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Comic Book / The Black Vortex

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The Black Vortex is a 2015 Marvel Comics Bat Family Crossover featuring the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men.

Primarily written by Sam Humphries, this crossover took place over a slew of different titles, rather than a core limited series:

The Black Vortex, an immensely powerful space Ancient Artifact thought to have been lost for eons, has resurfaced in the universe. The Black Vortex has the power unlock any individual's true cosmic potential, turning them into a cosmic titan ala Silver Surfer or the Phoenix. Mr. Knife, (Star-Lord's mortal enemy), Thane (son of Thanos), and other cosmic villains seek to claim it and its limitless power. The Guardians of the Galaxy and The X-Men are racing against time and traveling through space in order retrieve the artifact and keep it out the hands of evil. However, some of the heroes may be tempted to use the power for themselves.

The Black Vortex contains examples of:

  • Ancient Artifact: The Black Vortex, which was hidden for billions of years until now.
  • Apocalypse How: Happens to the Kree homeworld of Hala.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Cosmic Kitty can phase through dimensional barriers and spends some time phased between the Multiverse touching the consciousnesses of her alternate selves.
  • Bat Family Crossover: The title spreads itself out through Marvel's cosmic franchises. The X-Men are along for the ride as they and the Guardians already interacted with each other through the The Trial of Jean Grey crossover. Cyclops is already in space with his father and Kitty Pryde is dating Star-Lord as of the end of said crossover. Not to mention that the X-Men have had plenty of Space Opera adventures.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The copy of Richard Rider's helmet which the Vortex gives to Sam Alexander while tempting him to give in to its power would see use in Nova's 2016 series after Richard returns to life after leaving his old helmet in the Cancerverse..
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: The effect the power of the Vortex has on the hosts who willingly submit.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Hala, the Kree homeworld.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: The Black Vortex being a corrupting mirror artifact that empowers those who submit to it is similar to the retconned Siege Perilous introduced as a plot point in the Hellfire Academy arc of Wolverine and the X-Men, just expanded to an entire arc of its own. Angel even looks like the Siege empowered Philistine who zealously guarded and advocated for it.
  • Foreshadowing: Storm and Beast are arguing at the beginning of the arc over his actions in bringing the O5 X-Men to the present. Hank defends himself by saying no one knows the actual repercussions to space-time, thinking maybe it'd be helpful to somehow view it at once. Later at Ma Savage's orphanage, one orphan sees Hank, Angel and Gamora as their cosmic selves, perceiving them as bad guys. This foreshadows their Heel–Face Turn and Hank's revelation.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Storm and Gamora.
  • Heel Realisation: When Cosmic!Beast manages to visualise the Space-Time continuum, he realises just what he's done by bringing the teen X-Men to the present.
  • Magic Mirror: The Black Vortex itself.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The All-New X-Men are the only X-Team in this crossover, but they're bringing Magik, Storm and Beast along for ride. And they're currently on the outs with Storm and Beast.
  • Mythology Gag: When both the Guardians and the X-Men are shown what they could look like if they exposed themselves to the Vortex's energies, Drax's hypothetical upgraded form incorporates elements from his original body (such as a purple skullcap and a gold belt).
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted and lampshaded. After learning that Kitty Pryde is dating Star-Lord, Storm asks, "What is it with you and guys named Peter?"
  • Power Corrupts: Like a cosmic One Ring, even using the Vortex out of good intentions has a corrupting effect on its hosts. Cosmic!Beast, Gamora, and Angel try to force their comrades to surrender to the Vortex as well. Later it is revealed that the Vortex doesn't necessarily corrupts its users, only the ones who willingly submit are corrupted. Those who submit out of necessity instead of desire will not be corrupted.
  • Power Makeover: Side-effects of submission to the Black Vortex may or may not include: wardrobe change, glowing body parts, Tron Lines, and all shading being replaced with a starry night sky.
  • Relationship Upgrade: At the end of the crossover, Peter Quill proposes to Kitty. She accepts, much to the delight of just about everyone else.
  • Super-Empowering: What the Black Vortex does, giving anyone cosmic-level superpowers.
    • Awesome, but Temporary: The fate of most heroes who were empowered. Beast, Iceman, Cyclops and Groot decided to reject their powers. Angel, Gamora and Kitty however kept theirs. It's eventually stated by Gamora that the power is finite and can be depleted with regular use.
  • Taken for Granite: The entire population of Spartax, Corsair and his crew, and X-23 are all frozen in amber by J'Son.
  • Touched by Vorlons: The vortex itself was gifted by a Celestial to empower mortal beings to a cosmic level. It can remove this power but not always completely revertinh the changes, with negative and positive side effects possible. Past Bobby was left with his organic ice form far earlier than what history tells, Groot gained a neat armored bark look while Hank and Past Scott's side effects are stated to be internal.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Nova tie-in has the Black Vortex showing Sam visions of Richard Rider's corpse. This either makes the Vortex a case of this in an attempt to convince Sam to submit to it, or retcons Star-Lord into one in the poorly received Guardians tie-in to Original Sin.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Peter Quill proposes to Kitty Pryde out in space, still powered by the Black Vortex. She says yes.
  • The Worf Effect: X-23's attempt to destroy the Vortex ends with her getting effortlessly swatted down by Cosmic! Beast — who in his normal state she would ordinarily be able to handle effortlessly — to demonstrate how much more powerful and Axe-Crazy the Vortex makes its hosts. Additionally, after Cosmic!Beast, Gamora, and Angel abscond with the Vortex, Laura is the only member of the team knocked out of action when J'Son attacks them, and is still in a coma in issue 38 of All-New X-Men. The others aren't even so much as knocked unconscious, and it's implied her Healing Factor isn't working properly.