The Builders are an alien species that feature in Marvel Comics.
The Builders were said to be the oldest living beings in the cosmos who were the first race that were born at the dawn of the universe. Their species were said to had been a perfect people that worshipped a goddess that embodied the universe itself. In time, they would abandon this reverence and instead seek to impact the cosmos itself. (Avengers v5 #2) Long ago, they left behind their throneworld and called the stars their home as they became celestial migrants. (Infinity v1 #2) As a result, they began to expand and evolve where they were responsible for creating systems that directed, shaped as well as controlled the structure of space along with time itself. The first of these systems were the gardeners that were robotic machines called Aleph's that went into the cosmos in order to purge it of unfit species that were not fit for the designs of the universe. Thus, for hundreds of millions of years these Aleph's razed world after world that the machines deemed were unfit for progress until they encountered a race worthy of the gift of evolution. (Avengers v5 #2) As a multi-universal race, they were confined to under five thousand realities and made use of the Superflow to travel through the various universes. (New Avengers v3 #12) They were responsible for creating a number of universal systems that were triggered by a White Event that developed planetary avatars. (Avengers v5 #8) Among these included the Starbrand, Nightmask, Justice, Cipher and Spitfire that were activated to aid a civilization on a world in its advancement. (Avengers v5 #7) At an unknown point, they had lost all the Abyssii among their creations and were unable to create anymore. (Avengers v5 #19) This event had occurred thousands and thousands of years ago with the mysterious disappearance of the Abyss being unknown. It was believed that it was because once the new universal superstructure was created that the Gardeners were recalled and forbidden from harvesting worlds. This act deprived the function of the Abyssii causing them to disappear and being relegated as minions by the Builders in use for war. (Avengers v5 #20)
As a result, their primary conduit for travel was severed leading to the Builders confined to under five thousand realities. (New Avengers v3 #12) On Mars, Ex Nihilo who was a Gardener raised b an Aleph attempted to make Earth sentient and sent origin bombs to develop on the planet. These creations rapidly evolved and attempted to catalogue the world but deemed it a failure after the origin site designed for self-repair was unable to stop it from experiencing Incursions. This caused the site to send a signal that went deep into space where it was received by an Aleph. (Avengers v5 #15)
Their interstellar migration brought them to the Golden Galaxy where they proceeded with razing the planet Galador leading to a confrontation with its Spaceknights. After destroying the planet, they proceeded on their course towards Earth with the Builders striking against the Kree and Skrulls territories. (Infinity v1 #1)
Builder forces later regrouped and occupied the Kree homeworld of Hala. (Avengers v5 #20) It was only the death of the Builder on that world at the hands of Thor Odinson that brought re-newed home to the universe. With Hala freed, the Kree Accuser Corps rebelled against the Supreme Intelligence's commands and joined the Galactic Council where they struck to liberate Kymellia III. Similarly, on Centauri IV, survivors from Galadorian Spaceknights moved alongside the planet's Bowmasters to liberate the world whilst Skrull Warlords won on Korm Prime but at heavy cost. The greatest fighting losses was sustained by the Shi'ar who had fought alongside the Avengers where they paid at Rigel, died on Formuhaut, and lost at Chize. After losing momentum against the Builders, the Avengers and Galactic Council became desperate where they decided to open a gateway into the Negative Zone to allow the Annihilation Wave to strike. This was the last desperate gambit but the Builders used their control over biological life and the hive-mind of the Wave to turn it against itself. Though the had lost, the renegade Gardeners managed to re-awaken the comatose Captain Universe who appeared before the Builder command vessel where she as the spirit of the universe itself commanded them to stop. However, the Builders refused and attacked her where she was forced to kill all but one of them. The remaining Builder escaped into another universe but not before sending a black band signal commanding the Alephs in the universe to destroy everything. (Avengers v5 #21)
Refugee Builders from a hundred dead universes converged at one of their superstation's as they sought to find a means of stopping the destruction of the Multiverse. To achieve that end, they modified their Aleph units to coordinate under a hive mind in order to find the source of the collapse. In addition, they engineered a Manifold to transport them to the desired location where their forces battled the Mapmakers and despite heavy losses they managed to defeat them. With a captured Mapmaker, they proceeded with studying its core in order to find the source of the destruction. However, this proved to be a trap with the Ivory Kings annihilating the Builders. (New Avengers v3 #30)
Individual Builders had long lifespans with one being over six hundred thousand years old. (Avengers v5 #20)
They were identified as an multi-universal ancient civilization. (New Avengers v3 #12) In fact, they were described as being beyond ancient and the oldest civilization in the universe who were species shapers and system builders. (Infinity v1 #1) They were a species of system-creating, universal migrants who were creators and engineers that were more than capable of destroying worlds. (New Avengers v3 #12) It was said that the Builder's were a perfect people. (Avengers v5 #2)
Builders were divided into numerous types including:
- Creators : (Infinity v1 #1)
- Engineers : (Infinity v1 #1)
- Caretakers : (Infinity v1 #1
- Curators : (Infinity v1 #1)
- Gardeners : They judged life with those deemed flawed were terminated whilst those that had potential had their evolution encouraged. (Avengers v5 #9)
- Abyssii : (Avengers v5 #19)
In ancient times, their kind once worshipped the mother-maker goddess that represented the universe itself. However, they would abandon this period of reverence and instead adopted a new path of relevance where they shaped the universe itself as dictated by their whims. (Avengers v5 #2) They were a race of universal migrants that were responsible for the creation of numerous universal systems. Their ranks consisted of engineers and creators whose knowledge allowed them to create machines that were easily able to destroy entire worlds. (New Avengers v3 #12) For billions of years, they cultivated the universe where they seeded civilizations and directed evolution whilst remaining a unconquered and seemingly eternal people. (Infinity v1 #1) By nature, they were not destroyers as they had cultivated much in the universal sphere either through their hands or by their systems such as their sentient systems. They were a predictable people who were efficient, direct and linear. (Avengers v5 #19)
They had their own language set that was known as Builder Machine Code. (Avengers v5 #2)
They were described as being pan-universal beings. (New Avengers v3 #30) These machines shared code on in other Alephs with this code being eternal. (Infinity v1 #2) Aleph's tasked with gardening duties had two seeds within them as part of a garden. No two seeds were alike as the Builders in their wisdom recognized that creation was chaos and thus embraced this consistence of inconstant. (Avengers v5 #2) The Builders later redesigned and rebuild them so that the hive-mind data from thousands of units could be utilised with each Aleph acting as a multiversal buoy. (New Avengers v3 #30)
The Builders were able to engineer and cultivate the growth of new sentient lifeforms with superhuman abilities such as growing a Manifold that could transport across the Multiverse. (New Avengers v3 #30) Builders and the Gardeners travelled from world to world where they operated as agents of evolution. (Infinity v1 #2) They had created millions of life-forms in their existence and could easily modify an existing species within moments. (Avengers v5 #21) In one case, they cultivated and genetically engineered a primal mover Manifold to be able to teleport across the Multiverse with this specimen made from hundreds of samples. (New Avengers v3 #30)
Gardeners were able to craft origin bombs that were organic delivery systems that contained a communal virus tailor-made to remap genetic code. Each bomb was different with multiple variations for multiple purposes. (Avengers v5 #2)
Their ability to travel through the cosmos was tied to the Superflow and were unable to travel great distances outside of it. As such, they had heavily invested in it and without it they were trapped in the universe. (New Avengers v3 #12) The Superflow of the universe served as part of the network they had created with communication stations embedded in it that was used in the production of avatars during a White Event. (Avengers v5 #8) As celestial migrants, for the benefit of their whole they kept the majority of their fleet cloaked at all times. (Infinity v1 #2)
Their fleets were capable of engaging a form of cloak that made them invisible even to the instruments of advanced civilizations. (Avengers v5 #18) These fleets consisted of a variety of different types of vessels including light cruisers, carriers, heavy cruisers, worldships and world killers. (Avengers v5 #19) They made use of sentient drones as space capable vessels who could be commanded conduct suicide attacks. Another type of spacecraft they used were the titanic World Killers that were great weapons used by the Builders. (Infinity v1 #3) Key space based facilities used by the Builders were superstations that served as gathering grounds for their forces with these capable of transit. (New Avengers v3 #30)
- Ex Nihilo :
- Jerran Ko : a male Ex Nihili Gardener who used his powers to turn the agri-world Whaan Prime lifeless. (Infinity v1 #2)
- Hoortii : a Gardener that went to meet with Ex Nihili to see Abyss who was the last of the Abyssii. (Avengers v5 #20)
- The Builders were created by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opeña where they made their first appearance in Avengers v5 #2 (February, 2013).
- During the build-up to the Infinity event, Jonathan Hickman commented that, "You don't need to know anything. We'll set it up for you. But, if you have been reading, you know that they are one of the oldest races in the Universe and they've been up to shenanigans for millions of years…and it's finally coming home to roost." In the same interview, Tom Brevoort added on the Builders, "They're the oldest race in the universe, they seeded life and tended it like a garden over the millennia, creating several cosmic systems to manage its growth. The Garden, comprised of Ex Nihilo, Abyss and Aleph, from AVENGERS #1-3, was one of their systems."
- In an interview on CBR, Hickman added on their background:
- "No, there are just two kinds and they do two different kinds of jobs as their titles indicate. There’s a pretty good argument to be made for species homogeny across the board. So the idea here is that a society has distilled itself down to these sexless, ageless beings with very highly defined binary roles for their entire race. They collectively speak with one voice.
- Over millions of years they’ve basically developed their society to a point where they’ve asked all the hard questions, progressed beyond environmental evolution, and have figured out, and agreed upon, many of the major answers to universal questions. So if you ask them a specific question they would probably all give the same answer. That’s kind of the basics, but there’s a lot more there.
- They’re highly adaptive so they can, of course, change their minds, and they’re not a hive mind or anything like that. It’s just that there’s not a lot of dissent. They all basically agree on the best way to handle a particular problem, and this is a very singular problem that they’re dealing with."
- In What If: Infinity - Thanos v1 (2015), an alternate version of Infinity was shown whereby Thanos aided the Avengers against the Builders. The reason for this was because the Builders had recovered his son Thane who was said to be the first new Builder in many years. Ultimately, the Builders were eliminated by Thanos and his Black Order that aided the Avengers.
In other media
- In Marvel: War of Heroes, the Builders appeared as a playable card in the video game.
- Infinity v1: #1-4
- Avengers v5:
- New Avengers v3: