Jack Kirby and Stan Lee had many inventive and crazy creations during the 60’s. Many of which debuted in Fantastic Four. One of the more interesting ideas for their budding universe was The Watcher. Never meant to be more than a side character, The Watcher has had more than a few intriguing moment’s in Marvel’s 50 year history. With Marvel’s event book for 2014, Original Sin, centering on the character, it’s time to learn who his is.
The Watcher is part of an alien advanced civilization that observes the universe. There are many, each observing different sections of the universe, recording data for those who will come after the end of the universe. These observers have taken a strict vow to never interfere, as they posses near infinity power (manipulate space-time, see infinity realities, change people’s behaviors, etc.). The Watcher for earth is Uatu, first appearing in Fantastic Four #13 (1963), though he wasn’t named until Captain Marvel #39 (1975). Uatu resides on the Blue Area of the Moon, where due to Kree and Skrull stuff, has a self sustaining atmosphere.
Uatu’s biggest impact came in Fantastic Four #48, where he warned Mr. Fantastic of the coming of the Silver Surfer, the herald for Galactus, devourer of worlds. Breaking his vow, Uatu tried and failed to circumvent the Surfer. While this may have been the first time, it wasn’t the last that Uatu broke his vows. He has frequently warned heroes of Earth, typically Mr. Fantastic, of global impending threats such as Molecule Man, or his renegade nephew, Aron. For breaking his vows numerous times, Uatu was put on trial by his people, but released on his own recognizance. Eventually he was kicked out, but let back in, because comic books.
Mostly, Uatu serves as a harbinger, appearing during pivotal moments in history to observe, such as the start of Civil War or the Central Park battle in Secret Invasion. Marvel has had a series of comics entitled What if, where a famous or recent event will be shown in a different light, such as Iron Man dying instead of Cap after Civil War, with Uatu introducing and narrating. Occasionally he has conversations with different heroes, such as the new Nova, Sam Alexander, or in All-New X-Men #25, where he shows Beast the consequences of his actions. One time he was punched by Red Hulk because Jeph Loeb.
In the 2008 mini-series, Eternals, Tiamut, the Dreaming Celestial (a superpowered alien race, more powerful than Galactus, invented by Jack Kirby, heady stuff) awakens. He looks into Uatu, seeing he’s broken his vow over 400 times. The Dreamer explains that the Celestials and Watchers server a higher power called the Fulcrum, and that there are consequences for breaking their vow. It is also mentioned that Uatu is not the only one who interfered.
The 2014 Original Sin event, by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato, centers on the death of Uatu, and the theft of his eyes. As Uatu is capable of seeing everything, he knows all the secrets of the heroes in Marvel U. The thief, powerful enough to kill a Watcher, begins exposing these secrets.
There you have it. Aside from comics, The Watcher has made few appearances outside the medium. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed we’ll seem in drop in the background of a Marvel movie, though I think Fox owns the rights (Fantastic Four and all).
Did you know who The Watcher was? Did you care? Comment below!
Had to dig around for this one.