Marvel's Illuminati: History, effect on Marvel comic book universe, and more

The Illuminati (Image via Marvel Comics)
The Illuminati (Image via Marvel Comics)

The conspiracy about the existence of the Illuminati, an elite group of individuals controlling global affairs, has often been a topic of conversation. It has found its way into popular media such as movies, TV shows, books as well as games. Marvel Comics too introduced their version of the secret society, but fans have had a love-hate relationship with it so far.

With their first appearance in 2005's New Avengers #7, Marvel’s Illuminati consists of six core members: the billionaire Tony Stark, mutant Professor X, master of mystics arts Doctor Strange, king of oceans Namor, Inhumans leader Blackbolt, and the fantastic genius Dr. Reed Richards. Many other characters have joined and left the roster, but the core members have always stayed intact.


The group was formed after the conclusion of the drastic Kree-Skrull war that adversely affected the earth. Post-war, Ironman deduced that each core member held valuable intel about the enemy, which could have helped them had they shared it.

Ironman’s initial proposal for a secret group of influential superheroes was rejected by everyone, but the core members soon came together to form a group that would secretly control the decisions of every major storyline in the Marvel universe.

Marvel's Illuminati caused more conflicts than resolutions

In their first adventure, the heroes traveled to the defeated Skrull empire to warn them if the war was to ever happen again on earth. Their show of might instead turned on them when the group was captured and narrowly escaped the clutches of Skrull.

Members of the society secretly banded together and manipulated many other storylines. After Thanos was defeated in the Infinity Gauntlet story arc, Mister Fantastic used the help of fellow group members to collect the Infinity Stones. Later, each of the six core members held six different Infinity Stones to keep safe.

Members of the Illuminati (Image via Marvel Comics)
Members of the Illuminati (Image via Marvel Comics)

Marvel’s Secret Invasion storyline drastically impacted the credibility of the secret society when the shapeshifting Skrulls discreetly infiltrated the Avengers and caused havoc.

The team's greatest defeat came in the form of The Incredible Hulk story arc. After the Hulks rampage in Las Vegas, the Illuminati made the controversial decision to rocket the green raging monster to a deserted planet.

The already horrible-sounding plan went awry when Hulk was instead sent to Sakaar, a gladiator planet where he kicked off the Planet Hulk story arc. Years later, the Illumianti’s old mistake came to bite them when the Hulk, along with the residents of Sakaar, came to seek revenge and wage war against Earth. The Hulk not only smashed the secret society of superheroes but also humiliated them.

The infamous Illuminati is rumored to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While the movie might not depict a comic book-accurate version of this secret society, it’ll be fun to watch the group of superheroes on the big screen.

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Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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