The New Universe was initially billed as “the world outside your window”, a more realistic setting which was identical to the real world until a single Mass Empowering Event granted some people superpowers. All of D.P.7's paranormals gained their abilities from that "White Event", which occurred shortly before the first issue.
When these powers disrupt their normal lives, each of the seven seeks help from the newly established Clinic For Paranormal Research. Once there, they discover that they're not alone and become the Clinic's newest therapy group, slowly learning to accept and manage their abilities.
However, by the end of the first issue they discover that the Clinic has a far more sinister agenda and the paranormals who run it are engaging in secret Mind Control experiments. Escaping the facility before they can be brainwashed, the group end up on the run, hunted across America by the Clinic's paranormal agents.
D.P.7 was one of eight initial titles launched to introduce the New Universe, a shared world completely separate from the existing Marvel Universe, and became one of the most commercially successful, longest-running series in that setting.
The series had a relatively realistic examination of the consequences of paranormal abilities. While some characters had powers that were clearly advantageous, others were balanced by tremendous costs or were almost entirely negative. Even those who didn't have such Blessed with Suck elements sometimes found that their paranormal powers would wreck their relationships and normal lives.
The original group of characters are:
- David Landers was immensely strong and equivalently durable.
- Dennis Cuzinski's body exuded an acidic substance which effectively cut off any chance of an intimate physical relationship.
- Jeffrey Walters had superspeed, but had to eat constantly to avoid starving to death.
- Lenore Fenzl was forced to cover every square inch of her body due to exuding an energy which acted as a form of anesthesia upon other people. Used for longer periods, her power also provided her a form of parasitic (and ultimately addictive) energy boost.
- Randy O'Brien created "anti-bodies", energy-based copies of himself, each of whom exhibited unique personality traits, and one of whom eventually committed murder.
- Charlotte Beck could alter the frictional properties of nearby surfaces, with no apparent ill effects upon herself.
- Stephanie Harrington exuded an energy which granted physical ability boosts to herself and anyone who touched her (effectively a transmissable version of a healing factor). She was able to combine this with She-Fu in combat.
The series lasted for 32 issues from November, 1986 to June, 1989. There was also an Annual published.
D.P. 7 includes the following tropes:
- Acrofatic: Blur starts this way.
- All for Nothing: In Issue 14, Randy tells a stunned Charly that, perhaps because of his upbringing, he can't see himself in a relationship with a black person. Charly is so hurt and angry that she joins a militant black faction, the Black Powers, and even adds Randy's name to a list of racists the gang intends to beat up. A few issues later, they reconcile and become friends again. Over the next dozen issues, they experience adventures together, share many happy moments, and even seem to be moving toward becoming a couple after all. But after Randy becomes trapped inside his dark antibody, Charly begins avoiding him. In Issue 31, Randy confronts her about it and Charly bluntly tells him that they had been the two normal-looking ones in their old therapy group, but now that he was trapped inside his antibody, he could no longer pass for normal. When Randy asks if they're no longer friends because of his appearance, Charly reminds him that he did the same to her. She tells him that she is rejecting him the same way he rejected her, and leaves. It's as if everything Randy and Charly shared with each other in the time since his rejection of her doesn't count for anything. One would think that the fact that Randy and Charly had saved each other's lives more than once would at least be enough to sustain a friendship, but apparently not. Because there was very little direct contact between Randy and Charly in the next (and last) issue of the series, the reader is never told whether Randy and Charly ever resolved their differences.
- Artifact Title: "Displaced Paranormals 7" was what the Clinic tagged our heroes when they were on the run; it doesn't really mean anything after that plotline is resolved.
- Author Appeal: Writer Mark Gruenwald apparently loved his home state Wisconsin— which was the setting for much of D.P. 7.
- Balloon Belly: Sponge's power.
- Big Eater: Jeffrey Walters was one of these, because of his abnormally high metabolism.
- Blessed with Suck: This was a Marvel comic, so it's a given this trope would be invoked. David's powers were slowly killing him; Dennis, Lenore, and Randy all had Power Incontinence, at least at first; Stephanie's husband wouldn't let her near their children until and unless she had herself Brought Down to Normal.
- Stephanie's husband had no problems changing his mind though and 'tolerating' her return after he contracted AIDS, since her powers were the only way to ensure his survival. Once she learned the truth she promptly kicked him to the curb.
- Brought Down to Normal: The Cure's a paranormal who can permanently remove another paranormal's powers. Mutator, Sponge and Chrome all take advantage of this (and Scuzz has his powers removed after trying to kill the Cure), but most of the characters choose to keep their powers.
- Canon Immigrant: Blur got brought into the Marvel universe proper in Squadron Supreme, after the events of Jonathan Hickman's Avengers.
- Clothing Damage: Scuzz has disintegration powers. Unfortunately, these ran all the time, so an outfit would usually last three days for him even if he wasn't actively using them. And when he does... well, there's usually a scene of him focusing his power to destroy something with a beam attack, only to realize afterwards that he's just gotten nekkid.
- Code Name: Early on, Dennis suggests using these because they'd be cool. The others are dubious, but Randy points out it might keep their real identities from being publicly identified as paranormal fugitives. They all pick names, which get used with varying levels of frequency.
- Cool Old Lady: Lenore "Twilight" Fenzl.
- Energy Beings: Antibody can project a dark figure of himself that flies, become intangible, and transfers memories to another person through physical contact.
- Extranormal Institute: The Clinic for Paranormal Research, a clinic for people developing paranormal powers as a result of the White Event.
- Forced Sleep: Lenore exudes an energy from her skin which sucks up the life energy of those exposed to it, so if anyone sees any of her their energy gets sucked out of them and they pass out. One of the other Displaced is a Speedster who can't turn off his speeding, so she exposes her face to him so he can sleep once in a while.
- Freakout: Dennis Cuzinski had at least one of these, most notably after realizing that his acidic skin secretions meant he could not safely touch another person, much less have sex with them.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Stephanie eventually started taking advantage of her body's constant exposure to her own healing aura.
- Gravity Master: The power of Deadweight, the CIA assassin who attacks the DP7 in #29.
- Growing Muscles Sequence: David Landers goes through quite painful transformations when he grows muscles, which he has to sustain by being a Big Eater.
- Healing Hands: Stephanie Harrington has the ability to heal people through physical contact.
- Horror Hunger: Lenore developed a craving for other people's life force.
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: David Landers, whose superpower is basically super-gigantism, start a relationship with Stephanie Harrington, a normal sized woman.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Stephanie Harrington.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: The power of Recurring Extra George "Mutator" Mullaney, whose body completely changed forms every 48 hours. Since many of these forms were ugly and/or useless, Mutator was another case of Blessed with Suck until The Cure brought him down to normal.
- Jerkass: Dennis "Scuzz" Cuzinski.
- Make Them Rot: Dennis "Skuzz" Skuzinski's acidic skin makes everything he touches rot or burn away, including his clothes.
- Mass Super-Empowering Event:
- The White Event, the source of all the super powers.
- Followed later by the Black Event, with the creation of The Pitt by Starbrand's poorly thought out plan to get rid of the Starbrand power while hovering over Pittsburgh.
- Mental Affair: The psychic staff members Dexter Charne and Speck talked about this when they prepared to go into the mind of a comatose patient (either Stephanie Harrington or David Landers).
- Poisonous Person: Dennis.
- Power Incontinence: About half the cast had problems controlling their abilities.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: When David Landers gained his powers it also came with Rapid Hair Growth, giving him excessive body hair and necessitating a shave of a, relative to his height, foot-long beard and locks every day. Ironically it also made him bald on the top of his head.
- Power-Upgrading Deformation: the White Event makes people suddenly have power-related mutations, many of which are like this. Moreso minor characters than the main ones, which for all their complaints are really not that bad.
- Rapid Hair Growth: David Landers' hair grows very fast as part of his White Event-inspired mutation. Every once in a while he gains about 50 pounds of muscle practically overnight, and that's when his hair grows out.
- Re-Power: Mutator gets new powers every twelve hours.
- She-Fu: Housewife Stephanie Harrington feels silly doing moves that she admits were from her days as a high school cheerleader, but her power gives her a degree of protection, so it actually works well enough in a fight.
- Shout-Out: Exiles used D.P. 7 in a storyline in which the titular team visited several alternate realities, including The New Universe.
- Super Mode: Scuzz found that he had this when he learned that he could make his body erupt in acidic flames by getting mad. He called himself "Scorcher".
- Super-Speed: The power of Jeff "Blur" Walters.
- Super-Strength: The power of David "Mastodon" Landers.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted ridiculously since DP7 takes place at a clinic for paranormal research. While there are a few bad apples (mostly in the upper echelons), a large chunk of the staff seem to be on the level.
- Time Skip: The New Universe was supposed to take place in real time, with each book happening in the current month. However, the writer of D.P. 7 decided that that was just a general guideline with the main thing being that one year in comic book time equaling one year in real life. His first story arc took about nine issues (9 months) but only lasted a few weeks in-story, so to catch up with the rest of the New Universe there is a time skip to the following year after that arc.
- Walking Wasteland: Dennis "Scuzz" Cuzinski developed the unwanted and uncontrollable ability to make anything he touches rot. Including his clothes.
- Wall Crawl: Charly's powers allow her to do this.
- Weight Taller: After the White Event, David Landers puts on a huge amount of muscle and height, which hurts him whenever he has a growth spurt.