All Realities and Universes
The Living Tribunal
Known by abstract entities and cosmic beings
Place of Birth
Strange Tales #157
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 Omniverse is the collection of every single universe, dimension, etc. Everything is in the Omniverse, and there is only one Omniverse. Within the Omniverse, collections of associated realms from different Multiverses are referred to as Megaverses.
The Living Tribunal often interacts with other conceptual beings, serving as their arbiter and judge. The Living Tribunal appears as a giant golden humanoid (using a M-Body, created in the Dimension of Manifestations), with three cloaked faces, each representing a different personality. It has a void where a fourth face could have existed. The Living Tribunal has suggested that the fourth face became the enigmatic Stranger. The Tribunal's three faces represent Equity, Necessity, and Vengeance, comprising the trinity of aspects of each universe. For example, in the main universe they are represented by Galactus (Equity), Eternity (Necessity), and Death (Vengeance).
Even beings such as great as Eternity, Infinity, Death and Oblivion are subject to the Living Tribunals authority. Unlike other conceptual beings, the Living Tribunal has no counterpart in other realities; only one Living Tribunal exists in the Multiverse, and is responsible for all judgments. The Living Tribunal's apparent base of operations is a dimension known as the Star Chamber. There it is served by lesser creatures called the Magistrati, who assist in judging matters where the Living Tribunal does not directly intervene. The living Tribunal 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 is not guided by personal motivation or desires, being entirely impartial, acting only in what is determined to be the greater interest of the universe. The Living Tribunal is also willing to sacrifice inhabited planets and entire solar systems, if necessary, to preserve the multiversal balance.
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 Polar 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 obliterated the planet Perilous, and Nebulos was buried in the rubble, he was presumed dead. 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.
The Korvac of Earth-82432 accumulated such power that the Living Tribunal sealed that reality to prevent it from affecting others, removing the barrier only after that Korvac had used the Ultimate Nullifier to destroy himself and the entire universe. When Earth--616's omnipotent Beyonder threatened to eradicate Death itself, the living Tribunal joined other cosmic entities in manifesting before the Beyonder to halt him. Although the Beyonder succeeded in destroying Death, he soon realized that the universe needed Death, and his friend Dave sacrificed himself to become the new Death. When the Living Tribunal first encountered the Silver Surfer, it submitted to him the concept that he was Galactus' opposite number, and allowed the Surfer to become one with the universe for a moment. The Surfer was awestruck by the experience. Later when Earth-89112's reality was overrun with demons, the Living Tribunal nearly destroyed it, but that Earth was redeemed by its counterpart of the Phoenix Force, which eradicated all of the demons. The Living Tribunal then had the Phoenix Force depart from Earth.
Shortly after the funeral of the Earth-616 reality's cosmic entity Eon, the living Tribunal was petitioned by many of reality's conceptual beings, who were threatened by the Thanos' ascendance to godhood after claiming the six Infinity Gems and conforming them into a weapon cable of universal destruction. The weapon would come to be known as the Infinity Gauntlet. Although Eternity argued that Thanos was seeking to supplant its role in the universe, the Living Tribunal simply observed that it was the nature of all life, and it was allowed to be played out. However, when the gems wounded up in the custody of Adam Warlock, the Living Tribunal ordered that the gems be divided among six caretakers and never be allowed to act in unison, as Warlock was deemed to unstable to retain the power. In so doing, the Living Tribunal demonstrated that his power surpassed that of the gems. Warlock would go onto form the Infinity Watch, to safeguard the gems.
When Warlock's evil side, the Magus rendered Eternity comatose, Galactus argued for the Living Tribunal to remove its ban on the gems so that Warlock could use them to defeat the Magus. Although the Magus obtained the gems himself, he was soundly beaten because he lacked the Reality Gem; Infinity and Eternity defeated him, then had the restriction placed on the gems again. Eternity held a private hearing with the Living Tribunal to argue against the Infinity Watch's continued custodianship of the gems, but the Living Tribunal judged against Eternity. However, the Living Tribunal did confide to Eternity that because the Infinity Watch was within him, yet not under his control, he had obtained a gift of unpredictability which he should treasure.
When the powerful Star Brand of Earth-148611 (New Universe) was inadvertently brought into the Earth-616 dimension by Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), it was wielded by his girlfriend Kayla Ballantine, then seized by Erishkigal, a Deviant. She attempted to conquer the Nexus of all Realities, and challenged the Living Tribunal. To determine the fate of the multiverse, they chose as champions Quasar and the Silver Surfer. When Quasar realized he was Erishkigal's champion, he allowed himself to lose, and the Living Tribunal claimed the Star Brand, returning it to Kayla for safe keeping. After the Stranger took the Star Brand from Kayla and used it to bring Earth-148611 into the 616 dimension, the Living Tribunal placed a barrier around the planet to keep the Star Brand energies from further contaminating the 616 reality. Kayla was left behind on that world because she had wielded the brand.
When the formerly heroic mystic Doctor Druid summoned fourth the demon Slorioth in order to prematurely advance the War of the Seven Spheres which the mystical Vishanti were engaged in, the Vishanti summoned the Living Tribunal and it judged against Slorioth, banishing it from the Earth. When Thanos gained vast power again through the Heart of the Infinite, the Living Tribunal joined champions from across realities to challenge him. Thanos destroyed all that existed with his power, but subsequently had a change of heart and restored reality, ridding himself of his power; the re-created universe lacked the terminal flaw which Thanos had sought to cure.Recently, the Magistrati employed Earth-616's She-Hulk to serve in the Star Chamber and assist them in judging cases from throughout the universe. During her time in the Star Chamber, She-Hulk earned the enmity of Zoma the Watcher for forcing his brother Qyre to be stricken silent. She also met the challenge of the Champion of the Universe when he lorded over the population of Skardon with his Power Gem, and ultimately bested him in combat. In the 31st century of Earth-691, the Living Tribunal was nearly usurped by the Protégé, whose abilities to duplicate the powers of others allowed him to manifest the Living Tribunal's own power. Although the Guardians of the Galaxy struggled futilely against Protégé, it was Scathan the Celestial who saved reality by judging against him, and the Living Tribunal absorbed the Protégé into itself to prevent him from endangering reality again.