A Primer On The Non-Mutant Human Subspecies of Marvel Comic’s Shared Universe
In 1963, the X-Men, and subsequently the concept of a human subspecies (mutants; homo superior) was born. Marvel pioneered a practice that just about every other major shared comic book universe embraces today. The idea of superbeings coming into existence, not by some convoluted accident involving radioactive insects, chemicals, or exotic radiation.
However, Marvel’s mutants aren’t the only example of this. Heck, technically they aren’t even the first.
The Krakoa nation has separated itself from the rest of the world. As they rebuild their population, the mutants await their time to retake the planet.
Today, we’ll address all the subspecies of humans that the X-Men and mutantkind will have to contend with as they wait to inherit the Earth.
Atlanteans – Homo Mermanus
The mutants indeed were the first to show up living amongst humanity on Earth. However, Marvel’s first hero, Namor debuted years before them in 1939 making the people of Atlantis the planet’s first human-subspecies. The Homo Mermanus were originally referred to as Sub Mariners, which is where Namor received his moniker. Unlike most of the citizens found in the DC version of the underwater populace, the entirety of Marvel’s Atlanteans have blue and green-hued skin. Namor being the exception.
The Atlanteans are shaped like humans with arms, hands, fingers, legs, etc. but also have some extra features that allow them to survive in the more extreme environments of the sea. Other than having gills to breathe the water, they are stronger and more resistant to injury than their human cousins. However, like them, they birth their young alive, not in eggs or sacks like fish or other species.
Having lived in the oceans for centuries within a society all their own, outside of mutants, they are the planet’s most proliferated sub-species. They also live substantially longer than normal humans. More than a century and a half on average, which explains Namor’s long maintained youthfulness. Due to his half-human genetic make-up Namor, unlike his deep-sea brethren, can exist outside of the water indefinitely.
The Atlanteans may be the X-Men’s best hope at forging a real alliance. Their ruler, King Namor being half air-breather possesses an active X-gene making him a true bridge between the two species. He’s been an X-Man in the past and has already considered allying with the mutant nation of Krakoa.
Inhumans – Inhomo Supremis
Like mutants, the Inhumans are a product of interference from the group of Marvel space gods known as the Celestials. Inhumans are different in that they did not develop their supernatural abilities through the presence of the X-gene, as mutants eventually did. The Kree already an ancient space fairing species by then, had begun experimenting on a small segment of primitive humans.
Having a similar physical and genetic structure, and curious about the interest the Celestials had in the race, the Kree studied and tampered with their subjects by the thousands over an unspecified amount of time. They hoped to use the information they gathered to create soldiers to use in their war against the Skrulls. The trials resulted in advanced intelligence and accelerated evolution across the board.
The Kree eventually abandoned their experiments and the Inhumans went on developing an advanced society while the rest of the planet’s population had yet to create the wheel. Genetically different from the rest of the humans on Earth, they continued to experiment on themselves in hopes of bettering their race. Those experiments led to the discovery of Terra Genesis via a special gas derived from special crystals. The process resulted in the development of awesome, but unpredictable powers and physical changes.
Over the eons, Earthbound Inhumans would occasionally reproduce with normal humans allowing their genes to disseminate down through family trees. This led to the creation of Inhuman subspecies that come to be called Nu-Humans. This new strain of Inhumans, when exposed to terrigen mist, would react much the same as their pure-blood brethren, but often to a lesser degree- presumably, depending on how far removed from their Inhuman progenitor.
Inhumanity and mutant-kind have been friends and allies in the past, but their more recent history has brought them to blows. For a time it appeared that the Inhumans would overtake the mutants in both population and influence on Earth, but as Krakoa grows in size and strength, they’ll most likely continue to play second fiddle to their mutant cousins.
There isn’t much known about the mysterious species of mutants known as the Neo. Like the Inhumans, they are a group of super-advanced humans that developed in secrecy separate from the rest of the world. From what we can gather, a concentrated, but small, cluster of humans with active X-genes formed a community a little more than one thousand years ago.
With no contact with the outside world, they developed their own culture and advanced technologies. They were so advanced, in fact, they had already made travel to space and neighboring realities commonplace by the time they made themselves known to the world.
Furthermore, the idea that they evolved from a hunter/gather culture is the fact that they are a tribal society comprised of clans or houses, like in ancient European feudal systems. We know several of these clans by name; The Goth, Shockwave Riders, Lost Souls, and Crimson Pirates.
For all intents and purposes, the Neo are mutants. They do possess X-genes. However, as the X-Men discovered, on average, they are far more powerful. This is probably due to centuries worth of breeding among their own. While most of the world’s mutants are only one or two generations deep, the Neo have been breeding for hundreds of years. They’ve most likely gone through several genetic evolutions of the X-gene.
Like the Inhumans, the Neo and mutantkind are on shaky ground. The Neo blame the X-Men for the actions of the High Evolutionary who years ago temporarily shut off the X-gene on Earth. The action cost the lives of many Neo, including the daughter of one of their leaders, Domina. Currently, most of the Neo’s warrior clans are no more, but an entire race that thrived for centuries cannot have vanished so easily.
The Children of the Vault
The smallest group we’ll talk about are the Children of the Vault. They only number five in total but represent human beings after undergoing artificial evolution. They achieved this advancement by having their bodies evolved for more than six thousand years. This was of course done via technology.
The Children have genetically advanced so far, they’re not considered mutant or human any longer. Which is most likely why they disdain both races and believe themselves the eventual lords of the planet. After a long hiatus, the members of the minor subspecies are poised to make another run and cause the X-Men some trouble in the near future.
Post Humanity – Homo Novissima
The Homo Novissima were presented to us during this past summer’s House of X/ Powers of X crossover event. We know less about them than even the Neo. That’s because they don’t come into existence for another one-hundred years and don’t come into prominence for another 900 after that.
The Homo Novissima is the result of humans apparently both breeding the X-gene out of their society while also incrementally artificially enhancing the human race.
They went about this by combining the flesh with the machine. Most likely leaning heavily upon nano-technologies and integrating artificial intelligence into themselves.
A man, only going by the name “Liberian” explained as much to Wolverine and Moira, 1000 years in the future. He detailed how over the centuries, humankind used Sentinels to cull mutants by the thousands and millions to give them time to perfect the process.
The first step towards this was seen in Powers of X. Orchis had come into possession of super-advanced Stark and Reed Richards tech, along with the advancement of assassins sent to slay Xavier in X-Force #1 (2019).
Members of the Homo Novissima, which completely inhabit the world a thousand years from the present, have blue skin with black markings. They also appear to be able to process information at quantum speeds and seem to be also capable of physically reacting at a comparable rate.
Personality-wise, they appear devoid of emotion as the entire society wishes nothing more than to sacrifice themselves to the Phalanx in the hope of achieving species-wide ‘ascension.’
Which non-mutant race is your favorite? Do you think we’ll be seeing one of these again sooner rather than later? Let us know below?