Mutate (comics)

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Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceFantastic Four #1 (November 1961)
Created byStan Lee
Jack Kirby
Place of originEarth
Notable membersFantastic Four
Savage Land Mutates
Grapplers Logo.png Search Mutate (comics) on Amazon.

In the Marvel Comics universe, the term mutate refers to a human who was turned into a superhuman, as opposed to mutants, inhumans, and other sub-races of humanity whose superhuman characteristics are genetically inherited at birth.


Mutate is a term used in Marvel Comics to refer to superhumans who acquired their superpowers by exposure to some mutagenic compound or energy (either accidentally or deliberately). Unlike Marvel's mutants, mutates require external stimuli to acquire their powers, since mutates are not born with the potential to manifest powers. Within the Earth X universe, the powers and abilities of Earth's mutates and mutants alike are the direct result of the genetic manipulations of the Celestials in humanity's distant past, who placed dormant genes within one cross-section of humanity, and the active Deviant and Eternal genes in other cross-sections.

  • The majority of Marvel's most popular and well-known characters such as the Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four gained their powers after exposure to radiation.
  • The first group explicitly called mutates were the Savage Land Mutates; a group of humans native to the Savage Land that were genetically altered using technology created by Magneto.
  • Wakandan mutates were created by prolonged exposure to the Great Vibranium Mound.
  • Some mutates were altered by exposure to the Universal Wellspring, such as Midnight's Fire, Speed Demon, Joystick, and members of the Folding Circle.
  • Some, like the Grapplers, were mutated by Power Broker, Inc.
  • Some humans have been altered by exposure to Terrigen Mists. Terrigenesis was previously used by the Inhuman race.
  • Deadpool fits into this category as he gained his healing factor from genetic alteration from the Weapon Plus program (derived from Wolverine's power).
  • On the island nation of Genosha, mutants who were discovered by the government were often genetically altered by the Genegineer into nearly mindless slaves known as mutates. These Genoshan mutates were permanently sealed into "skinsuits" which recycled bodily wastes into nutrition and prevented sexual contact, and when not working were kept in a concentration camp out of sight of the public. Though these "mutates" started as mutants, they are considered mutates due to the outside alteration of their abilities; for example, the mutate Jennifer Ransome's genetic potential was for healing, but the Genegineer altered her ability to grow in size and strength instead.
  • A few other famous Marvel superheroes are also sometimes included in the "mutate" category, e.g. Ant-Man/Giant Man (permanently mutated by prolonged absorption of "Pym particles") and Captain America (altered by the super-soldier serum, the results of which have sometimes been attributed to genetic alteration, and in other storylines have been described as a symbiotic prion-like substance or organism replicating in each cell in his body.[1])
  • In the post M-day, Forge created a team of "New Mutants" by artificially bonding functioning X-genes to the chromosomes of test subjects. Side effects included noticeable decline of the cognitive abilities of the test subjects.[2]
  • Some mutants are mutates as well such as Beast and Sunfire.
  • Mutates differ from "normal" people in the way their bodies respond to the mutagenic influence. While most people would die from gamma radiation (The Incredible Hulk #296), people like Hulk and the Abomination become transformed instead. Exceptions occur in more controlled forms such as genetic engineering.

Non-human mutates[edit]

  • The term "mutates" has also been used by the Deviants to refer to those of their race who are considered too severely deformed or otherwise not believed genetically suitable for reproduction. These Deviant Mutates are often sentenced to fight to the death in gladiator arenas for the amusement of the Deviant populace.[volume & issue needed]

See also[edit]

  • List of Marvel Comics mutates
  • List of mutates in Disney's Gargoyles
  • Metahuman
  • Posthuman


  1. Captain America #372-#378 (May - November 1990)
  2. Astonishing X-Men #25-30 "Ghost Box"

External links[edit]

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