The Realm of the Dead is the repository of the dead on Earth-9997. The exact origins of this realm, and it's purpose are in question for a number of reasons. Firstly, the information that has been revealed about the realm may have come from tainted sources. According to the visions of 4-D Man, it's origins stem from the fall of the universe that preceded that which Earth-9997 exists in. This previous universe was destroyed when the Celestials overpopulated the cosmos. The survivors of this collapsed universe became known as the Elders of the Universe. Their desire was to take this new universe and restore it back to the original one for which they were birthed. In order to facilitate this goal, one of the Elders became Death, and the Elders created the Realm of the Dead. It was their belief that if they could reunify the souls of the dead in one place, they could reconstitute their original universe.
This goal became more difficult when Mephisto came into existence and believed that he was the real devil who would stand judgment at the end of time. In order to avoid this, Mephisto manipulated events on Earth to put people in a state of despair to use time travel to try and reverse their losses, thereby creating alternate realities and divergent time lines. This further fragmented the universe, and while making Mephisto's intended judgment seem further away, it would make the Elder's plan much harder because it created more souls that needed collecting.
The figure head in the Realm of the Dead is Death, who is apparently also one of the Elders of the Universe, and Sheppard of the Dead. Complicating matters further, is the fact that Mephisto had been convinced that Death was his daughter, and would frequent the Realm of the Dead. If this was an Elder plot to keep him at close watch remains unrevealed.
The souls of those who die end up in the Realm of the Dead, and they would appear in a form that they were most remembered as. In particular super-powered beings would appear in a costumed identity that they were most remembered in. For example, the soul of Eric Jauston would appear in his Goliath form, as opposed to appearing as Power Man, the Smuggler, or Atlas. In addition, those who lived in the Realm of the Dead would not know that they themselves are dead, they would assume those who were still living were the ones who were dead. This has been attributed to the fact that those residing in the Realm of the Dead have a connection to other versions of themselves in alternate realities. Interestingly enough, those in the Realm of the Dead appear to only be the deceased of Earth-9997, as there is nobody in the Realm of the Dead that also has a counterpart living in the realm of the living on Earth-9997. Finally, super-humans appear to have a compulsion to be locked in constant battle against their foes in the Realm of the Dead. The reason behind this is unrevealed, but perhaps is forced upon them in order to keep them from learning the truth of their nature. Lastly, those who enter the Realm of the Dead through any means other than astral projection give up their life in forfeit and join the dead. The only exception to this in recent history has been when the Silver Surfer ended up in the Realm of the Dead and fought along side Captain Marvel, and when the Hulk sent his brutish half into the Realm to try and contact Mar-Vel. In the case of the Hulk, since the Hulk's soul was in the body of his Bruce Banner half, the mindless brute could travel into the realm unmolested.
The Geography of the Realm of the Dead is a patch work of different eras and civilizations through out the known universe. Isolated "eras" for each point in the natural history of at least Earth exist in the Realm of the Dead. At the Realm's center is an area that resembles a hellish neither world, that holds the castle where Death rules over the Realm. This area is guarded by an army of skeleton warriors. If these are beings that once lived and were picked to be part of Death's army, or if they are constructed created by Death herself remain to be revealed.
Events in the Realm of the Dead on Earth-9997 mirrors that of many conflicts Earth's heroes had with Death on Earth-616, suggesting that the Realm has it's own multiversal counterparts.
Not everyone who dies ends up in the Realm of the Dead, until recent history, members of the Kree race (with the exception of Mar-Vel, due to his connection to Rick Jones) did not have their souls transported to the Realm after Death. Due to a special agreement between Mephisto, Death, Thanos and the Supreme Intelligence, the souls of the entire Kree race was absorbed into Supremor's collective intelligence. They did not end up in the Realm of the Dead until after Supremor was destroyed by Mar-Vel much later.
Death was the controlling force in the Realm of the Dead, up until Mar-Vel began his rebellion against Death. This all began shortly following the death of Mar-Vel from Cancer. Mar-Vel already an outcast, soon became aware that there were no other members of the Kree race. Suspicious of this, Mar-Vel ended up traveling across the Realm of the Dead, and started to get a grasp of the Realm he was in. It wasn't until he started seeing those who were from the land of the living traveling to the Realm of the Dead (thereby revealing to him that those he thought were dead were really alive.) Following an adventure where he helped the Silver Surfer escape from the Realm, Mar-Vel began to believe that if the living could come and go from Death's realm, then perhaps he can escape it himself.
He began spending a lot of time watching the activities happening around Death's palace to try and learn more about the realm he was trapped in. Mar-Vel did not get his chance to try for a break out until the death of Arcturus Rann. With Rann's death, it also spelled the doom of the Microverse, and also led to the death of the Enigma Force (tied to Rann) as well. The Enigma Force, now in the Realm of the Dead, would choose Mar-Vel as it's new host, and Mar-Vel became the new Captain Universe. With the power of the Enigma Force at his disposal, and becoming invisible to Death's constant watch, Mar-Vel began planning of a way to overthrow Death.
When Dr. Strange's astral form was trapped in the Realm of the Dead by a betraying Clea while he was searching the known realms for a cure to humanities mutations, Strange became Mar-Vel's confidant and helped maintain his secret existence. Mar-Vel made a connection in the land of the living by allowing Adam Warlock to impregnate Her, this child would be a reborn Mar-Vel in the land of the living, and give him access to both realms in his quest to overthrow Death.
Three years after the birth of his new living body, Mar-Vel would travel the Earth with Captain America (and later others after Cap's death) to collect items of power which he would use to kill Death, and construct a new realm for the deceased: Paradise.
To facilitate both of these goals, Mar-Vel collected the Books of Darkhold and Vishanti, the Orb and Eye of Agamotto, the Ultimate Nulifier, Anti-Metal, the Reanimator Stone, the High Evolutoinary's Transmogriphication device, the Cosmic Cube, King Arthur's portion of the cosmic consciousness, the Silver Surfers Power Cosmic, Psycho Man's Emotocaster, Kyle Richmond's eyes and other items. While in the Realm of the Dead, joined by the "The Realm Marvel" a group of Mar-Vel's followers who traveled to the Negative Zone and projected their astral forms into the Realm, would gather an army of deceased super-heroes and villains to be an army against the forces of Death. Also during this time, he used Adam Warlock's Soul Gem in order to resurrect Susan Richards in the land of the living (Using Reed Richard's arm to act as a new body.) In order to bolster his army's ranks, Mar-Vel would kill the Supreme Intelligence, freeing the souls of his fellow Kree to the Realm of the Dead giving him an even larger army.
With only a few more items left to collect, Mar-Vel would launch his attack against Death. Thing looked bleak when Death herself entered the battle and convinced Mar-Vel's army that they were still alive. Further, when all the pieces but the Surfer's Power Cosmic were collected in the land of the living, Mar-Vel's dead-body was not strong enough to house the complete Cosmic Consciousness. Mar-Vel was given the precious moment he needed when Captain America (given the knowledge to break the Realm's effects on peoples mind thanks to Mar-Vel before his death) came with the cavalry and fought off Death's armies. Mar-Vel completed the collection of the Power Cosmic, which caused Mar-Vel to spring back to "life". However, when Mar-Vel was about to kill Death with the Ultimate Nullifier, Thanos tried to stop him, and Mar-Vel then convinced Thanos to kill Death in his place, showing that Death has been manipulating him for years posing as his mother. Before she was destroyed, Death uttered one word, "stop."
Following Death's death, Mar-Vel constructed Paradise, a new realm outside of the Realm of the Dead, a resting place for those who could admit to the fact that they were dead, and be given their own ideal paradise reality to live out their eternity in. One of the draw backs to Death's death however was that nobody in the land of the living could die, no matter how mortally wounded they were.
As the heroes in the land of the living scrambled to find a replacement for Death, Mar-Vel's newly assigned Avenging Host was charged with finding those in the Realm of the Dead that were ready to cross over into Paradise. Each member of the Host was charged with specific people to bring into the realm. Captain America would spend his time traveling into the Realm of the Dead visiting his parents and a brother he never knew he had. He would also be charged with trying to get Frank Castle to travel over to Paradise with his family as well. This plan was jeopardized by the Jackal and Jigsaw who renounced Paradise to torture their old foe Frank Castle and his family, forcing Castle to become the Punisher once more. Eventually, the Jackal and Jigsaw's plot was found out by Captain America who banished them to the furthest reaches to the Realm of the Dead. The Jackal and Jigsaw weren't the only ones who denounced Paradise, Wilson Fisk also chose to renounce it to live with the soul of his wife Vanessa and have a criminal empire. This was broken up by Matthew Murdock, another member of the Host, who traveled to the Realm of the Dead to defaet his old foe. Matt defeated Kingpin in the only way he could: Taking Vanessa to Paradise and leaving him behind to live with the fact that he would spend eternity without his beloved.
Eventually, a new death was found in the land of the living when Earth's heroes revived Jude the Entropic Man. After a brief invasion of Paradise by the Kree army and Mar-Vel turning his power over to Reed Richards, the natural order of the universe has been restored. Now the Realm of the Dead is used as a way station for those who recently died come to terms with their new state and would be admitted to Paradise. However, those in charge of Paradise no longer give out shards of the Cosmic Cube to create their own personal realities as it was believed that it was only wish fulfillment that could go horribly wrong.
Points of Interest
Death's castle, portal to Paradise
The Kingpin, Jackal, Jigsaw, Elektra, Bullseye, Joseph Rogers, Sarah Rogers, Death, (Former occupants) Mar-Vel, Iron Man, Giant-Man, Phoenix, Dr. Doom, Black Bolt, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan, Johnny Blaze, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Dr. Strange, Captain America, Punisher, Red Skull, Benny Beckley, Thanos, Gargoyle, many others.
- 21 Appearances of Realm of the Dead
- 1 Minor Appearances of Realm of the Dead
- 4 Media Realm of the Dead was Mentioned in
- 1 Images featuring Realm of the Dead
- Location Gallery: Realm of the Dead