Mutant (fictional)

Mutant (fictional)

The concept of a mutant is a common trope in comic books and science fiction. The new phenotypes that appear in fictional mutations generally go far beyond what is typically seen in biological mutants, and often result in the mutated life form exhibiting superhuman abilities or qualities.


Marvel Comics

In Marvel Comics, genetic mutation has been used as an explanation for super-powers since the 1950s.[1][2][3] Mutants have played a major role in Marvel comics, particularly the X-Men and related series. In the Marvel Comics universe, they are a heavily-persecuted minority. The Marvel Universe redefines the term to beings who are in a higher stage of evolution known as "Homo superior" and are not yet accepted by the human race.

DC Comics

Mutants play a smaller, but still substantial role in DC Comics, where they form part of the population known as metahumans. DC Comics does not make a semantic or an abstract distinction between humans (or superheroes/villains) born with mutations making them different from humans mutated by outside sources. All humans with powers are simply referred to, and treated as, one group collectively known as metahumans. The term mutant does still exist for humans born with actual powers instead of attaining them. For instance, a select group of minor characters from Team Titans, Justice Society and Infinity Inc. are seldom referred to as mutants, not metahumans.[citation needed]

Those who gain powers after their birth may be called metahumans, but in the Justice League cartoon, the Royal Flush Gang were called mutants by the Joker because they were born with superpowers. Likewise, the mid-1950s DC superhero Captain Comet was born with his powers and was described as a mutant. Killer Croc, an enemy of Batman, has also been called a mutant.[citation needed]

Usually writers tend to use the term for parodying purposes. Doom Force, a mutant group which mimics the Marvel Universe at the time, toils with the fact that X-Force is a revamped Doom Patrol. Another group of Mutants are the Outcasts. Much like the X-Men, Outcasts are a group of mutants in a dystopian future struggling to survive.[citation needed]

Also characters who were transformed through radiation or a mutagenic gas are sometimes identified as mutants instead of Marvel's term, 'mutates'.[citation needed] In the Static Shock animated series Virgil Hawkins was first described as one before introducing the term metahuman.[citation needed]

Mutants in the DC Universe use the traditional terminology of there being a genetic deformity. One particular example of a mutant in the DC Universe is Captain Comet.

Judge Dredd

In the Judge Dredd comic stories Mutants are caused by the effects of radiation after the Atomic Wars. All Mutants are banned from Mega-City One and are deported into the Cursed Earth Wasteland. This policy has left the mutants resentful and they often attack the city. Dredd himself has voiced doubts about the policy and when on duty in the Cursed Earth treats mutants the same as any other beings. He will however carry out the law when they enter the city.

In at least one version of this world's future, (see Strontium Dog and Durham Red) this will lead to the normals attempting genocide against mutants in the mid-2160s, and a long war called the Bloodshed in the 24th century.

Mutants in other media

Comic books

Print media

  • A December, 1953 article in Mechanix Illustrated Magazine called "How Nuclear Radiation Can Change Our Race", warned that in the event of an "Atom War", a mutant species of supermen might arise to assist --or to dominate-- humanity. The article was written by "O. O. Binder", and opened with a two-page illustration drawn by comic book artist Kurt Schaffenberger, which shows bald, large-craniumed mutants either helping humanity with their superior intellects (in a small section of the picture) or dominating mankind as slavemasters (in the much bigger splash image).[4]
  • The Mutant Chronicle novels are based on a pen and paper role-playing game originally published in 1993. It was made into a film (which has very little to do with the novels or the RPG) entitled Mutant Chronicles in 2009.

Video games

  • Crash: Mind over Mutant
  • The Fallout series features mutants throughout as a result of both radiation and an engineered virus.
  • Mutants in System Shock are created when humans are exposed to a mutagen virus.
  • Mutants in Resident Evil are created when humans or animals are infected by one of the world's many fictional pathogens.
  • In Crackdown 2, mutants are the result of research from the Agency.
  • Pig Cops, mutated police officers as well as other mutants in the Duke Nukem series.
  • Mutants in Metro 2033 are the result of radiation after a devastating nuclear war.


In the remake series of The Hills Have Eyes, the Mutants or Hill People are humans who have been given misshapen physicalities due to radiation exposure from nuclear weapons testing.


In Beast Wars: Transformers, Rampage is a mutant (or at least his spark is) Cybertronian science experiment due to his indestructible spark, of which is simply a replication of Starscream's own spark (most likely indicating that he is also a mutant).

In Zevo-3, mutants are people and creatures disfiguratively mutated by a chemical compound called zevo, turning animals into monsters and giving people superpowers.


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