(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
There seems some gender confusion about this Herald of Galactus, and even the source comics I use and the Internet wikis are of little help. When it first revealed its existence, Stardust claimed that it existed as pure cosmic energy, making it hard to say whether the Herald was a “he” or “she.” Although it has been referred to both ways in the MarvelU., I am sticking to the Nova Corps Files which state this Herald is considered a “she” by that branch of cosmic law enforcement. Done. In “What the D’ast,” Stardust is of the female gender. ‘Nuff said!
I did not like this talking candle in the solar wind too much when I saw her in a well-thumbed bin copy of Stormbreaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill. Having just replaced a suped-up Johnny Storm, the Ethereal Lambda-Zero (sounds like a frat house, no?) first led Galactus to New Korbin, which he consumed after he slaughtered most of the planet’s inhabitants. This led to a confrontation with Beta Ray Bill, who was busy attempting to rescue the Korbinites. Bill and Stardust fought each other, and after the first confrontation Stardust sought out Bill after he obtained the Meta-Orb.
Again in combat, Stardust opened a portal to a dimension filled with the most evil beings of the universe hoping to trap Bill there. Bill managed to escape, but a being named Asteroth came through the portal and began devouring whole galaxies. Stardust and Bill joined forces, with Stardust using her powers to open a black hole behind Asteroth hoping to lock it in the chasm. However, Asteroth resisted and the hole instead sucked both Stardust and Bill to a near death! In the end, both Asteroth and Bill’s foe Alpha Ray (whom had been empowered by Big G to help Stardust) were sucked into the black hole.
During her role in Annihilation, we saw a different Stardust. The recovered Ethereal is sent by Galactus to ask the Silver Surfer to meet with the World Devourer. Stardust meanwhile is under orders to help the other remaining former Heralds Red Shift and Firelord as they combat the Annihilation Wave. Later the three Heralds join with Nova’s United Front and defeat and capture one of Annihilus’ queens. With the Surfer and Galactus now captured and Firelord half-dead, Stardust and Red Shift are the only two active Heralds.
Stardust and Red Shift were presumed dead after holding back a massive energy blast from Galactus’ absorbing device. Stardust has since returned; being an Ethereal – a race of beings of pure energy – she is, now imbued with the Power Cosmic, indestructible, able to reconstitute herself if destroyed.
Confronted by a few remaining members of her race who were nearly made extinct by the Annihilation Wave, Stardust is accused of treason and attacked by her fellows. In the ensuing battle, Stardust “kills” the remaining members of her race in self-defense and then absorbs their living energies. Later finding Galactus, Stardust is distraught that she has been replaced as Herald by the Surfer and thus gives up the remains of her race to feed Galactus – against their protests! This is an act that surprises Galactus, as no Herald has ever willingly given up their race to him. Stardust is thus named Galactus’ second Herald, as Big G’s increased hunger requires more worlds to devour. It is also then revealed that Galactus is the only creature that Stardust will ever love!
Where and if this cosmic romance (or maybe triangle?) plays itself out, Stardust remains a vital power in the Marvel Cosmos. This is one cosmic candle that refuses to be snuffed!