Death was "born" along with the universe itself and the other cosmic entities associated with it. Whereas Eternity embodies life and growth, Death embodies decay and destruction. God, alleged creator of Earth-616 and other realities, also stated that he had created Death, in order to have his universe-creation project involving sentient life accepted by his contractors.
As she is a fundamental force, she has no true physical form, but can manifest in such a form as to interact with physical entities. Although she usually appears as a human or human skeleton, presumably it appears to other species in their own forms. Death rarely speaks aloud; its presence alone can usually convey its message.
Death makes its home in the Realm of Death, a dimension normally inaccessible to the living. Death's undead servants there are called minions. The Infinity Well there can answer any question, possibly by giving access to the accumulated wisdom of the dead.
Death became intrigued by Thanos, a young Titanian boy afflicted with a Deviant Syndrome, whose purple skin set him apart from his fellow Titanians. Death first manifested to Thanos in the form of a young girl that attended his school. She convinced Thanos to approach a dangerous cave in order to overcome his fears. While exploring, a cave-in led to the death of Thanos' friends at the hands of the critters that lived underground, Death convinced him to get revenge and slaughter the whole nest. As Thanos grew older, Death became his confidante and the only person that knew of his secret activities that consisted of vivisecting animals. By this time, Thanos had fallen in love with the girl, but she rejected his advances.
After broadening the scopes of his experiments and killing fellow Titanians, Death tried to convince Thanos to admit that he enjoyed the murder. Despite declaring he wouldn't kill anymore, Thanos eventually continued and admitted to have taken a liking to it. He tried to convince Death to run away with him, but she rejected him again and belittled him. After killing a total of seventeen people, Thanos killed his mother Sui-San in an attempt to appease his thirst for murder once and for all. When it failed, he ran away and swore off killing for years. After murdering the captain of a pirate crew he worked with in self-defense and out of instinct, Thanos decided to embrace his true nature. Without realizing it, he returned to Titan in secret, where he was greeted by Death. She finally accepted his courting, on the condition he proved he only belonged to her.
Thanos embarked on a journey of destruction, razing every planet he stumbled upon on his way of killing the children of all the women he had impregnated during his nomadic years. No matter how many worlds he ravaged, Thanos couldn't satisfy Death, who had become his companion. She eventually declared he would have to become a god, a supreme destroyer that possessed everything. When Thanos discovered that Death had made it so only he could sense her presence, she revealed her true name and nature, and drove Thanos mad. After Thanos bombed Titan, Death kissed him for the first time. However, his father A'Lars had managed to make him doubt whether he could actually see the embodiment of Death or he was simply demented.
World War II
Thanos continued courting Death by devastating planets and leading entire species to extinction. Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) and Adam Warlock opposed these efforts. Mistress Death favored Thanos, and resurrected him more than once, although she chose not to speak to him directly after some time.
Another would-be lover of Death, Walker, was the god of death in a distant galaxy. After he extinguished all life in his own galaxy as a gift, Death took refuge in the body of Marlo Jones, where she learned something about emotion, especially love (which Marlo felt for her husband, Rick) and revenge (after Walker hurt Rick to lure Death out of Marlo). Death stopped Walker by freeing the souls of his victims, who were the source of his power.
As the Annihilation War began, Death suggested that Thanos and Annihilus should team up. She knew that the ultimate goal was the end of all life, which would have made her irrelevant or even extinct. As her champion, Thanos helped to thwart Annihilus's plan. Death and the spirit of Thanos (who was killed by Drax) later appeared before Nova as they watched him kill Annihilus.
When Thanos was brought back to life by the Universal Church of Truth, Death didn't interfere, since she knew Thanos would be vital in stopping the inhabitants of the Cancerverse from conquering Earth-616 and thus eliminating death. She couldn't enter the Cancerverse until Thanos was almost killed by the dark version of Captain Marvel, but when she did, she immediately devastated the Cancerverse, killing the dark Captain Marvel and every other being in the deathless universe. Thanos, however, remained alive, and Death, for some reason, ignored him yet again.
Abduction by Eternity
Death had also formed an attachment to Deadpool. In an effort to keep Deadpool away from her, Thanos once cursed him not to die. Some time later, Death was kidnapped by Eternity, bringing imbalance to the cosmos since living creatures would suddenly become immortal. Believing Thanos to be responsible behind Death's disappearance, he tracked him down. When Deadpool arrived on Thanos' ship to defeat him, Thanos rescinded his curse, turning Deadpool into a mortal once more to kill him.
However, upon realizing that Death would only speak to Wade, Thanos resurrected him in order to save her. When the pair managed to travel to Eternity's Realm and encounter him personally, Thanos attacked mercilessly, blaming Eternity for all of his life's ills. Wilson, realizing that this was what Death wanted all along, attacked Thanos and was possessed by the Uni-Power, giving Deadpool the powers of Captain Universe. Using those powers, Deadpool and Thanos fought on equal ground, but Deadpool's speech during the fight convinced Death of the validity of life's existence and caused Mistress Death to whisk Thanos away, for a later purpose and to return to her own, restoring mortality to the universe.
As part of her plan to make Thanos worthy of her love again, Death made him ill and manipulated his son, Thane, into acquiring the Phoenix Force to break him down so he could rebuild himself. Although her plan succeeded, it was all in vain as Thanos didn't love or need her anymore by the time he was done with Thane.
- Death seduced and was seduced by Kull on what was thought to be his deathbed, and returned him to life.
- Thanos and Deadpool are both in love with Death. Because of this, Thanos once cursed Deadpool with an inability to die.
- Death came to aid the powerless Thane by releasing him from his prison and promised to help him kill his father and love him only.
Nigh-Omnipotence: Death, itself, is a cosmic level entity, and, as such, is more than capable of achieving virtually any effect desired within regulated limits.
Death: Death itself can liberate the soul or spirit of a living being but generally leaves this task to the various beings of the afterlife, such as the Valkyries, Hela, or Doorman. Because Death is the embodiment of all death, every lost soul belongs to it, so the agent of passage is irrelevant. Death can also reverse that passage and return a being to life, but that rarely happens. Death can choose to ignore certain beings, possibly as a mark of respect for their ability to survive. The Elders of the Universe fall into this category. Other beings with the proper knowledge, such as the Sorcerer Supreme, can challenge Death directly; by succeeding at this challenge, they become immune to true death.
Amortality: Death itself cannot die, since it is not truly alive. As a cosmological concept, the basic laws of the universe would have to change to erase death.
Power Cosmic: Unlimited ability to manipulate reality, time, space, matter, energy, or magic for any purpose. It rarely uses this power, however, possibly because it does not wish to upset the balance of the cosmic entities, which could endanger itself.
Soothing Appearance: If Death manifests itself as a mortal being in its final moments, it may take the form of a loved one. When Captain Marvel died, for instance, it manifested itself as Una, his greatest love.
She was stated to have a "Universal" threat level by the Nova Corps, and potentially a multiversal one. However it is unlikely Death would purposely pose a threat as she is merely carrying out the functions of death as a universal concept. It is also unclear if Death in the 616 universe possesses any power or is capable of even existing outside the universe created to serve.
Death of Death: An aspect of the Living Tribunal, the Death of Death judges if the Mistress Deaths of different realities should exist in their respective reality or not. Because of the people coming back to life through different means, such as through the powers of the Five and the Green Door, the Death of Death saw Death as unimportant and nearly killed her.
- Death's time using Marlo Chandler as a host has caused her to feel connected to Marlo. Because of this, whenever she visits Earth, Death takes on Chandler's form.
- The extradimensional bounty hunter Bounty claimed to have killed a personification of Death.
- The original Death was killed by the Beyonder. When faced with the consequences, the Beyonder did not have the ability to bring Death back. Instead, he transformed a human reporter named Dave into a new Death.
- Death has a close relationship with Oblivion. He is said to be her progenitor, though they are also siblings. The exact relationships between cosmic entities are often complicated and beyond mortal understanding. They counter Eternity and Infinity, the two embodiments of existence. Given that Eternity and Infinity are two sides of the same coin, Death's relationship with Oblivion might be similar.
- On a few occasions, Death was described or appeared as a male.
- Except for those near to dying, Thanos, and Gamora were the only ones who could see Death.
- 180 appearance(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 11 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 59 minor appearance(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 126 mention(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 11 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 8 invocation(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 122 image(s) of Death (Earth-616)
- 12 quotation(s) by or about Death (Earth-616)
- 2 item(s) used/owned by Death (Earth-616)