WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Absolute Carnage: The Immortal Hulk #1, by Al Ewing, Filipe Andrade, Chris O'Halloran and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
The Marvel Universe features many deities and pantheons, but there is an established capital-G God within the multiverse. This being has come in many forms, but regardless of its appearance -- or lack thereof -- the mysterious figure known as the One-Above-All. But it stands to reason that if there was some ultimate altruistic force in the universe, then there would also be its dark opposite.
That presence has been at the core of Immortal Hulk, but its impact and influence may extend throughout the entire Marvel Universe, as Absolute Carnage: Immortal Hulk revealed that the force might have a connection to other demonic powers in the galaxy. What is the One-Below-All, and what could be its connection to Knull... and every other malevolent Marvel force?
Who Is The One-Above-All?
The figure is seemingly responsible for the creation of all things, the only one superior to the Living Tribunal. The One-Above-All has appeared infrequently throughout Marvel history, often being held up not just at the center of the Marvel universe's fabric, but its weaver. Very few characters have actually encountered him, but perhaps its most infamous interaction with the character came when Marvel's First Family went to heaven in Fantastic Four #511 by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo.
When they went to the afterlife, the One-Above-All took on the appearance of Jack Kirby, one of the real-life creators of the Fantastic Four. The One-Above-All even helped heal all the injuries the team had recently suffered in battle at the time and brought them back to life. This manifestation receives a call with his "collaborator," who is strongly implied to be Stan Lee. It's also met with Peter Parker and Thanos in other stories. The One-Above-All operates on a completely advanced, even meta-level beyond even the reality-altering powers of the Infinity Gauntlet or the Cosmic Cube. But if this is the greatest power for good in the Marvel multiverse, then what stands in opposition of it?
Who is The One-Below-All?
The One-Below-All was introduced in Immortal Hulk #5 by Al Ewing and Joe Bennett. The malevolent entity hides in the Below-Place, the deepest layer of Hell. The being has been revealed to have been sealed behind the mystical and metaphysical Green Door. The One-Below-All is also revealed to be the being that fuels the mutating aspects of Gamma Energy, giving it an implicit connection with all of the characters connected with the Hulk. In fact, the Gamma Bomb test that initially transformed Bruce Banner into the Hulk tied the pair irrevocably together. Unleashed on the world, the One-Below-All began possessing others who had been transformed by gamma energy.
The Hulk and Gamma Flight were forced to confront the One-Below-All in its own dimension, with the Hulk seemingly beating him back with a massive blast. But that doesn't mean the One-Below-All has been fully defeated, and it could easily return to bedevil the Hulk and his Gamma-empowered compatriots again down the line. It could even potentially extend its power and reach across the rest of the Marvel Universe.
The Symbiote God and The One-Below-All
In Absolute Carnage: Immortal Hulk, it's revealed that it was the Hulk who actually contacted the authorities about Carnage unearthing the mass grave full of bodies, infected as they were with the codex of the symbiotes that had previously bonded with them. Concerned that Ross could be resurrected by the One-Below-All and the apparent connection to Venom, Bruce Banner seeks out Spider-Man to learn more about the symbiotes. Spider-Man tells Banner about Carnage's plans to unleash the Symbiote deity, Knull, God of the Void.
Hearing Peter call Knull a "cosmic satan," Banner immediately notes the similarity between that description and the One-Below-All. Banner even postulates that Knull and the One-Below-All may have a more implicit connection. He could either be subservient of the presence or even a facet of the force, himself. Sensing a common enemy, Banner decides to find out more by throwing himself into the events of Absolute Carnage and fully accepts the Venom symbiote as it tries to bond with him, despite the protests of one of his personas -- ironically, the so-called Devil Hulk.
It remains to be seen if his suspicions are proven true or not, but readers will learn more when Absolute Carnage #4 is released on Oct. 16.