- There's a belief among the Inhumans that Terrigenesis simply reveals who you truly are. That it erases the lie and uncovers the truth.
- While I possess the Terrigen Mists, I am more important an aide to our High Lord than is Sinister with all his genetic machinations. The Mists are mutagenic, it is how I have the ability to turn my ordinary countrymen into the most extraordinary of creatures.
The exposure to the Terrigen Mists, or Terrigenesis (sometimes called "T-Gen", Terrigenisis, or Terrigenation) is a process allowing Earth Inhumans to inhale the Mists obtained from the use of the Terrigen Crystals, in order to activate their Inhuman genes and ascend as meta-humans.
Phadion and Rhaya were exiled off the island Attilan for opposing Kadir, along with Tuk, heir of Attilan, possibly their son, and the first offspring of the Inhumans. Tuk lived among the mortals, and his genetic code passed down through generation, increasing the ordinary humans' susceptibility to mutation.
Inhuman geneticist Randac isolated the catalyst for his people about 25,000 years ago, He named the material in crystal form Terrigen. Having taken the work of the Kree, he intended to use it to evolve his people into weapons able to fight back if the Kree returned, creating controversy and dividing his people by his works. Exposing himself to the Mists, Randac became a Godlike-entity, with mental abilities equaling those of the Eternals.
He created a program of voluntary Terrigenesis, which was eventually stopped due to half of the subjects demonstrating nonhuman mutations. This led to the creation of genetic screening before Terrigenesis.
When at the correct temperature and with exposure to water, the crystals react to produce the Terrigen Mists. These vapors are then pumped into a flux chamber during the Terrigenesis process, powering the Inhuman.
Randac's original process was refined and regulated to avoid accidents.
In the last moments of the Silent War, the Terrigen Crystals stolen by Quicksilver and the O*N*E were once again placed into the Terrigen chamber, but Karnak stated that, due to several missing fragments, Terrigenesis would be more unpredictable in the future.
Rules and Customs
Even among the Inhumans, Terrigenesis is not a common process and not every Inhuman will go through it. In the past, all Inhumans were allowed, producing "radical" and "monstrous" mutations, while damaging the Inhuman gene pool.
In order to stop that genetic loss, every Inhuman had to go through a strict genetic screening before being allowed to go through the transformation. After "many millenia", that strict rule allowed the Inhumans to restore their genetic diversity.
Due to the risk of uncontrolled mutations, the Genetic Council had forbid any humans to go through Terrigenesis and the genetic screening prohibited the Terrigenesis to any Inhuman with human lineage.
As a general rule, Terrigenesis was predominately undertaken by older individuals. Restricted by genetic screenings, it was considered as a rite of passage that was not taken by every Inhuman. Inhumans would prepare all their lives to undergo Terrigenesis.
During the Terrigenesis process (the exposure to the Terrigen begins), Inhumans will often form a cocoon around themselves, named "Inhuman Terrigenesis Cocoons", "Terrigen Cocoon", "Cocoon of metamorphosis" (by Meruda), or simply "Cocoons".
It seems not all Inhumans or hybrids create a Cocoon:
- The Inhuman Petras Petragon and most of the known hybrids present among the human populations, including the Inhuman descendant Kamala Khan. did not form a cocoon.
- Specific cases like Thane, or Gorgon during his Secondary Terrigenesis weren't seen forming a cocoon.
The time before the cocoon's hatching "is down to matters of just how much Inhuman genetic code a person might possess, and how dominant or recessive it might be, and also to the quantity and purity of the Terrigen that sets off the transformation." Terrigenesis can be incomplete, triggering a cocoon but not result transformation and, in some instances, killing the subject.
Other species, including humans, mutants, and Skrulls have not been shown to form a cocoon, and allegedly, humans don't form a cocoon.
The process will produce a new gene in the Inhuman genetic settings, or triggered latent mutant genes, Inhuman genome or Inhuman gene granting him powers and/or a new appearance, with results impossible to predict.
It has also been theorized that Terrigenesis responds to the needs, fears, or desires of the Inhuman as individuals or a nation;
- Geneticist Ultarnt proposed that Terregenesis was related to the needs of the Inhumans. After studying the seemingly random transformations she realised the mists altered the Inhumans to adapt to the needs of the group, conflict lead to more aggressive mutations. However, this discovery was deemed too great for the Inhumans and it's secret was hidden with only a handful like Karnak knowing this.
- During the Silent War, Professor Cartwright stated that the Terrigenesis acted to give the subject his most desired or most feared thought. Just as Cartwright, who desired to be like his idol Captain America, was given muscular form. In this way he theorized that some control over the process was possible in order to influence Terrigenesis.
- He furthermore stated that the Secondary Terrigenesis was even more risky.
- During the War of Kings, Karnak stated that the high number of aquatic mutations among the new Inhumans was possibly an anticipation of the Terrigen Mists, to provide for the needs of soldiers to be effective in zero-gravity environment in a predominately space based conflict.
- Later, during the release of the Terrigen Bomb on Earth, other cases hinted towards theories of correlation on the individual scale:
- June Covington stated that Richard Schlickeisen's mutation, an invisibility to the machines, was "a magnificent enhancement for the 21st century", because of the global electronical surveillance, and postulated that the Terrigen was sentient and receptive to the environment.
- Joey Nobili developed light-drawing abilities allowing to reproduce complex drawings, while he never managed to draw correctly what he imagined before.
- It is said that Inhumans are often born to serve a specific purpose.
On Earth-199999, it is the belief of the Inhumans who live at Afterlife that the Terrigen mists give an individual their abilities to serve a particular purpose. For example, the Inhuman known as Lash was given abilities that were perfectly able to counter those of Hive, another Inhuman. However, it is also implied that an Inhuman's abilities are purely random, as their Kree creators view them as "failed experiments."
Comparatively, Doctor Lucius Kleinstein supposed correlations between personality and the mutations among the mutants. Also related, the Gamma Mutates themselves allegedly obtain physical transformation matching their subconscious.
Reproduction of other species features
- Gorgon's mold species had been neutralized.
- Triton once encountered the Pelagians, a species with the exact same physical features.
There is an hereditary transmission of terrigenated attributes: The Inhumans are often born with characteristics from their parents, but frequently are strictly human in appearance also.
A few relations have been witnessed, some of those relations being free of the Terrigenesis process:
- Stallior and his family were stated to have all obtained their centaur-like bodies thanks to the "hereditary transfer of Terrigenated attributes from ten generations", hinting that there maybe and/or sometimes is a moment when Terrigenesis gifts set themselves into the genetic make-up and is transmitted through birth.
- Lockjaw's grandpup from the future Puppy inherited his grandfather's teleportation, but could also travel across time.
- The Bird People were hereditary winged Inhumans, who eventually split.
- The tribe that would spawn the Hidden Ones were gifted with the same "persuasion" powers, along with the same appearance, but were also granted with individual powers and mutated fake visual appearance.
Others are presumably more or less tied to Terrigenesis:
- Ahura, Black Bolt's son, has demonstrated sonic powers on both Earth-616 and Earth-9997. On Earth-616, he has also shown limited telepathic powers and insanity, similarly to his uncle Maximus.
- On Earth-98, Luna somehow acquired trichokinetic powers similar to her aunt Medusa.
- Petras Petragon, whose father is Gorgon (having bovine features as well), was granted with a minotaur-like aspect,, but Gorgon's daughter Alecto only possess wings.
It is unclear if there is a hereditary impact concerning the Terrigenesis mutations.
Passing twice through the Terrigen Mists, named Secondary Terrigenesis, is seemingly a dangerous procedure. It was first alleged that it was never performed by the Inhumans, but was revealed as quite an uncommon occurrence.
At the last moments of the Silent War, Carthus of the Genetic Council asked for Black Bolt to began a program of compulsory Terrigenesis and Secondary Terrigenesis, to produce a massive army to counter the USA, but those propositions were rejected by Karnak, as the Secondary Terrigenesis was too disastrous.
Later, the Nuhuman Quickfire was exposed by Jason Quantrell to what he called "kind of Secondary Terrigenesis, an upgrade", trapping her into some sort of red, translucid, flexible, allegedly hard-to-break-through cocoon in which she was still awake.
Effects by species and processes
On Earth-199999, Andrew Garner was also gifted with abilities that resembled shapeshifting. Garner spent periods of time between his pre-Terrigenesis form where he exhibited no Inhuman abilities and a monstrous persona known as "Lash" which showed a complete physical transformation and had energy-based abilities. The reason for this transformation is that he emerged from his Terrigenesis cocoon before he had fully transitioned into his Inhuman form. Once this transition was complete, the Lash persona apparently took over with no possible return to his human form. That ability to shift between human and Inhuman form was considered as unique.
The development of "radically non-human mutations" is seen as a bad Terrigenesis result, and occurred in numerous occasions:
- Under the reign of Randac, half of the voluntary subjects were affected by such results.
- Under the reign of Gral, the whole population was forced to undergo Terrigenesis, with three quarters of the population being turned into "non-humanoid types".
It was intended that many Inhumans that went through the Mists never came back.
The last Attilan Inhuman to have gone through the Terrigenesis was Petras Petragon, the nine year-old son to Gorgon. The process turned him in a minotaur-like creature, as an example of the failure of the Terrigenesis, and later in an human form requiring life support to survive.
He was indeed considered as having an unstable Terrigen-enhanced form, to not be a true Inhuman and called him a "cripple" and a "deviate-changeling".
Theoretically, Terrigenesis is authorized only for pure Inhumans and is denied to any descendant of humans. However, there are a few cases of Inhuman hybrids known to have undergone Terrigenesis.
On Earth-616, the Inhuman/Deviant hybrid Maelstrom did at some point undergo Terrigenesis. It is seemingly unlikely that the Deviant/Inhuman hybrid Ransak underwent Terrigenesis.
A case of a Deviant (due to his Deviant syndrome mutation) who went through Terrigenesis would be Thane, son of Thanos, described in the section about the Inhuman/Eternal (Deviant Mutants) hybrids.
Following the detonation of the Terrigen Bomb, Thane, son of Thanos' legacy was activated, revealing his lineage and its relation with Death, presumably along with the Deviant syndrome mutation of his father.
Using a Terrigen Bomb, a cloud of Terrigen Mist (also known as T-Cloud) was released by Black Bolt on Earth's atmosphere when Thanos invaded Attilan. Its resulting propagation around the world affected all humans with Inhuman ancestry (originated from the dissemination of some lost tribes among the early human populations), causing them to undergo "wild Terrigenesis" (as called by Karnak), a process that consisted of the formation of a cocoon around them, which would then hatch after a variable period of time. The cocoon could open immediately after forming, or days later. The resulting superpowered individuals from this event became known as "NuHumans," "Attilans" (on human social networks), and "Changelings" (by Chinese soldiers)
Also see the List of NuHumans activated by the Terrigen Bomb.
Also humans from their mutant side, the Inhuman/mutants hybrids may have differences in their Terrigenesis reactions.
Luna, born from the mutant Quicksilver and the Inhuman Crystal, was tested by Reed Richards who stated that her mutant and inhuman genes had cancelled each other out and she was technically human. She was consequently denied the Terrigenesis by the Genetic Council.
At age six, she was exposed to the Terrigen Mists by Quicksilver and was granted with empathy, short-term precognition (or anticipation) by aura visualization, and later empathic manipulation, but suffered both dependency and loss of control from her powers, requiring her to wear shades. She also developed a psychic link with the Mists, and suffered migraines from it.
With the High Evolutionary claiming that Quicksilver isn't a mutant, but a mutate "masquerading" as a mutant, Luna's status as a mutant/Inhuman hybrid has been cast in doubt. But, there are examples of mutant/Inhuman hybrids that have survived, and even thrived, like Talogan of Earth-691 and alternate reality versions of Luna Maximoff, but that can be explained away by the fact that mutant biology can vary from reality to reality.
Other Homo species
The Terrigen Mists were stated to be potent enough to cause any living organism to mutate from exposure to it.
The Mists released from the Terrigen Bomb don't seem to have affected the base-line humans: Karnak stated that the Bomb didn't release Terrigen Mists, when Hank McCoy confirmed that all data suggested that the Mists were toxic to humans.
Dr. Hydro, using the Terrigen Mists (possibly acquired from Maesltrom and/or Phaeder), mutated his followers into green skinned scaly amphibians known as the Hydro-Men. They were all depowered by Reed Richards using an Anti-Terrigenesis Compound.
Professor Cartwright, who was exposed to the mists and developed a strong musculature, caused the President of United States to order more experiments on humans, calling for U.S. Marines volunteers. The Terrigenesis gave him what he most desired: a peak human body like Captain America, but was condemned to die soon after his transformation, his body quickly decaying.
Such Terrigenesis were accompanied with side effects: "Dizzy spells, nausea, itchy scalp" at first, but eventually death in days or weeks, as their body decayed as with Cartwright's physical mutations and head implosion of a psionic Marine.
In a rare cases, "pure humans" (as far as we know) exposed to Terrigen Mists were able to develop powers without dying, though the powers revealed were unstable:
- Crossbones developed the ability to fire energy blasts from his face and later lost this power.
- Aamir Khan was ostensibly exposed to Terrigen mists and developed the ability of blasting psychic force fields around himself, but quickly blacked out. However, it remains unclear both if Aamir was really a pure human or an Inhuman descendant, and if the gas he inhaled was pure Terrigen or not.
In Earth-199999, humans with no Inhuman lineage were unaffected by pure Terrigen. Attempts to make artificial Terrigen crystals and mists, however, often had devastating effects on humans.
- Jiaying and the Inhuman community at Afterlife synthesized Terrigen crystals from devices known as Diviners. These crystals were contaminated with the Diviner metal, which was lethal to humans. Anyone with no Inhuman lineage would be petrified if they were exposed to the mists produced by these crystals.
- Holden Radcliffe's attempts to replicate the Kree experiments that created the original Inhumans for Hive resulted in the creation of Primitive Inhumans. These Primitives were gifted with enhanced physical abilities, but were grotesquely transformed and had diminished cognitive abilities.
It was stated that the gene changing the Inhumans was the same that the one having triggered the mutation in the human population, turning them into mutants.
Also humans, the mutants may have differences in their Terrigenesis reactions.
While exposing themselves to a high dose of Terrigen Mist ("a mist concentration than any Inhuman has ever dared"), three leaders of an Alpha Primitives riot transformed into an entity composed of three spheroid forms emitting an aura of mental energy, the Trikon.
The Alpha Primitives who would become the Trikon knew that they were risking death in the process.
Because of their human lineage, mutants are supposed to be kept away from the Terrigenesis.
Quicksilver, and Beast, both inspired by divine visions, asked Black Bolt and Medusa to be allowed to use the Terrigen Mists to reverse the effects on the mutants depowered by the M-Day event. Both demands were denied due to the necessity of a genetic screening and the rule forbidding humans or human descendants from undergoing Terrigenesis and that Terrigenesis would only bring harm to mutants.
Such Terrigenesis was accompanied with similar side effects as other humans, with at least being "Dizzy feelings", but the transformed mutants were either depowered without further harm, other than their lack of control of their power, or exploded from the energies within themselves.
Direct exposure - Mist Inhalations
The Mists were indeed able to restore the mutants powers of depowered mutants, but at higher and uncontrollable levels:
The first dose of Mists had to be inhaled and took a few minutes before becoming effective.
It was believed that for their powers to be fully restored, the mutants had to repeatedly expose themselves to the Mists, Through repeated inhalations of the Mists, Quicksilver absorbed the properties of the Terrigen Mists, having his hands and chest encrusted with Terrigen Crystals.
Eventually, the effects of the mists faded naturally.
Direct exposure - Quicksilver's Terrigenesis power
Those powers were seemingly effective and controlled, but in fact unstable, and the bodies were quickly overwhelmed by the energies, and exploded.
While Elijah Cross exploded, Abyss retreated into his Brimstone Dimension with Fatale and Abyss, freezing their state, before they would be extracted from that dimension by Terrance Hoffman, and their energies were drag out, allowing them to live with their mutant appearances, but depowered.
He first used those as a way to threaten Strong Guy, stating that he didn't knew if nothing would happen, or if an active mutant would explode. He later theorized after had tried that the restorative properties of the Terrigen Mists would cause a cellular feedback.
- Strong Guy was knocked out by Quicksilver using his Terrigenesis touch.
- Quicksilver was able to burn and knock out Wolfsbahne just by holding her wrist,
The Terrigen Mists released into the atmosphere by the T-Bomb were proved to kill the mutants slowly, gradually incapacitating them. Additionally, all mutants were sterilized by the so-called Terrigen Plague.
- As an example, Rogue was especially sensitive to the effects of Terrigen mists on their mutant physiology, exhibiting first skin rashes, eventually requiring life support.
Other Earthlings species
Apes: The Insimians
The Skrulls have been proved to be sensible to the Mist: During the Secret Invasion, Medusa tortured a Skrull by throwing him into the Mist repeatedly, developing random mutations along with great sufferance. Among the mutations were a furred gorilla-like arm, the other being turned into a snake-like being seemingly autonomous, and also an additional face with glowing eyes on the side of the head.
It was stated by Finesse that the Mists didn't worked as power bestowal substance on the Skrulls, and that the supposed Skrull who impersonated Quicksilver's after M-Day (Pietro's lie) shouldn't had "regained his lost mutant powers" by using Terrigen Mists.
Other processes have been proved to replace Terrigenesis in order to activate Inhuman powers.
Human Torch's presence
The Kree experiments and technology has allowed other processes, similar to the Terrigenesis, to be achieved on over a hundred worlds, according to the Supreme Intelligence's Metagenesis plan. All species tested were successes, reacting to specific race-based catalysts.
Amphogenesis & Amphogen
It consists of a drop of the "irreplaceable diluted water from the dormant Amphogen" (it is unclear if it was absorbed or simply dropped on).
It consists of the consumption of the nectar of blooms of Antigen Tree.
Exogenesis & the Exogen Spice
The Exogenesis was used to power the Inhuman Dire Wraiths.
It consists of the inhalation of the Exogen Spice, using an instrument similar to a hookah.
It consists of the injection of the extract of the Isogen Orbs.
Xerogenesis & the Xerogen Crystals
Using the Kree device Slave Engine, and empowering the Xerogen Crystals, or Xerigen Crystals, the Inhumans were able to turn human in other creatures, the Alpha Primitives, by making them inhale the Xerogen Mists.
The origin of the Xerogenesis is unknown, and it is not known either if it is part of the Metagenesis experiments.
- Inhuman #2
- Royals #3
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 2 #6
- Captain America Comics #1
- History of the Marvel Universe Vol 2 #1
- Videmus stated that Randac found the Terrigen 25,000 years ago (Son of M #2). while Karnak stated that the Inhumans were created from Homo neanderthalensis 25,000 years ago, and Randac found the Terrigen only a few centuries later (Inhumanity #1).
- Son of M #2
- Inhumanity #1
- Silent War #6
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- Marvel Encyclopedia #Fantastic Four
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- As well as an artistic license ; Tom Brevoort's statement
- Inhuman #1
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- Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 6
- Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three/Marvel's Agent Carter Season Two #1; Lash's entry
- New Avengers: Illuminati Vol 2 #3
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- Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 20
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- Earth X #6
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