The Union has revealed an even more powerful object than the six Infinity Stones, and in a twist, it was already used to create an empire on Earth.
Warning: contains spoilers for The Union #5!
Marvel has just revealed a new artifact that may be just as powerful, if not more so, than the Infinity Stones. Debuting in The Union #4, from Paul Grist, Andrea di Vito, Le Beau Underwood, and Nolan Woodard, the new object is discovered by the Union, Britian’s own Avengers-style superhero team. It’s fitting that the Union would discover this powerful new weapon since it was already used to create the British Empire.
The current Union team, consisting of Union Jack, Bulldog, Kelpie, The Choir (who was kidnapped and transformed into Skreem), and Snakes (a suit of armor containing dozens of sapient snakes) were once all led by Britannia, who died during the King in Black event. The team has recently clashed with the villain Croker Dyle (known by his nickname, Dr. Crocodile) who plans to break into the Tower of London’s Keep, where the Crown Jewels are stored. But he’s not after the jewels, he’s after a phenomenally powerful artifact known as the Empire Stone.
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Dr. Crocodile breaks into the Keep with little difficulty and explains the history of the Empire Stone. “You ever wonder how one little country just off the coast of Europe managed to dominate the world?” he asks Craig. It was John Dee’s doing, who, apart from being a mathematician and astrologer, was Queen Elizabeth’s personal dark wizard. John Dee introduced the Empire Stone to Britain, which “…gives the holder complete and total power. Nothing can defeat them!” The Empire Stone was placed in the Tower of London’s keep, safely away from the rest of the world.
Of course, considering world history and the eventual decline of the British Empire, the Empire Stone clearly has its limits. Either that, or the current rulers determined that the stone’s risks outweighed the rewards, and decided against using it around the dawn of the 20th century. Steve Darwin, tech genius, manages to acquire the stone for himself and desires to become the new Emperor of Britain, but in The Union #5 he is eventually stopped through the combined efforts of Union Jack and the spirit of Britannia. While the stone did allow him to almost singlehandedly defeat The Union, he clearly lacks the experience necessary to wield it effectively. Thus a more powerful villain could use the Empire Stone to once again subjugate the world – and possibly worse.
Considering the overwhelming majority of heroes created by Marvel and DC Comics originate from the United States, it’s refreshing to see a superhero team from the UK take on an existential threat, or at least one that threatens their own land. Now that the Empire Stone has been revealed, the team will face a reckoning of their country’s own imperialist history, especially in a post-Brexit world. At the end of The Union #5, the stone has been returned to 10 Downing Street. The Union may have overcome a threat greater than the Infinity Stones, but the question remains: what will the United Kingdom’s politicians do with such unrivaled power?
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