Maximum Security

Release Date: 
December 2000 to January 2001
Plot / Theme: 

Ever since the Fantastic Four’s first historic journey into space, the heroes of Earth have constantly found themselves involved with the affairs of the other civilized races in the known universe. While most of these encounters have been for the good, no matter what the situation, these encounters drastically altered the lives of those alien races involved. After many years, the intergalactic council on the planet Selandiar has chosen to address the infectious threat that is Earth and its solar system, which have spawned such threats as Thanos and Dark Phoenix. After a vote, the decision is clear: Earth must be exterminated. However, a mysterious newcomer race known as the Ruul offer another solution. Earth is to become a maximum security prison planet where the unwanted beings of the universe shall permanently reside and occupy the humans, while the Ruul make sure that no one leaves or enters the solar system. However, something has goes horribly wrong and, somehow, Ego, the Living Planet, is sent to Earth, sets his roots into the planet and begins to absorb it at an alarming speed. However, there is far more going on that meets the eye as an elaborate plot secretly unfolds. Who are the Ruul? What is the truth about Maximum Security? When the horrible truth finally stands revealed, there may be nothing the known universe can do to stop it!

Characters Involved

Main Characters:

  • Beast, Bishop, Cable, Colossus, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Phoenix IV, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Thunderbird III, Wolverine, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)
  • Goliath I, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Triathlon, Vision, Warbird, Wasp, Wonder Man (all Avengers)
  • Jack of Hearts, Moondragon, Photon, Quasar, Starfox, Thor, Tigra (all Avengers Infinity)
  • Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (all Fanstastic Four)
  • USAgent, Agents Magruder and Mowat (all S.T.A.R.S.)
  • Fiz, Nuro, R’tee, Spunje, Z’cann (all Cadre K)
  • Empress Lilandra Neramani (Shi’ar Majestrix and council leader)
  • Gladiator
  • Cerise
  • Silver Surfer
  • Beta Ray Bill
  • Ego, the Living Planet
  • Supreme Intelligence
  • Ronan the Accuser
  • Sintariis and numerous other Ruul
  • Deathbird

    Secondary Characters:

  • Black Panther, Captain America, Hercules, Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk, Namor, She-Hulk, Silverclaw (reserve Avengers / former Avengers)
  • Namorita, Nova, Turbo III (all New Warriors)
  • Charcoal, Hawkeye, Moonstone, Songbird (all Thunderbolts)
  • Forge, Sunfire, Tessa (X-Men allies)
  • Ch’od, Corsair, Hepzibah, and Raza (all Starjammers)
  • Bella Donna Boudreaux, Emil Lapin, Mercy LeBeau (all Unified Guild)
  • Dakimh the Sorcerer, Doctor Strange, Agatha Harkness, Khalid Inshallah, Mechamage, Jules St. Thomas, Margali Szardos (all mystics and magicians)
  • Captain Marvel, Darkstar, Spider-Man, Union Jack and other heroes
  • Duane Freeman, Avengers liasion
  • Edwin Jarvis, Avegers butler
  • Valerie Cooper, Henry Peter Gyrich (Federeal Commission on Superhuman Activities)
  • Peter Corbeau
  • Ma and Pa

    Alien criminals:

  • Hussar, Neutron, Warstar, Webwing (former Shi’Ar Imperial Guard members)
  • Blood Brothers, Dynorr the Stalker, Heth’sa, Piledriver, Quantum, Reptyl, Max Power, Starhammer and numerous others

Featured Alien races:

  • Axi-Tuns, Badoon, Elan, Kymellians, Makluans of Kakaranathara, Rigelians, Ruul / Kree, Saturn Men, Shi’ar, Siriusians, Sneepers, Skrulls, Stonus Six, Toad Men, Troyjans, Wobbow, Z’Noxx and numerous others

 

Issues Involved: 

The main plot of the entire Crossover, and the x-related stories are in Avengers (3rd series) #35, Bishop: The Last X-Man #15, Gambit (3rd series) #23, Iron Man (3rd series) #35, Maximum Security #1-3, Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet, Uncanny X-Men #387, X-Men (2nd series) #107 and X-Men Unlimited #29. It is only these issues that have been summarized for the site.

However Maximum Security was a line-wide crossover and its effects were seen in many other Marvel titles too: Amazing Spider-Man (2nd series) #24, Black Panther (2nd series) #25, Captain America (3rd series) #36, Captain Marvel (3rd series) #12, Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #21, Marvel Knights #6, Peter Parker Spider-Man (2nd series) #24, Thor (2nd series) #30 and Thunderbolts #45.

Read Order: 

Prelude - Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet
Part 1 - Maximum Security #1
Part 2 - Thor (2nd series) #30
Part 3 - Uncanny X-Men #387
Part 4 - Amazing Spider-Man (2nd series) #24
Part 5 - Black Panther (2nd series) #25
Part 6 - Iron Man (3rd series) #35
Part 7 - Captain America (3rd series) #36
Part 8 - Captain Marvel (3rd series) #12
Part 9 - Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #21
Part 10 - Peter Parker, Spider-Man (2nd series) #24
Part 11 - Thunderbolts #45
Part 12 - Bishop: The Last X-Man #15
Part 13 - Maximum Security #2
Part 14 - Marvel Knights #6
Part 15 - Gambit (3rd series) #23
Part 16 - X-Men (2nd series) #107
Part 17 - X-Men Unlimited #29
Part 18 - Avengers (3rd series) #35
Part 19 - Maximum Security #3

Before:

  • Prior to Maximum Security, humanity has affected alien societies in many ways. Earth gave birth to the Phoenix and later on the Dark Phoenix, who devoured the sun of the D’Bari system, killing billions [Uncanny X-Men #135]; the threat of Galactus was neutralized, the Time Keepers were assassinated, and creatures such as Thanos were let lose.
  • After the apparent death of Cyclops in The Twelve crossover, a saddened and guilty Professor Xavier left to space with Apocalypse’s mutant Skrulls to teach them about their powers and to help them fight for coexistence in the Skrull galaxy. This group of Skrulls became known as Cadre K. [Uncanny X-Men #379]
  • After the X-Men aided the Shi’ar against the Phalanx, the team was separated and Bishop found himself lost in space with Deathbird. During that time the two grew closer together, but eventually she betrayed him and became one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen. In battle Mikhail Rasputin teleported the Horsemen away to means unknown, how she ended up in space again is yet unknown. [X-Men (2nd series) #92, 97]
  • Bishop though, once back on Earth, tracked down his archenemy Fitzroy and was pulled up the timestream to a potential future ruled by the foe. In time, Bishop and his allies defeated Fitzroy, and the backlash of chronal energies yanked Bishop back out of the timestream to the present day. [Bishop The Last X-Man #1, 14]
  • Shortly before the beginning of Maximum Security, a select group of former Avengers led by Thor journeyed to space to battle the beings known as the Infinites. [Avengers Infinity #1-4]
  • For a period of time, Johnny Walker became a replacement for Steve Rogers, the true Captain America. With an exceptionally arrogant attitude, Walker became a disliked member of the Avengers and after Steve Rogers returned he was simply considered a fill-in Captain America, who could never be as great as the original. [West Coast Avengers #44 onwards]
  • After being part of Excalibur for some time, Cerise was revealed to have been a defected Shi’ar officer. When her superior had ordered her to commit genocide, she objected and ended up killing him instead when he wouldn’t listen to reason. Though morally correct, she had still violated Shi’ar law, but Lilandra showed herself generous and instead of sending her to prison, she ordered Cerise to serve among her personal staff of advisors. [Excalibur #68-70]
  • The Supreme Intelligence was transported to Earth’s moon by a group of rogue Kree, [Imperial Guard #1-3]. The Forever Crystal appeared in front of the Supreme Intelligence at the end Avengers Forever #12.
Summary: 

The intergalactic council of civilized races gathers on the planet Selandiar to discuss the growing threat of Earth. Many delegates bring up examples of humanity’s interferences in the past and demand that action be taken against them after a trial by the Judgment Gems, which can register the council’s true feelings. Empress Lilandra, leader of the Shi’Ar and the council, puts the matter aside for the moment to introduce a new alien race, which has petitioned to become part of the council. This group, known as the Ruul, have recently made themselves known and helpful to several other races in the council.

Before Sintariis, delegate for the Ruul can introduce his race, a distress call is received and the council learns that the planet Krylor has been destroyed by Ego, the Living Planet, who swears to destroy the universe until he finds someone akin to him. While the council makes plans to deal with Ego, other councilors continue to argue with what to do with humanity. At the next meeting, an unbiased delegate states the facts of humanity’s interference. Suddenly, Ego attacks Selandiar and all seems lost until the Silver Surfer and Cadre K, the group of mutant Skrulls trained by Xavier, attack Ego. In the end, the Ruul are the ones who defeat Ego and capture Z’cann, a member of Cadre K, after the heroes fail. Shortly afterwards the council passes judgment on Earth, which is found guilty. However, the Ruul offer another solution to deal with Earth instead of destroying it.

Sometime later on Earth, the USAgent, who has become leader of S.T.A.R.S, a group dedicated to keeping super powered criminals in check, discovers a drastic increase in the number of aliens on Earth and soon learns from some of them that Earth has been turned into a prison planet. The Avengers are called to help and, with the USAgent, they head to the Citadel, a space station which has appeared cloaked in the solar system. Its purpose is to maintain the special force field around Earth preventing anyone from getting to or off the planet, unless they use an authorized transport from the Citadel. Ronan the Accuser greets the heroes and fully explains to them why the intergalactic council has condemned Earth to be a prison planet and why all alien criminals are being sent to Earth; it is partially to get rid of them but also to keep Earth’s heroes busy so that they no longer interfere in the matters of other races.

The Avengers are teleported back to Earth only to discover that Ego, the Living Planet, after having been considered a criminal, has been compressed into a spore and sent to Earth as well. However, something went wrong, and once arrived, Ego started growing and absorbing everything. While Earth’s heroes continue to battle against the alien threats all around the world, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four find the location of the Ego spore in Littleton, Nebraska. The heroes investigate, but soon discover the whole town has already been absorbed by Ego, save for an elderly couple, who have become delusional and think Ego is their child. Iron Man injects Ego with an inoculant to destroy the bonds the alien has with the Earth. It works, but Ego quickly knocks everyone out and moves to another part of the planet to set his roots again. Mr. Fantastic then comes up with the idea to compress Ego back into a carrier, but knows that they will need a cosmic host, for no one else would be able to contain Ego. Suddenly, the Silver Surfer arrives to aid the heroes and offers himself for that purpose.

While the X-Men battle some old enemies from the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard in New Orleans, at the same time, in outer space, their mentor Professor Xavier meets with the Starjammers and Empress Lilandra to discuss what has happened to Earth. Lilandra tells Xavier that she is doing her very best to make sure nothing afoul is occurring behind the intergalactic council’s back, she even sends her most trusted agent, Cerise, to the planet. In the meantime, she needs Xavier’s help in finding her sister, Deathbird, who is loose and may hold something vital for Xavier to save his home planet. Soon after, Xavier and his mutant Skrulls, Cadre K, locate Deathbird in a Shi’ar outpost, just as a hole in the time/space continuum opens and Bishop is thrown back into the timeline, apparently drawn to Deathbird due to the special bond he has with her. After being filled in on the situation, Bishop helps to track down Deathbird, who is quite insane and apparently commits suicide by ejecting herself into open space. Still, Bishop retrieves the special item she was carrying – it’s a key for unlocking some computer codes that are needed to traverse the satellite barrier erected around the Earth’s solar system. Bishop volunteers to be the one to transport this key to Earth within his body.

Back on Earth, more and more aliens arrive, one of them being the Avengers‘ ally Beta Ray Bill, whose only crime was to be somewhat associated with the Earth heroes. He tells them that the Ruul are in charge of the imprisonment of Earth. As the heroes try to figure out the Ruul’s motives, and what Ronan the Accuser might have to do with them, the USAgent sends his agents around the world to rally the disgruntled aliens who want to return back to their homes. Finally in Vermont, he stumbles upon some of these Ruul, who are setting up a bizarre structure for some unknown purpose.

After further investigating, he learns that the Ruul are actually the Kree, who somehow gained shape shifting powers. Even while he makes these discoveries, some more Ruul are already invading the S.H.I.E.L.D. station on the moon, where the Kree Supreme Intelligence is held – it is the mastermind behind the imprisonment of Earth.

In New Orleans, Gambit defends the city with the Unified Guild of Thieves and Assassins against Ego, who by now has absorbed almost sixty percent of the Earth. The guild is confronted by Heth’sa, an alien who was sent to Earth for his cowardice during a prison riot. In exchange for helping him regain his armor, the suit used by the X-Cutioner, Heth’sa tells Gambit that he will give him data on Ego collected by the High Evolutionary. The guild breaks into the secret government facility where the government has kept the X-Cutioner’s stuff hidden and finds Heth’sa’s armor. After handing Gambit the data file, Heth’sa uses the armor to teleport back in time to take his younger self’s place in an attempt to correct his error. Gambit, however, hurries to get the Ego data to Mr. Fantastic.

At the same time in New York, Z’cann, among the alien criminals sent to Earth, is trying to deliver critical information to the X-Men from Xavier. On the way, she gets attacked by the Blood Brothers and is critically injured, but Rogue happens to be nearby and saves her. Recognizing her, and afraid she might die without passing on the information, Z’cann deliberately touches Rogue and uses her telepathy to speed up the absorption process. The effect is too much, and Rogue’s powers screw up, her not only manifesting the powers of others, but also their looks. With her memories likewise jumbled, Rogue is not sure what exactly Z’cann wanted to tell her, though she believes that Xavier wants the X-Men to go the Ellis Island to destroy the alien transport station there. Together with Cerise, the X-Men head there, but at the last minute, Rogue realizes that Xavier wanted them to save the station, so Bishop could pass through with the key.

After welcoming Bishop back, the X-Men rendezvous with Goliath and Warbird of the Avengers, who accompany them the Citadel in outer space to retrieve the Omega Codes. Once there, one group of heroes battle Ronan, while the others, equipped with Bishop’s key, head to find the codes. Before long, Bishop finds the computer console, but discovers that it is in Kree language. Warbird is able to read Kree language, but does not know what to look for. Therefore, despite their personal history, she allows Rogue to touch and absorb her again, so that Rogue can combine the Kree language with Z’cann’s memories. After downloading the Omega Codes to a disk, the heroes escape back to Earth.

Meanwhile in space, the Avengers Infinity squad returns from a mission in another galaxy and finds themselves locked out of the Solar System. They demand an audience with the Intergalactic Council, but before they are allowed to speak in front of the great assembly, the team is attacked and captured by the Ruul. In a prison cell, the Supreme Intelligence appears before them and gloats that it was in charge the whole time. It explains how it gained possession of the Forever Crystal, which it used to jumpstart Kree evolution, allowing the Kree to evolve at will, depending on the situation. Then after rebuilding their army, the Kree infiltrated the council as the Ruul. The Supreme Intelligence also sent Ego out of control to destroy the Council’s defenses, and imprisoned Earth to stop any human interference. Finally, they let Ego loose on Earth, without the council’s knowledge, so he would absorb the entire planet – all in attempt to leech off Ego’s unlimited energy through the strange structure the Ruul have built on Earth in combination with the satellite barrier around the Solar System. Not much later the Avengers escape and they try to persuade the Intergalactic Council of the Kree’s ploy. As it no longer sees reason to hide, the Supreme Intelligence telepathically appears and confirms their story. While the aliens are still shocked by the news, knowing that with Ego’s energies the Ruul will be unbeatable, the Avengers Infinity head back home.

On Earth, USAgent gathers all of Earth’s heroes as he can find, as well as the aliens willing to help, and they teleport to the prisoner processing station past Pluto via the processing center on Ellis Island. Once there, they use the X-Men’s Omega Codes to get past the barrier and invade the station. A Kree/Ruul army tries to stop them, but with the Avengers Infinity and Xavier’s Cadre K too arriving to battle them, they are defeated and the satellite ring is deactivated. However, one threat remains when Ronan teleports to Earth and taps directly into Ego’s energy, making him nearly omnipotent.

Quasar uses his powers to teleport all the heroes back to Earth, and they oppose Ronan, trying to make him work off his absorbed power levels. However, Ego’s energies are truly unlimited – the only possible solution is to sever Ronan’s link with Ego. Fortunately, the data file Gambit supplied allows Mr. Fantastic to try to compress Ego into the Silver Surfer, but it turns out he is unable to handle to process. Knowing his quantum energies are adaptive, Quasar then volunteers for the process and succeeds in containing Ego. His power source contained, Ronan is easily defeated.

 

Not wanting to endanger Earth, as Ego might erupt out of him again, Quasar has no choice but to abandon his home planet and exile himself into space. In the week that follows, Shi’Ar troops arrive on Earth to oversee the alien prisoners being transported away from Earth.

Repercussions / lasting effects: 

Avengers:

  • With the Ego spore compressed into his body, Quasar was once again exiled in space. However, he soon built a deep space station and was one of few Avengers who were assigned to monitoring any situation in space to help the Avengers’ more aggressive policy of being more proactive in regards to potential threads. [Avengers (3rd Series) #38]
  • With no place else to go, Jack of Hearts stayed at Avengers Mansion and worked as a reconnaissance agent for them, primarily getting information on the High Evolutionary. Soon afterwards, he was rewarded with full membership status. [Avengers (3rd Series) #36-38, 43]

X-Men:

  • After being touched by Z’cann, the Skrull girl telepathically boosting her absorption rate, Rogue’s powers became disrupted and she started to randomly manifest the displayed the powers of all people she had absorbed in the past. This new burden turned Rogue into potentially the most dangerous mutant on the planet and, while she further distanced herself from her friends, her relationship with Wolverine grew stronger, as he helped her deal with the many psychic echoes in her head and the pain from the bone claws she gained from him.
  • After several months of absence, Bishop officially returned back to the X-Men.
  • With Xavier deciding that Cadre K was now capable enough to continue on their own, and him also returning to the X-Men, the dissention between the two squads of X-Men almost immediately dissolved.