X-Men Officially Settled the 4 Most Powerful Beings in the Marvel Universe

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Any fans wondering about the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe were given a gift in recent X-Men comics, where the publisher spelled out the four most powerful types of being in the entire multiverse. The Marvel Universe has been developing for over 60 years, with countless creators adding to its cosmic lore. However, in the modern day, there’s a very clear hierarchy when it comes to the top of the pile.

Spanning 2019-2024, X-Men’s Krakoan Era has seen mutantkind preparing for its final reckoning against artificial intelligence. Thanks to the mutant known as Moira X, Charles Xavier and Magneto learned that mutantkind was destined to be wiped out by a type of AI god known as a Dominion – one of the most powerful forms of life in the Marvel multiverse.

FOX ROX trailer Dominion Enigma face

In current X-Men titles, the mutants are fighting one last desperate battle to stop a particular Dominion known as Enigma, though there’s no clear way for them to do so. Once created, Dominions exist outside the confines of time and space, leading the terrifying Enigma to boast, “I cannot be prevented … you are merely watching how I won.”

 

X-Men Confirms Dominions Are Only Scared of 2 Other Beings

Even Marvel’s AI Gods Aren’t the Top of the Food Chain

marvel dominion discusses the beyonder

Just one Dominion is powerful enough that all of Marvel’s mutant characters are fighting to stop it destroying Earth, and it’s almost impossible that they’ll find a way to win. However, in 2019’s Powers of X #5 (from Jonathan Hickman and R.B. Silva), Marvel did clarify that there are three beings in the multiverse – and three only – which Dominions are afraid of and consider “primal threats.” This clearly established just how powerful Dominions actually are, but also helpfully created a ‘top 4’ of multiversal threats.

 

Marvel’s Dominions Explained

X-Men’s Modern Era Rewrote the Ultimate Form of AI Life

Dominions seem like one of Marvel’s most complicated ideas, but most of what’s complex about them is actually how they’re created. In and of itself, a Dominion is the greatest form of intelligence that can exist in the Marvel Universe. They are functionally omnipotent and omniscient, and are detached from time, meaning that they can’t be hurt or changed even by going back to before the moment before they were created – once a Dominion exists, it has always existed. Dominions exist on the level of gods, with Powers of X stating they are “indistinguishable from any and all mythic or religious comparisons.”

Most Dominions in the multiverse are the result of AI beings evolving to their ultimate form along a very specific path, with AI species like the Technarch eventually becoming a Titan (a gigantic singular intellect) which then joins with other Titans to create a Stronghold and eventually a Dominion. However, there are other ways for a Dominion to form – in the case of Enigma, an AI copy of the villain Nathaniel Essex killed and hijacked the body of an existing Dominion. Likewise, there are close equivalents which can mimick the AI evolutionary line necessary to create a Dominion – the Nova Corps’ Xandarian Worldmind and the World Farm of the Progenitors both meet most of the criteria.

When formed by an AI, Dominions tend to feed on biological societies, consuming them and adding any relevant data to their whole. They exist across multiple universes and can seed realities in their ‘territory’ with predatory machine life which exists to investigate and consume potential assets, eventually creating a new Titan which is added to the existing Dominion. This is the origin of Marvel’s alien Technarchy, who are frequent villains of the New Mutants.

The Phoenix Force is incredibly powerful and fulfills the cosmic function of forcing constant evolution and change.

The Phoenix Force Explained

Marvel’s Fiery God Embodies Change on a Cosmic Scale

Compared to the Dominions, the Phoenix Force is far simpler. Embodying the cosmological concept of life itself, the Phoenix Force is a powerful being which emanates from the White Hot Room – a ‘space’ outside reality which connects to every world in the Marvel Multiverse. The Phoenix Force is incredibly powerful and fulfills the cosmic function of forcing constant evolution and change. It has the power to enact worldwide change on any species that finds its favor – for instance when it brought back the X-gene following House of M – but it also has a tendency to bring fiery destruction to those it deems unworthy.

The Phoenix Force is an elemental expression of the need for change and can be dangerous to cosmic harmony. To address this, it usually operates via a host – a single individual who harnesses its power, lending the Phoenix insight and moderation. The first Phoenix host on Earth was a prehistoric woman known as Firehair, aka Lady Phoenix, however later hosts include Jean Grey, the Avengers’ Echo, and the sixteenth-century Iron Fist, Fongji Wu. However, the Phoenix existed long before Earth and is particularly loathed by the alien society known as the Shi’ar, who have gone to great lengths to stop its return in the past, including murdering Jean Grey’s extended family.

Easily the most famous of Marvel’s cosmic powerhouses, Galactus is a powerful being who consumes living worlds, earning him the nickname ‘the Devourer of Worlds.’ However, Galactus isn’t truly evil – he’s actually a vital part of the natural order. Galactus acts as a protector of the universe when larger threats like Abraxas or the Annihilation Wave attack, and is storing a portion of the energy he collects to birth the next iteration of Marvel’s multiverse (as seen in Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez’s History of the Marvel Universe.)

Indeed, Galactus wasn’t the first Devourer of Worlds, and was preceded by a fellow Devourer of Worlds known as Omnimax. Every time the Marvel multiverse ends, a single survivor is gifted with godlike power – in Galactus’ case, he used to be the human explorer Galan. Galactus is unique in the world-devourer line because he maintains some measure of human conscience, which was safeguarded within his psyche by the Silver Surfer during a time-travel adventure with the Defenders.

Having been around since 1966, fans often forget just how powerful Galactus is, especially since he’s so humanoid in appearance. However, Galactus is an apex predator and has fought multiple Celestials at the same time, making it clear why a Dominion would fear him. He also tends to have some well-hidden affection for human-like beings, and it’s likely that Galactus wouldn’t look kindly on a hyper-evolved AI’s attempts to wipe out biological life.

The Universal Abstracts Explained

The Ultimate Form of Power in the Marvel Universe

The Universal Abstracts are the definition of power in Marvel lore, though again with their own clear hierarchy. All the most powerful forces which set the rules of Marvel’s reality – chaos, order, oblivion, infinity – are both cosmic processes and sentient beings with their own wants, desires, and grudges. Examples include the twin forces Eternity and Infinity, the dark force of Oblivion, Mistress Love, Sire Hate, Master Order, Lord Chaos, and Death herself. These beings are often set at odds as an expression of natural balance – for example, The-Natural-Order-of-Things and The-Powers-That-Be are in an eons-old stalemate, representing the warring concepts of science and magic.

These forces are ruled over by the Living Tribunal, who takes action when cosmic laws are broken and in turn answer to the One-Above-All/One-Below-All – an almighty deity with two personas, one of which protects and nurtures life across the multiverse, and one of which wishes to destroy it. Universal abstracts are the ideas they represent, and so killing them requires (at least to some degree) eliminating the larger concept that gives them ‘life.’ The Abstracts are far more powerful than Dominions, however there’s a catch: Dominions are a result of the natural order, and so the Universal Abstracts don’t consider them a problem or an enemy. They’re simply the triumph of AI life, and the Abstracts would be unlikely to act against them unless they were directly attacked.

X-Men’s Krakoan Era has redefined what Dominions mean in Marvel lore, clarifying their place as one of the most powerful types of being in the entire canon. However, there’s always a bigger fish, and X-Men‘s description of the cosmic pecking order clarifies that as powerful as Dominions are, even they still have cause to fear Galactus, the Phoenix Force, and the Universal Abstracts.

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