Reading through Brett White's question about Hawkeye got me thinking about whether some of the characters in the Marvel Universe who get their skills through training may have had a helping hand. Using Hawkeye as an example, his ability to hit moving targets at long range may be partly due to training but could he also have some form of mutation that aids his actions?

Is there any evidence in the Marvel Universe that 'normal' Marvel characters have some mutant powers that allow them to be super-human? Are all known heroes tested for the X-Gene?

  • 1
    I don't have enough in-depth knowledge of the history of the X-Men to answer fully, but in the wake of the House of M event (which ended with the Scarlet Witch saying "No More Mutants"), there are only a few hundred mutants left in the Marvel Universe, and they are fairly well documented. I'm sure someone with more knowledge of the X-side of the Marvel Universe can go into more detail, but to my knowledge there is zero chance that "normal" Marvel heroes could actually have powers due to the X-Gene.
    – Nellius
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:20

1 Answer 1

  1. There is no evidence in the Marvel Universe that normal superheroes have the X-gene being responsible for their powers. The closest you might be able to claim are mutates, heroes whose powers were caused by "radiation-accidents." These are events which release powers in "normal" humans converting them into superhumans. See: Hulk, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil.

  2. No, heroes are not regularly tested for the X-gene. But given the kind of scrutiny most hero groups undergo and the testing done by Reed Richards, most heroes have some sort of file kept on them indicating their genetic and superhuman capability status.

  3. Only the X-gene shows up on mutant scanners, the reason for this is unknown. Speculatively, most mutants utilize energies far beyond the realm of human possibility and have been said to have been derived from extra-dimensional sources. It is possible this connection to these extra-dimensional sources have a unique and detectable signature. See: Cyclops

  4. Talents like Hawkeye's while resembling superhuman ability or able to be copied by people with superhuman abilities (See: Taskmaster) are the result, in comic fiction, of a superhuman level of dedication to the ability in question. Humans with superhuman-like skills would be the equivalent of Olympic athletes constantly refining their skills, using the best tools, under every kind of condition, until they can do what they do, blindfolded, on a sheet of ice, on the rapids, while under fire by killer robots.

Those things being said, let's take a few things into consideration if you live on Marvel Earth-616:

  • If your metahuman power manifests when you are a child, spontaneously, and often without warning, you are a mutant. The average person knows this and until M-day feared it happening. If a parent discovered their child was a mutant, some hid the fact, others sent their children away, some met even less pleasant fates.

  • If you acquired your powers through an unexpected usually scientific means, usually called a "radiation-accident" due to the preponderance of heroes created in the 50s-60s by "radiation" the Marvel Universe calls you a "mutate" someone mutated by science or magic. For all intents and purposes, you appear to have the same kind of abilities as mutants but the meta-genetic ability is not activated naturally. It is heroes like these who would be the most likely to be X-gene type heroes.

  • Mutates, however do not show up on mutant scanners, so Daredevil, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four nor the Hulk test as mutants even though all of their powers were derived through "radiation-accidents" altering their DNA.

You do have a few other choices to develop superhuman ability in the Marvel Universe.

  • You could be an Eternal or descended from one. These are metahumans whose genes have been stabilized with a suite of formidable metahuman abilities and were created by the Celestials. See: Sersi, Zuras, Ikaris

  • You could be a Deviant, a group of sapient creatures who were the test subjects of the Celestials. Your genetic structure would be highly irregular and you would likely have superhuman abilities. You would certainly have a distinctive and unique appearance. See: Ransak the Reject, Warlord Kro

  • You could be descended from the Inhumans, a race of humanoids whose genome has the potential for genetic activation when exposed to the Terrigen Mists. Their powers range from decorative to catastrophic. See: Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak the Shatterer

  • 2
    Awesome answer! I never knew about M-Day, looks like I need to read House of M.
    – Enr0th
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 8:43
  • 1
    All your answers are so good, they deserve like +5s!
    – Möoz
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 3:47

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