Watcher (comics)


Cover of Fantastic Four vol. 1, 48 (Mar, 1966). Featuring Uatu the Watcher (left) warning the Fantastic Four of the coming of Galactus. Art by Jack Kirby, pencils, and Joe Sinnott, inks.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
Place of origin Blue Area of the Moon
(Uatu only)
Notable members Uatu
Inherent abilities Superhuman strength, intellect, stamina, durability and longevity
Energy and molecular manipulation
Psionic powers

The Watchers are a race of fictional extraterrestrials appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the first Watcher—named Uatu—appears in Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963).

Fictional history

The Watchers are one of the oldest species in the universe and are committed to observing and compiling knowledge on all aspects of the universe. This policy of total non-interference came into existence due to a former, well-meant attempt by the Watchers to bestow advanced knowledge on the Prosilicans, who used the nuclear technology gained to create weapons and destroy themselves. When the Watchers returned to Prosilicus, the survivors blamed them for causing the catastrophe by giving the Prosilicans nuclear technology before they were ready for it. The Watchers then took a vow never to interfere with other civilizations.[1]

Despite this, the Watcher Uatu has revealed himself to the superhero team the Fantastic Four, telling them of his race. In his first appearance, he made them battle the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes for control of the Moon. He complimented Reed Richards and claimed he would go to a more distant part of the Galaxy to observe humanity.[2] He aids them on several occasions against global threats such as the Molecule Man,[3] Galactus,[4] and the Overmind.[5] The Leader discovered his existence and tracked him to his world. He transported the Hulk there to get the Ultimate Machine, which contains all the information in the Universe. The Hulk battled the Amphibious Qnax, who had also been sent to recover the machine. The Watcher transported them away from his machines to battle, and when the Hulk won, he transported Qnax back to his homeworld. He then took the Hulk back to his base, where the Hulk took the Machine despite the Watcher's warnings. The Leader transported him back to Earth and tried to use the device. However, the tremendous amount of knowledge proved too much for the Leader. He collapsed to the ground, unmoving, and the Hulk assumed that he died of shock.[6] When the Hulk tried to use the machine himself, Uatu allowed him to hear the voice of Rick Jones, after which the Hulk removed the device. The Watcher then transported the Ultimate Machine back to his planet.[7] After blatant interference with the mission of the Kree soldier Mar-Vell, Uatu is put on trial by his own race, but is released on the provision that he never directly interfere again.[8]

Uatu is later banished by his race for aiding the Fantastic Four against the threat of his rogue nephew, Aron, the Renegade Watcher, who tries to destroy the universe.[9] The Dreaming Celestial later scans Uatu and learns the Watcher has broken his pact of non-interference almost 400 times.[10] The Celestial also reveals the Watchers, like the Celestials themselves, are servants of a concept called Fulcrum, with apparent consequences for interference.[10] Despite this, the other Watchers have interfered in other civilizations' events, though rarely, notably when the world-ending robot Omegex approached the Milky Way and they deemed it dangerous enough to act directly against it.

There is also a tongue in cheek splintered off faction of Watchers that call themselves The Critics, who not only observe events, but also give dramatic critique as they take place. The only known Critic looks similar to other Watchers, but wears a mustache, goatee, dark sunglasses, and, rather than toga, dresses in a tweed sport coat.[11]

When Nova briefly visits Uatu and witnesses him watching various alternate realities, he learns that Uatu's father was the Watcher who originally gave nuclear technology to the Prosilicans, with Uatu's search of parallel universes being motivated by the desire to find the one world where his father's act of charity was proved to be the right thing to do.[12]

Powers and abilities

The Watchers are cosmic beings, who possess the innate ability to achieve virtually any effect desired, including augmenting personal attributes, time and space manipulation, molecular manipulation, energy projection, and a range of mental powers. They also have access to highly advanced technology.

Known Watchers

Other versions

What If

The Watcher Uatu often observes how key events from the Earth-616 Marvel Universe differed in alternate universes and speculates on the related consequences.[17]

Wha... Huh?

The Watcher appears as the host of Marvel Comics spoof. On the first page he appears as a peeping-tom.

Earth X

In the alternate reality of Earth X (Earth-9997), the Watchers are slaves of the Celestials. As punishment for their non-interference during the birth of their arch-enemy Galactus, the Celestials force the Watchers to observe the impregnation of newly formed planets with their Celestial eggs, and the eventual birth of the Celestial within, which ultimately destroys that planet.[18]

Ultimate Watchers

In the Ultimate Marvel alternate universe limited series Ultimate Origins, the Watchers are depicted as machines that speak through a human host (Sue Storm). They choose Rick Jones as their "herald" to help humans survive an "upcoming crisis".[19]

In other media


Video games

Web Series


  1. Tales of Suspense #52-53
  2. Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963)
  3. Fantastic Four #20 (Nov. 1963)
  4. Fantastic Four #48 (Mar. 1966)
  5. Fantastic Four #113 (Aug. 1971)
  6. Tales to Astonish #73-74
  7. Tales to Astonish #75
  8. Captain Marvel #37 - 38 (March–May (bi-monthly)1975)
  9. Fantastic Four #400 (May 1995)
  10. 1 2 Eternals vol. 7, (Oct. 2008)
  11. Sensational She-Hulk #14-17
  12. Original Sin #0
  13. Fantastic Four #400
  14. The Fantastic Four #13 (1963)
  15. Hulk Vol. 2 #28
  16. Thor #419
  17. What If #1 - 47 (Feb. 1977 - Oct. 1984) and What If vol. 2 #1 - 114 (Jul. 1989 - Nov. 1998)
  18. Earth X:Issue X (Mar 2000)
  19. Ultimate Extinction #1 - 5 (Jan. 2006 - May 2006)
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