Base of Operations
Unspecified dimension connected to Asgard
X-Men and Alpha Flight #1 (1985)
Five seen, names unrevealed
For untold millennia the Norse realm of Asgard has experienced periodic destruction in the apocalyptic battle Ragnarok, only to be revived anew, with the same players, unaware of the previous iteration, reprising their performances all over again. While it remains undetermined if Those Who Sit Above In Shadow started the cycle, were spawned by it, or merely took advantage of it, they have perpetuated it for countless years, dependent on the energies released from Asgard’s death and rebirth for their own survival. With each turn of the wheel, they grew more powerful, and by the modern era they claimed to be virtually omnipotent, though evidence suggests their control of events outside their own veiled realm was more limited than they cared to admit; however, their ability to predict the outcome of any action taken by the Norse gods after so many repeated cycles was not in question.
During each cycle Asgard’s All-Father Odin would sacrifice an eye to obtain wisdom, and Those Who Sit Above In Shadow would reveal themselves to him, making him aware of his people’s predetermined destiny. Seeking to break the cycle which held his people prisoner, the latest incarnation of Odin sent his son Thor to live among mortal men on Midgard (Earth), reasoning that man’s influence might make Thor less predictable to Those Who Sit Above In Shadow. By the modern era, Loki, god of evil, had also learned of them, though it is unclear if he found out about the cycle; seeking their patronage he agreed to perform a good deed for mankind, to impress them. To this end he created the Firefountain in Alaska, which engulfed a plane flying overhead, granting those on board godlike powers; however, when the transformed humans, along with the X-Men and Alpha Flight, learned the powers came at the price of imagination and creativity, most rejected Loki’s gift. When Loki tried to force them to accept this state, Those Who Sit Above In Shadow ordered him to restore everyone to their original state without seeking reprisal, or face their ire. When he subsequently used the Firefountain to remove the demonic Black Razer from the Alphan Puck, and tricked Northstar and Aurora into believing their mother was a light elf, Those Who Sit Above In Shadow transported Loki to Svartalfheim where the resident Dark Elves attacked him.
After the latest Ragnarok erupted, Thor sacrificed his life to gain Odin’s power and wisdom, bringing himself into Those Who Sit Above In Shadow’s presence. Learning of the cycle, Thor angrily denounced Those Who Sit Above In Shadow for trapping his people in meaningless repetition, and vowed to break the loop. Those Who Sit Above In Shadow boasted that he could not succeed, but they soon realized Thor was capable of achieving his threat when he prepared to snap the Fates’ thread which led from the end of the cycle back to its start. Those Who Sit Above In Shadow begged him not to rob them of their sustenance, and offered Thor a place in their number, but he rejected their offer and destroyed the Fates’ tapestry, ending the cycle and apparently destroying Those Who Sit Above In Shadow as well.