Marvel Revealed Which Superpower Has the Worst Downside | CBR

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WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Thing #3, available now from Marvel.

The Marvel Universe is home to a diverse ecosystem of superhuman abilities, and one of the most common is immortality. Several alien species naturally possess some form of eternal life, and humans can achieve it through a wide variety of sources ranging from science to sorcery. Mortals across the multiverse, driven by the fear of death,  have dedicated their entire lives to obtaining immortality, resorting to any means necessary to achieve their goals.

Once they’ve freed themselves from the everpresent sector of death, those who’ve achieved immortality are often regarded with a deep sense of jealousy by the people around them. However, those who’ve experienced eternal life rarely ever view their longevity as a gift in any form of fiction, and Marvel’s immortals are no different. After being defeated by his old rival Ben Grimm and locked in a specially-designed prison cell in Thing #3 (by Walter Mosley, Tom Reilly, Jodie Bellaire, and VC’s Joe Sabino), Tyrco Slatterus, aka the Champion of the Universe, is asked what it’s like to be immortal by Bobby Spector, a young boy that Ben has recently taken in off the streets. The Champion’s answer not only revealed that immortality isn’t as appealing as it may initially appear but also shed a revealing light on the ancient alien’s previous conflicts with the Fantastic Four and other heroes.

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The Champion was first introduced in Marvel Two-In-One Annual (by Tom Defalco, Ron Wilson, Bob Camp, Mike Esposito, Frank Giacoia, Dan Green, Armando Gil, Chic Stone, George Roussos, ad Jim Novak), and is one of the Elders of the Universe, a cabal of powerful aliens and some of the oldest beings in the entire universe. He wished to prove himself the strongest being in existence, and so he visited countless planets and challenged their strongest inhabitants to battle, often causing massive collateral damage in the process. Eventually, the Champion arrived on Earth and defeated many of the strongest members of the Avengers and the X-Men before he was eventually beaten by Ben Grimm. Embittered by this loss, the Champion developed an animosity towards Earth’s heroes that’s driven him to brutalize the Silver Surfer, steal an Infinity Stone, and even attempt to force She-Hulk into marrying him to gain his revenge and re-assert his self-proclaimed title.

The Champion’s arrogant demeanor and obsession with a mission that seems rather petty when compared to those of other cosmic beings have earned an admittedly well-deserved reputation as a barbaric bully who uses his raw physical power to demean weaker beings. However, his conversation with Bobby in Thing #3 revealed that the Champion isn’t as thoughtless as he initially appeared. After getting over his initial shock that a child has asked him such a mature question, the Champion admitted that being immortal meant being an unchanging being within a universe that’s changes constantly. Unlike other beings, who get to enjoy the experience of growth and change, the Champion and his fellow Elders are effectively trapped inside of their unaging bodies, doomed to endlessly search for meaning in an ever-shifting universe that left them behind long ago.

Although the Champion’s admission that his immortality is more of a curse than it is a blessing doesn’t excuse the heinous crimes he’s committed over the many millennia his life has spanned, it does add a tragic new perspective to his previous actions. Due to his immortality, the Champion is destined to outlive almost every being he meets, having already watched the entirety of his species die out while he lived on. He does enjoy some camaraderie with the other Elders, but they rarely interact with each other unless they’re caught up in the schemes of the Grandmaster, meaning that he’s likely destined to spend the majority of his endless life alone. Faced with this unending loneliness, the Champion has found happiness in the one thing that makes him feel mortal; his title, something that can evolve as it’s passed along between various contenders. In creating this title, the Champion has found a way to escape the endless drudgery of his immortality, and his desire to ensure that it becomes something that grows with the universe makes his previous actions seem just a little less insane.

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The Champion of the Universe’s unending agony proves that immortality may be the Marvel Universe’s worst superpower. Unable to lead any semblance of a normal life thanks to his inability to age, the Champion truly has nothing to strive for or achieve, although he has all the time in the universe to do so. No matter how powerful he becomes, it seems like the strongest being in the universe will never be able to escape the prison of his own life.

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