Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Marvel Universe - Part 2: Cosmic Beings

Continuing from Part 1: Alien Races, this is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Marvel Universe.

Here are just the most relevant and important members of Marvel's cosmology. While there have been many "all powerful beings" in Marvel's history, these are the ones who have been around longest and continue to make an impact in the Marvel universe. Created mostly by Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin, they re-envisioned a pantheon of gods for the scientific age.



The Celestials are arguably the most influential cosmic beings in the universe. They do not communicate in any manner that lesser beings are capable of understanding (i.e. auditory, visual, telepathic, mystic, etc.) so their motives have never been entirely clear. However, their actions have shown them to a species dedicated to the forced evolution of life forms on multiple worlds, including the Earth and the Skrull homeworld. It is theorized that the predominance of superhuman variety and the evolution of the mutant race is due their prehistoric experiments on early hominids.

The initial appearance of the Celestials on Earth is known as the First Host, which occurred roughly one million years ago. This resulted in the creation of two sub-species: the Eternals and the Deviants. The Second Host occurred around 18,000 BC when they returned to judge their creations. Displeased with the barbarous nature of the Deviants, the Celestials sank their island kingdom known as Lemuria and, incidentally, the unrelated nation of Atlantis in an event that would be known as the Great Cataclysm. The Third Host occurred in the 10th century when the Celestials were confronted by the the Council of Godheads, represented the various pantheons of gods that had adopted the Earth since the Celestials' last visit (i.e. Norse, Greek, etc.). Yet even their combined power could not defeat the Celestials and they swore a pact of non-interference. Finally, the Fourth Host arrived only a few years ago to judge the Earth and decide whether or not to spare their creations. Convinced by Thor, the gods decided to break their pact by defeningd the Earth, but still, they failed. The judgement of the Celestials may transform a planet into a paradise or destroy it entirely. The Earth was spared only due to an offering from the Earth spirit, Gaea [see below].

In the potential future of Marvel's Earth X, it is revealed that the Earth was impregnated with a gestating Celestial and the superhumans were created as anti-bodies to defend it. This means that the role of Galactus is to destroy planets to prevent the birth of more Celestials. In Abnett & Lanning's Guardians of the Galaxy, the team finds their headquarters in the severed head of a Celestial, which possesses the ability to teleport to any location in the universe.

Notable Celestials: Arishem the Judge, Ashema the Listener, Exitar the Executioner, Gammenon the Gatherer
First Appearance: Eternals #2 (Aug. 1976)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/2


The devourer of worlds, Galactus possesses the nearly unparalleled "power cosmic," which can do nearly anything imaginable, along with an equally powerful hunger, satiated only by devouring living worlds. Although he can change size at will, he is usually depicted somewhere between the size of a skyscraper and Manhattan Island itself.

Galactus only exercises his powers when necessary and has come to rely on heralds to seek out suitable planets to devour. Galactus was repelled from devouring Earth due to the betrayal of his herald, the Silver Surfer, and the interference of the Watcher known as Uatu [see below]. Since then, Galactus has devoured many other worlds including the Skrull Throneworld, sending their galactic empire into chaos.
Galactus was originally a humanoid scientist known as Galan. He was the last survivor of the previous universe. When engulfed by the Big Crunch, he was transformed and, after billions of years in gestation, he emerged as Galactus, devourer of worlds.

Notable Heralds: Silver Surfer, Firelord, Terrax the Tamer, Nova (Frankie Raye), Stardust
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #49 (March 1966)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/5

The Watchers

The Watchers are one of the oldest races in the universe, possessing unimaginable wisdom and power, yet they are pledged not to interfere in the development of other worlds. Instead, the Watchers observe, study, and record the development of other worlds. They often appear at times of great import.

The most well-known Watcher to Earth is Uatu who maintains a hidden base in the Blue Area of the Moon. He has violated his oath in subtle yet profound ways to ensure its continued survival. Uatu has been banished from his kind for his behavior, but he has been forgiven as well. Recently, Uatu was found murdered with his eyes removed. As of this entry, the investigation is in progress.

Notable Watchers: Uatu, Aron
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #14 (April 1963)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/3


This entity is the very embodiment of the universe itself in corporeal form. He claims to serve the "One-Above-All," suggested to be the one truly omnipotent God in the multiverse.

It is said that Eternity has a twin sister named Infinity. Both representing aspects of "necessity," Eternity represents time while Infinity represents space, however Infinity has been excluded from this entry as she has not nearly been so prominent in major events.

First Appearance of Eternity: Strange Tales #138 (Nov. 1965)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/10


The embodiment of Death is typically depicted as a beautiful, yet somber woman dressed in a dark hooded robe. Yet at times, she appears only as a skeleton. She says little to nothing, conveying no joy in her actions nor motivation beyond her given purpose. She has long been courted by the Mad Titan, Thanos, who seeks her favor. To date, he has been denied his request, despite his generous tributes.

Like Eternity, Death is said to have a twin named Oblivion, representing entropy and the void. Yet like Infinity, Oblivion has not had the exposure of his counterpart. Together with Galactus, these five are said to represent the entire struggle of existence.

First Appearance of Death: Captain Marvel #27 (July 1973)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/2

The Living Tribunal

The Living Tribunal is a multidimensional entity whose job it is to oversee and maintain the balance of realities. Although its difficult to grade cosmic beings in terms of scale (since they are all beyond human comprehension), the Living Tribunal is considered to be the second most powerful being in existence (presumably second to Eternity).

First Appearance: Strange Tales #157 (June 1967)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/10

Master Order & Lord Chaos

Fairly self-explanatory, these two cosmic entities represent the forces of order and chaos themselves. These opposing yet complimentary aspects are manipulators of lesser beings for reasons they are incapable of understanding. In the past, they have manipulated the heroes of Earth into battling both Thanos and the In-Betweener [see below].

First Appearance of Master Order & Lord Chaos: Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2 (1977)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/15


As depicted by his form, the In-Betweener is an agent of balance and duality whose relationship with Master Order and Lord Chaos is one of both service and opposition. Like them, he seems to be part of a cosmic mechanism that we cannot comprehend...

First Appearance of the In-Betweener: Warlock #10 (Dec. 1975)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/20


Born eight billion years ago of Eternity and Infinity, Eon was charged with protecting the Celestial Axis, the pattern of life energy threading through the universe. It views our reality from another dimension it refers to as "the Mists of Time." Eon can project its power through a champion granting cosmic awareness and quantum bands which possess incredible abilities.

Notable Champions of Eon: Captain Mar-Vell, Quasar
First Appearance of Eon: Captain Marvel #28 (Sept. 1973)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/15

Ego, the Living Planet

When the planet Ego was formed, the coalescing matter was infused with a conscious bacteria (referred to as Super-Ego) which imbued the planet with sentience. Possessing nearly unparalleled psionic abilities, Ego has constructed a body out of the planet with organs the size of continents. While he has formed both a male face and gender, he speaks telepathically and can travel at interstellar speeds. However, Ego is mentally unstable and often threatens inhabited worlds for irrational reasons.

First Appearance: Thor #132 (Sept. 1966)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/10


Unique from the other gods of Earth, Gaea is an "Elder God" and a manifestation of the spirit of the Earth itself. Created by the potential of life on Earth with her siblings, Set, Oshtur, and Chthon, Gaea was the only one to maintain her sanity and compassion while the others transformed into the Earth's first demons.

By mating with their creator, the Demiurge, Gaea gave birth to Atum, the Sun God, who destroyed the other gods except for Chthon and Set who escaped to other dimensions. Gaea then released her power into the Earth as a gift to all living things, however she has still been known to manifest her corporeal form, most notably when she mated with Odin to give birth to Thor.

First Appearance of Gaea: Doctor Strange #6 (Feb. 1975)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/30

The Stranger

Perhaps the oddest name on this odd list, the Stranger is an all-powerful alien being with a very silly mustache. He considers himself a scientist with an interest in genetic anomalies, which led him to kidnapping both Magneto and the Abomination. However, it has never been clear what his motivations and origin are. He seems to be studying for idle curiosity, yet his powers have placed him in the company of the other great cosmic beings.

The Stranger has a planet upon which he contains his test animals and performs his experiments. It is simply known as Lab-World.

First Appearance of the Stranger: X-Men #11 (May 1965)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/15

Phoenix Force

Born in the formation of the universe, the Phoenix represents life itself. It is immortal and uncaring, capable of nurturing life or suffocating it. It is a figure of worship in the Shi'ar pantheon, fabled protector of the M'Kraan Crystal (called "the Nexus of All Realities").

The Phoenix has been known to possess a human host, usually an individual gifted with significant telepathic abilities. An individual possessed by the Phoenix will have their natural abilities augmented by the nearly limitless power of the Phoenix. However, it is too powerful to be contained by a mortal host. In all cases, madness and death have been the end result for wielders of the Phoenix force.

Notable Phoenix Hosts: Jean Grey, Rachel Summers, Emma Frost, Cyclops, Colossus, Magik, Stepford Cuckoos, Hope Summers
First Appearance: The X-Men #100 (Aug. 1976)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/30

Captain Universe

The Uni-Power is an extra-dimensional cosmic energy which emanates from the Enigma Force, so named because its source it unknown. This power is often temporarily bestowed upon a single individual, transforming them into Captain Universe. The most recent host, Tamara Devoux, was identified as the embodiment of the universe itself and the guardian of Eternity.

Notable Captain Universes: Ray Coffin, Spider-Man, Juggernaut. Tamara Devoux
First Appearance: Micronauts #8 (Aug. 1978)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: 1/15

The Elders of the Universe

As the name suggests. the Elders of the Universe are some of the oldest beings in the universe, each the last of their own race. They have discovered the secret of immortality and formed a coalition, yet they only find purpose in obsessive hobbies that have subsumed their own sense of identity. Each of the Elders has amassed incredible power by various means enabling them to be classified as cosmic beings.

Notable Elders of the Universe: Collector, Grandmaster, Architect, Caregiver, Astronomer, Contemplator, Explorer, Fallen One, Gardener, Judicator, Possessor, Obliterator, Runner, Trader
First Appearance: Avengers #28 (May 1966)
Chance of Appearing in GotG: Confirmed (Collector)

Coming Soon...

Part 3: Terrestrial Races