Sometimes we humans make the mistake of believing that the universe revolves around us. And it's hard not to adopt an anthropocentric mindset thanks to all of our achievements in science, art, technology, and medicine. Run-ins with natural disasters and cosmic calamities often remind us how small we are in the grand scheme of things. In the Marvel Universe, cosmic beings serve as perpetual reminders of man's relative insignificance.
The One-Above-All presides over the whole Marvel Multiverse - simultaneously existing across all realities at the same time. The Living Tribunal is TOAA's right-hand cosmic entity. Impossibly powerful and unimaginably wise, the Living Trinity's power far outclasses beings like Thanos, Galactus, and the Celestials! It's not enough to tell you how powerful the Tribunal is - we'll need to show you at least ten of his most overpowered moments in Marvel Comics history.
10 Contemplates Replacing Earth 616 with Earth 1610
Earlier, we mentioned the Marvel Multiverse. For those who don't know, there is a slew of alternate realities in Marvel Comics - each containing universes with different versions of Earth and numerous heroes and villains. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, for instance, is an alternate reality. The Ultimate Marvel Universe is another popular example, come to think of it. Collectively, we call these alternate worlds the Marvel Multiverse.
Across all dimensions and realities, you'll find a million different versions of Tony Stark or Peter Parker. But there's only one Living Tribunal, and he holds sway over all of the countless realms in the Multiverse! To reduce the amount of clutter in the cosmos, the Tribunal once considered replacing the Mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth616) with the Ultimate Marvel Universe (Earth 1610). Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, used her lawyer skills to convince LT that both realms could coexist peacefully.
9 Giving The Silver Surfer A Sample Of Godhood
This feat sounds like overkill at the onset - the Silver Surfer is already an insanely powerful being from the get-go! Thanks to his connection with Galactus' Power Cosmic, Norrin Radd can travel at FTL speeds, tank hits from the Hulks, and manipulate matter with his mind! Giving the Surfer a sample of Godhood seems as necessary as using a nuke to kill a fly.
But we really got a chance to see how drastically different the Surfer is from Marvel's Abstract Entities when he met the Living Tribunal. After having a heart to heart conversation, Norrin expressed a desire to better understand the inner workings of the cosmos. LT granted the Surfer's wish, briefly letting him experience existence from a god's perspective. The experience changed Norrin for the better, and encouraged him to continue fighting the good the fight.
8 Battles The Beyonders Across All Space and Time
There's a cosmic hierarchy to the Marvel Universe that operates similarly to a food chain from our world. The One-Above-All naturally sits atop this hypothetical structure, a fact clued in by his very name! The Living Tribunal is next in line, acting as a very distant second from TOAA. Everyone and everything else, including the other Abstract Entities, Celestials, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes are much lower on the totem pole.
But the Beyonders, however, aren't even a part of the food chain! They exist across multiple universes and collectively wield enough power to erase entire worlds and realities. LT fought three of these beings by himself during the 'Time Runs Out' event - waging a war that transcended space, time, and the boundaries of our universe! Hank Pym, who witnessed the fight, claimed the conflict was beyond human comprehension.
7 Leading Marvel's Abstract Entities
This feat hits back on that hierarchy that we mentioned earlier. We're sure you understand that Abstract Entities who embody the fundamental forces of nature populate the Marvel Multiverse. We're also certain that you understand the Living Tribunal's place in the cosmic food chain. But did you know that LT presides over all of the Abstracts, whether they like it or not?
Eternity and Infinity faithfully follow the Living tribunal's lead. But beings like Galactus, the Phoenix Force, and the First Firmament don't always fall in line. Should things get too out of control - to the point where even Earth's heroes can't reign things in - LT must personally intervene and shut down some of Marvel's most powerful characters!
6 Banishes A Young Beyonder From Our Realm
Multiple Beyonders had to fight in concert to get the better of the Living Tribunal. But in a one-versus-one scenario, things might play out very differently. Recall the first being that we met who called itself a Beyonder. First debuting in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1, this Beyonder gave heroes like Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men utter Hell - toying with them like cosmic playthings!
When the Living Tribunal caught wind of this, he wasn't happy in the slightest. As punishment for his arrogance, the Beyonder was banned from interacting with alternate realities by LT. A billion retcons later, and this Beyonder's power levels have increased exponentially. We don't know who'd win in a rematch between LT and the Beyonder but hope that the Living Trinity comes out on top for the sake of the universe.
5 Fighting Nebulos, The Lord of Perilous
Dormammu isn't the only evil god that Doctor Strange has faced. The Sorceror Supreme regularly battles demented deities like Cyttorak, Shuma Gorath, and Mephisto while we Muggles remain oblivious to the magical world. Thanks to his years of experience, Strange has become quite proficient with out-dancing these otherworldly devils. The good Doctor is so adept, in fact, that the Living Tribunal once recruited him for a dangerous mission; strip the Staff of Polar Power from Lord Nebulos of Perilous!
This mission was about as easy as you'd expect, requiring both Strange and the Living Tribunal to dig in deep for the win. In an awe-inspiring display of power, LT grabbed the Staff of Polar Power - a tool that channels all of the evil in the universe - and yoinked it out of Nebulos' clutches! The battle didn't last much longer after LT pulled off that godly feat.
4 Holds The Whole World In His Hand
LT decided to take inspiration from old Sunday School songs with this feat. In Fantastic Four Annual Vol 1 #27, the Living Tribunal holds a Cosmic Summit to discuss the fate of the universe. Several abstract entities participate in the meeting, including Eternity - the embodiment of Earth 616's universe.
The cosmic beings chew the fat, discussing the worth and mettle of Earth's heroes the same way we chat about NBA players. When the Living Tribunal hits on the subject of Cosmic Cubes, he decides to get dramatic to emphasize their danger. And by that, we mean that LT reaches inside of Eternity and pulls Earth out like loose change in pants pockets! From there, LT holds Earth in his hand and asks the other Abstracts to watch as the comic's events unfold.
3 Makes A Star Go Nova
The Living Tribunal doesn't ascribe to the belief that the cosmos needs to be filled with good or flooded with evil. In the end, all that matters to the Living Trinity is the concept of balance; whenever he's helped heroes out, it was for the sake of the maintaining cosmic order. Ultimately, LT is indifferent to our personal struggles and doesn't favor one universe over another.
To rest our case, we recall an instance where the Living Tribunal destroyed Earth 691 by making its sun go nova! That shouldn't even be scientifically possible, by the way, as Earth's sun simply lacks the mass detonate on that scale. Granted, LT destroyed Earth 691 in an effort to defeat an evil demigod named Korvac. But this feat just goes to show that LT is a "needs of the many" sort of entity. Only 'the many' in this case refer to the infinite number of Earths and realities in the Multiverse.
2 Unleashes The Entire Marvel Universe Against The Heart Of The Universe
Back in 2003, Marvel printed The End storyline - during which, Thanos becomes one with the universe by seizing control of its heart. In response to the Mad Titan's plot, the Living Tribunal summons gods and heroes from all across the Marvel Multiverse! In a valiant last-ditch effort, the Tribunal leads an impossibly large army against Thanos.
The Mad Titan matches out all of his attackers by absorbing them into his being. The Living Tribunal is able to resist the Heart of the Universe's power longer than anyone or anything else. After Thanos absorbs LT, he learns the events of The End were all set in motion by The One-Above-All.
1 Stops The Infinity Gems From Working
After watching characters filibuster about the Infinity Stones for elven plus years, many viewers probably think that they understand these mysterious rocks quite well. However, the MCU only scratches the surface of explaining how these cosmic effigies work. In the Marvel Comics Universe, the Stones (more commonly called Infinity Gems) are much more nuanced than their cinematic counterparts.
Should a being misuse the Gems, the Living Tribunal typically steps in and passes judgment. Should a perpetrator decide to yeet reason out the window and square up against LT, the Living Trinity can also shut down the Gems! The Tribunal once performed this trick on Adam Warlock, who tried to misuse the Infinity Gauntlet against LT's wishes.