WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ravencroft #4 by Frank Tieri, Angel Unzueta, Rachelle Rosenberg and VC’s Joe Sabino, available now.
In the Ruins of Ravencroft miniseries, the secret history of the asylum for the criminally insane was put on full display. While it might just seem like a holding place for Spider-Man villains today, history of the institute dates back to Colonial America, and its very first patient was the ancestor of Cletus Kasady, the serial killer who became Carnage and was driven insane by the knowledge of Knull, the God of the Symbiotes.
The Ravencroft Institute is a haunted place, and its connections to the Marvel Universe are far, wide and surprising. Now, Ravencroft #4 reveals another bit of the Institute’s secret history, and it ties J. Jonah Jameson to what could become Marvel’s latest cosmic threat.
In Ruins of Ravencroft, the journal of Jonas Ravencroft, the establishment’s founder, revealed the Institute had dark ties to multiple events in Marvel history such as the rise of the monstrous Shuma-Gorath in 1804; the introduction of a new Spirit of Vengeance in 1820; and a secret invasion of Skrulls in 1891. Plus, we’d also learn that Loki visited the asylum a long time ago, and that Dracula and Captain America previously fought there. Most importantly, we also learned about the existence of an ancient, secret wing that ran horrifying experiments on patients.
Thanks to these experiments, its residents were transformed into monstrous creatures, who were locked away forever. While these creatures, the Unwanted, have only now just been freed to take their revenge, we discover, in Ravencroft #4, that these experiments coincided with a mysterious event in 1958.
The issue opens with a flashback taking place Christmas Day, 1958. On that day, a young J. Jonah Jameson was the only reporter at The Daily Bugle, and he received a call from a stranger who was in the lobby of the Ravencroft Institute. This man was once a patient who had undergone terrible experiments, and he had returned to take his revenge on this terrible place. The real surprise comes when the man revealed that he had a Cosmic Cube in his grasp. He told Jameson that the cosmic artifact was given to him by aliens, before he used using its reality-altering powers to make everyone in the institute disappear: the staff, the patients and even himself.
Jameson may not have believed the man over the phone, but he became directly tied to a cosmic event we know very little about. In fact, we have no idea who this mysterious man is, why he called Jameson specifically, nor who the aliens that gave him the Cosmic Cube are. While the rest of this issue didn’t follow up on this event, the man disappeared along with everyone else, and there’s no telling where he went or when he might return.
This event may have happened a long time ago, but it could prove to be the seed to something that will return in the present. After all, the Ravencroft series has been dusting the history of the institute for the criminally insane to tie these events back to the present. Therefore, the flashback involving the Cosmic Cube is no accident. It may very well lead to Marvel’s next big cosmic event — and it all begins with J. Jonah Jameson, and whatever else he may know.
In Ravencroft #4, a flashback sequence ties Spider-Man's ultimate frienemy to a mystery about one of the most powerful objects in the Marvel Universe.