Metahumans (Race) (DC Comics)

Metahuman is a term to describe superhumans in DC Comics' shared universe, the DC Universe. It is roughly synonymous with both mutant and mutate (in the Marvel Universe) and posthuman in the Wildstorm and Ultimate Marvel Universes. Use of the term in reference to superheroes was coined in 1986 by author George R. R. Martin, first in the Superworld role playing system, and then later in his Wild Cards series of novels.

Publication information

Publisher: DC Comics
First appearance: Invasion 1 (1988) (1st use of the term Metahuman)
Created by: 


Name: Metahumans
Phonetic: mítəhjúmənz
Alias: Metas
Identity: Secret
Universe: New Earth
Base of Operations: Various
Body Type: Humanoids
Average Height: 
Average Weight: 
Eyes: Two eyes, varying colors
Hair: Varied
Skin: Varied, though usually restricted to normal human skin pigmentation
Number of Limbs: Two arms and two legs
Number of Fingers: Four fingers and a thumb on each hand
Number of Toes: Five toes on each foot
Notable members: Black Canary, Cameron Chase, Snapper Carr 
Inherent abilities: 
Special Adaptations: Some Metahumans may generate unusual physical characteristics, such as animalistic features, or increased size, etc


Origin: Metahumans, by definition, are indiginous to the planet Earth, and make up a signficant portion of the planet's super-hero and villain community. Metahumans possess an extra gene in their biological structure, which is commonly responsible for the genesis of latent super-powers. This extra gene is referred to as the Meta-Gene. Possession of a Meta-Gene does not automatically equate to an individual being gifted with super-powers however. Sometimes possession of the Meta-Gene enables human beings to survive what would otherwise be considered fatal circumstances, thereby allowing external forces to prompt a physiological change which may generate super-powers.
Galaxy of Origin: Milky Way Galaxy
Star System Of Origin: Sol
Place of origin: Earth 


Metahumans: A term coined by the alien Dominators, and used to describe any human being with what are commonly described as "super powers". The prefix "meta-" simply means "beyond", describing persons and abilities beyond human limits.

The Metagene

One of the Dominators discovered that some humans had a "biological variant" he called the meta-gene (also spelled "metagene"). This gene often lay dormant until a moment of extraordinary physiological stress activated it, and upon activation it would use the source of the biostress as a catalyst for "genetic change," resulting in metahuman abilities.
There are also people 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 famed ultrasonic scream known as the Canary Cry.some may be born with incredible incomprehensible powers and abilities.
Examples of powers shared by many individuals include telepathy; telekinesis; flight; the ability to project energy, accelerated healing; and enhanced physical strength, agility, or senses; all to variable limits some have a minor to radical alteration in physical appearance from the human norm - wings, gills, a tail, fur, altered skin color, etc.

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. Dominators point out that the location of the Meta-gene is somewhere near the brain. (Of course, in reality every cell in the body would contain this gene.)

Metahuman criminals are incarcerated in special metahuman prisons, like the one built on Alcatraz Island, which 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 allows them to be located wherever they are.

White Martians

The genetic potential for a future metagene was discovered in ancient human DNA by the White Martian race. The White Martians performed experiments on these primitive humans, changing the metagene. Due to their experimentations, they actually 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 be able to 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. And 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" does not only refer 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 extranormal powers, no matter the origins and including those not born with such power. There are roughly 1.3 million metahumans on Earth, 99.5% of which are considered "nuisance-level" (such as kids who can bend spoons with their mind and the old lady "who keeps hitting at Powerball").[1] The other 0.5% are what Checkmate and the O.M.A.C.s consider alpha and beta level threats. For example, Superman and Wonder Woman were categorized as alpha level, while Metamorpho was considered a beta.


There exists 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. [2]. The project was controversial, creating a lot of unstable heroes and gave Luthor an "off switch" for their powers, creating countless mid-flight deaths.

Homo Magi

Some humans have inherent ability to utilize magic, and these humans are part of a branch or offshoot of humanity referred to as the "Homo Magi", who have interbred with normal humans. As with aliens and mutants with superhuman powers, homo magi are also often classed together as Metas by the general public.

Other MetaHuman Orgins 

As almost all super hero and villains are classified as Metahumans listed below are other ways super powers were developed. 
  • Speed Force (The Flash, Jason Garrick, Flash, Kid Flash, Johnny Quick, Max Mercury) 
  • Green Lantern Corps (reen Lantern, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner) 
  • Aliens (Superman, Starfire, Lobo) 
  • Cosmic Artifacts (Blue Beetle with the Scarab, Stargirl with the Cosmic Rod, Eclipso with the Heart of Darkness)

Powers and Abilities


Varies, see above



Average Strength level

Varied, though normall refined to average human strength levels


None known.


Habitat: Terrestrial
Gravity: Earth gravity (0.997 32 g)
Atmosphere: Metahumans thrive in an oxygen/nitrogen rich atmosphere, though some (depending upon the nature of their abilities), can sustain themselves in an environment without a definable atmosphere.

Population: 1.3 Million


Type of Government: Government type unknown.
Level of Technology: Technology level unknown.
Cultural Traits: Cultural traits unknown.


A Metahuman in the DC Universe is roughly equivalent to Marvel Comics' Mutants.