The Celestials are equal parts awe-inspiring and mysterious to those who occupy the Marvel Universe. Maybe Thanos and Dr. Doom have egos big enough to counter the natural fear they inspire within people, but the Celestials are engines of impossible power. Whether serving as caretakers to the universe or culling worlds to further their mysterious cosmic motives, it’s hard not to wonder if anyone could stand against them. As we’ve seen, there are a select few who have gone head-to-head with Celestials and lived; there are even those who have bested Celestials. Knowhere, a popular location in the Marvel Universe, is the hollowed head of a former Celestial, so we know someone can do that to them at least. But who?
While there are those who have stood against the Celestials to either delay their motives or simply defeat one of them, there are others who have been granted a taste of their power. These individuals may have aligned themselves with one of their Celestial Hosts, they may have stolen the power of a Celestial for themselves or they may even have been given advanced technology from the God-beings themselves. Some used this immense power for good while others used it for ill, corrupted by the weight of it all. Let us take a look at the beings who took on the Celestials in battle and others who re-purposed their power for their own endeavors.
16. DEFEATED: THANOS
Thanos has made an intimidating habit of making an example of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, even the multiverse. The Mad Titan is extremely powerful in his own right, being able to trade blows with the Hulk at his base form. However, Thanos with an Infinity Gauntlet is another story entirely.
During Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is challenged by a large group of heroes from throughout the cosmos and they are found wanting. When their heroics were not enough, cosmic entities governing the galaxy itself had to step in. This included two Celestials who hurled literal planets at the Mad Titan! Thanos made quick work of the two, however.
15. STOLE: LOKI
Loki loves to scheme and cause a ruckus across the various realms, with one of his favorite to torment being Midgard. Any chance to get his hands on power that gives him more mischief to work with is in Loki’s best interest. The power of a few Celestials seems like it might do the trick.
The God of Mischief showed us exactly what he’d do with Celestials by his side as he assisted the Final Host in attacking Earth recently in the ongoing Avengers series. He was even able to communicate with the beings, granting him the power to relay their motives and hidden history to Steve Rogers, who they held prisoner at the time.
14. DEFEATED: THOR
Thor’s pride is often his downfall, but it is also his greatest weapon. If you put an insurmountable foe in front of the God of Thunder, he will not rest until he has bested them. Testing his mettle in his younger days, Thor came into conflict with Apocalypse, who was in possession of Celestial armor. He proceeded to embarrass Thor, almost breaking his spine with a single headbutt.
Thor was so incensed, he sought out forbidden magic to help him defeat Apocalypse in the rematch. Loki revealed an enchantment from their father’s library that would allow weapons to pierce the armor of Celestial beings. Thor would fell Apocalypse — the Celestial avatar on Earth — with a juiced-up Jarnbjorn, and caused a lot of cosmic upheaval in doing so.
13. STOLE: BEAST
Beast has one of the sharpest minds in the Marvel Universe. He expanded his knowledge even further during the events of The Black Vortex. The crossover between the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy saw the arrival of the artifact knows as The Black Vortex, created by the Celestial Godhead.
The Vortex is a mirror that shows an individual their most perfect, powerful form. If the user touched the reflection, they would be granted the power they observed. Obviously, it was corrupt and Beast found this out when he accepted its gift. He went mad with power along with several other heroes, razed Hala and found out that his time travel shenanigans in All-New X-Men directly contributed to the collapse of the Marvel Universe. Oh dear, Hank.
12. DEFEATED: STONE AGE AVENGERS
Just at an initial glance, this ancient incarnation of the Avengers is an extremely powerful outfit to behold. Black Panther, The Phoenix, a Starbrand Neanderthal, a mammoth-riding Ghost Rider, Odin, Iron Fist and Agamotto all populate this group of powerhouses.
The Avengers of 1,000,000 BC stood against the might of the Celestials, defending the planet for various reasons. They successfully defied the space gods and felled one of them, leaving its body on the Earth to decay. This would later result in the origin of modern superhumans on the planet, as explained by Loki when he arrived with the Final Host in the present day.
11. STOLE: THE POPULATION OF KNOWHERE
Knowhere is an iconic location in the Marvel cosmos. It has been used as a refuge, a base for the Guardians of the Galaxy and more commonly a pirate spaceport. More often than not, Knowhere is like Tortuga at the height of piracy on the high seas… but in space.
Knowhere, of course, is the head of a Celestial. Long perished and hollowed out over the countless years, it has floated through space. Its power may not be harnessed by the inhabitants — though in the MCU, it is the base of a mining colony — but its structural integrity has. It’s also quite scary to wonder who was able to behead this powerful being…
10. DEFEATED: DR DOOM
During the events of 2015’s Secret Wars, we got to see the almighty power of Dr. Doom. Using the power of the Beyonders, he formed a world in his image called Battleworld, a melting pot of realities and timelines. The only thing more powerful than Doom, however, is ironically his own ego.
A lot of the history Doom had woven into his world was embellished, though he did have the power to make these things so. One of his amazing feats that made those in his charge revere him, was single-handedly taking out a Celestial. Yes, on Battleworld, the version of Knowhere that orbits Battleworld was said to be put their by Doom himself.
9. STOLE: APOCALYPSE
Apocalypse is one of the most dreaded enemies that that X-Men have had to fight. His powers alone make him tenacious and nigh impossible to put down. What makes things even worse is that the Celestials granted him their technology in return for his servitude.
Their pitch was that Apocalypse would be an agent of evolution on their behalf. He would ensure that survival of the fittest was enacted with extreme prejudice, and with Apocalypse already a firm supporter of that sentiment, he was on-board from the moment he put on their armor. He wasn’t invincible with this newfound power, though, and was felled by Thor and a Jarnbjorn enchanted with forbidden magic.
8. DEFEATED: GALACTUS
Galactus and the Celestials have a lot in common as both have hands in maintaining the delicate balance of the universe. Some Celestials seed worlds, while Galactus eats them. In the Earth-X universe, Galactus systematically devoured every planet the Celestials seeded, this allowed him to curb their population.
While they have differing goals, they often yield the same results, with Galactus consuming planets filled with life and the Celestials replacing existing life with their vision of better, more deserving life. When all was said and done, Galactus became the single greatest threat to these beings, almost wiping them out entirely.
7. STOLE: SUNFIRE
In the pages of Uncanny Avengers, the Avengers Unity Squad was formed with X-Men and Avengers members to take down the Red Skull. It was later found out that Skull had given rise to the Apocalypse Twins (with a little help from Kang the Conqueror behind the scenes.) Eventually, the twins would distance themselves from the villains and inherit the destiny of their namesake, Apocalypse. This destiny was to act out the evolutionary vision of the Celestials.
A Celestial was brought to Earth and judges it unworthy of their design. Kang reappeared, hoping to steal the being’s power in the confusion; however, Sunfire stepped in and absorbed the being’s energy. Sunfire became an extremely powerful cosmic entity for a short while, setting things right with his new energies.
6. DEFEATED/STOLE: GHOST RIDER
Robbie Reyes is relatively new to the Ghost Rider mantle, with Johnny Blaze having inhabited the role far longer previously. Robbie has the unique honor of being the first Ghost Rider to pilot a Celestial. This incredible display of power is not only spectacular in itself, but speaks to the young hero’s potential.
Due to the machine-like nature of the Celestials coupled with their organic aspects, Robbie was able to use the spirit of vengeance to possess a fallen Celestial, much in the same way he uses his car. He used the possessed Celestial to help defeat Loki and the Final Host he brought to Earth.
5. STOLE: THE FIRST FIRMAMENT
The First Firmament was the first cosmos to ever exist, the first universal entity and the loneliest. As a result of the being’s loneliness, it created various Celestial beings, among them being the Celestials. He used the Celestials to carry out his will, acting as agents within his universe.
However, this did not last. Eventually, some of the Celestials realized the extent of their own creative power and separated themselves from The First Firmament. What ensued was a war between the more visionary Celestials and those still loyal to the Firmament, named Aspirants. The Celestials prevailed, causing The First Firmament and its loyalists to flee to the far reaches of time and space.
4. DEFEATED: BLACK BOLT
Silent king of the Inhumans, Blackagar Boltagon is incredibly powerful when he decides to finally get vocal. His immensely powerful voice can shatter planets, which is a useful level of power to have when going up against a Celestial. Unfortunately for Black Bolt, he only ever defeated Celestials against his will.
During the “Thanos Wins” arc of the Thanos title we are shown a future where Thanos has decimated the universe. When the Celestials arrive to judge him, he stabs Black Bolt to make him scream in pain. The resultant scream destroys the encroaching Celestials, displaying the sheer power of his vocals.
3. DEFEATED: APOCALYPSE TWINS
Much like the actual Apocalypse, the twins Uriel and Elmin sought to inherit the power of the Celestials. Their main hurdle was toppling Genocide, who was the actual heir to this destiny. The Twins obstructed this line of succession by taking Thor’s axe Jarnbjorn, using it to destroy the Celestial that would anoint Genocide with their power.
The twins took a powerful Celestial seed from the fallen being, known as the Death Seed. They used it to summon yet another Celestial, under their invitation and influence this time, to judge and destroy the Earth. Their triumph was short-lived, when the power of the Celestial was stolen by Kang the Conqueror and later Sunfire during the final battle.
2. DEFEATED: FINAL HOST
The Final Host arrived recently in Avengers alongside the nefarious Loki, with the goal of seemingly ending the Earth. Apparently, their arrival was set into motion way back in 1,000,000 BC, when the first Avengers felled another Celestial Host. This host, however, is full of Dark Celestials, sinister mirror images of their regular counterparts. Even then, regular Celestials aren’t always the kindest beings.
Far more insidious than other Celestials, these incredibly powerful beings showcased their power by announcing their arrival with a chilling display. Before arriving, the Final Host sent planet Earth a very powerful message, raining the bodies of Celestials they’d defeated from the sky.
1. DEFEATED: ASPIRANTS
When The First Firmament’s loneliness became so unbearable that it created other beings to occupy its cosmos, it created Celestials and Aspirants. The Celestials defied the Firmament’s wants and went into business for themselves, exploring their creativity and power. The Aspirants, however, remained loyal to the being that created them, though later some Aspirants would turn on the Firmament too, as civil war broke out within their ranks.
Though The First Firmament and its Aspirants were defeated and fled to the far reaches of existence, they didn’t go quietly. The Aspirants utilized weaponry capable of felling gods. creating an immeasurably powerful armor that could snuff out Celestials.
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