In DC Comics' DC Universe, a metahuman is a human with superpowers. The term is roughly synonymous with both mutant and mutate in the Marvel Universe and posthuman in the Wildstorm and Ultimate Marvel Universes. In DC Comics, the term is used loosely in most instances to refer to any human-like being with extranormal powers and abilities, be they cosmic, mutant, science, mystic, skill or tech in nature. A significant portion of these are normal human beings born with a genetic variant called the "metagene", which causes them to gain powers and abilities during freak accidents or times of intense psychological distress.
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The term was first used by a fictitious race of extraterrestrials known as the Dominators when they appeared in DC Comics' Invasion! mini-series. The Dominators use this term to refer to any human native of the planet Earth with "fictional superhuman abilities". The prefix "meta-" simply means "beyond", denoting persons and abilities beyond human limits. Metahuman may also relate to an individual who has exceeded what is known as "The Current Potential", meaning one's ability to move matter with mind. (See Telekinesis).
Before the White Martians arrived on Earth, Lord Vimana, the Vimanian overlord from the Xenobrood mini-series, claimed credit for the creation of the human race both normal and metahuman, due to their introduction of superpowered alien genetic matter into human germline DNA. The Vimanians in the series forced their super powered 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.
The Invasion! mini-series provided a concept for why 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 the meta-gene (also spelled "metagene"). This gene often lay dormant until an instant of extraordinary physical and emotional stress activates it. A "spontaneous chromosomal combustion" then takes place, as 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 reference the metagene when explaining a character's origin.
DC also has characters born with superhuman abilities, suggesting the metagene can activate spontaneously and without any prior appearance in the ancestry. 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 Larry Lance 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.
It is possible for individuals skilled in science and biology to manipulate, dampen or modify the activities of the metagene. During the Final Crisis while the Dominators were devised a Gene Bomb able to accelerate the metagene activity to the point of cellular and physical instabilities, an anti-metagene virus was spread 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 metagene and stripping the metahumans of their powers for an unspecified amount of time.
The genetic potential for a future metagene was discovered in ancient Homo sapien's DNA (500,000 - 250,000 years ago) by the White Martian race. The White Martians performed experiments on these primitive humans, changing how the metahuman phenotype was expressed by the metagene.
Due to their experiments, they altered the destiny of the human race. Whereas before, evolution would have eventually made mankind into a race of superhumans similar to the Daxamites and Kryptonians, now only a select few humans would develop metahuman powers. As punishment for this, the group of renegades known as the Hyperclan was exiled to the Still Zone, a version of the Phantom Zone.
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 very first Son of Vulcan. From that time onwards, the Sons of Vulcan passed the metavirus down in an unbroken line, sworn to hunt and kill White Martians.
The terms "meta" and "metahuman" do not refer only to humans born with biological variants. Superman and Martian Manhunter (aliens) as well as 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 including those not born with such power. According to Countdown to Infinite Crisis, roughly 1.3 million metahumans live on Earth, 99.5% of whom are considered "nuisance-level" (such as kids who can bend spoons with their mind and the old lady "who keeps hitting at Powerball"). The other 0.5% are what Checkmate 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 the Exo-gene (also referred to as the Exogene). It is a toxic gene therapy treatment 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'.
On the television series Birds of Prey, metahumans included heroines Huntress and Dinah Lance. New Gotham has a thriving metahuman underground, mostly made of metahumans who are trying to live their own lives, although a self-hating metahuman, Claude Morton (Joe Flanigan), 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 are 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 began to explore further corners of the DC universe. Non-kryptonite metahumans include the Smallville versions of Aquaman, the Flash, Black Canary, and Zatanna.
On the animated series Young Justice, the alien antagonists known as the Kroloteans have frequently used the term and have even researched into the discovery of a "metagene" by abducting and testing on random humans. The alien reach conduct similar experiments and kidnap a cadre of teen runaways to test for the metagene, leading several of these individuals to develop superpowers. In the episode "Runaways," a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist surmises that the gene is "opportunistic" in as much as it causes its user to develop powers seemingly based on their personal experiences or surroundings. In the third season a recurring plot-point is the trafficking of metahumans after humans learn to detect and activate metagene after the Reach invasion. In some cases, the metagene in some families is shown to be the source of similar abilities, as with Terra, Geo-Force, and their maternal uncle Baron Bedlam.
In the Arrowverse family of live-action shows, "metahuman" is used more narrowly than in comics, typically referring to a human being who becomes transhuman and has uncanny abilities, often acquired following some kind of strange accident.
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 (Fish Mooney) and super strength (Azrael). By the end of Season 2, Strange's victims escape and wreak havoc over the city. Throughout the series, the metahumans are commonly referred to as Strange's Monsters, simply Monsters (an allusion to Batman & the Monster Men), or the Freaks from Indian Hill.
In the television series Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning and his daughters Anissa and Jennifer are metahumans. The A.S.A. are tracking young metahumans with abilities. As the series progresses, it is revealed that decades ago, because of the city of Freeland's prevailing racial and political conflicts, the A.S.A. developed a substance supposedly as a suppressant to turn its citizens docile in the interest of controlling them but failed. Instead, it turned out to be a mutagen which transforms some of its citizens into metahumans, including Jefferson Pierce and his daughters who inherited his metagene after his fatherhood. Under Martin Procter, the agency illegally developed an addictive derivative of the drug called Green Light, which is distributed as a recreational drug in hopes to create more metahumans for Procter's agendas. Because the metahumans are dying from unstable mutations, Procter seeks to capture Black Lightning and his offspring because they are the only known stable specimens of the agency's drug. After Procter's death, the A.S.A.'s experiments are exposed and Freeland's metahumans' origin has become a public knowledge. However, it ignites an anti-metahuman bigotry amongst the people in Freeland.
Baron Bedlam is a fictional character, a supervillain in the DC Universe. The character first appeared in Batman and the Outsiders #1 (August 1983).Birds of Prey (TV series)
Birds of Prey is an American television drama series. The series was developed by Laeta Kalogridis for The WB and is loosely based on the DC Comics series of the same name. The series takes place in a Gotham City abandoned by Batman. Despite the series debut garnering ratings of 7.6 million viewers (at the time, the network's largest premiere in the 18–34 demographic), the series was canceled after ratings fell sharply in subsequent weeks. Thirteen episodes were produced and aired in total.Black Lightning
Black Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character, created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, first appeared in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977), during the Bronze Age of Comic Books. While his origin story has been retconned several times, his current origin story states that he was born in the DC Universe a metahuman with superhuman abilities. Black Lightning is DC Comics' third African American superhero, after John Stewart and Tyroc.Born Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning is originally depicted as a schoolteacher from the crime-ridden Suicide Slum area of Metropolis who acquires electrical superpowers from a technologically advanced power belt that he puts to use to clean up crime in his neighborhood. Over time, Pierce establishes himself as a successful superhero in the DC Universe, and later stories depict him as having "internalized" the belt's powers as a result of his latent metagene. Later retellings of Black Lightning's origins simplify his story by depicting him as metahuman with the inborn ability to manipulate and generate electricity.
Tony Isabella, an experienced writer having done work for the Luke Cage character at Marvel Comics, was signed on to develop DC's first starring black character. He pitched the idea for Black Lightning and it was developed though only 11 issues were published in the first series due to the 1978 DC Implosion. However, the character continued to make appearances in other titles over the years, including a Justice League of America storyline in which Pierce is offered but turns down a position with the group. Elements of Black Lightning were controversial when the character debuted. In the character's early days, Black Lightning was depicted wearing a combined afro wig/mask and affecting an exaggerated Harlem jive vernacular as part of his efforts to conceal his identity as highly educated school professional Jefferson Pierce. Black Lightning later becomes one of the founding members of the Batman-helmed Outsiders superhero team.
In the 2000s, DC Comics introduced Black Lightning's daughters, who inherited metahuman abilities from their father. His eldest daughter Anissa, known as Thunder, can alter her density, rendering her almost indestructible, and create shockwaves by stomping the ground. Pierce's younger child Jennifer, also a superhero known as Lightning, has powers almost identical to her father though she is still inexperienced and not in full control of them.
Along with his presence in comics, Black Lightning has made various appearances in DC-related animated television series, video games and comic strips. The character is being portrayed in live action for the first time by Cress Williams for the eponymous television series, which runs on The CW.
In 2011, he was ranked 85th overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.Department of Extranormal Operations
The Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO) is a government agency in the DC Universe appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. It was co-created by Dan Curtis Johnson and J. H. Williams III and first appeared in Batman #550 (1998). The agency was the focus of the Chase series.Doomsday Clock (comics)
Doomsday Clock is a 2017-2019 superhero comic book limited series published by DC Comics, being written by Geoff Johns, with art by penciller Gary Frank and colorist Brad Anderson. This series concludes the story established in The New 52 and Rebirth, and is a direct sequel to the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins.Fish Mooney
Maria Mercedes "Fish" Mooney is a fictional character created by producer and screenwriter Bruno Heller exclusively for the television series Gotham, and played by actress Jada Pinkett Smith. She serves as one of the main characters throughout the first season, until her death at the hands of Oswald Cobblepot in the final episode of the season. Fish is resurrected in season 2 by Hugo Strange. As a result of the methods Strange used to bring Fish back to life, she has the ability to control people by touching them and is thus a metahuman, an ability she later sacrifices to continue living.Grace Choi
Grace Choi is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Tom Raney, first appearing in Outsiders (vol. 3) #1 (August 2003) in the Modern Age of Comic Books. Choi is introduced as a young Asian American woman using her powers of superhuman strength, healing, and enhanced durability to make a living as a nightclub bouncer, who is reluctantly recruited by her superhero acquaintance Roy Harper to join his new crew of heroes, the Outsiders.
In the course of their adventures, Grace comes to take pride in her work as a superhero, and discovers that she is descended from a tribe of Amazons, explaining her better-than-human abilities, and giving her a new role model in Wonder Woman. While working with the team, she enters into a relationship with her teammate Thunder, the daughter of superhero and Outsider-founding member Black Lightning.
Outside of comics, Choi has made appearances in television shows and video games. The character is portrayed by Chantal Thuy in the live-action television series Black Lightning. However, this version of her is a Metahuman and not an Amazon.Joe West (Arrowverse)
Joe West is a fictional character portrayed by Jesse L. Martin in the CW television series The Flash. Created by Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg, the character was introduced in the pilot episode. He is the foster father (later father-in-law) of protagonist Barry Allen / Flash, father of Iris West, Wally West, and Jenna West, and future maternal grandfather of Nora West-Allen. Joe works at the Central City Police Department initially as a detective, heading its metahuman task force, and later as a captain, aiding Barry in keeping the city safe from superpowered and dangerous criminals. Martin has also reprised the role of Joe in the television series Supergirl, which is part of the Arrowverse franchise along with The Flash.Lightning (DC Comics)
Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Not pinpointed with direct reference, Lightning first appears in the miniseries Kingdom Come in 1996, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross. The character is given official introduction in Justice Society of America vol. 3 #12 (March 2008), written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham in the Modern Age of Comic Books.
Born Jennifer Pierce, she was born a metahuman in the DC Universe. She is the second child of superhero Black Lightning and the younger sibling of Anissa Pierce, the heroine known as Thunder. Forbidden to use their abilities until completing their educations, Pierce was put in contact and later becomes a member of the superhero team the Justice Society of America. Her father orchestrates this so Jennifer would not endure the hardships her sister did while transitioning into crimefighting. She possesses abilities similar to her father's of electrical generation and manipulation as well as flight. Thus far in her narrative, Pierce has not gained full control of her abilities.
Along with comic books, Lightning has made appearances in various television shows and the character is portrayed by China Anne McClain in the live action series Black Lightning.List of Doomsday Clock characters
Doomsday Clock is a superhero comic book limited series published by DC Comics, created by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and Brad Anderson. The series concludes the plot established between The New 52 and Rebirth, and is a sequel to the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins.The series also features a massive roster of characters owned by DC, but focuses more on Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen and Superman from the DC Universe.The following is a list of characters who have appeared.List of The Flash characters
The Flash is an American television series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns, based on the DC Comics character the Flash. The series premiered on The CW television network in the United States on October 7, 2014, and is currently in its fifth season. The series is a spin-off from Arrow, a show set in the same fictional universe.
The first season follows police forensic investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), who develops super-speed after he is struck by lightning. He is assisted by S.T.A.R. Labs' Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), and Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) in his attempts to use his powers for good and solve the murder of his mother by a superhuman attacker. The murder investigation unjustly imprisoned his father (John Wesley Shipp), leaving detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), father of his best friend, Iris (Candice Patton), to take in the young Barry. The memory of his mother's murder and his father's framing later motivates Barry to put his personal needs aside and use his powers to fight against those who hurt the innocent, thus, shaping him into the Flash.
The following is a list of characters who have appeared in the television series. Many of the characters appearing in the series are based on DC Comics characters.Maxwell Lord
Maxwell Lord is a supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Justice League #1 (May 1987) and was created by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire.
Depicted as a shrewd and powerful businessman, Maxwell Lord was influential in the formation of the Justice League International in the DC Universe.
Maxwell Lord appeared in an episode of Smallville played by Gil Bellows. He was also in the first season of the television series Supergirl played by Peter Facinelli. In this version he is the founder of Lord Technologies and distrusts many government agencies and superheroes.Mutant (comics)
Mutant or Mutants, in comics, may refer to:
Mutant (Marvel Comics), one of the main causes for super-powered characters in Marvel Comics, as well as a number of titles, groups or characters:
Brotherhood of Mutants, a group also called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Fall of the Mutants, a 1987 X-Men storyline
Mutant 2099, Chad Channing, a character from the Marvel 2099 universe
Mutant Force, a supervillain group, also called the Resistants
Mutant Liberation Front, a supervillain group
Mutant Massacre, a 1986 X-Men storyline
Mutant Master, a supervillain and member of Factor Three
Mutant Zero, a superhero connected to the Initiative
Mutant X (comics), a fictional universe in Marvel Comics
New Mutants, a group
Mutants (Judge Dredd), people changed by the radiation from the Atomic Wars
Metahuman, the DC-equivalent of Marvel's mutants and mutatesIt may also refer to:
Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesOMAC (comics)
The OMACs (; Omni Mind And Community, originally Observational Metahuman Activity Construct) are a fictional type of cyborg appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. They are based on the Jack Kirby character of the same name.The Flash (season 5)
The fifth season of the American television series The Flash, which is based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / Flash, premiered on The CW on October 9, 2018, and concluded on May 14, 2019, with a total of 22 episodes. The season follows Barry, a crime scene investigator with superhuman speed who fights criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities, as he deals with the consequences of his future daughter's time traveling. It is set in the Arrowverse, sharing continuity with the other television series of the universe, and is a spin-off of Arrow. The season was produced by Berlanti Productions, Warner Bros. Television, and DC Entertainment, with Todd Helbing serving as showrunner.
The season was ordered in April 2018, and production began that July. Grant Gustin stars as Barry, with principal cast members Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Cavanagh, and Jesse L. Martin also returning from previous seasons, while Hartley Sawyer, Danielle Nicolet, and Jessica Parker Kennedy were promoted to series regulars from their recurring status in season four. They are joined by new cast member Chris Klein.Thunder (comics)
Thunder is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Judd Winick and artist Tom Raney in the Modern Age of Comic Books. She is first mentioned in Green Arrow vol. 2 #26 (July 2003) and first appears a month later in Outsiders vol. 3 #1. Born Anissa Pierce the eldest daughter of superhero Black Lightning, she is a metahuman in the DC Universe. She is capable of increasing her physical density, rendering herself bulletproof, and creating massive shockwaves when stomping upon the ground.
Pierce is also the older sister of Jennifer, herself a superhero operating under the alias Lightning. Against her parents' wishes, Anissa chooses to utilize her abilities to fight crime. She is invited and accepts a position with the superhero team the Outsiders. Pierce is involved in a relationship with her teammate Grace Choi.
Along with her presence in various comic books Thunder has made appearances on a number of television shows and appears in the live action series Black Lightning where she is portrayed by Nafessa Williams.Vibe (comics)
Vibe (real name Paco Ramone or Francisco "Cisco" Ramon) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.
Carlos Valdes portrays Cisco Ramon / Vibe in The CW's Arrowverse, especially The Flash, in which he is one of the Flash's teammates.