So I made these forever ago and posted them one at a time as I did them, but now I’ve chosen to make them an article. Basically I used semi-random selections of DC and Marvel characters, and then built a theme for an alternate universe around what I felt would fit the characters. If anyone wants to write fanfic or anything in any of these settings, be my guest, though I’d like to at least know about it.
Aesthetic: think Supernatural by way of the Coen Brothers.
Summary: Something diabolical is afoot in the Nevada desert. Strange, flamboyant criminals like the Joker, Arcade, and Two-Face commit chaotic crimes, and ordinary people like Flint Marko and Parker Robbins receive extraordinary powers from encountering strange artifacts. At the center of it all is the deranged stage magician Abra Kadabra, and among the first to catch on is an amnesiac private detective known as Rogue, whose touch allows her to absorb the memories, skills, and personalities of others. In the course of her investigations, Rogue amasses a loose group of eclectic allies who become known as the Outsiders, including Rory Regan and his mysterious suit of rags, the retired boxer Ted Grant, the Cheyenne mystic Danielle Moonstar, the werewolf Jack Russell, former Joker associate Harley Quinn, and the mysterious faceless Question.
Gay relationships in this one: Rogue/Harley, Moonstar/Misty Knight
Aesthetic: think Christopher Nolan, specifically the bleak grandeur of Interstellar
Summary: Rapidly increasing cosmic ray activity near planet Earth has caused certain people to start manifesting fantastic powers, but has also put the planet on a track toward being uninhabitably radioactive. A desperate United Nations has put together an international space program called Excalibur, whose directive is to both find a destination for humanity to escape to, and to build a practical way of transporting the population of an entire planet into space. The engineer Tony Stark and the physicists Hank Pym and Ted Knight oversee the latter initiative, while a team of astronauts with strange powers flies the Excalibur exploration vessel in search of habitable worlds. At the helm is Captain Larry Trainor, bonded with a “negative spirit” of dark energy. Joining him are Brian Markov, whose geokinetic powers are crucial for terraforming any new worlds, Nura Nal the precognitive, Querl Dox, a hyperintelligent alien they encountered along the way, Sam Guthrie, whose explosive self-propulsion allows him to safely fly through space unprotected, James Rhodes, expert at operating the advanced War Machine combat suit, and Scott Summers, the crew’s field leader armed with optic blasts. Both the scientists on Earth and the astronauts in space run afoul of a being called Cassandra Nova, believed to be a disembodied cosmic intelligence who was implanted in a human host via the cosmic rays. With godlike powers of telepathy and telekinesis, Cassandra Nova has recruited a group of superpowered terrorists who wish for only the most “ascended” humans to escape to the stars, including the magnetic Erik Magnus Lensherr, the cyborg Hank Henshaw, the sound-bound Ulysses Klaw, the malformed psychic experiment MODOK, and their financial benefactor Lex Luthor.
Aesthetic: think Bourne Identity and its countless imitators
Summary: The alien insectoid super-intelligence known as Mr. Mind has chosen to use the planet Earth as a sort of laboratory, to experiment on its creatures in hopes of creating the ultimate lifeform. To this end, he has become the “patron” of unscrupulous geneticist Nathaniel Essex, who, under Mr. Mind’s direction, has started a research corporation known as “Sinistr.” The core of Sinistr is formed by Essex and five other scientists called the “Sinistr Six,” including fear-obsessed biochemist Jonathan Crane, unstable botanist Jason Woodrue, prolific inventor Bentley Whitman, a physiologist studying growth hormones named Doris Zuel, and cyberneticist Otto Octavius. The Sinistr Six kidnap civilians to experiment upon, with Zuel and Woodrue focusing on strictly biological enhancements, Octavius creating technological enhancements, Whitman studying extraterrestrial superpowered lifeforms, and Crane exploring more esoteric forces. However, Crane’s tampering with a power called the Speed Force creates a subject he cannot contain, the now-supersonic Barry Allen, who manages to free many other superpowered subjects. Allen and the subjects he frees band together to resist Sinistr’s grand designs, becoming known to the public as the New Mutants. Among the New Mutants are the cyborg Nathaniel Summers, two powerful siblings from the planet Krypton known as “Conner” and “Kara,” the psionic warrior Betsy Braddock, the spider-human hybrid Jessica Drew, and the chemical shapeshifter Rex Mason.
Aesthetic: think Todd McFarlane but also George Miller.
Summary: In a world where dying means coming back as a demonic monstrosity, civilization lies in ruins, and survival means staying on the move. Most have taken to roaming the wasteland on motorbikes, scooters, and other highly maneuverable vehicles, outpacing the hordes of undead and scavenging for resources. A warrior known as Blade has unearthed ancient secrets that can be used to permanently destroy the undead, and has gathered a group of allies including the mechanic Ted Kord, the armored Shining Knight, the martial artist called Karate Kid, the acrobatic Star-Spangled Kid, the terrifying Blue Devil, the mercenary Deadpool, and the mighty Big Barda. This group, known as the Doom Patrol, travels around protecting the defenseless, taking on powerful undead including the parasitic Venom, and petty thieves and thugs like Batroc the Leaper, Captain Cold, and Captain Boomerang. Other characters include:
X-23, a blade-wielding amnesiac child
Speedball, a thrill-seeking youth on an experimental bike rig
Vixen, a feral warrior who commands wild animals against the undead
Black Lightning, an electrical engineer using a “lightning belt” of his own design to protect his small community
Aesthetic: it’s literally just Star Trek, pals
Summary: In a future where humanity has achieved peace on Earth and spread among the stars, space vessels of intrepid professionals enlisted in Starmada are charged with boldly going where none have gone before, exploring the universe and maintaining intergalactic peace. One such ship, the I.S.S. Endeavor, is captained by one John Henry Irons, nicknamed “Steel” for his unshakable nerves and unwavering resolve. Joining him are hot-headed first mate Namor, small furry engineer Rocket Raccoon, chief security officer Bucky Barnes, genius physicist Ryan Choi, xenozoologist Doreen “Squirrel Girl” Green, callow ensigns Michael “Booster Gold” Carter and Garth “Lightning Lad” Ranzz, and the ship’s AI, Jocasta. The crew of the Endeavor faces off against cosmic conquerors like the time-travelling Kang, the nihilistic warlord Thanos, and the ultimate AI Brainiac. A constant thorn in the Endeavor’s side is the crew of the Black Manta, a pirate starship flown by one David Hyde, and crewed by renegade Starmada engineers known as the Mirror Master, the Tinkerer, the Calculator, and Paste Pot Pete. Other characters include:
Beta Ray Bill, a noble warrior of a race maligned by Starmada
Adam Warlock, an “ascended being” whose cryptic aims both aid and oppose Starmada at various times
Greg “Vigilante” Saunders, a “space cowboy” who hunts galactic criminals beyond Starmada’s reach
Gay couples in this one: Namor/Beta Ray Bill, Bucky/Rocket
THE ASCENDANT FLAME
Aesthetic: think Tolkien but more pristine and less organic.
Summary: The Church of the Ascendant Flame, worshiping the divine power of fire to transform, cleanse, and inspire, controls this entire world, with all governments and institutions submitting to it. Various chosen people have been granted supernatural powers by the Flame. Jean Grey, known as the Phoenix, has been blessed by the Flame with awe-inspiring power, and has chosen to use it to root out the corruption in the Church which abuses their faith’s holy power to exploit the innocent. She forms an alliance called the Shadowpact with others similarly motivated, including the rogue warlock John Constantine, the guardian Jim Harper, the warrior princess Starfire, the masked warrior called the Night Thrasher, and a bright-eyed young ecclesiastical soldier known as Firestar. They are opposed by dark elites including the Mandarin, Ra’s al Ghul, and Count Nefaria, as well as supernatural threats from without including the maniacal Killer Frost and the chthonic Klarion. Other characters include:
Jim Hammond, the Human Torch, created to be a physical incarnation of the Ascendant Flame
Jubilee, a young troublemaker with rudimentary explosive powers
Kimiyo Hoshi, a scholar and alchemist of the church
Ghost Rider, a supernatural avatar of vengeance hunting down the Church’s enemies
Doctor Fate, the wisest and highest elder of the clearly
Firelord, the church’s anointed official who administrates civil affairs in the territory of Nova
Ronan the Accuser, an extremist clergyman who conducts slaughterous inquisitions
Gay couples in this one: Jean/Kimiyo, Wanda/Starfire, Constantine/Night Thrasher
HEARTS OF DARKNESS
Aesthetic: think Penny Dreadfuls
Summary: Victorian London has become a hotbed of demonic activity. Evil men like the psychiatrist Edgar Cizko and the mysterious stranger called Sinestro use black magic to wreak evil on innocents, while otherworldly creatures like the slaughterous cat Dex-Starr, the grotesque Abomination, the shapechanging Clayface, and the horrific reptilian Sauron kill without rhyme or reason. Standing against them is a group called the Justice Society, led by the blind priest/physician/exorcist called Dr. Mid-Nite, and including the American bounty hunter Jonah Hex, Wesley Dodds the Sandman, the musclebound sailor Luke Cage, the masked Hellcat, and the sword-wielding zealot Illyana Rasputina. Besides the aforementioned scoundrels, the Justice Society runs afoul of the spiteful aristocrat Oswald Cobblepot, the mad arsonist Mick Rory, and the criminal Brotherhood Circus, which counts among its ranks the Blob, the Toad, and the Vanisher.
Aesthetic: think Warren Ellis comics
Summary: After the total destruction of the planet Earth, and facing the rapidly encroaching decay of the universe that housed it, the human race turns to interdimensional travel for its salvation. Leading the charge are the brilliant scientist Reed Richards and his associates: his quick-witted assistant Tim Drake, the tough-as-nails fighter pilot Carol Danvers, and the alien shapeshifter and empath J’onn J’onzz. Threats they face as they seek a new home for humankind include the body-hopping mad scientist called the Ultra-Humanite, the cosmic hoarder Larfleeze, and the eldritch psychic entity called the Shadow King. While the Fantastic Four seeks out humanity’s future among mind-bending alternate realities, a group called the Forever People, composed of empowered humans and sympathetic aliens who have taken refuge among humans, defends our present. The immortal escape artist Mister Miracle, the laughing Lightray, the supersonic Irishman called Banshee, the solar-powered Sentry, the staff-wielding Stargirl, the explosive Havok, the spacefaring Silver Surfer, and the android Vision defend Space Station Gaia against those who tamper with forces they can’t understand, including the nigh-omnipotent Molecule Man, the gamma visionary Samuel Sterns, and the uber-intelligent Key, as well as dangerous cosmic powers such as the dark spirit Eclipso.
MISSIVES AND MASQUERADES
Aesthetic: think Lemony Snicket
Summary: A terrorist group has risen to global power, calling themselves the Masters of Evil, and made up of individual deep-cover operatives destabilizing world institutions from positions in high society. Using codenames such as “Riddler,” “Prankster,” “Mystique,” “Bullseye,” “Mad Hatter,” “Red Ghost,” “Deadshot,” “Black Hand,” and “Psycho-Pirate,” the Masters of Evil use their signature “gimmicks” and high-tech weapons, as well as an elaborate system of disguises and coded messages, to carry out their operations independently yet coordinated. Opposing the Masters is another secret society called the X-Men, adopting similar disguises and codes to interfere with the Masters’ machinations and put out their fires. Among the X-Men’s operatives are Diana, codenamed Wonder Woman, debonair Wakandan heir T’Challa, intrepid reporter Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth whose signature cover is as a valet, philosopher and master tactician Karnak, pop star Tandy “Dazzler” Bowen, the patriotic Captain Britain, the conniving socialite Emma Frost, the botanist and environmental activist known as Poison Ivy, and the brilliant young scientist Riri “Ironheart” Williams.
Gay couples in this one: T’Challa/Karnak, Emma/Ivy, Diana/Lois
Aesthetic: think latter-day Steve Ditko urban weirdness, especially Question and Creeper
Summary: On the surreal, sprawling streets of Ditkoville, nicknamed the “Living City” for the way its disorienting geography almost seems to warp and rearrange itself, mutants,monsters, and miracles are never in short supply. Creatures like Solomon Grundy, Carnage, Metallo, and the Cheetah terrorize the streets, while superpowered thugs like the Wrecker, Killer Moth, and Screaming Mimi rob those same streets blind. Keeping them in check are nightwalking vigilantes like the cackling Creeper, the swashbuckling Nightcrawler, the deadly Domino, and the shapechanging duo of Ms. Marvel and Beast Boy. But first and foremost among these heroes is Ralph Dibny and his private investigations firm, the Heroes for Hire. Dibny and his primary partners, Jimmy Olsen and Howard the Duck, chase down leads, while their stealthy superpowered associates Deadman, Black Orchid, and the Invisible Woman follow them up, and their erudite tiger coworker Mr. Tawky Tawny runs the administrative aspects of the firm.
CONQUESTS AND CASTLES
Aesthetic: think Jack Kirby, with high-fantasy grandeur given a sci-fi sheen
Summary: In this world, rulers commanding sorcery and science in equal measure rule over mighty empires, using their wiles and forging alliances with the intent of expanding their territory or simply of protecting their people. Doctor Doom rules the fearsome kingdom of Latveria, aided by his vizier Granny Goodness and his general Taskmaster, and occasionally undermined by scheming nobles such as Baron Zemo and Count Vertigo. Doom’s plans for world domination are stymied by Black Bolt, king of Attilan, and Arthur Curry, king of Atlantis, as well as by the Avengers, an elite group of soldiers gathered by those two kingdoms to continually foil Doom’s schemes. Among the Avengers’ number are Mary Marvel, blessed with the holy power of lightning, Thor, who commands that same lightning with his mighty hammer, the dark and mysterious Batman, the jolly freedom fighter Green Arrow, the lonely warrior Wolverine, the master martial artist Iron Fist, the winged barbarian Hawkman, and the dark sorceress Raven. Along with Doom’s forces, the Avengers face off against the wicked nobleman Wilson of House Fisk, the unstoppable beast called the Juggernaut, the magical trickster Loki, the subterranean monarch Mole Man, the sea beast King Shark, and the cruel slave trader Mongul.
Aesthetic: think the goofiest, most over-the-top 90s cyberpunk you can imagine. The Doom 2099 comic is close.
Summary: In a world where the resources of the human mind are hacked and sold for profit, biocomputing corporations like Oscorp, Apokolips, and Annihilation rule with nearly unlimited power. An angry young woman named Helena Bertinelli, calling herself the Huntress, uses homebrew cyber-weaponry to strike down the biocomputing lords and reclaim the free mind of humanity. She’s joined in this crusade by her companions the Birds of Prey, including the metal-winged Archangel, the sword-wielding Katana, the cyber-sorceress Nico Minoru, the dashing rogue called Nightwing, the breakdancing engineer Vibe, the merciless Shatterstar, and the bright young mind of Kitty Pryde. Together the Birds of Prey fight an uphill battle against the corporate forces of Norman Osborn, Darkseid, and Annihilus, as well as their enforcers such as the mercenaries Swordsman and Deathstroke, the time thief Chronos, the demented inventor Toyman, and the mysterious, unstoppable Eobard Thawne.
Gay couples: Helena/Nico, Vibe/Archangel