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Captain Universe

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/captain_universe_7.jpg
The hero who could be YOU!

Notable Aliases: The Avenging Angel, God of Light, Guardian of Eternity, The Hero That Could Be You, Uni-Power, Enigma Force

First Appearance: Micronauts #8 (August, 1979)

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Captain Universe is a Marvel Comics character, and one of the few truly unique superhero concepts. Specifically, Captain Universe is a superhero identity that keeps changing hosts — by itself!

To be precise, Captain Universe is actually a semi-sentient cosmic force called The Unipower, whose main purpose is to maintain the barrier between Earth and another universe in place. Secondarily, it will grant powers to single individuals temporarily so they can fulfill specific missions. Curiously, these missions range everywhere from saving the world to rescuing single, normal individuals.

The concept was introduced in The Micronauts comic book series. The first Captain appeared in issue #8 (August, 1979), created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden. It was established there that the universe the heroes came from, The Microverse, was separated from Earth's by a "space wall" that had to be supported on both sides. In the Microverse, it was maintained by the "Enigma Force" that was wielded by Commander Rann, the Micronauts leader; on Earth however, there was no specific wielder for the Enigma Force's counterpart, for some reason. Instead, the Unipower sustained itself by jumping from one person to another. Such a person would gain the powers and costume of Captain Universe, along with knowledge of the mission he or she had to fulfill (but no direct communication with the Unipower); after its completion, the host would return to normal.

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Captain Universe is more a plot device than a character, since it has no regular host and the Unipower itself is rarely seen speaking (this varies by writer, however). It's mostly used to power up heroes when needed, or to give normal people a taste of what it's like to be a superhero, even if only for a short while. The concept's most famous use probably was in the Story Arc where Spider-Man gained its powers (but not its costume or knowledge of where they came from, due to a freak accident) leading the hero to gain post-Superman level powers during the Acts of Vengeance Crisis Crossover, where supervillains switched enemies, and thus gave Spidey a chance against much more powerful villains than he usually battled.

The "character" has also starred in at least one miniseries.

Currently, Captain Universe was Tamara Devoux, a young woman who attracted the malfunctioning Unipower after getting in a car crash and lying in a coma for ten years. She's a member of the Avengers and, as it turns out, a scion of The New Universe. The power has since separated and was recently bonded to Miles Morales to help save the multiverse from the Inheritors.

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And now it has returned to Earth-616 to settle the score with an ancient enemy: The King In Black


Tropes related to Captain Universe:

  • Another Dimension: Where the Space Wall and The Microverse are located.
  • Awesome, but Temporary: Nobody can hold the powers and identity forever. Once the threat is defeated and/or neutralized, it leaves, although one story suggests that it always finds a new host quickly.
  • Berserk Button: It doesn't like being summoned. When the Superior Spider-Man did it in Spider-Verse, it chewed out the various Spiders for their failings.
  • Blessed with Suck: Spider-Man didn't exactly like having these powers, as it was hard to control them, but then, this was because an accident made him have them longer than average. Indeed, when Miles Morales took hold of the power, Peter admitted he handled it a lot better than he did.
  • Chosen One: What all of the wielders of the Unipower become. For a little while, at least. In the Chaos Theory arc of her ongoing series, the Enigma Force tells X-23 that she is the chosen future heir of the Enigma Force's power, suggesting she has a longer-term connection.
  • Distaff Counterpart: There is none. Anyone can be Captain Universe, regardless of sex or species. The current one has an appearance that is this to the page image.
  • Eldritch Abomination: One of the functions of the Unipower is to maintain the seal imprisoning malevolent entities called Whirldemons, and preventing them from crossing over into reality.
  • Flying Firepower: Pretty much living cosmic energy. It possesses a random person in the universe (including Spider-Man and X-23 at different points) and grants them Class 6 Super Weight cosmic powers.
  • Heroic Host: Different in that the entity bonds with a different person each time, until recently.
  • Humans Are Special: apparently, since saving even single lives seem to matter to the Unipower. Guess it just likes us (note that in at least one case, an alien became Captain Universe).
  • Instant Costume Change: Hosts of the Uni-Power spontaneously manifest a costume with a white lower body, a blue upper body and mask, and white constellation-like markings. The costume adapts slightly to each user — such as Peter Parker and Miles Morales' variants having larger eyes and displaying their regular masks rather than their mouths — but the theme is always the same.
  • I Should Have Been Better: Just when Spidey was starting to adjust to his powers "going screwy", he fought and defeated the threat, and he lost the powers. He couldn't help but think what more he could have done. (And this was shown in detail in an issue of What If?)
  • Kid Hero: One of its hosts was a toddler.
  • Power Incontinence: During the period when Spider-Man had the powers. He was given them in order to destroy the Tri-Sentinel, but the transfer happened during an experiment at his college, so it was interrupted. He was left with much of the power, but not the ability to properly control it or why he even had it in the first place. This was during the Acts of Vengeance crossover, so the powers came in handy against villains out of his weight class, but he often struggled with controlling himself. In the last part, a villain's attempt to negate these new powers instead fixes the transfer, allowing Spidey to finally learn why this happened and to complete the true mission.
  • Powers via Possession: The Unipower grant powers to single individuals temporarily so they could fulfill specific missions. Though the Unipower doesn't really force the host to do anything, only tells him what he has to do. Presumably if you disobey, it'll just leave you.
  • Reality Warper: In the What If? where Spidey kept his powers, he eventually developed cosmic awareness, the ability to shapeshift atoms (accidentally warping the Hobgoblin's face in a version of his own) and the like.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Unipower is the can, or at least the lid, keeping the Whirldemons sealed away.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • Let's put it this way, the Unipower-powered Spider-Man was able to punch Incredible Hulk into orbit!
    • A What If? story had Spidey keep the power after Acts of Vengeance; it wasn't pretty. He actually punched the friggin' Juggernaut out of New York City!
    • One story had the the Hulk himself gain its powers!!
  • Super Empowering: What the Uni-Power does to anybody selected to be Captain Universe. In 2016, this was taken Up to Eleven in a miniseries where 5 other superheroes, specifically Daredevil, the Invisible Woman, the Hulk, X-23 and the Silver Surfer each become Captain Universe and get the Uni-Power added to their repetoire, which ranges from Swiss-Army Superpower to When All You Have Is a Hammer...
  • Superpower Lottery: You win it!! For a few minutes anyway.
  • The Symbiote:
    • The Enigma Force/Uni-Power acts like one, bonding to a host to turn them into Captain Universe — and it turns out this isn't a coincidence. King in Black reveals the Enigma Force emerged in opposition of Knull, the god of the symbiotes, and thus acts like one itself to oppose him.
    • Mister E, the Living Shadow fought by Captain Universe in Marvel Spotlight Vol. 2 #9, is revealed to be a proto-symbiote created by Knull in Symbiote Spider-Man: King In Black.
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: As seen in the page image, Captain Universe is frequently connected with the stars, and individuals with whom it bonds are frequently depicted with stars and constellations on their costume. That it was the Enigma Force that helped X-23 throw off Hellverine's influence in The Killing Dream arc of her solo book is strongly hinted at when the manifestation of her "self" is depicted as a starry void, and that in the aftermath, the symbol of a star is left on the palm of her right hand. The connection is largely confirmed in the Chaos Theory arc of her ongoing series when the Whirldemon King recognizes the marking.
    • The linked molecule motif across the chest and arms represents the Microverse.
  • This Loser Is You: Inverted. Anyone can be Captain Universe, even an old man in a coma. Or even the dead body of Eddie Brock.

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Hosts

    Ray Coffin 

Ray Coffin

Alter Ego: Raymond Coffin

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Micronauts #8 (1979)

First Appearance:


    Steve Coffin 

Steve Coffin

Alter Ego: Steven Coffin

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Spotlight #9 (1980)

First Appearance:


    Claire Dodgson 

Claire Dodgson

Alter Ego: Claire Dodgson

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Spotlight Vol. 2 #10 (1981)

First Appearance:


    Ann Stanford 

Ann Stanford

Alter Ego: Ann Dodgson-Stanford

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Spotlight Vol. 2 #10 (1981)

First Appearance:


    Monty Walsh 

Monty Walsh

Alter Ego: Montgomery Walsh

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Spotlight Vol. 2 #11 (1981)

First Appearance:


    Commander Arcturus Rann 

Commander Arcturus Rann

Alter Ego: Arcturus Rann

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Micronauts #35 (1981)

First Appearance:


    Doctor Strange 

Doctor Strange

Alter Ego: Stephen Strange

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Micronauts #35 (1981)

First Appearance:


    Hulk 

Hulk

Alter Ego: Robert Bruce Banner

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Incredible Hulk Annual #10 (1981); Captain Universe/Hulk #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Unnamed Female Host 

Unnamed Female Host

Alter Ego:

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Super-Heroes Contest of Champions #1 (1982)

First Appearance:


    Delayne Masters 

Delayne Masters

Alter Ego: Delayne Masters

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Fanfare #25 (1986)

First Appearance:


    Evan Swann 

Evan Swann

Alter Ego: Evan Swann

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Web of Spider-Man Annual #5 (1989)

First Appearance:


    Little Eddie 

Little Eddie

Alter Ego: Edward Price

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Web of Spider-Man Annual #6 (1990)

First Appearance:


    Jeff Christiansen 

Jeff Christiansen

Alter Ego: Jeffrey Steven Christiansen

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Quasar #20 (1991) note ; X-Men/Captain Universe: Sleeping Giants #1 (1994) note 

First Appearance:


    Elijah Jackson 

Elijah Jackson

Alter Ego: Elijah Jackson

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Marvel Comics Presents #148 (1994)

First Appearance:


    Roland Taylor 

Roland Taylor

Alter Ego: Roland Taylor

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Cosmic Powers Unlimited #5 (1996)

First Appearance:


    Ted Simmons 

Ted Simmons

Alter Ego: Theodore Simmons

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Amazing Fantasy vol. 2 #13 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Dr. Gilbert Wiles 

Dr. Gilbert Wiles

Alter Ego: Gilbert Wiles

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Hulk #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Daredevil 

Daredevil

Alter Ego: Matthew Murdock

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Daredevil #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    X- 23 

X-23

Alter Ego: Laura Kinney

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/X-23 #1 (2005); X-23 #16 (2011)

First Appearance:


    Invisible Woman 

Invisible Woman

Alter Ego: Susan Storm-Richards

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Invisible Woman #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Gladiator 

Gladiator

Alter Ego: Kallark

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Invisible Woman #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Krosakis 

Krosakis

Alter Ego: Krosakis

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Silver Surfer #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Silver Surfer 

Silver Surfer

Alter Ego: Norrin Radd

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Silver Surfer #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    Gabriel Vargas 

Gabriel Vargas

Alter Ego: Gabriel Vargas

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Captain Universe/Silver Surfer #1 (2005)

First Appearance:


    William Nguyen 

William Nguyen

Alter Ego: William Nguyen

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Amazing Spider-Man #627-#629 (2010)

First Appearance:


    Juggernaut 

Juggernaut

Alter Ego: Cain Marko

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Amazing Spider-Man #629 (2010)

First Appearance:


    Tamara Devoux 

Tamara Devoux

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2938863_2703068_aven2012006_cov_col_02.jpg

Alter Ego: Tamara Devoux

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Avengers Vol. 5 #1 & #2 (2012)

First Appearance: Avengers Vol. 5 #1 (February, 2013)

The current Captain Universe, she was granted her power after a car crash and was recruited into the Avengers.


  • Broken Hero: Both personalities, Tamara was in a car accident and was in a coma for a decade before Captain Universe took her body as her host. Captain Universe feels some is wrong with universe and a great disturbance coming from the Earth that warranted it/her taking on a full time host to confront the yet shown threat.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Due to Tamara's brain damage, any time she's at the wheel she just talks about pie.
  • Distaff Counterpart: She's a female version of Captain Universe.
  • Flip Personality: Due to their circumstances Captain Universe is in control most of the times but Tamara will have moments where she returns to the surface.
  • Legacy Character: Technically the Captain Universe power jumps from host to host, the current Captain Universe appearing Avengers is just one of a long line.

    The Phalanx 

The Phalanx

Alter Ego: Phalanx Drone

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Annihilation: Conquest - Star-Lord #4 (2014)

First Appearance:


    Deadpool 

Deadpool

Alter Ego: Wade Winston Wilson

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Deadpool vs Thanos #4 (October 2015)

First Appearance:


    Spider-Man II 

Spider-Man II

Alter Ego: Miles Morales

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: Spider-Geddon #5 (December 2018)

First Appearance:


    Venom 

Venom

Alter Ego: Eddie Brock

Notable Aliases:

Possessed In: King In Black #4 (February 2021)

First Appearance:



Alternative Title(s): Captain Universe

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