The Deviants are an alien race present in comic books published by Marvel Comics. They were created by Jack Kirby and debuted in The Eternals #1 (July 1976), and now form an essential part of Marvel’s cosmology. The Deviants were created as the villainous counterparts of the heroic Eternals, with whom they are in a constant war.
The Deviants’ full powers and abilities are still largely unknown, but we do know that they have flexible genetics, a monstrous appearance, animalistic or monstrous personality and behavioral traits, shapeshifting abilities (malleability), longevity bordering on immortality, usually superhuman strength (although the degree varies) and a strong healing factor.
In the paragraphs that follow, we are going to explain each of the above-listed powers in more detail. The Deviants are still fairly enigmatic and there isn’t much available information, but we have done our best to explain everything for you in the paragraphs below.
What Are the Deviants’ Powers?
Before we continue with their powers and abilities, we have to explain who the Deviants are. Normally, this wouldn’t be needed, but the Deviants are a race so dependant on their biology and physiology that an introduction is absolutely necessary.
They are a branch of the evolutionary process that created intelligent life on Earth instigated by the Celestial aliens, and they wage war against their counterparts, the Eternals. According to the account of a Deviant in the 2006 comic book miniseries, the Deviants were created as a delicacy to be consumed en masse by the Celestials at periodic intervals once they were multiplied enough.
The veracity of this has yet to be proven, though. While the Eternals possess divine power and are generally physically beautiful (by human standards), Deviants (who sometimes refer to themselves as ‘the Changing People’) are for the most part hideous (again, by human standards), with each member of their race possessing some random physical and/or cosmic mutation that, by celestial design, is never repeated within the subspecies.
Extremely mutated or deformed, Deviants are known as “Mutates” and some of the monsters from myths and legends have been identified as Deviant mutants. Some of these mutations can provide superhuman abilities, but their powers are not usually as great as those of the Eternals.
Deviants are religious and worship the Dreaming Celestial (“He who sleeps in the dark”). They attribute their creation to him and claim that he granted them dominion over Earth, an agreement they believe was later broken by the betrayal of the other Celestials.
They have one or more holy books, the only one named so far is the Book of Krask. The Deviants had already developed advanced technology such as genetic engineering when humans still lived in caves.
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Now that we’ve gone through that, let us explain the powers and abilities in more detail:
Deviants are far less powerful than perfect Eternals, but their enormous reproductive capacity obviates this imbalance. These beings have the characteristic of being a changing population: there is no single individual equal to the other, the genetic code is constantly changing, generation after generation.
Their appearance is generally anthropomorphic but mostly altered and monstrous: their skin is greenish, brown, reddish, gray, etc., and can be covered with scales, ridges, or the like. Some have horns, others have tails, fangs, and / or the like.
Animalistic or Monstrous Personality
The nature of these creatures is often aggressive and violent, and they do not seem endowed with pity or clemency: despite this, they are also more intelligent than humans and gifted with speech. Deviants have some rather feral habits: killing mercilessly or for fun, eating live animals, etc.
Due to the unstable genetic code, some Deviants are particularly monstrous: these beings are called Mutates and are discriminated against by other Deviants, who consider them untouchables, imprison them and kill them en masse or use them in arenas as a form of entertainment, as warriors or slaves.
Mutates generally have very few anthropomorphic traits, as they are true monsters; paradoxically it can happen that they look totally human (like the Forsaken) or that they have intelligence and a good heart (like Karkas).
Longevity and Durability
Some Deviants are extraordinarily long-lived, others (especially Mutates) have powers deriving from physical attributes (for example, a Deviant with tentacles can easily imprison an enemy with these) or are particularly strong, agile, and resistant. Kro is a great example of this; let us see why.
Kro maintains a virtually indestructible mental control over the processes and structure of his body, even when he is asleep or unconscious. As a result, Kro has a lifespan of over 20,000 years and is immune to disease and aging.
His mental control over his body allows him to maintain a young and vigorous physical condition. Kro is not as indestructible as the Eternals. (Ikaris, for example, nearly strangled Kro once.) But while Kro can be killed with enough force, his mental control over his body allows him to heal himself when injured.
Kro also has about three times the physical endurance of an ordinary human athlete, which speaks for itself when his powers are concerned. His heart is not in the same place as that of an ordinary human; his true location is not revealed.
Another example is Tutinax, who possessed superhuman strength (he could lift over 100 tonnes) and had thus earned the nickname “the Mountain Mover”. As you can see, the Deviants do have superhuman traits and strengths but the degree between each of them varies from Deviant to Deviant, which is why it is important to analyze each of them individually.
Deviants are also able to heal very quickly. This is a result of their shapeshifting biology (see below), as well as the fact that they are extremely durable. Sadly, we don’t have much information on this, as the Deviants haven’t been featured too often in the comic book stories for us to have any precise information on this element.
Some Deviants also possess the ability of physical malleability, uncharacteristic of the majority of Deviants. At will, those Deviants like Kro can make most of their body tissue give way, allowing them to mentally mold it into various configurations like plasticine.
Once the tissue has been molded into a changed shape, they need only stop focusing and their body will retain that shape until they focus on changing it again. This ability allows them to dress and take on the appearance of others (with cosmetic help for skin color, body hair, etc).
One of Kro’s favorite tricks is to pretend to be a demon among normal people by putting horns on his head.
But, Kro’s shape-changing powers are limited, however. He can only slightly alter the shape of his skeleton. Furthermore, he cannot lose any of his mass during the transformation; he can only redistribute his weight of 320 pounds.
Therefore, he usually only uses his shape-shifting power to change his facial features. He can mentally change the shape of his skull somewhat.