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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.

    open/close all folders 

     Major Franchises in this universe 

    Other heroes 

     Notable Anti-heroes 

     Notable Antagonists 

     Notable Marvel Universe Crossover series 

     Other TV adaptations 

     Other movie adaptations 


World tropes:

  • All of the Other Reindeer: First comic-book world to have widespread prejudice against a particular type of superhumans, the "anti-mutant paranoia".
  • 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 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.
  • Arms And Armor Theme Naming: The covert organizations S.H.I.E.L.D., A.R.M.O.R., S.W.O.R.D. and H.A.M.M.E.R.
  • 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.
  • Bald Women: Moondragon and Nebula (after her escape from Titan and a cybernetic operation).
  • The Berserker: Hulk, Juggernaut, Colossus, Thing, Thanos, Wolverine and Thor when he delves into the Warrior's Madness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 Entity: And how. Take a look at the page for a list.
  • 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.
  • 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 super powers) might not get you respected.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Extra Dimensional Shortcut: The mutant Cloak can teleport himself and others through the dimension of darkness he has access to.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A God Am I: Thor, Hercules, Zeus and Odin make their godly heritage known to all who meet them.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Wolverine and Iron Man might be under the flag of good, but they can be outright pricks at times.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Indecisive Medium: The movies based on the comics start with the Marvel logo with the flipping comic book pages.
  • Joker Immunity: An endemic problem in any long-running comic book universe, but especially so here.
  • Lamarck Was Right
  • Legacy Character
  • Leotard of Power
  • Loads and Loads of Characters (for pretty much every long-running series)
  • Mad God: Thanos. Thor as well when driven to Warrior's Madness.
  • Mainlining the Monster: Mutant Growth Hormone was a popular drug, and still resurfaces from time to time despite Daredevil's best efforts.
  • Mega Manning: Rogue is a famous example. Protege to a much higher degree; not even Celestial beings were safe.
  • Meta Origin
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
    • There's a Henry Peter, to boot (Gyrich).
  • Personal Gain Hurts: (Just ask Spidey)
  • Physical God: Dozens of them.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: (Trope Namer)
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: For the most part, with a few exceptions.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Most prominently Deadpool, Wolverine, Punisher, and Moon Knight,.
  • Super Hero
  • 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.
    • Well also they both knew each other from past adventures, lost their virginity to each other, and are two very powerful people.
  • 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.
  • 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 Verse
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Sentry.
  • 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.


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alternative title(s): Marvel Universe
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