Uatu on the cover of Fantastic Four #48 (1966).
Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Uatu
Species Watcher
Notable aliases The Watcher
Abilities Vast cosmic powers
Superhuman intelligence and scientific knowledge beyond Earth measuring

Uatu, often simply known as The Watcher, is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and designed by artist Jack Kirby, he first appeared in The Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963).

He is a member of the Watchers, an extraterrestrial species who in the distant past stationed themselves across space to monitor the activities of other species. Uatu is the Watcher assigned to observe Earth and its solar system.

Publication history

The character first appeared without a name in Fantastic Four #13 (Apr 1963), and periodically reappeared in that title. He then starred in "Tales of the Watcher", a backup feature that ran in Tales of Suspense #49-58 (Jan 1964-Oct 1965), Silver Surfer #1-7 (Aug 1968-Aug 1969) and Marvel Super-Heroes #23 (Nov 1969). His origin was revealed in Tales of Suspense #52-53 (Apr-May 1964), and his name was revealed in Captain Marvel vol 1 #39 (Jul 1975).

The character has made many cameo appearances across the Marvel Universe since his debut, including Avengers,[1] Uncanny X-Men,[2] Hulk,[3] Silver Surfer, Quasar,[4] and Marvel Point One. He acts as the narrator in Marvel's What If? title.

In the 2014 "Original Sin" storyline, the character is murdered, sparking a hunt for his murderer. The core miniseries of that storyline is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Mike Deodato.[5]

Fictional character biography

The Watchers are among the oldest and most advanced beings in the cosmos. Eons ago, they sought to spread their knowledge to benefit the lesser races of the Universe. Their first attempt, on the planet Prosilicus, included sharing nuclear technology. When the Watchers returned to Prosilicus, they found the natives had all but destroyed themselves in a nuclear war. The Watchers blamed themselves for the catastrophe and vowed to never again meddle in the affairs of other races.[6] Instead, they passively observe and record events for those who will come after the universe ends.[7]

Uatu is the Watcher assigned to watch over Earth from his home in the Blue Area of the Moon. He is an altruist and has bent or violated his oath on numerous occasions in order to aid humanity. He revealed himself to the Fantastic Four when they discovered his home, telling them he would leave the Moon to observe humanity from a more distant area.[8]

He proceeded to violate his oath several more times to aid the Fantastic Four.[9][10][11] His most notable transgression was in Fantastic Four #48, in which he tried, and failed, to prevent the Silver Surfer from bringing the world-devourer Galactus to the Earth.[12]

For his continuous disregard for the Watchers' mission, Uatu is once placed on trial by the Watchers. He is found guilty, but is released on his own recognizance.[13]

When the Shi'ar seek to prosecute Mister Fantastic for saving Galactus' life, Uatu serves as his lawyer and receives help from Odin, Eternity, and even Galactus himself to explain that Galactus is part of the universe's balance.[14] Uatu is removed from his duty as Watcher of the Earth, but he returns to observe the world of which he has become so fond.[15] During the GLX-Mas Special, Uatu appears in Wisconsin, after Squirrel Girl and her sidekick Tippy Toe defeat Thanos. He confirms that the Thanos she defeated was real, not a clone or copy.[16] Uatu is present when the Dreaming Celestial awakens, but he turns away, unwilling to watch.[17] After scanning him, the Dreaming Celestial reveals Uatu has broken his pact of non-interference almost 400 times.[18]

Uatu later arrived in Death Valley to watch the battle between Hulk and Red Hulk only to be ambushed and knocked out by Red Hulk.[19]

Upon sensing the Red Hole of Dargala about to make a new Omegex, Uatu saw to it that its next target was Red Hulk in hopes that Red Hulk would be able to defeat it.[20]

Since these events, Uatu has restricted himself to appearing to observe particularly cosmic events in the Marvel Universe, such as visiting the heroes prior to the vote on the Superhuman Registration Act, the final battle of the "Secret Invasion" storyline, and the Hood's acquisition of the Infinity Gems, reflecting during these appearances that he cannot do any more or he may be taken from Earth altogether.

Uatu later visited Red Hulk at the time when he was on an asteroid helping Thor to close a black hole. He does tell Red Hulk of his imposing doom, but cannot describe due to the Watchers' vow to not interfere.[21] Uatu then watched Red Hulk fail at jumping across other asteroids until he was rescued by Thor.[22] Uatu temporarily abandoned his post to travel to the Red Hole of Dargala. His absence was noticed by the other Watchers who sent the Watcher Uravo to find him. After being unable to find him, Uravo informed Yruku and the other Watchers that he thinks Uatu has become unhinged ever since Red Hulk attacked and absorbed some of his powers.[23] When Uravo finally caught up to Uatu at the Red Hole of Dargala, Uatu tells Uravo that they shouldn't have come together. They witnessed Omegex emerge from the Red Hole of Dargala as it heads towards Earth to target Red Hulk.[24] Uatu and Uravo later tracked Omegex's trail as it gets closer to Earth.[25]

During the Fear Itself storyline, Uatu appeared next to Odin as Thor assists the Avengers. Aware that Uatu is there to witness the rise of the Serpent's daughter Skadi, Odin called Uatu a "titanic mute baby too dumb to be of use." Uatu later left while Odin kept boasting about himself.[26]

Uatu later watched Red Hulk's fight with Omegex. Noticing Uatu, Red Hulk shouts to him that he finally got his closure. Upon Red Hulk regressing back to Thunderbolt Ross, Uatu watches as Omegex ceased to exist upon it being unable to find Red Hulk.[27]

Iron Man later encountered Uatu upon his return from space as Uatu shows him the corpse of the Living Tribunal on the Moon.[28]

Hoping to procreate, Uatu began seeing the Watcher Ulana who moved in with him. After an unrevealed amount of time, Ulana became pregnant.[29]

Original Sin and Death

The 2014 "Original Sin" storyline reveals that Uatu's father was the Watcher who originally gave nuclear technology to the Prosilicans, and that Uatu's observation of parallel universes is motivated by a desire to find the one world where his father's act of charity was proved to be the right thing to do.[30] In the beginning of the story, Uatu is murdered, and his eyes are gouged out, setting off a search by the Avengers and their allies for his killer.[31] It is discovered that Uatu was killed by giant, gamma-irradiated bullets, as were a number of various giant monsters discovered by the Avengers' investigation in outer space, beneath the Earth's surface and in other dimensions.[32] Nick Fury eventually reveals that he has spent decades in a secret one-man mission to single-handedly confront and kill alien, subterranean and extradimensional beings that threaten the Earth, and that with the Infinity Formula having depleted from his body, he has experienced rapid aging and wishes one of the superhuman investigators who have confronted him to take his place before his imminent death.[33] It is shown in flashback that weeks before Uatu's death, he came to witness Fury as his Infinity Formula began to fail,[34] with subsequent flashbacks revealing that the Orb, Dr. Midas, and Exterminatrix attacked Uatu and took one of his eyes, although Uatu survived the injury he received from Orb. Fury arrives soon after to talk to Uatu,[35] but Uatu refused to identify his attacker and share the location of his missing eye due to it risking his oath. As Uatu begins to gather his power for an apparent attack, Fury kills him in self-defense, taking the other eye as he realizes that Uatu "records" everything he watches in his eyes. Following a fight with Orb that blew up Uatu's house, Fury subsequently inherits Uatu's power and position after using the power of one of Uatu's eyes to kill Doctor Midas and becomes known as "The Unseen" chained and watching events unfold on Earth while the Orb merges with Uatu's other eye that appears on his chest. From a distance, a teary-eyed Ulana said goodbye to Uatu even though his body has not been found.[36]

Powers and abilities

As a member of the race of Watchers, Uatu possesses vast psionic abilities which have been further developed through training. These abilities include flight, telepathy, energy-manipulation powers, power-negating force-field projection, illusion casting, the ability to psionically alter his appearance at will, and highly advanced cosmic senses allowing him to be aware of countless events of Earth. His superhumanly complex intelligence enables him to monitor activities throughout Earth's solar system simultaneously. Uatu can convert his body into an unknown form of energy while still retaining his sentience for travel through hyperspace, and then return to his physical form. Bolstered by treatment with "delta-rays", Uatu possesses virtual immortality, although he can die by losing the will to live. He has shown he is able to transport himself and others through time,[37] and in one issue he claims he can send someone to Limbo.[38]

Watchers can augment their strength with cosmic psionic energy if they choose to; however, they tend to minimize their physical activities. The 1985 edition of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe compared Uatu's scale of power to that of Galactus, the Stranger, Odin, and Zeus.

Uatu received a highly extensive education in his youth on his home world. He has devoted himself to the study of Earth's solar system and its sentient beings for millions of years. His home on the Blue Area of the Moon contains an enormous array of weaponry, artifacts, and technology created by various alien races from throughout the universe.

Uatu also studies the Earths of alternate realities. With permission from the Timekeepers, he possesses a portal through which he can observe alternate realities. He has acquired extraordinary knowledge of the history of both the sentient beings on "mainstream" Earth and the numerous alternate Earths.

Other versions

In other media


Video games



Toys and collectibles


  1. New Avengers: Illuminati #2 (March 2007)
  2. Uncanny X-Men #473
  3. Hulk #5 (2008)
  4. Quasar #30 (January 1992)
  5. Meylikhov, Matthew (January 7, 2014) "The Watcher is Murdered in Upcoming Event "Original Sin" by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato", Multiversity Comics (accessed January 22, 2014)
  6. Tales of Suspense #52-53 (April–May 1964). Marvel Comics
  7. Quasar #13-16 (1989). Marvel Comics
  8. The Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963). Marvel Comics
  9. Fantastic Four #20 (November 1963)
  10. Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965). Marvel Comics
  11. Strange Tales #134. Marvel Comics
  12. Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966). Marvel Comics
  13. Captain Marvel #39 (July 1975). Marvel Comics
  14. Fantastic Four #262 (January 1984). Marvel Comics
  15. Tales of Suspense #49-58. Marvel Comics
  16. GLX-Mas Special #1 (Dec. 2005)
  17. Eternals vol. 2, #6 (January 2007). Marvel Comics
  18. Eternals vol. 3, #3 (October 2008). Marvel Comics
  19. Hulk Vol. 3 #4
  20. Hulk Vol. 3 #41
  21. Hulk Vol. 3 #26
  22. Hulk Vol. 3 #27
  23. Hulk Vol. 3 #28
  24. Hulk Vol. 3 #29
  25. Hulk Vol. 3 #31
  26. Fear Itself #1
  27. Hulk Vol. 3 #41
  28. New Avengers Vol. 3 #8
  29. FF #13
  30. Waid, Mark (w), Cheung, Jim; Medina, Paco Medina (p) (Various) (i). Original Sin #0 (June 2014). Marvel Comics
  31. Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #1 (July 2014). Marvel Comics
  32. Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #2-3 (July–August 2014). Marvel Comics
  33. Aaron, Jason (w), Deodato, Mike (a). Original Sin #5 (September 2014). Marvel Comics
  34. Original Sin #6
  35. Original Sin #7
  36. Original Sin #8
  37. Strange Tales #134. Marvel Comics
  38. Fantastic Four #18. Marvel Comics
  39. Marvel 1602 #8 (2004)
  40. Marvel Zombies Return #1 (November 2009)
  41. Marvel Zombies Return #5 (November 2009)
  42. Powerless #1-6 (August 2004 – January 2005). Marvel Comics
  43. Ultimate Origins #1-4 (August–November 2008). Marvel Comics
  44. Coleite, Aron Eli (w), Mann, Clay; Peterson, Brandon (p), Cuevas, Carlos Lobo (i). "Absolute Power: Part 3" Ultimate X-Men #96 (September 2008). Marvel Comics.
  45. "Marvel Super Hero Squad Voice Cast". Comics Continuum. July 28, 2009.
  46. "Uatu the Watcher". Behind the Voice Actors. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
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