The Time-Keepers are the creation of He Who Remains, the very last director of the Time Variance Authority (TVA) existing at the final common endpoint of all surviving realities in the multiverse, just prior to the heat death of the universe. The Keepers would serve two purposes. First, they would be a gift to the future, teaching those of the next universal cycle how to avoid the errors of the past. Second, they would serve as living batteries of chronal power, the accumulated (and growing) energy of the TVA's eternity of existence being used to ensure quality of life for retired TVA employees.
Unfortunately, the three entities that hatched from He Who Remain's nurture pods were immediately flawed - even warped. As the Time-Twisters, they traveled backwards through time, seeking the origins of the universe, heedless of their destruction of each era through which they passed. The Twisters' backward spiral interacted with Earth every 30 centuries, a cosmic upheaval upon their departure reducing it to cinder as they left. Zarrko the Tomorrow Man's Timescope observed their destruction of 80th century Earth, and he realized that the 50th century Earth that he had conquered (Earth-7613) would be next to fall. Zarrko brought Earth-616's Thor and his allies Jane Foster and the Warriors Three to his kingdom, then announced a great reward from anyone able to destroy the Twisters. After the Twisters casually wiped out Zarrko's army, they were informed that the worlds they had visited were not better off via the gift of learning as they had assumed, but had instead been utterly destroyed. Unconcerned (feeling the knowledge they sought was worth the sacrifice of a million worlds), the Twisters ignored Thor and his allies' assaults as they departed, destroying Earth-7613. Zarrko and Thor and his allies traveled to the Citadel at the End of Time, arriving moments before the Twisters' hatching and showing He Who Remains what his creations had become, and he terminated the incubating Twisters, preventing their existence. He Who Remains then replaced the Time-Twisters with more perfect versions, the Time-Keepers; however, this reality created two divergent branches of reality. In one reality He Who Remains aborted the Twisters and crated the Keepers; and in the other he did not abort the Twisters, and thus never created the Keepers. The two divergent branches of reality have shifted back and forth in dominance ever since, with the Twisters and the Keepers competing for dominion at the end of time, and thus being able to shape the next reality. At some point, He Who Remains banished a mysterious fourth Time-Keeper to ancient Egypt in 2950BC.
The Keepers set themselves up as custodians of the timestream, authorizing the installation of Uatu the Watcher's extradimensional portal, allowing him to view other realities; and appointing Immortus as custodian of the segment of time between 3000BC and 4000AD. The Keepers directed Immortus to destroy or break up the Avengers (to prevent them from becoming a threat to the Keepers' existence), but Immortus became so impressed with the heroes that he resolved to observe and shepherd them instead, defying the Time-Keepers' wishes. After the end of the Kree/Skrull War, the Time-Keepers confronted Immortus, accusing him of failing to hold up his end of the bargain, and showing him the potential futures of Earth-9812 (the Avengers Galactic Battalion) and other realities where humanity devastated all other life throughout the galaxy. They instructed him to prevent these events or they would destroy humanity itself. They later charged Immortus with slaying the Scarlet Witch, a nexus being whose children would be dangerously powerful, though Immortus instead worked to prevent her from bearing children.
At some point, the Time-Twisters gained ascendancy over the Keepers and, posing as the Keepers, they guided Immortus to eliminate a number of realities that would decrease their dominance in existence at the end of time. They also had Immortus guide the eventual transmutation of a particular nexus being into a power source. Immortus chose the Scarlet Witch to fill this role, but eventually she threw off his control and rejected her increased power. The Twisters intervened, allegedly with the intent of stopping the accumulated energy from jeopardizing all future timelines. They transferred the Scarlet Witch's vast expelled energy into Immortus, rendering him an immobile receptacle for temporal energy which they could then manipulate.
Around this time, the Keepers apparently attended Eon's funeral and threatened to confiscate Uatu's extradimensional portal after the Living Laser passed through his portal and caused a number of divergences. They most likely traveled back in time from their Citadel from a point when they retained dominance, though it is also possible that this was actually the Twisters in disguise.
Still posing as the Keepers, the Twisters later determined that there were four major nexus beings, one each in four different alternate realities, who might prevent their existence. Enlisting the aid of beings in each of these realities, they plotted to destroy these nexus beings (which would theoretically lead to those realities' destruction) to ensure they would maintain dominance over the Keepers. Due to Immortus posing as the enigmatic Whisperer and secretly opposing their efforts, they only succeeded in destroying one of the nexus beings; as a result, the Time-Twisters vanished from existence. Released from their control, Immortus used his accumulated power to become a temporal wave that threatened to re-write all reality. Uatu and the TVA successfully neutralized Immortus' threat, and the Twisters re-formed; however, the Keepers then appeared and exposed the Twister's falsehood. The Twisters melted back into pods and the Keepers regained ascendance, taking the pods back to the Citadel at the End of Time and continuing to watch over the timestream.
Following a decision not to interfere with a power struggle in Kang's Chronopolis, the Time-Keepers confronted Immortus, showing him that his actions, despite their intent, were actually leading to the future or Earth-9812. Immortus' further delaying efforts - including engineering the so-called Crossing to keep the Avengers on Earth until the coming of Onslaught - amounted to naught, and the Keepers ordered Immortus to slay Rick Jones to prevent his awakening of the Destiny Force in the rest of humanity. Jones was defended by Immortus' hostile divergent counterpart Kang the Conqueror, the mysterious Libra (Gustav Brandt, formerly of the Zodiac Cartel), and the Kree Supreme Intelligence, allowing Jones to use the Destiny Force to summon Avengers allies from various time periods. Immortus subsequently destroyed Chronopolis and converted its power source into the Forever Crystal, with which he could easily eliminate realities detrimental to the Keeper's existence: those "damaged" by humanity.
Nonetheless, the Keepers resolved to destroy all but the minimum number of realities necessary to secure their existence. They took the Forever Crystal to their Citadel at the End of Time to power their chrono-cannon, and they slew Immortus when he opposed them. As their foes confronted them, the Keepers summoned legions of dark and destructive alternate-reality Avengers to oppose Jones' cross-time Avengers, and they further neutralized Kang by catalyzing his evolution into Immortus, splitting himself into two separate beings and causing a powerful temporal backlash that stunned the Time-Keepers. Nonetheless, the Keepers prepared to fire the chrono-cannon, but Rick Jones accessed the Destiny Force and shattered the cannon. As the three Keepers struggled to recover, a triumphant Kang emptied his weapons power packs into them, apparently destroying the Time-Keepers. Kang's other self, the newly diverged incarnation of Immortus, departed for a new life independent of the slain Time Keepers.
The Keepers were later seen as prisoners of the virtually omnipotent Akhenaten; if these were not a chronologically earlier incarnation, it may indicate they have recovered from their seeming death. Alternatively, this could have been the disguised Twisters, whose fate following the Keepers' apparent demise is unknown.
The fourth Time-Keeper, able to see flashes into the timestream but no longer able to time-travel, became known as the Oracle of Siwa. When Ramades - the son of another Kang incarnation, Rama-Tut - plotted to conquer the modern era, he first visited the Oracle of Siwa to ask if the moment was right for his conquest; the Oracle confirmed it to be so. The Oracle's legend is noted in its legitimization of the rules of Queen Hatsushep, Egypt's first female pharaoh circa 1500BC, and of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. The Oracle was so feared that the King of Persia once dispatched an army 50,000 strong to destroy its temple. The men were lost in the desert forever. When Ramades banished the modern heroes of the Fantastic Four back to ancient Egypt, Reed Richards recalled the legend of the Oracle and correctly surmised it to be a Time-Keeper. The Oracle revealed Ramades' involvement, origins, and motivations, after which Reed's father, Nathaniel Richards, arrived and transported the FF members back to their own time, where they defeated Ramades.
Powers and Abilities
The Time-Keepers have great power to manipulate temporal energy. They can age entire armies to dust or reverse aging to before the point of life (virtual immortals such as Asgardian gods can resist these effects). They can summon beings from any point in the time stream, sending them to do their bidding. They can travel through time and into various alternate realities, form powerful energy shields, project force blasts, and grant power to others. Using the power of the Forever Crystal, they could remove countless realities from existence within seconds. They claim to have authority that not even the cosmic arbiter known as the Living Tribunal can judge.
The sole divergent counterparts of the Time-Keepers are the Time-Twisters, with one each existing in one of the two final divergent realities at the very end of time. The Keepers and Twisters each manipulate events in the multiverse to ensure their own survival and domination of their counterparts. The Time-Twisters originally sought knowledge at the beginning of time, heedless that they destroyed the time periods through which they passed.
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- Appearances of Time-Keepers
- Minor Appearances of Time-Keepers
- Media Time-Keepers was Mentioned in
- Race Gallery: Time-Keepers
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