Today, we look at how Marvel erased one of the Ultraverse’s worst characters.
In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).
One of the lesser-known Ultraverse series was called Freex, about a group of teenagers who were all born with special powers that made them dubbed “freaks.” It was basically the Ultraverse’s version of the X-Men. In Freex #5 (by Gerard Jones, Ben Herrara and Larry Welch), we learned the origin of the Freex (the name was not really an official team name or anything like that, it was one of the teens misspelling “freaks”). It seems as though some unknown nurse injected a special virus into a bunch of babies and those babies later became the Freex…
As noted, the comic was intended as a riff on the X-Men and just like how mutants are hunted and treated poorly by humans, so, too, did humans treat the Freeks poorly. In Freex #9 (by Jones, Martin Egeland and Tim Roddick), a bunch of human racists were hunting down the Freex when they were encountered by a mysterious scantily clad woman named Contrary, who offered to help them hunt down the Freex with special weapons…
As it turned out, though, Contrary was just trying to force the Freex to have to turn to her for help, as she has her own school for teens like them. So she armed the racists, but made sure that she had control of the weapons whenever she wanted them and also made sure to put special Achilles heels into the armors. Essentially, it’s one of the most outright lifts of a character as you can ever imagine, as she dresses like Emma Frost, has the same hair color as Emma Frost and even has a school for teen “freaks” that she keeps trying to manipulate people into working with her (she also has mental powers. She can make people feel either pain or pleasure)…
Contrary ostensibly WAS doing things for a good reason (she was a very big ends justify the means person), but she just got sketchier and sketchier as the series went on.
Despite all of this nonsense, she also then manipulates the other Ultras (which is the term that the Ultraverse uses for superheroes) into forming an Avengers like team called the Ultraforce, as shown in Ultraforce #0 (by Jones, George Perez and Al Vey)…
So she was now a member of the Ultraforce, which, again, was basically the Avengers, so a really big time superhero team, along with the other major Ultraverse heroes like Prime and Hardcase…
In the final issue of the Freex (by Jones, Steve Ellis and Robert Hunter), though, when one of the Freex notes that he will never work with Contrary, she then badly injures him (by “accident,” as she only meant to SORT of hurt him, which is, of course, still messed up)….
She tells him that she will help to care of his injuries, as he doesn’t have to worry, she used to be a nurse (thus revealing that SHE was the crazy nurse who created the Freex to begin with)…
Sooo…yeah, that was a major heel turn for Contrary, even though she just continued to be part of the Ultraforce like normal.
Meanwhile, Loki had come to the Ultraverse looking for the Infinity Gems that had been sent to this universe. Contrary and Loki have a whole “thing” bantering with each other about his search for the gems. Look at how weird Contrary is in this Ultraforce/Avengers Prelude (by Terry Kavanagh, John Statema, Robin Riggs and Barbara Kaalberg), it sure looks like her costume is sticking directly out of her butt, right?
Okay, so the Avengers get drawn into the Infinity Gems mess when Grandmaster and Loki got into a battle for the Infinity Gems in Avengers/Ultraforce #1 (by Glenn Herdling, Angel Medina, M. C. Wyman, Keith Aiken, Steve Alexandrov, Hector Collazo and Don Hudson). Contrary and Starfox fight each other and end up using their powers on each other and just have sex instead…
However, the Infinity Gems are merged with a mystery SEVENTH Infinity Gem, forming a new being known as Nemesis, who then, at the end of the issue, merges the Marvel Universe and the Ultraverse together.
In the next part of the crossover in Ultraforce/Avengers #1 (by Warren Ellis, Perez and Vey), the heroes slowly but surely realize that things are wrong. Contrary is actually the one who gives out the exposition about the situation that they are now in…
In the end, the heroes send Black Knight (who was a member of the Ultraforce and a former member of the Avengers who had ended up in the Ultraverse) to take down Nemesis and in the process, he reboots the universes…
And in the rebooted Ultraverse, Contrary is gone!
She was just erased from existence!
Ellis seems to be doing a clever riff on the idea of how continuity crossovers make all sorts of cursory changes, but rarely do they have stuff like a character just vanish PERIOD (the brilliant Astro City #1/2, “The Nearness Of You,” is also about a loved one being erased from continuity, but just a normal person and not a superhero). Clearly, Jones was the one who brought the Freex character, Contrary, into Ultraforce and with him off the book (and Freex canceled), Ellis got rid of her and all of her messiness. It is really is a clever solution, even if it left a whole lot of Freex plotlines twisting in the wind as a result. But hey, the Ultraverse as a whole only lasted another year or so, so the rest of the universe soon joined the Freex in having plotlines left unresolved.
If anyone else has a suggestion for Abandoned an’ Forsaked, drop me a line at [email protected]!
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About The Author
CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over a dozen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed).
He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo.
He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed.
Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at [email protected]!
More From Brian Cronin
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