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Upon debuting, The Space Phantom claimed he was a member of an unknown alien race, coming to Earth to defeat the Avengers as a means of testing if the planet could be invaded by his people. Taking the shape of several Avengers, he tried to sow dissent amongst their ranks. He was defeated when his power backfired, trying to duplicate Thor, sending him to Limbo.
Through subsequent appearances, this classic "extraterrestrial invader" origin has proven something of a falsehood. At one time, The Space Phantom claimed to be a citizen of the planet Phantus as an elaborate hoax when truly he is a denizen of Limbo. In fact, the identity of "Space Phantom" isn't that of an individual being but more of a generic term given to the transformative state wherein anyone lost for duration in that timeless nonplace can physically and mentally become one.
Space Phantoms have traditionally serve as the pawns of Immortus, ruler of Limbo, who uses sophisticated technologies to ply them to his will (and no doubt stave off the Space Phantom-effect from affecting his own person). Throughout the years, the outlandish words and actions of various Space Phantom agents have all been orchestrated by Immortus in a continuous effort to create confusion among The Avengers, shepherding their activities for his own byzantine ends.
The Phantoms are a humanoid race of aliens. They are the servants of Immortus, the Master of Time. For many years it was assumed that there was only one Space Phantom, but in the course of the Destiny War the Avengers discovered that there was more than one. During a journey back in time to 1873, a trio of Space Phantoms was caught impersonating the Gunhawks and the Black Rider. The Space Phantoms were previously said to have originated on the planet Phantus, in the Phalbo system in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Immortus traps individuals who become lost in Limbo, and due to the nature of that plane, they begin to forget their former lives and change into misshapen beings. Immortus conditions these into servants who can perpetuate his schemes and manipulations of historical events. The Phantoms can assimilate anyone, even to the point of torture and escaping notice of even mind-readers.
The first Space Phantom encountered by the Avengers copied Iron Man, Hulk and Giant-Man (Hank Pym. During the fight, he first copied the Hulk, and battled Iron Man. He took the shape of a flying insect to escape, but Iron Man continued to battle the Hulk. The Space Phantom attacked the Wasp in his insect form, and then became Giant-Man.
After fighting Iron Man he took Iron Man's form. He finally attempted to copy Thor but was sent back to Limbo because he couldn't affect Asgardians. The Space Phantom incident was the main reason why the Hulk quit the team.
All the Space Phantoms appear identical and can also take the form of other life-forms, it can be difficult to determine which Space Phantom did what; the following activities have previously been attributed to the Space Phantom who first encountered the Avengers.
A Space Phantom allied with the Grim Reaper and impersonated Madame Hydra, and commanded a division of Hydra. The Space Phantom battled the Avengers, but was shunted back into Limbo when he attempted to mimic Rick Jones who linked to Captain Mar-Vell at the time.
A Space Phantom was compelled by Immortus to impersonate Mantis to deceive Kang.
Another Space Phantom attempted to trick Thor into freeing the planet Phantus from Limbo. It allied with Thor to save Phantus, which led to Thor losing much of Mjolnir's power.
Rom is confronted by Dire Wraiths in Limbo and is observed by the Space Phantom who then begins to scheme. The Space Phantom searches out another Galadorian trapped in Limbo, Rom’s old friend Karas. He then assumes his appearance which immediately teleports Karas out of Limbo. After helping Rom in battle with the Dire Wraiths using Karas command of The Living Fire, The Space Phantom (disguised as Karas) tells Rom how Karas, the original Firefall, came to be trapped in Limbo. As more Wraiths attack the Phantom tries to use the Living Fire to save himself and it rebels against him. Karas’ ID reappears in Limbo and explains to Rom what had happened. As yet another assault by the banished Dire Wraiths begins, Karas summons the Living Fire to envelop Rom and return him to Earth. As Rom asks why he Karas doesn’t free himself, Karas tells him that upon his return to his homeworld he has discovered that he has no humanity to return to. He then tells Rom to “return to Galador to see for yourself, Rom. For Galador no longer….” And then the dimensional portal shuts.
A Space Phantom was used as a pawn by the Young God Calculus in a scheme pitting Spider-Man against the Avengers. The Space Phantom, masquerading as She-Hulk, attacks Spider-Man and traps him in a hole; Spider-Man then goes to Avengers Mansion to pick a fight; Captain America quickly proves that it could not have been She-Hulk; Jason Jerome is making harassing phone calls asking Mary Jane Watson out. Spider-Man Gathers Puma, Prowler, Rocket Racer, and Sandman to assist him on a case involving the Avengers and a trouble-making masquerading Space Phantom, who is working for a mysterious master.
- Space Phantom appears in the Hulk/Avengers segment of The Marvel Super Heroes.
- The Space Phantoms appear in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Revenge of the Baby Sat", voiced by Tom Kenny impersonating Peter Lorre. The Space Phantoms attack Ms. Marvel, Thor, and H.E.R.B.I.E when they enter Limbo to find a way to restore Falcon, Iron Man, and Scarlet Witch to adults after they were turned to toddlers. A Space Phantom directs them to the Time Tower to restore Falcon, Iron Man, and Scarlet Witch to adults. When Doctor Doom, MODOK, and Abomination arrive at the Time Tower and take control of it, Space Phantom helps Ms. Marvel, Thor, and H.E.R.B.I.E. fight Doctor Doom.
- The Space Phantoms appear in the Avengers Assemble episode "Ghost of a Chance." A Space Phantom swaps bodies with Hawkeye and becomes a copy of him in order to get the Space Phantoms to invade Earth. Then a Space Phantom swaps bodies with Thor to help secure a portal to guarantee the Space Phantom invasion of Earth. When Iron Man finds Hawkeye and Thor near the portal device, his armor identifies that they have been possessed by Space Phantoms. During Falcon's training with Captain America, a Space Phantom possesses Captain America and attacks Falcon. Iron Man catches up to Falcon and saves him from a Space Phantom-possessed Black Widow. While shutting down Stark Tower, Iron Man and Falcon are attacked by a Space Phantom-possessed Hulk. Iron Man finds that Hulk and the others were misplaced as the Space Phantom-possessed Hulk calls forth a Space Phantom to possess Iron Man. While Falcon evades the Space Phantom-possessed Hulk, the other Avengers in Limbo are approached by Space Phantoms. The Space Phantom-possessed Thor and Captain America state that they have assimilated different dimensions. Back in Limbo, the Avengers fight the Space Phantoms in order to keep them from going through the other side. The Space Phantoms take down Falcon and remove his wing pack as the Space Phantom-possessed Hulk punches through the portal to Limbo in order to let the rest of the Space Phantoms through. Falcon activates his flight pack's Redwing Mode to trap the Space Phantom-possessed Avengers in a wind vortex that sends them back to Limbo. Falcon tells the Avengers that the Space Phantom duplicates do not have the skills of the actual Avengers as they take advantage of this. After defeating their clones, the Avengers escape back to Earth and shuts down the portal so that the Space Phantoms can not get through.
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