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I stare at the clock. It just keeps ticking, and ticking, and ticking. Sweat pours down my face. It’s not even that hot in the room. There’s a little fire from my laptop, because it has been on for days, but the sweat comes from stress. All of the pop culture I used to consume felt like fiction, like an imaginary world I could escape to, but no longer. Now I feel like I’m in some sort of Neverending Story situation. What if Doom isn’t just some sort of god in a Marvel summer event, but instead he is the real God. What if he created all of this, and one of his creations is a fuckton of comic books that kickstarted his great reveal.


I get nervous. I’m probably wrong, but what if I’m not? What if he can read all of this as I’m typing it? He wouldn’t even have to wait for it to be published. He would be able to read it as I’m typing it, perhaps even before I type it. What is happening to me, god dammit? I mean Doom dammit. I mean…shit. I don’t know what I mean.


I look across my desk. My secretary has long since left me, retiring to the country to live in a bomb shelter for the rest of her life. There was an intern at one point, I think, but he’s not here anymore either. There’s nothing but a smell. A smell and a skull. Is that the intern’s skull? I’m not sure. I pick up the skull and fill it with dry cereal. There’s no milk anywhere on the planet so I fill it with rain from the bucket underneath the leak in the roof.


I check my inbox. Six instruction manuals on how to live life in Doom’s world. I close the shades before I open one of them up. I know there’s no Doom. I know there’s no God. I don’t know either to be true.


Captain Marvel. Hulk with a Beard. These are my only friends. The only people I can trust at this point are fictional, I think. I look towards the future and I see nothing. And then it dawns on me. I can’t see my future, because I’m in my third issue. The third issue of my life, and I’m not exactly sure what my fourth issue will bring. It will bring some sort of reckoning, I’m sure, but I don’t know if it’s going to be a reckoning I can handle. I no longer know if I will make it out of this alive.


Because it’s the third issue of my life, I begin to strike back. In the second issue of my life, I slowly started to put together the fact that something’s not right. In my second issue, I looked around at my life and realized that I used to see films, and spend time with friends, and that is not the case anymore. Now there is nothing but Battleworld.


In the first issue of my life I didn’t mind. I didn’t notice. But now I have noticed, and I know it’s time to do something. I need to choose a path, as if I had any choice. I need to choose a leader. I need to follow Captain Marvel. Or I need to follow Hulk with a Beard. How the hell am I going to choose?


All of the issues of their life are the same as mine. Almost verbatim. What do I look for? Which is the one that gives me food? I’m so hungry. Ever so hungry.


I hate my religion. I question my country. I don’t know what is right or wrong or left anymore. This is the thing of all of the things that needs to be things that are the things of things. Oh God. Oh Doom. I’m losing my mind. Things. Things. Things. Things.


Hulk with a Beard fights a Thing who isn’t Ben Grimm. I don’t understand. They want to attack Doom. This is the third issue of their life. Captain Marvel, though. Captain Marvel. Her last name is Marvel.


Like someone who shares her first name, Captain Marvel is her morals and ethics, even over her team affiliation or country or religion. The whole point of these “Elseworlds” stories is to show that no matter what world or situation these characters are in, their core truths stay the same. It’s what makes them them. Them them them them them them them them. It’s what makes me them. It’s what makes them me.

There are so many leaders to follow. So many to choose from. They are all the same. If it wasn’t for all of the pretenders, Captain Marvel and her Carol Corps would be the clear answer forever. As it stands now, she and them still might be. Praise be to Doom.