Cosmic entity (Marvel Comics)
Cosmic entities, also referred to as cosmic beings, are a type of fictional character in the Marvel Comics Universe. They possess power on a stellar, galactic, universal, or even multiversal level, far beyond those of humans or conventional superheroes, and frequently serve some natural function in the universe.
The fictional Marvel Universe contains a number of beings in this category that are literally part of the universe, with their existence necessary to provide a certain function. Much like organs provide specific functions for the human body, these entities provide functions for the universe itself. There is no official (known) name for these beings, but they are often referred to as cosmic entities, cosmic beings or abstract entities. Many of them embody some concept or fulfill some essential need, but there are others who are considered within this reference frame simply due to their scale of power, such as the Infinites, Beyonders, Cosmic Cubes, or Watchers. Death is also considered to be a cosmic entity.
Each cosmic being is unique, but they often have the following characteristics in common:
- Power greater than that of virtually any mortal being, with extremely rare exceptions. Note, however, that their level of power greatly varies, with some being able to affect the entire space-time multiversal reality. The Living Tribunal, Eternity, Master Order, and Lord Chaos were once referred to as meeting in 16-dimensional space.
- No physical form. To visit the material universe they may use 'M-bodies', life-forms created for them by an entity called Anthropomorpho in the 'dimension of manifestations.' The power bestowed upon a manifestation body is said to be directly dependent on how well any given creation is able to 'synchronize' with their assigned entity. Such bodies can also be employed by uniquely prominent physical entities, such as the Stranger or Galactus.
- A completely amoral nature, uncaring about anything but their purpose of existence, and frequently to safeguard their Universe (i.e. themselves) from destruction, although some have recurrently displayed personal, or even human-like sentiments, and sometimes are not above remorse. A notable example of this is Galactus; despite his consumption of living planets, he occasionally displays disgust of his mission. In fact, he states that he feels an intense kind of guilt for all the civilizations that he has destroyed, and cannot close his eyes without recalling the ghosts of the beings that have died as a result of his feeding.
In the fourth Eternals limited series, by writers Charles and Daniel Knauf, the Dreaming Celestial states that "Every component in the physical Universe is a model/example/function of balance... Every particle/being/concept/action exists in this state of sublime equilibrium to serve [a being known as] the Fulcrum. And when asked by the Eternal Makkari whether "every cosmic being in this Universe is a total tool", replies "Yes. We are all tools of the Fulcrum".
The Marvel Universe versions of the gods of most earthly religions, excepting Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are not cosmic in the traditional sense, although the strongest of them, such as Atum and Odin, can rival or exceed the power of certain cosmic beings, as can the most powerful demons or independent mystic entities such as Zom, Dormammu, Shuma-Gorath, Mephisto, Cthon, or the Vishanti, and, per extension, the sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange, at times when he channels their full power, but their existence is not necessary for the universe to function. Others pretend to embody existential concepts, but lack the power of the true entities, such as the demon D'Spayre who has claimed to embody despair, but in rare cases, such as Nightmare or Amatsu-Mikaboshi it depends from story to story whether or not they are considered embodiments. Exactly how many true cosmic entities exist is unknown, and more keep being revealed as time passes.
Certain mortal beings such as the Molecule Man, Mad Jim Jaspers, Jean Grey, Franklin Richards, Protégé, Hyperstorm, the Scarlet Witch, Nate Grey and others, have reached universe, or multiverse affecting status.
Heralds of Galactus are granted a small fraction of his power, proven enough to shatter planets, and the Elders of the Universe possess comparative, or in rare cases superior, power, as do certain other elite Marvel superheroes or supervillains, such as Quasar, Thanos, Binary, and Gladiator.
The following is a partial list of the known cosmic entities and their functions:
- The Living Tribunal is the judge of the cosmic entities who ensures that the cosmic laws are obeyed, and safeguards the multiverse from mystical imbalance. It has declared itself to "transcend the realms of Death and Eternity, Order and Chaos. All the opposing realities", likening itself to all spectra and scales of dualities and balance. Before the Living Tribunal can act his three faces must reach a unanimous verdict; these represent Necessity, Vengeance and Equity. It claims to act as a representative for an even higher being, that has never been explicitly shown. The Tribunal is generally considered to be the most powerful of all known cosmic entities, although Mephisto compared him to merely "the biggest kid in the schoolyard", adding that he is none too forthcoming about the "headmaster". Note that the Tribunal rules over all of the Marvel Universe's alternate versions as well; an M-Body of the Living Tribunal is present in each universe of the Marvel multiverse.
- Eternity - Sentience and de facto supreme being of the universe. Sometimes acts in conjunction with its counterpart, Infinity. When talking to the Silver Surfer about various universal trinities the Living Tribunal likened Eternity to necessity.
- Death - Embodies the end that eventually comes to all living things, ranging from single cell organisms, sentient mortal beings to the universe itself. The opposite of Eternity. The Living Tribunal likened Death to vengeance.
- Infinity - The counterpart of Eternity, but appears as a female. Believed to embody the concept of space, and along with Eternity embodies the space/time continuum. Perhaps better described as "the other side of the coin," and not as a fully separate entity from Eternity.
- Oblivion - The counterpart of Death, but appears as a male. Embodies the nothingness from which everything came and will eventually return to. Perhaps better described as "the other side of the coin," and not as a fully separate entity from Death.
- Master Order - Embodies the universal concept of Order. Opposite of Lord Chaos. Likened to necessity by the Living Tribunal.
- Lord Chaos - Embodies the universal concept of Chaos. Opposite of Master Order. Together with Master Order, Lord Chaos claims to be responsible for assigning fates to mortals. Likened to vengeance by the Living Tribunal. Master Order and Lord Chaos created the In-Betweener as a balance between them.
- Galactus - The devourer of worlds and sole survivor of the destruction of the previous universe, reborn in the Big Bang as a "galactic ravager". Although not an abstract, non-corporeal being, his true form is unknown. He has stated that he exists to rectify the imbalances of Eternity and Death, prevents Abraxas' destructive influence on the universe, and in one alternate future initiates the creation of the next universe. The Silver Surfer has stated that Galactus' death would cause an explosion with a span of 42 light years, and Eternity has stated that Galactus' death would result in the eventual collapse of the universe. Eternity has referred to him as the "third force of the universe", he has called Eternity "father", and Death has called him "my husband and father, my brother and son", as they were "born at the same moment" and are "two corners of that great triangle which is the universe". The Living Tribunal likened Galactus to equity.
- In-Betweener - Represents the synthesis between all concepts within the universe, such as life and death, order and chaos, love and hate, god and man, impotence and omnipotence. However, it resents its servitude to Order and Chaos, and has tried to break free several times. The In-Betweener was directly created by Order and Chaos and is looked upon by them as an agent. The Living Tribunal likened it to equity.
- The Phoenix Force/Jean Grey - The Phoenix is the culmination of all psionic energy that exists, has existed, or ever will exist, via sentient life, it has been described as "a manifestation of the Prime Life-force" and "the passion of creation". It has a tendency to materially manifest via telepathic mortals at which times it is often portrayed as being a powerful force throughout the Marvel universe. At other times, it is known to exist as a non-conscious essence of nature, devoid of interaction with the physical realms. The Phoenix Force is usually associated with the mortal mutant Jean Grey who serves as avatar/host of the Phoenix Force. Jean Grey has now actually become one with the Force, with all others merely serving as temporary vessels.
- Celestials - A race of cosmic beings with several human-like qualities. Apparently, they guide cosmic evolution to create new beings such as themselves, and possess power enough to create entire universes, or contain such within themselves. They have numerous possible origins.
- Cosmic Cubes - Objects of great power. Not always cubical, and in such cases referred as "cosmic containment units". Created by the Beyonders to test the concept of desire in mortal beings. They can grant wishes, but eventually are "born" into individual entities. The Shaper of Worlds, Kubik, and Kosmos are all former cosmic cubes. Possess power enough to erase galaxies from existence, attain galactic size and create universes, or collapse one upon itself.
- Stranger – A cosmic mystery. The Living Tribunal once stated that on the empty fourth side of its skull "there could have been the face of the Stranger", and "I bestride all dualities, but I am not unified! I judge the dualities, and must thus know their nature! I who could be all must be but a part! I must be apart!." The Stranger initially claimed to be a composite being, the result of the planet Gigantus' population merged into one entity, although this is likely a lie told by the Stranger to keep his true origin shrouded in mystery. The Stranger himself may not know his true origins, thus making him a stranger even to himself.
- Kronos- Once the ruler of Eternals of Earth. One of his experiments blew his atoms apart, so he now exists as a humanoid nebula. Apparently considered a cosmic entity with control over time.
- Anomaly - A bizarre being that embodied exceptions to all things. It existed in a state similar to that of Chronos, but was killed (and its position and power assumed) by Oblivion's agent, Maelstrom. However, it was later shown to have been resurrected.
- Eon - Responsible for choosing the Protectors of the Universe, mortal champions elected to face one specific menace to life in the universe each. Killed by Maelstrom, but succeeded by its "daughter" Epoch.
- Origin - A being apparently responsible for the existence of all superheroes and villains, by manipulating events and implanting ideas in their minds. Needs to incarnate in living bodies. Its enemy is the Un-Being.
- Un-Being - An agent of Oblivion, seeks to kill Origin and erase all reality. Apparently also needs to incarnate in living bodies .
- The Beyonders are a race from outside the main physical universe. Their form and purpose is unknown. It is known that they exist outside of linear time, and that they created the Cosmic Cubes.
- The Infinites  - Higher-dimensional entities far above Eternity, who once tried to 'align' the universe to a more balanced and efficient configuration. They are using planet-sized Servitors and Walkers to act as representatives and workers in lower realms.
- The Proemial Gods - "Conceived through intent" by the Universe itself in the earliest stages of the creation event, as "order to balance chaos", and "caretakers", "tasked to maintain cosmic consonance". When Diableri of Chaos wished to impose his own will upon the Universe, a civil war broke out amongst them. Eventually, Diableri brought the war to Galactus. Galactus personally slew Diableri, and imprisoned the latter's two main lieutenants, Tenebrous of the Darkness Between and Aegis Lady of All Sorrows, possibly along with Antiphon the Overseer, within the Kyln. Brio of Life, tasked with the welfare of fledgling life-forms, is the fifth Proemial God known by name.
See the List of cosmic entities in Marvel Comics for more information.
- Quasar #38
- Eternals vol.4, #2 (2008)
- Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1
- Silver Surfer #31
- Quasar #25; Infinity War #6
- Quasar #25
- Super-Villain Classics #1 (May 1983)
- As seen FF volume 1, #262, known as "The Trial of Galactus".
- Silver Surfer vol. 3 #18
- The Last Galactus Story
- Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter #4 (September 2009)
- Silver Surfer vol. 3 #10 (April 1988)
- Fantastic Four vol.1, #262
- Fantastic Four vol.1, #257
- Heroes Return #1-4
- Infinity War #1-6
- Fantastic Four vol.1, #319 (October, 1988)
- Secret Wars I #1
- Thanos #7-10
- Infinity Gauntlet #5
- Christiansen, Jeff. "ANOMALY". The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
- Avengers: Infinity #1-6
- Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2