Is there an in-universe explanation for how Marvel universes have "standardized" numbers, and how someone in a universe can know what their number is? It seems like anyone would number their own universe "1" or "prime" and number any others in order of discovery -- which wouldn't be standard. For example, has Reed Richards or some such, said anything about "discrete quantum vibration frequencies" or other technobabble?

  • Do people in universe know of their own numbers? Also asking in relation to DC and Marvel is too broad, you need to pick one or the other.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Feb 3 '20 at 16:03
  • Well, I remember seeing some characters speaking of universes in terms of numbers, but I'm not sure where. Was it where a lot of Reed Richardses met each other? And I was going to ask for either company but since that's not allowed I picked Marvel then.
    – nebogipfel
    Feb 3 '20 at 16:06
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    @TheLethalCarrot Tangentially, the characters from Earth 2 (and others Earths) in the Arrowverse do refer to their own worlds as "Earth 2" or whatever.
    – Darren
    Feb 3 '20 at 16:17

It seems to me to be only those that know of the multiverse, know of the universes' specific numbers. That is the numbers were issued by someone outside of the multiverse and it is those that tell those who learn of it what the specific numbers are. For example, Uatu the Watcher tells Reed Richards of being 616 as that is what the Watchers call it as we see in Marvel 1602 Issue 6.

Uatu talks about 616 and the multiverse

We see a similar thing in Excalibur Vol. 1 Issue 50 with Merlyn explaining about the multiverse.

Merlyn talks about the multiverse

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