- —Living Tribunal[src]
The Living Tribunal was the personification of multiversal law. As the representative for the One Above All, the Living Tribunal had the highest authority in the Multiverse. The Living Tribunal was slain when the Beyonders (beings from outside the Multiverse) attacked. Following this, the One Above All replaced him with a new Living Tribunal.
The Living Tribunal was a vastly powerful humanoid cosmic entity who has existed as long as the universe itself. Its function is to safeguard the Multiverse (the total sum of all universes) from an imbalance of mystical forces. It may act to prevent one universe from amassing more power than any of the others, or from upsetting the cosmic balance in some way. The Tribunal may also act to prevent an overwhelming imbalance of good or evil within a universe. When a matter involves only one universe, the Tribunal may leave the final judgment to the Abstract Entities there (in Earth-616's universe, Lord Chaos and Master Order). The Living Tribunal doesn't possess alternate counterparts, as there is only one Living Tribunal in the Multiverse. However, he does or can exist simultaneously in multiple planes of reality, giving the appearance of multiple variations to the human perception.
If it means preserving the mystic balance, the Tribunal has the power to obliterate an inhabited planet. It can turn a star into a supernova with a single force bolt. The Tribunal manifests itself as a being with three faces, which represent the three sides of the Tribunal's personality. Its front face, through which it usually speaks, represents equity, the fully hooded face on its right side represents necessity, and the partially hooded face on its left represents just revenge. All three voices must agree in a case before the Tribunal can intervene.
The Living Tribunal's first known encounter with a being of Earth-616 was with Earth's Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange. He later met Rom and the Beyonder. The Tribunal sealed off an alternate Earth devastated by Korvac, and he encountered the Phoenix of an alternate Earth devastated by S'ym and the Goblin Queen.
In a future timeline, the Tribunal encountered the Hawk God and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Living Tribunal and the Cosmic Congress were responsible for banishing the Hawk God from their midst, which inadvertently led to the origins of Starhawk and Aleta.
When Adam Warlock came into possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, the Tribunal told Warlock he couldn't wield that much power, leading to the creation of the Infinity Watch. Although the Tribunal refused to allow Warlock to wield the Gauntlet, he also ruled against Eternity, who wished the Gems to be placed under his direct supervision.
When the Stranger teleported the Earth of the New Universe to the mainstream Marvel Universe, the Tribunal sealed it off and imprisoned Quasar's girlfriend in there due to the threat the Star Brand had on the balance of power.
The Living Tribunal served as the final judge for matters involving cosmic entities. Often, he would gather the upper echelon of the cosmic hierarchy. Cosmic entities do not like it when mortals interrupt the proceedings.
Members of the Living Tribunal's court:
- Master Order
- Lord Chaos
- The In-Betweener
- Mistress Love
- Sire Hate
- Eon, and later Epoch
- The Celestials (usually a representative for the race)
- The Watchers (usually a representative for the race)
- The Stranger
- Hawk God
- Possibly Mephisto
- Mephisto's appearance in the court was in Marvel Universe: The End #4, which is considered non-canonical by Marvel editor Tom Brevoort.
- That issue also listed Zeus and Thor as members of the court. However, Zeus and Thor were only there because they went to the cosmic entities for help after escaping Akhenaten, who had wiped out the Council of Godheads. The gods of Earth do not normally participate in cosmic matters of this scale; they have their own council to discuss things locally. For example, when Thanos obtained the Infinity Gauntlet, the cosmic entities and the gods held separate meetings.
The Living Tribunal was the embodiment of the Marvel multiverse. The One Above All created him to maintain the integrity of the multiverse and enforce judgements meant to ensure its continued stability. He is considered to be an omnipotent entity, being more powerful than Eternity and Infinity as they are only the embodied aspects of individual universes whereas the Tribunal presides over all universes. His power is such that he can nullify the power of the Infinity Gems in unison.
- The Living Tribunal once asserted that if he had a fourth face opposed to the one of equity, it would be the Stranger's, or that the fourth face had become the Stranger.
- The Stranger was angered by those claims since he refused to be related to anyone.
- The Living Tribunal may or may not have been defeated when Thanos claimed the power of Heart of the Universe for himself, and seemingly absorbed the Living Tribunal, along with Eternity, and Infinity. However, given that Thanos only absorbed and recreated a single universe, whereas the rest of the multiverse suffered no effects from his actions, it was likely just a Manifestation Body/weak avatar of the Tribunal.
- This interpretation was validated by Marvel's executive editor Tom Brevoort, who stated that like all, "The End" series, the story was intended to have no effect whatsoever on continuity, and if it had, Death would have been made absolute again, which it was not. So the entire event may also have taken place as an "imaginary story" completely outside of Marvel's multiversal continuity.
- On Earth-9047 (the Humorverse), the Living Tribunal was seen on a queue to seek a job as guest star and driver for the Quasi-Humans, but he failed to get the contract.
- 77 appearance(s) of Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 7 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 11 minor appearance(s) of Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 13 mention(s) of Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 7 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 39 image(s) of Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 6 quotation(s) by or about Living Tribunal (Multiverse)
- 4 item(s) used/owned by Living Tribunal (Multiverse)