(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
Next to the Collector and Grandmaster, my favorite Elder of the Universe is the Gardener. Not as old a character as the aforementioned, I first met this wizard of plantlife in a marvelous story in Marvel Team-up involving Spider-Man (natch), Adam Warlock and -- the Stranger!
The Gardener had created an amazing lush garden in Uatu’s backyard in the Blue Area of the Moon using his Infinity Gem, the Time Gem. This was eventually brought to a halt when Warlock, Spidey and the Stranger were caught up in a battle on the moon and the Gardener used his gem – along with the Soul Gem of Warlock – to slow down the Stranger enough to make him depart. After using the Time Gem in battle, it was corrupted and the Gardener believed he could no longer use it to make things grow. He left it behind in search of a new place for his garden, where it remained until the mad Titan Thanos found it.
The Gardener was once Ord Zyonyz, a being who came into existence in the Seyfert Galaxy M-77. Like all the other Elders, he belongs to one of the first races to develop since the Big Bang and thus is nearly immortal and extremely powerful. He is absolutely obsessed with peace and quiet, and with his garden. (We have a lot in common!)
The Gardener was seen among a group of abstract and near-omnipotent beings (including the Watcher, Eternity, the In-Betweener, the Living Tribunal, Lord Chaos, Master Order and a Celestial) confronting the Beyonder.
He was also among the Elders who allied together to restart the universe by killing Galactus. He used Earth plants to capture Mantis and battled Galactus and the Silver Surfer, but was converted to energy and consumed by Galactus. Along with the other Elders who were devoured by Big G, he caused Galactus “cosmic indigestion” from within. He escaped from Galactus and took possession of an Infinity Gem. He witnessed a battled between Galactus and the In-Betweener, then aided Silver Surfer, Nova (Frankie Raye) and the other Elders in helping Galactus defeat the In-Betweener. Ultimately, the Gardener fled to escape the wrath of Galactus.
Later, following one of Thanos’ many defeats, the Gardener retrieved the Time Gem and (contrary to what he had earlier stated) used it once more. The Titan confronted him, using the Gems he had already recollected to seemingly kill the Gardener and take the Time Gem, his ultimate goal to create the Infinity Gauntler. The Gardener may have survived his battle with Thanos due to Death's banning the Elders from her realm.
The Contemplator later spotted the Gardener in the Dimension of Manifestations. This took place during the Infinity War incident. The Gardener had joined with a group of abstract and near-omnicient beings to converse with the Beyonder.
The Gardener has a lot to offer in the way of a character, especially if involved in worlds with, say, intelligent plantlife like the Cotati. Many more tales are awaiting this Elder, I am certain.