The Marvel Universe is full of characters with tattoos. Some are artistic expression, some indicators of tragedy, and one a powerful weapon.
Which Marvel character has the coolest tattoo? A number of heroes and villains from around the Marvel Universe sport ink, ranging from heroic mutants to crazed assassins. For some, these tattoos are merely methods of personal expression, while for others they are the source of their powers. We’re here to look at some of the best, both in terms of design and utility.
Some characters like Wolverine’s son Daken or Hulk’s son Skaar have simple, swirling designs, but other individuals go for something more extreme. A notable, and most certainly colorful, example is Nuke, a villain who is regularly a thorn in the side of Wolverine and Daredevil. Despite the name, he has no nuclear-based powers, but is a cybernetically-enhanced killing machine – basically Marvel’s Terminator – with a huge American flag tattooed across his face. Another example is Shen Kuei, a regular associate of Shang-Chi. A lethal mercenary, he is also known as “the Cat,” and there’s a big tattoo of a cat right on his chest to prove it. The tattoo is something of a legend in the Marvel Universe; in one hilarious encounter in Cable and Deadpool #8, the Merc with a Mouth begs to see the iconic tattoo before he kills Kuei. More recently, citizens of Krakoa such as Kitty Pryde and Pyro have sported new ink, knowing it will only last as long as their next resurrection in a new, cloned body.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Then there are those who draw their powers from their tattoos. Ink of the X-Men is one of them; his body is covered in various tattoos, each one with their own power. For instance, he was able to make people fall ill by touching a biohazard tattoo on his skin. Later, it came out that he was not a mutant at all, but instead his tattoos gave him power because they came from a mutant tattoo artist named Leon Nunez. Nunez was able to impart super powers through his tattoos, and Ink was just one of his customers. The concept of a tattoo artist able to gift super powers is a fascinating one, though the character has yet to re-emerge.
While all of these are great, the coolest tattoo in the Marvel Universe is not on an actual character – it’s the tattoo itself! The Star Brand is a powerful weapon that grants its wearer fantastic powers such as flight, super strength and endurance, as well as the ability to manipulate matter and energy, and that’s only what fans have seen so far. The Star Brand appears on its user as a star-shaped tattoo, and it can be transferred from one person to another. Many people across the Marvel Multiverse have held its power, including Ken Connell in the New Universe, Kevin Connor in the mainstream Marvel Universe, and the baby Star Brand of Jason Aaron’s 2018 Avengers run.
The Star Brand is a planetary defense system that imbues suitable hosts with incredible power, making the tattoo itself both incredibly powerful and a mark of personal worth and heroism. Of course, there are some more upsetting examples of tattoos in Marvel history, and not just the kind of ink people regret in the morning. Magneto, Bishop, and Rachel Grey all bear tattoos forced on them by bigoted societies, choosing to either hide or embrace them depending on their personal philosophy.
Finally, some tattoos are cultural, with heroes like Snowguard and Gentle proudly representing their backgrounds as they push back against evil. Part of the appeal of Marvel and their characters is how grounded they are in the real world. Tattoos are very much a part of cultures the world over, so it makes sense that Marvel characters would have them. But it being Marvel, some tattoos go above and beyond a symbol on your skin – some give fantastic powers. With that in mind, the Starbrand gets the award of the coolest tattoo in the Marvel Universe.
Next: Marvel’s New Anti-Hulk Has Vibranium Tattoos
The Christmas Chronicles 2 Returning Cast & New Character Guide
About The Author