In San Diego Comic Con’s fabled Hall H last Saturday, Marvel Studios finally revealed to fans the character that Kurt Russell would be portraying in next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and it wasn’t the answer many fans were expecting. As many guessed, Russell will be playing Peter Quill’s father, but he won’t be Starfox, Starhawk or Adam Warlock. No, digging deep into even weirder corners of the Marvel cosmos, director James Gunn has enlisted the fan-favorite actor as none other than Ego the Living Planet.
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one confused on how exactly Russell will play a planet, or just how that all worked out logistically between Ego and mama Quill, but we’re all going to have to wait a bit longer to find out the answers to those questions. For now, all we can do is look to the character’s past in print, where he’s been gracing the pages of Marvel Comic books since 1966, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced him in Thor #132. Now, half a century later, Ego remains an enduring concept in the Marvel U, and has been the subject of a number of frequently—and appropriately—bizarre stories.
So without further ado, here are five of the craziest Ego the Living Planet comic book stories! Did we make any planet-sized omissions? Tell us what the world’s best Ego trips are in the comments.
EGO GETS EATEN
(From Marvel Zombies 2 #1 by Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips)
In the morbidly hilarious world of Marvel Zombies, the heroes of the Marvel Universe found themselves at each other’s throats—literally—thanks to a terrifying zombie virus that infected them with an all-consuming hunger. And that hunger was only made worse when, at the end of the first volume of the series, the few remaining heroes devoured the Silver Surfer and Galactus, absorbing their Power Cosmic. After eating what they thought was the entire universe, the handful of hungry heroes that were left stumbled upon their biggest meal yet: an entire living planet. Ego was helpless before the undead, cosmically-powered Gladiator, Power Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, Phoenix, Giant Man, Wolverine, Iron Man and Firelord, who gorged themselves on whatever it is that Ego is made of, fueling their long trip back to Earth.
EGO BECOMES NU-XANDAR
(First appeared in Nova (2007) #20 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Wellington Alves, and Geraldo Burges)
Following Nova Prime Richard Rider’s battle with the Skrulls during the Secret Invasion event the Worldmind began putting the Nova Corps back together against his wishes and naturally, required a new world to put the mind in. With the former Nova Corps home world of Xandar destroyed, the Worldmind instead infected the mind of Ego the Living Planet. But the Worldmind was unable to retain control, and Ego seized control of the Nova Corps, forcing Richard Rider to use Quasar’s bands to lobotomize Ego. His comatose planet-body was piloted around by the Worldmind for a few more issues as they disbanded the corps, before the violated planet woke back up, enraged. Nova Prime unleashed the otherworldly Mindless Ones into Ego’s brain, forcing the Living Planet to flee.
EARTH BECOMES EGO
(From Maximum Security #1-3 by Kurt Busiek and Jerry Ordway)
The Kree Empire placed the Earth on lockdown with a massive force field, and turned it into an alien prison in this January 2001 crossover event, and unbeknownst to Earth's heroes, one of the prisoners was a shrunk-down Ego the Living Planet. The Kree planted him in the Earth’s core and allowed him to grow and spread his influence across the globe from within, eventually taking control of the whole world. The Kree Supreme Intelligence intended to use Ego as a weapon, but the world’s heroes had a massive team-up battle against Ronan the Accuser, who was channeling Ego’s power, in order to distract the Kree from the Ego-essence draining machine Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic made. The machine was supposed to drain Ego’s power from the Earth and into the Silver Surfer, but he was unable to contain Ego’s power, forcing Quasar to step up and take on Ego’s power, returning Earth to normal, and leaving Ego stuck within Quasar's bands.
EGO VS. ALTER-EGO
(From Astonishing Thor #1-5 by Robert Rodi and Mike Choi)
When Thor saw Ego entering Earth’s solar system he wenr out to greet him before he reaches Earth and wreaks havoc. But he wasn’t the only one who confronted Ego. The mysterious cosmic entity known as the Stranger appeared as well, and informed Ego that he created him—and his twin brother! Stranger drops the bombshell revelation on Ego and informs him that his twin—known as Alter-Ego—had lived his whole existence in the possession of the Collector. This sets Ego on a collision course with the Collector, and despite Thor’s attempts to prevent the conflict, the two brothers are tricked into battling each other, exactly like the Stranger and the Collector wanted. Eventually, Ego semi-reluctantly obliterated his berserk brother, but not enough to kill him, so Ego adopted him as his moon, and the two brothers set off into the cosmos together, not alone for the first time in either of their lives.
THE LIVING PLANET MEETS THE DEVOURER OF WORLDS
(From Thor (1966) #160 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)
Has there ever been two characters more naturally and inevitably suited to be enemies than Ego the Living Planet and Galactus, Devourer of Worlds? The two ancient cosmic beings came face-to-face only a few years after Ego was introduced, and the battle between them was fierce. Ego unleashing beams of energy from his eyes that carried with them a world’s worth of power, while Galactus retaliated by hurling asteroid after asteroid at Ego’s celestial body. They seemed evenly matched at first, but Galactus gained the upper hand, and he may have devoured the Living Planet, if not for a timely intervention by Thor. Ego thanks the God of Thunder for saving him by allowing himself to be the new home world of an alien race known as the Wanderers, whose original planet was Galactus’ first meal billions of years prior. What a big softy.