Comic book universes must be exciting places to live: They're places where getting electrocuted or dosed with cosmic radiation is just as likely to give you superpowers as end you. Where losing a limb makes you a prime candidate for cybernetic implants. Where you don't have to go to the movies to see aliens, because they live next door. Of course, the downside is that many of those aliens, cyborgs, and metahumans are brain-eaters, life-drainers, and megalomaniacs bent on world domination or the extermination of all human life.
The cosmic yin and yang of evil and good, chaos and order, is kept balanced ever so slightly on the light side in most comic book universes, thanks to the noble denizens who altruistically use their powers to protect the innocent. But many of our favorite superheroes wouldn't have to struggle so hard if only some of the nigh-omnipotent beings in their universes would use their powers to make a difference, instead of playing childish games with human lives, passively watching reality unfold like a cosmic TV show, or doing nothing at all. Assembled below is a selection of beings who could make their universe a paradise - if only they could be bothered.
The WatchersPhoto: New Avengers / Marvel Comics
Incredibly ancient and wise technologically advanced beings, the exact origin of the Watchers has been lost in time - which is ironic, considering that they long ago gave up helping other species and instead positioned themselves as the living observers and recorders of cosmic history. Abandoning their home world, each Watcher chose a solar system harboring life, or its potential, and set up a base of observations. Immortal, possessing great physical and mental attributes, and capable of manipulating matter, time, and space, the Watchers could easily intercede to prevent the many cataclysms that plague the Marvel Universe, but they are content simply to watch each devastation unfold and survive to tell the tale of it.
One among their kind, Uatu, who is relatively young by Watcher standards, was assigned to our solar system, where he set up a watching post on the moon to monitor the development of life on Earth. Compliant with his race's vow of non-interference for several billion years, Uatu first broke his vow to protect the sun from being transported to another galaxy. Having grown fond of the Fantastic Four after watching their exploits, Uatu revealed himself to them and assisted them countless times by warning them or providing them with information they wouldn't otherwise be able to learn. Because of his many transgressions against the Watcher code - and for dissipating his nephew Aron's Watcher energy and using it to resurrect the ancient leader of the Watchers known as "The One" - Uatu was stripped of his title of Watcher and banished from their order.
Even when considering the frequent use of his powers to influence events rather than to simply watch them unfold, and his occasional display of cosmic exertion to right wrongs committed by his brethren, Uatu has barely ever used even a fraction of the infinite powers at his disposal to affect any real change. More importantly, the rest of his equally omnipotent brothers and sisters literally do nothing but watch as multiverses grow, collide, and are destroyed and reborn.Could they be more proactive?
EternityPhoto: New Avengers Vol. 3: Other Worlds / Marvel Comics
Born at the dawn of time in the Marvel Universe, Eternity is one of the four aspects of reality that comprise the entirety of existence across the multiverse. The sentient embodiment of the collective consciousness of all living things in all dimensions, its powers are off the scale, yet unlike its "brothers" and "sisters" - Death, Oblivion, and Infinity - Eternity is content to do little of anything with its powers. Like some cosmic burnout, Eternity has no drive and no competitive nature to speak of, while Death, Oblivion, and Infinity are constantly machinating against one another and causing problems for superheroes on Earth, Asgard, and throughout the Marvel Universe.
Eternity's laissez-faire attitude likely stems from the fact that it is so powerful that few would be foolish enough to threaten it. As the sum total of all life, its demise would probably signify the end of all existence, but that hasn't stopped entities like Nightmare from trying to subjugate Eternity or take some of its power. Even that isn't enough to make Eternity get proactive, however, as it would rather sacrifice portions of itself than fight, or rely on avatars like Doctor Strange to battle on its behalf.Could they be more proactive?
Guardians of the UniversePhoto: Green Lantern / Marvel Comics
One of the oldest races in the DC Universe, the Maltusians were brilliant scientists and philosophers who saw the universe as one large experiment. After one of their most brilliant and radical scientists' experiments introduced entropy to the universe while it was still young, the Maltusians abandoned their home planet, their tall frames, and their dangerous experiments, and moved to Oa, a planet at the center of the universe, where they evolved themselves into shorter, more cerebral-looking beings. Forsaking all emotions, they renamed themselves the Guardians of the Universe and dedicated their immortal lives and their incredible powers, including their ability to tap into the green emotional spectrum of willpower, to bringing order and stablity to the universe.
While this mission might seem like a noble one, the Guardians failed miserably with their first attempts to police the universe - the robotic Manhunters, the Green Glob, and the Halla's intergalactic police force - before succeeding with the Green Lantern Corps. Still, the Guardians could do a much better job of policing the universe and bringing order to the chaos if they would bother to get their hands dirty themselves, instead of simply empowering others to do it for them. Immortal, highly intelligent, and capable of flying, teleporting, and phasing, they each possess a living green lantern power battery. Any Guardian could easily do the work of 100 Green Lanterns if they cared.Could they be more proactive?
- Photo: Secret Wars II / Marvel Comics
The entity that came to be known as the Beyonder was initially an entire universe in another dimension parallel to the prime Marvel Universe, but it became conscious after a vast portion of its universal energy was siphoned off by human lab tech Owen Reece, who used the phenomenal power he gained to become the villain Molecule Man. Whether as a defense mechanism against another attack, or because it came into contact with Reece during his incursion, the "Beyond" universe evolved into a sentient being.
With self-awareness and infinite power, the Beyonder could have become the architect of its own universe and created galaxies, solar systems, planets, and even life. Instead, the immature entity took a field trip over to the Marvel Universe to create a planet called Battleworld where he could pit heroes and villains against each other for his own amusement.
Intrigued by his initial encounter with humans and their confusing emotions and desires, the Beyonder took the form of a human man and walked the Earth, causing all manner of problems by using his infinite powers to grant wishes and alter reality at a whim. Like the giant infant that he is, the Beyonder was too impatient to wait for enlightenment, deciding instead to destroy the Marvel Universe - the cosmic equivalent of flipping over the game board to avoid losing.
Ultimately, the Beyonder's incontestable power and capricious nature proved too dangerous a combination, and Molecule Man did what the heroes could not - he destroyed the Beyonder as he reincarnated himself in the body of a helpless infant.Could they be more proactive?