Marvel Database


A Tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment.

The purpose and use can vary from religious and ceremonial to branding and marking for punishment. Other characters have used tattoos as general body art to express their personality.

"Катя Tattoo" created using Tatoo Man's Power

Decorative Tattoos

Some characters have tattoos for the simple sake of aesthetic, identification to a group and remembrance of people:

  • Colossus had tattoed in the middle of his chest a heart with "Katya" written across it.[1]
  • Frank Simpson, severely tortured by Wolverine and carved into his face the American flag, had those scarification covered by a tattoo of the American flag.[2]
Hamilton Slade (Earth-616) from X-Men Apocalypse vs. Dracula Vol 1 1.png

Membership Branding

  • The Clan Akkaba (composed of Apocalypse and his blood descendants) branded their members at birth or during their early childhood. The amount of Apocalypse's blood found in the child, or the strength of the bloodline, determines the size of the tattoo that one receives.[3]
  • In a similar manner, the Neo also displayed distinctive tattoos, regarding their clans.[4]
  • The Spider Society give their hunters the ritual spider shaped tattoo imbuing them with spider-like powers.[5]
  • Many Hydra operatives have the "Hydra Symbol" tattooed on their body.[6]

Bishop's M tattoo

"Phoenix Tattoo"

Leon tattooing Ink with wings to allow him to fly

Forced Branding

Some groups used the branding as an administrative or identification means towards individuals, ethnic or racial groups:

Tattooed Man (Earth-616) from Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 505 001.jpg


Superhumans, and especially mutants, have powers related to the creation or manipulation of tattoos:

  • Paint was a young mutant who possessed the power to "paint" tattoos by touch alone.[13]
  • Irezumi, whose name is Japanese for "tattoo," is covered with tattoos of all kinds. He can change the images of the tattoos on his chest into a likeness of an opponent, and once formed, it will hurl back (at an amplified intensity) any forced used against him by his opponent. The full extent of this ability is unknown, although he has only shown creating two images of opponents at a time. Also, it takes several seconds for his tattoos to change, and would have to stalk his opponents to form an image or wait if replacing images.[14]
  • The Tattooed Man, once touching someone, could raid their minds for their secrets. The ink from his tattoos will rearrange itself in a picture of those secrets.[15]
  • Tudo Sokuto was covered with tattoos which he could transform into three dimensional solid forms, and then animated them.[16]
  • Mutant tattoo artist, Leon Nunez could grant superhuman powers to others through drawing iconic symbols. The tattoo gave the power Leon believed it to bestow, draining a little bit of Leon's will as each tattoo, the power being an extension of his will. These superpowered tattoos included Super Strength,[17] Telepathy[18] Self-Propelled Flight,[19] Healing,[20] Protective Force Field,[20] Optic Blast,[20] Enhanced Agility,[20] and Breathing Fire[20] among others.
Nezhno Abidemi (Earth-616) and Megan Gwynn (Earth-616) from New X-Men Vol 2 39 0002.jpg

Vibranium Tattoo

The Wakandan Mutant Gentle had Vibranium tattoos and practice meditation to keep his limitless power, which is triggered by his emotions, in check. Without the Vibranium he be overwhelmed by his own power.[21]

(See Also: Wikipedia article)

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