Karnak Mander-Azur is the second son of an Inhuman priest and philosopher named Mander and an ocean biologist named Azur. They sent their first son, Triton, into the Terrigen Mist when he was an infant, rendering him incapable of functioning outside an aquatic environment. Thus, they pleaded with the Genetic Council to raise Karnak without Terrigen mutation. Karnak was enrolled in his father's religious seminary in the Tower of Wisdom, where he trained in various physical and mental disciplines until he was eighteen years old; meanwhile, at some point Azur died in a mysterious undersea mishap. Karnak also fathered a son, Leer with an unrevealed woman named at an unknown period of time.
Encountering the Fantastic Four
Karnak was with the Inhuman Royal Family when Crystal brought the Human Torch to their hidden headquarters, from where they searched for their queen, Medusa. When he met the youth he introduced himself by throwing him over his shoulder in a display of Inhuman skill. When Johnny awoke, Gorgon had returned with Medusa, and it was revealed that the Torch was not an Inhuman as Crystal had thought. After Gorgon and Triton fought with him, Johnny burned his way out of the hideout to alert the other members of the Fantastic Four.
Along with the rest of the House of Agon, led by Black Bolt, Karnak fought with the Fantastic Four - initiating the first attack by chopping off a piece of wall and throwing it at The Thing - until Crystal appeared and announced that Triton had been taken by the Seeker. Karnak and his fellow Inhumans soon surrounded Lockjaw, who teleported them back to Attilan.
There, Black Bolt faced off against his traitorous brother, Maximus, and quickly took his crown back by force and reclaimed leadership of the Inhumans, but the Fantastic Four appeared moments later, having followed the Seeker back to the refuge. While Johnny Storm and Crystal ran to each other, Black Bolt and Mister Fantastic argued, as Maximus fired his atmo-gun, intending to destroy all of humanity. When his weapon didn’t work, Medusa deduced that it proved Inhumans and humans were of the same race, which infuriated Maximus. He went out of control and reversed his machine, creating a Negative Barrier around Attilan that trapped Karnak and the rest of the Inhumans inside, while the Fantastic Four narrowly escaped.
While they remained trapped, Karnak became obsessed with breaking the barrier using his skills, but he only succeeded in injuring his hand. Eventually, Black Bolt revealed his secret, that the use of his voice was lethally destructive, and he soon used its power to destroy the barrier that imprisoned them. The Inhumans' Council of Elders soon decreed that the Royal Family would disperse and go into human society to learn more of it, while the rest of the Inhumans rebuilt Attilan. Black Bolt agreed, and led them out.
Sometime later, after the Terrigen Crystals were stolen by Quicksilver and then confiscated by General Demetrius Lazer, leading the Inhumans into a war with the United States which Karnak participated in until the Inhumans regained the Terrigen Crystals and Maximus took control of a partially destroyed Attilan.
While Maximus was in control of Attilan, Black Bolt was taken by the Skrulls and replaced with a Super-Skrull sleeper agent. After this Skrull was revealed Gorgon was suspicious of other Inhumans, even those in the Royal Family such as Karnak. When the Skrulls landed a ship close to Attilan and attacked, Skrulls hidden among the Inhumans also entered the fray, though Karnak was not among them. Karnak defeated a Super-Skrull which had his power and joined the rest of the Royal Family, save for Maximus, to rescue Black Bolt from the Skrull Battleship Ryb'ik where he was being experimented on in an attempt to create a powerful weapon with which to destroy Attilan.
When the Inhumans decided to leave Earth and go take over the weakened Kree Empire, Karnak used his abilities to uncover weakness' in the planet Hala's shields which allowed the Inhumans to invade and be given rule over the Kree.
Following the destruction of Attilan when Black Bolt was confronted by Thanos, and the spread of the Terrigen Mists upon the entire face of Earth, Karnak was left mentally scarred and begun tearing up the Upper West Side of Manhattan, babbling and sobbing uncontrollably. He was subdued by the Avengers and placed in custody at the Avengers Tower, where he explained how the recent events truly affected the Inhumans.
When he was pondering the reason for Black Bolt to spread the Terrigen Mists, and what would happen next, Karnak had an epiphany in which he finally saw "the fault in all things." He told Medusa, who was present during his interrogation, that she needed to forget everything she thought she knew, ignore the instincts and forget the past; otherwise, all would be lost. Following this revelation, in which he stated it was too late for him to unlearn a lifetime of error, Karnak shattered the window from his containment cell and jumped out of the Stark Tower, falling to his death and killing himself.
However, Karnak was a distant relative of the NuHuman Lineage, whose body contained the consciousnesses of every deceased from his genetic line. Karnak found himself inside Lineage's body, which he thought was Hell, and there he tried to convince some dead Inhumans to help him escape, but failed.
Meanwhile, Lineage became Medusa's adviser when she made the kingdom of New Attilan from the ruins of Attilan, though he planned to betray her. Karnak decided to break out of Hell on his own, but found an ally in the Capo of Ennilux, who was consumed by Lineage in order to learn how to use the Inhuman Codex. Karnak learned from him how Lineage had been able to defeat both Medusa and Gorgon.
Karnak and the Capo then battled the guards of the exit from "Hell" and Karnak managed to defeat one of the two guards, then broke the door's mechanism while the Capo held the other. Karnak emerged from Lineage's chest just as he had defeated Medusa, apparently killing him. Karnak apologized to Medusa for leaving them in such a critical time and told her that she saved the Inhumans in the time of crisis.
The Second Tower of Wisdom
Eight months later, Karnak left New Attilan and took the title of Magister of a monastery known as the Second Tower of Wisdom. He led the monks there and passed on the philosophical teachings of his father. In order to sustain the monastery, he often gave his services to S.H.I.E.L.D. by rescuing newly activated Nuhumans and guiding them through the change for a million dollars each. He was later contacted and taken to the Arctic by S.H.I.E.L.D., who explained they needed him to rescue Nuhuman Adam Roderick from I.D.I.C. and rehabilitate him. Magister Karnak deduced an agent in the base was a mole. After he subdued him, Karnak ruptured his liver and destroyed his knee until he revealed the location of an I.D.I.C. cell in Berlin. After Field Director Coulson stopped Karnak from killing the mole, he agreed to recover and rehabilitate Adam.
Karnak later attacked I.D.I.C.'s Berlin cell and encountered the Zen Gunner who insisted that Adam had not been abducted, rather had joined I.D.I.C. of his own free will and had become their Inhuman messiah. After a brief skirmish, as he lay dying, the Zen Gunner told Karnak that he would find Adam at the Chapel of the Single Shadow, but he would not reveal the whereabouts of the location, as that would deprive Karnak of the journey of discovery. Upon dispatching the Zen Gunner, the Magister struck a fault point within the I.D.I.C safehouse causing it to collapse into utter disarray. Afterwards he stopped at a humble cafe and asked the waitress for the freshest, purest spring water available, then sat shunning the visual displays of love and affection outside of his window view.
When later asked by his server about his activities, the two were interrupted by the arrival of Field Director Coulson and Agent Simmons; the director a little less than pleased with his progress. After a long sermon about the three worlds using Phil, Jemma, and his caterer as his break down pertaining to A. our world and its view of importance, B. the scientifically studied portion of life on it, and C. the beautiful rock that is the world which is and always will be perfection in and of itself; ending in A. Coulson paying for his bar tab. They all set off for the cultist's base in the Eastern European country of Transia, where the Chapel that Karnak sought was located. On the way there, he ruminated on an image plucked from the group's dark-site, feeling if one were religious they would praise some kind of god and that the fanaticized A.I.M. offshoot's coming of their lord may be the key to fixing said god's mistakes by unmaking the aforementioned creator's creation.
Dubbing the single shadow picture as the beginning point of a renewed existence representing its reduction back to singular form, when Phil commented on something needing to be casting the shadow, he was rather perturbed by his escort's response of a burning god's light blocked by the shadow of said other godly incarnation, as all became nothing around him again. Reaching their destination, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier soon came under attack by more altered priests serving and protecting; in Karnak's words, a "gaudy" monastery, all of whom he swept aside in bloody fashion as he screeched a counter resonance against their sonic attack by broadcasting it over the vessel's speaker system, cracking an evil smile when a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent asked if he was Satan. All but humbly replying that the latter is but a story, and that he is Karnak.
Moving to descend upon the chapel grounds the Inhuman hermit is escorted by the same agent whom he frightened with his display to the vessels transporter bay. After recommending him coming to train at the tower of wisdom to overcome his fears, the weary warrior traded across the sea of bodies left in his wake venturing onward into the enemy stronghold. Both perplexed and aloof at the displays the spy cultists have erected Karnak is soon beset by more of it's altered priests, as if they were descending upon an open stage during a play. While initially having trouble dispatching the opposition he finally succeeded only to be greeted by his prime objective and a white-clad host accompanying him. After Karnak mentioned he had come to retrieve him, Adam stated he was fine were he was he wishing his would be liberator would tell his parents while he loved them he would not be coming home, saying he was happy and that I.D.I.C's priests were showing him just who was, what he was and how to truly utilize his abilities. When the former moved in to acquire the boy by force, one of his guardians moved in and intercepted him using powers he received from Mr. Rodrick. After the group warps out a deeply perturbed Karnak initiates a communications device he picked off of Coulson to contact S.H.I.E.L.D. Voicing his concerns over the young mans true talents and the threat the cult cell now presented, formally requesting their assistance in tracking him down before asking them to level the Chapel itself.
Powers and Abilities
Inhuman Metabolism: Besides strength, Karnak possesses certain physical skills superior to those of human athletes. His Inhuman metabolism affords him slightly greater reaction time, endurance, and speed than the human race's most perfect physical specimen, Captain America:
- Enhanced Reflexes
- Enhanced Endurance
- Enhanced Speed
- Enhanced Strength
- Enhanced Durability: He has toughened all the striking surfaces of his body in general and his hands in particular, so that they are covered with dense callus. Karnak is capable of shattering wood, cinderblock, and even mild steel.
Autonomic Function Control: Karnak has physically conditioned his body and mind to their peak levels of efficiency. He has voluntary control over most of his body's autonomic functions: breathing, heartbeat, bleeding, reaction to pain, rate of healing, etc.
Stress Point Detection: Through mental discipline, Karnak has gained the extrasensory ability to perceive the stress points, fracture planes, or weaknesses, physical or psychological, in all objects or persons around him. By striking and applying pressure at these points, he can split or shatter objects made of seemingly invincible substances or render insensate beings of far greater strength than he. This mental discipline is virtually effortless, and Karnak can attain this state of awareness for extended periods of time.
- Precognition: At his very end, Karnak was able to see fragments of the future, by bending the definition of his powers.
- Psychological Intuition: An after effect of Karnak's ability to discern faults also includes understanding the logical conclusions stemming to a person's rational.
Contortionist: He is extremely lithe and flexible, able to expand and contract his muscles and contort his body into seemingly painful positions.
Master Martial Artist: Karnak is a highly skilled martial artist, capable of taking on multiple opponents with his martial art skill, sometimes with a single strike, defeating monsters with nothing but his martial ability and has easily beaten the likes of Black Widow, Iron Man, Human Torch, Fantomex and even briefly fought Daredevil, Taskmaster, Black Panther, and Mantis before being defeated. He is easily the best martial artist in Attilan and is one of the worlds finest hand to hand combatants, his inhuman speed combined with his fighting ability as well as his ability to find weak spots make him a dangerous and incredibly talented martial artist.
Karnak possesses a degree of superhuman strength, derived from his eugenically superior Inhuman heritage and his intensive regimen of regular exercise. Karnak can lift (press) about 1 ton.
- Despite being sometimes incorrectly stated to have his weaknesses-finding abilities from Terrigenesis, it is confirmed that they aren't Terrigenesis-based.
- Jean Grey considered Karnak to be the most dangerous Inhuman.
- During Inhumans: Right of Birth, The council said of Karnak "He was not put in the mist yet his inherent powers developed anyway".
- 336 appearance(s) of Karnak Mander-Azur (Earth-616)
- 39 minor appearance(s) of Karnak Mander-Azur (Earth-616)
- 11 mention(s) of Karnak Mander-Azur (Earth-616)
- 262 image(s) of Karnak Mander-Azur (Earth-616)
- 25 quotation(s) by or about Karnak Mander-Azur (Earth-616)