In 2010, Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato created a new Avengers comic, Secret Avengers, led by Steve Rogers. This new team undertook secret S.H.I.E.L.D.-based missions and initially up against the Shadow Council, who were after the Serpent Crown. Or crowns. Nick Spencer took over the comic from issue 12.
I mention this because in the comics (and yes, totally homaged from Edgar Rice Burroughs), the Shadow Council first came into view in the 19th Century when Confederate soldier Aloysius Thorndrake found a portal to Mars and was altered by a Celestial being called the Abyss, granting him immortality. He formed the Shadow Council, where he acted as its Director. For a hundred years, the Shadow Council has been working with various governments and parties to prepare for the arrival of the Abyss.
The Shadow Council have their first encounter with the Secret Avengers on Mars, where Sharon Carter is attacked by the sentient Nick Fury LMD — known as Max Fury — who wants the Crown of Tentacles she has in her possession.
Ant-Man then stumbles into a portal called — get this — the Vanishing Point, which takes him to the Shadow Council's citadel in Texas.
This is clearly intended to be the same portal that transported Thorndrake from Earth to Mars, and it happens to be called The Vanishing Point.
Ant-Man then goes back through the Vanishing Point to stop the kamikaze Shadow Council soldiers coming from Texas to Mars. The portal then appears to be dealt with.
Oh, and as well as the likes of John Steele, they also manage to recruit Arnim Zola, recently seen in Secret Empire. And they have monsters…
Become Supreme Leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., Steve? Recently Marvel Comics has teased The Vanishing Point as the place where the upcoming Secret Empire spinoff Generations comics take place, and it is intimated that this is the same space that the Steve Rogers scenes in Secret Empire are taking place.
You know, the one that started with an attack by members of the Serpent Society. Is Secret Avengers #3 the actual first appearance of the Vanishing Point? And could The Shadow Council be behind the whole events of Secret Empire? Is it all just softening the planet up for the arrival of The Abyss? It would seem to be their kind of thing…and they were involved with the Nazis, too!
What do you think? Is it all a Lovecraftian/Celestial plot?