First Appearance: Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #26
Appearance and abilities
Simply put, a Ghost Box is a device that can create a portal between realities. Its appearance seems to vary slightly depending on the world it’s from but so far they have all been cubes of varying sizes. The ones the X-Men first encountered were between 50-100 cm on each side, whilst the ones from Savior’s world were the size of an apple. The Ghost Box technology that the Furies possessed seemed to be part of its computer systems, although the portal it created was square in shape. They are all metallic, with circuitry covering their surface.
The mechanisms require a powerful energy source to activate them, either by plugging them into an electrical system or firing energy directly at them. The ones the X-Men initially encountered used an electric system to power them but the ones from Savior’s world used lightning and Dazzler’s light beams to activate them. When a Ghost Box was destroyed, the resulting feedback triggered a nearby Ghost Box to open a portal. At the moment, it is unknown how, or even if, a particular world can be navigated to or whether it’s random luck when opening them. It does seem that, once a Ghost Box is calibrated to a certain reality, then it opens a portal between them whenever it is activated.
According to Abigail Brand of SWORD, approximately twenty realities have discovered Ghost Box technology. Use of the Ghost Boxes seems to release a radiation into the nearby environment. The radiation has a very similar signature to that of James Jaspers, a reality warper. Beast theorized that overuse of the Ghost Boxes would make the world toxic for the inhabitants.
When the X-Men investigated the murder of an apparent mutant in San Francisco, they discovered the man was tracking someone else and had been killed for it. Reading his notebook, they picked up the murderer’s trail and found themselves in Chaparanga Beach, a spaceship graveyard. There they found the murderer, dubbed Subject X, trying to open a strange device. Before he could do so, however, the X-Men stopped him. Subject X killed himself rather than be captured and so the X-Men went back home with the device in tow.
Contacting Abigail Brand of SWORD, they learned that it was a Ghost Box and was used to open portals between alternate realities. More worryingly, analysis of Subject X and his victim showed that they were mutants, but Subject X had the X-gene on the wrong chromosome and the other seemed to be an artificial mutant.
The X-Men investigated further and their trail took them to Tian, the secret home of a group of Chinese mutants. The inhabitants of Tian were long dead but the X-Men found more of these pseudo-mutants and, after capturing some alive, discovered a sinister war going on in secret. An alternate world had developed Ghost Box technology and had begun sending scouting parties out across the multiverse. One such party had ventured to Earth 616 but their arrival hadn’t gone unnoticed, as former X-Man Forge was carefully examining alternate worlds. He was looking for a way to repopulate the world’s mutant population but, when he spotted the alternate invaders, decided to take action. Using his engineering abilities, he created a new race of mutants with an artificial third helix on their DNA. He used his mutants to kill the alternate scouting party and steal their Ghost Box for himself.
The X-Men managed to find Forge at Wundagore Mountain and discovered that he was in the final stages of opening the Ghost Box and sending his mutants in to attack the alternate world. The X-Men tried to reason with him but he nevertheless opened the portal and ordered his mutants to throw the X-Men in. The X-Men fought back but, during the fight, a giant Sentinel hand started to reach out through the Ghost Box from the alternate reality. Abigail Brand had been secretly monitoring the situation and, upon Beast’s direction, fired a high-powered laser through the portal. The resulting explosion destroyed the Ghost Box and seemingly killed Forge. Beast theorized that the world on the other side was likely a toxic, desolate place due to the effects of the Ghost Box technology. The laser that was fired through it most likely obliterated the world and put a stop to any prospective invasion force. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #25-30]
When a bunch of babies in an African town were born with mutant powers, the X-Men were called to investigate. They discovered the area had been soaked in a radiation that indicated the use of a Ghost Box. The true culprit, though, was an alternate version of James Jaspers, a reality warper who could hop realities. The effects of his entering and exiting the reality released radiation that mutated nearby unborn babies into Warpies. As the X-Men were dealing with Jaspers, the situation took a turn for the worse when a portal opened up and a squad of Furies emerged. The superhero-hunting machines had their own version of a Ghost Box and had been hunting Jaspers. The X-Men had their work cut out saving Jaspers’ life and stopping the powerful robots. It was Emma who managed to save the day by telepathically twisting the memories of the last Fury. It used the Ghost Box technology in its system to return to its world, believing it had succeeded in its mission. [Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1-5]
On an alternate world, a war was waged between the X-Men and a group of mutants that ruled over it. Magneto, the planet’s dictator, was killed but, in his final moments, he ripped apart the Earth’s magnetic field, dooming everyone. The world’s greatest minds came up with a plan to use the remaining mutants to power a machine that would stabilize the field. That plan worked but only temporarily, as the mutants died through exhaustion and more were needed. Savior, the world’s Charles Xavier, decided to use a couple of Ghost Boxes he had acquired to kidnap mutants from other realities to use as batteries in his machine.
A version of Storm was sent through a Ghost Box portal to Earth 616 and she kidnapped Cyclops. He was placed in the machine but quickly escaped and freed some of the other prisoners. They led a rebellion against Savior and attempted to get hold of one of his Ghost Boxes. A young version of Nightcrawler managed to obtain one of the devices and teleport to Earth 616 to fetch help. He brought some of the X-Men with him and they helped turn the tide of the battle against Savior. The Savior was eventually defeated but the world was now doomed to succumb to the effects of Magneto’s actions. One of Savior’s Ghost Boxes was destroyed and the feedback triggered the other one to open a portal back to Earth 616. Cyclops reluctantly left the other world and their X-Men to their fate. [Astonishing X-Men (3rd series) #44-47]
Cyclops couldn’t get his mind off the alternate world he had been forced to leave and ordered the X-Men’s science team fix the Ghost Box he had returned with. They succeeded in their mission but needed one final thing to activate it: a suitable power source. Fortunately, Dazzler was on hand and, after a strong blast of her light powers, the Ghost Box opened a portal. Unfortunately, the situation on the other side was just as dire as before, only this time a giant, squid-like creature emerged. Dazzler was caught in its tentacles and dragged through the portal, just as it closed. [X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #1].
Given the unstable nature of the Ghost Box and the dangers it possesses to the world, the one in the X-Men’s care was stored away. In the various moves across the country, it is unknown if the Ghost Box still resides with the X-Men.
Realities with Ghost Box technology
- Home of alternate James Jaspers and Furies – Jaspers used his powers to jump realities and, when he returned home, he discovered his world had been devastated by the superhero-killing Furies. He jumped to Earth 616 but was followed by the Furies, who had Ghost Box technology built into their systems.
- Savior’s world – After Magneto damaged the Earth’s magnetic field, Savior used the world’s mutants as batteries to maintain it. When the mutants started dying, he used Ghost Boxes to open portal to other worlds so he could capture alternate reality mutants. He possessed two Ghost Boxes, one was seemingly destroyed and the other was taken to Earth 616.
- Subject X’s world – Very little is known about the world, although Beast theorized that they have overused Ghost Box technology and their world had been devastated from it. They were likely using Ghost Boxes to scout out weaker worlds that they could overpower and set up home. It was most likely obliterated by a laser beam fired through a Ghost Box from Earth 616.
- Alternate Subject X’s world – A number of similar realities appear to have been created that all possess Ghost Box technology. They all seem to have sent Subject X through the Ghost Box to scout out an alternate Earth, however once this point was reached a number of different outcomes happened.
- On one world, Subject X succeeded in his scouting mission to the alternate Earth. The X-Men resisted him but he killed them and opened the Ghost Box back to his own world, unleashing an army of Sentinels. The Sentinels killed billions until there was very little resistance left, allowing the alternate invaders to relocate to the new world. Apparently, scouts from this world also used a Ghost Box to visit a pre-digital version of Earth. However, events played out much like Earth 616’s situation and the scout was killed.
- On yet another world, Subject X activated the Ghost Box, but was subsequently killed by the X-Men. It was too late, though, and a number of Ghost Box portals opened across the planet and wiped out much of humanity.
- In another reality, Subject X seemingly succeeded in his mission but the invading force met with resistance. Over time, however, they managed to slowly kill the remaining heroes using bombs.