Celestials:

©Roman Schwachöfer

The Celestials are a fictional species of extremely powerful extra-terrestrial beings in the Marvel Comics' universe, They were created by Jack Kirby in The Eternals #1 (July 1976).

The alien race have influenced key events in human history in the Marvel Universe for unclear and mysterious reasons. They have been shown to be responsible for key evolutionary events within Homo sapiens, such as the genetic-offshoot races the Eternals and the Deviants as well as the emergence of mutants. They are also credited with influencing and aiding the development of some ancient advanced civilizations such as the Aztecs.

The concept of the Celestials and their involvement in human history are clearly inspired by the theories of Erich von Däniken which were first explored in the 1968 book Chariots of the Gods.

 

Appearance:

 

The Celestials resemble massive armor-clad humanoids of enormous size, with most more than two thousand feet (600 meters) in height and some, like Exitar the Destroyer, even larger. They are responsible for the creation of two offshoots of humanity — the Eternals and the Deviants — on Earth one million years ago. However, through Celestial experimentation, mainline humanity retained the greatest potential for superhuman abilities. The Celestials have conducted similar experiments on other species, such as the Skrulls, whose main and Eternal branches were soon supplanted by the Deviant, shape-shifting branch of that race.

The exact purpose of the Celestials' genetic manipulation is unknown, and they go to great lengths to preserve their freedom to conduct such experiments. Should an experimented race "fail" by the Celestials' standards, Arishem arrives on the target world to herald the coming of Exitar the Exterminator, a Celestial ten times the height of an Arishem whose job it is to pass judgement on the planet for its failures.

The general punishment for a planet and race deemed a "failure" by the Celestials is extinction, with Exitar destroying the planet with aid from his left hand, which is tattooed with a scientific formula for the exact force of energy required to quickly destroy an entire planet. However, during the events of Thor #387-389, it was revealed that instead of destroying a planet, Exitar creates an all-consuming shroud-type barrier over a planet deemed to have "failed" Celestial expectations. The planet is then teraformed into a garden paradise and only "evil" beings destroyed.

 
 

History:

The Celestials then leave the planet, to give it and its surviving population a second chance. However, this explanation was quickly ignored by later writers, who opted to portray the penalty of "failure" for a planet to be its destruction.Due to their imposing presence, all-concealing armor, and seeming indifference to those whom they judge, the Celestials have acquired the sobriquet of "Space Gods" used by many star-faring races. On their last visit to Earth in the Fourth Host, the Celestials wiped all memory of their existence from most of humanity.

 

The only entities remaining aware of the Celestials' existence were the Asgardians, who actively opposed the Celestials' unrevealed motives; the other pantheons of the Marvel Universe; Earth's Eternals and Deviants, along with the mutant Apocalypse who utilizes their technology and is in their debt for an unknown purpose. In modern times, however, with the rise of superhumans, many superheroes have rediscovered the existence of the Celestials.

 

 

Powers and Abilities:

The Celestials are very powerful physical entities in the Marvel Universe. They have shown the ability to permanently seal off other dimensions, create beings such as the Godstalkers, reduce the Asgardian construct known as the Destroyer to slag even while it was imbued with the life force of all the gods of Asgard (with the exception of Thor), and move multiple planets across galactic distances at will. Their armor can withstand planet-pulverizing forces and even when damaged, they can regenerate severed limbs in seconds. The cosmic cube beings, Kosmos and Kubik, who wield vast energy, matter and reality manipulation powers, stated that a single Celestial possesses "power many orders of magnitude beyond our own;" indeed, it was revealed in the comic book series called Secret Wars II that the Celestials allowed the Beyonder to believe that he had defeated them, all for some unexplained "learning process" that the Celestials sometimes impart to "aspiring" cosmic beings. It has been said no being can crack or shatter a Celestials armor, though the Invisible Woman, Cyclops, Thor and the Odinsword wielding-Destroyer construct have managed to do so. It seems that the Celestials draw their power from Hyperspace, the source of energy in the Marvel Universe.

The Celestial Home Universe:

One of the most baffling aspects of the Celestials is their origin. No one, not even the Watchers, has ever known where they come from. Nathaniel Richards once speculated that they really lived in hyperspace, and that their sets of armor were channels in which they can exist in this reality. Another theory comes from the mysterious "Celestial Universe" discovered during a trip through alternate realities by Dr. Doom, The Thing, The Human Torch and Sharon Ventura. It was a reality completely overrun by Celestials and was only seen very briefly. Another place thought to be the Celestial homeworld by The Beyonder was a string of planets connected by Celestial technology. It was called the World Complex Headquarters and was converted into a tourist trap by various alien races so that they could view the Celestials daily. It turned out that The Celestials made this as an illusion to fool the Beyonder, and they also allowed him to beat them which in turn led to his rejection of friendship by the female mutant Meltdown. There is also evidence that they were directly created by Eternity.

In the series Earth X, which is not in continuity; They were inhabitants of the universe that existed before our own, who had advanced themselves so far up the evolutionary ladder that their very existence caused that universe to collapse. They survived the Big Bang of our universe, and have continued to thrive ever since. As they advanced themselves, the Celestials began to lose their physical forms. To keep from completely discorporating into the Universe, they created shells for themselves out of the metal known on Earth as vibranium. The Celestials are now beings of pure energy, thought and will incarnate. Each, however, has a distinctive outer casing.

As a result of their advancement, Celestials cannot reproduce the way lesser species do. To generate offspring, Celestials implant of piece of their essences inside a planet. They then surround the embryonic energy with vibranium, which the offspring will use as a casing when it emerges. Finally, to protect the offspring from alien invaders who might harm the planet, the Celestials modify the indigenous intelligent life of the planet, implanting a "seed" in its genes that will mutate and give super-powers to them as the embryo nears maturation. The vibranium helps to serve as a catalyst for this change. The guardian life evolves through three levels of mutation before the Celestial emerges and the entire world, including its populace, is converted into vibranium for the newborn's use.

The Celestials have one natural predator: Galactus, a being who also survived the destruction of the previous universe, and knew the Celestials had caused it. He dedicated himself to controlling the Celestials population growth, which he does using sophisticated machinery that absorbs the embryo's energy from its planetary womb. This has the unfortunate side-effect of destroying the planet, which is why Earth heroes have fought Galactus off numerous times.

However, despite all these claims, there are still no leads as to who the Celestials truly are and where they came from. Many alien races have accepted a diversity of beliefs as to their origins. Some of these beliefs have led to interstellar war between two or more races. It is possible that the only one who really knows the truth behind the origin of the Celestials is the Supreme Being (seen by some as Jack Kirby), the creator of the Marvel Multiverse.

The Watchers:

In opposition to the Celestials' agenda are the Watchers. Having sworn an oath of non-interference in species younger than themselves, the Watchers find the Celestials' genetic engineering of such species to be the antithesis of what they believe. Thus, the Watchers and the Celestials have been in conflict for billions of years, coming to a head in Fantastic Four #400 (May 1995).

In the series Earth X, which is not in continuity, the Watchers were revealed to have been enslaved by the Celestials as guardians of unborn celestials which existed in certain planets such as Earth. The Galactus of this universe fed upon worlds in order to consume these developing Celestials as part of a cosmic balance.

 

Members:

  • Arishem the Judge — One of two Celestials who have the right and ability to judge which planet's civilization will live and which will die. Arishem has led all Four Celestial Hosts on Earth as well as Fourth Host on the planet called Pangoria (judged unworthy of life - The Mighty Thor v1 #387-389) and a Fifth Host on an unnamed planet in a distant galaxy. He was also the leader among the delegation of Celestials who waged war on the Watchers in an unknown galaxy. — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #2

  • Ashema the Listener — A female Celestial who took human form while on a mission with Nezzar the Calculator. The two were to take Franklin Richards back to presumably the One Above All Celestial for evaluation. However Franklin taught Ashema the gifts and curses of human emotion and caused her to change her mind about Franklin and all of humanity for that matter. She eventually defied her Celestial Brethren and saved Franklin's Counter Earth by storing it inside of her. However The Dreaming Celestial, a renegade, entered the Counter Earth and began corrupting it and Ashema. Eventually Ashema retaliated and fell under the complete control of the Dreaming Celestial. She was eventually saved by the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom and helped recapture the Dreaming Celestial. It is presumed that she left Earth to rejoin the other Celestials. She hasn't been seen since. First appeared in Heroes Reborn: The Return #1

  • Tiamut, The Dreaming Celestial — A renegade Celestial. During the Second Host, the Dreaming Celestial committed a crime "against life itself" (which was in fact murdering another Celestial) and was exiled by his brethren. His spirit was ripped from his body and placed in a device known as the Vial, which was sealed under the Diablo Mountains in California (Eternals Limited #12). He slept there until the Deviant Priestlord Ghaur discovered the Vial and drank the essence of the Dreaming Celestial, giving him the height and power of a Celestial. The Dreaming Celestial took advantage of this opportunity and began mentally controlling Ghaur in order to be freed. An intervention by the Avengers and the Eternals led to the plan's downfall and the Vial was sealed once more.

The Dreaming Celestial, while still trapped in his Diablo Mountain prison, sensed the rebirth of Ghaur and caused an Earthquake while tossing and turning uncontrollably in his "bed."

After the events of Heroes Reborn, the Dreaming Celestial found a loophole out of his prison and into the Heroes Reborn Universe. There, he learned the Celestial Ashema guarded this Pocket Universe and that the only way out was through her. However, he found himself opposed by Dr. Doom, Lancer, Technarx and several other heroes. Eventually The Dreaming Celestial captured Ashema and escaped to our Universe, where he was finally thwarted by Doom and The Fantastic Four.

He awoke again in an alternate future (as seen in Fantastic Four #339-340) and manipulated the hunger of a defensless Galactus who was near death, into a weapon that would consume the entire Universe, enabling him to become the Nucleus and Founder of a new, darker reality. However, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man and the Shi'ar race were able to avert this by causing Galactus to consume the Renegade.

It was recently revealed in Eternals #3 (the series by Neil Gaiman) that The Deviants plan to reawaken The Dreaming Celestial. In Eternals #4, it was further revealed that Sprite, using a Uni-Mind link at the resting place of the Dreaming Celestial in order to rewrite reality to make himself human, and to make the Eternals forget of their past. — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #18

  • Eson the Searcher — Destroyed the legendary isle of Lemuria. - First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #9

  • Exitar the Exterminator — Twenty-thousand-feet tall with yellow and black armor. Exitar destroys the life on worlds which fail the Celestials' tests. A full-strength hammer blow from Thor, which shook the entire planet, only managed to punch a small hole in his armor. During a conflict with The Watchers, Exitar's physical form was "murdered" by Sue Storm after she disrupted his "brain case." It was stated however that Exitar will reform after some time.

  • Gammenon the Gatherer A Celestial that is sent out to find various plant, animal and humanoid specimens for experimentation. He reports to Jemiah and often travels with Eson. An alternate reality version of him fought alongside Jemiah to battle Ego the Living Planet. As Ego was about to kill the two they were saved at the last moment by Blink of the Exiles. Gammenon takes pity on her and as a reward for saving them, he and Jemiah personally escort Blink back to Earth safely while at the same time giving her a warning about the "Timebreaker" — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #4

  • Hargen the Measurer A Celestial that measures. True nature of the Job has never been defined. — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #9

  • Jemiah the Analyzer Jemaih gathers all of the specimens given to him by Gammenon and places them into a massive analyzing machine. An Alternate Reality version of him fought alongside Gammenon to battle Ego the Living Planet. As Ego was about to kill the two they were saved at the last moment by Blink of the Exiles. Jemiah takes pity on her and as a reward for saving them, he and Gammenon personally escort Blink back to Earth safely while at the same time giving her a warning about the "Timebreaker" — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #7

  • Nezarr the Calculator — Two-thousand-feet tall and depicted in dark blue armor, Nezarr participated in the Celestials' four visits (the first through fourth Hosts) to Earth. As a member of the Fourth Host of the Celestials, Nezarr appeared in the Soviet Union and was targeted by an atomic missile directed by General Greshkov. However, Nezarr created an illusion in the minds of the firing crew that the missile had turned back on them, and the resulting mental trauma put all of them into comas. (Eternals #9-11).

In opposing the Asgardians, Nezarr lost his arm in battle with the artificial being the Destroyer. The Destroyer cut Nezarr's arm off with the Odinsword, but he re-grew it almost instantly. Nezarr was also among the delegation of Celestials who waged war against the Watchers. — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #9

  • The One Above All — The leader of the Celestials. Not much is known about him; however, both X-Factor and Thor have encountered him. In particular, he has rescued Gilgamesh the "Forgotten", after a Deviant nuclear bomb (Eternals #13), and dispatched him to Olympia to tell both Eternals and gods not to interfere in the Celestial's judgement. In the subsequent battle will be involved Thor and Uni-Mind. (The Mighty Thor v1 #287-291).

Not to be confused with the entity of the same name whom the Living Tribunal answers to. - First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #7

  • Oneg the Prober A Celestial that apparently specializes in probing. Is often mocked by fans due to the nature of his job. — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #9

  • Tefral the Surveyor A Celestial that specializes in surveying the landscape. He is one of the few Celestials that actually explore the planet during the First Hosts — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #7

  • Ziran the Tester A Celestial that tests the stability of genes and such in the lifeforms they have evolved. He sends them through a series of tests until they are ready to go back to the Planet to start their new lives. — First appeared in The Eternals (1976 series) #18

  • Devron the Experimenter — A young Celestial who was assigned to watch over Earth alongside Gamiel the Manipulator. The two were very competitive and nearly caused the destruction of Earth. Eventually he and Gamiel were reassigned to coordinate the first meeting between the Kree and the Skrull... who go to war almost instantly after meeting each other. Unlike most Celestials Devron is only as tall as the Incredible Hulk. — First appeared in Marvel Monsters: Devil Dinosaur #1 one-shot (2005). Note: This is a humor story depicting Celestial youth, an inconsistency with Celestial full-grown birth as seen in The Mighty Thor #424, and appears to be non-canonical.

  • Gamiel the Manipulator — A young Celestial who, like Devron, was assigned to watch over Earth. He was disgusted that Devron's Little Folk had beaten back his creations: the Killer Folk so he brought the Hulk from the future and sent him down upon the Little Folk and their champion: Devil Dinosaur. Eventually he and Devron got in trouble and were reassigned to Hala where they accidentally set the Kree and the Skrull races into a four-million-year war against each other. Unlike most Celestials Gamiel is only as tall as the Incredible Hulk. Note: This is a humor story depicting Celestial youth, an inconsistency with Celestial full-grown birth as seen in The Mighty Thor #424, and appears to be non-canonical.

  • The Red Celestial - This Celestial was the one who helped bring the baby "Blue" Celestial into this Universe. Its name is unknown but it appears its job would be midwifery. After the events of the Black Galaxy saga this Celestial was never seen again.

  • The Blue Celestial - The first ever documented Celestial that was seen born. It was made from the genetic material of the Black Galaxy, a place where Ego the Living Planet, snuffed out all of the stars and the genetic material of Eric Masterson and Hercules. After leaving with the giant Celestial Host at the Black Galaxy it was encountered again by the High Evolutionary, the Goddess Sif and the God Balder. Its duty was to keep Ego the Living Planet at bay while it and his brothers awaited the arrival of the awe-inspiring Super Ego. Once the creature appeared and crushed Ego, the Blue Celestial and its older brethren attacked the Super Ego with full force. However the High Evolutionary has suspicions that they are trying to help the Super Ego in some way... not destroy it. The Blue Celestial was never seen again after this Event.

  • The Red/Blue Judge - The second known Celestial with the right to judge worlds. When Kosmos and Kubik traveled the Universe they encountered this strange Celestial standing alone. It allowed them to enter its mind and have a peek at what some of the Celestials' secrets were. It eventually judged them worthy of life after letting them see its mind and then it was never seen again.

  • Monolith Gatherer - A Celestial nearly identical to Arishem despite the fact that his armor is red and purple. He made a cameo at the end of the X-51, the Machine Man series and was seen by Uatu, the Watcher as he took off into the Celestial Mothership with a Monolith in hand. Inside that Monolith was X-51. This Celestial was never seen again after the final issue of the series.

  • Scathan the Approver - A Celestial from the alternate future of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He was summoned by the Living Tribunal during a battle against the godlike child known as Protege. In the end Scathan captured Protege and killed him. Unlike Arishem who judges, Scathan approves and disaproves of certain situations. It is speculated that Scathan was actually a representative of the True Beyonders and not the Celestials. However... with the cancellation of the Guardians of the Galaxy series Scathan was never seen again and makes it impossible to prove whether or not this assumption is true or false.

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