- "A crisis is imminent. Someone is coming. Someone far, far more powerful than myself. I mean to prepare. I'm testing universes to find one I hope strong enough to stand against him, in the hope of finding the champions that would save the multiverse entire."
- —The Monitor to Barry, Oliver, and Kara[src]
Testing different Earths
At some point in the past, Mar Novu, adopting the moniker "The Monitor", bestowed the Book of Destiny to individuals of different Earths across the multiverse to test them for a crisis, to which Novu claimed to be beyond his abilities, by letting the chosen individuals create their own Elseworld.
Traveling to Earth-90, Novu encountered numerous heroes, who opposed him. During an immense battle, Novu murdered them. After the battle, the Flash crawled towards the Book of Destiny on the ground. However, Novu grabbed the book first. As the Flash asked about his motivations behind his actions, Novu explained that they did this to themselves. He then opened the Book of Destiny, proclaiming they would all perish while the Flash ran away from the scene.
He appeared before John Deegan and gave him the Book of Destiny, telling him to do as he pleased with reality. Cisco Ramon observed this event later through a vibe, causing Novu to turn to him and explain things which have been set in motion cannot be stopped.
Later, Novu appeared at a street in Central City, where he was promptly surrounded by police. However, the Flash of Earth-90, The Flash of Earth-1, Green Arrow, and Supergirl arrived and demanded he help them use the Book of Destiny to set reality right. Novu declared he had no intention of helping them, only to be interrupted by The Flash of Earth-90 attacked, who proclaimed he would not let the massacre of Earth-90 repeat on Earth-1. After expressing admiration for The Flash's persistence, Novu made him disappear before he could take a step. With the other heroes realizing they were outmatched, Oliver Queen asked Novu what he was testing Earth-1 for. Novu explained that he was testing universes to find the right heroes to stand against a being far more powerful than himself who threatens the multiverse. He compliments them for being the first to acquire the Book of Destiny, before retrieving the book from A.R.G.U.S. with a wave of his hand. Supergirl then tried attacking him, but he simply breached her back to where she started before she could even touch him. Stating they show potential, Novu then departed and returned to Deegan, returning the Book of Destiny to him and telling him to think bigger.
After Deegan had altered reality once more, Novu was confronted by Oliver Queen and Barry Allen in his realm. He sent them away after informing them that they were being tested in preparation for a massive crisis that would threaten to wipe out the entire multiverse. Later, Oliver Queen returned to Novu's realm to demand him to stop the test from killing Barry and Kara, as unlike him they were true heroes and had the best chance at stopping the crisis. Impressed by his bravery, Novu agreed to help Oliver, although not directly and instead giving him a metaphysical arrow capable of overloading and destroying the Book of Destiny, but in order to maintain balance of the Multiverse, Novu made Oliver promise he would join him to stop the crisis when the time comes.
Arrival on Earth-38
The Monitor arrives on Earth-38 to transport a Green Martian named Malefic J'onzz, and telling him he has one more stop to make. He then travels to Lex Luthor's dead body and begins to wave a hand with interdimensional energy.
Visiting the Legends
In 2019, after the birth of Oliver Queen's daughter Mia Smoak, Novu returned to visit Oliver to collect his end of the deal. As Oliver had promised that he would give whatever the multiverse requires, he had no choice, but to keep his word and asked Novu what he needed to do. Novu revealed that Oliver must help him avert the crisis, but admitted regretfully that in exchange for countless deaths being prevented, Oliver would sacrifice himself and that future is inevitable and cannot be escaped. As he assured Felicity that in exchange for Oliver coming with him that night, she and her daughter would survive, Novu gave them time to say goodbye before he took Oliver with him to start their attempt to prevent the Crisis.
Taking Felicity to Oliver
At some point between the Crisis in 2019 and 2040, Novu made a deal with Felicity such that he would reunite them both once she is ready. In 2040, he would again return for Felicity, to take her to a place where there was "no return" to be with Oliver forever.
- "Fascinating. I wouldn't have thought the men of this Earth had this capacity. But it won't avail you. None of you can stop what's been set into motion. You're best off giving up now, because nothing you can do can alter what's about to happen."
- —Novu to Cisco Ramon[src]
Novu is a calm, level headed, and focused cosmic entity shown how he continued to find the earth that could save the multiverse from the coming crisis. Even though he left a trail of destruction while testing other Earths, like Earth-90, he showed no regret or remorse for it and instead blamed the heroes for failing to save their Earths. He proved capable of showing respect, as he openly showed he was impressed and amazed by the abilities and progress of the Earth-1 heroes while testing them but didn't see them as true threats to him. This is best shown when Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, Kara Danvers, and Barry Allen from Earth-90 confronted him but he remained calm and made Barry Allen from Earth-90 disappear while stopping all of their attempts to attack him took back the book and gave it back to John Deegan. Despite his god-like power, he doesn't seem to have a god complex, as shown by how while he claimed to be a god while admonishing Oliver for his hubris, when Oliver corrected him, Novu didn't seem offended and calmly told him that his earth really don't know what he is so a god would do.
However, Novu's actions, while ruthless, are not for malevolent purposes and instead to prepare for the crisis to find the heroes capable of saving the Multiverse from the crisis, which Novu openly acknowledges to being far more powerful than himself, showing he could still feel fear. He can also understand the views of others with but only if the individual was able to impress him, as he gave Oliver the metaphysical arrow needed to save his friends from the test after Oliver revealed Barry and Kara are the best chances to stop the crisis and not him, although he asked for something in order to maintain the balance of the universe by creating another change in place of Barry and Kara being saved. In addition, he showed a level of sympathy towards Oliver and Felicity as he revealed that in exchange for the Crisis being averted, Oliver would die and leave his wife widowed and daughter fatherless, assuring them he meant no harm for Felicity and their child and Oliver's sacrifice would allow them to live and apologizing to Oliver for his inevitable death.
Powers and abilities
- Cosmic entity physiology: Novu comes from an extremely powerful species whose capacity for power could not be understood by humans. The species' physically distinguishable features include black ridges along the head, mutton chops, and a deep voice. The species also possesses superhuman fortitude, as he was able to survive the destruction he brought to Earth-90 and withstand resistance from many of its residents, overpowering and killing them all and emerging without so much of a scratch on him. Novu is one of the most powerful beings in the multiverse. However, despite this, Novu admits his power still has limits and states that someone in the incoming Crisis is far more powerful than himself.
- Cosmic knowledge: As a cosmic entity, Novu possesses an immense knowledge of the universe more than any other beings.
- Precognition: Novu has the power to predict the future, as he was able to see that Oliver would sacrifice himself inevitably to stop the Crisis.
- Telekinesis: Novu was able to exert enough pressure on John Deegan's car to instantly smash its windows and crush the hood without moving a muscle.
- Electrical distortion: Novu's presence interfered with street lights when he confronted Dr. John Deegan.
- Dimensional awareness: Novu also has a form of dimensional awareness, as he was able to perceive Cisco Ramon vibing him, and communicate with him through the transdimensional energy of the multiverse.
- Interdimensional travel: By a simple wave of his fist, Novu is able to breach himself, other people, and/or items to any place he wishes.
- Stealth: When Novu gave John Deegan the Book of Destiny, John didn't see or hear him until he spoke to him. Using his breaches, he could appear before his targets as if he came out of thin air.
- Intimidation: Novu commands an intimidating presence that both scared and impressed John Deegan. This was demonstrated when he used his telekinesis to damage John's car, which resulted in him doing anything Novu asked of him.
- "The universe is a complex piece of machinery and balance must be maintained. One change requires another. How would you propose I keep the balance?"
- —Monitor to Oliver Queen on what must be done to maintain balance within the multiverse.[src]
- Universal equilibrium: Novu must maintain balance between universes. If he alters something without the Book of Destiny, he must take something to compensate for the alteration to reality. To prevent Barry and Kara's deaths in the impending Crisis, Oliver offered his life to Novu in exchange.
- Book of Destiny: The book is able to manipulate reality, and is used by Novu to test the inhabitants of each Earth to see if they're worthy.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Behind the scenes
- In the main DC Comics continuity, the original Monitor was a prominent figure leading up to the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, warning the heroes of the multiverse about the coming threat of the Anti-Monitor, the Monitor's anti-matter counterpart, set on destroying the multiverse. Decades later during the Rebirth era it was revealed his name was Mar Novu, after the show's version.
- Dax Novu, whose name is referenced by Mar Novu's, was a supervillain also known as Mandrakk the Dark Monitor and the first of the subdivided Monitors born out of the original solitary Monitor.
- Nix Uotan, the last survivor of the Monitors and Superjudge of the multiverse, bears a physical resemblance to Mar Novu.