Classification: Extratemporal (End of Time, Earth-794282) extraterrestrial genetically engineered life forms
Location/Base of Operations: Citadel at the End of Time
Known Members: Ast, Vort, Zanth;
Oracle of Siwa (see comments)
Affiliations: Eon, Fantastic Four (Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing), He Who Remains, Immortus, Ramades, Time Variance Authority, Uatu the Watcher; numerous alternate reality Avengers; various cosmic/abstract beings
Enemies: Akhenaten, Avengers (Captain America, Captain Marvel (Genis, Earth-Songbird), Giant-Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Songbird of Earth-Songbird, Wasp, Yellowjacket), Avengers Galactic Battalion of Earth-Avengers Galactic Battalion, Immortus, Rick Jones, Kang, Libra of the Zodiac Cartel, Supreme Intelligence, Time-Twisters; numerous alternate reality Avengers
First Appearance: Thor I#282 (April 1979)
Powers/Abilities: The Time-Keepers have great power to manipulate temporal energy. They can age entire armies to dust or reverse aging to before the point of life (virtual immortals such as Asgardian Gods can resist these effects). They can summon beings from any point in the time stream, sending them to do their bidding. They can travel through time and into various alternate realities, form powerful energy shields, project force blasts, and grant power to others. Backed by the power of the Forever Crystal, they have the power to remove countless realities from existence in the span of a few second.
The Time-Twisters and Time-Keepers are their sole divergent counterparts, with no others existing in other realities. Each divergent form exists in one of the two final divergent realities at the end of time. They claim to have authority that not even the Living Tribunal cam judge.
Traits: The Time-Keepers seek to manipulate events to ensure their own survival.
(Thor I#245 (fb) /What If II#39 (fb)) - At the end of time, the final common endpoint of all surviving realities in the multiverse, just prior to the heat death of the universe, the very last director of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) oversaw the creation of what were intended to be the last living beings in the universe. They were to be a gift to the future, and they would teach those of the next universal cycle how to avoid the errors of the past. However, the three entities who were hatched from his nurture pods were immediately flawed--even warped. These beings, known as the Time-Twisters, sought to discover the origins of the universe and began to travel back in time, destroying every era on which they happened.
(Thor I#245) - Thor and his allies traveled forward in to time to the moments before the hatching of the Twisters. Jane Foster managed to convince He Who Remains of the flawed and destructive nature of the Twisters. Accepting responsibility for his actions, He terminated the life functions on the Time-Twisters, preventing them from ever being hatched.
(What If II#39 (fb)) - He Who Remains then went on to replace the Time-Twisters with more perfect versions, the Time-Keepers. The Keepers set themselves up as custodians of the timestream.
(What If II#39 (fb) - BTS) - It was revealed that in actuality, two final divergent branches of reality were created at the very end of time. In one branch, He Who Remains aborted the Twisters and created the Keepers. However, in another, he did not abort the Twisters, and thus never created the Keepers. The two divergent branches of reality have shifted back and forth in dominance ever since, with the Twisters and the Keepers competing for dominion at the end of time, and thus being able to shape the next reality.
(Marvel Knights 4#16 (fb) - BTS) - He Who Remains banished a fourth Time-Keeper to ancient Egypt @ 2950 B.C.
(Thor I#282 (fb) / Avengers Forever#8 (fb)) - The Time-Keepers appointed Immortus as custodian of the segment of time between 3000 BC and 4000 AD.
(What If? II#13 - BTS/Quasar#30(fb)) - The Time-Keepers authorized the installation of Uatu the Watcher's extradimensional portal, allowing him to view other realities.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb) - BTS/ Avengers I#2 - BTS) - The Time-Keepers directed Immortus to break-up the Avengers (to prevent them from becoming a threat to their existence), and he sent a Space Phantom to do so.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb) - BTS) - Following his first direct encounter with the Avengers (@ Avengers I#10), Immortus became so impressed with the heroes that he decided to defy the Time-Keepers and to not destroy the Avengers, but rather to observe and shepherd them.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb)) - After the end of the Kree/Skrull War, the Time-Keepers confronted Immortus, accusing him of failing to hold up his end of the bargain, and showing to him the potential futures of Earth-Avengers: Galactic Battalion and other realities where humanity devastated all other life throughout the galaxy. They instructed him to make certain that these events never came about, or they would destroy humanity itself.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb) - BTS) - Recognizing the Scarlet Witch as a nexus being and knowing her children would be very powerful, the Time-Keepers charged Immortus to slay her so that she could never bear children. Immortus instead guided her into a relationship and subsequent marriage with the android Vision, believing that would prevent her from having children.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb) - BTS / Avengers West Coast#42-44, 48, 50-52) - When Wanda used magic to make herself pregnant, Immortus discovered that the magic had been part of Mephisto, and arranged a series of shocks to Wanda's life to weaken the strength of her bond to these children. He influenced the decision by Vigilance to dismantle the Vision and erase his memories, and he also made it appear as if the Vision's origins were different than she had believed. Soon after, Mephisto successfully reclaimed his soul fragments and ended the existence of her children.
(Avengers West Coast#62 - BTS (and other issues, see comments) - The Time-Twisters gained ascendance over the Keepers and they, posing as the Time-Keepers, guided Immortus to eliminate a number of realities that would decrease their dominance in existence at the end of time. They also guided Immortus to guide the eventual transmutation of a particular nexus being into a source of power. Immortus chose the Scarlet Witch to fill this role, but eventually she threw off his control. The Twisters then intervened, allegedly with the intent of stopping the accumulated energy from putting all future timelines into jeopardy. They then transferred the energy the Scarlet Witch had expelled into Immortus, rendering him immobile and serving as a receptacle for temporal energy which they could then manipulate.
(Quasar#26) - The Time-Keepers attended the funeral of Eon.
(Quasar#30 (fb) - BTS) - The Time-Keepers threatened to confiscate Uatu's extradimensional portal after the Living Laser passed through his portal and caused a number of divergences.
(What If? II#35-38 - BTS) - Still posing as the Time-Keepers, the Twisters determined that there were four major nexus beings, one each in four different alternate realities, that might prevent their existence. They set about plans to destroy these beings (which in turn would theoretically lead to the destruction of those realities) to insure that they would maintain dominance over the true Time-Keepers. They only succeeded in destroying one of the nexus beings and as a result the Time-Twisters vanished from existence.
(What If? II#39) - Uatu and the Time Variance Authority successfully neutralized Immortus' threat, and the Twisters reformed. However, the Keepers then appeared and exposed the Twisters falsehood. The Twisters melted back into pods and the Keepers regained ascendance, taking the pods back to the Citadel at the End of Time and continuing to watch over the timelines.
(Avengers: Terminatrix Objective#3) - The Time-Keepers traveled to Chronopolis, visiting the comatose Kang as his empire faced the greatest threat to its continued existence. One of them, Vort, mused out loud about his considering reviving Kang, as the passing of Chronopolis would greatly diminish the realm of influence of the Time-Keepers. However, they all agreed that intervention with their great power would risk chronosynclastic entropy engulfing that entire sector. The trio fled as Kang's mechanical servant approached.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb) - BTS) - During the Kree-Shiar War (Operation: Galactic Storm), Immortus tried to force the Avengers back to Earth, but pushed him to far, and he led a group of Avengers to seemingly execute the Supreme Intelligence.
(Avengers Forever#8 (fb)) - The Time-Keepers again visited Immortus, warning him of the imminent threat of humanity, via the introduction of Deathcry leading the group into space to liberate the Kree from Shiar tyranny, and then maintaining a presence in space, leading to the future of the Avengers Galactic Battalion. Immortus begged for one more chance to try to alter the course of time to prevent this, and the Keepers granted him this. Immortus thus arranged the events of the Crossing to keep the Avengers on Earth until they could be caught up in the battle against Onslaught.
(Avengers Forever#9 (fb)) - Viewing a temporal flash of Immortus pledging allegiance to the Time-Keepers restored Kang's drive to remain a conqueror and not become an administrator like Immortus.
(Avengers Forever#1) - The Time-Keepers observed the future reality of Earth-Avengers Galactic Battalion, noting that humanity's domination of the universe as seen in that reality was unacceptable.
(Avengers Forever#1 - BTS) - The Time-Keepers instructed Immortus to kill Rick Jones of Earth-616 to prevent his awakening of the Destiny Force in the rest of humanity. However, Kang, the Supreme Intelligence, and Libra (formerly of the Zodiac Cartel) interfered, and Rick managed to access the Destiny Force and call forth seven Avengers, spanning the past, present, and future, to aid him.
(Avengers Forever#3 - BTS) - Immortus' forces defeated Kang's and the Avengers, and Immortus transformed Chronopolis and the Heart of Forever that it contained into the Forever Crystal.
(Avengers Forever#5 - BTS) - Immortus used the Heart of Forever to wipe out an alternate reality in which a loosely organized group of heroes in the 1950s took the name the Avengers. In this reality a Skrull was exposed after replacing Vice-President Nixon, which would have led to a more rapid space race and towards humanity taking to the stars sooner (see comments).
(Avengers Forever#10) - The cross-time Avengers were brought before the Time-Keepers, who detailed their origins and the threat of humanity to the universes (with almost 42% or existing timelines damaged by humanity). They then revealed their intent to destroy all but the minimum number of timelines to ensure their own existence. The Avengers prepared to oppose the Time-Keepers, and they were joined by Kang, the Supreme Intelligence, and Rick Jones.
(Avengers Forever#11) - The Time-Keepers formed an energy field to block their attackers, but eventually they abandoned the conflict, transporting themselves back to the Citadel at the End of Time. The Avengers and their allies, joined by Libra, followed them there, and the Keepers formed a shield to hold them off as they prepared to load the Forever Crystal into their chrono-cannon and accomplish their goal. When Immortus tried to resist them, they turned him into dust. As they calibrated the cannon, the Keepers used the Crystal to summon forth a number of alternate reality counterparts, those from each timeline that had turned dark and destructive, to oppose the cross-time Avengers. These included the Avengers from "Earth-689"/Avengers pawns of the Scarlet Centurion; Captain America & Giant-Man from Earth-Kree; the Magneto-manipulated Scarlet Witch (@ Avengers West Coast#56); Captain Assyria, Giant-Man, Horus, Iron Man, Sceptre, and Storm from Earth-Forever Yesterday; soldiers from Earth-Avengers: Galactic Battalion; Sloth of the Gatherers; Samantha Hasard of ClanDestine; Banshee; Beast; Bishop; Black Goliath; Black Panther; Blue Shield; Deathlok the Demolisher; Death's Head (Minion); Falcon; Gambit; Goliath; Hawkeye; Iron Man; Mantis; Moon Knight; Nighthawk; Nova; Paladin; Quasar; Rage; Red Guardian (Shostakov); Sandman; Scarlet Witch; Starfox; Super-Adaptoid; Taskmaster; an evil Thor; Tiger Shark; Tigra; Vision; an evil New Man White Tiger, and many others (see comments). The Time-Keepers took Kang out of the fight by initiating his evolution into Immortus, however, two versions of Rick Jones then summoned an army of Avengers from timelines not corrupted to oppose the Time-Keepers' army.
(Avengers Forever#12) - As the armies of Avengers fought, Kang resisted the Time-Keepers with all of his might, forcing a divergence between himself and Immortus, and causing a powerful temporal backlash that stunned the Time-Keepers. Nonetheless, the Keepers prepared to fire the chrono-cannon, but Rick Jones of Earth-616 accessed the Destiny Force and shattered the cannon. As the three Keepers struggled to recover, a triumphant Kang approached them and emptied his weapons power packs into them, apparently destroying the Time-Keepers.
(Marvel Universe: The End#2, [3,4-BTS]) (see comments) - All three Time-Keepers were amongst those imprisoned by Akhenaten to eliminate the threat of time travelers to his existence. They were presumably freed when Thanos facilitated Akhenaten's defeat.
(Marvel Knights 4#16 (fb) - BTS) - Able to see flashes into the timestream, but no longer able to travel through time, the fourth Time-Keeper became known as the Oracle of Siwa.
(Marvel Knights 4#16 (fb) - BTS) <@ 2925 BC> - When Ramades plotted to conquer the modern era, he first visited the Oracle of Siwa to ask if the moment was right for his conquest; the Oracle confirmed that the moment was right.
(Marvel Knights 4#16) - The Oracle was confronted by the Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, and the Thing, banished to ancient Egypt by Ramades. The Time-Keeper revealed Ramades involvement, origins, and motivations.
(Marvel Knights 4#17 - BTS) - Nathaniel Richards transported the three members of the Fantastic Four back to the modern era.
(Marvel Knights 4#16 (fb) - BTS) <b/t 356-323 BC> - When Alexander the Great was conquering the Earth, he came to the temple of the Oracle of Siwa to have his rule over Egypt legitimized.
(Marvel Knights 4#16 (fb) - BTS) <@ 1500 BC> - When Queen Hatsushep declared herself Egypt's first female pharaoh, she, too, visited the Oracle to have her rule over Egypt legitimized.
(Marvel Knights 4#16 (fb) - BTS) - The Oracle was so feared that the King of Persia once dispatched an army of 50, 000 strong to destroy its temple. The men were lost in the desert forever.
Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald, Ralph Macchio, Roy and Dann Thomas, Paul Ryan, and Danny Buladi.
Regarding the Time-Keeper in the recent Marvel Knights 4 arc--the best yet, by the way--Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa revealed in a personal communication that he was a 4th, previously unseen, Time-Keeper, banished to ancient Egypt by He Who Remains at the moment of his creation.
Avengers: Terminatrix Objective#3 showed the Time-Keepers taking off masks, making it appear as if they were actually virtual duplicates of the Time-Twisters. Based on that issue, Ast would appear to be the one with antennae, and Vort might be the one with the smooth face, leaving Zanth as the one with the etched, insectoid face. Some issues have shown the latter being with tentacles in place of arms, while others show all three with arms. Perhaps they are shapeshifters.
Man, I wish Kurt had clarified the story from Avengers Forever#4+5 better, or better yet, not even included the section with the 1950s Avengers. I have spoken to Kurt (co-writer of this series) via e-mail about this on several occasions. His take remains that on Earth-616, the group was not called the Avengers, but that the story did not mean that the group never existed; they might have gone by another name, and he suggested the G-Men. So now I write for the Marvel Handbooks and Encyclopedias, and all of us wanted to clarify that fact. Unfortunately, Tom Brevoort (who was editor of this series and oversees all of the Handbooks) disagrees and refuses to allow it to be clarified, despite the fact that several previous OHotMUs have confirmed similar events as having occurred on Earth-616. Our only option now is to get someone to actually write new comics for Marvel, so that this can be confirmed. If only...
The full listing of divergent Avengers seen in Avengers Forever#11 + 12 is listed on the inside back cover of Avengers Forever#12.
It is unclear whether the Time-Keepers can be destroyed. If so, then they might have been destroyed late in their lives, but their earlier selves might still exist and could still travel to whatever time period they wished. I don't know whether the Time-Keepers seen in Marvel Universe: The End were reformed Keepers chronologically following Avengers Forever, or whether they were just earlier Keepers plucked from the timestream.
Bonus info from our pal, Jean-Marc Lofficier, who wrote the classic Time Quake:
I don't need to recap the ending of TIME-QUAKE which, in spite of its copy-intensive nature (we only had 2 pages left to reshape it) is, I believe, fairly straightforward. (If not, feel free to ask). What did NOT make it, beyond a few comments made by the TVA director to the Watcher that the Time-Keepers are the creation of He Who Remains, the last surviving director of the TVA at the End of Time, to pass on knowledge etc. to the Next Universe (a very noble goal, rather uncharacteristic of the TVA as you may have noted) is WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE Time-Keepers. I mean, why are they so powerful, and is their raison d'Ítre only what "Gruenwald" <note: The Time Variance Authority middle management agents are clearly patterned after Mark Gruenwald, one of Marvel's great continuity masters--Snood> told the Watcher?
The answer is (well, was) a resounding NO!
The story, as it was initially pitched and written, stated that the Time-Keepers were, in effect, the living embodiment of the TVA's Pension Plan. Throughout its eternity of existence, the TVA stored away a certain % of Time Energy which was then accumulated and compounded in the form of the Time-Keepers - you could compare them to the Guardians of Oa's concept of being living batteries of power, except that in the Time-Keepers' case, it's time energy.
A LOT of Time Energy.
The way it works is as follows: when an employee of the TVA eventually retires, he can go anywhere in the universe and live a near-immortal life (barring accidents etc) by drawing on the time energy accumulated (and growing) stored in the Time-Keepers. (So for example, that old guy in Miami Beach who's been there "forever" may be a former employee of the TVA drawing on time energy.)
Needless to say, when Immortus (aka the Whisperer) threatened to erase the Time-Keepers and steal their time energy to remake himself into a reality-altering quantum wave, the TVA was. not. amused. Would you if your pension plan was being looted? (This rather anticipated the Enron-type scandals by a few years, I'm proud to say.)
There is the true, unrevealed secret origin of the Tine Keepers, but while untold, it hasn't been contradicted, as far as I know.
Originally, the plot was merely Immortus vs the (real) Time Keepers. Period.As retrofitted after Mark (Gruenwald)'s tinkering, it became the Ultimate What If (my idea), i.e.: the very last alternate timeline at the end of time, or whoever of the TK or the TT is dominant (yin-yang) at the very moment when our universal cycle ends, will imprint its pattern (check the actual copy in #39) onto the next universe. So in other words, the TT's plan is to change the past realities in order for THEM to be the dominant What If reality at the end of time, NOT the TK.
The Time-Twisters and/or Keepers would be behind the scenes in pretty much all of Immortus' appearances, esp. these: [Av241,242/Captain America I#292, Fantastic Four I#265, Spectacular Spider-Man II#90, Av243, Incredible Hulk II#300, Av244,245, Av An13, Av246-248, West Coast Avengers I#1, Iron Man An7, Av249, Thor351-353, WCA I#1, Cap301, Av250, IM#190, Av251-254, WCA II#43], Av269(fb),[267,268],269, [WCA II#43(fb)], Avengers West Coast#48,50, [Avengers An18], AWC51,53,55,56 59-61, and Avengers Forever#2-9
To clarify a point...Eon's
funeral in Quasar#26 was NOT erased; Nebula set time back to the
events of Infinity Gauntlet#1 (note that after Nebula uses the
gauntlet Dr. Strange's window is still broken, and Captain
America is back to his meeting with Hawkeye & Sersi), which
occurs AFTER Quasar#26-27. I would chalk up the line in Quasar#30
where he wonders what Thanos' power is to the fact that Quasar
never did understand just what the Infinity Gauntlet was (he
underestimated Thanos' power throughout Quasar#26). Long story
short, the events of Quasar#26-27 weren't "undone" or
I never like the erasing, reversing time stuff anyway. I think some specific events were reversed, but otherwise, everything that happened...happened.
The Time-Keepers have an entry in OHotMU 2006 A-Z#11.
Profile by Snood.
The Time Keepers have NO direct connection to other temporal entities, and exactly how he relates to some of the more mainstream beings is unknown. Other Temporal Administrators/Rules include
Avengers Forever#10, p11, panel 1
p12, panel 1 (faces)
Avengers: Terminatrix Objective#3, p2, panel 1 (Keepers unmasked)
Thor I#242-245 (December, 1975 - March, 1975) - Len Wein (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Len Wein (editor)
Thor I#282 (April 1979) - Mark Gruenwald & Ralph Macchio (writer), Keith Pollard (pencils), Pablo Marcos (inks), Jim Shooter & Roy Thomas (editor)
What If? II#13 (May 1990) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Vince Mielcarek (pencils), Ian Akin & Brian Garvey (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)
Avengers West Coast#62 (September 1990) - Roy & Dann Thomas (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Dan Bulanadi (inks), Howard Mackie (editor)
Quasar#26 (September 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Dave Hoover (pencils), Fred Fredricks (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
Quasar#30 (January 1992) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Joel Zulueta & Pat Broderick (pencils), Fred Fredricks (inks), Kelly Corvese (editor)
What If? II#35-39 (March-July 1992) - Roy Thomas & Jean-Marc Lofficier (writer), Joe Phillips (#35), Dave Hoover (#36), Mark Pacella (#37), Marshall Rogers (#38), M.C. Wyman (#38) & Gavin Curties (#39) (pencils), Sam de la Rosa (#35, 38), Ian Akin (#36, 39), Michael Bair (#36), Steve Montano (#37), Dan Panosian (#37), Rod Ramos (#38) & Don Hudson (#39) (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)
Avengers: Terminatrix Objective#3 (November 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Gustovich (pencils), Don Hudson & Bud LaRosa (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Avengers Forever#1 (December 1998) - Kurt Busiek (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers Forever#2-9 (January-August 1999) - Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern (#3-9) (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers Forever#10-11 (October, November 1999) - Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern (#3-9) (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Avengers Forever#12 (February 2000) - Kurt Busiek & Roger Stern (#3-9) (writer), Carlos Pacheco (pencils), Jesus Merino (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Universe: The End#2 (May 2003)- Jim Starlin (writer/pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvel Knights 4#16-17 (May-June 2005) - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (writer), Jim Muniz (pencils), Derek Fridolfs & Jim Royal (inks), Warren Simons (editor)
Last updated: 10/17/13
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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