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Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia)
A (fairly Emo
) hospice nurse who starts to feel that he's meant to do something special in life, which leads him on a journey to understand his developing superpowers, and ultimately use them to try and make a positive difference in the world, although he has a bit of trouble figuring out how to do so correctly. A highly empathic person
, with the ability to passively absorb the superpowers of others around him through their emotional connection, which (according to his own mother) makes him potentially the most powerful of all supers.
After his Volume Two Unwitting Pawn
tenure, his Drama-Preserving Handicap
ineffectiveness continues in Volume Three where he goes on an evil kick for a few episodes after absorbing Sylar's ability of understanding (and its corresponding compulsion towards killing) in order to prevent yet another prophesied apocalyptic future. He finally gets Brought Down to Normal
when his Big Bad Evil Overlord
father steals all of his abilities and becomes a Physical God
, forcing him to spend the rest of the Volume opposing his father's master plan without any powers.
In Volume Four, he returns with a Nerfed
version of his powers courtesy of a stolen batch of his dad's Super Serum
; now he can only copy one power at a time and must absorb it through touch.
- Added Alliterative Appeal
- All-Loving Hero: In Volume 5, Peter finally seems to have gotten over his various Emo, Idiot Hero, and Darker and Edgier kicks, and has finally become the empathetic idealist that he was originally envisioned as. Hell, he even manages to redeem Sylar, for crying out loud.
- Alliterative Name
- Back from the Dead: Several times in Volume One.
- Badass Longcoat
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: In Volume 5, thanks to his Discard and Draw ability, Peter now mainly fights by copying an enemy's power then fighting them with it one-on-one. Including a superspeed knife fight with Edgar early in the season, and his climactic Earthbender vs. Earthbender battle with Samuel Sullivan in the season finale.
- He also does this to Sylar during the Volume 4 finale, with even quicker success: since Sylar has so many powers, it was totally unexpected that he'd use shapeshifting to beat him.
- Beware the Nice Ones: As Isaac and Simone find out the hard way.
- Black Sheep / White Sheep: How exactly such a nice, noble and kind-hearted guy came from such a group of backstabbers, sociopaths, manipulators and murderers (his dad was all four) will forever be a mystery. The Petrelli family are ruthless, corrupt, scheming, and ambitious. Peter is sweet, idealistic and Genre Blind. He chose to become a nurse (and later, a paramedic) because he'd rather help people instead. However, Peter is also not above using the same manipulative tactics if he has to, judging by his future self's actions and his behavior towards Isaac Mendez.
- Failure Hero
- Invincible Hero: Subverted, because when he had such powers stupidity was the only option.
- Brought Down to Normal: In volume three, in the most contrived way possible.
- Call to Adventure: "Be the one we need."
- Criminal Amnesiac: That brief Oireland subplot with the Irish mob.
- Contractual Genre Blindness
- Discard and Draw: His new power runs on this principle.
- Drama-Preserving Handicap: By the end of the first season, Peter has discovered that he permanently gains the abilities of any superhuman he encounters, just by being near them. It would quickly become impossible to create a challenge for a guy who can teleport, manipulate time, turn invisible, has a Healing Factor that makes him virtually unkillable, can fly at supersonic speeds, reads minds, predicts the future, and on and on and on. To mitigate this problem, he holds on to the Idiot Ball constantly. In subsequent seasons, he is given Laser-Guided Amnesia and later De Powered so he can carry the Ball less frequently.
- Dull Surprise: Occasionally.
- The Dragon: Unwitting one to Adam in season 2.
- The Dulcinea Effect
- Forgot About His Powers: Constantly. The writers had to Break The Gamebreaker by giving him a massive idiot ball. One particularly bad instance has him confront a threat who had the power of super healing by running at her... fortunately, he had accidentally gained Super Speed, but he had no clue. If he hadn't, his plan against a gun-wielding person who cannot be hurt was "run at her."
- Forgot I Could Fly
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Poor Caitlin. He's probably not coming back for Simone either.
- Future Badass
- Hand Behind Head
- Hospital Hottie
- How Do I Shot Web?
- I Did What I Had to Do: Covers most of the crap he pulls in Volume 3, which would otherwise come off as Moral Dissonance. Otherwise the Earth was going to go boom.
- I Just Want to Be Special
- Idiot Hero: Is there such a thing as Dangerously Genre Blind? Because the best way to describe him is "a wet match in a dark cave".
- Interestingly, he becomes much more intelligent when his power is changed from being able to copy an infinite number of other powers at the same time to only being able to copy one at a time. This gives the impression that he carries a very special kind of Idiot Ball, which could best be described as an Idiot Rubber Band Ball: while each power he copies only adds a single rubber band, they add up to an enormous ball that fills his head entirely, leaving no space for grey matter. The one "rubber band" he is later limited to leaves him room for a brain.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap
- Jumped at the Call
- Long-Lost Relative: Turns out that "cheerleader" is his niece.
- The McCoy: He genuinely cares about the people he takes care of and saves and will do just about anything to help someone, putting him in stark contrast with his more selfish family.
- Meaningful Name: Alliterative, Biblical, and both his first and the last name mean "Rock"
- Also, Peter shares his first name with a certain boy who can fly (also known as "The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up"). This is especially significant in the first episode, where we are led to believe that flight is Peter's primary ability.
- Morality Pet: For Nathan.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Nice Guy: Before his Flanderisation, Peter was depicted as the kind-hearted young man from a (mostly) ambitious family that just wanted to make the world a better place. He was a hospice nurse, for God's sake, and he first risked his life for Clair just because he wanted to. Thanks so much for the attempts at darker and edgier that made him a moron, Kring. Finally brought back full circle in Season 5 (see All-Loving Hero).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He was tricked into giving his evil father all of his powers.
- This trope is basically a lifestyle choice for Peter. In Volume Two, he released Adam Monroe from the Company's prison. In Volume Three, his assassination attempt on Nathan changes history and puts the planet on track for an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. And in Volume Five, he undoes the measures taken by his mother to get rid of Sylar...by doing what he was explicitly told not to do by the Haitian.
- No Social Skills: At the start of the series, he's so eager to be acknowledged as special that he doesn't even consider how his actions could affect his brother.
- The Not-Love Interest: For Nathan.
- Not So Different: In Volume Three, after absorbing Sylar's ability (and Hunger). Nice going, Pete.
- Sylar explicitly says Peter is just like him. So he tries to cut Peter's head open.
Sylar: "You're just like me, aren't you?"
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Peek-a-Bangs: In Volume 1. He ditched them in Volume 2, but they're back with a vengeance in Volume 5.
- Perma Stubble: Grew this in Volume 4, but maintained an on and off presence throughout the show.
- Power Incontinence
- Power Parasite: More specifically, a Power Sponge, where stealing abilities was his default power.
- Red Oni: To Nathan's blue. Also to Sylar's.
- Repetitive Name
- Rugged Scar: His Future Badass version sports an unexplained scar across his face.
- Samaritan Syndrome
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Finds himself on the receiving end of this from his family quite a bit, especially in season 1. Nathan even outright tells him he needs to grow up and his mother seems to consider being a nurse barely a step above pimping and selling heroin. His father all but disowns him for not following the family business of going into law. Given how badly they all manage to screw up at various points, it's probably best that he didn't listen.
- Stupid Good: "Adam's my friend! I won't let you hurt him!" and Stupid Evil when playing with intuitive aptitude for two episodes.
- Superpower Lottery
- Superpower Meltdown: Literally, at the end of Volume 1.
- This Is Your Brain on Evil: Apparently, the ability to "understand how things work" also comes with an uncontrollable addiction to cutting open peoples' heads to eat...err..."study" their brains.
- Took a Level in Badass
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In "Unexpected", possibly justified as it appeared to him that Simone eventually chose Isaac and he's feeling bitter.
- Training from Hell
Peter: I don't have to do anything!
Claude: ...except fly. * throws him off a skyscraper* Peter was unable to fly, but survived by recalling Claire's healing abilities after crashing through a car.
- The Unfavorite: His parents weren't subtle about expressing this view of him. Though his mother later admits he was always her favorite.
- What Have I Become?: A guy who was briefly addicted to cutting open peoples' heads.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: The Black Sheep of the family who rebelled and became a nurse instead of a lawyer.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Much to the chagrin of his family, who take many shots at his profession.
- Workaholic: By Season 4, Peter becomes extremely devoted to his job, ignoring his mother who's been telling him he works too much, and only takes powers that he would find useful at work such as speed or super strength. He even attempts to pull another double shift after getting off of one, but is dissuaded by his partner and told to go home instead.
- You Are Grounded: What Arthur says after taking away Peter's powers. He shouldn't have done that, his kids have guns now.
Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar)
A highly ambitious politician, self-described "shark", and Peter's brother. Nathan has the ability to fly, but has absolutely no interest in his superpowers, instead wishing to gain power via the political process. Something of a Manipulative Bastard
, he finds himself torn between his ruthless political ambitions and his genuine affection for his idealistic brother.
He reluctantly joins The Company's plan to unite mankind by destroying New York City, but at the last moment The Power of Love
motivates him to perform a Heroic Sacrifice
at the end of Volume One to save everyone instead. He spends most of Volume Two acting as The Atoner
... then spends most of Volume Three back to being a Jerk Ass
again, first siding with his Big Bad Evil Overlord
father in the hopes of helping mankind by giving everyone superpowers, then when that plan goes down the crapper he cooks up his own scheme to round up and render comatose all existing supers to "protect" normals from them... before finally becoming The Atoner
yet again when his own status as a super is exposed and he's ultimately hunted and finally forced to confront his own hubris and self-hatred. He also tends to get assassinated Once A Season
- Aloof Big Brother
- Ambiguous Situation: His actions in Volume 4 make him responsible for the government imprisoning and experimenting on Evolved Humans. Which begs the question of exactly how much of the Bad Future in Volume 1 was actually done by him before Sylar stole his identity?
- Ambition Is Evil: Zig-zagged. He's a heroic character but will usually sell out a moral or two to further his own career, no matter how much it messes things up for other people. This extends from major lapses such as hunting all of the powered people, including Peter, and letting Linderman destroy New York to telling everyone Peter attempted suicide, oblivious to how it would hurt him.
- Anti-Hero: Type IV
- Arbitrary Skepticism: For a man who can fly under his own power, he sure is quick to dismiss Hiro's and Isaac's abilities in Volume One.
- The Atoner: Twice!
- Back from the Dead: Repeatedly! Honestly, two bullets and a sibling nuclear bomb didn't kill this guy. And he doesn't even have regeneration!
- Once he returned while being dead.
- Beard of Sorrow: In the first couple of episodes of Season 2. Its ugliness was lampshaded in-universe, as his kids tell him they don't like it and he should shave. Ouch.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Boomerang Bigot: In Volume 4, he convinces the President that evolved humans are dangerous and need to be imprisoned while hiding his own status as one of them. Peter even calls him out on it.
- Characterization Marches On: He was a pretty big Jerkass in Season 1. He grew out of it, though he does have some jerkass tendencies occasionally.
- The Chessmaster: He has his moments, with season one pretty much making him a Magnificent Bastard.
- Death Glare: Deployed a lot, especially against his little brother Peter, Danko (... all the damn time), Ma Petrelli, Parkman, even Noah Bennet (to no effect).
- Even Evil Has Standards: Not only did he not know that Tracey Strauss's escape was orchestrated to manipulate a government official into keeping the division up and running instead of shutting it down, but as soon as he found out about it, he told off the guy who orchestrated it, Danko.
- Flight: His ability, and unlike other flying characters, he's able to do it at super-speed. Ironically, the most stick-in-the-mud character gets one of the most fun powers.
- Handsome Lech
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Good God.
- Hero with an F in Good
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the season one finale, although he survives.
- I See Dead People: Well, one dead person (Linderman). Who just wouldn't go away during Volume 2.
- In-Series Nickname: FLYING-MAN!!!
- It's All About Me: He mostly works under the assumption that everyone exists to benefit or serve him, including Peter. The most egregious is when he is completely willing to let Linderman destroy New York to help his political career. Given how his parents basically raised him to be a carbon copy of them, it's understandable.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Season 1, until the finale.
- Killed Off for Real: A few times, but it sticks at the end of volume 4.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Claire
- Manipulative Bastard: Again, mostly in Season 1. Then subverted as he gets manipulated to hell and back by everyone in subsequent seasons.
- No Party Given: Enforced to the extent that, when we see the ballot for his congressional election in Volume One, no parties are listed for any of the candidates.
- The Not-Love Interest: For Peter.
- Papa Wolf: He tries to be this with regards to Claire Bennet but... kind of fails miserably and manages to screw everything up. As he tends to do. Not exactly the poster boy for fatherhood, our Nathan.
- Parental Favoritism: His parents both heap praise on him and ignore or insult Peter. His dad all but openly prefers him.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: He's the Senator who never votes or attends committee meetings!
- Promotion to Parent: It's implied that Nathan became this as their parents seemed to have decided to neglect Peter in favor of Nathan's career ambitions.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Uses them on everyone - Peter, Heidi, Claire, even Noah in a couple of scenes.
- Put on a Bus: Not him, but his family: his wife Heidi and his two sons disappeared and were never mentioned again after Season 2.
- Justified since they divorced and she moved Out of Focus with the kids, but they're briefly glimpsed at Nathan's funeral, sitting next to Angela and Peter.
- Rage Against the Reflection: In Volume 2.
- Blue Oni: To Peter's red.
- Only Sane Man: Starts out as this (throughout most of Volume 1), in contrast to his characterization in subsequent seasons.
- Spoiled Brat: Was this growing up and the effects are still there. Even in his forties, Nathan doesn't seem to understand that he can't just treat people like dirt and expect them to love him.
- The Stoic
- The Straight Man: To Peter. Also to Hiro.
- Unwitting Pawn: Especially from the end of Season 1 onwards. Seriously, it gets depressing.
- Waistcoat of Style
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Season 3.
An "invincible" teenage cheerleader with the ability to regenerate from all injuries, meaning she essentially can't die. She's quite disturbed by her powers at first, fearing that they make her a freak, and spends quite a good amount of time angsting about this. It doesn't help matters that her manifesting powers make her family life incredibly unstable, thanks to her dad turning out to be a Secret Agent Guy doing everything possible to hide her existence from the Company
which he works for.
She Took a Level in Badass
in Volume Three where she stops wangsting, takes an active role in the fight against the Level 5 Supervillains
and later Pinehearst Industries, culminating in a showdown against arch-villain Sylar where she helps save her father and grandmother. This continues in Volume Four where she aids the resistance against the Government's superhuman roundup. In Volume Five, she attempts to live a normal life and goes to college, but ends up getting sucked into stopping Samuel's plans alongside the rest of the Heroes.
- Action Girl: She has problems against more powerful villains, but she can be very dangerous with a weapon, including a car.
- Badass Adorable: How badass? She nearly killed Sylar! You know, the Nigh Invulnerable murderer who has stolen multiple deadly superpowers. This places Claire at the top of a very short list of people who can claim to have done any kind of damage at all.
- Back from the Dead
- Beware The Cute Blonde: Just ask Brody Mitchum. Hell, ask Sylar!
- Bi the Way: Is officially with Gretchen. Given her Les Yay interactions with Elle, it shouldn't have been as much a surprise it was to most fans.
- Blessed with Suck: If you examine her Healing Factor, and healing factors in general, you can find a few things that point to this: she loses the ability to feel things (to the extent that she starts cutting herself because pain's the only thing that she can still feel), we don't know if she's subject to the Hayflick limit, and it may not have ever been stated whether her healing factor is the type that can make a person immortal, in which case she'll eventually end up at either Who Wants to Live Forever? or Living Forever Is Awesome.
- Book Ends: Her first and last on-screen scenesnote both involve her demonstrating her power.
- Break the Cutie: Volume Three
- Car Fu: Does a variation to Brody. Knowing that she can't be hurt, she crashes Brody's car directly into a wall and does a real number on him.
- Cat Fight: With Elle.
- Cute Bruiser: Once she starts acting more proactive in Volumes Two and Three.
- Daddy's Girl: Noah and to a lesser extent, Nathan, will do anything to protect her. Zigzagged as their actions tend to strain their relationships with her.
- Death Glare: Renders her immune to psychological warfare, and can cause Noah to undergo a Heel-Face Turn.
- Death Seeker
- Face-Heel Turn or Knight Templar: In Dark Future version 3.0 & 4.0, depending on how you look at it.
- Fallen Princess
- Fan Disservice: How can anyone played by Hayden Panettiere provide this, you ask? Well, reviving in a morgue after being cut open ("One Giant Leap") and being caught in a blast of radioactive heat ("Company Man") will do that to you.
- Fanservice: Oh yeah.
- Feel No Pain: Volume Three.
- From a Single Cell
- Future Badass: Volume Three, Dark Future version 3.0 & 4.0
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Especially bad in Season 1, where she had to have been the most fatally accident-prone teenager ever.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: A large collection of teddy bears can be seen in her room and she brings a teddy bear with her when she goes off to college.
- Happily Adopted
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In the first season, Claire's hair was styled with ringlets to emphasize her youth and innocent personality. As the seasons progressed, the ringlets were ditched for a more manageable hairstyle as she began to cope with having an ability.
- Healing Factor
- I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: How Claire gets into the drinking contest in "Into Asylum."
- I Just Want to Be Normal
- Idiot Ball: Mainly in Volume Two
- Immortal Life Is Cheap
- Long-Lost Relative: Peter.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Nathan
- Made of Plasticine
- Muggle Foster Parents
- The Not-Love Interest: For HRG. Also for Peter at times (the whole "Save the cheerleader..." thing).
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She's only about five feet tall.
- Self-Mutilation Demonstration: Current trope picture.
- Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss
- Teens Are Short: At 5'1", Claire is the shortest character on the show throughout its entire run. (Micah and Molly are the only exceptions, as they are still below the age of puberty.)
- Took a Level in Badass: Defusing a Sadistic Choice scenario and taking out one of Volume Three's first genuinely menacing villains. And to top it off, in the Volume Finale she's the one who gets to have the big final showdown with Sylar (after coming this close to killing him in the season opener, as Sylar himself admits in the course of duplicating her power). Her actions in Volume Four continue this.
A financially distressed single mother, who owes a considerable amount of money to the mob. Further complicated by her super-strong Superpowered Evil Side
Jessica, a ruthless split personality who has absolutely no qualms about slaughtering everyone in her path (including her estranged husband) that threatens the well-being of her and her son.
She ultimately manages to gain control over her split personality, but joins the (kinder, friendlier) Company
to try and set things right, and ends up seemingly being Killed Off for Real by the end of Volume 2.
Daniel Lawrence "D.L." Hawkins
D.L. Hawkins (Leonard Roberts)
A former thief with the ability to phase (become intangible), which he uses to escape imprisonment for a murder he didn't commit. He mostly just wants to have a normal life and be a good father to his son, which isn't easy considering his wife's Superpowered Evil Side
wants him dead, and the leader of the Company
/mob boss is gunning for him due to a misunderstanding over a buttload of money.
Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey)
Niki and D.L.'s son. A child prodigy and comic book fan, with the ability to communicate with technology. From comic books he's gotten the notion that he and his family should be using their powers to help people, but mostly he's just caught in the tug-of-war between his flighty ex-con father and his mother's possessive psychopathic split-personallity. He finally finds a kindred spirit in his superpowered cousin, but their first attempt to fight crime
goes horribly wrong.In Volume Four, he succeeds in orchestrating a resistance against Building 26 and the Government's crusade against evolved humans, using the codename "Rebel", which in the on-line comics is revealed to actually be the name of a super team he's formed with fellow evolved humans West, Abigail and Sparrow Redhouse
- The Cast Showoff: Noah Grey-Cabey is an accomplished pianist. Guess what we see Micah doing in Volume Two?
- The Chessmaster
- Kid Hero
- Pre-Teen Genius
- Took a Level in Badass: As "Rebel".
- And his actions on the show are nothing compared to the Graphic Novel. He forms a team of bad asses (including former Scrappy West) and proceed to lead them into battle where they kick the ass of every single one of Danko's agents, rescue people from Building 26 and, in the most recent graphic novel when Micah is tied up and at the mercy of Thompson Jr (son of Bennet's old boss), manages to destroy the entire building with a remote control crane, summon his super team to beat Thompson senseless and then put Thompson's name on the top ten most wanted lists...all while TIED TO A CHAIR. Yes, it IS a huge Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- True Companions: Micah forms these when his wish to form a Super-Team comes true.
A Japanese Salaryman
and geeky Otaku
who discovers he has the ability to bend time and space (which includes stopping/rewinding time, teleporting, and time-travel). Unlike all the other heroes, who spend several episodes just trying to figure out what the hell is going on, thanks to years of learning from comic books
, Hiro knows
he's got superpowers, and almost immediately and eagerly sets out on a quest to use his powers to Save The World
from the impending nuclear destruction of New York City, dragging his non-powered lifelong buddy
Ando along for the ride.
After learning of his destiny to help save New York by stopping arch-villain Sylar, Hiro ultimately succeeds in his quest but in the process sends himself back to Feudal Japan
. Here he meets his childhood idol, legendary hero Takezo Kensei, only to discover the man is a cynical, drunken, and rather goofy British mercenary more concerned with gold than helping to free the populace from the resident Evil Overlord
. Hiro spends Volume Two attempting to tutor him into becoming the great hero of legends, but the two have a falling out over a girl, leading to Kensei's transformation into the Volume's immortal, humanity-hating Misanthrope Supreme Big Bad
(Nice Job Breaking It, Hiro
After returning to the present Hiro learns of Kensei's (read: Adam's) scheme and stops him too. Hiro spends Volume Three attempting to prevent the prophecized destruction of the world caused by Pinehearst Industry's distribution of Super Serum
, only to have his abilities stolen during his first confrontation with Physical God Big Bad Evil Overlord
Arthur Petrelli. He spends Volume Four coping with the loss of his powers while trying to stop Building 26's crusade against evolved humans; he ultimately recovers a partial version of his original powers back (which he ultimately uses to pwn Danko and Building 26 once and for all), but it seems to take a major toll on his health as the new version forces him to Cast from Hit Points
- Adjusting Your Glasses: he has the character tic of pushing his glasses up by the bridge of the nose in a way that straddles the line between the western "dork glasses" and eastern "serious moment". This is also lampshaded from time to time, like when Hiro meets his younger self, and they both adjust their glasses at the same time.
- Ascended Fanboy
- Beware the Nice Ones: Defeats the immortal Adam Monroe by burying him alive!
- Hiro already was a Master Swordsman. Future!Hiro didn't have to train for anything.
- Cast from Hit Points: Hiro gets a weakened version of his power back from Matt Parkman Jr.'s power, only to find out that every time he uses it, it takes a toll on his body and brain and is slowly killing him.
- Catch Phrase: "Yatta!"note
- Cool Sword / Katanas Are Just Better
- Crimefighting with Cash: When Hiro loses his powers he tries to do this with Ando.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
- Did Not Get the Girl: Happens early in Volume One with Charlie. Happens again in Volume Two with Yaeko, and in Volume Five where he manages to save Charlie from Sylar, but still loses her when she is sent back in time and builds another life without him.
- Hiro just can't get the girl.
- Discard and Draw
- The Ditz
- Drama-Preserving Handicap
- The Dulcinea Effect: Though he eventually gives up.
- Future Badass
- Future Me Scares Me: The Trope Namer.
- Genre Savvy: And since he is about the only Genre Savvy character, it gives him a pretty big advantage
- Of course, he's pretty slow to react to anything non-comic book-like. E.g When freezing time he wastes time just touching things, standing around a fresh corpse when the serial killer is on the loose, talking about his powers excessively to the point where he comes off as crazy.
- I Just Want to Be Special
- Idiot Hero
- Improvised Weapon: The baguette.
- Japanese Pronouns: "Boku" for regular Hiro, "Ore" for his future self. It's another major show of the differences between them when they first meet (aside from the shiny ponytail, pitch black wardrobe, broody exterior, and tiny beard, of course).
- Jumped at the Call
- Kid Samurai
- Master Swordsman: It's revealed Future!Hiro didn't train to become this, regular Hiro already is one.
- Meta Guy
- Nice Guy
- The Nicknamer
- The Not-Love Interest: For Ando.
- No Social Skills
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Psychic Nosebleed: As of Volume four, it appears using his partially restored powers is causing Hiro some sort of brain trauma
- Rebel Prince: He doesn't want to take over Yamagato Industries and pointedly tells his father that Kimiko would be a better fit.
- Shipper on Deck: Averts My Sister Is Off-Limits! by fully shipping Ando and Kimiko.
- Speaks In Shoutouts: After having his brain messed with, only spoke in pop-culture references for a while.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: His (Japanese) first name is a homophone for the English word "hero", and he's named after the city of (Hiroshima), which was destroyed in a nuclear explosion, calling back to his Volume One quest to stop New York from being destroyed by a nuclear explosion.
- Stupid Good or Lawful Stupid: "I can't kill someone begging for forgiveness. It's not part of the bushido code."
- Super Dickery: Killing Ando in Volume Three to infiltrate Pinehearst. (but not really)
- Superpower Lottery: The ability to bend the fabric of space and time to your will...
- Time Master
- Temporal Paradox: He's generally Genre Savvy enough to try to avoid causing these, if at all possible. His biggest violation of the timeline was when he forced Sylar to cure Charlie of her aneurysm, instead of killing her as he had originally done.
- Kensei's sword actually becomes an amusing example of this. In "Five Years Gone", if you look carefully, Hiro actually returns to the present with Future!Hiro's sword, not his own.
- Trademark Favorite Food: For the waffles!
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: His father was disappointed that Hiro didn't want to conform to traditional roles as heir to Yamagato. Hiro points out to him that he already has an ideal heir in his sister Kimiko.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Sadly, Hiro's behavior towards Daphne and Ando seems to show Volume Three is his turn to hold the Idiot Ball). (He bounces back to Genre Savvy pretty quickly, though, so props to him.)
Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee)
Hiro's best friend and a fellow coworker at the same company. Despite his Deadpan Snarker
personality, he is loyal to Hiro and is his almost-constant companion, though occasional feuds (such as the one caused when Hiro saw Ando kill him in an alternate future) do happen. More worldly than Hiro, often tries to rein his friend in, but he secretly enjoys their adventures sometimes. Most of his dialogue with Hiro is in Japanese
, though he speaks English better than Hiro.
In volume three he gained the ability to "supercharge" the abilities of others via a Super Serum
, which he has since developed to short circuit electric locks and blast people unconscious
Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera)
A painter and comic book illustrator. He also had precognitive abilities — the catch was that his ability was dependent on heroin
. He was killed by Sylar about halfway through Volume one. That hasn't stopped him from being a fairly important supporting character though...
A put-upon L.A. beat cop who discovers he has the ability to read minds. His powers put considerable strain on his family life when he learns his wife cheated on him with his partner. His life is further complicated after he's briefly kidnapped by the Company
, and later he is recruited by the FBI to help track down superpowered serial killer Sylar.
In Volume Two, he ends up divorced from his wife, adopting Molly alongside Dr. Suresh, discovering his deadbeat dad is a founder of the Company, and ultimately developing the ability to control people's minds. Volume Three saw him on a "Spirit Walk" where he gains prophetic powers which lead him to fall in (puppy) love with speedster thief Daphne (his vision of the future shows the two of them were married). He spends the rest of the Volume attempting to reform her away from Pinehearst Industries (to his credit, at least he manages to avoid the evil/dick phase that all the other characters save Hiro were going through at the time).
He instead goes dark in Volume Four, where he goes on a revenge kick against Danko after the Building 26 leader denies Daphne medical treatment, leading to her death. He gets saved at the last minute by Hiro, who helps him reconcile with his estranged family from Volume One (now including his new son, Matt Parkman, Jr.). The season finale sees him arriving in Washington D.C. just minutes too late for either final showdown (vs. Building 26 or vs. Sylar), although he does play a role in the finale as a walking Deus ex Machina
thanks to his ability to reshape minds. Even so, he is still a fan favorite.
Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy)
Professor Suresh is the series' narrator, an Indian geneticist whose father theorized the evolution of superpowered humans in response to impending global and environmental crisis. After his father's murder, Suresh travels to America to follow in his father's footsteps and investigate his theory of superpowered humans. Although he early on discovers he has an enemy called "Sylar" (the murderer of his father), he mostly ends up running face-first into dead ends, being the Chew Toy
of the Company
, falling in love with The Mole
, and ultimately ending up as an Unwitting Pawn
for Sylar himself.
In Volume Two he helps Mr. Bennet infiltrate the Company with the intention of bringing it down, only to be seduced by their "kinder, gentler" new image and ultimately joining them in earnest, killing Mr. Bennet for them (he gets better) and ending up as their Unwitting Pawn
. Volume Three saw him crossing the Moral Event Horizon
by engineering his own superserum for the Big Bad
and experimenting on himself. Volume Four saw him trying to atone for this.
- The Atoner: Credit where credit is due — Mohinder's every bit as hard on himself as the fans are. He spends most of Volume 4 feeling rotten about Volume 3, for instance.
- Beware the Nice Ones: In Volumes Two & Three, his allies often remark that Suresh is absolutely trustworthy and completely harmless, just a few minutes before he shoots them in the face, cocoons them in spiderwebs, or simply beats them up.
- Bollywood Nerd
- Failure Hero
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A rare non-Magnificent Bastard example. Suresh's constant betrayals towards his allies are more out of confusion and desperation rather than any master plan, and the only reason he keeps getting away with it seems to be the show's unusually high Idiot Ball quotient.
- Disappeared Dad
- Even the Guys Want Him: He is a sexy beast...
- For Science!: The cause of many a poor move in Volume 3. Lampshaded by himself in Volume 4
- Genius Bruiser: The superserum results in him gaining super strength and agility, but...
- Going Native: Mohinder works with Mr. Bennet to take down the Company from within, but eventually becomes convinced that the Company is really the heroic organization and Bennet was misleading him.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: He changes sides and trusts the wrong people far too often
- Horrible Judge of Character: Oh dear God. Where to even begin?!
- Hot Scientist
- Idiot Ball: He loves playing with it in Volume Two
- Ignored Expert: For the extremely brief moment at the beginning of Season 2 when he holds the Smart Ball, Mohinder is the first person to warn about the Shanti Virus. He's regarded as a crackpot.
- The Immune: In the first season, his blood contains the cure for the Shanti Virus which killed his sister.
- Improbable Weapon User: He has attacked people with tuning forks, syringes, microscopes, rolling chalk boards, elephant sculptures, and taxi doors with an astonishing rate of success.
- Lovecraftian Superpower
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Volume Five, he is directly responsible for Samuel discovering the true nature of his powers, thus triggering the A-plot of the season.
- Opening Narration/Fauxlosophic Narration: Almost every episode of Season 1 and 2, although at this point he's toned it down to a couple per season.
- Papa Wolf: Whatever else you can say for Mohinder, at the end of Season 1 he does manage to single-handedly take down Matt Parkman and holds HRG off at gunpoint in order to protect Molly Walker.
- Professor Guinea Pig: In Volume 3. Hilarity Ensues (if you think Body Horror is hilarious)
- The Philosopher
- The Professor
- Put on a Bus: He's largely absent from Volume 5, due to having been murdered by Samuel Sullivan 3 months earlier, then saved by a time-traveling Hiro only to get put into an insane asylum. In his last appearance, he waves goodbye to everybody and walks off, stating that he can't participate in the upcoming final battle against Samuel because he has to go home and patch things up with his girlfriend (although he is good enough to build them a compass to locate Samuel with).
- Too Dumb to Live: The number of instances is painful. Mohinder is not alone in this category by any means, but he stands out the most and warrants mention.
- Artistic License - Biology - Yeah, yeah we know this is a series with people who fly and people who talk to machines. But every time Mohinder opens his mouth, you can hear Tim Kring's high school science teacher weeping quietly.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy
- What Have I Become?: A side-effect of the serum includes scales and gradual mutation (in one of the future timelines)
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: He's Indian, yet for some reason has a British accent.
Maya Herrera (Dania Ramirez)
Monica Dawson / "St. Joan"
Monica Dawson (Dana Davis)
Micah's cousin who is able to mimic the (non-superpowered) abilities and skills of anyone she sees. She was also introduced in Volume Two, but was much more well-liked by the fandom. She was unceremoniously Put on a Bus
in Volume Three, although she appeared in the graphic novels several times.
Sylar / Gabriel Gray
"The Face of Evil
", Sylar is a manipulative serial killer who hunts down and kills other superhumans to steal their abilities, due to a drive to be "special". Formerly a New York watchmaker named Gabriel Gray, his initial ability to "understand how things work" allows him to steal superpowers by extracting the brains of his victims and study "what makes them tick
". He ultimately attempts to destroy New York City in a complicated bid to become President of the United States (it actually does make sense
), leading to a climactic showdown with the Heroes.
In Volume Two, he's been stripped of his powers by the Company
, and spends most of his time attempting to get them back, while manipulating the twins Maya and Alejandro to achieve his goal. After getting his powers back, Angela manipulates him so that he spent Volume Three as The Atoner
(with foot stuck in the Heel-Face Revolving Door
) partnered with Noah Bennet and protecting his "family" (believing Angela
to be his mother, and Peter
to be his brother). He is shown reformed with a family in a possible future.
We learn from a flashback episode that before he became Sylar he was dating Elle and that the Company pushed him to become Sylar
. He rekindled his romance with Elle only to kill her afterwards when he realized that it was all based on a lie. He then proceeds to give Big Bad Evil Overlord
Papa Petrelli a fatal case of cranial intrusion (granted, Peter and The Haitian were about to kill the guy anyway), then goes after Mama Petrelli, leading to a final showdown against Claire, Mr. Bennet, Meredith Gordon, and the remaining Level 5 Supervillains.
He spends Volume Four searching for his biological family on a search for self that only leads to disappointment when he learns that he really takes after his real dad, a once feared power-stealing supervillain
who's now a broken old man dying of lung cancer. Determined not to end up like his old man, he joins forces with Danko in order to capture and consume all evolved humans, which leads to him taking on a shapeshifting power that he tries to use to achieve World Domination
but which ultimately leads to him losing his sense of self...
- Abusive Parent: His adoptive father neglected him a few times, and his mother seemed to be domineering towards him, wanting him to be perfect, even ascending to the Presidency (which evidently contributed a lot to his character). In addition, when she discovers his powers she reacts like Carrie's mother in Carrie and tries to kill him, but Sylar inadvertently does so by embracing her.
- They were pretty bad, but they had nothing on his biological father, who sold him to them for pocket money and then murdered his biological mother right in front of him.
- Alliterative Name
- Ambiguous Situation: Before his powers were clarified, he displayed Super Speed, Super Strength, Super Toughness, and Flight in his earlier appearances. It was later shown that he shouldn't have had these specific abilities, strictly speaking. Word of God indicates that this was probably him getting creative with telekinesis.
- Later seasons heavily imply that his actual, in-born, super-human ability was Empathic Mimicry, just like Peter. His father's primary ability was Intuitive Aptitude, and presumably Sylar gained it from him. Notably, this seems to have been planned as early as season 2, when the only ability he was able to hang onto after being infected by the Shanti virus was telekinesis, which he gained from a friend.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: In Volume Five.
- Angry Eyebrows: He does this thing with his eyebrows when he's particularly pissed off. Combine with the Kubrick Stare for an especially angry Death Glare.
- Anti-Hero: A Nominal Hero, caring only about his own well-being and power, from season 3 onwards, until his permanent Heel-Face Turn.
- Arch-Enemy: To pretty much every main character on the show, but especially Peter. After Peter foils his plan in Episode 9 of the first season, it's set. They clash several times, with higher stakes than any of the other characters.
- Ax-Crazy: He even says as much: "I really do want to change. But I'm insane, remember?"
- Badass Bookworm: In Volume One, his apartment is shown filled from floor to ceiling in books. In Volume Five, his "living space" in his mental prison was shown to have piles and piles of books and clocks.
- Badass Longcoat: Especially in Volume One.
- Beast and Beauty: Mostly Beast to Elle's Beauty, but also to Claire's Beauty.
- Berserk Button: Do not tell him that he's not special, let him find out you're manipulating his issues for your own gain, or lie to him. That's just asking for it.
- And unless you're his mother or Elle, don't ever call him by his real name.
- Beta Test Baddie: Sylar's desire to know how everything worked and his need for validation as special influenced his every decision. However, since he received nothing but constant rejection, it eventually drove him from mentally unstable to homicidally insane.
- Big Bad: Volume One, along with Linderman. Steals the spotlight from Danko towards the end of Volume Four.
- Big Damn Villains
- Big Eater: He's fond of using food as metaphors, is often seen snacking on something, and once ate an entire pie by himself. This video even rounds up how often he's around food. His desire for more abilities is explicitly described as a "hunger".
- His first words after being reunited with his own body? "What's for dinner? I'm starving."
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: It's his most distinctive characteristic. Aside from the psychotic serial killer thing.
- Body Horror: Never mind the lobotomies. It seems Sylar's new shapeshifting power has a few side-effects... like extra teeth, uncontrollable shifting, and mental instability because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body.
- Bored With Insanity: He goes off the deep-end before trying to reform, several times.
- Brain Food: Heavily implied in the first season. Debunked in a later season.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Applied to him by Parkman on Angela's orders. He manages to break through it, albeit at the price of being thoroughly confused about himself by the end of the series.
- Breakout Villain: Thanks to a strong showing in Volume One, he's become the Face of Evil for the show.
- Brooklyn Rage
- Brought Down to Normal: Throughout Volume Two.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He's very upfront about being an unrepentant, sadistic monster.
- Carpet of Virility: During his amnesiac period in the Carnival, he wore shirts that were half-buttoned and showed off his chest hair.
- Changeling Fantasy
- The Chessmaster
- Chewing the Scenery: Occasionally.
- Chronic Villainy: "Rehabilitation doesn't happen overnight. I AM trying."
- Cold-Blooded Torture: To Mook Daniel Simmons, screwdrivers through the hand. "Someone... isn't... paying... attention!"
- Creepy Monotone
- Dark Is Evil: He has a head of jet black hair and dresses almost exclusively in dark clothing.
- Deadpan Snarker: The more evil he gets, the sharper and dryer his wit becomes. It really kicks into overdrive when he is in Matt's head and his every line is dripped in sarcasm.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Through most of the last few episodes in Volume Four. And then we get to the final episode and...
- The Determinator: With copious amounts of Badass and Villainous Willpower; he won't stay dead and he just keeps coming.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Pointedly strips off his shirt when speaking to Maya to hide the fact that he's just murdered her brother. It works.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Calling him Gabriel is a good way to shorten your life expectancy dramatically.
- The Dreaded: The very mention of his name makes even the most hardened individual scared.
- Easily Forgiven: By Elle. Also by Peter, but while it seems like it was instantaneous by everyone else, it was years for them.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Twice!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Sylar is horrified when he learns he might be the one to blow up New York. "They're innocent. There's no gain. So why would I do it?" He gets over it pretty quickly after his mom dies though.
- Also around the time he decides he doesn't want to work with Danko anymore because killing a scared, lonely orphan is low even by his standards.
- When he is looking to take Claire's powers, she asks if he will eat her brain (at the time, this was a popular fan theory on how Sylar absorbed powers). This is his response:
Sylar: Eat your brain? Claire, that's disgusting.
- Evil Counterpart: To Peter. Explicit in Volume Three.
- Evil Eyebrows
- Evil Mentor: To Maya in Volume Two, as well as Luke in Volume Four (although that one doesn't last too long).
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Every Big Bad who has ever tried to use Sylar to fulfill their own agenda has had it blow up in their faces. Often with fatal results.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Occasionally in Volume One.
- Evil Tastes Good: It's no wonder people thought he ate brains.
- Exact Words: When Sylar meets the person who uses Telekinesis, he offers to help him get rid of the power he has. He certainly meant it when he said that he'd help him get rid of it. What he doesn't tell him is that the way he's going to help him is by bludgeoning his head with a crystalline paperweight.
- Fascinating Eyebrow
- Faux Affably Evil: He's a psychopathic serial killer who delights in stealing abilities, but he likes pretending to be nice.
- Finger Poke of Doom: He loves this trope to pieces.
- For the Evulz: Quite a few of his actions have no logic aside from pure sadism.
"Yeah... I don't have to kill people (to learn their powers), It's just something I do."
- Friendly Enemy: Much to Peter's annoyance since Volume Three. He's also this to Mohinder, Bennet, Parkman, and Angela.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Lampshaded: "I could've been a nobody."
- Gender Bender: The first thing he does when he gets the ability to shapeshift.
- The Gift: Rapidly masters all acquired powers, whereas most original owners (including our intrepid heroes) have to go through a long period of How Do I Shot Web? and Power Incontinence.
- Could be justified because Sylar's original ability was to understand how things work.
- Good Feels Good
- Good Thing You Can Heal: When he took Claire's abilities, he basically stops trying to avoid getting hurt. Snap his neck? He sets it right back. Go ahead, shoot him, he'll get right back up. And when Elle blasts him full of all the electricity she can muster, all that gets destroyed are his clothes. This got especially glaring since up until he had her power he was a very good fighter and deflected bullets with ease so he never got hit in the first place. Jamming a shard of glass into the back of skull would've never happened to pre-regeneration Sylar. Now he treats his body like a meat shield.
- Heel-Face Brainwashing: Twice: when he's turned into Nathan, and after being stuck for five mental years in a nightmare.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: He switches sides every other episode in Volume Three, before finally settling down back to his old villainous self. At the end of Volume Five, his latest Heel-Face Turn seems to actually stick.
- Hero Killer: Has by far racked up the show's highest count of both main character and supporting character kills. Every hero knows that when Sylar shows up, they're in for the fight of their lives. It's a credit to the heroes that by Volume Five most of them have become powerful enough in their own right to successfully fight against him.
- At this point it's less that they have become more powerful (though they have), and more that it seems Sylar has Fallen A Level In Badass, especially because he doesn't quite know what he wants, and either can't or doesn't want to kill.
- Hijacked By Sylar: Has a habit of backstabbing the season's Big Bad then taking over right at the beginning of the season finale. Evil Is Not a Toy, after all.
- Hollywood Nerd: As Gabriel Gray.
- Horror Hunger
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: 6'2" to Elle's 5'1". Also has the same height difference with Claire and is One Head Taller than Maya.
- The Hunter
- I Just Want to Be Loved: Its shown quite often that Sylar really just wants a real family, which is why he seems willing to believe that Peter is his brother.
- I Just Want to Be Special: This is the foundation of Sylar's entire characterization. No matter how erratic he is, it's all because of his pathological need to be genuinely acknowledged as special.
- Identity Amnesia: In Volume Five.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap
- Implacable Man
- Improbable Weapon User: He likes nailing people to walls and ceilings with common household objects.
- In the Blood: Looks like the Hunger runs in the family.
- Informed Flaw: For all the show's talk about "the Hunger", Sylar seems perfectly capable of interacting with other supers without the uncontrollable urge to kill them and eat...err..."study" their brains. Notably, he has spared both Luke and Micah, and also refrained from snacking on Doyle despite dragging him across the country for more than a day.
- I Resemble That Remark: When Matt calls him a "dangerous criminal", Sylar scowls at him and proceeds to make Matt's life hell.
Sylar: Well that's not very nice. You're so quick to label.
- It's All About Me: He normally couldn't care less about the intentions behind blowing up New York or the rounding up of specials to lock them away; it's when his severely disturbed mental issues are exploited as tools that he gets really pissed.
- Joker Immunity: Sylar was supposed to die in Volume One but had become far too popular by the end. The writers have been trying, with increasing desperation, to justify his role on the show ever since. Volume Four briefly continued the trend by introducing yet another villainous father figure in his biological father, Samson Gray.
- Jumped at the Call: A big part of his fanbase comes from his absolute joy at having superpowers, especially when compared to someone like Claire who does nothing but complain about it.
- Just Between You and Me: Sylar tells Alejandro that he plans on using Maya as a toy after he gets her to harness her plague power. It's justified in this case, as he is perfectly aware that Alejandro won't understand a thing he says anyways, as Alejandro does not speak nor understand English.
- Kubrick Stare: See the picture of him above? That's his default expression. It's especially creepy with his Big Ol' Eyebrows.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia/Fate Worse Than Death: In the Volume Four finale, Matt mind wipes him (overwriting his memories/personality with Fake Memories) into believing he's Nathan.
- The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort
- Lean and Mean
- Lighter and Softer: In the future, he is a happy suburban dad who genuinely loves his son Noah and Peter whom he believes to be his brother.
- Line-of-Sight Name: He got the name Sylar off the watch he was fixing when he killed his first victim.
- Lonely at the Top: In Volume Five, after receiving a kickass "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Hiro and being haunted by the absorbed memories of family, love, and brotherhood from Matt and Nathan, Sylar finally realizes that being the Ultimate Evil may have allowed him to become the most powerful man on the planet, but it's also completely cut him off from all human connections, making him destined to spend eternity alone. This eventual prompts a complete Villainous Breakdown and finally a seemingly genuine Heel-Face Turn.
- The Aloner: Spends 3 years alone in a world where he is the only person alive, and an additional several years alone with only Peter Petrelli to keep him company, all thanks to being trapped in his worst nightmare by Matt Parkman.
- Love Martyr: He lets Elle kill him repeatedly because he loved her and later comments on he killed the only woman who ever loved him.
- Magic Pants: When he's locked up in a cell with Elle, she blasts him with enough electricity to rip him into pieces but his pants stays on while the rest of his clothing is destroyed.
- Manipulative Bastard: Is currently taking it to new extremes while he's sealed up inside Matt Parkman's head. It bordered on Mind Rape eventually.
- Meaningful Name: Gabriel Gray: Alliterative, Biblical, and "Gray" can mean boring, neither good nor evil, or even "gray matter". Don't forget that the color gray is what you get when you mix all the colors of the spectrum.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Misapplied Phlebotinum: Has the ability to "understand how things work," which could potentially be used to crank out Nobel Prizes on a weekly basis, and all he can think to do with it is steal brains.
- Justified by "The Hunger," which for some reason forces him to want to eat brains (or whatever it is he does).
- "The Hunger" is his need to know more. Humans are naturally curious creatures and Sylar is still human, if he understands how everything works except for abilites, it makes sense that he would have "hunger" to figure them out.
- Motive Decay
- My God, What Have I Done?: Briefly during Volume Three, in a flashback to his days as Gabriel Gray, shortly after his murder of Brian Davis when a horrified Gabriel tried to hang himself.
- And again in Volume Five, when he suffers from amnesia and begins to relearn his memories.
- My Hero Zero: He was Chandra Suresh's "patient zero."
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast
- Neat Freak: A subversion. Prior to his Start of Darkness, it's been shown that his home is scarily clean and organized, with plastic covered furniture. Once he completely snaps and starts murdering people, he has no qualms about getting bloody and dirty.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Weaponized. It's his favorite way of screwing around with his opponents, especially the Petrellis and Bennets can testify.
- One Head Taller: Than Maya. He comforts her with a pat on the head as she clings to him crying after Alejandro yells at her.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Papa Wolf: In one alternate future, Future!Sylar has reformed, apparently, and is trying to be good. And then they kill his kid. BOOM!
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Done several times.
- Parental Abandonment
- Perma Stubble
- Perverted Sniffing: He enjoys using this to screw with Claire.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: The slice and dice method of power acquisition.
- Power Parasite: Another Power Sponge-type. Throughout the series, he has collected the following powers (several of which were lost after Volume One when he was infected with the Shanti virus):
- Alchemy: From Bob Bishop.
- All Your Powers Combined
- Awesomeness by Analysis: His original power. Good for stealing superpowers, fixing watches, and gathering material for Breaking Speeches.
- Combo Platter Powers
- Disintegrator Ray: From Tom Miller.
- The Empath: From Lydia.
- Faux Death: In Volume One, when captured by the Company, he tricks them into taking off his restraints by stopping all of his vital signs.
- Flight: From Nathan.
- From a Single Cell: From Claire.
- An Ice Person: From James Walker.
- Living Lie Detector: From Sue Landers.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: From Jesse Murphy.
- Master of Illusion: From Candice, but only in "Five Years Gone."
- Mega Manning: He uses his power of "intuitive aptitude" to study the powers of others, which allows him to steal them. Initially, he does this by cutting open their heads and actually physically examining their brains (and not, as was previously believed, by eating them). Later, he learned how to do it without the slicing and dicing, but he still prefers that method anyway.
- Mind over Matter: Favorite / most used power and first acquired through the slice and dice method from Brian Davis.
- People Puppets: Possibly from Eric Doyle, possibly just an application of Mind over Matter.
- Personality Powers: Like Peter, his personality seems to shift a bit whenever he takes on a new power. The actor has said that this is intentional on his part and that Sylar has been absorbing parts of his victims' personalities when he steals a new power.
- Person of Mass Destruction: From Ted.
- Photographic Memory: From Charlie, but only until Hiro changed the timeline to prevent it.
- Psychic Powers: Psychometry, from Bridget Bailey.
- Psycho Electro: From Elle.
- Seers/Prophet Eyes: From Isaac.
- Super Senses: Super hearing from Dale Smither.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: From James Martin.
- Walking Wasteland: From Ted.
- You Will Be Assimilated
- President Evil: In "Five Years Gone." And he is narrowly prevented from becoming one in the main timeline in the Volume Four finale.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Type C. Sylar is extremely powerful and is more than capable of holding his own in a fight. He also loves indulging in childish behavior to mess with people and appears to prefer wearing sneakers over boots. He's shown to treat abilities like a toy collection and explicitly described Maya as a shiny new toy to play with. All of this emphasizes how deeply messed up and extremely dangerous he actually is.
- Psychotic Smirk
- Really Gets Around: Hooked up with Elle, Maya, and ostensibly Lydia, and has kissed Claire and Angela. Except that he later kills Elle, shoots Maya in the chest (she survived), Claire jams a pencil in his eye as retaliation, and he kissed Angela just to mess with her. (Lydia escaped his wrath mainly due to his conflicting emotional issues, but she ends up dying anyway at the hands of Samuel and Eli.)
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Mohinder's blue and blue to Peter's red.
- Redemption Demotion: Seen in Volume Five during the process of his Heel-Face Turn. Having lost his "killer instinct," Sylar is quite a bit less effective now that he's unable to kill (to the point of being taken captive by Doyle, a man who had previously been his Butt Monkey on at least three separate occasions). Although he was apparently still powerful enough to pwn Eli the Replicating Man. On the other hand, he did manage to easily deal with Doyle shortly after being taken captive without killing him (by wiring him like a puppet and tying him up)
- Reformed, but Rejected: For ten minutes.
- Replacement Goldfish: Mind wiped Sylar becomes one for Nathan.
- Serial Killer
- Sealed Evil in a Can: At the end of Volume Four, where Nathan, or at least Nathan's identity, is the can.
- Self-Made Orphan: Albeit by accident. (Maybe.)
- Signature Move: Using his telekinesis to slice through a victim's forehead. Originally, he did this in order to get at the brain. Eventually, he started doing it to everyone, powered or otherwise. In Volume Four, he uncovers a repressed memory and learns that he picked it up from his biological father, who used it to murder his mother.
- Slouch of Villainy: Done in Volume Five, as he torments Parkman at home and at work.
- Social Darwinist: His initial justification for snacking on supers, although unlike most examples of this trope he doesn't seem to have any ill will towards normal, un-evolved humans... as long as they don't get in his way.
- Sociopathic Hero: In between Villainous Breakdowns.
- Stalker with a Crush: For Claire.
- Sort of makes sense, since they're both immortal and he'll essentially be forever alone without her there...
- The tattoo of her face doesn't really help.
- Staying Alive: He's Sylar, for crying out loud. Of course he always survives.
- Stupid Evil: In Volume Three, when he falls off the wagon and kills again, Hilarity Ensues when he goes out and does it in broad daylight, not even trying to hide all that blood. (...cake?) Particularly glaring considering how stealthy he was back in Volume One.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Does this almost as much as Jason Voorhees.
- He even manages to do it from sitting in the back seat of an occupied car. The most ridiculous part is none of this has ever been explained by any of his abilities either.
- A case of nensha-based Super Dickery which is All There In The Webcomics.
- In Volume One, it was heavily implied that he could levitate using telekinesis, which could explain most of his stealthy appearances and disappearances.
- Superpower Meltdown: In an alternative future.
- Sweet Tooth: Every time Sylar is seen eating, it's always something sweet or some kind of junk food. He lights up at the sight of a cake, despite the fact that his hands and torso were soaked in blood. He also loves pie so much that he ate an entire one by himself.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: He can take a scene where he's holding a mother and son hostage in front of a tortured soldier...and make you LAUGH during it. That's talent, boys and girls.
- Terrible Ticking: The ticking clock sound effect that plays whenever Sylar's up to his old tricks evokes this trope. Even though it's not literally a ticking he can hear, it symbolizes that he can see how everything works in a way no one else can, which drives him insane.
- This Is Your Brain on Evil
- Troll: In Season 4, when he's trapped inside Parkman's head, he decides that he's going unleash as much havoc as possible upon Parkman's life in order to get what he wants, which is out of Parkman's head, and partly to entertain himself. He once kissed Angela just to make her extremely uncomfortable, which made Peter really angry.
- Villainous BSOD: Sylar suffered from it thrice: Once was when he learned about his potential role in destroying New York City. The second is shortly after he gains his chameleon abilities, where it becomes apparent that he is losing touch with his memories and especially his sanity, where he is forced to write "I Am Sylar" in such a way that would potentially expose his survival just to ensure he held onto his sense of identity. The third (and presumably final) time he experienced this was when he is sealed off. Sylar also was implied to have suffered one after Hiro meddled the timeline.
- The Watchmaker
- Wild Card: Sylar's actions are good or bad if he thinks he's got something to gain from either side's offers. But lying to him to get him on your side just results in a lot of blood and him defecting to the other side by default.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Where that need to be special comes from.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Apparently, "understanding how things work" also comes with an uncontrollable drive to poke around inside people's brains. Okaaaaay, then.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: When his son dies.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: He generally leaves kids under puberty alone, although he's not above using them as extortion pawns or threatening them. Teenagers, like the Alpha Bitch at Claire's school, Luke, or Claire herself, are fair game although even that depends on his mood.
- The closest he got to hurting a child is his kidnapping attempt of Molly Walker when Matt and Audrey stopped him. (If he had wanted her ability, he would have killed her already, but he apparently decided that she was more useful alive and chose to kidnap her instead.)
A young, self-described sociopathic thrill killer and agent of the Company
with the ability to generate lethal bolts of electricity from her hands. She's the daughter of Bob Bishop, the new leader of the Ancient Conspiracy
following the death of Mr. Linderman. At the end of Volume Two, she starts showing doubts about her path in life after Mr. Bennet reveals to her that her screwed-up personality is largely due to painful experiments conducted on her by her father throughout her entire childhood, and ends the Volume saving Mohinder, Molly, and Maya from Sylar, for which they call her a "hero".
After her father is murdered by Sylar at the beginning of Volume Three, Elle is fired from The Company and spends some time searching for a purpose in life (even briefly teaming up and bonding with Claire over their mutual Power Incontinence
) before finally falling back into bad habits alongside the other supervillains over at Pinehearst Industries. Has a Pet the Dog
moment when its revealed that she indulged in a pie eating/soul saving session with proto-serial killer Gabriel Gray and then later does an Evil Is Sexy
turn when she gets it on with Sylar. Beforehand she gives him advice: do what he
wants for himself, which ultimately leads to her getting Sylared.
- Anti-Hero: In season 3, she teams up with Sylar during one of his brushes of working against the villains, becoming a Nominal Hero who primarily cares about Sylar.
- Anti-Villain: Type II
- Axe Crazy
- Beast and Beauty: The Beauty to Sylar's Beast. But also shows sides of Beast to Claire's Beauty.
- Big Damn Villains
- Break the Cutie: The reason Elle is a sociopath is because her father decided to take his little girl and see just how much torture it would take to break her.
- Broken Bird: Especially her monologue in 2x08.
- Cute and Psycho
- Daddy's Little Villain
- Dark and Troubled Past
- Electra Complex: She does it all for daddy.
- Electric Torture
- Elemental Powers
- Even Evil Has Standards: Elle is disgusted that the Company pushed Gabriel to kill again.
- Evil Counterpart: To Claire.
- Freudian Excuse: Most, if not all of her sociopathic tendencies were the result of her father subjecting her to very painful experiments while she was very young.
- Honey Trap: Ordered under Company orders to get close to Gabriel/Sylar and find out about his powers. She ends up developing feelings for him, but when he discovered that she had been lying to him about abilities, he rejected her. Sylar was definitely not happy to see her show up in Mohinder's lab and stopping him from killing Mohinder.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Elle is 5'1" and Sylar is 6'2".
- Love Martyr: With Gabriel/Sylar ...and then he killed her.
- Nominal Hero: In Season 3. See her Anti-Hero entry.
- Perky Female Minion
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: She's only about five feet tall.
- Psycho Electro
- Psycho for Hire
- Psychopathic Womanchild: "He's not a toy, Elle."
- Shock and Awe
- The Sociopath
- Stupid Evil: ''I'm bored... I know, let's kill a rental car guy!''
- Superpower Lottery: Has anyone realized that she never has to pay the electricity bill?
- Sweet Tooth: She has a fondness for Slushos and pie and the comics depict her as being a lover of junk food.
- Tykebomb: Raised/tortured/experimented on by the Company from an early age
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: A rare female version.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
Adam Monroe/Takezo Kensei (David Anders)
The oldest, first known superpowered human. Adam Monroe was a British mercenary fighting in Feudal Japan under the identity of Takezo Kensei (a legendary hero and childhood idol of Hiro's) who discovered he had the ability to regenerate from all wounds, effectively making him immortal. Although initially a rudderless drunk, he was inspired by a time-traveling Hiro to become a legendary hero. However, the two had a falling out over a girl, leading to Adam Monroe pulling a Face-Heel Turn
, spending the ages fighting in constant wars and growing to hate mankind more and more.
He ultimately comes to think of himself as a god, founded the Company
by seeking out 12 like-minded superpowered disciples, and ultimately attempts to wipe out 99% of the human race with a super-virus to end hunger, poverty, and war and allow him to rule over the remaining survivors as their "hero". Adam returns in Volume Three when Hiro needs information about the Company's superserum. He makes a break for it and is ultimately caught by Arthur Petrelli's Legion of Doom
and has his immortality stolen by Arthur, "aging" him to death.
- A God Am I
- And I Must Scream: Once again, do not horribly betray Hiro.
- Arch-Enemy: To Hiro; made especially clear in Volume Five when he returns to serve as the prosecutor in Hiro's trial at the gate to the afterlife.
- Back for the Dead: Volume 3.
- Big Bad: Of Volume Two.
- Blond Guys Are Evil
- Broken Pedestal: On oh so many levels.
- Byronic Hero
- The Chessmaster
- Combat Pragmatist
Hiro: ...but that's fighting dirty!
Kensei: That's fighting smart.
- Con Man: What he was before Hiro came along.
- Consummate Liar: Hoo boy, yes
- Cursed with Awesome: How he feels when he first discovers his regenerative abilities. He gets over it quick.
- Dark Messiah: Especially his backstory founding the Company with the original 12 as his "disciples"
- Deadpan Snarker
- Disproportionate Retribution: His best friend seduced the woman he loved. So he decides to wipe out most of humanity.
- That and living through a few hundred years of war.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him
- Evil Mentor: He plays this for Peter Petrelli
- Fallen Hero
- Fake Ultimate Hero
- From a Single Cell
- Humiliation Conga: He has his plan foiled, is buried alive, is brought back, captured and murdered by his old colleague. That's a frakkin' Humiliation parade.
- I Have Many Names: In the graphic novels he claims "a few dozen names", one of which is an alias with the same last name as Niki.
- Immortality Begins at Twenty
- Immortal Life Is Cheap
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Seen all too briefly in the last episode of Volume Two, where he and Peter go on a Foe-Tossing Charge through Primatech Paper.
- In the Hood: He wears this so the audience will not recognize him when he kills Hiro's father.
- Knight Templar
- The Lancer: Briefly to Hiro's "The Hero".
- Light Is Not Good: Light seems to be a theme with him, due to his Knight Templar motivation and his Fallen Hero status, so much so that the episode where he is killed is called Dying of the Light.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Arthur Petrelli wishes he could make a suit look that good!
- Manipulative Bastard: And how!
- Mighty Whitey: Deconstructed, because everything that makes him one causes him to jump off the slippery slope; thereby resulting in his Start of Darkness.
- Misanthrope Supreme
- Missed the Call: Double Subverted. He ignored the call until Hiro put him on the road to it, then pulled a Face-Heel Turn and lost it.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: A rare combination of this and Knight Templar.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Over the course of Season Two, he goes from Hiro's goofy sidekick to Volume Two's main Big Bad.
- Really 700 Years Old
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: See his monologue in "Powerless".
- Rival Turned Evil
- Sealed Evil in a Can
- Seen It All
- Serial Killer: He was systematically offing his 12 former disciples, leaving the "Godsend" / RNA symbol behind written in his blood.
- Sins of Our Fathers: His quote to Peter Petrelli: "Parents sin, children suffer."
- Training from Hell
Kensei: ...just how angry?
Hiro: Good luck, Kensei.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds - The way he wanted to save the world by purging mankind was fueled by his heartbreak over Yaeko.
Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose)
The mother of Peter and Nathan Petrelli, revealed to be one of the 12 leaders of the Company
. A ruthless pragmatist who was highly involved in Linderman's plan to make the world a better place, even if it meant killing off 0.07% of the human population. Has the superpower of precognitive dreams, which was the first superpower her son Peter absorbed. Is also extremely adept at manipulating people to do what she wants. As of Volume Three and Four, while she isn't exactly a good guy, it's harder to call her a straight-up villain.
- Anti-Hero: See Nominal Hero
- Batman Gambit
- Big Good: In Volume 3.
- The Cassandra
- Consummate Liar: With a large helping of From a Certain Point of View and Didnt Mention It.
- Cryptic Conversation: Whatever "Pandora's Box" was.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Her power
- Evil Matriarch
- Evil Old Folks: Sometimes.
- Humiliation Conga: The start of Volume Two, where she's apparently hit financial tough times after her plan to destroy New York went bust. She got better after assuming control of The Company after Bob's untimely Sylarfication, though.
- I Did What I Had to Do
- Kick the Dog: Many, many times.
- Knight Templar: She justifies all kinds of evilness by saying that its for the greater good or to save the world.
- Love Makes You Evil
- Luke, I Am Your Father: She revealed herself to be Sylar's mother, but was lying.
- Mama Bear: She poisons her husband to stop him from killing Nathan. But also subverted in Volume 2 when Peter is being manipulated by Adam, she tells Matt to put a bullet in Peter's brain if he has to.
- Manipulative Bastard: Sylar all but tells her that he is in awe of her level of manipulation and lying and even he would love to aspire to that level of evil.
- Meaningful Name: This may be a coincidence, but Mama Petrelli shares her first name with the actress who plays Raymond Shaw's mother in The Manchurian Candidate. You know, the mother who is willing to sacrifice her son and let him become a killer in order to get another male relative elected president, so that through him she and her shadowy syndicate can take over the U.S. government under the pretext of hunting down undesirables, even though she and her friends are in fact members of said undesirable groups themselves. Sound familiar?
- Nominal Hero: Angela cares about protecting herself and her erratically heroic sons more than anything else. For anything short of saving the world, getting her help will likely involve more evil than you're trying to stop.
- Parental Substitute: She keeps trying to adopt Sylar, with mixed results.
- Power Hair
- Stepford Smiler
The owner of a carnival, Samuel is the new villain on the scene, but his motives are, for now, shrouded in mystery. Though it seems that his primary motivation is a huge thirst for power...
- Alliterative Name
- Ambition Is Evil
- The Antichrist
- Badass Longcoat
- Berserk Button: Hurting one of the "family" members. Although he himself has no qualms of doing so if it means framing a normal human, as evidenced by when he had Eli kill Lydia and frame Noah for the deed.
- Biblical Names/Meaningful Name: In the Old Testament, Samuel was the prophet who drove the Philistines from the Holy Land, formed the Kingdom of Israel, and anointed Saul as its first king.
- Cain and Abel: He murdered his brother Joseph in a rage after the latter refused to tell him the truth about his power.
- Dark Messiah: With more than a hint of The Antichrist.
- Death by Childbirth: It's implied that his mother died in the massive earthquake that coincided with his birth. Might also fall under Self-Made Orphan, as it is also implied that the massive earthquake happened because of his birth.
- Devil in Plain Sight: He looks and acts fairly sinister, but the only character who immediately sees his evil upon meeting him is Noah Bennet.
- Dishing Out Dirt: With a twist. He apparently utilizes some sort of unseen energy that connects Powered Humans to each other. The more that are close to him, the greater the magnitude of his powers. And thus his single-minded determination to gather specials to him.
- Disproportionate Retribution: After being turned down by his long-time crush, he wipes out an entire town and goes on to try and destroy New York City. This guy does not take rejection well.
- Heck, in the second episode, he creates a giant sinkhole under the house where he was born, killing and maiming a dozen people (and maybe more). Why? Because the owner of the house gave him the brush off when he asked to have a look around.
- Evil Counterpart: To Peter. In both cases they have older brothers who care about them, but while Nathan tried to build Peter into a better person by nurturing his potential, and ultimately Peter did everything in his power to (repeatedly) save Nathan from death out of sheer love for his brother, Joseph tried to hold Samuel back from discovering the true potential of his abilities and ultimately Samuel kills Joseph out of sheer resentment for what he believed was his brother making him waste his life.
- Expy: A concentration camp survivor with incredible power over an elemental force of nature who gathers together a group of superpowered mutants in a bid to destroy humanity? Where have we heard that before?
- However, Samuel Sullivan is a twist: Although Magneto's desire to eliminate humanity for the good of the superpowered mutants is genuine (in most mediums, anyways), Sullivan himself pretty much fabricated that belief, not really caring one bit for his mutants and is only recruiting them so he could have his powers ascend to godlike levels.
- Faux Affably Evil: He makes a big show of being a wise and caring Father to His Men, but inside he's a cold and manipulative Jerkass who cares only about satisfying his own selfish desires.
- Fetus Terrible: He nearly destroyed Coyote Sands when he was still in the womb.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He used to be a drunk-off-his-rocker useless layabout assistant to his brother Joseph, a rather upright ring leader. It was only after accidentally killing his brother and learning more about his powers did he hijack the carnival, reinvent himself as a idealistic, charismatic messiah offering sanctuary, and claw his way towards Magnificent Bastardry.
- Genre Savvy: Maybe he reads some X-men comics on the side, but the whole "sanctuary for people like us" schtick was something he had to come up with as a lure on his own. And it worked about as well as it does in the comics.
- Gotta Catch Them All: He'll recruit as many "specials" as he can get, by hook or by crook.
- Heartbroken Badass: His rejection, by Vanessa, is ultimately what drives his plan to destroy New York.
- Jumped at the Call: Possibly. He mentions something to the effect of, "I was free when I found I could move the very earth beneath my feet."
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: His takedown of the police station and the cops who killed Jeremy.
- Large Ham
- Love Makes You Evil: Subverted. Although it is implied shortly after Vanessa breaks off the relationship with him that he decided to eliminate all of humanity because of her breakup, he later admits that his wanting to eliminate normal people's only relation to Vanessa was when she expressed fear of his powers, something he actually liked, meaning that her breakup had barely anything, if at all, to do with his next actions.
- Magnetic Villain
- Manipulative Bastard
- Monster Clown: Technically speaking, as he runs a carnival that more often than not would have people you'd expect from the circus, he qualifies as a clown. And boy, is he monstrous.
- New Era Speech: He really loves to give these to his "family," especially over their communal dinner table.
- Omniglot: Despite having no formal education whatsoever, he is fluent in at least three languages (English, Japanese, and American Sign Language), which just happen to be the three languages he needs to converse with every one of the season's major characters.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Without a notable power-up that he eventually intends to gain, he's able to level entire towns with a little concentration. If he gathers enough people around him, he'd probably rival Ted in sheer power, except Samuel would actually be able to control it. Supported by the many Volume 3 prophecies in which the earth is cracking open in a world full of specials.
- Popularity Power: An in-universe example. The more "specials" he gathers around himself, the more powerful he becomes.
- Self-Made Orphan: Sort of... His parents are never mentioned, but the closest to a parent is his brother, and he essentially murdered him after learning his brother called Danko to arrest him.
- Also, as noted by the Death by Childbirth trope, his mom died while giving birth to him during an earthquake, and it is implied that the earthquake was caused by his birth.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Vanessa.
- Villainous Breakdown: Starting when his "family" turns away from him; completely and utterly once Hiro teleports his former coworkers away from the carnival, effectively leaving him powerless.
- Visionary Villain
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted. His stated goal of creating a sanctuary where "specials" can be protected from Fantastic Racism would be a laudable one...but it's only a cover for gathering together enough "specials" to boost his power to godlike levels.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Despite the name, the Sullivan Bros. Carnival was really run by his brother Joseph... until he killed Joseph and took it over.
Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman)
A.K.A. HRG (Horned-Rimmed Glasses) for his iconic spectacles. Initially (and falsely) identified as the Big Bad
in the first few episodes, before the plot really got rolling. A Badass Normal
agent of the Company
, whose job is to track down and tag superpowered individuals. This is complicated by his own daughter being just such a "person of interest", a fact which he is hiding from his superiors.
After being pushed too far, he ultimately decides to screw his job and take down the entire Company himself (it doesn't turn out too well). In the 3rd season he's revealed to have been the Company's number one operative in the fight against supercriminals and directly responsible for the capture of most of the Level 5 Supervillains, making him something of the Heroes
universe's version of Batman.
He's reinstated by the Company in Volume 3 to help re-capture the escaped villains (including a very awkward brief partnership with a seemingly reformed Sylar that quickly degenerates into the two attempting to off each other), and later in Volume 4 is hired to help co-head Unit 26 in its crusade against all supers (although it quickly turns out he's acting as a Reverse Mole
loyal (in his own roundabout way) to the interests of supers, particularly daughter Claire and his real boss Ma Petrelli).
Simone Deveaux (Tawny Cypress)
The daughter of Charles Deveaux, Simone is unaware of her father's history with the Company and existence of evolved humans. She is an art dealer who used to date Isaac and still harbors feelings for him, but is also interested in Peter, who is her fatherís hospice nurse.