2000’s “Maximum Security” storyline saw some of Marvel’s most powerful cosmic foes place Earth under complete lockdown.

The 2000 crossover, “Maximum Security,” by Kurt Busiek and Jerry Ordway, questioned the role of the Avengers, X-Men and Fantastic Four within the greater Marvel Universe. Throughout the storyline, these heroes were faced with some of Marvel’s greatest cosmic menaces.

When the Intergalactic Council held a meeting of all the major civilizations across the galaxy, several complaints were voiced about Earth. Recently, for example, Professor X recruited a group of mutant Skrulls called Cadre K. This team interfered in the purification process of the Skrull race, protecting their fellow mutants. Additionally, concerns were centered around Earth’s general interference in the affairs of other planets. Humans had defied the Celestials, played a crucial role in the Kree-Skrull War and harbored The Phoenix Force for years. This meeting was interrupted by Ego, The Living Planet.

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In a fit of madness, Ego destroyed several planets hoping to “awaken” any worlds that might be sentient like himself. Ego attempted to “awaken” the council’s world as well. Fortunately, Professor X, Cadre K and the Silver Surfer managed to hold off the living planet long enough for him to be stopped. Indeed, a new race, called the Ruul, arrived just in time to miniaturize and imprison Ego. With this leverage, The Ruul nudged the council to take action against Earth.

This direction was very clear: turn the Earth into a prison world. With this sentence, the planet was flooded with a variety of aliens. All of these aliens were criminals, imprisoned among humans. When Earth’s heroes tried to reach outer space, they were blocked by a large barrier of energy. The council had placed one million watchtowers around the planet, erecting this massive barrier to place Earth under lockdown. Ronan the Accuser was made warden of this prison, explaining that Earth had become too much of a threat to the intergalactic community.

While many heroes were occupied by the fight against violent alien criminals, a larger issue loomed on the horizon. Ego was sent to Earth in his miniature form, but he continued to grow at a rapid pace. Within a week, Ego would absorb Earth. Mister Fantastic and Iron Man attempted to resolve this issue while a group of Avengers were sent into space to appeal for Earth.

These heroes were ambushed and captured by the Ruul, who took them to Hala, the former Kree world. Indeed, the Ruul were revealed to be the Kree. On Earth, tThe Ruul broke The Supreme Intelligence out of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. The Supreme Intelligence had, in fact, accelerated his people’s evolution by millennia, turning them into the Ruul.

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Furthermore, the Supreme Intelligence intended for Ego to absorb Earth so that the Living Planet could be under his control. Ego would become a weapon for the Kree, who intended to take back not just Hala, but all of the other planets which they controlled.

With no heroes to interfere, the Kree Empire would rise again. Together, strike-forces of Avengers and X-Men were sent to disable the energy barriers around The Earth. Meanwhile, those who were held captive on Hala broke free, reporting the Kree’s plans to Princess Lilandra of the Shi’ar Empire.

In a final attempt at victory, Ronan came to Earth with a team of Kree warriors. Using Ego to amplify his power, Ronan grew to enormous heights. With a machine which Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic developed, Quasar ended Ego’s threat and defeated Ronan. After the heroes’ victory, all of the alien criminals were rounded up and sent back to their own planets. Overall, “Maximum Security” showed just how vital Earth’s heroes are to the protection of the entire Marvel Universe.

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