Membership: Death (Rowregyynac), Famine (Krowtanem), Pestilence (Yentron), War (Linbythoum)

Purpose: Conquering planets and races for the Axi-Tun Empire

Affiliations: Agents of the Axi-Tun Empire;
    former pawns of the Over-Mind

Enemies: Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Medusa/Medusalith Amaquelin, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), Stranger, unidentified race

Base of Operations: Currently unrevealed;
   formerly the Stranger's laboratory world;
   formerly Earth

First Appearance: Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (November, 1974)

(Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe#5) - In the distant past, the beings known on Earth as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- Death, Famine, Pestilence, and War -- served as the soldier-elite to the Axi-Tun. Per Pestilence's note, they each had power enough to rend galaxies. "They lived more eons than countless star systems have existed. And throughout that infinite eternity, they have battled for lives, for souls, for powers in far-stretching galaxies that even gods never traveled."

(Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (fb) - BTS) - In order for the Axi-Tun to conquer several other planets, Earth--being "the celestial center of the circle of civilized worlds"--had to fall first.

(Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (fb) - BTS) <"millions of millennia ago"/"eons before humanity breathed in its first glimmers of intelligence"/"while you were still mindless primitives"> - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse came to Earth and took it as theirs, and "with the power of gods eternal, we held it against all our alien foes."

(Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (fb) - BTS) <"when humanity was no more than barbarians"> - Eventually, an unidentified race which was even mightier than the Horsemen came to Earth. After a century-long battle, this other race humbled the Horsemen and banished them like whipped dogs -- in the event that the Horsemen should ever return, that unidentified race enacted a "curse" (see comments) which would banish the four of them from Earth again, should they be met by any opposition.

   Still enraged over their defeat, the Horsemen returned to their home-world of Tun, only to be branded as cowards and traitors for their failure. The Horsemen were exiled to wander the universe for eternity. They saw many wonders, witnessed worlds newly born, and worlds perishing from their own misuse of power, but still they seethed with hatred at their forced exile and at the world that caused their downfall.

(Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3) - The Four Horsemen returned to Earth, planning to conquer it as they had planned to do in the past. They believed that their victory would redeem them to their people, and would open the path for further conquest for the Axi-Tun (who still longed for universal control), with themselves riding triumphantly in the vanguard.

   Pestilence unleashed a "Coma-Pox" which instantly sent mankind to sleep. But the Fantastic Four's altered metabolisms sped their recoveries, and they regained consciousness in time to battle the Horsemen across the world, for the Axi-Tun planned to conquer the Earth within 48-hours. However, when the Fantastic Four separately opposed the Horsemen, the heroic quartet reactivated an "ancient curse," a protection device left by the race which had originally defeated the Horsemen in the past (see comments). One by one, the Horsemen met defeat at the hands of the Fantastic Four, and they were again banished from Earth.

(Quasar#14 (fb) - BTS) - Under unrevealed circumstances, the Stranger captured the Four Horsemen and took them to his laboratory world -- however, the fate of their four horses was unrevealed.

(Quasar#14) - Makkari observed the Four Horsemen battling with some of the other inmates within the Stranger's prison-world -- they were later freed by the Over-Mind, who sought allies against the Stranger.

(Quasar#16) - During his first assault, the Over-Mind brought the Four Horsemen--along with Bi-Beast, Dragonfly, Nygorn, Threkker, Gorr, and others--into battle against Quasar and anyone else aiding the Stranger. The Horsemen immediately targeted Quasar as a unit; but after melting their weapons to slag, Quasar contained the Horsemen - along with himself - inside an energy bubble, where he physically fought them, and he finally managed to knock all four of them unconscious during the fight.

Comments: Created by Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, and Rich Buckler.

All of the Horsemen possessed steeds which could transport them across interstellar space. The Horsemen themselves possessed superhuman physical abilities (see individual sub-profiles), along with the power to survive the rigors of space without protection. They were virtually immortal, apparently immune to the effects of age or conventional disease.

I think it was the original OHotMU that named the Four Horsemen as Axi-Tun. The Axi-Tun received an entry in OHotMU Deluxe Edition#15.

I don't think the name of the race who defeated the Four Horsemen after a centuries-long war has been revealed. The Celestials would have been a logical choice, except that the war would have only lasted a few seconds. If you know the name of this race, please tell me.

Chris theorizes: "A thought about the 'who defeated the Four Horsemen of the Axi-Tun all those centuries ago' question you were wanting answered (in the 'Great Unanswered Questions of the MU' section of the site): You say the Celestials were a logical choice to have defeated those Axi-Tun, but that the battle would have lasted only a moment or two at most. Could a Godstalker or two have done the job instead? They are basically mini-Celestials, and a fight between the Four Horsemen and a Godstalker could conceivably last a hundred years if the story needed it to. What do you think, is it a workable solution to the mystery? (Fast disclaimer: I have not read the FF issue in question, just what the site says in its summary of it)"

Jim Hill contradicted this theory and made a few theories on his own: "To say that it was The Celestials suffers a timeline problem because they only arrive (The First Host) about 1 million years ago, not 1 billion. Since the Horsemen arrived circa 1 billion, they were on Earth an awful long time waiting for the Celestials to kick them off, and would have had to have dealt with N'Garai, Undying Ones, the Dark-Crawler, Shuma-Gorath, Sise-Neg, and the Insectoid race of Psyklop along the way until then. Not to mention the ones listed above already.
  Could the Hyssta have repelled the Horsemen? The Horsemen are immensely powerful yes, but the Hyssta could have made up for it in numbers, offering the centuries long battle that kicked the Horsemen's behinds. We also don't know much about the Hyssta (parallel earth Kree?). Maybe they're all able to withstand blasts on par with Captain Marvel? If so, they stand a chance against the Horsemen imho.
  Other possibilities include the Lumina or the Myandi (Followers of the Light and the Followers of the Dark, respectively), who each set up an outpost on Earth at the time . Maybe they fought off the Horsemen before doing so. Of course, I know very little about their abilities. Could they have done it?
  Yag-Kosha's race arrived on Earth around this time as well, but I think they were relatively hidden.

The "ancient curse" that banished the Four Horsemen was also left a mystery...without an explanation, the story seemed quite lacking to me.

Many of the Stranger's former prisoners escaped the Lab World after Quasar#16. The Four Horsemen could have done that as easily as the others.

Their real names were revealed in the Axi-Tun's profile in Fantastic Four: Fifty Fantastic Years#1 (November, 2011).

Profile by Snood. Expansion by Ron Fredricks.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse take their name from Biblical references, and have no connection to:

Death should not to be confused with:

Famine should not to be confused with:

Pestilence should not to be confused with:

War should not to be confused with:


Death sometimes wielded a sword, and he could summon death avatars (duplicates mimicking forms and abilities, but with death's-head faces) of others -- according to Mr. Fantastic's logic, if a person struggled against his or her own "death," then "both would be destroyed, like matter and anti-matter".

Death made his assault from Mount Everest. All four members of the Fantastic Four confronted and opposed him. Death claimed to be the leader of the Horsemen, and summoned the "deaths" of the Fantastic Four to slay them. Based on Mr. Fantastic's recommendations, each hero avoided their own "death" and fought the counterpart of another teammate, which they destroyed with relative ease. Medusa defeated the last of the "deaths," and hurled it back at Death himself, which activated the "ancient curse" (see comments) and banished him from Earth.

Death and his fellow Horsemen were eventually captured by the Stranger, who imprisoned them on his laboratory world.

--Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, Quasar#14, Quasar#16


Famine wielded an ax-like bludgeon; he could create illusions, blocking the sight of food from others. He could cause foodstuffs to disintegrate, and also mentally control those crazed by hunger..

He launched his attack from Cambodia, where he created illusions causing people to fail to see the food that was in front of them -- famished people were collapsing from weakness in the midst of rice paddies. Mr. Fantastic and the Thing tracked him down and tried to make the people see the food, finally succeeding when they actually shoved it in their faces. Famine then destroyed the food for the people and sent a group of starved villagers to oppose the two heroes. Mr. Fantastic wrapped himself around Famine, and as they struggled, the "ancient curse" (see comments) was activated, and Famine vanished from Earth.

Famine and his fellow Horsemen were eventually captured by the Stranger, who imprisoned them on his laboratory world.

--Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, Quasar#14, Quasar#16


Pestilence wielded a wooden staff; he possessed the ability to dispense disease, both medical and psychological. He could generate physical weakness and sickness, along with emotional distress. He could also summon and control disease-carrying vermin. Although he had a pair of wings on his back, he never displayed the power of flight (...other than by riding his steed through space). 

Pestilence based his assault from the streets of Manhattan. He attempted to crumble the Thing with a plague-like disease, but when the Thing rallied and attacked him, the protective "curse" (see comments) was reactivated, and Pestilence was banished from Earth.

Pestilence and his fellow Horsemen were eventually captured by the Stranger, who imprisoned them on his laboratory world.

--Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, Quasar#14, Quasar#16


Along with a shield, War used a variety of weapons, including a sword, a mace, and an ax. He could generate anger and violent emotions in others, making them easy for him to manipulate into conflict and...war. He could project powerful bursts of energy from his sword. He could also make others see his face as mirror-images of their own faces, apparently in order to give the moral message that our own emotions are the cause of war.

War made his stand in Africa, where he equipped the opposing sides in the racial wars with powerful artillery, tanks, and planes, escalating their conflicts to more devastating levels. The Human Torch and Medusa traveled to Africa, fought their way past War's soldiers, and confronted War himself. He stunned Medusa with a blast, but then was overpowered by the Torch. The Torch ripped off War's mask, only to see his own face, while Medusa saw her own face as well. War mockingly laughed that humanity created war through its own prejudices and greed, but then the "ancient curse" (see comments) was activated, and he vanished from Earth.

War and his fellow Horsemen were eventually captured by the Stranger, who imprisoned them on his laboratory world.

--Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, Quasar#14, Quasar#16

images: (without ads)
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p2-3 (Main Image - Four Horsemen, riding their horses through space)
Quasar#14, p12, pan3 (Four Horsemen battling with other inmates on Stranger's laboratory world)
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p27, pan2 (Death)
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p27, pan4 ("death" duplicates of the Fantastic Four)
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p24, pan1 (Famine)
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p8, pan3 (Pestilence; Thing, Mr. Fantastic (background))
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p9, pan2 (Headshot - Pestilence)
Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3, p18, pan2 (War)

Giant-Size Fantastic Four#3 (November, 1974) - Gerry Conway (co-plotter), Marv Wolfman (scripter), Rich Buckler (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Stan Goldberg (colors), Joe Rosen (letters), Roy Thomas (editor)
Quasar#14 (September, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Dan Panosian (inks), Len Kaminski (editor)
Quasar#16 (September-November, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Keith Williams (inks), Len Kaminski (editor)

First Posted: 11/16/2001
Last updated: 07/15/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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