WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Exiles #1 by Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodriguez, on sale now.
The latest incarnation Marvel’s Exiles begins with Nick Fury, now the cosmic being known as the Unseen, contemplating a multiversal threat called the Time-Eater, a being of immense power that consumes entire realities.
But the nature of being is unknowable even with Fury’s Watcher-like powers — as is the reason the dimension-hopping device called the Tallus has recruited original Exile Blink for another mission through time and space.
On Exiles #1’s final page reveal, at least part of the mystery is solved, as the Time-Eater stands revealed. Apparently, following his death at some point in the future, Galactus has graduated from devouring worlds… to gobbling up realities.
There is a logic and poetry to this reveal. If Galactus is an integral force of nature, it stands to reason that if he died, reality — his home reality — would fall with him. Or, that absent a conscious will, his all-consuming hunger would only increase with the death of his body. In essence, he becomes a more terrible force in death than he ever could have been in life.
But questions remain. First, where did this Galactus come from? The 616 universe’s version has died before, but is currently very much alive — and with a dimension-hopping series like Exiles, there’s no reason to assume he would need to come from our “home” reality. So does the Time-Eater hail from a cosmos we’ve seen before, or an all-new, all different, all-tragic universe?
The manner of this Galactus’s death might also prove relevant. Who killed Galactus, and how? Was the creation of the Time-Eater an unexpected consequence, or part of some larger plan?
And then there’s the matter of his time-eating. After recruiting a Dark Knight Returns-inspired Kamala Khan, Blink says she believes that Marvel’s various realities are not actually being destroyed, only removed — and that it may be possible to restore them.
It’s not entirely clear why she thinks this, though her relationship with the Tallus may give her some insight. But if this is the case, the Time-Eater is doing something a bit different from Galactus: the energy of the realities is not being consumed as sustenance, but stored, or perhaps moved. Where, and to what end?
As Blink and her team investigate the nature of this threat to the multiverse while trying to stay one step ahead of the Time-Eater, it’s all but certain that worlds will live, worlds will die, and the dark forces at play will ultimately stand revealed. It’s only a matter of time.
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