The Institute Saga is a set of crossover stories of Superman and X-Men: Evolution by TheBeardedOne (who also wrote Harry Tano and Invisible Fox). It has several mainline stories, a pair of secondary stories which have been re-purposed by the author to act as a crossover and even partially crosses over with a story written by a different author entirely.
The mainline stories are the prequel General Zod, The Institute Saga, Institute Saga II, Institute Saga Side Stories, Institute Saga III, Shield Reforged and the predictably-named Institute Saga IV while the crossover stories are the pair of AU Justice League stories Dark Knights and First Crisis.
There is also a short story called So You're Dating A Superhero which is a small collection of rules (and explanations for them) as written by Mystique. A companion short story is So You Want To Be A Superhero as written by Superman.
There is an art gallery which may contain spoilers.
Although the story starts out similar to the The Last Son series, it is not a full Marvel/DC crossover as the only DC imports (outside crossover sub-stories) are Superman and a few other Kryptonian characters such like his cousin Kara.
This series provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Brainiac in the prequel story.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier:
- The Helicarrier from the Avengers movie features and even gets an upgrade near the end of the first story.
- Another three are introduced near completion in the Institute Saga III and are promptly stolen by Apocalypse.
- Aliens Speaking English: Averted with Kara, she struggles to learn English until she gets caught up in Jean's power surge. Jean gains the ability to effectively download languages to Kryptonians as a result.
- All There in the Manual: The art gallery includes several plot-relevant images, checkov's guns and background details, such as the cross-section of the moonbase tunnels.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: General Zod is less trigger-happy and prone to Attack! Attack! Attack! than his canon counterpart.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Amanda Sefton is very grateful that she inherited her Dad's sense of humor.
- Anti-Magic: Kryptonians are immune to direct applications of X-gene powers. Indirect attacks can still affect them, though.
- Apocalypse How: Magneto almost initiates an accidental version while trying to create a Mass Super-Empowering Event.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: A reformed Juggernaut ends up ruling Genosha because he ended the civil war there.
- Badass Cape: Magneto's is actually made of metal!
- Big Damn Heroes: General Zod when he and his allies aid in the fight against Apocalypse.
- Big Fancy House:
- The Xavier Institute which gets the Fortress of Solitude as its basement!
- The Stark Tower may also count
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Deadpool talks to the readers a couple of times.
- He even manages to (briefly) hijack an Author's Afternote before being restrained.
- Clark Kenting: Superman relies on no-one connecting his super-hero identity with a part-time teacher at Bayville Academy. It works surprisingly well.
- Cloning Blues: Galatea (Supergirl's clone) is created and used by Magneto as his weapon. She is not happy about it.
- Clothing Damage: Superman's suit gets shredded by Squirrel Girl and her Squirrel Avalanche!"Squirrel what?"
- Doom gets flattened by it as well
- Continuity Nod: In a game of chess against Xavier, Clark is playing black and moves his knight.
- Cool Plane: The Blackbird gets upgraded with Kryptonian tech.
- Cool Starship: The successor to the Blackbird is a plane that uses Reality Engines to fly through space.
- Crash-Into Hello: How one of the students meets Supergirl. Bonus points since he was running from another girl who he had also bumped into the same way!
- Crossover: Mr Black from Make a Wish makes an appearance during which he demonstrates that he himself is overseeing a crossover with Naruto.
- Cursed With Awesome: Rogue's powers mean that she cannot touch anyone who isn't a Kryptonian, until she finally gets a special bracelet.
- Dating Catwoman: Clark ends up dating Mystique.
- Death of a Child: The Bio-Sentinels arc explicitly states many children died at the hands of the Bio-Sentinels when they detected the X-Gene in them.
- Deserted Island: An artificial one is created via Holodeck-style technology and is used to help rehabilitate X-23. It is later used to help Wanda Maximoff learn to control her powers.
- Domed Hometown: Israel gets moved to Venus by means of forcefield-bubbles that cover the cities like domes
- Don't Ask, Just Run: Rule 7 of the booklet "So You're Dating A Superhero" is "If he tells you to run, RUN!"
- Elaborate Underground Base: Clark relocates the Fortress of Solitude to underneath the Xavier Institute.
- Enemy Mine: Juggernaut helps to prevent Magneto's plans from ending Humanity.
- The Empire: The Kree, Skrull and Shi'ar are all mentioned or feature in the prequel.
- Exact Words: Clark tells Captain America that no matter how well SHIELD searches Antarctica, they'll never find the Fortress of Solitude. Admittedly, it's because it's underneath the Xavier Institute instead.
- Fastball Special: Supergirl does a double one using Captain America and Juggernaut as projectiles.
- Chris Kent does two in a fight against a giant spider, throwing X-23 and her father onto the spider's back.
- Heavily implied that this is how Superman delivered Juggernaut to where he was needed to stop Magneto's plan.
- Superman does one to launch Logan and his Kryptonite-covered claws against Apocalypse.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Clark is sent from Krypton by his birth parents just as the planet explodes.
- Godzilla Threshold: The Omega Protocols, by which the different superhero teams request the support of every supervillain, to fight off a threat to the entire world. BRAINIAC's arrival to Earth's orbit prompts Clark to make the call.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Doom's two clone-children are human/Kryptonian hybrids.
- HeelFace Turn: Colossus after his sister is cured of her Incurable Cough of Death (making it not so incurable).
- Mystique also defects after Magneto turns against her
- Gambit after being used by a third party to help release Apocalypse.
- David Xanatos joins forces with the Gargoyles to fight off crime.
- Galatea after the technology controlling her is broken in battle.
- Magneto and his Acolytes after Brainiac's attempt to destroy Earth, and the New Kryptonians' heroic attack that resulted in the death of fourteen of them.
- Heroic BSoD: Nick Fury apparently (to Professor X) has two when it's revealed that Wolverine can't beat Superman in a spar and that Superman holds back.
- Human Popsicle: Clark finds a number of Kryptonians in stasis. Reviving them proves problematic due to Kryptonite poisoning.
- Ill Girl:
- Interspecies Romance: In addition to Clark and Mystique, there is also Supergirl and Captain America.
- Irony: Juggernaut of all people ends up being the one to bring Xavier's vision of mutants and ordinary humans living and working together into reality.
- Kneel Before Zod: A layered example. Apocalypse declares that he shall make Superman kneel before him, only to be caught by surprise when Zod decides to slap him down.
- Kryptonite Factor: Clark is prevented from directly participating in the Final Battle of the first story due to the sheer amount of Kryptonite that Magneto is using.
- Legacy Character: After Angel's apparent death, Samual Wilson (The Falcon) takes on the mantle as Angel II.
- Lethal Chef: Kitty Pryde. She manages to burn a salad and set a saucepan of water on fire.
- Mega Crossover: Apart from Superman and the Marvel Universe, it has already added Gargoyles, Harry Potter and even some mentions to other fanfics.
- Military Superhero: The USA is noted to have formed an entire company of powered individuals, including two Serum-enhanced supersoldiers.
- Mutants: X-Men. What did you expect?
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: After Kara is introduced, Clark makes quickly known how he feels about people perving on his young cousin."Deeeyaaaaamn, she's sexy." Roberto half-whispered. "Who do you think she is?"
"That's a nice outfit, I wonder if I can talk her out of it?" Ray snickered.
"I'd cut down a bit on the comments." Spyke advised as he walked up to stand beside the group of admiring teens. "Clark has super-hearing, remember? He can hear every word you've said. Heck, he can hear your heartbeats from here."
Ray paled. "Erm, Clark, I didn't mean it! It was a joke! Honest!"
Clark turned his head slightly and the grass at Ray's feet ignited, only to be put out by Bobby Drake.
"I think that was a warning to think before speaking." Spyke noted, seeing Clark nod his head in confirmation.
- Mythology Gag: Squirrel Girl's penchant for defeating the biggest baddest Big Bads while the narration is busy elsewhere is very much present here.
- Never Found the Body: Angel has his wings snapped by Galatea and is thrown into the ocean to drown. A memorial service is held for him and The Falcon takes up his mantle but no-one knew that Apocalypse rescued him and turned him into Archangel.
- No-Sell: The Blob completely fails to overpower Superman. Clark uses the opportunity to make fun of him.
- Occupiers Out of Our Country: Palestine. After Israel relocates to New Krypton, Palestine becomes a country in its own right until all the neighbors move in to grab the spoils.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Squirrel Girl manages to take down Thanos while he is using the Infinity Gauntlet!
- Oh, Crap!: Clark's realization that Squirrel Girl wants to be on his team (even though he technically doesn't have one).
- The leader of New Olympus has one when he realises who Apocalypse is.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: a gang of bank robbers exclaims this when they try to steal a bank and they find themselves caught by Supergirl, Superman and others. Who had arrested them in a previous bank robbery attempt.
- Omake: In Side Stories, there is an Omake based on the Goblet Of Fire.
- And another based on the Chicago Sentinels series.
- Although the actual shout-out remains unconfirmed, in the above-mentioned series, one of the chapter openings (Ronin Games, Ch 27) makes reference to the main character visiting four extra-reality realms, one of which is the super-heroic Universe Alpha...
- And another based on the Chicago Sentinels series.
- Our Gargoyles Rock: The Gargoyles become allies to the X-Men.
- Portal Crossroad World: Earth becomes this in an inter-reality basis, resulting in the other realities taking numbers based on which Dome their Gate is in while as the central reality, Earth becomes Universe Alpha.
- A Rare Sentence: Superman delivers this gem after bumping into Squirrel Girl:"I've decided." Clark said firmly. "I was unsure whether to wait until I could revive all of them or just do them on an as and when basis, but with beings like her around, I'm going to need some Kryptonian backup. When we get back, I'm reviving Kara. After I re-design my outfit and everyone else's to make them squirrel-proof."
There was a long silence.
"I can't believe I just said that." Clark added with a sigh.
- Real Person Cameo: Sharon Rice-Weber (the wife of noted novelist David Weber) gave her permission to be included in the story. Her character shows up on the bridge that Magneto relocates and is the one who takes Magneto down.
- Reality Ensues: When Israel accepts New Krypton's offer to move all of their cities to Venus, the space they leave behind is filled with fertile land. As predicted by one character, the surrounding countries that once supported Palestine (which has laid claim to the former Israel) soon invade to take control of the now incredibly important land.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted. Clark slowly releases Kryptonian tech for its general use, such as healing pods one of which heals Charles Xavier, allowing him to walk again.
- Running Joke: Martha Kent's cookies. Everyone at the Institute (and elsewhere!) is addicted to them.
- Sacrificial Lion: Tyrone Dietz falls victim to a stray bullet when the so-called Friends Of Humanity attack Bayville High.
- Secret Identity: Clark relies on no-one thinking that a part-time teacher could be a superhero and it works, right until he gets publicly outed by a politician hoping to use his fame against him. The result? The Bayville High gets swamped by transfer requests from people wanting to be taught by a genuine super-hero!
- Shooting Superman: A bank robber tries this with predictable results.
- Shout-Out: There are several in the series.
- Beast pauses before eating a cookie to warn against Sesame Street references.
- The use of highlighted plane hardpoints is taken from the Chicago Sentinels series.
- Master Mold has the technology to rebuild Trask.
- Nick Fury recalls messed-up undercover missions where he had to face serpents in an aircraft and defuse a bomb with 3 liters of water.
- Two of the Kryptonians are called Cast-Or and Poll-Ux.
- Super Strength: Several characters display this power, although Superman is the strongest of them all. Played for laughs when he takes Shadowcat's luggage away.Kitty nodded, then her already-wide eyes seemed to bulge even more as Clark walked past her, carrying her heavy suitcases as if they were empty.
"Multiple powers." Clark smiled as he paused at the bottom of the ramp. "Super strength. You coming?"
- Super Wheelchair: Xavier eventually gets a modified Kryptonian Hover-chair.
- Supreme Chef: Martha Kent. The superhero community seems to be addicted to her cookies. And her chocolate pudding (with sauce!) is good enough to get Wolverine to abandon a fight against Sabertooth!
- Tangled Family Tree: Clark gets teased by Alex Masters over whether his adopted sister Rogue will remain so or become his daughter due to her once being Mystique's adopted daughter. Of course, he then claims to be glad that his family tree isn't as tangled - when he is part of the former Trope Namer.
- Underwater City: Sanctuary, a domed refuge which the Morlocks move into, followed by the Labrynth Clan.
- The Unmasking: Clark is outed as Superman online, meaning that it cannot be covered up. The response is for the school he teaches at to, in the words of the Principal, be "almost buried in transfer request slips".
- Villainous BSoD: Quicksilver gets one after he realises that Superman is faster than him.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Superman gives this just before he and Apocalypse engage in battle.
- Xanatos Gambit: David Xanatos himself pulls a small one of these when he teams up with Superman to revive three deceased gargoyles.