is a secret group of superheroes of Marvel Comics. But, other than the name and that they work as a secret society, it has no relation with the real Illuminati
(or the allegedly real, or whatever).
Many years ago, Earth was almost destroyed during The Kree Skrull War
. Several heroes met in Wakanda to talk about this: Black Panther, Iron Man, Reed Richards, Charles Xavier, Black Bolt, Namor and Dr. Strange.note
They realized that they all knew details about those alien races, and if they had compared notes they would have been able to prevent the war. With the exception of Black Panther, they created a secret society, to discuss this and other grave threats and silently deal with them.
The group is later reformed and are the stars the comic book series New Avengers
The Illuminati contains examples of:
- Censor Shadow: The Skrulls captured Iron Man and took his armor. In his cell, he was nude until he could get a pair of pants.
- The Comically Serious: Namor began to harass Iron Man for not informing the group about the reunion of the Avengers... which had happened the day before. So, Iron Man asked "Does someone know how to say 'It happened yesterday' in Atlantean?". Reed Richards provided the translation... completely missing the point.
- The Dog Bites Back: As Hulk was destroying everything again, the Illuminati organized a trap for him, sending him to a distant planet. Xavier was not present, and Namor warned them: that was a massively bad idea
- E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Reed Richards and Iron Man are making a fortune from the technologies they get from the stolen Skrull ship. Perhaps a small break from their usual uselessness
- Evil Counterpart: The Cabal developed after Secret Invasion is this to the Illuminati. Led by Norman Osborn, the group consists of Doctor Doom, Loki, The Hood, Emma Frost, and Namor who try to secretly manipulate the superhero political atmosphere for their own benefits.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Most of the time. If it is about a past story, the Illuminati can not change its outcome. If it is a modern crisis crossover, it has to be played by all the characters involved, it can't be ruined by a swift covert attack of a secret team.
- Handwave: Eternity had ruled that the Infinity Gems may not be used all at once. It was mentioned and ignored.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: They tried to do this to the Skrulls, but failed. They appeared in their planet, told them to stay away from Earth, Black Bolt destroyed their city when they refused, and they teleported back to their ship, to return home. But the skrulls destroyed their ship and capured them.
- Nonindicative Name: The group never refers to itself, in-story, as the "illuminati". They do not refer to themselves by any group name.
- Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: For their high and loud intentions, the Illuminati do not have a good record of successes. Their threat to the Skrulls was not just useless, it gave gave them the means to start the Secret Invasion. They collected the infinity gems but could not banish them from existence, and the Hood got most of them a short time later. They tried to talk the Beyonder to leave the universe, and he ignored them. They advised Noh-Varr to be a hero, and he laughed at them (he became a hero later, but for other reasons). And before Civil War and Secret Invasions, they simply met to decide that there was nothing they could do about the crisis.
- Origins Episode: In the crossover with Civil War. The group appeared first in the New Avengers, without any kind of explanation for the reader.
- Properly Paranoid: Iron Man had the corpse of a Skrull that was pretending to be Elektra, and who was completely undetectable before being killed and reverting to her real form. He thinks that this Skrull is the peak of the iceberg of a whole alien infiltration at all levels. Namor and Xavier did not agree: the skrull may be just a single skrull and nothing more. And then Black Bolt revealed to be a Skrull, and tried to kill them
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Reed Richards tried to get all the Infinity Gems to try to banish them from existence, to prevent anyone else from abusing them.
- Retcon: In-universe, the Illuminati were created after the Kree-Skrull war, of the 1970s. In the real world, they were introduced in the New Avengers, and their origin detailed before Civil War
- Superman Stays out of Gotham: More blatant than ever: the Thing and the Human Torch stay out of the adventure that takes place in the other room. But it is not a FF comic, so they stay watching TV while the building seems about to explode.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Black Panther to the others, when they created the group
- Namor to the other members (except Xavier, who was not present) when they decided to exile Hulk
- The Watcher to Reed Richards, for reuniting the Infinity Gaunlet
- The others to Namor, when the Beyonder revealed by accident that he still desires to conquer the surface world. ("Only sometimes. Not today")
- The Worf Effect: The Illuminati met before Civil War and Secret Invasion, and could not find a way to prevent what was about to happen. The only purpose of those stories was to set up how much complicated things were.