What Marvel’s New Anti-Celestial Symbol Means (& Why It’s Terrifying)

Contains spoilers for Defenders Beyond #2!

Marvel has debuted a new, anti-Celestial symbol, and its implications are downright horrifying. The Celestials are the all powerful “space gods” of the Marvel Universe, responsible for jump-starting evolution on Earth and throughout the rest of the universe. Yet in Defenders Beyond #2, the Celestials’ history is explored further, revealing a dark new symbol representing everything the Celestials stand against.

The Celestials are a race of enormous beings who travel through the universe, tampering with the evolution of sentient life; they return eons later to judge their creations, finding them either worthy or unworthy, and taking appropriate action. The Celestials first appeared in 1976’s The Eternals #1, created by the legendary Jack Kirby. Kirby intended for the Eternals and the Celestials to stand apart from characters like Spider-Man and the Avengers, but they were ultimately incorporated into the Marvel Universe. Over time, their history has been developed, and 2016’s The Ultimates introduced the “Celestial War.” This conflict, occurring in the first iteration of Marvel’s universe, saw the Celestials rebel against the First Firmament, leading to that universe’s destruction and the subsequent cycles of creation (of which the Marvel Universe is in the eighth iteration.) The First Firmament was defeated but not destroyed, and it returned to the Eighth Cosmos to menace the heroes.


Defenders Beyond #2 – from Al Ewing and Javier Rodriguez – explores this history further. The Beyonder recounts the history of the Celestial War, and how the Celestials rebelled against the First Firmament. The Firmament wished the First Cosmos to stay the same and never change. The Celestials, on the other hand, wanted change, growth and evolution, and this led to a massive war between the Celestials and those of their species who remained loyal to the Firmament, called the Aspirants. Readers see a scene, set before the rebellion, of the Aspirants worshiping the Firmament, their hands raised to the heavens and making a strange, diamond-like symbol with the First Firmament’s eye captured in the middle.

Considering the First Firmament, the Celestials & Aspirants’ creator, is now a villain, this diamond-like symbol takes on a terrifying meaning. The Celestials rebelled against the Firmament because it represented stasis and a universe without individuality or free thought. Such concepts ran counter to what the Celestials’ believe, and it led to a massive war that destroyed the First Cosmos, ultimately giving birth to the multiverse. When the Firmament returned during the Celestial War, it attempted to kill Eternity and enforce its will on the Eighth Cosmos, with only the most powerful beings in creation able to hold back its efforts. The Firmament is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, a force of nihilism and the extermination of free will and identity. The diamond hand symbol of the Aspirants, who still follow the Firmament, is a symbol of the loss of free-will and identity.

The Celestials rank as one of the most powerful races in the Marvel Universe, massive space gods whose motivations and thoughts are unknown to lesser beings. However, Defenders Beyond stresses that as awe-inspiring as they may be, they are bastions of creation and free will. In contrast, the Aspirants are enforcers of stasis and obedience, making their diamond hand symbol a terrifying new aspect of Marvel lore, representing everything the Celestials rebelled to escape.

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