Marvel's ''Powerless'' in a nutshell - a re-imagining of the whole Franchise/MarvelUniverse, with a twist consisting of - well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the lack of any superpowers at all.]] This may be mistaken as both inverting and playing the RecycledInSpace trope straight, but there's more than that. Let's just say it turns out to be a GenreShift from your usual SuperHero comic to some kind of thriller.

People such as [[Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} Matt Murdock]], [[Comicbook/SpiderMan Peter Parker]], [[Comicbook/{{Wolverine}} Logan]], [[Comicbook/ThePunisher Frank Castle]], [[Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk Bruce Banner]] and the like are all connected to their therapist, doctor William Watts: after he awakens from a three-day coma spent dreaming of the main Marvel universe, Watts begins even [[MythologyGag hallucinating said people's Earth-616 analogues as soon as their name is mentioned]].

In this universe, when Peter Parker isn't bullied by a JerkJock, he's threatened by Norman Osborn simply for working for [[Comicbook/IronMan Tony Stark]] instead. And instead of getting superpowers, the spider-bite only made his right arm almost useless.

In this universe, Logan... well... [[BrainwashedAndCrazy has the same problems as usual.]]

In this universe, Matt Murdock is a blind, yet brilliant attorney, whose struggle against Wilson Fisk seems to be {{Unwinnable}} due to the latter having blackmailed a MisBlamed Frank Castle into admitting a crime he didn't commit, in order to get away with it. A [[TraumaCongaLine particularly traumatic experience]] is only [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished the first price the man will pay for doing his job.]]

In this universe, Bruce Banner is simply held captive in an asylum due to... [[HulkingOut well, you know]].

Essentially, this is what would happen if Creator/{{Christopher Nolan}} were to reimagine the Marvel Universe.

See also "BulletPoints" for a series that similarly turns the MarvelUniverse on its head, and as such, for example, in Italy got reprinted together with Powerless in a single book. The ''Noir'' books also tread a lot of the same ground, but transfer the setting to the 1930s.

Please be sure to add tropes with spoilers, all ye Tropers who browse.


!!This MarvelComicsSeries provides examples of:

* BadassNormal: [[spoiler: Logan]], of course. Hell, he even has [[spoiler: what may presumably be considered the only artificial superpower of this universe, that is, WolverineClaws]].
** Also, [[spoiler: Frank Castle]] fits the trope when he [[spoiler: becomes The Punisher]].
* ButtMonkey: While, for once, [[spoiler: Peter Parker]] comes out of the crap he's been put through pretty well, [[spoiler: Matt Murdock]] isn't so lucky.
* CassandraTruth: Gwen just won't believe Peter about [[spoiler: Osborn]]'s blackmailing.
* ComesGreatResponsibility: referenced by Peter, [[MythologyGag when he tells Watts about something his uncle Ben said before dying]].
* CrapsackWorld: this series shows ''very well'' what living in the same city where either Osborn or Fisk, in a real world without superpowers, is like. But with this being the MarvelUniverse, this is a given.
* {{Elseworld}}: no duh.
* DemotedToExtra: [[Comicbook/FantasticFour Reed and Susan Richards]], the prison inmates (see Mythology Gag below), [[Comicbook/DoctorStrange Stephen Strange]], [[AntMan Henry Pym]], [[ComicBook/{{X-Men}} Emma Frost]], and to a lesser extent, Bruce Banner.
* DisneyVillainDeath: in a ''[[VindicatedByHistory truly satisfying fashion]]'', this time is [[spoiler: [[{{Irony}} Norman Osborn the one who suffers Gwen Stacy's fate]].]] The trope alone, however, is subverted in that [[DiesWideOpen you get to see the outcome]].
* InSpiteOfANail: [[spoiler: Even in a universe without superpowers, Wolverine is still Weapon X and Frank Castle still becomes the Punisher.]]
* TheGwenStacy: [[spoiler: averted.]]
* HeroicBSOD: Poor Watts, when he saw the headlines announcing [[spoiler: Matt Murdock's assassination]], he didn't take it well. Doubles as OhCrap.
* [[spoiler: ImportantHaircut]]: [[spoiler: not as much as ain Important ''Mustache''cut, but there you go. That's how Watts becomes a carbon copy of the watcher (as noted below, see "The Watcher"), thus ending the series.]]
* KarmaHoudini: Wilson Fisk, obviously. [[spoiler: Until he has to [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome "consider himself punished"]].]]
* KickTheDog: [[spoiler: Wilson Fisk does this to a MisBlamed Frank Castle, but beware...]]
** ... [[spoiler: TheDogBitesBack]].
* KilledOffForReal: by the end of the miniseries, the body count is as follows: [[spoiler: [[TogetherInDeath Matt Murdock and Karen Page]], Wilson Fisk, Norman Osborn,]] and ''heavily'' implied with [[spoiler: Eric Magnus]].
** [[spoiler: Mystique too.]]
* LampshadeHanging: of a MythologyGag - when leaving Peter alone, fellow scientist Curt Connors says he has to do experiments with reptiles, about which he comments, "Don't ask".
* MiscarriageOfJustice: Frank Castle, very nearly.
* MythologyGag: oh, ''all over the place''. This trope gets pulled off best when a panel shows a shot of various super-villains (another superimposed hallucination of Watts) and the next one shows their ''Powerless'' counterparts, who are simple jailbirds.
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Poor [[spoiler: Matt Murdock]], [[KilledOffForReal he didn't survive that one.]]
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: [[spoiler: Frank Castle's "Consider yourself ''punished.''" line, and also Logan when he tells Eric Magnus, "but I was looking forward to meet ''you.''"]]
* RedRightHand: well, a whole right ''arm'' at that, but still, Peter Parker's epic ButtMonkey status has reached even this universe, this time with the spider not only [[ComesGreatResponsibility giving him problems as usual]], but even ''weakening him instead of giving him superpowers''. Poor boy, [[TheWoobie you'll just want to hug him]].
* ShootTheShaggyDog: [[spoiler: Fisk shamelessly teases Matt Murdock with photos depicting his OldShame - namely, Matt doing drugs - ''[[PlayerPunch right before killing him]]''.]]
* ShoutOut: way, way, way, ''way'' too many to count - but they're more like [[MythologyGag a certain similar trope you can see above]].
* TitleDrop: as remarked [[spoiler: by Watts in the very last panel of the whole series]], "Sometimes we're just powerless".
* VFormationTeamShot: the cover of the first issue, as shown above.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Wilson Fisk, to the point of having the ''balls'' to give [[spoiler: Matt Murdock, whom he killed without any regret]] ''an eulogy''.
* TheWatcher: [[spoiler: quite fittingly, the audiece discovers that Watts is an alternate version of The Watcher when [[TomatoInTheMirror he looks in the mirror]].]]
* [[spoiler: WhatHappenedToTheMouse]]: the [[spoiler: Iron Man suit]].
* WhoopiEpiphanySpeech: referenced by Peter Parker when he [[spoiler: asks Watts one]].
* [[spoiler: WolverineClaws]]: the only superpower still existing in this universe. That, and the [[spoiler: Iron Man suit (if it [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse will ever be completed]])]].
* [[spoiler: YouCantFightFate]]: [[spoiler: Matt Murdock]]; [[spoiler: [[ScrewDestiny averted]]]] with [[spoiler: Peter Parker and Logan]].