- "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]
Mar Novu, better known as The Monitor, is a powerful cosmic entity preparing worlds for an oncoming crisis. Novu tested a multitude of worlds, all of which failed, up until he challenged Earth-1. He recruited Oliver Queen to assist him in his preparations to prevent the destruction of the Multiverse and prepared other heroes, such as Barry Allen, of their role in the coming crisis.
Visiting the first Ra's al Ghul
Novu paid a visit to Al-Fatih, and heavily implied to keep the balance or else the world would be in jeopardy. He also bestowed upon him knowledge not previously known to man. The man would do what he could to keep the balance by becoming the first Ra's al Ghul and founded an organization with the sole purpose of keeping the balance by eliminating threats.
Meeting Lyla Michaels
When Lyla Michaels was filled with survivor's guilt after her team was killed in Afghanistan, she prayed to any god or other godlike being that would listen. Novu answered and she began working for him whenever he required assistance.
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 an impending crisis, to which Novu claimed to be beyond his abilities, by letting the chosen individuals create their own Elseworld by using the Book. Novu, as well as a coming crisis, came under the attention of the Crescent Order.
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.
After testing Earth-90, Novu traveled to Earth-1 and appeared before Arkham Asylum Doctor John Deegan in Gotham City. When he asked for his assistance, Deegan refused, referring to him as a "douchebag". To prove his seriousness, Novu destroyed Deegan's car. Having Deegan's attention, he gave him the Book of Destiny, telling him to do as he pleased with reality and watched as Deegan became amazed by the book.
Seeing that the Meta-human Cisco Ramon was observing this event later through a vibe, Novu turned to him and expressed interest, as he didn't believe Earth-1 had this capability. He then explained that things had already been set into motion that they couldn't prevent. He then observed Deegan change reality to where Oliver Queen is the Flash and Barry Allen is the Green Arrow.
Later, after the heroes had retrieved the Book of Destiny from Deegan, Novu appeared at a street in Central City, where he was promptly surrounded by police, and waited for the heroes to confront him. Novu was soon confronted by the Flash of Earth-90, The Flash of Earth-1, Green Arrow, and Supergirl of Earth-38. They demanded he help them use the Book of Destiny to set reality right, but Novu declared he had no intention of helping them. The Flash of Earth-90 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, Earth-1 Flash 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.
Balancing the universe
After Deegan had altered reality once more where he was Superman, Novu summoned Oliver and Barry to his realm to discuss their destinies. Novu expressed interest in how they were able to outwit the Superman powered Deegan with no powers or abilities. When Oliver demanded to get back to his test, Novu described his personality and was pleased with his willingness to die and save countless others. He then explained the only way to survive this trial was to know their true self, before sending them away.
Later, Oliver, after becoming Green Arrow once again, returned to Novu's realm to demand him to stop the test from killing Barry and Kara Danvers, 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 universe, Novu made Oliver promise he would join him to stop the crisis when the time comes.
Preparing for Crisis
After the Timeline changed when Team Flash destroyed Cicada's dagger, the crisis was moved up to 2019 instead of 2024. Knowing that Team Flash would want to change the timeline to prevent this, but might make things worse in the process, Novu destroyed the plinth in the Time Vault to prevent them from seeing the change in future newspaper. In the process, he destroyed Nora West-Allen's message to her parents, which he believed was a necessary sacrifice.
Arrival on Earth-38
After destroying the plinth, Novu traveled to Earth-38 to free a Green Martian named Malefic J'onzz from the Phantom Zone. He then urged the Martian to avenge himself against his brother who betrayed him. When Malefic asked if Novu would assist him, he told him he had to walk his path by himself, as he had one last place to visit. He then traveled to Lex Luthor's dead body and began to wave a hand with interdimensional energy.
Visiting the Legends
Novu, holding the Book of Destiny is seen inside Heyworld watching the Legends perform with magical creatures. He shakes his head in disappointment with the rest of the audience when their performance was terrible. However, when a Dragon showed up, he is seen eating popcorn in amusement, using the book as a stool.
Recruiting Oliver Queen
In 2019, after the birth of Oliver'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 Smoak 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.
Warning Barry of his imminent death
In around August to September 2019, Novu visited Barry and Iris West-Allen in the Time Vault. Iris, realizing he destroyed Nora's message, tried to attack him, only for Barry to stop her. Novu acknowledged that it was an unfortunate side effect but argued he had to discourage them from hoping they could avoid the coming crisis. When Iris argued they still had five years, Novu revealed it had since changed from 2024 to December 10, 2019. Stating that Earth-1 would soon become the battleground for the fate of the multiverse. When Barry demanded to know how he can stop it, Novu insisted that the only way to stop it was for Barry to die before leaving.
Oliver's missionWhen Oliver deterred from his mission on Earth-2, Novu confronted him. He found him in Queen-Merlyn Enterprises, about to confront Malcolm Merlyn of being the Dark Archer. He told him not to interfere on another Earth and to focus on his mission, to which Oliver explained that the Dark Archer had taken the particles and Oliver was simply attempting to retrieve them. Novu was unconvinced, but allowed him to continue on.
After Earth-2's destruction, Novu brought Oliver, John Diggle, and Laurel Lance to Hong Kong. When Oliver woke up, Novu chastised him for interfering with the events of Earth-2 by fighting Tommy Merlyn, which, according to Novu, led to the Earth's destruction. Oliver further interfered by saving Laurel. Novu then instructed Oliver to find Dr. Robert Wong. As Diggle arrived, looking for Oliver, Novu teleported away with the particles before he could be discovered.
Novu later met with Lyla, who was angry at him for not warning her about Earth-2's destruction, or that John was on Earth-2 when it was destroyed. Novu simply claimed that Earth-2's destruction was a necessary sacrifice, then asked her if she had Wong. She replied that she did, and Novu responded by saying that they could proceed of preparing Oliver for the upcoming 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 her and Oliver once she prepared William Clayton and Mia to take care of themselves. In 2040, after she said goodbye to her children, he would again return for Felicity. Before taking her, he warned her that this place was where there was "no return". Felicity accepted it and Novu reunited them.
- "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 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 seen 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 is also shown to be quite flexible, as he is able to change the decisions he had made when he tested other Earths when they had impressed 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, Novu wasn't entirely without empathy, as he did have cause to show genuine sympathy towards Oliver and Felicity Smoak 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 sincerely apologizing to Oliver for his inevitable death. He also apologized for unintentionally destroying Nora's message, noting it was unfortunate but necessary. Despite deeming Barry's determination a flaw during the Crisis, Novu openly acknowledged its boundlessness to be his greatest quality. Despite Novu feeling sympathy for Oliver's inevitable sacrifice, he does not tolerate disobedience. When Oliver meddled with the fate of Earth-2, Novu scolded him for not heading his orders and ordered him never to disobey him again.
Powers and abilities
- "You're not a god."
- "Yet there isn't a name for what I am so I suppose god will have to do."
- —Oliver Queen and Novu[src]
- 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.
- 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.
- Electrical distortion: Novu's presence interfered with street lights when he confronted Dr. John Deegan.
- 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. In 2040 he took Felicity Smoak to a place that there is no return from to be with Oliver.
- 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.
- Precognition: Novu has the power to predict the future, as he was able to see that Oliver and Barry would sacrifice themselves inevitably to stop the crisis.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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 for the coming crisis. He would bestow the book to one individual of each Earth to allow them to create their own Elseworlds for the heroes to fight and see if they can succeeded. He would also use the book for unimportant things, such as using it as a stool to eat popcorn off of.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
- Novu appears to enjoy popcorn.
Behind the scenes
- In the main DC Comics continuity, the original Monitor was a prominent figure in the years leading up to the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, as he gave weapons to villains in order to test the heroes as he did on the show. When the time came he gathered heroes and villains alike to combat the threat of the Anti-Monitor, the Monitor's antimatter counterpart, set on destroying the multiverse. Decades later during the Rebirth era it was revealed his name was Mar Novu, after the Arrowverse'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 after his death.
- Nix Uotan, the last survivor of said Monitors and so-called Superjudge of the multiverse, bears a physical resemblance to Mar Novu.
- Novu is the second main character of who debuted in , after Nora West-Allen, and the fifth to debut on another Arrowverse show.
- Novu served as one of the two main antagonists of the crossover, alongside Dr. John Deegan.