Marvel Noir is an 2009/2010 Marvel Comics alternative continuity combining elements of film noir and pulp fiction with the Marvel Universe. The central premise of the mini-series replaces superpowers with driven, noir-flavored characterization. The reality of Marvel Noir is Earth-90214.
A universe where local counterparts of Earth-616 superhumans debuted in the 1920s and 1930s. Most superpowers are mainly unknown or nonexistent at this point, though with the certain exceptions of a few, such as Spider-Man (who received his powers from a mystical "Spider God"), Black Cat, and Daredevil.
Comics in the setting:
- Daredevil Noir (2009)
- Iron Man Noir (2010)
- Luke Cage Noir (2009-2010)
- Punisher Noir (2009-2010)
- Spider-Man Noir (2009)
- Spider-Man Noir: Eyes Without a Face (2010)
- Spider-Man Noir (2020)
- Weapon X Noir (2010)
- Wolverine Noir (2009)
- X-Men Noir (2009)
- X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain (2010)
Deadpool Pulp is commonly considered part of the series as it uses a similar premise, placing Deadpool in the 50s instead of the 30s, and created by authors who worked on other Noir series. However, it is officially non-canon to Marvel Noir.
These comics provide examples of:
- Adaptation Name Change: Surprisingly common for some characters, from minor examples like Peter Parker being called The Spider-Man while Luke Cage is the character's legal name instead of Carl Lucas.
- Adaptation Species Change: In X-Men Noir, the X-Men are not mutants, but human criminals who, thanks to discredited psychiatrist Charles Xavier, believe sociopathy is "the next stage in human behavioral evolution". In the same universe, Namor is a normal man who cut his ears into the shape of a shark's fins and Thor wasn't a Physical God but an unnamed Norwegian man who ferociously protected a castle he found from the Nazis with a hammer, "as if he were some Norse God on Earth".
- Adaptational Villainy: A few cases, most notably X-Men Noir, who, in this timeline, aren't mutants, but sociopaths — and Jean Grey killed Rogue. Professor X himself is the Big Bad of the sequel miniseries.
- In Wolverine Noir, the Big Bad is Rose, from Wolvie's mini Origin.
- In Iron Man Noir, it turns out in this universe Baron Zemo is Tony's father Howard Stark. Now, mainstream comics Howard isn't the nicest guy to begin with, but he certainly isn't an agent of Hydra. There's also Madame Masque, who is a Tragic Villain in the mainstream comics thanks to her scarred face and emotional abuse from her father Count Nefaria, but in Iron Man Noir she lacks that Freudian Excuse and is just a cruel Bitch in Sheep's Clothing before even getting disfigured.
- Big Applesauce: Poverty and crime are at an all-time peak — Aunt May mentions in one of her speeches that there are 13,000,000 unemployed people (it's unclear if she was talking about the U.S.A. or just New York), crimes such as arson, murder, and the drug trade are an everyday fact, police and authorities are corrupt, and several people are Driven to Suicide. It says something when the last stand of moral integrity is The Daily Bugle.
- Consummate Liar: In Daredevil Noir, Matt's senses never detect dishonesty from Eliza, and even when he's spying on her, she reads as being uniquely devoid of internal conflict, which turns out to be because as this continuity's version of Bullseye, she's a sociopath.
- Crapsack World: The authorities are corrupt all the way to the mayor of New York.
- Darker and Edgier: Pretty much all of the stories in the series, though this is obviously downplayed in regards to characters like the Punisher and Wolverine.
- Diesel Punk:
- Iron Man Noir is unique among the Noir stories for not even trying to be realistic, featuring Tony Stark's "repulsor pump" pacemaker, the Iron Man armor itself, and Baron Stucker's lightning-hurling Power Fist — not to mention background stuff like the sleek super zeppelins.
- X-Men Noir is the least fantastic of the settings, but introduces one dieselpunk element in the story Mark of Cain: the Office of National Emergency's Dirigi-Carrier.
- Fantastic Noir: The entire line has this feel, especially for Spider-Man. Iron Man Noir is a bit misnamed, since it's more of a pulp action story.
- Film Noir: The entire setting. Changes to Wolverine, for example, include his signature claws actually being handheld Japanese weapons. Naturally, there's a different version of Logan on the X-Men. In normal Marvel continuity, such street-level heroes as Daredevil, Moon Knight, and the Punisher have all had runs or story arcs that followed many noir conventions.
- The Great Depression/The Roaring '20s: Most of the stories are set around those periods.
- Jungle Opera: The beginning of Iron Man Noir features this.
- Legacy Immortality: In Iron Man Noir, Baron Strucker reveals that Baron Zemo isn't one person, but a series of chemically brainwashed men. Zemo wears a hood in case anyone recognizes him; the current Zemo is Howard Stark. Strucker hopes to turn Tony Stark into the next Zemo, since the one they have now has "outlived his resourcefulness."
- Lighter and Softer: Iron Man Noir is this compared to the rest of the comics in the Marvel Noir universe. While Spider-Man Noir, X-Men Noir, Daredevil Noir, Luke Cage Noir and Wolverine Noir deal out loads of Adaptational Villainy to characters, have Thou Shall Not Kill characters use guns and kill people and generally have the Darker and Edgier-ness dialed up; Iron Man Noir in comparison is considerably more lighthearted being tonally closer to The Rocketeer. Instead of being stuck in the Wretched Hive that is New York like other Noir universe comics, Iron Man Noir has globe trotting adventures filled with much more optimism, though this makes the comic more Pulp than Film Noir. It's especially lampshaded when Baron Strucker is deriding a captured Pepper for clinging to the hope that Tony will save her, saying while holding the skull of Thor that "they don't live in a world of Marvels" and no knight in shining armor is coming to save her - just as Tony and Rhodey fly into the Nazi castle in Powered Armour to rescue Pepper.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Most of the powers in the setting. Peter refuses to believe that there's no scientific explanation for his newfound powers. That said, all evidence points to magic.
- Not Quite Flight: In Iron Man Noir, the Iron Man and War Machine suits aren't truly capable of flight given their size and weight. Instead, the jet turbines on their backs have jets that slow their descent after jumping out of an airship, allowing them to land safely. Basically, rather than actually flying, they fall with style.
- Orichalcum: In Iron Man Noir, Orichalcum is retrieved from Atlantis and serves as a MacGuffin power source.
- Pointy Ears: This is the mark of Captain Namor's pirate crew in Iron Man Noir; they slice their ears to resemble shark fins.
- Race Lift: The Daredevil villain Lady Bullseye is depicted as Caucasian in Daredevil Noir's Marvel Noir universe. She's Japanese in the mainstream universe.
- Red Baron: Iron Man Noir has the infamous pirate Captain Namor, also known as the Beast of the Blue and the Blood Mariner.
- Two-Fisted Tales: Many of the stories, especially the ones that involve powers like Spider-Man. Iron Man Noir is particularly notable, being a globe-trotting action-adventure story whereas the other titles are more Film Noir.
- Vigilante Man: Most of the characters in the setting, Spider-Man more so than usual, given that he is both willing to use a gun and kill.
- Wretched Hive: New York is a giant slum, where Prohibition has fueled the dominance of organized crime and mass corruption, whilst the economic crash has flooded it with impoverished and desperate people who will do anything to feed themselves or forget their troubles. Whilst the economy is back on track, crime is down, and corruption is leeching out by the time of Eyes Without a Face, to the point a reporter even wonders if New York needs the Spider-Man now that his "gang busting glory-days" are seemingly behind him, World War II is on the horizon, the Ku Klux Klan is embedding itself into politics, and Nazi sympathizers are openly running around in the streets.
- Zeppelins from Another World: One of the few fantastic things to be found in any of the stories is the O*N*E Dirigicarrier seen in X-Men Noir: Mark of Cain. And boy is it ever fantastic: it's a colossal battleship kept airborne by having several Hindenburg-like zeppelins strapped to its underside.