Eons ago, a race on the planet Maltus evolved into a state of near-omnipotence and became immortal. The Maltusians dedicated their existence to studying the universe. One of their scientists, Krona, viewed the beginning of time and killed billions of potential lives as well as helping influence evil. The Maltusians vowed to never attempt such a feat again and rededicated themselves to fight evil to redeem themselves. However, two factions arose on how to fight such evil. The Guardians of the Universe believed evil should be fought after it happens. They relocated to the planet Oa and later established the Manhunters and the Green Lantern Corps. The other faction, the Controllers, believed the initiative should be taken to control evil and relocated to a different dimension. They came to the conclusion that a new world order could only be born of chaos.
Thousands of years later, the Controllers came to the forefront of the Great Crisis. The Crisis was ended when they used the Sun-Eater twice and a show of force. They willingly allowed the Sun Eater to be confiscated and deactivated in a storage facility. Years later, a renegade Controller decided to instil his vision of order on the universe and reactivated the Sun-Eater. After the Sun Eater reached full power, the Controller directed it toward Earth's Sun. While the Legion of Superheroes and the Fatal Five stopped the Sun-Eater, Superman faced the Controller. Although immune to United Planets law, Superman allowed the Controller to escape but not before issuing a threat if any future attempts were made to rule the universe.