|First appearance||Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles #1 (June 1976)|
|Created by||Jack Kirby (writer / artist)|
|Alter ego||Tath Ki|
|Team affiliations||Elders of the Universe|
|Notable aliases||Mister Buda|
The Contemplator (Tath Ki) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is one of the Elders of the Universe.
The Contemplator was created by Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Marvel Treasury Special: Captain America's Bicentennial Battles #1 (June 1976).
Fictional character biography
Billions of years ago, the extraterrestrial Tath Ki was born in the Coal Sack Nebula. Eons ago, he chose to dedicate himself to philosophy, meditation, and developing his mind and spirit to plumb the mysteries of the universe. At some point, he was contacted to join the Elders of the Universe, a group consisting of some of the oldest beings in the universe, each member devoted to a specific pursuit or ideal.
Tath Ki first appeared in modern times under the alias "Mister Buda" and took Captain America on a trip through time to witness important events in America's past and future to teach him about America and himself. The Contemplator then caused a divergence of an alternate Earth ruled by the android Adam II. The Contemplator sent the first four Captain Americas (Steve Rogers, William Naslund, Jeffrey Mace, and the 1950s Captain America) there so that the dying Mace, also known as the World War II hero, the Patriot, could have a second chance at being Captain America and preventing Adam II from assassinating Senator John F. Kennedy.
Later, a Skrull (who was at the time locked in the form of the Contemplator) became involved in the Elders' plot to kill Galactus in order to cause a new Big Bang event. The Elders intended to destroy the current universe and usher in a new one where they would all be recreated as individual beings of great power like Galactus. The fake "Contemplator" met with the Kree Supreme Intelligence in an attempt to obtain his Infinity Gem. With the other Elders, he tried to kill Galactus with the Infinity Gems, but was thwarted by the Silver Surfer. When this plot failed, the Skrull impersonating the Contemplator contacted the alien pirate, Captain Reptyl in a plot against the Surfer. Reptyl sheltered him from Galactus' vengeance. Quickly infuriated by him however, Captain Reptyl devoured the faux Tath Ki and left his severed head floating in space as a warning to the pursuing Silver Surfer and Nova.
However, the fake remained alive despite the damage, and in disguise proposed to Clumsy Foulup that he betray Reptyl and make a pact with the Kree against the Skrulls. The "Contemplator" revealed himself to Clumsy Foulup and revealed that he sought to destroy Reptyl and the Skrulls and to conquer the Kree Empire. He arrived on the Kree throne-world in astral form, and used his powers to cause the pink Kree to support Clumsy Foulup. He took control of the Supreme Intelligence. He was psychically attacked by the Cotati, a race of telepathic plants, who defeated him in psychic combat and caused him to go mad.
The cosmic Avenger Quasar later encountered the true Contemplator who claimed someone was impersonating him. The Contemplator aided Quasar in accessing a higher dimension called 'The Dimension Of Manifestations' to make contact with the abstract beings of the universe. This enabled Quasar to gain vital information during the Infinity War. The Contemplator stayed in this dimension after Quasar left. Quasar was concerned about the Contemplator being able to leave again, as it had taken a large output of power for both of them to get to the dimension in the first place. Quasar gave the Contemplator an energy bubble, which would allow him to be tracked if need be. The Contemplator put it in his belly button.
While exploring the dimension, the Contemplator happened upon a large assembly of cosmic beings in conference with the entity called the Beyonder. At the rear of the assemblage was the Contemplator's fellow Elder, the Gardener.
Soon after, he finds the area where the Magus, the foe of the Infinity War, is creating his evil doubles of all the superheroes. It turns out the Manifestor has other clients also, as such the Magus does not have an unlimited supply. Contemplator uses the energy bubble in his belly button to contact Quasar to convey this information. This distracts Quasar enough for Adam Warlock to temporarily subdue him.
Quasar eventually finds another group of Elders including the Skrull impersonating the Contemplator. The false Contemplator attempts to steal the quantum-bands and was revealed to everyone as a shape-shifting Skrull. The Skrull Contemplator is last seen being taken into the custody of the Judicator (a true Elder of the Universe dedicated to justice) to face the judgment of the real Contemplator.
When the villain Superia transferred her knowledge back in time to her younger self, using her future knowledge to infiltrate A.I.M. and create a new heroic identity for herself and some chosen allies, she set out to infiltrate the Avengers by removing Captain America from history after his 'death' in the Second World War, essentially supplanting his post-war role. With her new position, she allowed the Avengers to disband and be replaced by her 'Americommandos', who arrested the X-Men and other mutants, captured 'illegal' superhumans like Luke Cage and Spider-Man, and arranged for the Fantastic Four to be lost in the Negative Zone, forcing Henry Pym, the Invisible Woman, and the Wasp into retirement, and 'killing' Tony Stark while he was undergoing heart surgery while keeping his brain alive to use his intellect. The Contemplator learned of her actions while tracking the chronal ripples they created, and was able to recruit a 'resistance movement' of time-displaced heirs to Captain America's legacy, including Steve Rogers early in his career, the U.S. Agent shortly after his own time as Captain America, American Dream, Commander A from the 25th century, and the present-day Bucky to oppose her. Having learned of Superia's plans, Steve merged with one of his later selves when the team was sucked into the Cosmic Cube and arrived at the reality nexus where the removed Captain Americas had been sent, the merger creating a chronal ripple that undid her actions.
Powers and abilities
The Contemplator has spent billions of years channeling the cosmic energy of the Power Primordial to develop his mind. He is one of the most powerful telepaths known. He can contact other minds across vast interstellar distances and in different dimensions. Currently he carries an aspect of power from Quasar that enhances his telepathy. He also has other mental powers such as psychokinesis, mental domination of others, precognition, telekinesis, self-levitation, and astral projection. He can achieve a meditative state that enables him to become one with the universe, granting him cosmic awareness. This allows him to know everything about anything in the dimension he is in. It has been suggested he possesses other vast mental powers, but due to limited appearances and his passive nature these are largely unknown. He can teleport across galactic distances through the power of his mind and sometimes other dimensions but this ability is limited in scope. He also has the ability to channel cosmic energies to increase his physical abilities to superhuman levels.
Like all Elders the Contemplator has been rendered completely immortal due to the Grandmaster's pact with Death, even more so than before. He is immune to aging, poisons, death, and disease. He can survive in space unaided and does not need food, air, or drink. If his body were to be destroyed it would either reform or he would survive as an astral spirit.
He has spent millions of years teaching himself through his studies of the universe, and thus possesses a vast knowledge and comprehension of the fundamental forces of the universe.