Multiverse Marvels: Unraveling the Complexity of “From Beyond”

Marvel Comics is inclined to expand its universe with fresh stories and characters more often than anybody else does in the industry. Readers are spoiled by seemingly countless worlds, multiple Earths, and many different timelines that it often feels overwhelming to follow. Each time a villain does a terrible thing to disrupt the space continuum or makes interdimensional travels, an expansion takes place. One of the latest updates to the constantly outstretched Marvel’s universe happens with Beyond, a place outside the Multiverse inhabited by powerful beings known simply as Beyonders.

When Marvel’s characters say they are From Beyond, they may refer to one of two locations: a remnant of the long-destroyed Second Cosmos or the Beyond realm. Either way, they are not from the same universe as everybody else.


It all starts in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (May 1984 to April 1985), when the Beyonders destroy the Multiverse only to rebuild it again into its current state. For nearly four decades, however, their origins remain much of a mystery until Defenders: Beyond #2 sees the light of day in August 2022.

Secret Wars makes history by being the very first Marvel crossover to involve major characters, among them are the Beyonders. In a story where the battles pit heroes of unfathomable might against exceedingly powerful villains, it is revealed that Beyonders are mere infants of an entire race possessing incomprehensible capabilities; they are ridiculously overbuilt and Galactus looks like a plaything in comparison. Beyonders are superior even to the cosmic entities.

For decades, the most plausible explanation is that Beyonders will serve mostly as stand-ins, or else every other story is rendered inconsequential in Marvel. They can destroy Multiverse just as easily as they can recreate another. As the story goes, Beyonders are directly involved in the destruction of the Seventh Cosmos (or the sixth iteration of the Multiverse) during the second Secret Wars. Considering the importance of their roles, there needs to be a canonical explanation of their true origins.

The answer lies in Defenders: Beyond #2, written by Al Elwing and illustrated by Javier Rodriguez. Time travel is necessary from the current Eighth Cosmos back to the Second Cosmos, where the original Beyonders from the first Secret Wars reveal their story.

Aspirants and Omegas

The multiverse of infinite possibilities comes into existence following the destruction of the First Cosmos because of a conflict among the Aspirants, the first beings ever created. The Aspirants are involved in a battle against their rebellious counterparts, who form a faction known as the Celestials. Another great casualty of the conflict is First Firmament, the embodiment of the first universe before his essence gets scattered and transformed into the Multiverse. Just because the First Cosmos is destroyed, it does not mean the First Firmament dies.

The Celestials, who come out victorious, create the limitless lifeforms called the Omegas in the Second Cosmos – the first Multiverse. Among Omegas’ most important duties is to manage the Multiverse from outside of it, whereas the Celestials observe it from within. When the Second Cosmos meets its demise, the Third Cosmos comes to life. The Celestials still perform their oversight duties from the inside, while the Omegas remain outside in the remnants of the Second Cosmos. They continue to manage everything from beyond the Multiverse and subsequently are known as the Beyonders. And the place where they live is accordingly referred to as the Beyond.

Based on the description, you might notice how the term “Beyond” is pretty self-explanatory, as it only means an unobservable space outside the Multiverse. Such an origin story fits well into Marvel’s cosmology cyclical tendency in which every new cosmos is destroyed by a supervillain or apocalyptic event and replaced by another iteration. Sometimes not everything is destroyed and carried over to the new cosmos as well.

Regardless of Multiverse destruction, those from Beyond will not cease to exist because the place is not directly connected to anything else in any universe. They are an ancient race from a Multiverse that has long gone and forgotten. From a space that lies outside of everything, the Beyonders perform their maintenance duty and conduct large-scale experiments, including the obliteration of the Seventh Cosmos.  

Given the Beyonders’ origin story and the space they inhabit, there might not be a time when they perish. That said, in a few instances they may think the destruction of the cosmos is necessary to prevent greater damage to the next iteration. Case in point: an experiment to shatter the Seventh Cosmos to protect the Eighth Cosmos from Enigma/Dominion. It is believed that Enigma also originates from outside the multiverse.

We think Defenders: Beyond #2 does an excellent fan service by delivering a canonical explanation of a long-running mystery surrounding the origin of the super beings from Beyond. It even confirms that The Beyonder encountered by Marvel’s heroes in Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #319 (1988) is the only infant. An accident hinders their natural development process and causes their existence to interfere with Earth.

Have you read Defenders: Beyond #2? Do you know any other release that mentioned Beyonders? We’d love to hear from you.

Other things you might want to know:

Is Beyond the same with Beyond-realm?

They refer to two different places. Beyond is where adult Beyonders live, whereas Beyond-realm is where they keep their young to grow up before joining the others in Beyond. There might be future explanations for why the separation is necessary.

Is there a difference between “Beyonders” and “The Beyonder”?

The Beyonder, as described in Marvel Two-In-One #63 (1980), actually bears no direct connection with Beyonders, although Marvel has done multiple retcons to where The Beyonder is an inhabitant of the Beyond-realm, practically making him an immature member of Beyonders.

How many Earths are there in Marvel Multiverse?

There must be around a dozen Earths in the Marvel Multiverse. The universe – as we know it – is where Earth-616 exists and continues to be uninterrupted since Fantastic Four #1.

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