WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Iron Man #15, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
After bonding with the Power Cosmic, Iron Man is now one of the most powerful figures in the entire Marvel Universe, with the raw energy from Galactus' power source making Tony Stark a virtual god. And as Iron Man grapples with his newfound abilities, now able to annihilate whole planets with a wave of his hand, he is the latest Avenger to achieve cosmic godhood, with many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's familiar faces receiving omnipotent upgrades of their own. And with so many iconic heroes having become virtual demigods, it stands to reason that something big is coming for the Marvel Universe.
Tony's upgrade is the culmination of Christopher Cantwell's run on the main Iron Man ongoing comic book series since its start in September 2020. Iron Man raced against the would-be god Korvac, who intended to seize the Power Cosmic for himself and subjugate humanity under his fiendish image. Desperate to keep this power out of Korvac's hands, Tony bonded with the raw energy first and was able to easily defeat Korvac in Iron Man #15 (by Cantwell, Ibraim Roberson, Frank D'Armata and VC's Joe Caramagna). Retaining the Power Cosmic for himself, Tony reveals he has his own plans for his newfound omnipotence that may affect the entire universe.
Iron Man's upgrade through the Power Cosmic came after Thor had his own boost with the supreme power. In order to defend Asgard from the all-consuming Black Winter, Thor agreed to become Galactus' new Herald, receiving a power boost through the cosmic energy at the start of Donnie Cates and Nic Klein's run. While Thor seemingly returned to normal after slaying Galactus and driving back the Black Winter, he still maintains a degree of heightened cosmic power after he became Asgard's new All-Father by succeeding his father Odin on the throne.
The acclaimed series Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett saw Hulk experience his own brush with godhood, as the source of the Jade Giant's immortality was linked to the unleashed Devil Hulk, the most monstrous and savage part of Bruce Banner's psyche. As Immortal Hulk continued, Hulk saw the full extent of his gamma-radiated powers while his Joe Fixit personality received a cosmic power boost. By the end Hulk absorbed both of these entities rather than letting these personas run amok, at the cost of his immense power upgrade.
More briefly, Shang-Chi recently received a temporary cosmic boost when he squared off against the Avengers in defense of his family's Five Weapons Society in Gene Luen Yang and Dike Ruan's latest run with the Master of Kung Fu. Wielding what he believed to be the mythical sword of the Japanese thunder god, Shang-Chi was able to stand toe-to-toe against Thor and even cause Mjolnir to melt with a mere verbal command. Shang-Chi realized that the sword was actually a disguised Cosmic Cube. He then relinquished the weapon and his sudden power upgrade to the Avengers to avoid the hostilities from escalating any further.
There are plenty of conflicts brewing that could require the Avengers and their recent cosmic upgrades to stand as the Marvel Universe's best and last line of defense. Thanos is waiting in the wings for his latest scheme to conquer the universe while the Avengers are set for a battle against the Eternals that could benefit from them possessing cosmic abilities of their own. Whatever the threat may be, the Avengers' individual upgrades are likely coming just before a time when they are needed the most as the fate of the universe hangs in the balance against some unseen, ultimate menace.
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