- 1 History
- 2 Powers and Abilities
- 3 Paraphernalia
- 4 Notes
- 5 See Also
- 6 Links and References
Born approximately 5.5 billion years before our time, Seginn Gallio was a member, later the last survivor, of one of the first intelligent species in the Universe. He filled his days, then his eons, with an obsessive study of astronomy, scouting and charting the astral bodies on it. This helped him not only to keep busy, but also to ensure his immortality. He soon lost interest in short-lived living beings.
At some point before 4.5 billion years ago, Gallio met other immortal beings like himself, who were creating a council. Each of these Elders of the Universe had outlived his or her species and chosen one individual pursuit for their lives, believing that it gave them a reason to exist. As there are few beings in their Council, they call each other metaphorically brothers, albeit they are not really close to each other and have only their longevity as a common trait; only rarely they collaborate with other Elders.
The Astronomer's great scheme to murder Galactus
At some point after 4 billion years ago, the Elders discovered that Galactus, survivor of a previous universe, was a physical being even older than them, which offended their pride. Galactus was also an anomaly affecting the balance between Eternity and Death in their universe due to which, should Galactus be murdered, the whole universe would be destroyed - including the Elders.
The Astronomer nonetheless conceived a strategy, with the help of fellow Elder Grandmaster for its implementation, The Astronomer looked for a way to survive the cataclysm that would destroy the universe, and indeed he found it: The Grandmaster played a game with Death on the life of the Elder known as Collector and lost; Death then punished him by barring all the Elders from her realm - like the Grandmaster and the Astronomer had intended. Now, if the Elders managed to kill Galactus, then the universe would collapse to nothing and a new Big Bang would happen. The Elders would then enter, reigning the new reality as the main powers and with Galactus-like power.
The weapons to achieve the assassination were the Soul Gems, items of power that many believed destroyed. The Astronomer, knowing this to be exaggerated -fellow Elder Gardener had a gem on his forehead, albeit he was reluctant to provide it for this scheme-, talked about his conspiring with several Elders - not all of them- and sent them to get the gems. Indeed, the Collector got one of the gems thanks to Grandmaster's bet; the Champion won another gem by defeating the challengers of the planet Grinx; the Trader negotiated for two other gems; and the Contemplator (really a Skrull impersonating him) was sent to the planet Kree-Lar to get the last gem from the Supreme Intelligence.
The Elders sent the Champion to Earth in an attempt to murder the heroic Silver Surfer, whom the Astronomer had correctly identified as a threat to the plan. When the Champion failed, the Surfer escaped Earth, and harassed the Collector for information, leaving empty-handed. The Collector then sent fellow Elder Runner to kill the Surfer; the Runner failed and worse: A Cotati plant in the Collector's collection reported solid information to vegetable-empathic super heroine Mantis, who allied with the Surfer to stop this plan.
The Elders arranged a number of secret meetings to discuss the progress on their plan and to report to some other Elders who were still unaware of it -apparently Obliterator, Possessor, Runner and Ego the Living Planet, who literally hosted the first meeting. Mantis led the Surfer there to spy. They discovered parts of the Astronomer's scheme, and promptly decided to oppose to it, but Ego detected the Surfer and Mantis. The more physical Elders -not including Astronomer- tried to capture the intruders, but these escaped. Although the Elders sent the Obliterator to kill them, he also failed and, humiliated, explained the details of their plan and revealed the time and location of the following Elder meeting: Autumn Equinox, Earth -a planet that Galactus had sworn to never attack.
Mantis went to spy that encounter alone, as the Surfer had to answer an emergency call from his native planet Zenn-La. On Earth, the Elders noticed that the attendees did not include the Contemplator, still on mission to get a gem per the Astronomer's words, nor the Obliterator. Some Elders, including the Astronomer and the Elder, considered that the Obliterator may had been defeated; the Runner and the Champion supported their absent peer. Then the Gardener illustrated the gems and used his nature-controlling powers to detect and capture Mantis! Understanding that the Surfer was likely to be alive and free, the Elders sent the Gardener to kidnap the Surfer's former fiancee Shalla-Bal, empress of Zenn-La, who was getting to close to the truth of their plan again thanks to those meddlesome Cotati.
The Contemplator failed to negotiate the last gem with then-owner Supreme Intelligence, who needed it to prevent madness. Instead, the Surfer stole the gem. Later Eternity would claim to have triggered certain events to lead to this situation: By sending a Celestial to a Skrull world, he caused panic on the Skrulls, prompting them to start a war with rival Kree Empire, a war that would unavoidably affect the Surfer's native world Zenn-La and making him take a side, leading to him confronting the Intelligence and either dying or stealing the gem.
The Astronomer met with eight other Elders -Champion, Collector Contemplator, Gardener, Grandmaster, Possessor Runner, Trader - in a space vehicle in the Cone Nebula to carry out the last phase of the plan. The Contemplator reported that the Surfer had stolen the sixth gem, but the Astronomer was not particularly worried as the Surfer did not know either what he could do with the Mind Gem or the details of their plan. The Trader was disturbed, fearing that the Kree Empire may track the Surfer for having hurt their leader; but the Contemplator explained that the headless Kree Empire was too busy with internal struggle, and the Possessor revealed that their temporary patrician was secretly a Skrull in disguise, likely uninterested in restoring the Intelligence.
The Gardener contacted the Surfer and demanded the gem as a ransom for the two women, The Surfer hastened to the Cone Nebula, impressing the Champion with his speed; the Astronomer was more phlegmatic at this control of hyperspace flight. In any case, the Surfer tried to rescue the hostages, but he failed and was forced to give the gem -even if both women demanded him to not comply. The Grandmaster then  threw both women to their apparent death in space, forcing the Surfer to follow them in an attempted rescue. He rescued only Shalla-Bal.
The Elders then distributed the gems in six planets from the same system and summoned Galactus by force, also bringing his spaceship and his herald, Nova. They used the gems and the vehicle to drain Galactus' energy in a process not totally unlike Galactus's own planet-feeding technique -but in the opposite direction, causing Galactus to start dissipating. Nova proved unable to stop them, but the Surfer returned and intercepted the absorbing beam with his own body while ordering Nova to overload the system's sun to destroy all the planets at once. By doing so, she also turned the sun into a black hole with huge gravitational force that started swallowing the Elders, the gems, Nova and the Surfer. Galactus recovered enough to stagnate the hole before all of them could be swallowed, but all the gems and three Elders -The Astronomer, the Possessor and the Trader- had already been lost. The Contemplator escaped, but Galactus swallowed the other five Elders in punishment.
This is merely a setback
The Astronomer and his two peers had survived, falling to a different universe, The Astronomer's skills were useful to find the safest way through the black hole, but the six gems were lost. The Elders decided to look after them as a way to go back, understanding that this universe may hold a number of dangers. The Possessor's knowledge suggested him that they were really in the Realm of Magick, a universe ruled not by Death and Eternity, but by Lord Chaos and Master Order, with their creation the In-Betweener serving as a third party looking for balance. This had a number of implications: Firstly, as they were beyond the domains of Death, the Elders were mortal in this place.
But they also had a chance: The legends on the In-Betweener that the Possessor knew served as an input for a new convoluted scheme by the Astronomer. The Elders could partner with the In-Betweener and negotiate with him so that he could kill Galactus. As the Astronomer had a natural understanding of cosmic paths in any universe and was a great tracker, he could guide his partners to a temple devoted to the In-Betweener, where they prayed to summon him. The In-Betweener agreed to murder Galactus in exchange for the Elders finding a way for him to go to a different universe where he could create balance.
The Elders still had the need to gather the gems to go back, one of which was manipulated by the In-Betweener as soon as the Elders found it, and they also need a transport. They first visited the world of the Sinalinas species, which has collected two gems. The Trader brokered a deal where the Sinalinas provided the Elders with the gems, a starship and technology, in exchange for one of them -at that point, the Elder party had nothing else to their name. The Possessor was left behind, telling the Sinalinas tales of their encounter with Galactus.
Meanwhile, on the main universe, Galactus got horribly sick because the Elders he had eaten still did not die. Convalescent Galactus devised a plan: If he could get the soul gems, he could remove the Elders' souls from their bodies, incapacitating them. To do so, he needed to send agents through the black hole, and he recruited the Silver Surfer to navigate through the black hole, Mister Fantastic to pilot a ship and the Invisible Woman to get the gems with her force fields, so that no-one had to touch them and risk their soul. While Nova kept guard of Galactus and took care of Fantastic and Invisible Woman's child Franklin Richards, the party traveled to the Realm of Magick and found the Elders' trail, stopping briefly at the Sinalinas world.
Meanwhile, the Astronomer and the Trader gathered the six gems. The Trader bound them to his person using a bodycase so that they couldn't be stolen. Galactus' agents found the Elders, and the Invisible Woman attacked them first. The Elders reacted with their weapons, which in the Astronomer's case included wrist-mounted weapons. Mister Fantastic tried to entangle the Astronomer, using his elasticity powers to engulf the Astronomer's body. The Astronomer somehow caused an explosion that appeared to knock Mister Fantastic out. Before the Astronomer could react, the Invisible Woman made his limbs invisible. Although he knew his arms and legs were still there, the sudden change confounded him enough to fall, and he was promptly defeated.
The Invisible Woman, having fallen under the influence of his evil personality Malice, negotiated with the Trader to get the gems for herself, leaving the Surfer as a payment, as she intended to return to her world and leave Galactus to die. The Trader then bound the Surfer to his person using the body case and removed the Surfer's powers. The Trader insisted that the Surfer could not use his powers unless the Trader agreed, which he would so that the Surfer could take them back to their universe. However, Mister Fantastic recovered -claiming to have pretended his defeat- and explained that he had deduced that the Elders were mortal and that the Surfer would surely kill them if they gave him his powers back. A telltale detail was that obsessive people like the Astronomer and the Possessor should be very happy to have found a whole new universe to learn about, but they were instead trying to escape. The Trader pretended to deny it while the Astronomer conceded defeat -although they were pretending, following the Astronomer's plan to manipulate the so-called heroes.
Mister Fantastic then brokered a new deal: The Surfer's freedom in exchange for Mister Fantastic's promise to take the Elders back to their universe as soon as he could rescue the Invisible Woman. The Trader again pretended reluctance while the Astronomer was prompt to trust Fantastic's word, at least in appearance. What the Elders really wanted was for the heroes to gather the stone and contribute to the summoning of the In-Betweener. The Surfer indeed accidentally released the In-Betweener while the Trader and the Astronomer got together with the Possessor.
The Elders then bursted in the heroes' ship where the In-Betweener had appeared. The Astronomer revealed his plan, including how they had partnered with the In-Betweener so that he could kill Galactus. The Elders then used the six gems. and their ally the In-Betweener's power to teleport back to their universe.
The Elders and the In-Betweener flew toward Galactus's ship. From onboard the ship, Nova launched the robot Punisher to stop the attackers. The In-Betweener summoned the Punisher's polar opposite and, when both collided, both disintegrated. The Elder party then boarded the ship and, when Nova tried to stop them, she was promptly defeated by the Trader's gem-based attack. Franklin Richards was disregarded.
The In-Betweener then tried to summon Galactus' opposite to kill him, but he failed. he theorized that Galactus was the middle force of his own universe, so there was no polar opposite for him. The In-Betweener then decided that he had tried his best to fulfill his deal, but intended to not going forward, something that the Astronomer and the Trader protested. The In-Betweener, who wanted to be the only middle force in the universe, intended to throw Galactus to the Realm of Magick throughout the black hole, but the Astronomer again objected: The other Elders were still within Galactus, and the Possessor agreed that they were to be rescued. The Trader even used his five gems to threaten the In-Betweener.
The In-Betweener then summoned Death as the Elders' polar opposite and compelled her to murder the three Elders, even violating Death's previous oath as the Astronomer reminded them. Although Death disintegrated the Elders, she decided that the In-Betweener's arrogance should not go forever unpunished.
Galactus was eventually saved because the Surfer, Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman allied with Lord Order and Master Chaos, who were also angry at the In-Betweener's audacity. Order and Chaos also helped Galactus regurgitate the other Elders. Galactus confronted the In-Betweener to push him back to his own universe. The surviving Elders, angry at the In-Betweener having killed the Astronomer and his other brothers (except for the opposed voice of the Grandmaster), combined the power of their gems to push the In-Betweener back to the black hole.
The Surfer's memories of his encounters with the Astronomer and the other Elders, along with many other of his remembrances, were publicly exhibited to the population of Dynamo City soon afterward.
Whether the Astronomer was really, permanently killed or not was never completely confirmed. Although he has not been seen again, the Possessor -killed at the same time and in the same conditions- was soon afterward seen with other Elders around a cosmic fetus known as Origin. Some time later, a being not unlike to the Astronomer -but with indigo skin, light blue hair, different clothing, pointed ears, a mohawk instead of his feature wrinkle on the crown of the head, and without his distinctive eye device- was seen on the city Abyss of the planet Godthab Omega along with other beings who looked like some Elders of the Universe, before a catastrophe -the arrival of the Annihilation Wave damaged the area. It is unclear whether this person was the Astronomer or not.
Contest of Champions
The Astronomer return to life was confirmed when he took part in a contest of champions between the Elders of the Universe to decide who would keep the Iso-8 that was now abundant after the rebirth of the multiverse, his champions lost and he was eliminated from the contest.
Powers and Abilities
- Immortality: Like all Elders, the Astronomer is connected to the energy of the universe due to his single-minded devotion to his "hobby," with the cosmic life force retarding his aging process probably to a complete stop. Also, as with the Grandmaster's pact with Death, all Elders are unaffected by aging, disease, toxins, and, theoretically, murder.
The Astronomer also has cosmic awareness of the universe and all elements within it.
Through means unclear, the Astronomer can travel through space.
The Astronomer also has a superhuman level of intelligence.
The Astronomer also possesses some level of ability to manipulate cosmic energies, the full extent of which remains to be revealed, but which includes:
- Auto-feeding, at a cosmic scale.
- Cosmic Consciouness, at a cosmic scale.
- Telepathy, low-level only.
- Teleportation, at a cosmic scale.
- Expert in alien technology.
- Expert in astronomy. The Astronomer can naturally understand the routes and navigation paths in any universe, even those universes he is personally unfamiliar with, and is a natural-born tracker. The Astronomer can identify optimal routes when travelling through space even in dangerous conditions, such as when falling to a black hole.
- Extraordinary and renowned ability to deal with concepts on a galactic scale. Thanks to his great scope of mind and to his longevity, which allowed him to study galaxies from their birth to their death, he can conceive far-reaching schemes.
The Astromer's clothes are made of alien fabrics.
- Due to a typo, his entry in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Master Edition #6 lists twice the field "Speed".
- The image on his entry in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, Master Edition #6 portrays him with pointed ears, a trait he lacks in all of his comic-book appearances.
- His real name was only revealed in the Gardener's entry in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #4 (2010).
- That entry also says that the Gardener refused to provide his Soul Gem for the Astronomer's plan, but Silver Surfer v3 #7 suggests otherwise: The Elders gathered six gems: The Collector provided one; the Champion another one; the Trader gave two; the Contemplator was going for the last one; and the Gardener had just told the Elders about his very visible gem.
Links and References
- The Unofficial Handbook to the Marvel Universe