Franchise: Marvel Universe
"None of this is really happening. There is a man. With a typewriter. This is all part of his crazy imagination."
The world as portrayed in Marvel Comics
, especially under Stan Lee
, Steve Ditko
and Jack Kirby
, designated as Earth-616 in Marvel's multiverse. As in The DCU
, Marvel heroes form teams and Cross Over
occurs frequently, with many Continuity Nods
. (In fact, you could argue that Marvel invented
the Continuity Nod
.) Many of these comic books have been the basis for movies, TV series or both.
Many TV series and movies set in the Marvel Universe take place in and around New York. The original architects of the world put most of the heroes there, as a subversion of the then-dominant trope of No Communities Were Harmed
and as an excuse for Cross Overs
The Marvel Universe's defining characteristics include a general trend toward realism mixed with the fantastic
, a little more Civvie Spandex
than The DCU, and a strong undercurrent of cynicism
among the local populace (who are anything from skeptical to distrustful of superpowered beings aside from charismatic mega-celebrities like Iron Man and the Fantastic Four). Of course, it varies from writer to writer
; in some eras, Marvel have more explicitly tried to root their Universe in 'the real world', while at other times, there have been entire mutant ghettos covering large areas of New York City.
You can find a timeline of its major events here
Currently owned by Disney
; a striking parallel to Disney's old animated shorts
rival Warner Bros.
owning the DCU.
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Major Franchises in this universe
- The Avengers
- The Avengers: United They Stand, a 1999 cartoon that barely featured any of its three most famous members.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, a animated series from 2010-2012 features the "classic" roster — Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, and Wasp — with more superheroes added over the course of the series.
- A big-budget feature film, and centerpiece of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, released in 2012.
- Avengers Assemble, a 2013 cartoon with a roster and tone similar to the live-action movie.
- The Tomb of Dracula, a comic which involved the first appearance of the character.
- Blade, the movie trilogy which featured Wesley Snipes as the titular Vampire Hunter in the late '90s and early '00s:
- Blade, in 1998
- Blade II, in 2002
- Blade Trinity, in 2004.
- Blade The Series, a short-lived 2006 TV adaption based on the films.
- Blade, a 2011 twelve-episode anime series.
- Captain America
- The Fantastic Four
- The Fantastic Four (1967), a 1967 cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera.
- The Fantastic Four (1978), a 1978 cartoon with the Human Torch replaced by the robot H.E.R.B.I.E.
- Additionally, the Thing got his own mini-show as part of Fred and Barney Meet the Thing.
- Fantastic Four, a 1994 cartoon shown with the contemporary Iron Man cartoon as part of the "Marvel Action Hour".
- The Fantastic Four, an unreleased 1994 Roger Corman film, infamous around the fandom for its low quality.
- Fantastic Four, a 2004 big-budget movie with a 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
- Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, a 2006 cartoon version with heavily French-influenced art, based loosely off the movie continuity.
- Fantastic Four, a 2015 movie reboot more closely based on the Ultimate Fantastic Four iterations of the characters.
- Incredible Hulk
- Iron Man
- The Marvel Super Heroes, a 1966 animated anthology.
- A 1994 cartoon version, shown with the contemporary Fantastic Four cartoon as part of the "Marvel Action Hour". Season 1 saw Shellhead leading Force Works, but a massive Re Tool for Season 2 saw — among other changes — more solo hero action.
- A 2007 OVA, The Invincible Iron Man.
- Iron Man, a 2008 big-budget movie, that spawned two sequels in 2010 and 2013, which featured Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man. The first film was notable for having a post-credits scene that kickstarted the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures, a 2009 CGI animated TV show which has a sassy teen Stark as a quipping Spider-Man-esque incarnation of Iron Man.
- An anime version with 12 episodes.
- Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, an anime film produced as part of the Marvel Anime line.
- Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United, an animated pseudo-tie-in to Iron Man 3.
- Iron Man & Captain America: Heroes United, a sequel to Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United.
- The Mighty Thor
- Spider-Man (1967), a 1967 cartoon version, with an Expository Theme Tune that many baby-boomers can still sing from memory.
- The Amazing Spider-Man, a 1977 live-action series, cancelled due to Executive Meddling when CBS decided they were running too many Super Hero series.
- Spider-Man, a 1978 Japanese Toku series that featured Spider-Man piloting a Humongous Mecha and was one of the inspirations for Super Sentai/Power Rangers.
- Spider-Man, a 1981 cartoon version with an early animated example of Story Arcs.
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, a 1981 cartoon that teamed him up with Iceman of the X-Men and Firestar, an original character that eventually became a Canon Immigrant. Still considered as definitive as the 1960s series.
- Spider-Man, a 1994 cartoon with more focus on Story Arcs and Character Development.
- Spider-Man Unlimited, a short-lived 1999 cartoon where Spidey is transported to Another Dimension. Originally intended to be based on Spider-Man 2099, a comic book title many fans argue Bruce Timm ripped off when developing Batman Beyond.
- Spider-Man: The New Animated Series, a 2003 MTV computer-animated series based loosely on the movie continuity.
- Spider-Man, a 2002 big-budget movie, considered to be (along with X-Men) one of the causes of the current superhero movie boom. Has had two sequels, in 2004 and 2007. A Continuity Reboot called The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 2012.
- He showed up in segments of The Electric Company, where he taught reading to kids by having adventures while speaking only in word balloons.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man, a 2008-2010 series, featuring Peter Parker as a high-school student, which aired on Kids' WB and then Disney XD for two seasons.
- Ultimate Spider-Man, a animated series that premiered in 2012, where Peter, also a high-school student in this show, is being trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. to be a professional superhero and teams up with a variety of other Marvel superheroes.
- Pryde of the X-Men, a failed 1989 Pilot Movie.
- X-Men, a 1992 cartoon version.
- Generation X was a failed Pilot Movie from 1996, featuring the characters of the X-Men comic-book spin off who attended Xavier's mutant school.
- X-Men: Evolution, a 2000 cartoon with its own continuity. X-23, a Canon Immigrant, originated here.
- X-Men, a 2000 big-budget movie that spawned its own movie franchise. It had two direct sequels, in 2003 and 2006. A 2009 Wolverine-focused prequel along with a 2013 solo Wolverine film have been released. In 2011 another prequel called X-Men: First Class set in the 1960s focused on the younger days of Professor X and Magneto, which spawn another sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, based on the famous X-Men story of the same name was released in 2014. Characters appeared in the film series so far: Apocalypse, Cyclops, Deadpool, Emma Frost, Gambit, Jean Grey, Kitty Pryde, Magneto, Psylocke, Storm, Wolverine, and many others.
- Wolverine and the X-Men, a 2008 cartoon series (which aired in 2009 in the US). It dives straight into a spinoff of the comics continuity, so in tone it's closest to the 1992 cartoon (but in art it's more like Evolution). Canceled after one season.
- Two anime shows, one based on Wolverine, and the other on the X-Men, were made in 2011.
- The Astonishing X-Men tetralogy, a quartet of motion comics adapting the "Breakworld" arc of Joss Whedon's run, ending on a cliffhanger with Kitty Pryde trapped inside a 7-mile long bullet that has just been fired at Earth.
Notable Marvel Universe Crossover series
Other TV adaptations
- The Marvel Super Heroes was a syndicated 1966 cartoon that was the first TV appearance of the Marvel Universe. It featured Captain America, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Namor, the Sub-Mariner in Three Shorts segments, with plots, dialogue and even artwork often taken directly from the comic books.
- The Silver Surfer had a short-lived 1998 animated series, most notable for being cancelled right after a Cliff Hanger where the universe ceased to exist.
- The Super Hero Squad Show, a 2009 animated Massive Multiplayer Crossover meant for small children, featuring Super-Deformed versions of the Marvel heroes and a Lighter and Softer storyline. Based on the Marvel Super Hero Squad toy line, except without Spider-Man, of whose TV rights Sony wouldn't let go.
- An animated Black Panther TV series, done in the style of motion comics, was created for BET based on a previous storyline.
- Marvel announced plans to create shows for ABC and ABC Family based on Cloak & Dagger, Jessica Jones, and Mockingbird —- some of those ideas ultimately came to fruition, with slight alterations:
Other movie adaptations
- Doctor Strange was made into a failed Pilot Movie in 1978; its demonology content allegedly prompted outcries from Christian groups that made sponsors back off from the project.
- A film version of Howard the Duck, produced (not directed) by George Lucas, was released in 1986.
- In 1991, a Pilot Movie was made for Power Pack, but was never aired. Even so, it still has an IMDB entry. Bootlegs of the pilot have caused some to assume it did get an actual broadcast in some markets, but as of yet there has been no proof.
- The Ultimate Avengers OVA, based on the comic The Ultimates, was released on DVD, February 21st, 2006. A sequel was released on August 8, 2006.
- A big-budget Ghost Rider film starring Nicolas Cage was released in early 2007. The sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, was released in 2012.
- Marvel Entertainment has announced that they are in planning stages for a number of other future movie projects. Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and The Inhumans are slated to receive their film debuts between 2016 and 2018.
- An Ant-Man film originally directed by Edgar Wright is set for 2015. Wright has since left the project with both he and Marvel stating it over Creative Differences.
- A animated film based on the Marvel comics property Big Hero 6 is being co-produced with Disney and set for release in fall of 2014.
- Abstract Apotheosis: The are several Abstracts in the Marvel Universe, such as Death, Oblivion, and Eternity. Thanos himself uses the Infinity Gauntlet at one point to become the new Eternity.
- Action Girl: Far, far too many to list.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Wakanda (the African home of the Black Panther and most of the world's Vibranium supply), Callahia, the Inhumans' city, and Atlantis all qualify.
- Aliens Are Bastards: Few alien races in Marvel are nice on a consistent basis. The big three are;
- The Skrulls, shapeshifting lizard-beings from three galaxies away, who like to use their powers for turning allies against each other. They're in a constant state of war with...
- The Kree, fascistic, imperialist xenophobes, ruled by a gestalt intelligence that's so smart it's worshipped as a living god. They're the ones who started the war with the Skrulls, who favoured their sister-race, the Coati (a bunch of pleasant plant-aliens). They messed around with early human DNA, resulting in the Inhumans. Staggeringly, the Kree are usually displayed as one of the more tolerable alien empires out that, which shows just how much of a Crapsack World cosmic Marvel can be. They also produced the original Captain Marvel, who fell in love with humanity and decided we were worth protecting.
- And the Shi'Ar, birdlike aliens with a tendency toward violently conquering other empires and stealing their culture (I.E. Space Romans). They usually tend to bother the X-Men the most, given that their empress married Professor X. However, they're violently afraid of a cosmic entity they worship called the Phoenix, and are not afraid to murder entire bloodlines to prevent anyone hosting it. They've got an elite guard who look strangely familiar...
- There's also the Z'nox, the Lumphomoids, the Badoon, the Snarks, The Uncreated, the Symbiotes.
- Alliterative Name: This was a favored trope of Stan Lee, so many of the universe's classic characters have this — Peter Parker, Scott Summers, Richard Rider, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, Susan Storm, Matthew Murdock, Stephen Strange, Pepper Potts, and so on.
- All of the Other Reindeer: First comic-book world to have widespread prejudice against a particular type of superhumans, the "anti-mutant paranoia".
- All Myths Are True: Every single mythology and religion ever is true, and their entire pantheons exist. Whether or not they're truly gods tends to vary by the times and the writer in question. They even have their own political system, called the Council of Godheads.
- All-Powerful Bystander: The Living Tribunal is this until a multiversial threat arises. He tends to destroy the universe the threat is located in and then resume being a bystander.
- Arguably, the Watchers could fit the bill as well, though they are only "all-powerful" from mortals' perspectives.
- Alternate History: While it deviates pretty early on, with figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton setting things like SHIELD in motion, the major point where the timeline splits from the real world one is World War 2, where the Super Soldier Serum used on Captain America creates a superhuman arms race, leading to the Allies' creation of the Invaders, and thus the spread of costumed heroes throughout the world.
- Alternate Universe: A number of Marvel stories deal with and take place in these; appearances of the heroes in other media also fall under this category. Most prominent (and Alternate Continuity examples) are listed below. Notably, the main continuity is not Earth-1 or Earth-Prime, it's Earth-616.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Brood, The Dire Wraiths, The Badoon, and The Chitauri.
- Ancient Astronauts: The Celestials, The Eternals, The Deviants, The Asgardians, and The Olympians.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Dozens, with age varying on a case by case basis. One of which was led by a telepathic dolphin, though it go unceremoniously killed off during Mark Gruenwald's run on Captain America.
- Ancient Grome: Played with; Hercules changed his name to the more familiar roman version (as opposed to Herakles) to distance himself from his villainous mother Hera. Hades is often referred to as Pluto, the Roman name, to avoid confusion with the location.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Usually referred to as The Abstracts. There's a lot of them, but they don't show up often, and when they do, it's clear that things have become incredibly dire.
- Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Quite a bit. Most of the Asgardians use clubs, swords and axes, and several members of the superhero community use a variety of swords or magic ancient weaponry. Even in space, pirates tend to use swords because they're effective for cutting space suits in the vacuum.
- Arch-Enemy: Most heroes have one.
- Arms And Armor Theme Naming: The covert organizations S.H.I.E.L.D., S.T.R.I.K.E., A.R.M.O.R., S.W.O.R.D., and H.A.M.M.E.R.
- Artifact of Death: The Ultimate Nullifier, and several of the Cosmic Cubes.
- Artificial Human: There are tons of robots, clones, biological experiments, golems, and constructs with sentient life in the Marvel Universe.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Stephen Strange's mentor, The Ancient One, who became one with the universe. Man-Thing, who has become the Nexus of All Realities.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Generally speaking, if a person is in charge of something, they're going to be able to kick some serious ass. Doctor Doom, Black Panther, Namor, Captain America, Black Bolt, and Nick Fury, among numerous more.
- Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Happens from time to time, such as whenever the higher-level cosmic entities like Eternity and Oblivion have their hands forced, such as when Thanos obtained the power to warp reality with the Infinity Gauntlet.
- Back from the Dead: This is a comic book universe we're talking about.
- Badass Bookworm: High Evolutionary, Thanos, M.O.D.O.K., The Leader, Valeria and Reed Richards, Alyssa Moy, Beast, Mad Thinker, Hank Pym, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, Maelstrom, Mr. Sinister, Bruce Banner, and Spider-Man. Iron Man is actually an aversion: despite being brainy, he doesn't spend his time buried in books and studies.
- Badass Family: The Fantastic Four, the Summers Family, the Parker Family, and the Banner Family.
- Badass Normal: A ton of characters don't have any powers to speak of. The Punisher, Tony Stark, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Star-Lord, and numerous other heroes, and just about everyone who works for SHIELD, SWORD, and similar organizations.
- Bad-Guy Bar: Several.
- Josie's is a New York hangout for low-level street criminals and mooks. The bar is operated by neutral alignment civilians, and allows heroes like Daredevil and Spider-Man to come in, but both parties maintain that Josie's isn't a place for fighting. When one of their own dies, many villains head to Josie's to pay their respects with a few rounds.
- The Bar With No Name in Medina County, Ohio was one of these, until Scourge decided to sneak in disguised as the bartender and opened fire on the patrons- killing 18 people.
- The Hellhouse is a villain bar regularly visited by Deadpool and members of his Rogue's Gallery, including Rhino.
- Bad Present: The Marvel Universe is always some varying degree of awful — when supervillains like Norman Osborn aren't in command, eldritch abominations are tearing reality apart and leaving lasting wounds, or the X-Men are abusing time travel so much that the time-space continuum is fractured. Every time something is fixed, it's only so things can get worse later on, and there are plenty of temporal displaced characters to remind us of this fact.
- Bald Women: Moondragon and Nebula (after her escape from Titan and a cybernetic operation).
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Cyclops, after the Schism and Avengers vs. X-Men War, has essentially become all the things he was always afraid power would turn him into- when Magneto confronts him about how Scott has effectively become just as bad as he was, Scott scoffs him off, saying that they aren't the same because "I'm winning".
- The Berserker: Hulk, Juggernaut, Colossus, Thing, Thanos, Wolverine, and Thor when he delves into the Warrior's Madness.
- BFS: The Odinsword, Surtur's sword Twilight, The Sacred Sword of Satan, and the Phoenix Blade. Some of the Celestials are depicted as wielding sword-like weapons, and considering some Celestials are larger than the Earth itself...
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Many.
- The Watergate Scandal's Deep Throat was actually a Skrull
- Ulysses Bloodstone used to go by the pseudonym Captain Ahab and his actions were the inspiration for Moby Dick
- Rasputin was one of Mister Sinister's allies
- Imhotep founded the Brotherhood of the Shield which included Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Nostradamus, Galileo, Jabir ibn Hayyan, Archimedes and several other gifted minds of history.
- Zhang Heng once defended the Earth from a Celestial, using the spear of Imhotep.
- Nikola Tesla wore a costume and was called "Night Machine", time traveled, died and came back to life at least once and spent his life trying to stop and meddle with SHIELD affairs.
- Michelangelo became an omniscient human god when "Infinity washed over [him]", giving him some reality warping powers and making him glow gold, calling himself the Forever Man.
- Jack the Ripper was actually a parasitic demon of Dormammu's Dark Dimension, and eventually joined Azazel's afterlife pirate crew.
- The Tunguska Event was the result of a group of immortals trying to bring about The End of the World as We Know It with a were-bear.
- Bit Part Bad Guys: For every world domination-minded super fighter, or universe-threatening threat, there's a dozen superpowered criminals who only want to steal from banks and make some money. They rarely carry their own stories or are seen as serious threats, but many of them fill out each hero's rogues gallery.
- Blessed with Suck: One of Stan Lee's innovations was to write about "superheroes with problems." Characters like Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the Thing were early results of this. Iron Man was the first superhero with a substance abuse problem.
- Blood Magic: One of the many types of magics that exist in the Marvel Universe. Doctor Strange sometimes draws on it, as much as he dislikes it, and Nico Minoru's Staff of One is powered by it as well.
- Bolt of Divine Retribution: Anyone with power over electricity and a vengeful nature. Thor and Zeus are notable examples.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Magneto a few times.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Deadpool knows he's a comic book character, and this trait was Flanderized to a ridiculous degree, though he's getting better more recently. She-Hulk occasionally made reference to being a comic book character.
- Bullying a Dragon: It's like the civilians of the Marvel verse refuse to accept that pissing off a super-powered being is NOT a good idea.
- Bury Your Gays: Phyla-Vell was killed shortly after bringing her partner Moondragon back to life, and hasn't been resurrected (as of 2014). Freedom Ring was killed to make a statement on how inexperienced heroes would likely fare, in an action writer Robert Kirkman would later apologize for. Northstar was killed in three different universes within weeks of each other. Mulholland Black is given a mercy kill when she loses control of her powers.
- Cain and Abel: Invoked — Spider-Man's evil clone brother is actually named Kaine. Ultimately averted — he becomes a superhero, The Scarlet Spider, and a member of the New Warriors. There's also Thor and Loki, Charles Xavier and the Juggernaut, Clint and Barney Barton (until they let it go), Hercules and Ares, Luke Cage and Coldfire, Ulysses Solomon Archer and the Highwayman, Cyclops and Havok with Emperor Vulcan, Cable and Stryfe, X-23 and Daken.
- Canon Immigrant: Numerous characters created for adaptations have made their way back to the mainline Marvel Universe, including (but far from limited to) H.E.R.B.I.E., Firestar, X-23, Agent Coulson, Nick Fury Jr., Reptil, Sam Alexander, the entire Chitauri species, and Angela.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Cyclops' dad Corsair used to be a pretty scummy guy, Star-Lord's father J'Son is a conniving tyrant, Harry Osborn's dad is the Green Goblin, and both Bruce Banner's father and his father-in-law were his enemies at different points in his life.
- Characterization Marches On: It happens as a natural part of a franchise existing for 75+ years, with hundreds of writers.
- City of Adventure: Makes you wonder just how New York City hasn't gotten wiped out yet.
- They've got Damage Control. These guys are always there to make sure NY lives to see another day.
- City Noir: Hell's Kitchen in New York, Madripoor.
- Clones Are People Too: This is the general mindset the Marvel Universe treats clones with. Spider-Man considers both Ben and Kaine his brothers, Wolverine actually adopted X-23, and most clones are treated as their own people, with their own minds, goals and personalities. There are some who consider them abominations, but this behavior is always portrayed as bigoted.
- Collector of the Strange: One of the Elders of the Universe, The Collector, who collects anything and everything that strikes his fancy, including sapient beings. Doctor Strange also collects dangerous and mysterious magic artifacts.
- Comic-Book Time: When he revealed himself during Civil War, Peter Parker stated that he had been acting as Spider-Man since he was 15. Same goes for the first X-Men team, who started in heroics in their teens (sans Beast), and now almost 50 years later (in real time), they still seem to be 30-somethings.
- The Fantastic Four are among the first characters of the Marvel Universe. Reed and Sue quickly married and had a child, who is still (usually) a small child (and makes some people from the future flee in terror).
- Conqueror From The Future: "Kang the Conqueror" is quite likely the Ur Example.
- Cosmic Egg: Galactus and Annihilus were both reborn in one, the former at the death and rebirth of the universe, the latter after his apparent death in the Annihilation War.
- Cosmic Entity: And how. Take a look at the page for a list.
- Cosmic Plaything: The universe will not allow Peter Parker to be happy, ever. Deadpool is also quite frequently used as a cosmic plaything by various abstracts like Death, or at least he thinks she does.
- Creator Cameo: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were denied entry to Reed and Sue's wedding, while Stan Lee actually presided over the wedding of Vindicator and Guardian. Chris Claremont occasionally finds himself as a bystander in X-Men related activities and usually gets hurt or inconvenienced.
- Crossover Cosmology: Thor, Hercules, and Amaterasu all coexist with every other god EVER.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The Trapster, the Ringer, and many, many more. Occasionally subverted by villains like the Wizard, who became a zillionaire through legitimate means before getting bored and turning to crime, or 8-Ball, who only became a supervillain after he was fired from his job and blacklisted for being suspected of selling company secrets to pay his gambling debts.
- Dangerous Workplace: Every single workplace in New York City.
- Darkest Hour: Probably the Dark Reign era — the moral pillar of the Marvel Universe, Captain America, was dead, the hero community was still divided from the wounds of civil war, the supervillains were in control and hunting the heroes with the public opinion on their side, and if Earth wasn't bad enough, the galactic wars in space had torn apart reality enough that Adam Warlock's evil side, the Magus, manifested and nearly allowed the entire Marvel Universe to be consumed by an undying stream of Eldritch Abominations that took the sacrifice of the entire Nova Force and the disbanding of the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop, leaving behind a deeply fractured status quo across the whole Marvel Universe.
- Death of Personality: The Symbiotes are supposed to do this to their hosts, making Venom and its children deviants among their species for trying to coexist with their hosts.
- Decapitated Army: The Annihilation Wave is a hive mind, so it collapsed when Nova killed Annihilus. The HAMMER forces fell apart completely when Norman Osborn was apprehended and the Sentry killed during the Siege of Asgard.
- Deconstruction: Arguably a founding father of the concept for superhero comics, as it definitely helped popularized the idea of Fantastic Racism for the genre. (People don't seem to notice as much due to how the earlier Marvel comics were not truly Darker and Edgier.) But still, Marvel is definitely one of the reasons why being a super-powered being (especially if you were born with superpowers) might not get you respected.
- Defiant to the End: The Skrull impersonator of John Lennon, one of the allies of Captain Britains' MI-13, spent his last moments in life mocking the Skrull soldiers about their plan to invade the Earth before they shot him in the head. When Thanos becomes all powerful while wielding the Gauntlet, Captain America refuses to break in his belief that Thanos will never win, even as he is killed.
- Devil but No God: Averted. There are a metric crap-ton of devils and demons, but there is actually a God, who's actually a pleasant and amiable being. The Fantastic Four once went to ask him to bring Ben Grimm back life, and He did. (As to why they didn't ask Him to do the same for other dead superheroes, well...)
- Distaff Counterpart: Common. Spider-Man has two Spider-Girls and four Spider-Women, Thor has both a Thor Girl and most recently a woman has taken up Mjolnir in his stead, Clint "Hawkeye" Barton has Kate "Hawkeye" Bishop, Hulk has She-Hulk and Red Hulk has Red She-Hulk, The Thing has Miss Thing, Wolverine has X-23, Bucky Barnes has Rikki Barnes, Namor has Namorita, Captain Marvel had Ms. Marvel, Deadpool had Lady Deadpool, Zarathos' host was once a Ghost Rider named Alejandra, and Pepper Potts briefly became one for Iron Man named Rescue.
- Divine Date: Thor has Jane Foster, and Hercules has centuries of countless mortal women.
- Doing In the Wizard: Jumps back and forth depending on the writer; there's definitely magic, gods, wizards, and demons in the Marvel Universe, and even several different versions of Hell, but certain aspects of the universe often depicted as these things are explained away with science (and often, promptly, reverted back to being magic later), such as whether Asgardians are aliens or gods and what exactly Adam Warlock's powers are — quantum energy manipulation or sorcery.
- The Dreaded:
- The Void. And The Sentry by default, as everyone just knows he's going to snap one day. Then he does.
- Most of Dr. Strange's antagonists qualify, but especially note Dormammu.
- And for the cosmic storylines, Thanos and Annihilus; the later's attempted genocide against all life was so catastrophic that most of the remaining civilizations named their highest threat to the galaxy level after him.
- Dysfunction Junction: Most superhero teams qualify, but the X-Men are especially noteworthy.
- Easily Conquered World: When you look back at history, not so much. When one prospective conquering race heard about everything Marvel Earth has fought and beaten, they ran. Ran.
- Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: A lot of them, starting all the way back in the sixties. The most recent big example being Secret Invasion.
- Easy Road to Hell: In both the DC and Marvel 'verses, there have been examples of people getting sent to Hell with magic, rather than through any fault of their own. Granted, in most such cases, they were able to get out later.
- Eldritch Abomination: Swarming hordes of them, whether of mystical or 'cosmic' origins.
- Elemental Rivalry: One of the first and oldest feuds in Marvel's publishing history is between Namor and the Human Torch. The rivalry carries over to the second Human Torch and the Fantastic Four. There's also Surge and Dust, and occasionally, Iceman and Firestar.
- Enormous Engine: SHIELD helicarriers are usually shown with four enormous turbines.
- Everyone Is Related: Due to the Summers' Tangled Family Tree.
- There's also most of the gods. Gaea is the Mother-Goddess in most pantheons in Marvel and has birthed a child in just about all of them. Thus, you get wacky family connections like The Mighty Thor being The Incredible Hercules's great-uncle.
- Evil Versus Oblivion: A lot of the Marvel Universe's more prominent villains aren't above fighting alongside the heroes to save the earth, if only because it's their earth. Doctor Doom has done this frequently, Loki has often allied with Odin's forces against beings like Surtur or HAMMER that would destroy Asgard, and even Thanos aided Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy to destroy the Cancerverse, being unable to resist bringing death to an undying universe.
- Extra Dimensional Shortcut: The mutant Cloak can teleport himself and others through the dimension of darkness he has access to. The same with Nightcrawler of the X-Men (it's why there's that puff of smoke whenever he uses his powers).
- Extranormal Institute: The Xavier Institute for Gifted Children, and it's much later spin-offs, the Wolverine-lead, Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and the Cyclops-lead New Charles Xavier School for Mutants. She-Hulk once lead a law firm specializing in superhero cases.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Two of them, one played for laughs and the other one... not so much.
- Volstagg the Voluminous, of the Warriors Three, is a coward and often exaggerates his involvement in tales a great deal, and many of his victories were won by accident or coincidence rather than his own skill. That said, when push comes to shove, he's still an extremely powerful warrior and capable of living up to his exaggerated reputation if his friends and family need him to protect them.
- Norman Osborn managed to pull this off at the end of Secret Invasion, by hiring Deadpool in the guise of Nick Fury to steal data on how to kill the Skrull Queen, which he did on live television after the real Fury and the Avengers did all the heavy lifting, turning him into a global hero. His influence was so great among the people, that he was able to take control of SHIELD and replace it, turn the public against heroes and get everyone to forget that he used to run around in green and purple tights throwing innocent bystanders off bridges to their deaths for laughs.
- Fantastic Racism: Marvel is very well-known for this; documentaries have suggested that one reason for Marvel's popularity in the 60's was its use of resonant contemporary themes like bigotry and the marginalization of minorities.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: One of the more prominent examples, right from the beginning with Atlantis coexisting with the Gods of Norse mythology, angels and demons, dwarves and elves, vampires and werewolves, dragons and giants, and pretty much everything in-between. There are even several different types of magics, and most superhero teams have at least one Wizard or occult specialist on tap.
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Each of the Demon Lords of Hell can make their sub-levels of Hell look however they want, but most of them seem to prefer the more classical depiction. Mephisto's Realm especially.
- Flanderization: Natural to happen in a multiple decade old universe with dozens of writers and thousands of stories- some more notable examples include Wolverine being flanderized into a dumb berserker, Hank Pym's accidental striking of his wife has lead to his flanderization into being a deeply remorseful failure known primarily as a wife-beater, and every team book written by Brian Micheal Bendis stripping away all the original personality of the characters being written.
- Floating Continent: Asgard usually floats in space, but for a while, it was floating over Oklahoma. When Attilan, home of the Inhumans, was on Earth, it was similarly floating above the United States.
- Forever War: The Kree-Skrull War isn't technically one war, but several wars that spring up every few years. It's referred to as a singular war because it's been ongoing for millions of years, so even in brief times of peace, the people of both Empires know it's just a break before the war begins again.
- Friend on the Force: New York City has the "Freak Beat", a section of the NYPD that deals with superhuman, alien and mutant crime. Most members of the Freak Beat end up working closely with one particular hero- Moon Knight works with Detective Flint, Spider-Man worked with Jean De Wolff, and so on.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Michael Morbius, Blade, Hannibal King, Spitfire and Jubilee.
- Functional Magic: Every type of magic exists in the Marvel Universe. Alchemy, Blood Magic, Theurgy, Rule Magic, Chaos Magic, Force Magic, Device Magic- it's all present, as part of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink
- Funny Animal: Half-World is populated with them, like Captain Wal-Rus and Rocket Raccoon. Because it's actually an insane asylum, and the animal people were created so the "loonies" would feel more at ease by the adorable, funny animal people taking care of them and not have to think about how they were left alone on an alien planet.
- Fun with Acronyms: Recurrent with any organization that uses an acronym (see Arms And Armor Theme Naming; another prominent example is Advanced Idea Mechanics, or simply A.I.M.). Subverted with H.A.M.M.E.R., in which Norman Osborn first came up with the name without an acronym behind it and, even after he was arrested and broken out again, no one knows what it stands for. The crowner, though, may be the anarcho-terrorist organization ULTIMATUM (Underground Liberated Totally Integrated Mobile Army To Unite Mankind).
- Genius Bruiser: Many physically imposing characters also have massive intellects to back them up.
- Genius Loci: The Living Planets Ego and Kathulos, Krakoa the Living Island, Id the Selfish Moon, and Spragg the Living Hill.
- A God Am I: Thor, Hercules, Zeus, and Odin make their godly heritage known to all who meet them.
- God Emperor: The Dread Dormammu, Ghaur of the Deviants, and as of Marvel Now Kang the Conqueror has become one, by drinking in the blood of a Celestial and gaining incredible power, in addition to his already impressive skills.
- Good Is Not Nice: Wolverine and Iron Man might be under the flag of good, but they can be outright pricks at times.
- Government Agency of Fiction: SHIELD, SWORD, ARMOR, and HAMMER, among others.
- The Great Flood: Invoked directly by Namor, who floods and completely destroys Wakanda during the Avengers' war with the X-Men. He also flooded New York when he first got involved with the surface world.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Tons of them.
- Healing Factor: A very common ability once you get to the bigger tiers. Wolverine, Deadpool, and Hulk are the three most popular examples.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Describes most of the heroic figures of the universe, minus those who are big celebrities like Reed Richards or supported by the government like Captain America.
- Humans Are Bastards: X-Men comics are the clearest example, but this trope shows up in other series as well.
- Human Sacrifice: Human Sacrifice is one of the methods through which magic can be cast in the Marvel Universe, though it's rarely used anymore — in great enough numbers, human sacrifice can actually damage the world and leave a blight of negative magical energy across a site. Doctor Strange once based his operations from one such site, in order to suppress and counter the bad juju there.
- Humongous Mecha: The Sentinels, Red Ronin, The Godkiller, The Phoenix-Buster Iron Man armor, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Doomsman, and Baymax.
- I Love Nuclear Power: A little radiation can be a wonderful thing in the Marvel Universe. Several of their heroes, including the Hulk, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and even Captain America owe their origins in whole or in part to various forms of radiation, as do a corresponding number of villains, such as the Abomination, the Leader, and the U-Foes.
- Immortality: Marvel has at least one character who embodies each subtrope.
- Immortality Hurts: To his credit, Deadpool has fun when he gets mutilated, shot, stabbed, burned, decapitated, skinned, and liquefied, mostly because of his habit of being a funny guy, but he still feels the pain.
- Wolverine, as well, due to the fact that he's a walking Doom Magnet, with several lifetimes worth of traumatic memories, and an adamantium skeleton which continuously poisons him.
- Indecisive Medium: The movies based on the comics start with the Marvel logo with the flipping comic book pages.
- Jerk Ass Gods: The Olympians firmly believe they have to be this way towards humanity.
- Joker Immunity: An endemic problem in any long-running comic book universe, but especially so here.
- Killer Robot: No end of these things. Ultron would be the absolute worst, being an Omnicidal Maniac who has killed several countries worth of people by the modern day, along with briefly taking over an entire galaxy. For Mutants, there are the Sentinels.
- Lamarck Was Right
- Last of His Kind: Galactus is the last survivor of his entire universe, assuming his daughter Galacta is non-canonical. Gamora is the last of the Zen-Whoberis who were all wiped out by the Universal Church of Truth. Richard Rider was the last of the Nova Corps, until he sacrificed himself to seal the Cancerverse — destroying the Nova Force itself in the process.
- Legacy Character: Several hero identities are passed on through the generations. The mantle of the Ghost Rider has passed down to hundreds of people across time, the US Government considered Captain America too important a symbol to lose and tried to replace him when he was gone several times and both Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson took up the shield in their friend's honor, and nearly every other superhero has passed their costume and name down to the younger generation at some point, or had a friend or family member take up their title when they die.
- The Black Knights manage to take the proverbial cake, being a legacy character dating back to before Arthurian times.
- Leotard of Power: Several characters, including Ms. Marvel, Storm, Psylocke, and Scarlet Witch.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them, thanks to having numerous several decade long runners, each with massive supporting casts, and constantly launching new books with new characters, each who have their own supporting cast.
- Mad God: Thanos, also usually known as Thanos the Mad Titan. Thor as well when driven to Warrior's Madness.
- Loki can be a bit nuts when he wants to.
- Mainlining the Monster: Mutant Growth Hormone is a popular drug, and still resurfaces from time to time despite Daredevil's best efforts. After M-Day most of the supplies of MGH were depowered, but the drug still persists.
- Mega Corp.: With vary degrees of morality. On the side of good, we've got Stark Industries (at least after Tony becomes Iron Man. Before then it's on the morally murky side). And then there's everyone else, but the worst of the worst is Roxxon, who do whatever the hell they want to whoever they want, without any regard to things like morals, ethics or sanity. They're responsible for the origins of more than a few supervillains.
- Mega Manning: Rogue is a famous example. Protege to a much higher degree; not even Celestial beings were safe.
- Meta Origin: There have been several over the course of the Marvel Universe, most notably the experimentation of the Celestials and the race to recreate the Super Soldier Serum.
- The Men in Black: SHIELD often tries to invoke this, and occasionally actually do pull it off.
- Micro Monarchy: The statelet of Latveria.
- Nepharious Pharaoh:
- The villain Kang the Conqueror (who may or may not be a future version of Doctor Doom) first appeared as the pharaoh Rama Tut; he had gone back in time to ancient Egypt to conquer from there.
- The Living Pharaoh, an X-Men villain who later became upgraded to The Living Monolith when he learned how to grow to colossal size.
- The Sphinx, one of Nova's villains, is from Ancient Egypt, and generally dresses like one.
- Noble Bird Of Prey: The Phoenix Force.
- Non-Human Undead: Way too many to list. Were-creatures are amazingly common, and in one instance in the 70s, there was an actual vampire cow. It got staked.
- Number of the Beast: Fandom recurrently tends to call the primary Marvel Universe number 616, sometimes considered to be the original number of absolute evil. Writer Dave Thorpe allegedly deliberately came up with the designation, since he considered this what the superhero genre in essence had evolved into.
- Fandom considered designating the Marvel Zombies universe as 666. It eventually ended up as 2149.
- In the end, Earth-666 became the native reality of the Undead Avengers. In context: said reality is populated by a Fantasy Kitchen Sink of monsters, which includes the superheroes, like a vampire Wolverine, a werewolf Captain America, and another Franken-Castle.
- Occult Detective: Everyone who worked at Borderline Investigations, including Frank Drake, Blade, and Hannibal King. Doctor Strange occasionally falls into this role, as did Brother Voodoo when he had Strange's job, and Moon Knight's "Mister Knight" persona.
- The Omnipotent: It really depends on one's definition of omnipotent. The Living Tribunal has been called omnipotent by several different characters, yet multiple beings have surpassed his power (Beyonder, Thanos, Protege, and Molecule Man) and defeated him. The Infinity Gauntlet grants the wearer omnipotence, but every being who has ever worn it has had it forcibly taken from them.
- The only indisputable example of an omnipotent character is The-One-Above-All. Just as the name says, he is above everyone in strength and is the higher power the Living Tribunal serves and answers to.
- One Steve Limit: You better believe this trope is averted. There are easily half a dozen characters named James (Wolverine, War Machine, Bucky), a good few Henrys (the original Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket and so on, Beast), and plenty of Peters (Spider-Man, Trapster, Star-Lord).
- There's a Henry Peter, to boot (Gyrich).
- Our Dragons Are Different: Fin Fang Foom, a long-term Iron Man villain, is an alien dragon. His species start off relatively human-sized, getting bigger as they grow.
- All Iron Fists gain their power from winning a fight with Shao-Lao the Undying, who is an immortal dragon.
- Personal Gain Hurts: Just ask Spidey.
- Physical God: Dozens of them.
- Post-Modern Magik: Naturally, being a Fantasy Kitchen Sink set in the modern times. Ghost Rider is a man possessed by an ancient demon of vengeance who rides around on a motorcycle that spews demonic flame and occasionally wields a shotgun loaded with hellfire. During one of the X-Men's many feuds with Dracula, he brushed Kitty Pryde's cross aside effortlessly but was burned by her Star of David. Thor spends more time hanging out with the Avengers on Earth than in Asgard, and thus interacts (sometimes more successfully than others) with modern technology constantly. Loki can improvise an evil containment unit from a kitchen jar or communicate with demons through junk food, and he just loves the internet.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Trope Namer. Despite the incredible, amazing and fantastic brains some super-heroes have, they are utterly incapable of making the slightest change to the world, for fear of disrupting the idea that the Marvel universe is similar to our reality.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: For the most part, with a few exceptions.
- Run Away Hide Away: The Hostel, which is actually home to The Runaways.
- Space Police: The Nova Corps, an intergalactic peace-keeping organization that taps into the power of the Nova Force, based on Xandar. Until the Annihilation Wave destroyed Xandar, leaving Richard Rider as the last Nova Corpsman. It began rebuilding after Secret Invasion, until Rich sacrificed himself, taking most of the Nova Force with him.
- Sociopathic Hero: Most prominently Deadpool, Wolverine, Punisher, and Moon Knight.
- Super Hero: Obviously.
- Super Registration Act: Has happened on more than one occasion, the most recent one being Civil War.
- Take-That Kiss: Hawkeye did this to Deathbird after defeating her.
- Token Minority Couple: Black Panther was paired off with Storm because they were both African, and no other reason then that.
- Too Dumb to Live: Many characters have had moments of this, but it's hard to believe someone knows Bruce Banner can turn into the Hulk, yet they still try to piss him off.
- In recent years in a push to make the world Darker and Edgier, the civilian populace has shown a desire, nay, eagerness to emphatically embrace anything and everything that curtails their civil liberties and gives as much power as possible to megalomaniacal psychopaths. This is notable when Norman Osborn returns after the Siege of Asgard fiasco: the Avengers suddenly find themselves accosted by picket lines in front of Avengers Mansion and protesting their role in peacekeeping (never mind that the President of the U.S. himself put Steven Rogers in charge of American security and fully supports him), thanks to Osborn manipulating the common people into thinking the Avengers are war criminals (which they apparently forgot he himself was).
- See also Ultimate Marvel, The New Universe, Marvel Adventures, Capcom vs. Whatever, Marvel Comics 2.
- Training the Gift of Magic: Mutants in the Marvel Universe are sometimes described in terms that evoke this trope, although their powers are explicitly not magical; these powers usually kick in at adolescence, and it's sometimes said that mutants need training to prevent them harming themselves and others. However, in practice, many mutants seem to get their powers to work pretty well without much or any training, with at worst twinges of megalomania or outbursts of Power Incontinence. (The line that they "need training" might be considered more of an X-Men recruitment pitch, albeit one with some justification...) Ironically enough, the situation with actual magic is more complicated.
- Trench Coat Brigade: Pete Wisdom and Gambit.
- Ungrateful Bastard: No matter how many people the Marvel heroes save, there's always going to be at least one person who refuses to even say "thank you".
- The Unmasqued World: As hard as it is to believe now, there was once a time in the Marvel Universe where men like Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton ran the Brotherhood of the Shield in secrecy, and the knowledge of things like Aliens, Mutants, Superpowers and Gods were actually hidden. This hasn't been true since the 1930's at the very least.
- The Verse
- We ARE Struggling Together: At any one time, the average Marvel team will have half its members at each other's throats on a good day. Even the Avengers isn't immune to this, which is a given when someone like Hawkeye is on the team. More often than not a great majority of team-ups involve superheroes fighting each other, rather than the villain. And then there are things like Civil War, and Avengers vs. X-Men, which made these problems even worse...
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Sentry.
- The Worf Effect: Need to show a villain's dangerous? There's plenty of heroes and super-villains for them to choose from. Hulk, Thor, the Juggernaut, the Thing, the X-Men.
- Happens with amazing regularity to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers, which spend most of their time crashing, or the Avengers Tower, which spends a lot of time being rebuilt after the last Big Bad knocked it down.
- World War II: The Golden Age. Marvel's history began during this time, so its original characters live in this setting. Some legacy heroes/villains are also based on characters published in this time (such as the Human Torch). Note that Adolf Hitler was seemingly killed in his bunker by the original Human Torch, but actually survived for a while as the Hate-Monger.