WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Defenders #4, available now from Marvel.
Ever since being brought together by the magic of Doctor Strange, the latest lineup of Defenders has traversed both time and space in their hunt for the maniacal Carlo Zota. Across Sci-Fi scenery and supernatural worlds, the Defenders landed in the middle of the greatest conflict that the Fourth Cosmos has ever seen. But they’ve also just uncovered the secrets about their own place in the universe in the process.
The Defenders have battled against some of the most dangerous threats to ever grace any version of the Marvel Universe, but in the Fourth Cosmos, the heroes have been confronted by many beings who don’t clearly present themselves as friend or foe. When they arrived they were faced with a four-headed, Hulk-like monstrosity, yet that creature is hardly the most astounding sight there is for the heroes to see. As the titular team trekked across the desert terrain, they found themselves overlooking a massive battle unfolding in a massive canyon. The figures fighting below them might not be ones that any of the heroes know personally, but that doesn’t mean many of them aren’t still immediately familiar.
Many of the warriors seen in the pages of Defenders #4 (by Al Ewing, Javier Rodriguez, Jay Bowen, VC’s Cory Petit, and VC’s Joe Caramagna) are clearly reminiscent of the likes of Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Even a near-perfect vision of Doctor Doom wanders the battlefield, its face having been stolen by the villainous Carlo Zota who understands exactly what it is he is dealing with. Much like how science and magic were born of the Sixth and Fifth Cosmos respectively, the Fourth Cosmos was where the archetypes of the Marvel Universe were first brought into existence. Heroes aren’t the only archetypes to exist here either, as Zota himself towers over his enemies atop the Fourth Cosmos’ version of the Devourer of Worlds.
As has been seen so many times before, even Galactus’ ilk is no match for the combined might of Marvel’s heroes no matter what form they come in. In fact, it is these initial creations of the Fourth Cosmos that have laid the groundwork for all of the heroes’ victories going forward. These archetypes aren’t the same as the versions of them that fans know best, but there is no question that they filled much the same role as their modern-day counterparts. Thanks to the likes of the Stone Age Avengers, fans know well enough that the concept of legacy is one that is indelible to the Marvel Universe, with the archetypes of the Fourth Cosmos confirming that every iteration of reality will be protected by them in some form.
That Marvel’s greatest heroes would be seen throughout the ages isn’t surprising, especially with so many historically charged tales already having been told in both the past and future. Still, the idea that they are themselves bound to all versions of the Multiverse coming after the Fourth Cosmos is a shocking revelation as it elevates these heroes from iconic figures of their time to something closer to the divine. Even if the archetypes that the Defenders have met are relegated to live as just that in their own time, it’s good to know that the Marvel Universe will always be in good hands.
from Ultimate Comic Blog