(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
I loved the way writer Steve Englehart played around with the cosmic entities of the Marvel U. in the 1980s Silver Surfer mag, mixing Mantis and Galactus in with beings such as the Elders of the Universe.
One of the Elders I met during this period was a little Buddha-like fellow called the Contemplator. And a busy fellow he was … at least for an Elder!
Billions of years ago, the extraterrestrial Tath Ki was born in the Coal Sack Nebula. He chose to dedicate himself to philosophy, meditation and developing the 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 cosmos, 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 Cap) 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 defeating 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 (Frankie Raye).
The faux Contemplator 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. This "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 but was soon physically attacked by the Cotati, a race of telepathic plants, who defeated him in psychic combat and caused him to go mad.
Our boy Quasar later encountered the true Contemplator who claimed someone had been 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.
Wendell 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, 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.
Aside from little statues in some local shops, neither the Contemplator nor any faux image of same has been seen of late.