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|First appearance||The Avengers vol. 1, #133 (May 1975)|
|Created by||Steve Englehart and Sal Buscema|
The Cotati are a fictional alien race in the Marvel Universe. They are a highly intelligent species of telepathic plants. Long ago, the Cotati were humanoid in form, with branches which served as rudimentary limbs which allowed them to slowly travel, and a torso topped by a distinct head with a semi-human face featuring two eyes above what looked like a mouth. The Cotati later allowed evolution to strip them of their mobility while they concentrated their efforts on developing their telepathy. As a result, their legs, torso and head merged into a single trunk-like body which was rooted firmly to the ground, and their faces became increasingly less evident until eventually no trace of any facial features remained. Most Cotati now look like simple, unremarkable trees although some have more distinctive appearances which include faces.
The Cotati originated on Hala in the Pama star system in the Large Magellanic Cloud, the same planet as the warlike humanoid Kree race. Despite their aggressive nature, the Kree ignored the Cotati because they believed that all plants were beneath their notice. Approximately one million Earth years ago, Hala was visited by a starship from the Skrull empire (at that time, the Skrulls were a benevolent race). The Skrulls wished to include Hala in their empire and offered its inhabitants their knowledge and technology in exchange for their loyalty and Hala's resources. To avoid any dissention regarding which of the two races would represent Hala to them, the Skrulls proposed a test of worthiness in which equal numbers of Kree and Cotati would be taken to different uninhabited worlds and left there with complete supplies for one year. At the end of that period, whichever group had done the most with themselves would be adjudged the most worthy. Both races agreed to these terms and the Skrulls transported 17 Cotati to a barren moon in an unspecified solar system. The Skrulls then transported 17 Kree to Earth's Moon and provided them with an artificial atmosphere and rudimentary technology. The Kree used their time to build a gargantuan city. The Skrulls who came to retrieve the Kree were extremely impressed and the Kree felt confident that they would be victorious. However, upon returning to Hala, the Kree contestants were informed by their fellows that the other Skrulls (those who had retrieved the Cotati) were more impressed by their transformation of their barren moon into a park full of plant life. Enraged, the Kree decided to try to win by destroying their competitors and quickly exterminated all of the Cotati. When the Kree informed the Skrulls of how they had solved the problem of Hala's representation to them and the outraged Skrulls reacted by promising to reject Hala forever, the Kree slaughtered the Skrull delegation as well and seized their starship and all of its tremendously advanced technology, which they would use to arm for war against the Skrulls.
While the fascistic Kree battled the Skrulls for millennia, radically warping a once-benevolent society into an ultra-militaristic state, on their own homeworld their act of genocide against the Cotati was not as complete as they had thought: a new generation of Cotati had sprung forth from seed pods dropped by the previous generation as they died. Unnoticed by the Kree, these new Cotati went into hiding and allowed themselves to evolve into an immobile species with greater telepathic abilities. Centuries later, the Cotati made contact with a small number of Kree who were members of a secretive pacifist sect and formed an alliance with them. A century later, these pacifist Kree were known as the Priests of Pama and their temples contained secret cellars in which the now even more evolved Cotati were safely hidden and kept alive. However, when the Kree Supreme Intelligence exiled the Priests to a barren prison planet, the Cotati aided them by influencing a cosmic menace known as the Star-Stalker to choose that planet as his next meal. The Priests discovered a means of countering the threat and forced it to flee, as the Cotati had been confident they would do. The Priests begged an audience with the Supreme Intelligence to warn it of the Star-Stalker but the Supreme Intelligence suspected that they had created a fictitious threat so that they would be brought back to the safety of Hala, something it refused to ever allow. The Priests then proposed that they be allowed to protect the inhabited worlds of the cosmos by sending teams of two to those worlds to remain there like Sentries until needed. Since this plan would keep the dissidents away from Hala while terminating the cost of their upkeep on the prison planet, the Supreme Intelligence accepted this proposal and the Priests of Pama were freed to leave. Unbeknownest to anyone, each pair of Priests took with them a group of plants who were actually Cotati.
Almost all Cotati were smuggled away from Hala to settle in temples created and maintained by the Priests of Pama on out-of-the-way planets. Those few on Earth have played a role in the lives of various superheroes, including the Avengers and the Silver Surfer.[volume & issue needed]
The artificial environment created for the competition between the Kree and the Cotati still stands; today it is known as the Blue Area of the Moon, and is the location of the dwelling of Uatu the Watcher; it was for several years also the location of the Inhumans' city of Attilan. The Blue Area is also the site of the first recorded "death" of the Phoenix during the now-classic Dark Phoenix Saga.
- Avengers vol. 1, #133 (March, 1975)
- Avengers vol. 1, #134 (April, 1975)
- Uncanny X-Men #137 (September, 1980)
- Giant-Size Avengers #4