Characters: Marvel Universe

The Marvel Universe is one of the Big Two of comics, along with The DCU. As such, it's the populariser of many of the more famous comicbook related tropes, as well as the source material for various comicbook movies.

Absorbing Man

Empowered by the evil trickster god Loki, convicted felon Carl "Crusher" Creel was given the ability to absorb the physical properties of anything he made physical contact with. Using his new powers to return to his life of crime, Creel would go on to become battle The Mighty Thor (which was what Loki had in mind when he gave Creel his powers) but also numerous other heroes. Although he continues to be a charter member of Thor's Rogues Gallery, he's also tangled with everyone from Daredevil to Spider-Man to the Incredible Hulk.

  • Epic Flail: Creel's ball and chain has the same absorbing properties he does. It can even absorb the properties of Thor's mystic uru hammer, which is never a pleasant experience for Thor.
  • Future Badass: While plenty powerful as he is, in one Alternate Universe story Creel realizes he has the ability to also absorb knowledge. After absorbing the intellect and processing power of Ultron he is able to recall everything he ever absorbed and became able to display their properties at will and effectively became the most dangerous superhuman on the planet.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Creel's greatest strength is also his greatest vulnerability. Not only does he absorb the strengths of whatever he touches, he also absorbs its weaknesses. Clever heroes can use this trait to beat him:
    • In one of his first appearances, Thor tricked him into absorbing the properties of helium, which caused him to literally float away into the upper atmosphere.
    • When he absorbed the strength and power of the Gray Hulk, he also absorbed the weakness to sunlight that the Hulk was suffering from. The Hulk was mostly protected from the sun by the three-piece suit he was wearing... but the Absorbing Man wasn't so lucky.
    • Later in that same fight, the Hulk used Deadly Dodging to get the Absorbing Man to short himself out after he became electrified and accidentally struck the river they were fighting near.
    • When the Absorbing Man turned himself into diamond, Daredevil used his radar sense to find and chip away at the flaws that developed in Creel's body. This continued until the Absorbing Man literally fell to pieces.
    • Another fight with Thor led the Absorbing Man to try and absorb the dimensional portal Thor was opening to escape. This resulted in him getting sucked into a barren, lifeless dimension... at least before he absorbed another portal and made his way back to Earth.
    • In one story where Creel fought Deadpool, he attempted to absorb the properties of a nearby piece of steel only for Deadpool to toss a roll of toilet paper into his hands as he looked the other way. The results were what you might expect.
  • Power Copying: The Absorbing Man can mimic the physical properties of anything he or his ball and chain touches. If he touches concrete, he gains the strength and durability of concrete. He touches electricity, he becomes electrical. He touches titanium, he becomes as strong and durable as titanium. He can also duplicate the strength and durability of anyone he touches, such as the Incredible Hulk or The Incredible Hercules.
  • Staying Alive: The Absorbing Man has literally been smashed to pieces, but he's always been able to pull himself back together.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter: Related to Hoist by His Own Petard, many heroes have overcome the Absorbing Man by getting him to absorb something that gives him a fatal weakness they can exploit.
  • A Wizard Did It: The Absorbing Man's ball and chain has been destroyed on several occasions, and yet somehow it's always good as new the next time the Absorbing Man appears. Is this ever explained in the comics?

Black Bolt

Blackagar Boltagon is the King of The Inhumans and was a member of the Illuminati. He possesses a mega powerful voice that could level buildings if he whispers, or destroys a world if he shouts on the top of his lungs. He initiated the War of Kings

The Constrictor

SHIELD agent Frank Payne was assigned to become an undercover costumed supervillain to infiltrate the Corporation, a national crime syndicate organized like a legitimate business. Given a pair of electrically charged whips and the codename of the Constrictor, Payne infiltrated the group only to suffer a nervous breakdown and become a costumed assassin for real. Serving under the Corporation and fighting the Incredible Hulk, the Constrictor would later become an independent costumed mercenary, fighting a wide variety of heroes in the process.

  • Becoming the Mask: He started out as a spy for SHIELD who took on a supervillain identity as his cover. Then he became a supervillain for real.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Refused to attack Mania due to her being a teenager.
    Constrictor: *to Jack O'Lantern* Second of all, I may be a bad guy, but I ain't gonna hurt a kid. And I won't let you do it, either.
  • Heel-Face Revolving Door: First he was a SHIELD agent, then a mercenary, then a trainer for the Initiative, and now he's back to being a mercenary.
  • Legion of Doom: Subverted when he was invited to join the Serpent Society, a collection of snake-themed supervillains, and refused. He would later be attacked by the organization for ratting them out to Captain America.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Started out fighting the Hulk, then moved to become one of Captain America's long-running dance partners. He's also tangled with Iron Fist, Iron Man, Hercules, the Thing, and Spider-Man.
  • Shock and Awe: His vibranium coils are electrically charged, which makes them extremely dangerous in combat.
  • Whip It Good: His primary weapons are his electrically charged vibranium whips, which he uses to lash and entangle his enemies. They're also electrically charged for an additional bit of pain.


Bram Velsing was a Latverian engineer who dreamed of usurping power from Doctor Doom. Unfortunately, Doctor Doom being, well, Doctor Doom, he caught on to Velsing's treacherous ambitions and punished him by grafting a hideous skull mask to his face before banishing him from the country. Found and treated by Victoria Frankenstein, the Dreadknight repaid her kindness by trying to loot her home and use its resources to attack Latveria. Defeated by Iron Man, the Dreadknight continued to seek revenge against Doom, conquer Latveria, and get revenge on Iron Man.

  • Blade on a Stick: The Dreadknight's favorite weapon is his lance, which can shoot deadly energy bolts and electrical coils to ensnare his enemies.
  • Clingy Costume: To spite Velsing, who was very vain and proud of his good looks, Doom surgically attached a steel skull mask to his face. Attached with specially designed microcircuitry, the mask is impossible to remove.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: The Dreadknight uses the Hellhorse, a black stallion with large bat wings, as his main means of transportation.
  • Smug Snake: Anybody who thinks he can outsmart Doctor freaking Doom has got to qualify for this trope.
  • The Starscream: He intended to be this to Doctor Doom. It failed miserably.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Victoria Frankenstein takes the Dreadknight in after Doom left him for dead, and how does he repay her? By trying to murder her and steal all her scientific resources, of course.


Lowly electrical engineer Robert Hunter was embittered over his status in life, always seething with resentment towards his younger bosses. Recruited by the Kree's Lunatic Legion, Hunter eagerly volunteered to be genetically altered until he gained the ability to explode his body and reassemble his molecules at will. He was sent to obtain a chemical compound the Legion needed for their work, until he was thwarted by Captain Mar-Vell. Nitro, as Hunter took to calling himself, developed a murderous vendetta against Mar-Vell, eventually succeeding in killing the hero by giving him cancer. He continued to work as a professional assassin, clashing with heroes ranging from Wolverine to Iron Man to Daredevil, before he triggered the superhuman Civil War when killed more than 600 innocent people in Stamford, Connecticut.

  • An Arm and a Leg: Lost a hand to Wolverine. Couldn't happen to a nicer person.
  • Ascended Extra: For a guy who's never been more than a C-Lister, he's been involved in some pretty memorable storylines, such as The Death of Captain Marvel and the aforementioned Civil War.
  • Badass Grandpa: He was in his sixties before he got his powers.
  • Clingy Costume: The purple costume he wears is in fact part of his body, although he can wear normal clothes over it if he wants.
  • Depending on the Writer: Nitro's power level tends to fluctuate depending on who's writing him. Brian Michael Bendis wrote him as not even able to kill Daredevil and needing several minutes to recharge between explosions, while under Mark Millar's pen he was able to destroy an entire suburban neighborhood. It was eventually justified when it was revealed that Nitro was hopped up on Mutant Growth Hormone in Stamford.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: He can literally detonate himself to cause this trope.
  • Evil Old Folks: Needs no explanation.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Most heroes tend to beat Nitro by turning his own powers against him. Iron Man defeated him when he forced Nitro to constantly explode over and over until he was too exhausted to continue, Spider-Man tricked him into mixing tear gas with his molecules after he exploded, leaving him too sick to fight back when he reformed, and Omega The Unknown stuffed him down a long tube and blew him out into space.
  • Hero Killer: Is responsible for the death of the original Captain Marvel, and for several of the New Warriors at the beginning of Civil War. Amazingly, of these, only one of them has come back.
  • Psycho for Hire: After taking out Captain Marvel, he became a hired hitman, accepting contracts to kill everyone from Tony Stark to Matt Murdock.

The One Above All

In a series with many cosmic beings, there has to be one who is supreme. And that being is The One Above All. Marvel's mightiest character is one who appears rather rarely, showing up in only 16 issues in total, and only for a few pages. A good deal of knowledge about him comes from what is told to us by characters. Shrouded in mystery, The One Above All watches all the events of the Marvel Multiverse unfold and occasionally interacts with heroes like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.

  • All-Powerful Bystander: THE all-powerful bystander. When he interacts with beings, it is usually to heal them (either physically or emotionally) or to assist heroes in ways only a extraordinarily powerful entity could if they need help.
  • Always Someone Better: Thor hints at this concept when describing a being greater than the Living Tribunal (The One Above All being the only qualifier at that time). The trope dies with The One Above All, however.
  • Angel Unaware: This seems to be a running gag with The One Above All. No one knows just who he is until he makes it clear, even Beta Ray Bill.
  • Complete Immortality: Age is meaningless and no one can harm him.
  • Cosmic Entity: He can fool anyone into thinking he is a regular human but he is far more on the inside.
  • Crisis of Faith: Spider-Man has one and demands that "God" answer his questions. The One Above All later converses with Peter and Peter's faith in all things (but especially humanity) is restored.
  • Do Not Confuse With: One Above All. That "The" is crucial. One Above All is a Celestial while The One Above All is the supreme being. Some make the supreme being have dashes between the words to further differentiate the two.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: He tells Spider-Man to not fear death or mourn Aunt May should she pass.
  • Empathic Healer: He healed Beta Ray Bill of his injuries.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Marvel's prime example. Stronger than Thanos with the Infinity Gauntlet, the Beyonder and the Living Tribunal and wiser than any Celestial, God, or Abstract.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: He once took the form of a homeless man to speak with Spider-Man.
  • God Is Good: Between consoling Spider-Man and restoring his faith in humanity, bringing Thing back to life and giving Beta Ray Bill hope for him and his people, The One Above All is a pretty swell guy.
  • God Must Be Lazy: Unfortunately, this is the only logical explanation we have for the Marvel universe being so Crapsack. God's only weapon is love, but he doesn't do anything, or override the Living Tribunal if he's pissed at you. Let's be clear, this universe is not a pleasant place. Its crawling with cosmic beings such as Galactus and countless others who have all been either indifferent to, or outright wanted to massacre all life on Earth and beyond.
    • Mephisto has made it clear that One is essentially "the sole-teacher/sole-headmaster of all of the schools". The Living Tribunal from his perspective, is "just a big kid". This makes him frighteningly incompetent when he's allowing, not a member of staff, but a mere child from his viewpoint, to run around and destroy any one school (including all the littler kids in it), if said building threatens too many or all of his other schools.
  • Heaven: The One Above All has been seen residing in Heaven.
  • Holier Than Thou: Name says it all.
  • Hope Bringer: He is this to Beta Ray Bill.
    "All is not lost. Where there is life... there is hope."
  • I Know Your True Name: This is how he got Spider-Man's attention when they first met.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Would you believe the man on the left, who is smaller and scrawnier than Spider-Man (on the right), is far stronger than guys like Hulk and Thor?
  • The Omnipotent: In case it hasn't been made clear yet: he's the strongest Marvel character.
  • The Omniscient: Various beings claim omniscience or are described as such. The One Above All is either the only true case of omniscience or the being who comes closest, and everything points towards the former.
  • Power Glows: If he wants it to. He appeared as a mortal man to Spider-Man and made Spidey believe he was some regular mortal, however even TOAA's robe was glowing when he appeared before Beta Ray Bill.
  • The Power of Love: When Susan Storm feared for her husband's possible death at the hands of the "all-powerful" Silver Surfer, Uatu the Watcher tells her that there is only one being who is truly "all-powerful", and that "His only weapon... is love!" Take a wild guess as to who he was talking about.
  • Primordial Chaos: The One Above All existed before the Living Tribunal, who has existed since the beginning of time.
  • Psychic Powers: Not a direct example but the below battle gives an idea of how powerful The One Above All is.
  • Shapeshifting: Just one of his abilities.
  • Top God: This should have been clear before reaching this trope.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Getting tired of hearing fanboys debate over who is the strongest guy in Marvel? Introduce them to The One Above All.

The Porcupine

Alexander Gentry was an engineer who designed weapons for the U.S. government. Inspired by the porcupine and the sharp quills it used as protection, Gentry designed a suit of battle armor covered in sharp quills, many of which housed different kinds of weapons. He considered giving the suit to the government, but then he thought that they would pay him next to nothing for it and decided to use it himself as a costumed supervillain. Calling himself the Porcupine, Gentry started out fighting Ant-Man and proceeded to get his ass kicked again and again and again and again and again and again by heroes ranging from Ant-Man to Iron Man to Captain America. Reduced to a laughingstock in the supervillain community, Gentry tried to sell his battlesuit, but because of his bad reputation no one was interested. Captain America eventually offered to buy the suit if Gentry helped him with a sting operation to capture some members of the Serpent Society. Gentry reluctantly agreed, and was killed in the crossfire. Despite Cap's reassurances, Gentry died convinced that he was a loser, and Cap honored his memory by putting the Porcupine armor on display in the Avengers Mansion.

  • Antagonist in Mourning: Inverted. Captain America was torn up after Gentry was killed, and he honored his old foe's memory by displaying the Porcupine armor and labelling it as belonging to an Honored Foe of the Avengers.
  • Butt Monkey: Brutally lampshaded to the point that Gentry couldn't even sell his armor. The most anyone would offer him for it was a measly twenty dollars. Ouch.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Besides being sharp on their own, many of the quills on the Porcupine armor housed a wide variety of weapons ranging from incendiary missiles to glue guns to lasers to hypnotic lights.
  • Irony: With the sheer number of weapons Gentry eventually managed to equip the Porcupine armor with, it could probably have been a formidable weapon if the right person was using it. Unfortunately, Gentry was not that person.
  • Powered Armor: This was what the Porcupine armor was.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Started out fighting Hank Pym and the Wasp, moved on to fighting Iron Man, and finally joined Captain America's list of regular dance partners.


A criminal smuggler whose van broke down in the desert, Silas King survived for three days in the murderous heat on minimal food and water until he returned to civilization. All that time soaking up the sun activated his latent mutant power, the ability to absorb solar energy and release it in deadly blasts of fire. Using his powers to become a supervillain, the man called Solarr went on to become a bank robber and assassin for hire.

  • Achilles' Heel: He's reliant on the sun to maintain his power. If you can find some way to cut him off from it, as Captain America did by covering him in all-weather housepaint, Solarr loses his mojo. He later tried to overcome this weakness with a device that allowed him to absorb and store solar energy for use at night, but it didn't work when Spider-Man smashed it.
  • For the Evulz: This is largely why he charbroiled all those innocent bystanders when he robbed the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Large Ham: Even by the standards of the early 1970s when he debuted.
  • Light Is Not Good: Has solar powers, but it's a bit of a stretch to call him a good guy on any definition of the word.
  • Playing with Fire: And he's not shy about using it.
  • Pyro Maniac: Starting fires is fun, after all.
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Never really lasted long enough to become a permanent fixture in anyone's gallery, although he tangled with Captain America, The Avengers, the Defenders, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Alpha Flight one after another.

The U Foes

Corporate executive Simon Utrecht wasn't satisfied with having immense wealth and influence. Desiring greater power and inspired by the accident that gave the Fantastic Four superhuman powers, Utrecht sponsored a space mission with the intent of being bombarded with cosmic rays similar to the Four and gaining powers of his own. The plan succeeded, with Utrecht and his crew gaining superhuman powers, but when Bruce Banner saw what they were doing, he aborted the launch and brought them back to Earth. Enraged at having their quest for power cut short, Utrecht and his crew attacked the Hulk with the superhuman abilities they'd gained. Banner defended himself by turning into the Hulk, but the battle was cut short when the U-Foes, as they called themselves, lost control of their powers. They seemed to have been killed by their own abilities, but eventually managed to restore themselves and would return to torment the Hulk time and again.

Simon Utrecht gained superhuman repelling powers as Vector, while pilot Mike Steele became the superstrong and metallic Ironclad. Crew member Jimmy Darnell became the radioactive X-Ray, while his sister Ann Darnell became Vapor, capable of turning herself into any form of chemical gas.

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Utrecht was already a multimillionaire, captain of industry, and former political office-holder, but that just wasn't enough for him. He wanted real, physical powers.
  • Evil Counterpart: Bizarrely subverted. Although their powers and origins are similar in some ways to the Fantastic Four, they've never actually tangled with the Four. Instead, they're recurring foes of the Hulk and the Avengers.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The U-Foes succeeded in gaining their powers, but Banner's interrupting their trip meant they didn't get enough radiation to actually control their powers. This led to their first defeat without the Hulk even needing to do anything.
  • Mind over Matter: Vector can emit powerful psychic waves that repel anything he directs his energies at. He can repel anything from physical matter to tracking signals to Doctor Strange's magic.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: This, along with Super Strength, is Ironclad's primary power. He's gone multiple rounds with the Hulk and lived to tell the tale.
  • Power Incontinence: Vapor nearly dissipated, Vector repelled himself off the planet, Ironclad sank to the Earth's core and X-Ray nearly overloaded when he absorbed too much radiation to control.
  • Pure Energy: X-Ray can control a wide variety of forms of radiation, and emit them in deadly blasts that can burn even the Hulk or The Mighty Thor.
  • Super Smoke: And a whole lot of other gases too. Vapor's powers allow her to transform herself into any kind of gas she desires. Mustard gas and carbon monoxide work great for choking even heroes like the Hulk.