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The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

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Spectral Knight
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The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by Spectral Knight » 20 Sep 2021, 17:29

I know there's been a myriad of stories set in "Heaven" / "Hell" and other post-life Realms, but how do these actually "work"?

Are these physical spaces with tangible manifestations of the dead within the Universe / Multiverse or are these spiritual planes only?
In stories where living characters visit a realm of the dead is this a physical relocation or some sort of "soul-port"?
When characters that were dead (rather than just believed dead) return to the living what happens to their "essence" in the relevant dead realm - does it simply cease to exist?
Are the Realms of the dead specific to each individual universe or do they cross universal barriers?

And lastly, and which made me initially ponder the role of death in the Marvel universe and relating to the current status quo in the Mutant corner...

Have any of the dead mutants who have gone through the Ressurection Protocol been shown previously to be in the / an afterlife prior to their ressurection?
Have we seen any afterlife(s) since the introduction of the Ressurection Protocol?

comicsfan666
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by comicsfan666 » 20 Sep 2021, 18:21

Afterlifes in the Marvel Universe are just as consistent and well-written as everything else.

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Blackcyclops
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by Blackcyclops » 21 Sep 2021, 00:16

comicsfan666 wrote:
20 Sep 2021, 18:21
Afterlifes in the Marvel Universe are just as consistent and well-written as everything else.

That’s not a good factual answer…and not fully accurate given the myriad of stories written about the afterlife.


As to your question SK:

Are these physical spaces with tangible manifestations of the dead within the Universe / Multiverse or are these spiritual planes only?
First you gotta understand that “afterlife” realms are just different dimensions. So the physics and “logic” of each do vary (like with magic or otherworldly things in most mediums the “logic” of each varies…similarly to how we think about afterlife in the real world). That said they do connect somewhat, for example the various Hell dimensions have been shown to be different realms but it is possible to transverse them like a “physical” place.

And rules for death also are different depending on the Hell realm and who you are (like a mortal or an “immortal” like a god).
In stories where living characters visit a realm of the dead is this a physical relocation or some sort of "soul-port"?

It is possible to be a physical living being in some of the Afterlifes (most of these points will be about Hell dimensions fwiw, since we tend to see these realms more than something akin to Judeo-Christian heaven, the exceptions being Valhalla or the Elysian Fields). We’ve actually seen it in every Hell dimension that I can think of. Traveling there usually involves magic or a magical portal but the person does go in their body.

Now it’s possible there’s a more obscure Dr. Strange or Ghost Rider story that contradicts it but for most Hells, you as a person go there with your body and “soul”/spirit whatever metaphysical thingie.
When characters that were dead (rather than just believed dead) return to the living what happens to their "essence" in the relevant dead realm - does it simply cease to exist?
The resurrected are usually seen just leaving that realm. Like when Logan’s soul was sent to Hell (like Judeo-Christian Hell), his body was inhabited by demons but when he was saves his “soul” returned to the body and left Hell. So you’re usually shown leaving the dead realm.
Are the Realms of the dead specific to each individual universe or do they cross universal barriers?
So do you mean does each reality have it’s own afterlife or is there 1 afterlife for the entire omniverse?

This one I’m not sure about but I believe there are multiple “aspects” of these higher level beings like Hell lords and stuff across the multiverse. So like there is a Mephisto in every reality but really may be all aspects of the same being instead of separate distinct beings.

As for your last one, the ahort answer is yes, you can see Chaos War, the one scene in Incredible Hercules where they visit “afterlife limbo” (basically it was a metaphysical casino where dead people could gamble for a resurrection), and I’m almost certain we’ve seen somebody else who was resurrected in Hell too.
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Spectral Knight
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by Spectral Knight » 21 Sep 2021, 01:47

Thank you BC :)

I guess I am wondering whether in Marvel "rules" to death (as variable as they are depending on where you end up at the point of death), given the unique mechanisms of the Resurection Protocols, would the dead person leave the realm of the dead at the point of resurection or because it's not really the "same" body (as it's a new one grown from scratch) or mind being resurected (as it's a backup copy) does that mean it stays in the realm of the dead as the continuous experience of both the body + mind definitively ceased?

And what are the implications of the "soul" for each mutant post RP (do they even have a soul and if yes, is it the "same" soul on each death and resurection?)

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Blackcyclops
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by Blackcyclops » 21 Sep 2021, 02:33

Those are all TBD questions since the RPs have yet to touch on that metaphysical-facets of resurrection.

All we know is that each resurrected person inhabits essentially the same body and has memories up to the point of upload.

In the MU, “mind” and “soul” have typically been intertwined but not the same thing. For example, when Skurge died and returned to the land of the living (resurrection doesn’t feel like the correct term here) he had all the memories of his “living”-self and he was no longer in the land of the dead. Same goes for the Thing. When he met “God” (note: The Thing is one of the few characters to actually venture to soemthing akin to Judeo-Christian heaven and met the creator aka “The One Above All”, the most supreme being in the MU omniverse). And as I mentioned before with Logan, when his “soul” was returned to his body, he retained his memories and mind he had before and after death.

Given that the RPs use a backup from Cerebero and don’t seem to locate one’s soul in an afterlife, we can only speculate what truly happens.

The closest I think we can get is what happened with Ben Reilly prior to becoming the Jackal.
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Monolith
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by Monolith » 21 Sep 2021, 02:55

Generally speaking, the souls of the dead have physical substance in their appointed afterlifes. If physical (living) beings travel to an afterlife, they can interact with the souls as if they were real and tangible beings.

Most afterlifes in the Marvel Universe are representational. For an example, Pluto controls Hades, the afterlife of the Olympian Gods and their worshippers. However, beings have appeared in Hades that are dead but do not fit into either of those categories (particularly in the Incredible Hercules series). Anybody who is dead can appear in Hades as a "shade", because Hades represents death as a concept as well as being a "literal" afterlife for specific beings. However, Pluto only has control over the souls of dead he has claimed or who follow the Greek/Roman faith. People who are dead can be represented in Pluto's realm, but only souls he has specifically claimed can be returned to life by him, or used in other ways. There are also other rules that haven't been fully explored, such as if Mephisto has claimed a soul, he can prevent even a shade of that soul from appearing in Pluto's realm, and vice versa. Mistress Death is the ultimate conceptual representation of death, and so her Realm of the Dead always contains all who are dead, regardless of whether some lesser deity or afterlife has some claim over them.

Side note, but the same Hercules story also explored his unique status as a demigod. Hercules was born to Zeus and a mortal mother as a superhumanly strong mortal being. When he died a mortal death, he ascended into Mount Olympus as a truly immortal God of Strength. However, this arc revealed Hercules' soul actually split in two, and his mortal side DID descend into Hades while his God-half went on to live an immortal life free of his mortality. So souls can split, or duplicate, or something, when passing through an afterlife.
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Spectral Knight
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by Spectral Knight » 21 Sep 2021, 04:48

Thank you both very much.

Lots to still ponder (and speculate on in the appropriate forum places) but the idea that a realm of death being both a place for the literal dead and the "shades" as a concept of death makes so much more sense now.

I guess that these spaces acting as representations of death also explains why characters that are believed dead can appear in a realm of the dead even when subsequent stories retcon their death (rather than being a literal death and resurection), right?

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tokenBG1009
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Re: The Afterlife (Afterlives?) of the Marvel Universe

Post by tokenBG1009 » 27 Sep 2021, 22:23

The only real view of the afterlife I've seen in comics was "Heaven" in Aaron's run of Amazing X-Men after Kurt died. The X-Men were able to physically go to this place where Kurt's soul was and interact with things there. Kurt also physically left that place when he bound Azazel to the mortal realm afterwards.
"Sometimes I do feel like I'm a failure. Like there's no hope for me. But even so, I'm not gonna give up. Ever!" -Izuku Midoriya

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