Real Name: Kamo Tharnn
Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (race of origin unidentified)
Occupation: Librarian, scholar, seeker of knowledge;
intermittent seeker of power
Group Membership: Elders of the Universe, Scholars of Rus
(Seginn Gallio), beast-men of
Rus, Champion (Tryco
Slatterus), Collector (Taneleer
Contemplator imposter (actually a Skrull imposter of Tath
Ki), Death (cosmic manifestation), Ego the Living Planet,
Gardener (Ord Zyonz), Grandmaster (En
Dwi Gast), Keith Kincaid, Obliterator (Maht Pacle),
Sinalinas race, Thor Odinson, Trader (Cort
Zo Tinnus), unidentified champion;
"hundreds of thousands" of residents of Rus whose spirits had been formerly trapped within his form (and the Runestaff before that), including Al'Axis and Axor, as well as Earth's Jane Foster, plus an unidentified A'askvarii, Alpha Centaurian, possibly an A-Chiltarian, others to come as I profile each race...)
unspecified relationship with previous Protectors of the Universe
Enemies: Champions of Los Angeles
(Angel/Warren Worthington, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, Darkstar/Laynia Petrovna, Ghost Rider/Zarathos/Johnny
Blaze, Hercules/Alcaeus/Heracles, Iceman/Bobby Drake), Death (cosmic
manifestation), Galactus (Galan), In-Betweener, Invisible Woman (Sue Richards), Kt'kn penal colony,
Mantis, Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards), Nova (Frankie Raye), Shalla-Bal, Sif,
Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd), Thunderstrike (Eric Masterson), unidentified
unspecified relationship with previous Protectors of the Universe
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: Master Scholar, Possessor of the Runestaff,
surname frequently misspelled Tharn
Base of Operations: Planet
Scion system, Andromeda galaxy;
place of birth unrevealed
First Appearance: (Kamo Tharnn referenced) Thor I#232 (February, 1975); (full appearance) Thor I#235 (May, 1975); (as Possessor) Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#4 (April, 1983)
Powers/Abilities: Tharnn's physical abilities are
undefined. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10:
Possessor entry noted him to be Class 50 strength (meaning lifting b/t 25-50
tons), but the stories don't really support him having any great physical
strength (see comments). He does strike an occasional blow that forces back
a worthy opponent, so perhaps enhanced human strength (lifting b/t 800 lbs. and
Similarly, despite the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry's statement that he is immune to conventional harm such as disease, penetrating wounds, etc., there is no real evidence that his durability is much beyond human, though he can survive in the cold and vacuum of space with or without the Runestaff.
The OHotMU Master Edition notes that he can manipulate cosmic energy for a variety of effects, including the projection of concussive force blasts and increasing his size and mass (and hence physical strength).
He may be stronger and more durable while bolstered by possession of the Runestaff.
The Possessor is unaging, his life force
bolstered by his single-minded obsession with the pursuit of knowledge. Along
with the other Elders of the Universe, Tharnn was permanently barred from entry
into Death's realm, making him essentially unable to die.
Even without the Runestaff he considers regeneration of a missing limb a "simple matter" (whether he can physically do this or use technological or other means to do so). When last seen, he had lost his right arm just below the elbow, but may have partially or completely regenerated it by now. He also apparently can alter his dental structure, as he had crazy bad teeth in his first appearance, but normal dentition in subsequent appearances. He apparently can NOT repair the mystic damage done to his vision.
Without the Runestaff, Tharnn possesses the ability (whether within himself or via technology or some other means) to transport Rus across space, apparently even intergalactic distances in a short timespan (months, Marvel Time), at least in pursuit of the Runestaff. Perhaps via similar means (or via the Runestaff),he teleport others from the city surrounding his palace to his throneroom.
Without the Runestaff, Tharnn can mentally cause others
to experience complex illusory scenarios (different events occurring in the
minds of different people simultaneously, at least 4 at a time). Victims under
his influence will stop what they are doing and stand motionless, believing they
are experiencing whatever Tharnn wishes them to see. Tharnn may have had other
offensive abilities, as he planned to kill Angel, Black Widow, Ghost Rider, and
even Hercules in short order, but he was punched out before he had the chance
(or maybe he meant to set the Beast-Men on them, or something else).
He apparently has unrevealed extrasensory perceptions that take the place of his sight.
Tharnn is a genius and possesses knowledge of virtually all things within his native universe (Earth-616's universe), but has minimal knowledge and a significant fear of things outside this realm and thus outside of his understanding. His intelligence and personality appear to have been somewhat altered by his extended periods of insanity. He appears to have moved beyond his initial sole pursuit of knowledge and has sought power, total immortality, and both the Quantum Bands and the role of Protector of the Universe (perhaps to protect himself and his knowledge stories from a foreseen threat). It is unclear whether he has any actual abilities of prophecy or whether he is able to predict events based on his extensive knowledge of activities occurring across the universe.
The Runestaff enables Tharnn to siphon life energy from others, deafen others, transfer soul/power from one to another, transfer the spirits of others (even hundreds of thousands) into the dimension associated with ("inside") the Runestaff, and transfer his own life essence into another's form, typically displacing that being's form into Tharnn's own or into the Runestaff. It can also fire destructive force blasts able to shatter rock.
Height: 6'5" (see comments)
Weight: 400 lbs. (see comments)
Eyes: Light blue(?)
Hair: Light gray
(Captain America Annual#6 - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#4: Elders of the Universe entry (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Kamo Tharnn is one of the Elders of the Universe: He is one of the oldest living beings in the universe and was a member of one of the first races to become sentient in the wake of the Big Bang, the event that began the universe.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#4: Elders of the Universe entry (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Tharnn's origins are lost in antiquity, but he spent his life engaged in single-minded pursuit and recording of all the knowledge in the universe.
(Thor I#335 (fb) - BTS / Silver Surfer III#9 (fb) - BTS) - Tharnn engaged in the pursuit of all knowledge for 5.5 billion years.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Eventually Tharnn founded a huge university and library on the planet Rus, and he transferred the vast store of knowledge he had accumulated to a huge master computer.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Tharnn opened the doors of his academy of learning to knowledge-seekers from anywhere in the universe.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Within a century, his institution of advanced knowledge was filled with scholars, students, and researchers from over a thousand different starfaring races.
(Thor I#335 (fb) - BTS) - Tharnn's adopted planet, Rus, long served as an interstellar academy within the local galaxy. Its Master Library housed the most complete bank of data coils within the galactic system.
(Thor I#234 (fb) - BTS) - Kamo Tharnn's homeworld was the sole planet orbiting its star.
(Quasar#48 (fb) - BTS) - Tharnn encountered several of Eon's Protectors of the Universe.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - For untold millennia, Tharnn was content to be the master librarian and chief administrator of his university...until one of his research assistants brought to him the Runestaff.
(Thor I#335 (fb)) <Tharnn's autobiography> - Believing he possessed all knowledge, Tharnn was astonished to learn of the alien and mystic Runestaff (held by an unidentified Achernonian), the powers of which lay beyond his grasp.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Excited by such a find, Tharnn asked to examine the Runestaff to record its properties for the master computer personally. The researcher had already devoted a great deal of time and effort mastering the Runestaff's properties and did not want Tharnn to take credit for its discovery, and so the Achenonian refused Tharnn.
(Thor I#335 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) <Tharnn's autobiography> - So zealous was Tharnn's quest for omniscience that he could not control himself and apparently slew the Achernonian when he refused to yield the Runestaff to Tharnn's "urgent pleas for knowledge." With the Runestaff's master slain, Tharnn had no one to explain the Runestaff's mysterious physical and mystical properties.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - The senseless murderous act unhinged the sanity of the usually peaceful master librarian, and he began to experiment with the Runestaff with reckless abandon.
(Thor I#235 (fb) - BTS / Thor I#335 (fb)) <Tharnn's
autobiography> - His own experimentation proved reckless and, when Tharnn
conjured improperly, his fellow scholars, the faculty of his academy (and, per
Thor I#235, all who once lived upon his world), were trapped within the
Runestaff. Tharnn was cast into blindness by the energies unleashed.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Tharnn accidentally dispatched the hundreds of thousands of students and faculty on Rus into the limbo-like pocket dimension "inside the Runestaff.
(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10: Possessor entry) - Driven further insane by the ruin of everything he had striven for over the eons, Tharnn, now calling himself the Possessor of the Runestaff, presided over the still world, paranoid that someone would come and take away his last remaining possession. The planet's edifices soon fell into disrepair, the master computer ceased to function, and a furry pre-intelligent semi-humanoid race of "Beast-Men" began to breed wildly and overrun Rus.
(Thor I#232 (fb) - BTS) - Hildegarde, Sif and others learned the Runestaff of Kamo Tharnn held the power of life and death, and granted such power to any who held the staff.
(Thor I#232 - BTS) - With Thor's beloved Jane Foster dying from attempted suicide due to fear induced by the Dweller-in-Darkness, Sif despaired at being able to help Jane upon finding Odin absent (on Earth as the amnesiac Orrin via a spell cast to force himself to learn humility). Hildegarde reminded Sif of the Runestaff of Kamo Tharnn, and Sif set out to locate Thor, as she feared her power alone might not be sufficient.
(Thor I#234 (fb) - BTS) - Sif and Hercules arrived on Kamo Tharnn's homeworld, a city of which they found deserted. Sif identified the "eternal beacon" that marked the palace of Kamo Tharnn and led Hercules there.
(Thor I#235) - As Sif led Hercules through the labyrinth-like
city towards the palace, Kamo Tharnn projected his voice or thoughts from there
to them, noting the penalty for their trespass, just before he ordered his
subjects to seize them. The two gods were then ambushed by a group of beast-men,
but they made short work of their attackers. Tharnn then questioned by what
right they entered his private domain, opposed his guards, and stood chattering
in his royal thoroughfare; he then transported him to his presence, sitting atop
a throne, surrounding by aged ruins.
Tharnn welcomed them, but Hercules charged him, irate at being treated as a pawn, ignoring Sif's warning to stop. Tharnn noted her plea had fallen on deaf ears, then blasted Hercules with his Runestaff, rendering him deaf. When Sif questioned why Tharnn had done this, Tharnn was unsympathetic, feeling his own useless eyes caused his own torment to match Hercules' torment. Sif then accused Tharnn of being bereft of feeling and emotion, noting he may as well be made of stone as flesh. Amused by Sif's pleas, Tharnn asked her to reveal her "pretended purpose" in coming there. After Sif explained that she was trying to save the life of another for love, Tharnn became irate, telling her she was a fool for coming to him, and that the power he possessed was for his use alone and that it would remain his evermore.
Unable to hear Tharnn, but sensing his refusal via his facial expressions, Hercules rammed into Tharnn and then punched him to the ground. Hercules dodged an energy blast from the runestaff that apparently shattered Tharnn's throne, but Tharnn finally nailed Hercules with another blast, draining Hercules' life force. Sif futilely implored the Possessor to stop before he killed Hercules, and Hercules, refusing to succumb to the draining blast, forced himself back up to his feet and dropped Tharnn with a devastating punch. Hercules took the runestaff from Tharnn's hand, noting the runestaff seemed almost alive and wondering if the warm material in the staff portion was wood or metal.
Realizing they had to depart immediately because Tharnn's wrath would be uncontrollable and he would follow them to the ends of the universe, Sif transported herself, Hercules, and the Runestaff back to Earth (in New York City's Midtown Hospital), and she urged Hercules and Odin's Vizier to Jane Foster's room, noting that the time had come for the Spell of Revival.
(Thor I#236 (fb) - BTS) - Sif passed the Runestaff to Odin's Vizier as she prepared for the ritual.
(Thor I#236 - BTS) - Sif instructed the Vizier to give her the
Runestaff so she could begin the ritual.
As Sif chanted the Spell (which was "as old as time" and in a language older than human ken...older perhaps than the oldest immortal") the air around the hospital room crackled with lightning and tasted of ozone, and bursts of emerald fire shot out. As the rhythm of Sif's words, a pulse like the beating of a heart, sped up, white lightning replaced the green fire, and Jane Foster's life seemed to fade before she vanished completely in a burst of green fire.
Soon thereafter, Jane revived, and the Vizier noted how Sif's life force had been transported into Jane.
(Thor I#335 (fb) - BTS) - Sif's spirit passed through the Runestaff and into Jane Foster, while Sif's body was left behind within the Runestaff.
(Thor I#249 - BTS) - Having accompanied Thor to Asgard, Jane Foster was transformed into/replaced by Sif upon receiving Sif's sword. The Vizier theorized they shared forms and would revert back and forth depending on whether they were in Asgard or on Earth.
(Champions#13 (fb) - BTS) - The Runestaff was placed into one of Midtown Hospital's broom closets.
(Thor I#332 (fb) - BTS) - Superintendent Sundval noted the staff with interest, thinking it my bring him a big reward.
(Champions#13 (fb) - BTS) - Seeking to reclaim his Runestaff, Tharnn began moving his planet across space, eventually bringing it close enough to Earth's sun to feel faint warmth from Sol .
(Champions#12 / Champions#13 - BTS) - To stop the Null-Life Bomb, the Stranger (who did not realizing the Runestaff had been brought to Earth), transported Los Angeles' Champions (Angel/Warren Worthington, Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, Darkstar/Laynia Petrovna, Ghost Rider/Zarathos/Johnny Blaze, Hercules/Alcaeus/Heracles, Iceman/Bobby Drake) to the world of Kamo Tharnn. Hercules swiftly identified the world and the approaching Beast-Men, while Tharnn recognized Hercules' voice, vowing the one who stole his Runestaff would die.
(Champions#13) - Appreciating the unexpected transportation of
Hercules to his world, Tharnn ordered his Beast-Men to attack and bring him
Hercules' head. As the rest of the Champions fought off the Beast-Men, Darkstar
headed back to Earth via the Stranger's closing portal, and Iceman followed her.
Sensing their teammates' departure, Tharnn told the others it was time to feel
his world-rending power as he seemingly transformed the world around them into a
hellish realm. Actually standing still, the remaining Champions believed
themselves to be fighting a losing battle against winged demon creatures and a
giant lava monster. Ultimately, however, Angel realized they were facing an
illusion, and he closed and eyes and forced the false scenarios from himself and
his teammates. Bragging about having savored his victims' agonies, Tharnn
announced his intent to end their lives with his next move, but an irate Angel
flew forward and battered Tharnn unconscious.
Meanwhile, Darkstar and Iceman arrived on Earth (within the Null-Life bomb in which the Stranger had become trapped) and informed the Stranger that the Runestaff was still on Earth. Sensing the Runestaff's location, the Stranger opened a rift in the hyper-space within the bomb's dimensional wall, and Darkstar reached in and claimed the Runestaff from a broom closet in Midtown Hospital. Under the Stranger's instruction and with his own power added to hers, Darkstar added the Runestaff's power to the Null-Life Bomb's energies, forcing it to grow faster than it had been designed to do; the expansion exceeded the bomb's programming, effectively driving it mad, and causing it to expand forever into cosmic nothingness. The bomb thus somehow ceased to affect the physical world, releasing all those previously trapped within it.
The Runestaff was not seen during Darkstar's recovery or the Stranger's departure.
(Thor I#335 (fb)) - Tharnn recalled the Ritual of Retrieval and reclaimed the Runestaff.
(Champions#13 (fb) - BTS) - Sundval realized the Runestaff was gone.
(Thor Annual#9 - BTS) - In the Dark Dimension, Umar bathed Sif in the G'unathic Guardians' energy, reverting her back to Jane Foster. Upon returning to Earth, Jane turned back into Sif.
(Thor I#335 (fb)) - Tharnn attempted once again to to master the Runestaff's powers, but only succeeded at transferring the souls trapped within into his own body/mind, leaving himself addled.
(Thor I#334 (fb) - BTS) - Tharnn concealed the Runestaff within the walls of his world's Master Library so base thieves and villains would not discover it.
(Thor I#335 (fb) - BTS) - A prison transport crashed on Rus, and the criminal Kt'kn being transported slew their guards. Encountering the addled Tharnn, they imprisoned him in painful energy manacles.
(Thor I#332 - BTS) - With his mortal identity (and Jane
Foster's former lover) Don Blake accused of murder in response to Jane's
disappearance, Thor returned to New York to collect the Runestaff.
Superintendeant Sundval recalled the staff, but noted "but then vun morning, it
Don Blake/Thor eventually determined that Dr. Stephen Strange may be able to help him locate the Runestaff.
(Thor I#333 - BTS) - Determining Thor's plight, Dr. Strange used the Orb of Agamotto to ascertain the Runestaff's location, mystically impressing the planet's location within Thor's mind.
(Thor I#334) - Thor, Sif, and Keith Kincaid (Jane Foster's fiancé, to whom Thor had revealed his connection with Blake and who had begged Thor to bring him along) took an Avengers quinjet to Tharnn's world. Overcoming the Kt'kn criminals, Thor flew Sif and Kincaid to Tharnn's palace. Searching the abandoned palace, they eventually encountered the maddened Tharnn held within painful energy bonds. An agonized Tharnn acquiesced when Thor offered to free him in exchange for yielding to him the Runestaff wherever it was hidden. Tharnn led Thor and his allies to the Master Library, which (according to Tharnn) held within its data-coils all knowledge in the universe, magical or scientific, and revealed the Runestaff's hidden location. The addled Tharnn threatened Thor with the Runestaff's great power, but then turned it over, as promised. Thor handed the Runestaff to Sif, who spoke the ritual, but it failed as Sif found that Jane's essence was not within her; Sif feared Sif may be lost to them forever.
(Thor I#335) - Seeking to reclaim the Runestaff, Tharnn was
overcome by the personality of Axor before collapsing. Kincaid identified
radiation burns on Tharnn's wrists from the Kt'kn's energy bonds and realized
Tharnn needed immediate treatment. While Thor retrieved the emergency medical
unit for the Avengers quinjet, Kincaid noted Tharnn's heart was holding
out, and Sif speculated that Tharnn appeared to be nigh-immortal. After Sif
revealed her previous experience with the Runestaff, Kincaid convinced Sif to
travel within the Runestaff, and Thor joined her in the quest; Kincaid held a
laser gun he had borrowed from the Quinjet. Sif accessed the Runestaff's inner
realm via her own magical sword's dimension-cleaving properties, but she and
Thor were swiftly pulled into a fiery sea that hauled them in its tow, though
Thor soon pulled them to safety, and they continued their search.
Meanwhile, Keith Kincaid scanned Tharnn's collapsed form, noting an EEG (electro-encephalogram) was recording multiple (perhaps 100 or more) brainwaves. Recalling how Tharnn had previously stated he was not Tharnn, Kincaid suspected Tharnn's body was hosting more than one being. Kincaid pulled off Tharnn's blindfold and noted the cosmic/starry background seen across Tharnn's eyes. Seeking the truth, Kincaid revived Tharnn with an injection, and Tharnn swiftly displayed at least five different personalities in a few minutes. Kincaid reminded Tharnn who and where he was, and, regaining his wits, Tharnn guided Kincaid to use the Macro-Screen, entering into it numeral code unit three decimal eight unit three. The system then revealed Tharnn's history, after which Tharnn was overwhelmed by the personality of Al'Axis, the Philosopher Supreme of the planet Quintar.
Kincaid then realized Jane Foster was trapped within Tharnn rather than the Runestaff, and he grasped the Runestaff and tried to urge Thor and Sif to return to him; Kincaid's anxieties manifested in the forms of a few giant lobster-like creatures that apparently sought to take Thor and Sif back to Kincaid. Unaware of their intent, Thor and Sif overcame the lobster creatures, but Kincaid first shook the Runestaff in frustration (leading to winds buffeting the gods within about) and then tried tapping the Runestaff to the ground (like Thor did with Mjolnir to transform into Blake, and vice-versa), which rolled them end-over-end repeatedly. Finally Kincaid calmed down and waited, and Thor and Sif found the inner world's center, which appeared empty. Believing they had failed, Thor had Sif use her dimension-cleaving sword to return them to Rus.
As they emerged, Kincaid explained what he had learned, and Sif used the Runestaff on Tharnn, freeing hundreds or more alien entities in a blinding flash. Searching amidst the aliens, Thor found a dazed Jane Foster, who soon recalled her past and embraced Keith Kincaid.
His mind once again sound, Tharnn thanked Thor and vowed Rus would be rebuilt to serve its original purpose as center and academy for gathering and disseminating the combined knowledge of the galaxy. He further vowed the Runestaff would be studied thoroughly and that it would only be used at all when it could be put to good and moral use. He bade the others farewell as Thor transported them back to the quinjet, which returned them to Earth.
(Avengers Annual#16 - BTS) - The Grandmaster's machinations with Death rendered the Elders of the Universe exiled from the realm of death, which made them essentially unable to die.
(Silver Surfer III#4 (fb) - BTS) - The Possessor gathered with several other Elders (Astronomer, Champion, Collector, Contemplator (actually a Skrull imposter), Gardener, Grandmaster, Obliterator, Runner, Trader), using Ego the Living Planet as their meeting place. They formed an alliance with the powerful Ego by rationalizing that his nature as a unique being made him the last of his kind and thus an Elder.
(Silver Surfer III#4) - Mantis joined forced with the Silver Surfer to oppose the Elders' plans. They traveled to the planet on which the Elders held their meeting (unbeknownst to them, this was actually Ego), where the Grandmaster revealed how he had rendered the Elders immortal. The Grandmaster then revealed his next plot, the death of Galactus, which would make the Elders the oldest living beings in existence. Ego then detected the Surfer and Mantis' presence, and Ego and several Elders (not including the Possessor) attacked them, but the pair escaped.
(Silver Surfer III#7 (fb) - BTS) - The Elders (Astronomer, Champion, Collector, Gardener, Grandmaster, Possessor, Runner, Trader) regathered on Earth.
(Silver Surfer III#7) - The Elders (Astronomer,
Champion, Collector, Gardener, Grandmaster, Possessor, Runner, Trader, plus the
astral self of the Contemplator imposter) discussed recent, failed efforts to
kill the Silver Surfer, then moved on to discuss how they might slay Galactus
(which they believed would collapse the universe and create a new universe where
the Elders would rule as similarly-powered "Galacti") via the six main Infinity
Gems. Tharnn marveled at the thought of immortality extended.
The Gardener discovered Mantis spying on them and captured her, though she had time enough to send out a plea for help to Shalla-Bal (the Surfer's former lover and ruler of the planet Zenn-La).
(Silver Surfer III#9 / Silver Surfer III#10 (fb) - BTS) - With
both Shalla-Bal and Mantis their prisoners, and the Elders possessing 5 of the 6
primary Infinity Gems, the Elders discussed the Surfer holding the 6th gem (the
Mind Gem) and the state of the Kree Empire. Tharnn laughed upon mention of
Nenora taking over the Kree Empire, and revealed that Nenora was actually a
Skrull (spying on the Kree when trapped in that form by Zabyk's Hyperwave bomb).
When the Surfer arrived, the Elders coerced him to release the Mind Gem to save
Shalla-Bal and Mantis, then sent them to a distant place where their containment
would detonate on his approach, but his power and speed enabled the Surfer to
escape destruction and save one of the women (Shalla-Bal, though he had tried to
When Galactus arrived, the Elders used the six Infinity Gems to siphon his powers into six nearby worlds (as Tharnn taunted Galactus that he was as old as he would ever be). The Surfer returned with Nova (Frankie Raye) and disrupted the transfer, restoring Galactus and creating a black hole into which the Possessor, Astronomer, and Trader (as well as the Infinity Gems) were pulled. The restored Galactus helped save the Surfer and Nova from the black hole then swore vengeance on the remaining Elders.
(Silver Surfer III#15 (fb)) - The Possessor, Astonomer, and Trader emerged from the Black Hole in the "Magic Realm" (domain of the In-Betweener, Lord, Chaos, and Master Order). Tharnn retained his Runestaff, but all six Infinity Gems were scattered about the realm. Though unable to die, they were all physically frail and resolved to obtain the Gems by any means possible.
(Silver Surfer III#17 (fb) - BTS) - The Possessor was aware of the legends of the In-Betweener and knew they were based on fact.
(Silver Surfer III#15 (fb) - BTS) - With the Astronomer having foreseen various events (such as Galactus consuming and having difficulty digesting the Elders who had not been pulled into the black hole; sending the Silver Surfer to recover the Soul Gem to remove the Elders' souls to make their bodies more easily digested; and the Surfer bringing others with him, who would fall under the influence of Lord Chaos and Master Order and thus be more willing to deal with the Elders). The Elders secretly planned to trade the Gems in exchange for the Silver Surfer; but then to use the Soul Gem to release the In-Betweener, who would both restore them to their realm and destroy Galactus for them.
(Silver Surfer III#17 (fb)) - The Possessor, Astronomer, and Trader founded a sanctuary dedicated to the In-Betweener. They threw their voices into the void, and the In-Betweemer heard and agreed to their plans.
(Silver Surfer III#15 (fb)) - The three Elders found and arrived on the world of the Sinalinas, where two gems had fallen. With nothing of value to trade the Sinalinas and with Trader and Astronomer necessary for future endeavors, the Elders agreed to the Sinalinas' offer to trade them the two gems in exchange for Tharnn, whose knowledge of an alien realm interested the Sinalinas, as well as a starship and some weaponry.
(Silver Surfer III#15 (fb) - BTS) - The Sinalinas were impressed with the Possessor's stories, and Tharnn's tale of the Elders' assault upon Galactus won him fame. The natives called him the Tale-er, the one who tells tales.
(Silver Surfer III#15) - When the Silver Surfer (along with Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards and the Invisible Woman/Sue Richards, who were already beginning to fall under the influence of Master Order and Lord Chaos, respectively) arrived on the world of the Sinalinas, the natives rushed out to prevent the invaders from harming or taking the Tale-er. The Surfer and allies made short work of the Sinalinas, and the Possessor revealed the circumstances of his acquisition by the Sinalinas as well as confirming that the Astronomer and Trader were seeking the other four Infinity Gems, though he refused to reveal where they had gone. Able to track them, the Surfer took the Richardses with him as he departed, leaving Tharnn behind, just as planned.
(Silver Surfer III#16 - BTS / Silver Surfer III#17 (fb) - BTS) - The Possessor, Astronomer, and Trader hid behind a panel aboard the ship while Reed Richards accidentally touched the Soul Gem and was briefly possessed by the In-Betweener, who subsequently emerged physically into the Magic Realm.
(Silver Surfer III#17) - The Possessor, Astronomer, and Trader
emerged from behind their hidden panel, revealing their alliance with the In-Betweener
and their plans. With the Elders intending to leave the Surfer and Richardses
trapped in the Magic Realm, the Possessor noted that they may be fortunate not
to see what would happen to their world and their friends. The Elders then
gathered the other five gems and departed to Earth's universe. As they
approached Galactus' ship, the Punisher was unleashed and attacked the In-Betweener.
The Possessor urged the In-Betweener to defend himself, which he did, swiftly
annihilating the Punisher. Upon entering Galactus' ship, the Possessor
identified Franklin as the son of Reed and Susan Richards, but the In-Betweener
considered the information irrelevant. When the In-Betweener failed in his
attempt to destroy the collapsed Galactus and instead decided to cast Galactus
back through the black hole, the Possessor insisted the other Elders be rescued,
not just cast into the same realm they had just escaped. The Elders fired a
blast drawing on their Infinity Gems' power, but the In-Betweener summoned Death
and apparently forced her to slay the three Elders.
The other Elders were soon after expelled from Galactus, who subsequently revived.
(Silver Surfer III#18 - BTS) - The Grandmaster stated, "I do not believe that childish story of Death being forced to do do anything. Death swore to refuse us forever!" He chose to risk his existence in that belief.
(Quasar#47 (fb) - BTS) - Somehow "back to normal," the Possessor was one of several Elders of the Universe, among others, who investigated and/or sought dominion of the nascent/embryonic/fetal Origin. The Possessor had little interest in the organism, but rather the two Quantum Bands in its possession.
(Quasar#47) - As Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) and his ally Thunderstrike (Eric Masterson) teleported into Origin's proximity, the Possessor reflected on how he wanted the Quantum Bands. Revealing to the Explorer that the two were Earth natives (coming to possess what was theirs alone), the Possessor guided the Runestaff to fire a life force-draining energy blast at Quasar. The Runestaff informed the Possessor that Quasar's life force had a unique, extradimensional taste (the Starbrand), and the Possessor noted how this was all the more reason to possess it for their own. As Quasar withered under the assault, Thunderstrike turned the Obliterator's weapon on the Possessor, stunning him. When the Obliterator got the upper hand on Thunderstrike, Quasar hurled the Runestaff at the Obliterator, shattering his battering pod and incapacitating him.
(Quasar#48) - At Caregiver's request, Quasar and Thunderstrike
departed with the Obliterator and Possessor, respectively, to prevent them from
further risking harm to the unborn Origin. Quasar transported them all to
intergalactic space between the Milky Way and galaxy and the Greater Magellanic
cloud. Before Quasar could depart, the Possessor transferred his consciousness
into Thunderstrike (and sent Thunderstrike's consciousness into the Possessor's
form, which he then struck unconscious). Thunderstrike (with the Possessor's
consciousness) then attacked Quasar, intending to destroy Quasar and claim his
Quantum Bands. During the battle, Quasar trapped Thunderstrike in an energy
bubble and then realized that while the Possessor appeared to be unconscious, he
was clutching the Runestaff determinedly. As Quasar approached, the Possessor
withdrew his influence from Thunderstrike, struck Quasar with the Runestaff and
ordered Quasar away. Just as Thunderstrike broke free, the Possessor cast his
essence into Quasar and took over his form.
Noting how Quasar was perhaps the poorest of Eon's Protectors that he had yet encountered, the Possessor vowed that the universe would soon require a far better Protector and that his ability filled just that role. The Protector then proceeded to operate the Quantum Bands at their upper limits without trying to control the power flow, intending to cause a power surge that would disintegrate Quasar and leave the bands for the Protector to claim. The Protector was surprised to find that Quasar's bond with the Quantum Bands had prevented Quasar's consciousness from being transferred into the Possessor's form via the Runestaff. Realizing what was happening, Quasar threatened to hold onto the Possessor's consciousness and prevent him from transferring his own consciousness back into his own form microseconds before Quasar's destruction, but the Possessor challenged that Quasar lacked the power to back up his threat. Quasar then manifested the last vestiges of Star Brand power, sending a giant projection of the Star Brand "tattoo" to menace the Possessor. Unfamiliar with this extradimensional energy source, and terrified by the notion of something he could not fathom, the Possessor fled back to his own form. Quasar regained his control and expelled the excess energy the Possessor had generated, firing an energy blast that apparently disintegrated the Runestaff. Unwilling to let go of the staff, the Possessor's right arm was disintegrated as well, just below the elbow. Noting he could easily regenerate his arm, the Possessor angrily told Quasar that without his most prized Runestaff, he could no longer possess anyone. Unsympathetic, Quasar departed with Thunderstrike, leaving the Possessor and Obliterator trapped in intergalactic space.
SECRET WARS HAPPENED
(Contest of Champions III#6 (fb) - BTS) - Following the defeat of God Doom and the subsequent omniversal reconstruction, Possessor and the other Elders of the Universe became aware of Battlerealm, the former, broken "Secret Wars" reality at the edge of spacetime.
(Contest of Champions III#6 (fb) ) - The Elders traveled to Battlerealm and visited the husk of the old Battleworld where they still sensed an immense source of power waiting to be claimed (the recently formed ISO-8). All the Elders immediately lusted after it, ready to follow the path of their individual obsessions to claim it. Possessor hated Judicator's suggestion to share the riches of the planet. In the end they all agreed to the Grandmaster's proposal of deciding through a contest of champions. All twelve of them would get to pick a champion from the new multiverse to fight in their stead, with Grandmaster already selecting Maestro (Bruce Banner) who they found alive and defiant in the ruins of Battleworld.
(Contest of Champions III#6 (fb) - BTS) - Possessor picked a champion, who lost in the battle at Arcade's Killiseum.
Comments: Created by Gerry Conway, John Buscema, and Joe Sinnott.
The planet visited by Sif and Hercules in
Thor I#234-235 is referred to both as Kamo Tharnn's homeworld (in narration) and
as the world Kamo Tharnn had chosen to live. They're not mutually exclusive, but
the former implies he was born there while the latter implies he later relocated
In #235, this world is described in the following passage: "half a universe away, in a galaxy as far from the Milky Way as our sun is from Andromeda, is a world revolving around an ancient star
In Thor I#235, Tharnn was tough enough that, while he was no physical match for Hercules, he did recover from multiple hits from Hercules before Hercules finally punched him out. In Champions#13, Angel swiftly battered Tharnn unconscious. Perhaps the difference was that Tharnn held the Runestaff in the former encounter, and not the latter. At any rate, no clear evidence that Tharnn has superhuman strength and/or durability.
In his first appearance, Tharnn spoke with
a lot of "thee" and "thy" and "doth," etc. I wonder if he
was originally intended to be a lost Asgardian or some other sort of god?
I did conceive of Kamo as a kind of elder god, in the Asgardian sense -- not necessarily an ultimate deity, just a lesser ancient deity.
Tharnn's membership in the Elders of the Universe was revealed in Thor I#335 via Rus' data-coils
In Thor#232, 234, & 235; and Champions#12-13, the only name used was Kamo Tharnn (I think he was Tharn, with one "n" in the Champions issues). He did refer to the power he possessed, but there was no indicator that he was "The Possessor."
The cover to Thor I#235 (Thor battling Kamo Tharnn) didn't represent the story within, as Thor was on Earth battling the Absorbing Man while Hercules and Sif encountered the Possessor. Nonetheless, the picture was one of the supporting images to the Possessor profile in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10 (1986)
In Thor I#335, the possessed Tharnn said "Kodabak Grosgumbeet Dun Tumbla Narcrusta Grogada Mando"
Working off the assumption that Tharnn,
like some Elders, can channel cosmic energy to bolster his physical abilities,
the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition: Possessor entry
notes Tharnn's height and weight as things he can increase at will. His eyes (as
in the Deluxe Edition) are listed as black, but that is only after he went blind and/or
was possessed by the hundreds of thousands of spirits from Rus' libraries.
The Master Edition (as with the Deluxe Edition) lists him as Class 50 strength, with "Demi-godlike regenerative" durability. It further notes that he can manipulate cosmic energy for a variety of effects, including the projection of concussive force blasts and increasing his size and mass (and hence physical strength). It also notes unrevealed extrasensory perceptions that take the place of his sight.
Then again, that same entry inaccurately swapped the meeting places of Ego's surface and Earth for Silver Surfer #4 and 7, incorrectly noted he was one of the Elders consumed by Galactus and noted that he subsequently fled to escape Galactus' wrath. At the end of the arc, he was missing and presumed dead at the hands of Death herself. Perhaps he faked his death to escape Galactus' wrath? Or perhaps Death, having been forced to destroy those Elders, restored them after the In-Betweener was sent back to his realm...or maybe she only arranged a temporary demise.
Anyway, lots of extrapolation on his powers, but he never really demonstrated any of these abilities in any of the stories, even when physically threatened.
I'd originally intended Rus and the Runestaff as sub-profiles, but I decided there was too much info and too many images, so they'll get their own profiles in the near future.
Some comments on the Elders of the Universe, courtesy of Donald Campbell, with some notes by me in bold.
b) In AVENGERS #177 (November, 1978), the omniscient narrative on page 12 identifies the Collector as having been "one of the Elders of the Universe."
c) The Gardener identified himself as being one of the Elders in INCREDIBLE HULK Vol. 2 #248 (June, 1980). He mentioned two brothers, "one who loved to study, another who engaged in endless sport!" He later referred to Adam Warlock's Soul Gem as "a Soul Gem of the Elder race."
d) The Grandmaster first identified himself as being one of the Elders of the Universe in MARVEL SUPER HERO CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #1 (June, 1982). He also called The Unknown (his nameless adversary) "the eldest of the Elders!" The Unknown was actually Death herself.
e) The Champion of the Universe first appeared and identified himself as an Elder of the Universe in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #7 (1982).
Contemplator (formerly "Mister Buda") revealed his people to be "the
star-wandering Elders of the universe" in CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #6 (1982). In
this story, the images of other Elders (Gardener, Kamo Tharnn, Collector,
Champion, Grandmaster) appeared as floating heads.
In these early
appearances, the Elders were described as a "race" or "people." It was not
until they were given entries in the OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
(January-December, 1983) that the idea that they were each actually the last
survivor of their own separate species was first introduced. This revised
origin was first presented in WEST COAST AVENGERS ANNUAL #2 (1987) and further
developed in SILVER SURFER Vol. 3 #3 (September, 1987).
As of SILVER
SURFER Vol. 3 #3 (September, 1987) there were only seven Elders known by name
by the Silver Surfer. This number was increased to eleven in SILVER SURFER
Vol. 3 #4 (October, 1987) and to a "thousand or so" in QUASAR #17 (December,
The idea that
someone was imitating the Contemplator was first presented in QUASAR #37
(August, 1992) and that impersonator was (seemingly) revealed to be a Skrull
in QUASAR #47-48 (June-July, 1993). Personally, I have VERY strong doubts that
the Skrull Contemplator was actually the same being as the "evil" Contemplator
in SILVER SURFER Volume 3. This is discussed in further detail in the
Finally, here's my list of ELDERS (in order of appearance):
First appearance: Avengers #28 (May, 1966)
First identified as an Elder: Avengers #174 (August, 1978)
EGO THE LIVING
First appearance: Thor #132 (October, 1966)
First identified as an Elder: Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #4 (October, 1987)
Ego is indeed called an Elder in that Silver Surfer story, but he just doesn’t fit either of the two most definitive qualifications for the current understanding of the Elders.
1) Ego is not the sole survivor of a long-dead race (one of the earliest to come into existence in the universe). He’s a unique being (or perhaps part of a small set, perhaps including the likes of Counter-Ego and/or Id the Selfish Moon, or perhaps a part of Super-Ego). He’s not a member of a race at all
2) He did not gain immunity to aging via single-minded obsession. His very nature makes him long-lived.
I’m pretty confident that the Elders invited Ego to join them b/c they wanted/needed his power against the Silver Surfer and potentially Galactus.
I don’t see any way to consider him an Elder of the Universe by any stretch of the imagination, other than “since he’s the only one of his kind, he’s therefore the last of his race” – which really doesn’t make sense. It is the same kind of rationalization/plot device as having Haywire immune to knockout gas in reality-616 because he’s from an alternate Earth. But, any discussion on the Elders would have to discuss Ego because of the Surfer storyline.
First appearance: Avengers #69 (October, 1969)
First identified as an Elder: Marvel Super Hero Contest of Champions #1 (June, 1982)
[mentioned as the Collector’s brother in Avengers #174 (August, 1978)]
First appearance (as Kamo Tharnn): Thor # 235 (May, 1975)
First identified as an Elder: Captain America Annual #6 (1982)
First identified as the Possessor: Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #4 (April, 1983) – Elders of the Universe entry
First named as the Possessor in a story: Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #3-4 (September-October, 1987)
First appearance (as Mister Buda): Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles (1976)
First identified as the Elder named the Contemplator: Captain America Annual #6 (1982)
First appearance: Marvel Team-Up #55 (March, 1977)
First identified as an Elder: Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #248 (June, 1980)
Walters Korvac” [real name has never been revealed]
First appearance: Avengers #167 (January, 1978)
First identified as an Elder: Avengers #174 (August, 1978)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Avengers #174 (August, 1978)
Named: Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #3 (September, 1987)
--I don't like Carina and/or Matani being Elders of the Universe strictly because they are associated with the Collector, and the Elders are all supposed to be the sole survivors of their race. Maybe "sole survivor" is an extreme, but "among the last survivors" is good enough; Matani is dead, so she doesn't interfere too much one way or the other.
Additionally, there isn't really evidence that they had some single-minded obsession that keeps them going.
They were originally referred to as Elders before the concept had fully evolved, when they were supposed to members of the same race.
We don't really even know how old Carina is.
If the Collector's daughter is an Elder, than what about any offspring of an Elder? The Champion is stated to have tons of offspring and descendants in his OHotMU entry.
Nevertheless, they have been referred to as Elders in multiple sources, so they are included in a list/discussion, at least. They are certainly more worthy of consideration than Ego.
9. CHAMPION OF
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7 (1982)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): New Defenders #143 (May, 1985)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #4 (October, 1987)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #4 (October, 1987)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #4 (October, 1987)
First mention (identified as an Elder): Quasar #17 (December, 1990)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Captain America #383 (March, 1991)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Quasar #37 (August, 1992)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Quasar #47 (June, 1993)
First appearance (identified as an Elder): Quasar #47 (June, 1993)
MAYBE - Explorer references the Grand Astrogator in a conversation with Judicator to support his right to explore the embryonic Origin. Presumably this is a being that has dominion over both of them, and perhaps the leader of the Elders...or someone else altogether. It COULD even be some object (relic) which is sacred to the Explorer.
the Geometer be counted as one of the Elders of the Universe? According to
Epoch, the Geometer was “born about three billion years ago” and is “a member
of a long-extinct race.” He also demonstrated that he was obsessed with making
every universe he encounters “more mathematically perfect” and claimed that he
had been doing so for billions of years. He certainly sounds like an Elder to
--Most sources list the Elders as being more like 5.5 billion years old, but I have to admit that he fits the bill pretty solidly. I don't think there's anything that indicates when the ancient races had to have perished. Just that they were one of the first races to come around after the Big Bang. Maybe the race was much older, and the Geometer was ONLY born 3 billion years ago. If you accept that, he pretty much fits the mold perfectly.
And then there's Elders according to Bendis, who include the likes of the Stranger and the In-Betweener...which comes from not knowing the difference b/t ancient cosmic beings (at least one of whom is actually an abstract being) and true Elders of the Universe.
Profile by Snood.
No KNOWN connections to:
images: (without ads)
Thor I#234, pg. 9, panel 7 (Tharnn's world in orbit);
pg. 10, panel 2 (city)
panel 3 (palace, eternal beacon)
panel 5 (palace, interior)
#235, cover - non-existent struggle with Thor
pg.7, panel 1 (labyrinth city)
panel 3-4 (beast-men)
pg. 9, panel 1 (Tharnn seated in his palace)
panel 2 (Tharnn face)
pg. 16, panel 1 (Possessor blasting Hercules)
pg. 17, panel 2 (Runestaff face)
#236, pg. 13, panel 1 - Sif using Runestaff to save Jane Foster
#334, pg. 21, panels 3-5 (Runestaff side, face, & oblique views)
#335, pg. 6, panel 3 - Runestaff's inner realm - maelstrom
pg. 8, panel 5 - Tharnn without blindfold, cosmic eyes
pg. 10, panel 5 - Tharnn without blindfold, normal eyes
pg. 11, panel 1 - Rus library
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10 (September, 1986): Possessor entry main entry
2nd page, University of Rus image - image from Thor#335 with text boxes removed
New costume in Quasar#47-48 - #48, pg. 20, panel 3 - with arm blown off
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition#28: Possessor entry
Thor I#232 (February, 1975) - Gerry Conway (writer), John Buscema (penciler), Dick Giordiano (inker), Roy Thomas (editor)
Thor I#234-236 (April-June, 1975) - Gerry Conway (writer), John Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Len Wein (editor)
Champions#12-13 (March-May (bi-monthly), 1977) - Bill Mantlo (writer), John Byrne (penciler), Bob Layton (inker), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Captain America Annual#6 (1982) - by J.M. DeMatteis (scripter), Ron Wilson (pencil breakdown), Vince Colletta (finished art), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#4 (April, 1983) - Mark Gruenwald (head writer)
Thor I#332 (June, 1983) - Alan Zelenetz (writer), Don Perlin (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Thor I#333-335 (July-September, 1983) - Alan Zelenetz (writer), Mark Bright (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Deluxe Edition#10 (September, 1986): Possessor entry - Mark Gruenwald (writer/producer), Peter Sanderson (writer/researcher), Steve Saffel (writer/researcher), Mike Gustovich (penciler), Josef Rubinstein (inker/embellisher), Howard Mackie (assistant editor)
Silver Surfer III#4 (October, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Marshall Rogers (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Michael Higgins (editor)
Silver Surfer III#7 (January, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Marshall Rogers (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Michael Higgins (editor)
Silver Surfer III#9-10 (March-April, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Marshall Rogers (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Michael Higgins (editor)
Silver Surfer III#15 (September, 1988) - Steve Englehart (writer), Ron Lim (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker), Craig Anderson (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition#28 (1993) - Peter Sanderson, Murray Ward (writers), Keith Pollard (writer), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor), Mark Gruenwald (executive editor)
Quasar#47-48 (June-July, 1993) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Andy Smith (penciler), Ralph Cabrera (inker), Mike Rockwitz (editor), Ralph Macchio (group editor)
Contest of Champions III#6 (May, 2016) - Al Ewing (writer), Paco Medina (pencils), Juan Vlasco (inks), Chris Robinson & Mark Paniccia (editors)
Last updated: 04/10/16
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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