Earth X is one of those comic book miniseries that just doesn’t get enough love. Originally published in 1999, the series has a cult following but is rarely mentioned as an all-time great, in part due to its somewhat underwhelming sequels, Universe X and Paradise X. The semi-dystopian “what if?” tale combined stunning visuals with a real sense of grandeur, as the Marvel universe was bound together in a way it had never been before. But it also did something incredible: Earth X predicted future events in the Marvel Universe years before they played out on the page.
The conceit of the series was fairly simple: the Marvel universe was depicted several decades into the future as its characters sought to unravel the central mysteries of their existence. In addition to crafting a cohesive mythology that tied everything together, writer Jim Krueger and artist Alex Ross also sought to bring their favorite characters’ story arcs to their logical conclusions. It turns out that the logical reasoning skills of these two creators must have been strong, because almost everything they wrote about ended up later happening in the mainstream Marvel universe. In many ways, Earth X can be looked at as a prophecy about the future lives of Spider-Man, the Avengers, and countless other superheroic types.
One of the most controversial, yet effective, changes brought about in recent Marvel comics was the emergence of a female Thor. The original Thor’s former love interest, Jane Foster, is now wielding the hammer as the Mighty Thor and doing every bit as good a job as her predecessor.
However, Earth X already had a female Thor way back in 1999. In this continuity, Thor himself was gender-swapped, as Loki convinced their father Odin that it was a good way to teach Thor humility. While this doesn’t exactly carry an empowering message, Thor and Loki’s journey of discovery ended up being central to the Earth X mythos.
In the wake of 2008 mega-event Secret Invasion, the Marvel universe found itself effectively ruled over by Norman Osborn, the former Green Goblin and murderer of Gwen Stacey. It was Osborn who took out the Queen of the invading Skrulls, which led to him taking over SHIELD (he renamed it HAMMER) from Tony Stark and Nick Fury.
Osborn’s Dark Reign lasted for several years, but his climb to power in Earth X years earlier was somewhat more permanent. Earth X opens with Osborn as the President of the United States, a story twist that predicted not just the Marvel Universe’s future, but perhaps our own, as well. Osborn appears to have been in power for some time, but his presidency is prematurely ended when he is murdered by an all-new Red Skull.
The Terrigen Mist Covers the Earth
The Terrigen Mist is the mysterious vapors that grant Inhumans their powers. When the mad titan, Thanos, comes to Earth looking to murder his Inhuman son in 2013's Infinity, Black Bolt seeks to protect his people by releasing the Terrigen Mist to float freely around the Earth, which has some serious consequences.
However, this shocking strategy was something Black Bolt had already done in the continuity of Earth X. That story opens on a world that has been covered in the Mist, which in this case leads everyone on the planet to mutate and gain powers. In a world where everyone has a special ability, suddenly the Avengers aren’t so unique. Once again, Black Bolt is the culprit, and once again, his actions have some awful, unforeseen after-effects.
No comic book character has gained more popularity over the past few years than the Merc with the Mouth, Deadpool. Deadpool was already soaring up the rankings before his smash-hit movie reached theaters in 2016, but since then, Wade Wilson has become a worldwide celebrity. Modern Marvel comics play this up by having Deadpool be a megastar in continuity and even have him fund the Avengers with his merchandise sales.
When Earth X came out in 1999, however, Deadpool was a brand-new character that had yet to find much fame at all. That didn’t stop the creators from heavily insinuating that the “Daredevil” present in the story, a world-famous stuntman who had a reputation for walking away from gruesome accidents, was actually Deadpool. Their characterization and healing factors are similar, and The Thing seems convinced of the theory, so it seems that Deadpool’s newfound celebrity status might not be all that new.