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Comic Book / Nebula (Marvel Comics)

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Nebula is a Marvel Comics character created by Roger Stern and John Buscema, first appearing in The Avengers #257 (dated July 1985).

Introduced as an Avengers villain, Nebula was a space pirate later revealed to be the granddaughter of Thanos, the Mad Titan. That was generally the extent of her characterization for a while, occasionally popping up as a minor antagonist in the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe.

She received major emphasis, however, during the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline in 1991. Nebula had a major role in helping the heroes take down Thanos, briefly even wielding the Gauntlet for herself. Following her arrest on (and escape from) Titan, Nebula was turned into the cyborg that she later become infamous for.

Outside of minor role in the 2006 Annihilation event, Nebula mostly remained in the background figure in the cosmic Marvel Universe in the following year, but her appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (as portrayed by Karen Gillan) have seen a renewed interest in the character that's spread back into the comics, with her first solo series hitting in February 2020.


Nebula has appeared in:

     Notable Comic Books 



     Video Games 

Nebula provides examples of:

  • A God Am I
    • Once The Avengers restored the universe destroyed by the infinity union, they accidentally got it to start working the way Nebula wanted it to and turned her into giant god who could beat up The Stanger and torture The Avengers to her heart's content. Though she was defeated once The Stranger accepted the need to work alongside The Anvengers.
    • When she wields the Infinity Gauntlet, intending to use it for selfish (and vindictive) reasons.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: She rose up against Annihilus when oversaw the construction of a space ship fleet he called "The Annihilation Wave" with the purpose of destroying the universe.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Has blue skin, a trait among her race of people.
  • An Axe to Grind: She had the dwarves forge her an ax with the ability to teleport her to things she wants to steal.
  • Arch-Enemy: She has claimed several different ones at various points, and several others have claimed her. Some cases are more onesided than others. The Nova Corps give Nebula their highest threat rating, even though a single Nova, Richard Rider, was able to defeat her entire crew when she sneak attacked him, because they're a bit salty about Nebula blowing up their homeworld with Sanctuary II.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Or rather, Granddad in the comics, regarding her antagonistic relationship with Thanos.
  • Bald of Evil: Originally wearing long hair in her earliest appearances, Nebula has since become known for her bald head in her most contemporary portrayals. In the MCU, baldness among Luphomoids is considered canon. In the comic book universe Nebula became slightly less evil after going bald, but the hair loss was a direct result of her own actions coming back on her.
  • Bald Woman: In the comics, it is a side affect of surgery her crew performed on her when she was found catatonic following the events of Infinity Gauntlet. Her mind is restored, but she has a permanent reminder of the events that nearly left her brain dead. In the movies, it's a trait of her entire species, including the males.
  • Bat Man Can Breathe In Space: She was awarded with the ability to survive in a vacuum after passing the Three Witches trial.
  • Bounty Hunter: Became one when she saw there was a bounty on Gamora's head. It wasn't really about the money, lost some hiring a Chitauri army to help her get the bounty. It was just about humiliating Gamora.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Inverted by her comic book counterpart, who was already morally dubious when she got her cybernetic enhancements. After having her brain repaired she actually showed a surprising degree of gratitude(she saved the man most responsible while using the rest of her crew as a diversion and then incinerating them).
  • Cyborg: She becomes this after The Infinity Gauntlet, when cybernetic implants are needed to save her brain from trauma in prison, and the criminal surgeon decides to give Nebula some upgrades for giggles on top of it.
  • Dark Action Girl: As a female, cybernetic space pirate.
  • Determinator: She's been on the wrong end of several curbstomp battles against the likes of Starfox, Thanos, Silver Surfer, Ronan The Accuser and Nova. Gamora even broke her down while Nebula was wearing Stellaris Armor, which was made from Celestial technology, able to make Thor sweat, and could detonate entire galaxies. Even when she has the power to back up her bluster, Nebula will never be as good a fighter as she claims to be, but no matter how many times Nebula gets slapped down, she just won't give up. At best she'll just run away to try again later.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Nebula and her crew are able to escape justice for what they did to the Skrull Empire because The Beyonder teleported them out of the Andromeda galaxy. He thought he was doing The Avengers a favor, and in a round about way he kind of was, but it took a long time and a lot more mayhem from Nebula before his decision bore any good fruit.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: How she and her crewman Geatar conducted her first escape from the Anvil on Titan.
  • Enemy Mine: She joined forces with Gamora's Graces(Stellaris, Spirit, Tana Nile and Cerise), none of whom had anything in common, as well as with Ronan The Accuser, who wanted to kill all Graces before for being associated with Tana Nile, to stop the Annihilation Wave from the destroying the universe.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: During the time she was claiming Warlord Zorr as her father, Nebula launched a raid on Earth to kill Richard Rider of the Nova Corps, since he killed her "dad".
  • Evil Is Hammy: This panel from The Infinity Gauntlet pretty much sums it up.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: The Skrull Governor Gorth hired Nebula and her crew to create a mercenary army that would reunite the Skrull Empire under his leadership. Nebula did a great job building that army, amassing outcasts and criminals from thousands of worlds. But she spent most of her time engaging in acts of piracy and her ultimate goal was to claim the Skrull galaxy for herself. Gorth was simply a means of funding her ambitions.
  • Galactic Conqueror: In her first appearance, sends her pirate crew to hijack Sanctuary II, which she warps to the Skrull Empire, which is in disarray after Galactus eats the planet its capitol is located on. She proceeds to use the stations power to beat the Skrulls into submission, but The Avengers decide to save the devil they know from the much more destructive one they just discovered.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Defied. Unlike Gamora, who's typically shown as tough and sexy, Nebula isn't typically treated the same way. That's not to say she isn't attractive to some people, but Nebula's most recent interpretations emphasize her deadliness over looks.
  • Hostage Situation
    • She was able to keep Silver Surfer at bay when he first attempted to send her back to prison by having her crew take hostages and threatening their lives. Surfer wasn't her only opposition though, and hostages were not enough to make Jack Of Hearts negotiate.
    • She had The Mighty Thor kidnapped because after stealing so many artifacts of from Asgardian or related world tree origin realms, she fully expected Asgard to come after her and decided to get a bargaining chip ahead of time.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Nebula's deepest desire is to be feared, not even respected necessarily. Without understanding this, her motives seem as inconsistent as the tall tales she tells about her past.
  • Kick the Dog: Xandar isn't part of Skrull space and simply going to it was just a waste of time and resources during Nebula's campaign, but she had to go all out and destroy it just because it was the Nova Corp home world and they had apparently interfered with her pirating before.
  • Multiple-Choice Past
    • For one example, there have been at least two different flashbacks that show Nebula's childhood involving two different fathers. Was he a violent warlord who raised Nebula to be the way she is? Was he a physically and sexually abusive deadbeat who drove Nebula to a life of crime? Are the contradictory stories of Nebula's past lies, delusions or just misconceptions? It doesn't help that "grandfather" Thanos denies and confirms Nebula's claims with equal inconsistency.
    • Starfox has read Nebula's mind and given her a DNA test. He confirms neither method was able to determine anything conclusive about Nebula's origins.
  • Mysterious Past: Unlike her cinematic counterpart, much of Nebula's backstory in the comics is unknown. Her relationship with Thanos in particular has never really been explored to the extent it has in the MCU.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
    • When she claimed the Infinity Gauntlet, her second order of business was undoing everything Thanos had been doing all day, not realizing the consequences of doing so, allowing Adam Warlock to take it from her in the ensuing confusion.
    • When she learned her apparent uncle's plan to kill Thanos, which she was totally onboard with, involved stealing a phoenix egg from Terrax, she executed Thane on the spot. For some reason this resulted in the egg hatching with Thane as the next phoenix force host.
    • After her second prison break, Nebula sucessfully managed to disguise herself and go into hiding. That It's All About Me attitude of hers ruined this though, as she encounted The Silver Surfer at a Nightclub with Genis-Vell, assumed Surfer was tracking her, and turned all her weapons on him in an attmept to "escape". All this did was get Surfer's attention and put her behind bars once more.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: She stole Naglfar Beacon from Loki. It is a horn that allows her to summon the soul less bodies of gods recurrent gods such as the Asir who have not yet been reborn. This wouldn't be all that impressive if not for the fact her Empty Shell ghost pirates are still gods, and Nebula is perfectly content with plundering the mortal realm...after she crushes Gamora.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Subverted, in that she claimed she wanted to destroy the universe, just like her supposed grandfather after reading about him on Sanctuary II, but after stealing the infinity union from The Stranger, Nebula got upset when she found out it did just that, leaving her in an empty building surrounded by a lot of nothing. Luckily for her, some of The Avengers survived due to being in that building and sought to reverse its affects. Nebula still made it more difficult than it needed to be by attacking them.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: All but one of Nebula's crew turned on her when Thanos came back for Sanctuary II, and that one crew mate gave Nebula the necessary medical treatment to survive after getting fried by Thanos's eyebeams. Since killing Nebula did nothing to impress Mistress Death, Thanos tried turning Nebula into a zombie only capable of random shuffling instead. He deemed it a mockery of life sure to please Death(it didn't)
  • Pet the Dog: She occasionally rewards loyalty, such as with her crewman Geatar, who got her the surgery that restored her ability to think coherently. She also saved The Champion Of The Universe's life in repayment for saving hers, and even had a one night stand with him despite not liking him very much and refusing to start dating.
  • Retcanon: Like a lot of characters, her appearance was adjusted to align with her adaptations in the Marvel movies.
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: Nebula was created to serve as the arch nemesis of the second Captain Marvel, but as that Captain Marvel faded into obscurity Nebula defaulted to Firelord, since she destroyed his home world with Sanctuary II. Thanos's brother Starfox convinced Firelord to let go of his grudge after Nebula went to prison. She was broken out of prison, sent back three times by The Silver Surfer, then she faded into obscurity herself before resurfacing to clash with Loki, who was attempting to reform where she rejected the chance. The Guardians Of The Galaxy got their own movie, making her their villain in general, and the nemesis of 'Aunt' Gamora specifically.
  • Sanity Strengthening: No one was really sure if Nebula was a compulsive liar, simply believed things that couldn't possibly be true due to delusion, or had lied so long she started believing them. The brain surgery has made her views of reality much more in line with her peers however.
  • Space Pirate: How she was introduced. She even seized control of Thanos' Sanctuary II ship at one point.
  • Spanner in the Works: Thanos hated Nebula when he found her using his base of operations and claiming to be his granddaughter, but he turned her into a wandering zombie instead of killing her outright because he subconsciously hated himself even more. After he had "won" and crushed all known opposition with the gauntlet, zombie Nebula aimlessly wandered around until she reached Thanos, took the gauntlet and used it to restore herself to life, robbing Thanos of its power in the process.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She stands at a meter and eighty five centimeters, or an imperial 6'1. Became a little less stunner, if more striking, after she required surgery from an experience in a Titan jail called The Anvil.
  • Super Strength: How strong she was originally was not so clear, but after getting cybernetic enhancements she became roughly as strong as Luke Cage. She then underwent a trial in the God Quarry after being left behind by Thanos, which made her even stronger than that
  • Supervillain: How she's usually portrayed in the comics. Her main drives are territory to rule and money to be made, which makes it pretty easy to tell stories where Nebula works alongside superheroes even when she doesn't have motives they approve of. In Captain Marvel Volume 7, Carol Danvers sees an alternate reality where Nebula leads a galactic peace keeping force sanctioned by Thanos The Just, and she wants to kill Gamora not out of spite, but because Gamora is a space pirate who rejects father Thanos's desires for peace and harmony.
  • Teleporter Accident: After Valkyrie broke Nebula's axe, she commanded the dwarf Urzuul to fix it, but he changed it's nature so that it now teleports Nebula to where she doesn't want to go.
  • The Mole
    • Captain Marvel was on what was supposed to be a low risk mission to Sanctuary II when Nebula's Crew got in and warped it out of the galaxy. Captain Marvel opted to join Nebula's crew until she could find out how to get back home, but ended up sabotaging them when she saw havoc Nebula was wreaking on the Skrull Empire. Nebula was planning on killing Captain Marvel anyway, and in fact shot in the chest when they met to see if Captain Marvel could really prove useful. Nebula made no effort to have a loyal, if temporary crew mate.
    • Nebula had Dr. Druid act as a mole within The Avengers for the purpose of discrediting Captain Marvel. When Captain America and The Wasp ceded leadership of The Avengers to Captain Marvel, it resulted in Druid destroying the team's confidence in her to the point it dissolved, but they caught on and reassembled later.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Especially in her early appearances, where Nebula didn't have much in the way of superpowers, relying on guns, fleets of spaceships and well paid mercenaries to defend herself. Direct encounters with super powered beings were best handled by turning the craft around and warping somewhere else.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness
    • Once Nebula no longer needed Gorth's help to recruit soldiers and get spacecraft, she simply killed him.
    • Once Captain Marvel bypassed a planetary defense shield Nebula couldn't think of a way around, Nebula launched a torpedo after her to kill Captain Marvel. By that point Marvel was expecting a betrayal and faked her death to strike back at an opportune moment.
    • After her crew broke her out from a prison on Titan, Nebula killed them to help her keep Silver Surfer and Jack Of Hearts from sending her back. Except Geatar, whom she still had use for.


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