The following includes major spoilers regarding Defenders beyond #1, now available from Marvel.
Of all superteams in the Marvel Universe the Defenders are the best at understanding how terrifying even the most bizarre corners of reality can seem. Doctor Strange was actually the last member of this team, and they were sent through the Multiverses in search of an enemy that could rewrite history. The Defenders are once more being called upon to protect the Cosmos from an even bigger threat. Doctor Strange won’t be there to guide them this time.
Though Doctor Strange is dead , Defenders Beyond 1 (by Al Ewing and Javier Rodriguez) will see the last remnants of him before Blue Marvel. Strange’s last spell allows him to summon Blue Marvel to be the leader of the next Defenders. Blue Marvel can’t escape his fate. Neither can other heroes, who are brought together by Eternity. They are heading towards their enemy, as the manifestation of Marvel Universe tells them. They are not able to give any other explanation for their mission. Arriving before the Second Cosmos does not make things more complicated.
The Second Cosmos was first glimpsed in 2017’s Ultimates #6 by Al Ewing and Travel Foreman. The Second Cosmos was created from fragments of the First Firmament. It is the second version of the Multiverse that has ever existed. The Second Cosmos was born in the last moments of the Celestial War. Its end marked the beginning of a new cycle. Although the Second Cosmos was the model for all subsequent realities, it would still be required to help push back the First Firmament along with its successors.
These stories are amazing, but they don’t reveal much about the Second Cosmos. Doctor Strange’s Defenders made their last journey through the Cosmoses and discovered how science was created by the Sixth, while magic originated from the Fifth. However, the Second has been almost as mysterious as the Fourth Cosmos. The Fourth Cosmos’ secrets have been revealed by previous Defenders. It looks like this team is the one to discover the truth about the Second Cosmos. If they are able to survive the event long enough, that is.
The Beyonder may have arrived in the Second Cosmos before the heroes or this is where their story really began. Although the Beyonders, as we once knew them, were originally from Beyond, an unknown space beyond the Multiverse, the Second Cosmos could have been the source of all their history. The Beyonder wouldn’t have been able to meet them at the Second Cosmos if it didn’t.
When the Beyonder first appeared in 1984’s Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 by Jim Shooter and Michael Zeck, it was as the figure looming over every hero and villain it had brought to battle for its favor. It was this appearance that set the bar for the rest of Beyonder appearances. The Beyond is so powerful it has never been concerned with mortal concepts. This means that the Defenders could have just discovered the Beyonder’s next major plot. With luck, the heroes will be able to answer some questions by meeting the Beyonder and Second Cosmos.