Elders of the Universe

Elders of the Universe


caption= The Elders of the Universe surround the Silver Surfer in "Silver Surfer" vol. 3, #4. Art by Marshall Rogers.
species= Elders of the Universe
publisher= Marvel Comics
notable members= Architect
subcat=Marvel Comics
The Elders of the Universe are a group of fictional characters that appear in the Marvel Universe. Each is the last survivor of forgotten races from billions of years ago.

Fictional character biography

The Elders of the Universe are known for their personal obsessions - such as collecting, gaming and fighting - which are pursued fanatically, apparently as a way to enduring their incredibly long existence. While they are not truly cosmic entities, all have achieved some cosmic level of power and knowledge. The first encounter with the heroes of Earth occurs when the Grandmaster creates the Squadron Sinister as pawns to battle the champions of the time-traveling Kang the Conqueror, the superhero team the Avengers. ["Avengers" vol. 1, #70 (November 1969)]

Although thwarted, the Grandmaster and his fellow Elders take an interest in Earth, and the Collector has two separate encounters with the Avengers, the second ending with his murder by the entity Korvac. ["Avengers" vol. 1, #119 + 173 - 174] The Grandmaster later tricks the entity Death into playing a contest - again involving many of Earth's heroes - that he deliberately loses to resurrect the Collector. ["Contest of Champions" #1 - 3 (1982)] The Grandmaster later usurps control of Death's realm, and after a battle between the Avengers and the Grandmaster's champions is tricked by the Avengers. An angered Death then prevents the Elders from ever entering her realm, effectively making them immortal - being the Grandmaster's true goal. ["Avengers" Annual #15 (1987)]

The Elder Champion has a brief encounter with many of Earth's strongest heroes, and although defeating many of them in personal combat comes to respect them. [Defeats Colossus; Doctor Samson; Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Thing in "Marvel Two-In-One" Annual #7 (1982)]

The entire group of Elders later join forces (and meet on Ego the Living Planet who is also regarded as an Elder) in an effort to kill the cosmic entity Galactus, which would cause the concepts Eternity and Death to become unbalanced and end the universe. The Elders believe since they are now immortal they would be the only beings in the universe to survive and would be supreme beings in the new universe. The plan, however is thwarted by Galactus' Heralds the Silver Surfer and Nova and several of the Elders are consumed by Galactus. Although they later escape, three of the Elders - the Astronomer, Possessor and Trader - are permanently erased by an angered Death. ["Silver Surfer" vol. 3, #1 - 10 + 16 - 17] Another Elder, the Contemplator later allies himself with the space-pirate Captain Reptyl against the Silver Surfer, but is betrayed and apparently killed. ["Silver Surfer" vol. 3, #12] The Contemplator is later revealed to have survived - as a disembodied head - and goes on to attempt to rule the Kree Empire, but is seemingly destroyed by the peace-loving alien Cotati. ["Silver Surfer" vol. 3, #20 + 25 - 27 + 29 - 31]

The Elders are later targeted by the Titan Thanos, as they possess the Infinity Gems. Although most of the Elders are simply humiliated by Thanos, the Gardener is killed by Thanos with the aid of the Power Gem. ["Thanos Quest" #1 -2 (1990)] Soon after this the Elder the Runner has an encounter with the hero Quasar and several other super-fast heroes. ["Quasar" #17 (1990)] Several months later Quasar encounters the Obliterator and Possessor and previously-unknown Elders the Explorer, the Judicator and the Caregiver. It is also revealed at this time that the Contemplator killed by Repyl was in fact a Skrull, and not the true Contemplator. [Apparent post-story change. See "Quasar" #47 - 48 (Jun.- Jul. 1989)]

The Grandmaster appears some years later, and creates a new version of the Squadron Sinister. Courtesy of a phenomenon known as the Wellspring of Power - an interdimensional source of superhuman abilities - the Grandmaster increases the Squadron Sinister's powers and they then battle the superhero team the New Thunderbolts. The Grandmaster is eventually defeated by Baron Zemo, and in the ensuing chaos the Squadron Sinister scatter and escape. ["New Thunderbolts" #15 - 16 + "Thunderbolts" vol. 1, #102 - 108] Champion has a recent encounter with the heroine She-Hulk and aids her foe Titania by giving her the Power Gem currently in his possession. ["She-Hulk" vol. 3, #8 - 12]

The Power Primordial

Each Elder of the Universe possesses a fraction of what is referred to as the Power Primordial, remnants of the primordial energies of the Big Bang that still permeate the universe. [ "Silver Surfer" vol. 3 #5 ] The Power Primordial can be used to produce a wide range of effects, including augmentation of physical attributes (strength, durability, speed, etc.), molecular restructuring, creation of force fields, teleportation, and numerous other abilities. Many Elders have developed specialized power-sets based on their respective obsessions, while others evidence no special abilities beyond the immortality that's inherent to all Elders.

While it grants similar abilities and allows for similar effects, the Power Primordial is not the same as the Power Cosmic possessed by the entity Galactus and his heralds. [ "Silver Surfer" vol. 3 #8 ]


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