Madripoor - the Marvel comics history of the MCU's exotic and dangerous island nation

Madripoor in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Madripoor in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Madripoor is back. 

The fictional rough-and-tumble island nation made its Marvel Cinematic Debut debut in 2021's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as the headquarters of the Power Broker, AKA Sharon Carter, and now it has made another MCU appearance …

… or at least another MCU mention, anyway, briefly name-dropped in episode 3 of Disney Plus's Moon Knight.

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Slight as the mention might have been, it appears the mysterious and exotic MCU location has not been forgotten by Marvel Studios and likely will continue to show up in or add flavor to future Disney Plus streaming series and perhaps even feature films.

But where is Madripoor, and what's its role and importance in Marvel Comics, the inspiration for the MCU? And perhaps more importantly, what could Madripoor mean to the MCU in the future?

In a word - mutants.

So grab your fake passports and if you have the means some bodyguards as we're about to be your travel guides on a jaunt through one of Marvel's most interesting and dangerous locations: Madripoor.

Where is Madripoor?

Image of Wolverine in Madripoor

Wolverine as "Patch" in Madripoor (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The fictional nation of Madripoor is a southeast Asian island, somewhat modeled after Singapore – although Madripoor's political and social environments don't resemble anything in the real world. In the MCU, Madripoor is identified as a sovereign island nation in the Indonesian archipelago.

Since its debut in New Mutants #32 (opens in new tab), Madripoor has had a special place in Marvel's X-Men history, though the X-Men aren't the only characters to visit or spend time there.

Rather than be ruled by a traditional government, Madripoor is usually run by a rotating variety of criminal gangs and terror organizations. As the island was once home to many international pirates, it's become one of the Marvel Universe's biggest hubs of black market activity, even attracting supervillains.

Once ruled by Hydra under Madame Hydra, the sinister group was all but run out of Madripoor by Wolverine and Iron Man, who installed Madripoor criminal Tyger Tiger into power – though this was short-lived and resulted in a power vacuum that still causes the island nation's rulership to be in regular flux, with even the anti-mutant version of the Hellfire Club ruling for a time.

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Since first visiting Madripoor in the '40s, Wolverine of the X-Men has taken a special interest in the island. Wolverine's first ongoing title by writer Chris Claremont and artists John Buscema and Al Williamson (opens in new tab) launched with Wolverine living on Madripoor under another alias.

Wolverine lived on the island for years under the name Patch, where he worked as a vigilante in Madripoor's brutally poor district of Lowtown (its opposite, Hightown, being one of the richest places on Earth).

Years later, Wolverine's first Madripoor adventure was cataloged in Uncanny X-Men #268 (opens in new tab) by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee (before his DC publisher days), in which he teamed up with none other than Captain America and Black Widow to defeat a team-up between the ninjas of the Hand (longtime enemies of Daredevil) and Baron Strucker (who may play something of a role in current DisneyPlus MCU streaming series WandaVision).

Wolverine has since come and gone from Madripoor multiple times, with his latest jaunt occurring in the recent Wolverine # 8/350 (opens in new tab). For a time, Wolverine's son Daken was even in charge of the island.

Currently, Tiger Tyger is back in power.

Madripoor in the MCU

still from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showing Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, and Baron Zemo in Madripoor

Madripoor from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Now that Madripoor debuted in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we know a bit about how the island nation fits into the MCU. Like in comic books, Madripoor is a kind of haven for black market criminals and even supervillains, where Zemo has a personal history.

Sam, Bucky, and Zemo traveled to Madripoor to discover clues about the serum that empowered the Flag-Smashers, discovering a scientist named Dr. Wilfred Nagle was the one who reverse-engineered the Super Soldier serum from Isaiah Bradley's DNA. In comic books, Wilfred Nagle is the post-WWII scientist who conducts the Super Soldier experiments which Bradley survived.

There were a few interesting cameos in Madripoor during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, including Sam Wilson taking on the disguise of a villain named Smiling Tiger, an obscure bad guy from early '90s New Warriors comic books. Likewise, Sam, Bucky, Zemo, and eventually Sharon Carter encountered a villain named Selby who shared a name but not the physical appearance or apparent history of two different Marvel Comics characters, one of whom is a minor villain from the Mutant Liberation Front.

Madripoor is not run by Tiger Tyger in comic books, but by the Power Broker, a mad scientist who in comic books is obsessed with developing superpowers, and sells them to prospective heroes and villains for a high (and sometimes terrible) price. He's got comic book connections to many Captain America allies and enemies, including John Walker himself.

In the MCU, Power Broker - Sharon Carter in an apparent heel turn - is the one who commissioned Dr. Nagle to create his Super Soldier Serum, 20 doses of which were then stolen by the Flag-Smashers.

While Madripoor has only been name-checked in Moon Knight, after its role in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier it appears Marvel Studios is not done with the location and opens the door to a whole host of previously unseen and returning supervillains to enter the MCU. There's also the strong possibility that it's just a matter of time before mutants get involved. After all, mutantkind and Madripoor are often inseparable in Marvel Comics lore.

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)