As far as Marvel superheroes are concerned, The Inhumans aren't as well known as many. Despite being powerful enough to take on the X-Men and interesting enough to sustain decades of movies and television shows, there’s been little aside from comic books and a run on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to feature the Inhumans since their debut in 1965. As a result, the general public and Marvel fans alike all have a very vague idea of what exactly makes the Inhumans so special.
While many would consider the Inhumans to be “a weird sort of almost-X-Men mutant type group of people,” there’s obviously more to them than that. And with Marvel and ABC having just announced a brand new Inhumans TV show coming to our screens next year, the world is about to get a whole lot more familiar with this particular race of superhumans. Before that happens though, you should get ahead of the curve. You should find out exactly why the Inhumans are such kick-ass heroes. You should find out what they can do, how they do it, and why it makes them so cool.
You should find out the 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know The Inhumans Had.
If you know nothing about the Inhumans, you should click here to find out. And now that we’re all caught up, we should learn about one of the most basic Inhuman powers; cocooning. You see, it all starts off with exposure to Terrigen Mist, which triggers mutant Inhuman genes that may be lying dormant in a human descendant of an Inhuman. From there, the process of becoming a proper Inhuman with superpower will begin, and it all starts when a protective cocoon forms around you.
It may not sound like much of a superpower, but in fact, cocooning is the power that sets off all the other powers one may gain as an inhuman. While the duration of one’s cocoon can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, once in the stone-like cocoon an Inhuman will start to morph into something greater than whatever they entered as. Superpowers grow and an Inhuman can take new on new shapes and sizes inside a cocoon. From there, they emerge with unique powers that are impossible to predict and often vary greatly from one Inhuman to the next.
Terrigenesis – that is, the process of becoming a superpowered Inhuman – is often a frightening and sometimes life-threatening affair. While many emerge from the process with powers, it was originally conducted on the Inhumans as a risky experiment, and thus undesired side effects such as physical deformities and genetic defects took hold as a result. On the Inhumans' original planet of Attilan, terrigenesis was also what determined your place in society, as rankings were given out based on what powers the Terrigen Mist gave out. Once these rankings were established there was no way to change your position.
While you may not agree with calling terrigenesis a superpower, the fact that it’s a highly powerful process that only Inhumans can go through is grounds enough to make it super. When considering all of the incredibly powerful Inhumans that have gone through the process it’s easy to see it as the precursor to great power.
13 Enhanced Lifespan
Inhumans – with or without modifications made by exposure to terrigenesis – are an extraordinary race gifted with many superhuman powers. Though like the mutants of the X-Men world they all have varying powers, some powers and abilities are constant throughout the population. Due in part to generations of selective breeding as well as Kree enhancements to the original humans that Inhumans descended from, an example of these population-wide powers is lifespan.
An average Inhuman will live for 150 years, which gives them a huge advantage over some of the most powerful Marvel heroes who – despite everything else – still have an average human lifespan. While the extra boost of 70 or so years on the everyday human is definitely a nice touch for Inhumans that have cool powers to enjoy, the downsides come when you consider the defects that many of them must live through. It’s bad enough to be a deformed mutant, but now imagine being a deformed mutant that lives for 150 years.
When it comes to superheroes “strength” is the one power that everyone seems to have on lock. No matter which hero you are or what your main powers are, strength always seems to be waiting in the wings, ready to come in handy during a fight. So wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly the case with the Inhumans. Yeah, it’s best not to mess with them.
The only difference between the super-strength of an Inhuman and the super-strength of say, Spider-Man, is that an unmodified Inhuman can lift up to one ton. That’s not to mention the Inhumans that have undergone terrigenesis and are specifically gifted with abilities of strength, because you don’t even want to know what those guys can do. Unless of course you do want to know, in which case you should get to know Calvin Zabo, Lash, and Eva Belyakov, all of whom can disarm even the most well-trained villain/hero/S.H.I.E.L.D. agent without breaking a sweat or taking out a weapon.
It could be argued that the greatest athletes in human history are actually just superheroes, what with their speed, endurance, and ability to make regular humans feel puny and worthless. So when you consider that every Inhuman has greater stamina and endurance than even the best athlete who ever lived, you have to show the Inhumans a little respect.
Known for their ability to never get exhausted, winded, or even remotely tired – no matter how late they’ve been up or how many supernatural forces they’ve been battling – the Inhumans are an incredibly durable race. Though some may seem bulky, heavy, and deformed, there’s no denying their physical prowess, especially when compared to Captain America. That’s because every single Inhuman actually possesses more speed, superior reflexes, and better endurance than the man who’s known for excelling at those things all throughout the Marvel Universe. And that’s certainly nothing to scoff at.
10 Element Manipulation
In one form or another, the manipulation of elements has always played a huge part within the population of the Inhumans. Perhaps it’s because the power affords its host a wide range of abilities, or perhaps it’s because the manipulation of the elements has been one of the most common powers in fiction and folklore since the beginning of storytelling. Whichever way you look at it, there’s no denying that the Inhumans have a history of doing some seriously badass stuff with a little manipulation.
Look no further then Joey Gutierrez, who is able to manipulate metal and cause it to shift into any form imaginable. Or perhaps look at Lincoln Campbell, an Inhuman who can manipulate molecules to the point of superheating objects, shooting electromagnetic energy, or even levitate people. You can also consider Lori Henson, a fire manipulator who is able to generate and control flames to the point of being deadly in battle. No matter which Inhuman you study, you can find ways in which element manipulation has brought on seriously cool and deadly serious results.
9 Psychic Abilities
Though many powers run rampant throughout the Inhuman population and are no more impressive than a human that can walk upright, psychic abilities are a little more rare. Seen only in some of the most powerful Inhumans who have ever lived, the ability to see what others can't is a power that comes with inherent danger. In fact, one of the most famous Inhumans to ever possess this gift was locked away in a dungeon once his powers of psychic sight were deemed too dangerous.
This Inhuman was Ahura, the son of the rulers of the Inhumans; Black Bolt and Medusa. His power was often referred to as an evil eye, and his psychic abilities have often caused death and destruction in the times that he’s been unable to control them. And while there have been others who have had some form of psychic sight, the power is one that – although possible in the Inhuman population – likely won’t be shown off by “everyday Inhumans” anytime soon.
8 Energy Absorption
Getting into the specifics of Inhuman powers is like crawling into a rabbit hole that goes down a very long way. Like the mutants of the X-Men world, there are nearly unlimited powers that can present themselves in Inhumans in a variety of different ways. When adding to the superhuman abilities of regular Inhumans the powers that come with terrigenesis, what you’re left with are superpowers that may look like ones you’ve seen before but are in fact very unique.
Enter energy absorption, a power most famously wielded by the Inhuman known as Lash. Able to channel any form of energy around him, store it, and turn it into any other form of energy, Lash has a powerful arsenal of options when it comes to utilizing his power. Not only is he able to transform blows against him into counter-attacks by reversing the energy thrown at him, but Lash can also absorb everyday forms of energy such as heat or solar power. With this unlimited supply of energy, Lash has been able to cause untold damage, which is something that he – as a bad guy – has taken advantage of on a number of occasions.
Similar to the psychic powers that are so rare in Inhumans, yet wildly different, precognition is a power that holds nearly unlimited potential for whoever wields it. Although it’s not as commonplace in the Inhuman population as say, strength or endurance, there have been a few important storylines in the Inhumans comic books that have had precognition front and center over the years. Yet, despite the fact that there have been a few clairvoyant Inhumans here and there, none have enjoyed the type of fame and fanfare that Raina – from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – has had.
Able to predict the future and use that information for her own good, Raina used precognition for selfish gain before turning her powers toward the greater good. Although bitter from her transformation after undergoing terregenesis – a process that left her covered in quills – Raina has shown that the powers of precognition are powerful; and perhaps just as dangerous as the psychic “evil eye” that Ahura possesses.
6 Sensory Manipulation
Add this one to a list of powers that only a few Inhumans have, but the ones that do have it certainly know how to use it to their benefit. Sensory manipulation may not have been enough to get them in The Avengers just yet, but the ability is by far one of the most appealing on this list. Furthermore, it’s something that we hope is featured as a main power in an Inhuman character once ABC’s Inhumans hits the air.
Different from elemental manipulation in that this power doesn’t bring the same tangible results, sensory manipulation allows the Inhuman that wields this power to get into the senses of anyone they choose. From there they can control any sense that they want, including manifesting pain and changing what a person sees, smells, or touches. This eventually leads to the ability to completely control a person through physical or mental means.
5 Enhanced Reaction Time
Although every Inhuman is naturally gifted with enhanced reaction time, oftentimes this power can be dulled when going through terrigenesis. If you consider the unique fact that Inhumans are naturally meant to live in a pollution-free environment, then the fact that the Inhumans of Earth find it difficult to adapt and use their powers to their full extent becomes a fascinating one. Especially because, despite all of that, the reaction time of even the most Earth-bound Inhuman is spectacular.
Superior to that of Captain America, an Inhuman’s enhanced reaction time makes them a near-undefeatable foe to fight on the battlefield. Although the power isn’t as glamorous as some on this list, many in the Inhumans' history have underestimated it and met an equally unglamorous fate. Whether dodging attacks or just stopping a drink from spilling, there’s no shortage of times that having an Inhuman’s reaction time wouldn’t be immensely helpful.
When it comes to travel, the Inhumans have advanced far beyond crowded airplanes and hours of flight. Well, some of them have at least. Those who are lucky enough with their terrigenisis can inherit the power of teleportation, opening up a whole world of opportunities for them. It can come in handy for so many reasons, not just skipping the morning commute.
One specific example is Gordon from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a master teleporter who could travel anywhere in the world that he wanted. With the ability to bring others with him and travel to new places – not just for pleasure, but for battle as well – you’d think that the power of teleportation was all well and good. Of course, like many powers that bless and curse Inhumans, Gordon ended up losing both his eyes as a side effect of terrigenesis and lived the rest of his life blind.
3 Inhuman Detection
Getting deeper down into the specifics and intricacies of the more obscure Inhuman powers, this particular ability has so much potential to drastically alter the world of the Inhumans. Though on the surface it may not be as cinematic as a power like teleportation, the ability to detect Inhumans is one that has had massive repercussions in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Inhuman storyline.
Famously held by Dwight Frye, Inhuman Detection actually works less elegantly than you might think. Rather than just a simple “Spidey-sense” for Inhumans (since nothing with the Inhumans can be without horrific pain and gruesome deformity), Frye’s Inhuman Detection causes him a great deal of pain whenever an Inhuman is near. Suffering from boils on his skin and mass trauma, Frye’s power may allow him to figure out who exactly is an Inhuman, but at the same time it certainly doesn’t keep his own Inhuman nature a secret from anyone who might be paying attention.
2 Paralysis Inducing Abilities
Forget about powers you didn’t know the Inhumans had; this one can be filed under powers you didn’t know anyone had. And while it seems to be a recurring theme that Inhumans can dole out as much damage as they can take, this particular power is a nasty one, especially when considering just how easy it is for everything to go wrong.
The way this power works – at least in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – is that an Inhuman with this gift can drop someone like a fly just by staring into their eyes. By making them paralyzed and stiff as a board, an Inhuman with this ability can pretty much win any battle. The trouble however comes with the ability to control this power, which was impossible in the case of at least one Inhuman. Eventually resorting to thick sunglasses and developing a fear of going outside, Lucio – again from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – had to do everything in his power not to paralyze everyone that he came across.
1 Explosive Touch
Move aside Human Torch, because Marvel’s First Family aren’t the only ones who boast a guy that can set fire to anything he wishes with just a simple touch. Yes, it turns out that the Inhuman population has a few of their own pyrotechnics amongst its ranks, and in that specific Inhumans way, they’re as scary as anyone else that you’ve ever seen on fire.
Although this power has popped up a number of times in the Inhuman population, the most famous Inhuman who possesses it from the comics is perhaps Inferno. Able to engulf himself in flames as well as cause anything he touches to explode or catch on fire, Inferno – as well as Hellfire – is a dangerous force to be reckoned with. Furthermore, since their power ceilings haven’t quite yet been established, it’s scary to think of just how much destruction an Inhuman with this ability can cause.
Which of these powers were you most surprised to learn about? Are there any that-- despite their horrendous side effects-- you wish you had? Let us know in the comments!