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Living Tribunal

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All Realities and Universes

Real Name
The Living Tribunal


Only known to other cosmic entities


Place of Birth

First Appearance
Strange Tales #157

The Living Tribunal was a vastly powerful conceptual being, one who had existed since the multiverse came into being. The Living Tribunal's only superior was the One-Above-All (not to be confused with the Celestial that was known as the One Above All), an entity which was apparently responsible for all life in the multiverse, and possibly beyond, (this includes the Earth-616 Universe, Earth X, the Ultimate Universe, and all other alternate and potential realities).

NOTE: A universe is a single-dimension reality, such as Earth-616. The Multiverse is the collection of alternate dimensions with a similar nature and universal hierarchy. Earth-616 and alternate Earths seen in the MU (which include beings like the Watcher, Eternity, etc.) are within the same Multiverse. Realms lacking this hierarchy of power are outside of the Multiverse, but within the larger Omniverse. Further, the realms with a multiverse are divided into divergent earths, who share a common history and diverge at a specific point, and alternate Earths, who are similar, but possess many inherent differences. The Ominiverse is the collection of every single universe, dimension, etc. Everything is in the Ominiverse, and there is only one Ominiverse. Within the Ominiverse, collections of associated realms from different Multiverses are referred to as Megaverses.

The Living Tribunal often interacted with other conceptual beings, serving as their arbiter and judge. The Living Tribunal appeared as a giant golden humanoid with three cloaked faces, each representing a different personality. It has a blank space where a fourth face could be exhibited. The Living Tribunal has suggested that the fourth face became the enigmatic Stranger. The three faces made up the Tribunal. They were: Equity, Necessity, and Vengeance. These represented the trinity of aspects of each universe. For example, in the main universe they were represented by Galactus (Equity), Eternity (Necessity), and Death (Vengeance).

Even beings such as great as Eternity, Infinity, Death and Oblivion were subject to the Living Tribunals authority. Unlike other conceptual beings, the Living Tribunal had no counterpart in other realities; only one Living Tribunal existed in the Multiverse, and it was responsible for all judgments. The Living Tribunal's apparent base of operations was a dimension known as the Star Chamber, and it was served by lesser creatures called the Magistrati, who assisted in judging matters where the Living Tribunal could not intervene. The living Tribunal also helped fashion the twin cosmic entities the Brothers, each who became the guardian of a different Megaverse, within the larger Omniverse but encompassing more than a single Multiverse.

The Living Tribunal was not guided by any personal motivation or desires, but was entirely impartial, acting only in what was determined to be the greater interest of the universe. The Living Tribunal was more than willing to sacrifice millions of lives for the sake of billions more, or even billions for the sake of trillions, and would not deign to address the concerns of any lesser beings without first establishing a plaintiff's importance.

When the Earth-616 sorcerer Doctor Strange brought the creature Zom to Earth in order to help drive off the sorceress Umar, the Living Tribunal was forced to intervene and banished Zom from Earth before he could destroy humanity. However, Zom's mere presence on Earth had tainted all life with the creature’s evil, and the Living Tribunal informed Dr. Strange that the Earth would be destroyed for the greater good. After convincing the Living Tribunal that he was a powerful sorcerer, Dr. Strange won the right for a reprieve, gaining time to try and eliminate Zom's contamination. Dr. Strange received the Staff of Solar Power from the creature Nebulos to absorb the evil magic, most of which was contained within Baron Mordo, but once the staff took Mordo's excess power, Nebulos claimed it for himself. The Living Tribunal intervened to face Nebulos, and Dr. Strange helped the Living Tribunal defeat him. The Living Tribunal destroyed the staff rather than the Earth, eliminating the threat.

When Dr. Strange next encountered the Living Tribunal, he was informed that due to his works and heroes like him, the balance between good and evil on Earth had been tipped to good's favor, and that the Tribunal would have to release the In-Betweener to balance the two sides in the interest of the cosmic entities Lord Chaos and Master Order. Opposing the In-Betweener Dr. Strange was defeated. However, the spaceknight Rom argued on behalf of his mission to destroy the Dire Wraiths, stating that the Wraiths might have tipped the scales on Earth to evil's benefit. Rom observed that his presence on Earth would act as a balance to the Wraiths' evil, and the Living Tribunal agreed with him, and withdrew the In-Betweener.

During the series of events surrounding the Infinity Gauntlet, the Living Tribunal was forced to intervene to protect the integrity of the Universes. The Tribunal’s first decree was to allow Thanos to wield the gauntlet, based on the law of the survival of the fittest. Next, it was to take the power of the gauntlet away from Adam Warlock, but then allow him and his alliance, the Infinity Watch, to safeguard the gems, though the Tribunal decided they would never be used together again. Finally, the Magus was able to convince the Tribunal to let him reassemble the gauntlet.