

Posted by Omega Ray Jay

Ugh i can't wait till someone with decent writing skills reverses this ludicrous Beyonder cosmic cube tripe. 

Posted by superboyrocks13
@william knowles:
i dont want a walk in oven my sister would push me in
Posted by Golden Cod
@Omega Ray Jay said:
" Ugh i can't wait till someone with decent writing skills reverses this ludicrous Beyonder cosmic cube tripe.  "
I don't think it's possible to make a deus ex machina device interesting in comics.   There have been a bunch of "omega-level" characters introduced and written out over the years because the stories became boring.   The prime Marvel examples are Nate Grey, Jean Grey, and Sentry.
Posted by Omega Ray Jay
@Golden Cod: he was largely inactive at the point of the retcon as far as i can remember there is nothing wrong with his character and as a fan of him i would rather they not or never use him again in favor of an extremely mediocre attempt at a watering down. 
Posted by AlKusanagi

Correct me if I'm wrong, but *Thor spoiler* was that not supposed to be the CC in the after the credits scene?