Classification: Cosmic Beings (Distant Past to present)
Base of Operations: The universe (Reality-616)
(Several imprisoned in the Kyln for billions of years)
Known Members: Antiphon the Overseer (deceased), Aegis of All Sorrows (deceased), Brio of Life (deceased), Diableri of Chaos (deceased), Tenebrous of the Darkness Between (deceased), at least 7 others (none named, all deceased)
Creator: The Living Universe (maybe Eternity?)
Purpose: To maintain cosmic consonance in the living universe
Affiliations: Chaos Mites/Sprites (all deceased except Skreet)
Enemies: Galactus (aka The Devourer); forces from the Cancerverse (Reality-10011)
Aliases: Proemial Elders
First Appearance: (Aegis & Tenebrous) Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3
(others) Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (May, 2007)
Powers/Abilities: The Proemial Gods were a group of cosmic beings created directly by the "living universe" with forms fitted to their functions. Some of these entities were very powerful, said to be "on a plane comparable to that of Galactus" and to have abilities that "may rival those of Galactus." However, those whose tasks did not require much intervention (like Antiphon) were less powerful. While many of the abilities possessed by Galactus have been observed, only a few of the ways in which some of the Proemial Gods could use their powers have been seen.
Since they were not born of other beings and always existed in the same physical forms, the Proemial Gods seemed to be unaging and immune to any form of natural death, making them immortal unless killed. Their lives were apparently sustained by the same energies from the Crunch as had birthed them so they didn't require other forms of nourishment. Although they might have been able to feel pain (or, at least, discomfort) when attacked by less powerful entities, the bodies of most Proemial Gods were extremely durable and could only actually be damaged by beings of equal or greater power (like their fellow Proemial Gods or Galactus) or by direct exposure to the energies of the Crunch. However, Antiphon's body was more vulnerable and he was killed by a destructive event which both Aegis and Tenebrous survived.
Since the Proemial Gods were not biological lifeforms, their bodies were presumably not organic in nature. It's possible that their physical forms were just solid matter animated by their life-forces and reshaped by their consciousnesses. It is known that Aegis could alter her form at least slightly and, after they had been resurrected in order to battle the Cancerverse invasion, the bodies of both Aegis and Tenebrous greatly increased in size and mass, from their normal 30 foot height to about 2,000 feet tall.
Proemial Gods did not need to breathe and could exist comfortably in any planetary atmosphere or in the vacuum of space. They were apparently also unaffected by extremes of temperature and probably could have withstood intense gravitational fields to a far greater degree than most organic beings.
Some Proemial Gods had certain extra-normal senses which enabled them to "feel" when certain beings were in close proximity to them. Those senses could also let them identify if those beings were connected to certain cosmic beings. Of all of them, Antiphon the Overseer presumably had the most acute senses, but details of his sensory capabilities have not been revealed. In her "super-giant abstract" form, Aegis had some degree of cosmic awareness but it's not clear if she possessed this awareness prior to being resurrected.
Proemial Gods could communicate with other beings even when they were both in the vacuum of space. How they could do so has not been revealed. When they were revived in the recent past, Aegis and Tenebrous could understand and be understood by contemporary beings even though they predated any known civilization and thus should not have known any modern languages. It may be that, like so many alien beings in the Marvel Universe, Proemial Gods were inherently omnilingual. Aegis is known to have once attempted to communicate something to a mortal with her dying thoughts.
All (or most) Proemial Gods possessed superhuman strength, the limits of which were never revealed. Tenebrous was strong enough to physically battle Galactus.
Proemial Gods were able to manipulate (cosmic?) energy for a variety of effects. Aegis and Tenebrous were able to fire bolts of energy which could strike their targets with incredible concussive force. Tenebrous could also generate a loop of energy from his hands which he could direct to engulf a nearby object and he would then be able to move that object without physically touching it. Other Proemial Gods may have been able to manipulate energy in other ways.
Proemial Gods could defy gravity at will and they usually hovered in the air above the surface of any planet they visited. When in space, they could float in place or move freely in any direction they wished without making any apparent effort, seemingly requiring only an act of will to propel them. It is unclear if they had to perform any sort of "walking" motion in order to actually move while in space or when within a planetary atmosphere. It may be that Proemial Gods were, effectively, constantly flying wherever they were, even if they were staying in one location. The maximum speed they could attain when moving in this manner has not been revealed.
Proemial Gods could transport themselves across immense, interstellar distances in a split second. It has not been revealed if this was some form of teleportation or space-warping, or what limits (if any) there were to the distance that they could travel as a single act. Some online sources have described this as the ability to "make instant hyper-jumps throughout the universe."
Although the Xandarian Worldmind believed that the Proemial Gods, like Galactus, possessed the Power Cosmic which enabled them to gather, channel and manipulate large quantities of cosmic energy, the Silver Surfer believed that Aegis and Tenebrous actually drew their power from the energies of the Crunch, the essence of the Creation Event. This belief was confirmed when the Surfer, who could channel the Power Cosmic, was nearly killed when he channelled the energies of the Crunch and would have died had Galactus not restored him. Galactus has admitted that even he could not channel those energies for long without being consumed by them.
Since the Proemial Gods were each created to carry out their own specific tasks, many (or most or all) of them possessed unique abilities which were not shared with other members of their group. However, so little detailed information has been revealed about them that it's impossible to provide any definitive data about what other abilities they may have been possessed.
Limitations: Despite the fact that the energies of the Crunch were their very essence, Aegis and Tenebrous were vulnerable to those same energies being used against them and could be (and were) "consigned to Oblivion" when forced into direct contact with those energies from a source external to their bodies.
After being defeated by Galactus, Aegis and Tenebrous both were imprisoned within the Kyln because the vast power of the Crunch from which those massive power generators drew their energy was needed in order to contain them.
Traits: In performing their function as "caretakers" of the living universe, the Proemial Gods were like forces of nature and were presumably not influenced by the desires of the life-forms that evolved on the various worlds. As a consequence, those life-forms may have viewed them as implacable threats whose actions, like culling "too unstable" species, to be evil. Skreet, the last known member of the Chaos Mites who were purged by Aegis, considered Aegis and Tenebrous to be responsible for "much bad doings" and to be like Galactus "but much'a'much worse! Darkness and sorrow!" Similarly, Galactus had a very negative opinion of Aegis and Tenebrous but that may have only been because he regarded them as corrupted beings whose plans threatened cosmic consonance and the universe itself. The Xandarian Worldmind considered Aegis and Tenebrous to be "Global/Universal" threats.
Given the wide variety of tasks by which they served the living universe, it may be that some of the Proemial Gods were respected without being feared. Brio of Life, who was tasked with the welfare of fledgling life-forms, may have been seen as a benevolent figure by those species who knew of her.
(Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files#1: Aegis & Tenebrous entry/Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)) - Long ago, "when the living universe was young," it was of chaos but cosmic consonance demanded that there be order to balance chaos. Eventually, through the intent of the living universe, a group of beings came into existence.
In the depths of space, a circular area appeared (or opened), a pool of an unspecified fluid substance that resembled molten magma. At least twenty different individuals began to arise out of this yellow-and-orange mass of material. Aside from being two-armed bipeds, all of these beings were initially almost featureless but, over an unspecified period of time, their bodies became more distinct as each of them assumed their own unique appearances. Oddly, some of these bodies came into being already wearing the clothing (i.e., helmet, cape, shoulder pads, etc.) that they would later wear.
Each of these "caretakers" had been created to perform tasks that would maintain cosmic consonance. Despite their different physical forms, all of them were initially without will or names or awareness of anything but their respective tasks, and had no desire to do anything but serve the living universe.
One of these caretakers, the first among equals, was tasked with monitoring cosmic consonance but forbidden to act.
A second caretaker was tasked with the welfare of fledgling life-forms.
A third caretaker was tasked with creating chaos because order, if left unchecked, led to entropy.
A fourth caretaker was tasked with culling the living universe of divergences and aberrations.
A fifth caretaker was tasked with the Black, the living matter that binds the universe and makes it whole.
More than seven other caretakers are known to have existed but what their specific tasks were have not yet been revealed.
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#4 (fb) - BTS/Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)) - The "Firstborn of the Creation Event" were "Alpha life forms" known as Chaos Mites or Chaos Sprites. These beings, born of chaos and powerful beyond measure, somehow came to be through the Chaos caretaker whom they considered to be their master. They served as their master's eyes and ears, and on his behalf they sowed chaos amidst order, serving cosmic consonance as they did so.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Over time, these caretakers shepherded the young universe, maintaining the delicate balance between order and chaos, and the living universe expanded and flourished. However, with the passage of time these caretakers also changed as they evolved to an awareness of things beyond their purpose. As they became sentient, these caretakers chose names for themselves.
The Proemial God tasked with monitoring cosmic consonance became Antiphon the Overseer.
The Proemial God tasked with the welfare of fledgling life-forms became Brio of Life.
The Proemial God tasked with sowing chaos amidst order became Diableri of Chaos.
The Proemial God tasked with culling divergences and aberrations became Aegis of All Sorrows, also known as Lady of All Sorrows.
The Proemial God tasked with handling the Black became Tenebrous of the Darkness Between.
None of the names of the other Proemial Gods have yet been revealed.
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#4 (fb) - BTS/Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files#1: Skreet profile (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the Chaos Mites/Sprites were judged to be "too unstable," and Aegis was tasked with culling them. Aegis carried out the purge and seemingly destroyed all of the Chaos Mites, but she did not realize that one of them, Skreet, had been able to "hidey-hole" in a secret location that somehow prevented Aegis from sensing the fact that Skreet was still alive.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)) - As more time passed and the life that thrived on countless worlds began to serve cosmic consonance as well, the Proemial Gods became much diminished and their age ended. One of them, Diableri of Chaos, was unwilling to see himself further diminished and sought to avoid that fate by remaking the universe in his image. Using trickery and lies, Diableri corrupted the purpose of the Proemial Gods so that many of them came to agree with his plans, with Aegis of All Sorrows and Tenebrous of the Darkness Between becoming Diableri's two foremost supporters. However, not all of the Proemial Gods agreed with Diableri's plans and that led to a war between those who embraced Diableri's plans and those who rejected them.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - Out of all of the Proemial Gods, only Antiphon the Overseer remained neutral despite rejecting Diableri's plans.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)) - Most of the Proemial Gods died fighting each other in the war. Aegis and Tenebrous were among the four known (initial) survivors.
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3 (fb) - BTS/Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files#1: Aegis & Tenebrous entry/Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)) - Since all of the Proemial Gods who had actively opposed them had been killed in the conflict, Diableri's faction might have succeeded in their plans except Diableri chose to bring the war to Galactus as well. Galactus regarded Diableri and his followers as corrupted beings who were defying cosmic consonance and who planned to defy the Creator and remake his works in their images. Galactus killed Diableri and then (somehow) defeated both Aegis and Tenebrous. For reasons which have never been revealed, Galactus chose to imprison these two Proemial Gods instead of obliterating them. To accomplish this task, Galactus brought them to the first Kyln, massive power generators of unrevealed origin, and modified the Kyln so that the power of the Crunch Energy Cascade which they tapped would be used to bind the captives for all time.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some later point, under circumstances which have not yet been revealed, Antiphon the Overseer was also imprisoned within the Kyln. Neither the reason for his imprisonment nor the identity of whoever imprisoned him have been revealed.
(Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files#1: Aegis & Tenebrous entry) - Aegis and Tenebrous (and Antiphon) remained locked away for "countless centuries." (Actually, it was probably closer to FOUR BILLION YEARS, but who's counting? Certainly not Keith Giffen.)
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3: Xandar Worldmind Nova Corps Database entries on Tenebrous and Aegis (fb) - BTS) - Eventually, knowledge of Aegis and Tenebrous was lost, and they came to be believed to be mythical. The myths of Tenebrous and Aegis were not widely known but among those who knew the myths it was rumored that they were deep within the Kyln.
(Annihilation: Prologue#1 - BTS/Annihilation: The Nova Corps Files: Omega Core entry/Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3 (fb) - BTS) <Annihilation Day> - The forces of the Annihilation Wave punched through the Crunch Energy Cascade into Reality-616 from the Negative Zone and immediately attacked the primary Kyln array, tearing the moons from their gravitational moorings and causing them to collide with one another, resulting in massive casualties among both inmates and Omega Core officers. The destruction of the Kyln in which they had been contained for so long freed both Aegis and Tenebrous.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)- BTS) - Antiphon the Overseer, being the weakest of the Proemial Gods, was killed when the Kyln were reduced to rubble.
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3) <Annihilation Day, plus 20> - Aegis and Tenebrous investigated the debris of the Kyln moons. While doing so, they sensed the nearby presence of an extension of Galactus' essence and Tenebrous quickly captured the Fallen One (who had been sent to the Kyln to find the Beyonder). When questioned, the Fallen One stated that he served Thanos of Titan and that he had not served as herald to Galactus for centuries. The Fallen One then revealed that it had been "countless millennia" since the Creation Event. Tenebrous and Aegis then drained the Fallen One of all he knew and claimed him as their servant.
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#4 (fb) - BTS) - Aegis and Tenebrous used the Fallen One's link to his master to summon "Thanos of the Titans."
(Annihilation: Silver Surfer#4) <Annihilation Day, plus 40> - Aegis and Tenebrous examined the life on Harborage Minor, an unaffiliated colony world. While Aegis found the chaotic abundance and the unfettered evolutionary development to be fascinating, Tenebrous was concerned because of the lack of any overriding purpose beyond proliferation. Sensing the arrival of the being they had summoned, they confronted "Thanos of the Titans," and Aegis was surprised to find a Chaos Mite (Skreet) standing on his shoulder. When Thanos defined proemial as meaning "serving to make ready for that which follows" and stated that such "built-in obsolescence" meant that the universe was not without a sense of humor, Tenebrous felt that he lacked respect while Aegis appreciated his bravado. After returning what was left of the Fallen One to Thanos, the Proemial Gods revealed that they sought Galactus because there were "things...unfinished...between them." Thanos stated that they shared a common goal because he also sought Galactus and suggested that they might come to an understanding that would further both of their agendas.
(Annihilation#1 (fb) - BTS)) - Thanos arranged an alliance between the two Proemial Gods and Annihilus whereby they all would coordinate their attacks against their respective enemies.
(Annihilation#1 (fb)/Annihilation#2 (fb) - BTS)) <Annihilation Day, plus 204> - Acting as a distraction to keep the United Front forces from interfering, the Annihilation Wave launched an attack on the United Front base on Daedalus 5, a planet on the Kree system periphery. At the same time, Aegis and Tenebrous attacked Galactus and the Silver Surfer on a different planet (whose name has not yet been revealed). With their greater power, the Proemial Gods swiftly rendered both Galactus and his herald unconscious. Thanos and Skreet were on hand to collect the fallen.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb) - BTS) - As required by their pact with Annihilus, Aegis and Tenebrous did not kill Galactus and the Silver Surfer but instead delivered them both alive to the Annihilation Wave for Thanos to study.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2) <Annihilation Day, plus 281> - Weeks later, Aegis and Tenebrous were observing the universe, and they decided that it was much changed and had become feral, having forsaken structure and left too much to random event. When Aegis wondered if the two of them were the only Proemial Gods who remained to finish what was once begun, Tenebrous pointed out that the Devourer had imprisoned them rather than expunging them from existence. Aegis took this to mean that there was still hope that others of their brethren might still exist.
(Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2) <Annihilation Day, plus 281> - Seeking to learn if they were the last of the Proemial Gods, Aegis and Tenebrous traveled back to the Kyln rubble to see if Galactus had imprisoned any of their brethren. Their search found only the dead body of Antiphon the Overseer, and they speculated that Galactus may have imprisoned Antiphon if he had come to embrace the ambition of Diableri. As the pair discussed a purging to restore discipline to the living universe, they were attacked by the Silver Surfer, who had been sent to find them so that Galactus could end the threat that they posed to the universe. The Surfer tried to keep them from leaving so that Galactus could render judgment, but he soon suffered mortal wounds at their hands. In desperation, the Surfer channeled the energies of the Crunch, the energies which had birthed the Proemial Gods, creating a wave that engulfed both Aegis and Tenebrous, consigning them to Oblivion as they were consumed by the energies that were their very essence.
When Galactus arrived seconds later, he was amazed that his herald had accomplished the inconceivable by destroying beings who were so much more powerful than himself. In recognition of his service, Galactus restored the dying Silver Surfer to life and health.
(The Thanos Imperative#1 (fb) - BTS) - "Two years" after the Annihilation War, powerful creatures and armed starships from the Cancerverse (Reality-10011) began to travel through the large tear in space/time known as the Fault in order to invade and conquer Reality-616 for their masters, the Many-Angled Ones. These forces attacked and and began to overwhelm an expeditionary force of allied warships which had been assembled in the Fault Zone to guard against any such invasion.
(The Thanos Imperative#2) - As the fighting continued and the warships from a hundred different interstellar cultures were barely able to hold the invaders back, the Silver Surfer arrived. Seconds later, a giant-sized Galactus appeared in the middle of the fleet accompanied by two just-as-large figures who looked like Aegis and Tenebrous. This trio was soon joined by a number of Celestials and all of them began blasting at the Cancerverse forces. Quasar (Vaughn) stated that the fact that the "Cosmic Abstracts" of their universe had joined the fight meant that there was no longer any doubt as to the magnitude of the war. However, the enemy responded to the arrival of the Abstracts by deploying one of their weapons, the massive Galactus Engine, which forced its way through the Fault.
(The Thanos Imperative#3) - Confronted by the weaponized version of Galactus from the Cancerverse, the "super-giant Abstracts" seemed to engage in nothing more than a stand-off even as they kept blasting the smaller Cancerverse forces but the Silver Surfer assured his companions that they were actually battling furiously "on the abstract scale." Soon afterwards, Aegis's head suddenly exploded as Cancerverse creatures burst out of her face. As Aegis's body was enwrapped by invaders, she generated a shockwave of psionic energy that stunned Nova.
Following the death of Aegis, the Galactus Engine began to tear through the allied forces and even the Abstracts seemed to be in retreat.
(The Thanos Imperative#5) - As Cancerverse forces streamed out of the Fault in unimaginable quantities into an engagement zone that stretched across two parsecs, Tenebrous stood alongside Galactus and the other remaining "High Abstracts" as they were barely able to hold back the monstrous Galactus Engine.
(The Thanos Imperative#6) - When Death killed Lord Mar-Vell at the site of the Necropsy ritual in the Cancerverse, that action triggered a massively-powerful explosion of exotic energy that caused the invading forces to either be disintegrated or pulled back into the Fault which began to collapse in on itself. In a matter of minutes, the Fault was sealed forever, and it was believed that the Cancerverse had been annihilated following the killing of its Avatar of Life.
Comments: Aegis of All Sorrows and Tenebrous of the Darkness Between
created by Keith Giffen and Renato Arlem.
Other Proemial Gods created by Keith Giffen and Andrea Divito.
Although Galactus revealed that these caretakers "came to be known" as Proemial Gods, there is no information about exactly who gave these beings that group name. Skreet, the oldest living being who knew of them, called them "Elders" and then "Proemial Elders." The Xandarian Worldmind's Nova Corps data entry on Aegis and Tenebrous referred to them only as "proemial beings, said in myth to serve the universe by preparing what exists for what is to come." However, Aegis did once refer to herself and her brethren as "Proemial Gods" so it seems that they might have chosen that name for themselves or, at least, accepted a name that had been given to them. Still, Tenebrous was not pleased when Thanos implied that they were an example of built-in obsolescence and stated that the universe was not without a sense of humor.
When Galactus first told the Silver Surfer about these beings, he stated: "There was war. Of us all, we of the Cosmic Balance, only three survived. Myself and two who were corrupted. Tenebrous of the Darkness Between, and Aegis, Lady of All Sorrows." The fact that Galactus did not mention Antiphon seems odd since that Proemial God definitely survived the war. How could Galactus have remained unaware of his continued existence? Or maybe Galactus did know of Antiphon's survival and of his later imprisonment within the Kyln but didn't mention it to the Surfer because he was already aware of the fact that Antiphon been killed when the Annihilation Wave attacked?
Birthplace of the Proemial Gods
Although the place where the caretakers were brought into being was shown, the Omniscient Narrative never specified exactly where within the universe that particular area of space was located. However, the Silver Surfer's realization that Aegis and Tenebrous drew power from the Crunch to sustain themselves and that those were the energies that had birthed them seems to me to be a fairly reliable indication that the area of space now known as the Crunch Energy Cascade was once the circular pool from which the caretakers were created. See the profile on The Kyln for reasons why this location is not (and never was) at the edge of the universe.
Names of the Proemial Gods
The names of only five of the Proemial Gods have ever been revealed and all five just happen to be words. Here's the list:
Aegis - The protection, backing, or support of a particular person or organization. Aegis is also an attribute of Zeus and Athena (or their Roman counterparts Jupiter and Minerva) which is usually represented as a goatskin shield.
Antiphon - A musical term referring to a psalm, anthem, or verse sung responsively; or a verse usually from Christian Scripture said or sung before and after a canticle, psalm, or psalm verse as part of the liturgy.
Brio - Vigor or vivacity of style or performance. In Italian, "brio" means "mettle, fire, life." Also, "con brio" is a term describing music that is to be performed with liveliness or spirit.
Diableri (as diablerie) - The quality of being reckless or wild in a charismatic way. Diablerie also refers to black magic/sorcery supposedly assisted by the devil; a representation in words or pictures of black magic or of dealings with the devil; demon lore; or mischievous conduct or manner.
Tenebrous - Dark, gloomy, murky, obscure or shadowy. Derived from the Latin noun tenebrae which means "darkness."
Clothing of the Proemial Gods?
Of the twelve Proemial Gods who have been depicted so far, at least six appeared to be wearing some form of clothing while several others seemed to be wearing form-fitting skinsuits over their entire body, and the rest may have been naked. However, as the images of their creation show, this clothing (like the high collar of Antiphon's cape) was part of these caretakers even as they were coming into being. Of the five named Proemial Gods, Antiphon and Tenebrous definitely wore clothes, Aegis and Brio appeared to be wearing form-fitting bodysuits, and Diableri (whose lower body was never shown) may well have been naked.
Additionally, some of the Proemial Gods had markings seemingly drawn on the outer surfaces of their bodies. Antiphon, Brio and Diableri all had thin red lines but Aegis had thin white lines and Tenebrous had wide white lines. Some of these markings, especially those on Antiphon and Daibleri, look like designs that might have been tattooed onto them, but they may well have been part of them since their creation.
Non-Mammal Mammaries of the Proemial Gods
Of the twelve Proemial Gods who have ever been clearly depicted, Brio and Aegis were the only two to have human-shaped breasts on their upper chest. Since there was no indication that the Proemial Gods were meant to reproduce and thus would never have offspring who would need to obtain liquid nourishment from a mother, the only reason why the artists would have drawn them with breasts was to show that they were females. However, if they did not reproduce and therefore sex did not play ANY part in their existence, what reason would there be for the Proemial Gods to have different genders?
--I think it's possible that, as cosmic entities, they appeared to various beings in different forms, shaped perhaps by subconscious conceptions of what their manifestations were meant to be. Kind of like how Galactus appears like a member of/to the race viewing him.
Cosmic Timeline (limited)
Here is a brief timeline of the early Marvel Universe. I have included it simply to add some perspective as to when the Proemial Gods were active in relation to other Cosmic Beings:
13.8 Billion Years Ago - Earth's universe was formed by the Big Bang (a minor aftershock of a much greater cataclysm). Various Abstract Beings were created or reborn, including Eternity/Infinity (the embodiment of Life and Existence itself), Death (the personification of everything that had died or never lived), and Eternity's two major components, Lord Chaos and Master Order. The powerful time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg arrived from a possible future and merged with the new-born universe as the god Genesis. Galan of Taa was also ejected out from the explosion in an inert state aboard his recreated starship.
The living universe brought a group of 20 caretakers into being to serve it by maintaining cosmic consonance. It was through the Chaos caretaker that the Chaos Sprites came to be, the firstborn lifeforms of the Creation Event. These caretakers later came to be known as Proemial Gods.
The vastly powerful Celestials appeared in the universe. It hasn't been revealed if they arrived from somewhere else or if they were recreated.
12 Billion Years Ago - Due to Celestial interference, almost all of the sentient beings living on the planet Viscardi destroyed themselves, leaving a female named Gara as the sole survivor.
10 Billion Years Ago - Second and third generation stars had formed. Among the untold billions of solar systems that had come into being by then were many planets upon which the earliest forms of sentient organic life would evolve. The lifeforms that evolved on at least a thousand or so of these planets would eventually generate the immortal individuals later known as Elders.
8 Billion Years Ago - The Time Being known as Eon claims that she came into being at this time (but she has offered differing versions of her origin).
The Kyln were created by an unknown architect as massive power-generating units that were powered by the energy surge generated by the expanding universe at the Crunch Energy Cascade. (Note: Some accounts claim that the Kyln were constructed much earlier, at the time of the Creation Event itself).
5.5 Billion Years Ago - Most of the beings later known as the Elders of the Universe were born and discovered that they were immortal, eventually outliving all other members of their respective races.
A humanoid race discovered a process through which they could extend their lives indefinitely. After an attempt to help a less advanced race ended very badly, this race adopted a strict non-interference policy and became known as the Watchers.
A Watcher named Ecce witnessed the crash of Galan's starship and observed Galan's awakening, the beginning of his transformation into Galactus and his departure from the planet. Galactus then transformed his starship into an incubator-cube which eventually ended up orbiting the planet Archeopia in another solar system. An unspecified number of years (or centuries or millennia) later, an interstellar war caused the cube to be opened prematurely, releasing Galactus who then consumed his first planet, Archeopia. Those Archeopians who survived became the Wanderers.
The Proemial Gods fought a civil war that killed most of them. Galactus killed Diableri and imprisoned Aegis and Tenebrous within the Kyln.
The Elders learned of Galactus and that he was older even than them. Some did not react well to this knowledge.
4.6 Billion Years Ago - The star known as Sol formed from the
gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud..
4.54 Billion Years Ago - The planet now known as Earth was formed out of the solar nebula left behind after Sol's formation.
4.51 Billion Years Ago - Earth's Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia (or possibly a giant alien starcraft).
A being known as the Demiurge coalesced out of pure life energy near Earth. As an incarnation of the power of creation, one of the Demiurge's first acts was to seed most of its life force into the matter of the planet Earth, creating the ethereal beings known as Elder Gods. Some of these Elder Gods, especially the most powerful among them, seem to somewhat embody concepts like Life (Gaea), Chaos and/or Dark Magic (Chthon), and Death and/or Evil (Set).
1 Million Years Ago - The Celestial First Host arrived on the planet Earth.
Of course, there are a number of significant events that occurred between the Big Bang and Earth's formation that I could have included but I believe that this basic "Cosmic Timeline" is enough to demonstrate that, for the first eight plus billion years of the universe's existence, the Proemial Gods were THE major players. With that in mind, it's perhaps easier to see why some of them were displeased when they found that they were being displaced in the cosmic hierarchy by beings like Galactus.
The main point is that the Proemial Gods are older than the Elders of the Universe who are older than the Watchers who are (in a way) older than Galactus.
Profile by Donald Campbell.
The Proemial Gods/Proemial Elders have no known connections to
Antiphon the Overseer
The entity later known as Antiphon the Overseer was one of the Proemial Gods, a small group of Cosmic Beings created directly by the "living universe" and given the task of maintaining cosmic consonance. Like his fellows, this caretaker-being came into existence without will and without awareness of anything but the task for which he had been created. This caretaker was "first among equals" and his function was to monitor cosmic consonance, seeing all but forbidden to act on what he saw. It's unclear what his being First Among Equals actually meant.
For an unspecified time (measured in billions of years), this being carried out his task. However, as time passed, all of the caretakers evolved into sentient beings. With this new-found awareness, they chose identities for themselves and this caretaker named himself Antiphon the Overseer.
Eventually, less than 5.5 billion years ago, the life they had shepherded on the countless worlds of the living universe had advanced until they also served cosmic consonance, causing the Proemial Gods to be much diminished and ending their age. When Diableri of Chaos planned to avoid further diminishment by remaking the universe in his image, Antiphon was one of the Proemial Gods who rejected his dark plans. However, unlike the others who rejected Diableri, Antiphon remained neutral when war broke out between the two factions. Antiphon was one of the only three Proemial Gods who survived the war and he remained free while the other two, Aegis and Tenebrous, were imprisoned in the Kyln by Galactus.
At some later point, under circumstances which have never been revealed, Antiphon the Overseer was also imprisoned within the Kyln. Neither the reason for his imprisonment nor the identity of whoever imprisoned him have been revealed.
Antiphon remained imprisoned within the Kyln until the forces of the Annihilation Wave punched through the Crunch Energy Cascade into Reality-616 from the Negative Zone and immediately attacked the primary Kyln array, tearing the Moons from their gravitational moorings and causing them to collide with one another, resulting in massive casualties among both inmates and Omega Core officers. The destruction of the Kyln in which they had been contained for so long killed Antiphon but merely freed both Aegis and Tenebrous.
Months later, Aegis and Tenebrous returned to the Kyln debris to search it for any of their brethren who might also have been imprisoned there. Their search turned up only Antiphon's corpse. When Aegis wondered why Antiphon, who had rejected Diableri and his plans, would have been imprisoned by the Devourer, Tenebrous suggested that Antiphon may have eventually come to also resent being diminished and chosen to embrace Diableri's ambitions, implying that this had caused Galactus to then imprison him. Aegis and Tenebrous then departed, leaving Antiphon's body floating amidst the Kyln debris. Knowing that Antiphon was dead caused Aegis and Tenebrous to become more certain that they were the last of their kind and thus it was up to them to undo the changes to the living universe which had taken place during their confinement.
Features: Like all of his kind, Antiphon the Overseer's appearance was unique and different from the rest of the Proemial Gods but it was also not too alien. Apart from his size, Antiphon looked exactly like a Caucasian human being whose head happened to be large, round and bald.
While the Xandarian Worldmind was known to have data entries on both Aegis and Tenebrous, and was fully aware of the fact that they were very real threats to the universe who had been imprisoned within the Kyln by Galactus, it has not been revealed if the Worldmind had a similar data entry on Antiphon or if it knew that he was also imprisoned within the Kyln. Such an entry, if it ever existed, might have contained information about why Antiphon was imprisoned and by whom, and if the Worldmind also considered him to be a "Global/Universal" threat.
Although none of his actions are known to have been recorded, Antiphon is presumed to have possessed the same basic powers as the rest of the Proemial Gods. As such, Antiphon was immortal (unless killed), obtained all the nourishment he required to sustain himself from the energies of the Crunch, could survive in almost any environment, could communicate with other beings even in a vacuum, could defy gravity at will, and could transport himself across immense distances instantaneously. Antiphon may also have been able to manipulate (cosmic?) energy for a variety of effects.
Antiphon's abilities also differed from those of the other Proemial Gods in at least two ways. First, since he was tasked with seeing all, Antiphon presumably possessed senses (especially sight) that were far more acute than those of his fellows. It's also possible that he had some form of Cosmic Awareness which may have been similar to the extra-normal senses which Aegis and Tenebrous possessed. However, no details have been provided as to how enhanced his senses might have been.
Second, since the forms of the Proemial Gods were fitted to their functions, the fact that Antiphon was forbidden to act upon anything he saw meant that his form was the most vulnerable. This probably meant that his strength was less than that of (at least) some of his fellows and his body was definitely less durable since he was apparently killed by a destructive event that both Aegis and Tenebrous survived.
--Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb), Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (corpse)
Note: Between his body's appearance and the clothing which he was "born" wearing, Antiphon looked like a member of the ancient humanoid race now known as the Watchers. Furthermore, the parameters of his mission (i.e., tasked with seeing everything but forbidden to act on what he saw) is exactly like the purpose of the Watchers and their non-interference directive. These incredible similarities have led some researchers to suggest that Antiphon may in fact be the original progenitor of the Watcher species but this is only speculation.
Brio of Life
The entity later known as Brio of Life was one of the Proemial Gods, a small group of Cosmic Beings created directly by the "living universe" and given the task of maintaining cosmic consonance. Like her fellows, this caretaker-being came into existence without will and without awareness of anything but the task for which she had been created. This caretaker's function was to maintain the well-being of fledgling life-forms but exactly how she carried out this task has not been revealed.
For an unspecified time (measured in billions of years), this being carried out her task. However, as time passed, all of the caretakers evolved into sentient beings. With this new-found awareness, they chose identities for themselves and this caretaker named herself Brio of Life.
Eventually, less than 5.5 billion years ago, the life they had shepherded on the countless worlds of the living universe had advanced until they also served cosmic consonance, causing the Proemial Gods to be much diminished and ending their age. When Diableri of Chaos planned to avoid further diminishment by remaking the universe in his image, it is known that Brio did not remain neutral in the ensuing war and that she died before it ended. However, it has not yet been revealed if Brio was one of those who had embraced Diableri's dark ambition or if she had remained true to the original purpose of the Proemial Gods and fought against Diableri and his followers.
Feature: Like all of her kind, Brio's appearance was unique and, aside from being a two-armed biped, different from the rest of the Proemial Gods. Most of the outer surface of her body was covered by what looks like a form-fitting light brown bodysuit but whatever covered her legs to above her mid-thigh was a dull yellow color. Each of her hands had four fingers and an opposable thumb, all ending in sharp claws. The only features on her face were a pair of red eyes and the lack of a nose or mouth made it look like she was wearing a full face mask that was part of her bodysuit. The only markings on her bodysuit were three vertical red lines, two of which were short and descended from the middle of each eye. The third red line was much longer, began in the middle of her forehead, and continued down the middle of her face, throat, chest and abdomen to the bottom of her pelvis.
Brio's body had a number of shapes protruding from her "skin." On each of her forearms were two projections, all several inches long, which ran along the backs of her forearms. Each of her thighs had a single larger projection extending slightly outward from her hips. There was also a structure that extended from her upper back and rose up to form an arch over her head. The oddest part of Brio's body was a long, tapering tube that extended from the back of her head and neck, and which looked like either a (misplaced) tail or a windsock. As shown in the image to the right, this "arch" and "windsock" were both part of her body from its earliest beginnings but what purpose they served has never been revealed.
While the Xandarian Worldmind is known to have had data entries on both Aegis and Tenebrous, and was fully aware of the fact that they were very real threats to the universe who had been imprisoned within the Kyln by Galactus, it has not been revealed if the Worldmind had a similar data entry on Brio. And while Aegis and Tenebrous were remembered as myths, it is not known if Brio was remembered at all. However, the fact that Brio of Life was tasked with the welfare of fledgling life-forms may have caused her to be seen as a benevolent figure by those species who knew of her.
Although none of her actions are known to have been recorded, Brio is presumed to have possessed the same basic powers as the rest of the Proemial Gods. As such, Brio was immortal (unless killed), obtained all the nourishment she required to sustain herself from the energies of the Crunch, could survive in almost any environment, could communicate with other beings even in a vacuum, could defy gravity at will, and could transport herself across immense distances instantaneously. Brio was probably also able to manipulate (cosmic?) energy for a variety of effects, and possessed superhuman strength and durability. However, it is not known what (if any) special abilities Brio might have possessed in order to carry out her task.
--Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)
Note: Some online sources claim that, due to her appearance and role, Brio of Life might possibly have been the first Celestial and the progenitor of the Celestial race. However, these suggestions have never been substantiated and the recent revelation that the Celestials were the "multi-colored rebels" created by the First Firmament, the sentience of the very first iteration of reality, would seem to disprove the theory.
Diableri of Chaos
The entity later known as Diableri of Chaos was one of the Proemial Gods, a small group of Cosmic Beings created directly by the "living universe" and given the task of maintaining cosmic consonance. Like his fellows, this caretaker-being came into existence without will and without awareness of anything but the task for which he had been created. This caretaker's task was to sow chaos within order because, if left unchecked, too much order led to entropy.
It was through this caretaker that the tiny winged humanoids known as Chaos Sprites came into existence, "Alpha life forms" who were the "firstborn of the Creation Event." It is not clear if this caretaker personally created the Chaos Sprites or if his mere presence was somehow responsible for their existence. Whatever their origin, these Chaos Sprites served their master as his eyes and ears, and it was at his direction that they sowed chaos amid order, thereby serving cosmic consonance.
For an unspecified time (measured in billions of years), this being and his servants carried out their task. However, as time passed, all of the caretakers evolved into sentient beings. With this new-found awareness, they chose identities for themselves and this caretaker named himself Diableri of Chaos.
At some point, when it was decided that the Chaos Sprites were too unstable to be allowed to continue to exist, Aegis carried out a purge in which all of the Chaos Sprites were seemingly eradicated (but one secretly survived). It is not known if Diableri played any part in this decision to wipe out his servants.
Eventually, less than 5.5 billion years ago, the life they had shepherded on the countless worlds of the living universe had advanced until they also served cosmic consonance, causing the Proemial Gods to be much diminished and ending their age. Diableri refused to accept this fate and, to prevent himself from being further diminished, he resolved to remake the universe in his image. To accomplish this goal, Diableri sought allies from amongst his fellows. Using trickery and lies, Diableri corrupted the purpose of the Proemial Gods so that many of them came to embrace his dark ambition, with Aegis of All Sorrows and Tenebrous of the Darkness Between becoming his two foremost allies. However, not all of the Proemial Gods agreed with Diableri's plans and that led to a war between those who embraced Diableri's plans and those who rejected them. With the exception of Antiphon, who rejected Diableri's ambition but remained neutral, all of the Proemial Gods began to fight each other and most of them died.
Since all of the Proemial Gods who actively opposed them were killed in the war, Diableri's faction would have won except his ambition caused him to attack Galactus who had previously not been involved. Unfortunately for Diableri, Galactus proved to be more powerful. By his own hand, Galactus slew Diableri and then went on to imprison Diableri's two surviving followers, Aegis and Tenebrous, within the Kyln, massive power generators which he altered to serve as a prison for fallen gods.
Features: Like all of his kind, Diableri's appearance was unique and, aside from being a two-armed biped, different from the rest of the Proemial Gods. Diableri was apparently one of the Proemial Gods whose body was not covered by either clothing or a form-fitting bodysuit (although, since he was never depicted below the waist, he may have worn pants...or not). His skin was dark blue and marked only by thin red lines. The mane of hair on his head was a greenish-blue, as were his really long eyebrows. Each of his hands had four fingers and an opposable thumb, all ending in sharp claws, and there were red designs etched on the skin of the proximal phalanges of each digit. His face was human-like with two red eyes and a mouth but he had no nose. There were also three spikes protruding from his face along its center. The smallest spike was at the top of his forehead, just in front of his hairline, with the next largest being lower in the forehead but still above the eyes. The largest spike protruded forward from his chin and there were two small spikes that pointed upwards from its upper surface. There were also multiple spikes that protruded from his shoulders and the highest parts of his upper arms.
While the Xandarian Worldmind is known to have had data entries on both Aegis and Tenebrous, and was fully aware of the fact that they were very real threats to the universe who had been imprisoned within the Kyln by Galactus, it has not been revealed if the Worldmind had a similar data entry on Diableri. And while Aegis and Tenebrous were remembered as myths, it is not known if Diableri was remembered at all (except by Galactus and Skreet).
Diableri is presumed to have possessed the same basic powers as the rest of the Proemial Gods. As such, Diableri was immortal (unless killed), obtained all the nourishment he required to sustain himself from the energies of the Crunch, could survive in almost any environment, could communicate with other beings even in a vacuum, could defy gravity at will, could transport himself across immense distances instantaneously, was probably also able to manipulate (cosmic?) energy for a variety of effects, and possessed superhuman strength and durability.
As for any special abilities which Diableri may have possessed, it is known that the Chaos Sprites "came to be...through Diableri" but exactly what he did has never been explained. Also, the fact that the Chaos Sprites are said to have been Diableri's "eyes and ears" suggests that he may have somehow been linked to them, perhaps telepathically, and was thus able to use their senses to observe their surroundings. Or maybe they just flew back to him to report on what they had seen and heard and done during their travels throughout the universe?
--Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)
Other Proemial Gods
Although twenty Proemial Gods appear to have been created, the names and tasks of fifteen of them have never been revealed. The only two facts known about them are that they were created by the "living universe" to serve it by performing tasks that would help to maintain cosmic consonance, and that they (and Brio of Life) were all killed fighting each other during the war instigated by Diableri of Chaos.
Eight of those fifteen Proemial Gods have never been seen but the other seven have all been glimpsed exactly once. They all appear to be two-armed bipeds but, since no other information has been revealed about them, brief descriptions of what I can see of them are all I can provide.
First on the left: This one's outer surface is completely blue and might be skin but it seems to have seams which make it look like some sort of plating. There are multiple spikes protruding from his shoulders and upper arms. His face has two yellow eyes but no nose or mouth so it looks like he's wearing a mask. There are two tusks that extend outward from his lower jaw, and some odd seven-pointed decoration whose center is directly between his eyes.
Second on the left: This is the second most human-looking Proemial God (after Antiphon). The skin on his bare face and chest is Caucasian-pink and his face has two (red) eyes, a nose and a mouth arranged in the human pattern. There is a large spike protruding from his chin and a blade-like projection extending from between his eyes and up his forehead. He's wearing a yellow octagonal shape at waist height, possibly as part of a belt, and his head, except for his face, is covered by some sort of headgear that is red at the top but has long scaled sidepieces that drape down his chest.
Third on the left: This one's skin is green and hairless. His head resembles that of a serpent or lizard, and his neck holds his head up and in front of his body.
Fourth on the left; This one seems to be wearing green plated armor and a green face mask with no holes for eyes or a mouth. Enough of his left arm is visible to reveal that he's wearing some sort of yellow metallic band on his left wrist.
First on the right: This one appears to have dull yellow skin with some sort of round symbol in the center of his chest. He's wearing a long purple loincloth and a ragged gray hood over his head with semi-circular holes for his eight red eyes. Those eyes are arranged in four rows with (from the top) three, two, one and two eyes per row.
Second on the right: This one's bare chest shows his green skin. He's wearing a purple loincloth held up by a belt made of large round pink jewels. He has what looks like green wings attached to his arms but it's unclear if they are naturally part of his body or just something like a green-and-yellow jacket with a cloak which attaches to his arms. There are large white spikes all along the upper edges of his jacket and his face seems to be covered by a mask with open spaces for his eyes. His hands seem to have fingers that merge into his wings and thumbs ending in large, curving white talons.
Third on the right: The one has purple skin with a lot of purple hair on his shoulders and seems to be unclothed. His neck holds his head slightly forward from his body. His face resembles a mask with a separate jaw piece. There are white designs on both parts of his face, and what looks like a single pale yellow eye in the center of his forehead. There are a series of backwards-facing spikes along the top of his head and down the back of his head.
Any suggestions for better descriptions?
--Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (fb)
images: (without ads)
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2, pages 21-22 (main image)
page 20, panel 1 (pool of creation)
page 20, panel 2 (coming into being)
page 20, panel 4 (coming into being)
Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3, page 2 (newly-freed Aegis and Tenebrous)
Annihilation#1, pages 30-31, panel 1 (Aegis and Tenebrous with defeated Galactus)
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2, page 37 (Aegis and Tenebrous being wiped out by Crunch energy)
The Thanos Imperative#2, pages 4-5 (Aegis and Tenebrous with Galactus)
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2, page 21 (Antiphon the Overseer)
page 28, panel 2 (Antiphon's corpse)
page 21 (Brio of Life)
page 20, panel 4 (close-up of Brio coming into being)
page 23, panel 1 (Diableri and Chaos Sprites)
page 23, panel 4 (Diableri and his followers)
page 21 (3 other Proemial Gods)
page 21 (1 other Proemial God)
page 21 (1 other Proemial God)
page 22 (2 other Proemial Gods)
Annihilation: Prologue#1 (May, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Scott Kolins with Ariel Olivetti (art), Andy Schmidt (editor)
Annihilation: Silver Surfer#3-4 (August-September, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Renato Arlem (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)
Annihilation#1 (October, 2006) - Keith Giffen (writer), Andrea Di Vito [as Andrea Devito] (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus#2/2 (May, 2007) - Keith Giffen (writer), Andrea Di Vito [as Andrea Divito] (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)
The Thanos Imperative#2-3 (September-October, 2010) - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Miguel Angel Sepulveda (artist), Bill Rosemann (editor)
The Thanos Imperative#5 (December, 2010) - Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Miguel Angel Sepulveda (artist), Bill Rosemann (editor)
First Posted: 05/09/2018
Last updated: 05/09/2018
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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