Instigator: Maelstrom, via Deathurge and Otmu the Watcher
Purpose: To distract and potentially annihilate the Watchers
Allies: Deathurge, Maelstrom, Otmu the Watcher;
Opposition: Quasar (Wendell Vaughn)l
the Stranger investigated the Plague and drew Quasar's attention to it, although he didn't deliberately act to stop it
Aliases: Doctrine of Ultimate
First Appearance: (Behind-the-scenes) Quasar I#14
(seen, identified) Quasar I#15
(Quasar I#22 (fb) - BTS / Quasar I#23 (fb) - BTS) - The Deviant-Inhuman hybrid Maelstrom plotted to stop all motion in the universe, destroying everything.
(Quasar I#22 (fb)) - Having
usurped the role of the cosmic entity Anomaly, gained cosmic awareness
from Eon, and become an agent of Oblivion, Maelstrom found he could remain undetected by even the cosmic
However, Maelstrom feared that when he actively pursued his goals, the
Watchers would detect him and that some of their renegade members might
inform other beings, potentially leading to the great powers of the
universe being aligned against him.
(Quasar I#22 (fb) / Quasar#15 (fb) - BTS) - Wishing to eliminate the Watchers
without calling attention to himself, Otmu was inspired by his
associate Deathurge (also an agent of Oblivion) to manipulate the
Watchers into eliminating themselves via suicide. To this end, he
conceived the "Oblivion Plague" (an idea that the very act of watching
the universe itself affected the universe around it: Therefore, the only way to not interfere was
to not observe, and the only way to not observe was to not exist. This would lead
Watchers to end their existence to prevent such interference).
Maelstrom then implanted the secret of the Oblivion Plague within
Deathurge and sent him to disseminate it, beginning with the Watcher in
their immediate proximity (Otmu).
(Quasar#16 (fb) - BTS) - As the Watchers were
telepathic, Otmu's philosophy, the Doctrine of Ultimate Non-Interference became like a virus, spreading throughout
the other Watchers in the universe at the speed of thought. Virtually
every mind the doctrine entered became obsessed with it.
As the Watchers could make their wishes reality,
any Watcher who contemplated the notion of nothingness for too long
would inadvertently succumb to oblivion.
(Quasar#15 (fb) - BTS / Quasar I#16 (fb) - BTS) - Over a billion (see comments) Watchers embraced Otmu's doctrine and willed themselves unalive rather than continue to violate the oath.
(Quasar#15 (fb) - BTS) - While
engaged in his usual specimen-gathering, the Stranger happened upon a
dead Watcher. Unable to determine the cause of his death, the Stranger
took the Watcher's corpse to the next sector's Watcher to ask him for
assistance. The Stranger found that Watcher dead as well. The next two
he encountered were dead as well.
(Quasar#15 (fb) - BTS) - The Stranger brought the deceased Watchers' bodies aboard his ship for further study.
(Quasar#14 (fb) - BTS) - Finding a total of nine dead Watchers, the Stranger continued his investigation.
(Quasar#14-15) - Investigating the
Watchers' deaths, the Stranger traveled to the largest moon of the 4th
planet in the Sirius system and investigated that Watcher's home, finding that Watcher dead as well.
(Quasar#15 (fb) - BTS) - Otmu met
with Ualu the Watcher, telling him of the Doctrine of Ultimate
Non-Interference (his name for the Oblivion Plague).
(Quasar#15 - BTS) - Seeking out
the Stranger and then determining to help resolve the mystery of the
Watchers' deaths so the Stranger would return to his Laboratory
World (where the Over-Mind was threatening to kill the mind-controlled
Squadron Supreme if the Stranger did not return), Quasar
questioned Eon about the Watchers and traveled to a site where two
Watchers (Otmu and Ualu) were communicating.
(Quasar#15) - Detecting Quasar's
presence, Otmu assaulted him. When the Stranger arrived, he considered
Otmu to be a rogue Watcher and joined Quasar against him.
Considering that he
could repulse one but not both of them and fearing himself undone as
the Stranger would break his mind and rob him of his resolve, Otmu
renounced his watch and terminated his life functions.
(Quasar#16) - Seeking the
Stranger's advice on their current philosophical struggle,
approximately two dozen Watchers materialized in the Stranger's
laboratory world's atmosphere, arriving as the Stranger suffered under
the assault of the Over-Mind.
Seeing these Watchers, the
the Stranger of summoning them.
The Stranger's losing struggle caused
some Watchers (including Ocam) to consider interfering so they could
gain his input, but
ultimately the Watchers resolved to let events take their course
(further noting that any actions of interference would be censured).
Nonetheless, the collective presence of so many Watchers made the
Over-Mind fear they
were the Stranger's allies.
Einu asked if he could apprise the
Over-Mind of the erroneous nature of his assumption, but another
countered that even that would constitute an infraction of the oath.
Ultimately, the Over-Mind's paranoia and
psychoses caused him to collapse in a catatonic state.
The Watchers then asked the Stranger for his input,
noting that despite Otmu's apparent demise, the philosophy had spread
telepathically amongst their entire race.
The Stranger concluded that
allowing themselves to be seen indeed affected others, as demonstrated
by the Over-Mind's self-defeat; this point led four more of the
Watchers present to think themselves to death.
The Watchers asked him
to hold his tongue if it was in the service of the Oblivion virus. The
for causing that, but when they asked for his recommendation, he was
flattered but knew they wouldn't like his advice: To abandon their
oaths and become active experimenters like himself.
After the Watchers
explained that they cataloged the universe's history for the benefit
of those who existed in the next universe that would follow, the
Stranger told them he had no information to help resolve their debate.
When Quasar offered his help, the Stranger dismissed him, and the
Watchers continued to ignore him.
Generating a massive energy release to get the
Watcher's attention, Quasar explained how their dying also affected
things (as the Stranger had spent time investigating their deaths,
allowing the Over-Mind to prepare an ambush), and that their collective
deaths would massively affect the
universe's balance of power.
When Quasar concluded that the importance
of their database would outweigh their limited interference, the
recently deceased Watchers revived, and they collectively agreed to
After the Watchers' departure, the Stranger explained that life
and death were not absolute concepts to "our kind."
Quasar then considered that all of their dead may be
coming back, and he was pleased to have saved the lives of a billion
Whether Otmu revived or not was not revealed.
Comments: Created by Mark Gruenwald, Mike Manley, and Dan
The name Otmu was an intentional
tip of the hat to the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, which
Mark Gruenwald and his compatriots used to abbreviate as OTMU...as most
Watchers seem to have two syllable names, OHotMU may have seemed a
I would think Otmu did not revive
himself but rather remained in a state of oblivion...perhaps some
future story might shown him to be in the realm of Oblivion and perhaps
now a servant/pawn of Oblivion. It could happen...just not very likely!
Quasar#15 had Ualu note that 10
billion Watchers had terminated their existence, while #16 had another
Watcher note this number to be "over a billion." Obviously 10 billion
is still over a billion, but I'm not sure if the latter number was
intended to be a correction/downgrading of the numbers to a little over
Profile by Snood.
The Oblivion Plague was named for, but should be distinguished from:
- Oblivion - the comic embodiment of non-existence--Journey into Unknown Worlds I#36; Iceman I#1
it has no connection to:
- PLAGUE - see PESTILENCE; Morlock remade as Apocalypse's horseman--Uncanny X-Men#169 (170, X-Factor I#10->pest)
- PLAGUE of "Earth-1043" -
Brotherhood, daughter of Rogue and Magneto (or possibly Gambit). Create
and control MicroSentinels--X-Men Millennial Visions 2001 -
- PLAGUE of Earth-4935 - living entity carrying virulent diseases, designed by
Diamanda Nero to slay Askani, killed Qua and Luminesca before being destroyed by
images: (without ads)
Quasar I#15, pg. 10, panel 1 (Stranger with a number of dead Watcher's in his ship);
#16, pg. 24 (meeting on Stranger's laboratory world);
pg. 31, panel 2 (willing death);
pg. 36, panel 1 (revival);
#22, pg. 1 (Otmu at his base, observed by Maelstrom/Anomaly)
(September-October, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Dan
Panosian (inker), Len Kaminski (editor)
(November, 1990) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Dan
Panosian & Keith Williams (inks), Len Kaminski (editor)
Quasar I#22 (May, 1991) - Mark Gruenwald (writer), Greg Capullo (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Len Kaminski (managing editor), Howard Mackie (editor)
First posted: 06/20/2020
Last updated: 06/20/2020
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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