Superheroes in the Marvel Universe go through changes all the time. Some superheroes gain new abilities and some even transition into entirely new heroes altogether. The very nature of the mutants in the Marvel Universe is that they change when their X-Gene activates. Transformations, evolution and progress are the driving forces in a world where the spectacular and amazing abounds. There are those who transform on command, to unlock another level of power. In the most unfortunate cases, heroes can also transform against their will. Bruce Banner, for example, doesn't always get to choose when he becomes the Hulk. The villain Apocalypse has been known to force transformations in his subjects, twisting them to serve as his horsemen.
Beyond Earth, though, transformation is part of the very fabric of the universe. Celestials watch over the ever-changing cosmic landscape, seeding worlds with their hosts and destroying others that simply cannot keep up with their whims. There are forces at play across the Marvel Universe that dictate change, whether the beings changed are ready or not. From powerful artifacts to sources of wonder from even beyond the universe, the galaxies can change heroes. At times, planets, solar systems and even reality itself need protectors and so heroes are elevated by necessity to make their mark on the great beyond. CBR floats out into the great black yonder to witness cosmic changes in some of our favorite Marvel heroes.
20 NOVA CORPS CAP
Since the destruction of Xandar, the Nova Corps has never quite been the same. It fell to Richard Rider, the sole survivor of the event, to take the weight of the entire Corps on his shoulder. As you'd imagine, the power of an entire world condensed into one helmet is a lot to take on.
Rider, shouldering this burden, had his body adapted to the awesome power of the Xandarian Worldmind. However, when he was incapacitated during a mission for the Secret Avengers, it fell to Steve Rogers to try and harness the Worldmind. The power would rip a normal human apart, but Captain America is no normal human. Steve was transformed into a corpsman for a spell thanks to the Worldmind.
19 COSMIC GHOST RIDER
In one of the possible futures of the Earth, Thanos decimates the planet. The Mad Titan finally succeeds in stomping out the world and its heroes, who have been a thorn in the side of the villain for years. He leaves the Earth in tatters, with only Frank Castle remaining to survey the destruction.
Frank is left alone and full of vengeance, as a result he makes a deal to become the Ghost Rider, the ultimate being of vengeance personified. Unfortunately, he cannot leave the Earth. It's not until Galactus turns up, and Frank strikes his second deal, that he becomes the Cosmic Ghost Rider, empowered further by Galactus. That's two transformations for The Punisher, one of which a direct result of cosmic forces.
18 THE PHOENIX
The Phoenix is part of the fabric of the Marvel Universe, it represents the cycle of destruction and rebirth. As a result, it needs agents to act out its purpose throughout the galaxy. Most notoriously, it has possessed Jean Grey of the X-Men, and managed to raze entire worlds once grounded in a host body.
That's not all though, the Phoenix can never truly be destroyed, so it will always be part of the balance of things. It has taken many hosts, from Namor the Sub-Mariner to King Thor and even Old Man Logan. The Cosmic entity even had a presence in Doom's recreated reality of Battleworld in the Secret Wars event.
A lot of the time, Thor is with Mjolnir, so his transformations are not as often or as apparent as they used to be. Though he no longer turns from Donald Blake into Thor, there is still an element of Transformation to the Asgardian. When wielding the hammer from a resting state, he is seen to have his armor formed around him automatically.
Due to the cosmic storm encased in his mythical weapon, the magics in place can be presumed to be cosmic in nature also. Mjolnir has also transformed Jane Foster into the Mighty Thor, allowing her reprieve from her cancer for periods of time.
16 BINARY CAROL DANVERS
To begin with, Carol Danvers already had powers as a result of having her DNA mixed with that of Kree DNA. The alien species' genetics augmented her cellular structure with their own physiology, giving her enhanced powers similar to those exhibited by the original Captain Marvel.
In a more visual transformation then the realization of her powers, though, Carol would undergo invasive experimentation at the hand of another alien race. This time, it would be the sinister Brood who meddled with her DNA. After this, she took on the form of Binary, able to harness the power of an insterstellar phenomenon known as a White Hole.
15 GOD-EMPEROR DOOM
During the Time Runs Out story, a lot of the most powerful figures in the Marvel Universe tried to prevent the multiverse's collapse. Earths from other realities were destroyed, some tried to shield the earth and others accepted defeat. One person who refused to accept defeat was, of course, Victor Von Doom.
Dr. Doom got himself in contact with the powerful Molecule Man, and they pair hatched a plan to defy the Beyonders. Later, assisted by Dr. Strange, the trio were able to subvert total destruction and even steal the power of the Beyonders. Doom's power taken from these beings made him a god, he fashioned a patchwork reality, preserving whatever he wanted to.
Ultron is a frightening villain in his base form. By design, he's always transforming, improving and making himself better. He's also got a knack for self preservation, and the lengths he goes to in order to leave traces of himself behind are quite extensive. However, not all of his transformations are bound to his own resources.
Following Annihilation, the universe was reeling from the attacks of Annihilus and his Annihilation Wave. Seeing a vulnerable universe, Ultron took control of a techno-organic species known as Phalanx. He was transformed into a cosmic dictator, able to assimilate others and corrupt entire worlds.
13 SPACE KNIGHT VENOM
During his time on the Guardians of the Galaxy, Flash Thompson was exposed to all corners of the cosmos. Being the host to the Venom symbiote at the time, he found himself on the symbiote homeworld. He would find out that the Klyntar are not as sinister as they are thought to be.
It turns out that the Klyntar are in fact peaceful beings, and protectors of their region of space. However, when a symbiote is too far from their homeworld, they lose contact and their mental state can be affected, which explains Venom's history of hostility. Reunited with its people, the Venom symbiote was augmented with new power, transforming Flash into Venom, Space Knight.
It's not uncommon for individuals to be taken by the villainous Apocalypse and turned into one of his horsemen. Apocalypse likes to improve his subjects, believing firmly in "Survival of the fittest." In order to ensure he has a strong roster around him, he transforms those he enthralls to their peak potential.
Warren Worthington is one of the unfortunate individuals captures by Apocalypse. Though he has rejoined the X-Men since, the psychological ramifications of his transformation still haunt Angel. How is this transformation cosmic? Apocalypse's ability to accelerate and taint evolution comes from his Celestial technology, that he made a deal with the beings to acquire.
11 THE INHUMANS
A result of genetic experiments done on early humans by the Kree, the Inhumans live separately from their human counterparts. For a long time they lived on the Earth but later moved to their famed city of Attilan on Earth's moon. There are, however, Inhumans still living among the people on the planet they left behind.
In order to become a fully fledged Inhuman, someone with the altered DNA present in their body must be exposed to the Terrigen Mists. Once exposed, that person will cocoon for a short while and emerge in their true, Inhuman form. The transformation's official term is the Terrigenesis
10 THE ETERNALS
The Eternals are the favored children of the cosmic Celestials. They were created to be perfect, with extraordinary abilities and unending lifespans. If an Eternal's life is taken, they simply regenerate. As long as the Earth exists, Eternals can be reborn. However, they went missing for a long while thanks to one of their number, named Sprite.
Cursed to be a child forever, in spite of his powers, Sprite managed to manipulate events to make himself mortal and erase the memories of his fellow Eternals. However, some Eternals began to wake up. After either perishing and being reborn or being sufficiently reminded of their past, they transformed back into their Eternal forms.
9 BLACK VORTEX GAMORA
During a time when the Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men were working in close proximity, they encountered a powerful cosmic artifact called the Black Vortex. The teams had been in several joint ventures owing to the close relationship Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde shared at the time.
The Black Vortex was said to grant the observer their most perfect form if they accepted its gift, the power was also said to corrupt over time. Gamora accepted the Vortex's gift and was made even deadlier than before. Corrupted almost immediately, however, she would have a hand in the destruction of the Kree homeworld of Hala.
There have been more than one Quasar, but the manner of their cosmic transformations are similar. This is due to the fact that all of the Quasars have historically used powerful artifacts known as the Quantum Bands. The Quantum Bands enhance the wielder, giving them immense amounts of power, drawn from the universe around them.
A power so strong it was able to breach the nigh-invulnerable barrier encasing Earth during the Secret Empire story arc. Avril Kincaid was the Quasar who managed this amazing feat at the time, apprentice to the original, Wendell Vaughn. Other wielders include the kree hero, Phyla-Vell during Annihilation: Conquest.
The Starbrand is an interesting transformation, and can be granted to anyone from regular Average Joes to Hulks. The Starbrand is a cosmic presence tied to a planet, it acts as a self defense system. In times of great import, a being is given the Starbrand to protect the planet and sometimes the universe itself.
It is part of a planet from its conception, dating back as long as a planet has existed and can support life that can host the power. In the first incarnation of the Avengers, the Starbrand was granted to a Hulk. Indicating it has been active as long as other ancient powers such as Ghost Rider and the Phoenix.
6 BLACK VORTEX BEAST
Similar to Gamora's transformation through the Black Vortex, Hank McCoy decided to give the artifact a go as well. Unfortunately for him, it would reveal to him something very unfortunate. Along with the vast power it granted him, it bolstered his intellect far beyond anything he could comprehend previously.
At first, McCoy loved his new view of the universe, he could see how things worked down to a molecular level. He also saw, much to his dismay, that the multiverse was damaged beyond repair. He also saw that his plucking of the All-New X-Men from their timeline was one of the prime contributors to the damage he was confronted with.
5 WORTHY SILVER SURFER
At the end of one possible timeline, the same timeline in which Cosmic Ghost Rider exists, Thanos has won. He has cast aside nearly all opposition apart from one threat that he does not name. In his attempt to impress Mistress Death, he summons a past version of himself to help with this final hurdle.
When the individual he mentions turns up, it appears to be the Silver Surfer. Norrin Radd cites that the reason he has been missing so long is that he was making sure he was worthy. He reveals he now commands Mjolnir, his visage is a lot darker and he now commands an Annihilation Wave.
4 THE INFINITY WARPS
Losing a fraction of her soul to the Soul Stone, Gamora wanted to retrieve it and be whole once more. In order to reassemble her soul, she needed all of the Infinity Stones. Seeing this as too dangerous, her fellow Guardians of the Galaxy refused to help, pushing her to desperation. She tricked heroes and villains alike to gain the stones, succeeding in the end.
With the stones, she folded the entire universe in half. Instead of destroying life with this act, she melded lives together. Fifty percent of all life was removed, replaced with warped heroes and beings made from two separate entities. These warps included the Soldier Supreme, Weapon Hex and Arachknight.
The daughter of Drax the Destroyer, this exceptional individual has mastered nearly everything there is to master as a human being. Brought up in isolation and spending most of her life perfecting just about everything she attempts, Moondragon has a bit of a superiority complex.
Though she has become a little less abrasive over the years, she remains a little snooty. One of her many abilities includes transforming herself into a dragon form. In this form she is able to travel through space and cover great distances. She also needs no assistance to breathe in space while in her dragon form.
2 CUL BORSON, THE SERPENT
Following his imprisonment by his brother Odin following his last attempt to consume the Nine Realms, Cul Borson lurked beneath the oceans of Midgard for countless years. It wasn't until he was awakened by the Red Skull's daughter that he was able to return, a withered husk of his former self.
In order to return himself to full power, he needed to generate fear across the cosmos. He called down sinister reflections of Asgardian hammers, tainting all who claimed them. His hammer-equipped agents of fear began tearing Earth apart, empowering Cul with fear until he reached his final form, The Serpent.
1 CELESTIAL SUNFIRE
Sunfire was brought into the Avengers Unity Squad in order to help improve relations between mutants and the general public. Wolverine convinced him to join after some protest from the former Big Hero 6 leader. Alongside fellow X-Men Rogue, Wolverine and Havok, the Japanese hero would prove vital.
In the culmination of one of Kang the Conquerer's long and meticulous plans to steal the power of a Celestial, it was Sunfire who stepped in to stop him. Absorbing its energy, finding that it was similar to the radiation that give shim his flame powers, Sunfire became a being a pure celestial energy.