Classification: Extratemporal space/time flux phenomenon
Creator: The Black Celestial and Galactus of Earth-Time Bubble
User/Possessors: Black Celestial and Galactus of Earth-Time Bubble
(mentioned) Thor I#372 (October, 1986);
(seen) Avengers I#296 (October, 1988)
Location: Earth-8810, an alternate future @ 20 years after the modern era. The bubble itself existed over a span of 15 years.
Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Time Bubble is associated with an immense black hole, feeding an even more immense Galactus. It grew so large that it threatened to destroy the entire universe, and the pull was so powerful that it warped time around it, making time travel into the past or future beyond it virtually impossible. The surface of the Bubble possesses an unbelievably powerful probability flux. Most who tried to penetrate it were either violently destroyed or simply ceased to exist.
The time warp within the Bubble brought all time in that universe to a virtual halt, with only Galactus and those possessing probability generators able to move. Gladiator was able to achieve a hyper-speed that allowed him to interact with those possessing said generators.
(Fantastic Four I#340 (fb)) - The Time Bubble originated in an alternate Earth dimension. When Galactus nearly died on Earth, the Black/Dreaming Celestial altered Galactus' makeup, restoring him, but altering him, such that his hunger had become ravenous, and his appetite increased geometrically. The Black Celestial's intent was that Galactus would eventually consume the entire universe, including the other Celestials, as well. Meanwhile, the Black Celestial summoned an army of Deviants to construct machineries of probability that would ensure that they would still exist when all else had become void. The Black Celestial would then become the nucleus and founder of a new reality.
(Fantastic Four I#338 (fb) - BTS) - As Galactus grew in size, he eventually utilized a machine which generated a black hole, drawing more and more mass into itself, which in turn caused both it and him to grow in size, and his hunger increased as well. Eventually, around twenty years after the modern era, the force generated by this massive black hole began to warp time around it.
(Thor I#372 (fb) - BTS) - Investigating the time warp, the Time Variance Authority unwittingly exacerbated it, creating a 15 year bubble of time around it. This bubble eventually extended across all timelines, limiting time travel in either direction past that point.
(Avengers I#295 (fb) - BTS) - The Council of Cross-Time Kangs learned of the existence of the Time Bubble, and recognized it as containing a weapon of some sort.
(Avengers I#296 (fb)) - A trio of Kangs attempted to penetrate the Time Bubble, and they were lost forever.
(Avengers I#296 (fb)) - An occasional low probability anomaly in the time flux enabled the Council of Cross-Time Kangs to obtain some imaging from within the bubble. They learned of the involvement of the Black Celestial and of the existence of his massive weapon at the center of the bubble.
(Avengers I#295 (fb) - BTS) - Infiltrating the Council of Cross-Time Kangs, the Terminatrix, then known as Kang-Nebula, learned of the Time Bubble, and began to seek out the weapon. She--and the Council--came to believe that the Avengers would be the ones to pierce the Time Bubble.
(Avengers I#291-295 - BTS) - Kang-Nebula began to take steps to manipulate the Avengers, starting with Dr. Druid, and gradually gaining control of the lot of them.
(Avengers I#296) - As Kang-Nebula manipulated the Avengers toward investigating the Bubble, the Council of Kangs, who wanted the Bubble as well, sent a trio--Chairman Kang, Kang of Earth-123488 (infinitely repeating 8s), and Kang of Earth-Mesozoic--to try to prevent her from claiming the weapon, so that the Kangs could have it themselves.
Nebula, along with the Avegners (Black Knight, Dr. Druid, She-Hulk, and Thor), traveled forward (and across) time, approaching the Bubble, itself.
(Avengers I#297) - Maximizing the power of her temporal equipment via Thor's hammer, Kang-Nebula led the Avengers to pierce the surface of the Time Bubble, though the trio of Kangs managed to latch on to and ride their ship. As they continued to penetrate the Bubble, the Kangs managed to neutralize Kang-Nebula's control over the Avengers, and the Black Knight, She-Hulk, and Thor turned on her. Without Kang-Nebula's guidance, their Quinjet skimmed back out of the Bubble. Kang-Nebula was cast from the ship and pulled into a temporal vortex, and Dr. Druid leapt in after her.
(Fantastic Four I#341(fb) - BTS/337) - Reed Richards discovered the Time Bubble as it effectively blocked time travel past it across the realities. Kang-Nebula had her agents send a bomb to slay the Fantastic Four, and when Reed neutralized the bomb, she recognized that he would be the one to actually pierce the Bubble. Using his Radical Dodecahedron, Reed powered their timesled Rosebud II, with which the FF (assisted by Iron Man and Thor) entered the zone around the Bubble, generating hundreds of divergences in the process (or perhaps just showing hundreds of divergent timelines converging on a single point).
(Fantastic Four I#338) - The above-mentioned trio of Kangs, as well as Kang-Nebula, latched onto Rosebud and were drawn into the interior of the Time Bubble with the FF. The Kangs were destroyed with the aid of Death's Head, who was banished from the Time Bubble when a blast from one of the Kangs damaged his craft's probability generator. As they headed for the nexus of the Bubble, they observed the mammoth form of Galactus and recognized his involvement.
(Fantastic Four I#341(fb)/339, 340) - The FF tried to destroy the device generating the black hole via the weapons cache of the entire Shi'ar empire, aided by Gladiator, but the Black Celestial revived and teleported the weapons directly into the black hole, destroying it in one fell swoop. Journeying to the Earth of that reality, Reed duped the computer of the Black Celestial into revealing his origins. Gladiator then crashed the remaining floating weapons depot into the Black Celestials' base, destroying it and apparently himself. However, Sue and Johnny, assaulted by Kang-Nebula, were trapped there and seemingly destroyed in the explosion, but Kang-Nebula had activated Sue's force field to save them all.
Meanwhile, a vengeful Reed taunted the Black Celestial with his plans to travel back in time and inform his brethren in the Celestials of his plans, so that they might stop him before he ever brought them to fruition. Teleporting back and forth with the space of that universe and within the time period of the bubble, Reed allowed the Black Celestial to grow ever closer to them, until they led it to the point of no return from Galactus' event horizon/black hole. At the last second, Reed signaled Thor to form a magical warp to teleport them a safe distance away, while the Black Celestial was pulled into and destroyed by the black hole.
For a brief instant, Galactus' raging appetite (and thus his sanity) were appeased, but this soon passed, and the consumption occurred at an even more accelerated rate from the vast influx of mass and power of the Celestial.
(Fantastic Four I#341) - Happy to learn of Sue and Johnny's survival, Reed led the group to Taa II, Galactus' worldship, where he located the Ultimate Nullifier. Kang-Nebula had been possessing Sue, and she attempted to usurp the Nullifier, but she fell for a trap set by Iron Man under Reed's direction, as Reed had suspected her involvement. Stunned by the electrical shock, Kang-Nebula was forced out of Sue and lost into the atmosphere of the Bubble. Returning to Galactus, the combined full energies of Thor, Iron Man, and the Torch's nova flame briefly restored Galactus' sanity, and he recognized the Nullifier as Reed gave it to him. Wishing to end his torment, Galactus activated the Nullifier, and a sphere of nothing consumed him and then the entire universe, effectively destroying the Time Bubble.
The FF and their allies narrowly escaped the destruction, and when Thor and Iron Man fell off the timesled (back to Earth-616), the FF instead arrived in Earth-Stalin Robot.
Comments: Created by Walt Simonson, with John Busema.
I was going to do a whole profile on Earth-Time Bubble, but in the interest of expediency, I'm just doing the Bubble itself for now. It's got all of the important info, but not a bunch of sub-profiles. Earth-Time Bubble diverged from Earth-616 in Fantastic Four I#244, in theory, but the events could have happened in Earth-616, as well, and just not been actualized yet...or neutralized during one of Galactus' deaths.
Simonson seemed to have intended "Kang-Nebula" to be the same Nebula as the space pirate who claimed to be the descendent of Thanos. Later stories ret-conned her into being a counterpart of Ravonna, and renamed her the Terminatrix.
Simonson's whole run on the FF is my second favorite's (after Byrne's), but this Time Bubble saga is probably my favorite FF story, ever. I loved the time travel technology jargon, like "redundancy existentialators," "Heisenberg Effect neutralizers," the Kurtzberg drive (after
Jack Kirby), and the
mathematical papers of Lieber (after Stan Lee)/Kurtzberg. And, of course, Rosebud II is after Rosebud, the sled from Citizen Kane. That's PROBABLY what inspired someone to come up with the Citizen Kang storyline.
And then Thomas gives Simonson his props during the Timequake saga in What If?, when the TVA registers a timequake on the Simonwalt scale.
I don't think there would be other divergent forms of the Time Bubble still in existence. The converging alternate versions of the FF and Avengers as they approached the Bubble would make it seem that only one of them existed. Regardless, however, there are only two basic possibilities. One, that the Bubble was destroyed in which it would no longer exist, and two, that Galactus did not accept the Nullifier (or was otherwise not destroyed), in which case, he would eventually have consumed that entire universe. Whether or not Galactus and the Time Bubble would have then destroyed surrounding realities or even the entire Multiverse or Omniverse is debatable, and presumably academic at this point.
The Time Bubble has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1990s Handbook.
Profile by Snood
No known connections to
Avengers I#296, last page
Fantastic Four I#338, last page
Avengers I#297 (November, 1988) - Walt Simonson (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Fantastic Four I#337-341 (February-June, 1990) - Walter Simonson (writer/pencils/inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
Last Updated: 10/11/05
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