Ego the Living Planet
|Ego the Living Planet|
|First appearance||Thor #132 (September 1966)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Team affiliations||Nova Corps
Elders of the Universe
Vast psionic powers
Ego the Living Planet is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Thor #132 (Sept. 1966) and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby.
Ego was created by Kirby during a phase in which he was fascinated with the universe. Ego, the alien Kree, and The Colonizers immediately followed the creation of Galactus, thus establishing Marvel Comics' own "space age mythology." As Kirby recalled in 1969, shortly after the character's debut, Ego's genesis came when:
I began to experiment ...and that's how Ego came about. ... A planet that was alive; a planet that was intelligent. That was nothing new either because there had been other stories [about] live planets but that's not acceptable. ... [Y]ou would say, 'Yeah, that's wild,' but how do you relate to it? Why is it alive? So I felt somewhere out in the universe, the universe ... becomes denser and turns liquid — and that in this liquid, there was a giant multiple virus, and if [it] remained isolated for millions and millions of years, it would ... begin to evolve by itself and it would begin to think. By the time we reached it, it might be quite superior to us — and that was Ego.
Ego returned as a protagonist in Thor #160–161 (Jan.–Feb. 1969), and made a guest appearance in #201. His origin is explored in Thor #228.
Following appearances in Fantastic Four #234–235 (Sept.–Oct. 1981) and Rom #69 (Aug. 1985), Ego had a recurring role in Silver Surfer vol, 3 #4–22 (1987–1989). The character returned in the 1991 Thor annual and issues #448–450 (June–Aug 1992).
Ego played a prominent role in the company-wide crossover storyline "Maximum Security", appearing in Avengers #35 (Dec. 2000); Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet (Oct. 2000); Iron Man #34–35 (Nov.–Dec. 2000); X-Men Unlimited #29 (Dec. 2000); Gambit #23 (Dec. 2000) and Maximum Security #1–3 (Dec. 2000 – Jan. 2001).
The character returned in Nova vol 4 #20–30 and Astonishing Thor #1–5 (Nov 2010 – July 2011).
Fictional character biography
Ego once told Thor that he was the result of a scientist merging with a planet when that planet's sun went nova.
Ego began absorbing space vessels and even other worlds to survive, planning interstellar conquest. This behavior attracts the attention of the Rigellian Colonizers, who fear that the nearby Ego will consume their home-world. They recruit the Thunder God Thor to defeat Ego. Accompanied by a Rigellian Recorder, Thor encounters Ego, who vows to never leave the Black Galaxy and renounced its plans of conquest, feeling humiliated by his defeat. Several months later, a weakened Galactus invades Ego's space and seeks to replenish his energy by consuming Ego. Thor aids Ego in battling Galactus, and drives Galactus off. In gratitude Ego allows its surface to become the new home of the Wanderers, a race whose planet had been the very first to be devoured by Galactus billions of years ago.
The Rigellian Tana Nile took a sample of Ego's form, in the hope that this could be used to fertilize sterile worlds being considered for habitation. This act drives Ego insane, and it soon gives in to its primordial urges and absorbs the Wanderers, which causes Thor to side with a returning Galactus. Assisted by ally Hercules and Galactus' herald, Firelord, Thor holds Ego off until Galactus attaches a massive starship engine to Ego's south pole, which drives the planet constantly through space and thereby prevents it from being a threat to other planets and populated sections of the universe.
Years later, Ego gains control of the engine and tracks Galactus to Earth seeking vengeance, but is unable to locate him. Ego began attacking Earth. He causes massive destruction until finally stopped by the Fantastic Four. Horrified by the devastation, an unknown reality-altering mutant known as L.R "Skip" Collins undoes the damage caused by Ego as well as all memory of it, excepting the memories of the Fantastic Four as they were off-planet at the time fighting Ego. The superpowered quartet attempted to defeat Ego by removing the power cell from one of the attached propulsion engines, which the Thing attempts to throw into Ego's "brain". In response, an angered Ego activates the engine but, with one engine now deactivated, the other propelled the out-of-control planet into the Sun, the gravitational pull from which broke apart Ego's substance.
Ego, however, slowly reforms from a few surviving particles and repairs the propulsion unit. Ego then digested a number of Dire Wraiths to replenish its energy reserves, and battles the Spaceknight Rom.
Ego later joins the Elders of the Universe in a plan to destroy Galactus. Ego was sidelined before the confrontation when defeated by the Silver Surfer. Ego later captured the Silver Surfer, and attempts to consume his energies.
Ego later attacks a Korbinite fleet and fights the hero Beta Ray Bill. Ego reveals to Bill that Galactus' propulsion unit is driving Ego mad, and the fleet subsequently destroys the propulsion unit. A sentient bio-verse, initially described as "Super-Ego", then begins to consume Ego, but Ego eventually escapes.
Driven mad by the Supreme Intelligence, Ego lashes out at other planets, destroying them while trying to 'awaken' others like itself, until it is defeated in a battle with Professor X, the Silver Surfer and Cadre K. Ego is subsequently captured and sent to Earth as an "infant" in spore form. As Ego grows, it begins to consume the Earth, with the Supreme Intelligence intending to allow it to grow so that the Kree can take control of Ego and use it as a weapon against the rest of the universe. Quasar absorbs it to prevent this.
When Quasar dies during the Annihilation war, Ego was released back into the Universe, only to be approached by the Worldmind to join the new Nova Corps. Ego supplants Worldmind and brainwashes the Corps. Nova manages to defeat Ego and free Worldmind by lobotomizing the Living Planet. When Ego resurfaces his personality on his body, Nova stargates Mindless Ones into Ego's brain, causing pain to the Living Planet and forcing him to stargate away.
Ego learns he was one of two sentient bodies created by the Stranger for a science experiment, and that his brother Alter-Ego has been held in captivity by the Collector since birth. While Ego seeks a similar entity to itself, the Stranger has arranged for Alter-Ego to hate Ego, intending to learn through their battle if freedom or captivity breeds a stronger will. Alter-Ego is wounded and loses mass when Ego is forced to attack it in self-defense, but Thor intervenes before Ego can strike a killing blow. The remaining fragments of Alter-Ego becomes a moon of Ego, and the two begin to travel together as a family.
Ego was briefly infested by large insect-like creatures that affected him much like head lice. He hired Rocket Raccoon to eradicate the problem. The space-faring procyon exterminated the space lice in a week-long operation and was paid handsomely by the Living Planet for his services.
Powers and abilities
Ego is exceptionally intelligent, although as its name suggests, it harbors an extreme superiority complex and can be emotional if thwarted. For a while Ego is propelled through space via the engine Galactus implanted on it and can travel at faster than light speeds (for unknown reasons, Ego is unable to remove the powerful propulsion unit placed at its south pole), however later this device is removed. Ego has total control over its entire mass down to the molecular level; it often shapes its surface into the appearance of a gigantic face to address powerful beings, and can also shape its terrain to suit the circumstances. It is able to use its own substance to extrude tentacles, organic sensors, plant-like growth, and to create humanoid vessels for its consciousness. It can shape its surface to appear as a dead inhospitable world, or into an idyllic, lush green paradise to lure unwary space travelers to its surface, whom it promptly consumes. Ego possesses various internal features analogous to a living organism, such as gigantic tunnels that have been compared to arteries, and a gigantic brain-like organ deep below its surface. It can heat up its internal temperature to destroy beings inside it. Ego possesses both digestive organs, which it uses when absorbing living beings, and an immune system with which to create powerful antibodies to destroy beings which resist absorption.
It also possesses vast psionic abilities, and can project blasts powerful enough to destroy other worlds. He was able to read Thor's mind during his first appearance and scan his biological structure.
Alternate versions of Ego have appeared in a number of titles. Oa the Living Planet, an amalgamation version of Ego and DC's Planet Oa, was featured under the Amalgam Comics imprint, in Iron Lantern #1, where he is the source of the power for the Green Lantern Corps. Another version of Ego in the Amalgam universe appeared in Thorion of the New Asgods as Ego-Mass, an amalgamation of Ego and the Source Wall. Ego has also appeared in alternate versions of the Marvel Universe, in Exiles #53 (December 2004) and Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #12 (June 2007), for younger readers. In Marvel Zombies 2 he is one of the last few survivors of a reality-spanning zombie rampage. However, he is found and eaten.
In other media
- Ego the Living Planet appears in the Fantastic Four episode "To Battle the Living Planet", voiced by Kay E. Kuter.
- Ego the Living Planet appears in Silver Surfer, voiced by Roy Lewis.
- Ego the Living Planet makes a cameo in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "World War Witch." While Falcon was teaching Scarlet Witch how to drive the Helicarrier, they briefly stop and see Ego and his "children" crossing their path.
- Ego the Living Planet appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "All About Ego", voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.
- Ego the Living Planet appears in the Guardians of the Galaxy TV series episode "Bad Moon Rising".
Ego the Living Planet appears in Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
Reception and impact
- Gartland, Mike. "A Failure to Communicate: Part Two". Jack Kirby Collector (22). Reprinted in Morrow, John, ed. (2006). The Collected Jack Kirby Collector, Volume 5. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 196. ISBN 1-893905-57-8.
- "'There is Something Stupid in Violence as Violence'" (30–31). (Jack Kirby interview), The Nostalgia Journal (interview conducted early 1969). November 1976. Reprinted in Milo, George, ed. (2002). The Comics Journal Library, Volume One: Jack Kirby. Fantagraphics Books. p. 7. ISBN 1-56097-466-4.
- Oni Press Color Special at the Comic Book DB
- Thor #228
- Thor #132–133 (Sept.–Oct. 1966)
- Thor #160–161 (Jan.–Feb. 1969)
- Thor #201
- Thor #227–228 (Sept.–Oct. 1977)
- Fantastic Four #234–235 (Sept.–Oct. 1981)
- Rom #69 (Aug. 1985)
- Silver Surfer vol. 3, #4 (Oct. 1987)
- Silver Surfer vol. 3, #22 (Apr. 1989)
- Thor Annual #16 (1991)
- Thor #448–450 (June–Aug. 1992)
- Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet (Oct. 2000)
- Iron Man #34–35 (Nov.–Dec. 2000)
- Maximum Security #1–3 (Dec. 2000 – Feb. 2001)
- Annihilation: Nova #4 (2006)
- Nova #20
- Nova #23–25
- Nova #29–30
- Astonishing Thor #1–5 (Nov. 2010 – July 2011)
- Rocket Raccoon Vol. 2, #6, Skottie Young and Jake Parker
- Fantastic Four #234–235 (Sept.–Oct. 1981)
- Flubb, J.A. "The Great Kirby Science Fiction Concepts". Jack Kirby Collector (15): 4–9. Reprinted in Morrow, John, ed. (1999). The Collected Jack Kirby Collector, Volume 3. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 132–133. ISBN 1-893905-02-0.
- Maximum Security #1
- Thor #133
- Oa the Living Planet at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
-  at Immortalthor.net
- Marvel Zombies 2 #1 (December 2007)
- Roger Lewis (1972). Outlaws of America. Penguin.
- Tate, Ray (2007-04-21). "Marvel Adventures #12 Review". Comics Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters". Time. August 31, 2009.