The Multiverse is the collection of alternate universes which share a universal hierarchy; it is a subsection of the larger Omniverse, the collection of all alternate universes. A large variety of these universes were originated as forms of divergence from other realities, where an event with different possible outcomes gives rise to different universes, one for each outcome. Some can seem to be taking place in the past or future due to differences in how time passes in each universe. Often, new universes and dimensions are born due to time traveling. Eternity once stated that there are almost infinite aspects of itself, establishing the then official Marvel's positioning about the Multiverse's fundamental nature. Afterward the Beyonder estimated there is a "seemingly endless number of dimensions" to thereafter explore the entire Multiverse and its "myriad planes." The Crossroads also leads to an infinite number of dimensions. In addition, the Molecule Man, who was almost omniscient, has also postulated that there are infinite parallel dimensions to Earth's universe that together comprise the Multiverse. It was afterwards stated in the Book of the Vishanti, which details the Marvel cosmology, that there is "literally a transfinite number, that is, a number greater than infinity" of universes in the Multiverse. There is also a transfinite number of Multiverses. The Multiverse was further described as boundless by Captain Universe. The Web of Life and Destiny forms a map of the Multiverse, with differing nodes representing the universes and the skeins representing people - particularly the avatars of Spider-Totems, objects, and series of events.
In the beginning, there was only one universe: the First Firmament. A war between its creations, the Aspirants and the Celestials, shattered the First Firmament into pieces, and from these pieces were born countless universes, thus forming the Second Cosmos and First Multiverse. As these new universes coalesced, a new, collective being was formed. Each iteration of the Multiverse has gone through a different instance of renewal, which constitutes in the destruction and re-creation of everything there is starting from zero, with each renewal prompting the Multiverse to evolve further.
The sixth iteration of the Multiverse was destroyed by the Black Winter, leaving Galactus as the only survivor. The seventh iteration of the Multiverse was destroyed as a consequence of the phenomena known as incursions, and was eventually reborn as the eighth when Mister Fantastic acquired the power of the Beyonders, which was previously held by Doctor Doom. Richards' intervention caused the eighth incarnation to be a direct continuation of the seventh. Instead of starting from scratch, most of the destroyed universes were re-created, continuing their existence almost as if nothing had happened.
Protectors of the Multiverse
The Multiverse was originally categorized and protected by Merlyn, who established the Captain Britain Corps. Most realities have a Captain Britain designated to protect its version of the British Isles and in extension the reality, thanks to an omniversal dimensional nexus situated in a tower on the shores of the United Kingdom. Individual members of the Corps draw their power from this nexus thanks to Merlyn's magic and science.
New realities are constantly created - a process that often involves time-traveling characters, as time-travel in Marvel Comics usually creates divergent realities, and it is typically not possible to alter time or travel back to your own past. However, exceptions to this rule have occurred, such as with Doctor Doom's use of his Time Platform and Silver Surfer being sent back to the beginning of the universe.
The rift first became known on Earth-13812 in the head of the Sphinx. Lord Xavier, the Witch King, Nazi Xavier, and Xavier Head began sacrificing civilians to an interdimensional rift to gain power. The transdimensional X-Men were were able to rescue their Xavier and narrowly defeated Lord Xavier and Nazi Xavier. Unfortunately, the X-Men did not act quickly enough to save that world, and were forced to make an interdimensional jump, leaving that reality and all its citizens being consumed by the Exterminators vortex.
Meanwhile on Earth-616, AOA Nightcrawler and Dark Beast used the Dreaming Celestial to create a portal to New Apocalypse. Unfortunately, this portal opened the rift between realities wide enough for the Exterminators to pass over to Earth-295.
One of the Exterminators departed to Earth-616 where he drained the Dreaming Celestial while the other two Exterminators remained on Earth-295, one feeding off the rift and the other seeking out the power of Apocalypse in the Death Seed.
After Wolverine traveled back in time numerous times to prevent the rise of power of the evil artificial intelligence known as Ultron, the space-time continuum was broken, causing a multiversal massive shockwave to echo through time and space as reality seeming to shatter before being pulled back together. A "multiversal chaos" was unleashed, where numerous beings from other realities were transported to other universes through the tears of reality.
Incursions and the Eighth Cosmos
Due to the result of a phenomena paradoxical in nature known as incursions which resulted from the early destruction of a reality causing a contraction in the Multiverse, every universe in existence began to experience regular collisions one with another, with their respective planets Earth acting as the focal point. Unless the impact was averted by the destruction of either of the two colliding Earths, both intersecting realities would be destroyed when the two planets made contact.
While numerous different beings and groups of people from across numerous universes attempted to avert the death of everything, it all eventually came down to the final incursion between the last two surviving universes, Earth-616 and Earth-1610, which were subsequently destroyed. Only a handful of inhabitants from each universe outlived their realities, aboard life rafts that kept them in suspended animation. Among them were the Reed Richards of each universe, Mister Fantastic and the Maker.
After stealing the power from the Beyonders, powerful beings that existed outside what once was the Multiverse, with the help of the Molecule Man, Doctor Doom managed to salvage the remnants of several destroyed universes, merging them into Battleworld. Doom's eight-year reign as Battleworld's ruler came to an end when the discovery of the two life rafts caused bedlam. During a confrontation between Doctor Doom and Mister Fantastic, the Molecule Man transferred Doom's power to Reed, destroying Battleworld in the process. With the power he had received, Mister Fantastic began to restore the Multiverse, universe by universe, with the help of his revived family. This chain of events is what caused the creation of the Eighth Cosmos.
Still resentful by the existence of multiple realities, the First Firmament decided to attack the current embodiment of the Multiverse, Eternity. Taking advantage of Eternity's weakened state caused by its most recent rebirth, the First Firmament bound it in chains, and sent its Aspirants to destroy it from the inside out.
In an attempt to help strengthen Eternity, the Maker harvested the essence of the Aspirants and used the High Evolutionary's technology to disrupt and bring down the Superflow, the network that separated realities from one another, successfully merging every universe within Eternity into one. The Maker also took advantage of this opportunity to rewrite the laws of the Multiverse to bring back to life the original Ultimates from his defunct home universe. Even though the process strengthened Eternity in the beginning and allowed it to break free from the First Firmament's grasp, it soon proved to be counterproductive. Eternity began to deteriorate, facilitating the First Firmament's consumption of it. Because of this, Galactus sent his own Ultimates to stop the Maker.
After Spectrum and the High Evolutionary killed the Maker's then-current body, both teams of Ultimates worked together to reverse the damage caused to the Superflow. Using the nanites from his armor in the High Evolutionary's technology, which had been advanced by the Maker beyond its creator's understanding, Iron Man was capable of interacting with it. Spectrum subsequently used her powers to link together the minds of both teams of Ultimates, allowing their combined brain power to operate the machine, and restore the Multiverse to its normal state.
Galactus and his Eternity Watch subsequently entered Eternity and defeated the Aspirants, freeing Eternity from their detrimental influence. Full of vigor once again, Eternity managed to confront the First Firmament, summoning the previous embodiements of past cosmoses to his aid. This army of past cosmoses imprisoned the First Firmament, and took it away to another plane of existence in order to heal it.
When the future omnipotent Thanos forced his past self to follow his own path by using the Astral Regulator to absorb the majority of the Cosmic Beings, the two merged and then absorbed both the Living Tribunal and the Above All Others, becoming the very embodiment of the entire Multiverse. However, after the future Thanos realized the realities were stuck in a loop, he saw that life was meaningless and sought to "free" everyone by killing himself and destroy all of space and time. Thankfully, thanks to the combined effort of Adam Warlock, Kang the Conqueror, and present Thanos, the future Thanos' plan was stopped and he was erased from existence.
The End of Time
Near the end of time, the last member of the timeline-managing Time Variance Authority oversees the birth of three entities named Ast, Vort, and Zanth; these three become either the Time-Keepers or the Time-Twisters in one of the two possible remaining futures. The Time-Keepers are the employers of Immortus, and use him to eliminate timelines that could lead to the creation of the Time-Twisters. During the Destiny War, Kang the Conqueror killed the Time-Keepers and diverged from Immortus, creating a new future for himself in which he does not become Immortus.
Wolverine and Jubilee of the X-Men were once transported to the end of the universe (the "Big Crunch") by the time-dancer Spiral and her employer Mojo. All four returned to their own time after the battle.
Galactus battles the Watcher who witnessed his "birth". The two of them battle over a millennia and the universe basically dies around them. Stars burn out and opposed to there being a "big crunch" entropy wins over all. As the universe verges on flickering out of existence, Galactus draws his last shreds of energy, giving him just enough of an edge to battle the rogue Watcher. Galactus and Nova, his herald, are left in an empty void. Galactus comes to the realization what he's been doing for billions of years. He cracks his armor and the energy he absorbed spews out of him. Galactus becomes the Big Bang of the next universe. Nova survives and becomes the "Galactus" of the next universe and the cycle continues.
Mister Immortal, Craig Hollis of the Great Lakes Avengers, is destined to be the only true immortal in existence and will learn the last secret of the universe at the last moments of the universe. However, in one outcome, the Hulk - possessed by the One Below All - killed Mister Immortal and usurped his place as Galactus' successor, becoming the cosmic entity called the Breaker Apart and annihilating the Ninth Cosmos.
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005
- X-Men: Millennial Visions #1
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (Hardcover) Vol. 2-5
2005's Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes compiles all of the then-known universes in a Earth-number format. Supposedly, the method of delineating a Universe's number is to derive the numbers from the publication date of the issue where the universe first appeared. First being the two-digit year followed by the number of the month. For instance, it is commonly and erroneously thought that "Earth-616" was named after the publication date of Fantastic Four #1, 61 from its year of publication and 6 from June.
- The Soul Stone of Earth-616 contains an entire Multiverse of worlds within itself, known as Mergiverse. Each life on those worlds is a mix of two individuals.
- 154 appearance(s) of Multiverse
- 19 minor appearance(s) of Multiverse
- 184 mentions of Multiverse
- 232 image(s) of Multiverse
- 43 characters that originate from Multiverse
- 38 teams that originate from Multiverse
- 13 organizations that originate from Multiverse
- 20 locations that originate from Multiverse
- 12 items that originate from Multiverse
- 2 vehicles that originate from Multiverse
- 19 races that originate from Multiverse