In DC Comics ‘ DC Universe , a metahuman is a superhuman . citation needed ] The term is roughly synonymous with both mutant and mutated in the Marvel Universe and posthumanin the Wildstorm and Ultimate Marvel Universes. In DC Comics, the term is used loosely in most instances to be human-like being with extranormal powers and abilities, be aliens, mutant, or magical in nature. A significant portion of these is a genetic variable called “metagene”, [1] which causes them to gain powers and abilities during freak accidents or times of intense psychological distress.

The term as a referent to superheroes Began in 1986 by author George RR Martin , first in the Superworld role playing system, And Then In His later Wild Cards series of novels. quote needed ]

DC Comics

Main article: Invasion! (DC Comics)

The term was first used by a fictitious race of extraterrestrials as Dominators when they appeared in DC Comics ‘ Invasion! mini-series. The Dominators use this term to refer to the world of Earth with ” fictional superhuman abilities “. The prefix ” meta- ” simply means ” beyond “, denoting persons and abilities beyond human limits. [2] Metahuman may also relate to an individual who has been known as “The Current Potential”, meaning one’s ability to move matter with mind. (See Telekinesis ).


Main article: Xenobrood

Before the White Martians arrived on Earth, Lord Vimana, the overlord Vimanian Xenobrood from the mini-series, Claimed credit for the establishment of the human race Both normal and metahuman due to Their introduction of superpowered alien genetic matter into human germline DNA . [3] The Vimanians in the series Their super powered forced worker drones to mate with humanity’s ancestors Australopithecus afarensis (3 million years ago), and later Homo erectus (1.5 million years ago) in order to create a race of superpowered slaves. [4]

The Metagene

The Invasion! mini-series provided a concept for humans in the DC Universe would survive catastrophic events and develop superpowers. One of the Dominators discovered that select members of the human race had a “biological variant,” which he called meta-gene (also spelled “metagene”). This gene is often dormant until an instant of extraordinary physical and emotional stress activates it. A “spontaneous chromosomal combustion” then takes place, the metagene takes the source of the biostress – be it chemical, radioactive or whatever – and turns the potential catastrophe into a catalyst for “genetic change,” resulting in metahuman abilities. It should also be noted that DC does not use the “metagene concept” as a solid editorial rule, and few writers explicitly refer to the metagen when explaining a character’s origin.

It is also possible to introduce spontaneous and spontaneous approaches to the presentation of metagenesis. One well-known example involves Dinah Laurel Lance, the second Black Canary . Although her mother (Dinah Drake Lance, the original Black Canary) was a superhero, neither she nor her husband were born with any known metagenes. However, Dinah Laurel was born with a metagene, the infamous ultrasonic scream known as the Canary Cry.

The prefix meta – , in this context, simply means “beyond” -as in metastable , which is beyond regular stability and ready to collapse at the slightest disruption, or metamorphosis , which is the state of going beyond a single shape. In the DC comic mini-series Invasion! , the Dominators point out that the Meta-gene is contained inside every cell of the human body.

In the DC Comics universe, metahuman criminals are incarcerated in special metahuman prisons , like the prison built on Alcatraz Island , which is outfitted not only with provisions to hold criminals whose powers are science and technology -based, but even mystical dampeners to hold villains ( including Homo magi ) whose powers are magic based. Prisoners in this facility are tagged with nanobyte tracers injected into their bloodstream that allow them to be located wherever they are. [5]

It is possible for those skilled in science and biology to manipulate, dampen or modify the activities of the metagen. During the Final Crisis while the Dominators were devised a Gene Bomb able to accelerate the metagenesis to the point of cellular and physical instabilities, an anti-metagenic virus was spreading as a last-ditch weapon in the invaded Checkmate quarters. This metavirus has the opposite effects of the Gene Bomb, curbing and shutting down the metagenesis and stripping the metahumans of their powers for an unspecified amount of time. [6]

White Martians

Main article: White Martian

The genetic potential for a future metagene was discovered Homo sapien’s DNA (500,000 – 250,000 years ago) by the White Martian race. The White Martians performed on these primitive humans, changing how the metahuman phenotype was expressed by the metagen. [7] [8] [9]

Due to their experiments, they altered the destiny of the human race. Before before, evolution would have eventually become mankind into a race of superhumans similar to the Daxamites and Kryptonians , now only a few people would develop metahuman powers. As punishment for this, the group of renegades known to the Hyperclan was exiled to the Still Zone , a version of the Phantom Zone . quote needed ]


The White Martians also created a metavirus, a metagene that could be passed from host to host via touch. This metavirus was responsible for the empowerment of the first son of Vulcan . From that time onwards, the Sons of Vulcan passed the metavirus down an unbroken line, sworn to hunt and kill White Martians. [9]


The terms “meta” and “metahuman” refer to humans with biological variants. Superman and Martian Manhunter (aliens) and Wonder Woman (a near-goddess) and Aquaman (an Atlantean ) are referred to in many instances as “metahumans.” It can refer to anyone with extraordinary powers, no matter the origins and those not born with such power. According to Countdown to Infinite Crisis , roughly 1.3 billion metahumans live on Earth, 99.5% of which are considered “nuisance-level” (such as kids who can bend spoons with their minds and the old lady “who keeps hitting at Powerball “). The other 0.and the OMACs consider alpha, beta and gamma level threats. For example, Superman and Wonder Woman are categorized as alpha level, while Metamorpho is considered a beta level and Ratcatcher is considered a gamma level.


The 52 mini-series introduced a toxic mutagen called Exo-gene (also referred to as the Exogene). It is a toxic gene therapy created by LexCorp for the Everyman Project which creates metahuman abilities in compatible non-metahumans. It first appeared in 52 # 4 with the first announcement of the Everyman Project in 52 # 8. The project was controversial, creating unstable heroes that gave Luthor an “off switch” for their powers, creating countless mid-flight deaths.


In the short-lived DC / Marvel Comics crossover ” Amalgam Comics ” event, in the JLX series (-combining Justice League and Marvel’s X-Men ), metahumans are REPLACED with metamutants (a portmanteau of metahumans and Marvel’s mutants ) Who are Said to Carry a ‘metamutant gene’.


DC animated universe

In animated versions of the DC universe , the term metahuman is used in the animated series Static Shock .

Birds of Prey 

On the television series Birds of Prey , metahumans included heroines Huntress and Dinah Lance. New Gotham has a thriving underground metahuman, mostly made of metahumans who are trying to live their own lives, a self-hating metahuman, Claude Morton ( Flanigan Joe ), tries to convince the police that all metahumans are evil. In Birds of Prey , metahumans are treated seemingly as a race or species; the Huntress is described as being “half-metahuman” on her mother’s side.


On the television series Smallville , metahumans can occur naturally. However, the majority is the result of exposure to kryptonite , which in the Smallville universe can turn people into superpowered “meteor freaks”, often with psychotic side effects. For many seasons of Smallville , all superpowered people other than Kryptonians were so-called meteor freaks, but as the show went on it to explore the DC universe. Non-kryptonite metahumans include the Smallville versions of Aquaman , the Flash , Black Canary, and Zatanna .

Young Justice 

On the animated series Young Justice , the alien antagonists Known As the Kroloteans-have frequently used the term and Even-have Researched into the discovery of a “metagene” by abducting and testing is random humans. The alien reach conduct similar experiments and kidnap a part of teen runaways to test for the metagene, leading Several of These Individuals to Develop superpowers. In the episode “Runaways,” a STAR Labs scientist surmises that the gene is “opportunistic” in it as well as it causes its users to develop powers seemingly based on their personal experiences or surroundings.


  • In the 2014 television series The Flash, Dr. Harrison Wells and his team at STAR Labs developed in Central City. When it was activated, the device went critical and exploded, releasing a variety of theoretical elements such as dark matter and negative energy. Many Central City residents who have been affected by the blast wave were genetically altered by the dark matter, granting them superhuman abilities. People with such abilities are called “metahumans,” coined by Wells and his staff. The nature of a metahuman’s powers appear to be a result of an external element that they have been exposed to when hit by the blast. Eventually, under Harrison Wells and Cisco Ramon, STAR Labs develops metahuman-power and removes metahumans. Over the race of the series, many more metahuman villains appear, some of the alternate worlds or timelines and others who have no connection to the accident accelerator particle. In season three, STAR Labs uses metahuman-detectingapps to alert the Flash’s team to attacks; this technology is later used by city police and government agencies.
  • After The Flash Established the existence of metahumans, ict sister series Arrow Began to feature em, Beginning with the arrival of metahuman villain Deathbolt in Starling City (later changed to Star City); The team learns that Deathbolt’s powers are not derived from the particle accelerator blast, revealing the existence of metahumans from other means. Later on, the metahuman Double Down arrives in Star City to kill the Green Arrow and his teammates under the employment of the mystic Damien Darhk , though he fails to do so. Magical characters such as Darhk, Constantine , and Vixen recur in subsequent episodes, as well as occasional metahuman threats.
  • Arrow and Flash spin-off Legends of Tomorrow features numerous metahumans, including Hawkman , Hawkgirl , and Vandal Savage (introduced in an Arrow / Flash crossover), as well as recurring characters from those shows.
  • The television series Supergirl is set in a parallel universe to that of Arrow , The Flash , and Legends of Tomorrow , in which a variant of Earth where Supergirl is next to Earth-38 by Cisco Ramon. Humanity is aware of superpowered extraterrestrials such as Supergirl, her cousin Superman , and J’onn J’onzz , but the existence of metahumans is not widely known on Earth-38 until the first season’s episode ” Worlds Finest ,” a crossover with The Flash . In this episode, the Silver Banshee and LivewireSupergirl and the Flash, revealing the box of human-derived beings with uncanny abilities in the process. Silver Banshee’s powers are mystical in origin and nature, while Livewire’s are an anomalous mutagenic accident. Since the inhabitants of Supergirl ‘s earthquake, the Flash provides the National City ‘ s authorities. Later, in season two’s episode ” We Can Be Heroes”, shows that a prison facility at National City is using the Flash’s world’s metahuman-power dampeners to restrain its superhuman prisoners. season three, more metahumans, Psi , whose powers surfaces following her maturity.


  • In the television series Gotham , Professor Hugo Strange experiments with dead (and alive) bodies of criminals, Arkham Asylum patients, and civilians under the orders of the Court of Owls. There, Strange gives his victims superhuman abilities such as shapeshifting ( Clayface ), mind control (Mooney Fish) and super strength ( Azrael ). By the end of Season 2, Strange Victims escape and wreak havoc over the city. Throughout the series, the metahumans are commonly referred to as Strange ‘s Monsters or Simply Monsters (an allusion to Batman & the Monster Men).


DC Extended Universe

  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice , Lex Luthor is said to be a supporter of the “metahuman thesis.” Secretly, he is already conducting studies, with particular interest on Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, all of whom he classified as metahumans.
  • Also, metahumans appear in the movie Suicide squad as Amanda Waller talks about their skills when forming the squad. El Diablo, Killer Croc and Enchantress appear in the film.

See also

  • List of metahumans in DC Comics
  • Homo magi
  • Homo mermanus
  • mutant
  • mutate
  • Transhumanism


  1. Jump up^ Burlingame, Russ (4 October 2014). “The Flash: What are Metahumans?” . . Retrieved 23 July 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ “the definition of meta-” . . Retrieved 2016-07-23 .
  3. Jump up^ Xenobrood 6 (April 1995)
  4. Jump up^ Xenobrood 3-4 (January-February 1995)
  5. Jump up^ Outsiders # 12 (July 2004)
  6. Jump up^ Final Crisis: Resistoneshot (2008)
  7. Jump up^ JLA# 4 (April 1997)
  8. Jump up^ Martian Manhunter(vol.2) # 25-27 (December 2000-February 2001)
  9. ^ Jump up to:b Son of Vulcan (vol.) 2 # 5 (December 2005)

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