Classification: Extraterrestrials

Location/Base of Operations: Watcher homeworld (location unknown)

Known Members: The Critic

Affiliations: Howard the Duck, She-Hulk, the Terror (Laslo Pevely), Uatu the Watcher

Enemies: The Band of the Bland

First Appearance: Sensational She-Hulk#14 (April, 1990)

Powers/Abilities: The Critics possess considerable cosmic power on par with the Watchers. They have superhuman strength (Class 100 possibly), stamina, resistance to serious injury and the ability to tap into and conjure the ambient cosmic energies of the universe such as teleporting themselves and/or others across extensive distances. They can exist on planets without oxygen, but this ability does not seem to extend to existing in deep space whereas they must wear space suits.

Traits: The Critic has most but not all of the traits of the Watchers except that he has a mustache and goatee and dresses in a tweed sport coat and sunglasses as a stereotype of Earth's movie critics.

History: (Sensational She-Hulk#14 (fb))- The Critics are a splintered-off faction of the Watchers who critique the events which they are sworn to witness and bound by an oath of non-interference not to alter or participate with in any way. One of the Critics was observing and analyzing the readings of a black hole in the vicinity of the Magellanic Cloud in outer space that was sucking in the debris of a shattered solar system. He suddenly witnessed a spell called the Plunger of Patooti cast by the would-be sorcerer Dr. Angst just before going to prison on Earth. The spell reversed the suction of the distant singularity within the black hole and caused it to spew all manner of interstellar detritus across the cosmos in speeds in excess of light. In the cosmic debris was a collection of Encroachiverses encased within compaction frames as the Critic realized the entity responsible for the incident possessed either an utterly infantile sense of humor or the most literal mind of a billion, billion worlds.

(Sensational She Hulk#14)- The Critic realized the Encroachiverses were already starting to rain upon the Earth. Realizing the latent curiosity of the people on Earth to poke, prod and analyze anything they found, he sought to find a way to save them from themselves and still remain true to his Watcher's oath of non-interference. He decided on a non-indigenous life form of Earth in the identity of Howard the Duck to assist the She-Hulk already involved in the fall of the Encroachiverses. He traveled to Cleveland, Ohio and transported Howard to the She-Hulk's location, but his location caused the distracted She-Hulk and her colleague Professor Brent Wilcox to be sucked into the Encroachiverse they were studying.

(Sensational She Hulk#15)- Rather irked at the results of Howard's appearance, the Critic anonymously plucked him, Wilcox and the She-Hulk from the Encroachiverse that into which they had been pulled. He departed the location before their return lamenting the conceivable destruction of the universe in which he had barely begun to catalogue the aesthetic abominations of its unvaryingly insipid life forms.

(Sensational She Hulk#16)- Standing on the exterior end of a 747 Airplane Jet in flight, the Critic began watching the Encroachiverses rain down on the Earth and the inevitable poking of prodding of their compaction frames by the various denizens of Earth. Falling the 40,000 feet had a mild impact on his alien physique as he crashed to earth in Connecticut, but then he sensed the presence of Laslo Pevely, who had once been the vigilante known as The Terror, in the halls of the nearby Mystic Meadows Home for the Elderly. He appeared to Pevely and revealed to him that he knew he was the Terror.

(Sensational She Hulk#17)- Bound by his oath of non-interference, the Critic forced Pevely to a game of Twenty Questions to discern the nature of a threat to the Earth. Realizing that time was running out, he decided to hasten the events along by teleporting the two of them to the She Hulk's location. As the Critic revealed the incidents so far, Howard realized the falling Encroachiverses was the work of Dr. Angst just as the demented magician and his Band of the Bland attacked. Realizing their presence had been mystically cloaked from his senses, the Critic found himself forcibly sucked into the Black Hole. Professor Brent Wilcox then realized that the Black Hole was an analogue to the compaction process of the Encroachiverses as the Critic forced himself out of the villain and used his cosmic powers to absorb all the Encroachiverses and their worlds into the Black Hole. He then departed taking the Black Hole into his custody and mind wiping everyone present of the events that had occurred.

(Sensational She-Hulk#47 (fb, BTS))- An overlooked Encroachiverse landed in the cell of Phillip Masters, the Puppet Master, out on Ryker's Island. He escaped into it to begin his life anew, but a guard named Anderson at the prison took the compaction frame home as the Puppet-verse within it started spilling into and taking over his neighborhood. The Puppets coming out of it started getting bigger and causing trouble by setting fire to a neighbor's house and tipping a car into a nearby creek drowning a dog trapped inside it. Anderson was placed at the center of the disturbances and taken in for questioning.

(Sensational She-Hulk#47)- Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, was called in to defend Anderson on his charges. The She-Hulk started investigating as the characteristics of the Encroachiverse renewed her memories of her past experiences with them. She, Louise Mason and the Phantom Blonde investigated as the Puppet-verse had now taken over Anderson's DeKalo street neighborhood. They invaded it to stop its expansion and discovered Masters to be at the source at the disturbance. As the She-Hulk suddenly recalled everything that had happened before, the Critic found he had to reappear and explain that the compaction frames expand due to human contamination and with the Puppet Master returned him back to prison, the effects of the Puppet-verse on earth would return to normal. He then vanished taking the frame to the Puppet-verse with him.

(What The-?!#26/10) - Uatu and the Critic looked at a reality where the Fantastic Four had stayed int he movie business. Afterward they looked at a reality where Wolverine liked to sing and dance.

Comments: Created by Steve Gerber, Bryan Hitch and Jim Sanders III.

Among the objects sucked in by the black hole the critic was studying was an object resembling Dr. Who's Tardis and a bed with a stuffed tiger on it (a stuffed tiger like Hobbes from "Calvin and Hobbes.").

Considering the magnitude of these events, it's curious as to why the Fantastic Four, the Avengers or even the X-Men did not get involved. Even during the Secret Wars, Infinity Wars and Inferno, the teams joined forces against a common goal.

Doctor Angst is an obvious parody of Doctor Strange.

Although the story involving the Puppet-verse occurs in Sensational She Hulk#47 (in the middle of the She-Hulk's encounter with the Carbon Copy Men), it actually occurs chronologically between issues #26 and #27 since #26 promises a story on puppets, but actually went on to do a story on Dragon Man, the Grey Gargoyle and the appearance of Surge the Dragon Killer in #27. One can assume the story ran late and had to be replaced and then was used as filler when part of the story on the Carbon Copy Men ran late.

The location of the Puppet-verse storyline although near New York City is uncertain, but DeKalo Street and its nearby Newtown Creek could be in the area of Queens or out on Staten Island.

Profile by Will U. What The--?! update by Markus Raymond.

The Critics are not to be confused with:

The Critic is a member of the extraterrestrial Critics who are sworn to observe everything that occurs and to critique upon it. Witnessing the release of the Encroachiverses, he recruited Howard the Duck and the Terror to assist the She Hulk in preventing the inevitable collapse of the universe from their presence.

--Sensational She Hulk#14 (14(fb), 14-17, 47(fb), 47, What The-?!#26/10

Images taken from:
Main pic- She Hulk II#14, pg. 3, bottom panel
Space Suit- She Hulk II#14, pg. 2, top panel
Close-Up- She Hulk II#14, pg. 16, middle right panel
Mini-Entry- She Hulk II#14, pg. 21, middle right panel

Sensational She Hulk#14-17 (April-July, 1990) - Steve Gerber (writer), Bryan Hitch (pencils), Jim Sanders III (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Sensational She Hulk#47 (January, 1993) - Simon Furman (writer), Rik Levins (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Reneé Witterstaetter (editor)
What The-?!#26 (Winter 1993) - Dan Slott (writer), Manny Galan (writer/pencils), Mike DeCarlo (inks), Reneé Witterstaetter (editor)

Last updated: 04/25/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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