Marvel May Have Revealed Why Radiation Gives People Superpowers

The Marvel Universe was created in the 1960s, and perhaps nowhere is that dating more evident than in the number of superheroes of the era whose origin story involves radiation. The Hulk was created in a blast of gamma radiation, Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider, Daredevil was blinded by radioactive waste, etc.

It has become something a joke both within and outside of the Marvel Universe. Radiation would give the average person radiation poisoning or cancer, but for some reason, Peter Parker gets superpowers. Today’s Avengers #5 may have finally offered an explanation for why some radioactivity works differently for some people in the Marvel Universe.

SPOILERS For Avengers #5 by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Karl Story, Mark Morales, and David Curiel follow.

The story of Avengers so far has been about Loki bringing The Final Host to Earth to cleanse the planet. The Final Host is a group of Dark Celestials. Where the Celestials are cosmic gardeners that seed and cultivate life throughout the Marvel Universe, these Dark Celestials seem intent on ending life on Earth.

According to Loki, The Final Host is simply correcting a mistake. Eons ago, a Celestial was infected with a living disease called the Horde. The Celestial crashed on Earth and died, leaking his infection into the prehistoric soil. The impact of the Celestial’s presence, as well as its sickness, altered the evolution of life on Earth. This gave rise of the prehistoric Avengers, the team led by Odin that was introduced in last year’s Marvel Legacy #1. This is the origin of all superheroes on Earth.

Avengers #5 Radioactive Tears
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

But one line of Loki’s story stands out. Loki says that the infected Celestial “Landed in the much of Earth. Where it vomited and bled and wept radioactive tears.” The Celestial blood and bodily fluids that soaked into the soil may explain why life on Earth was altered, but the specific mention of “radioactive” tears brings up a possible explanation for why radioactivity is such a common trigger for superpowers.

I’m no scientist and even if I was we’re dealing with so much super-pseudoscience here that it probably wouldn’t matter, so I can’t possibly explain this in technical terms, but it would seem that the Celestial's influence got into the biology of life on Earth and that radiation may be a trigger for those who carry the Celestial’s legacy in their genetic makeup, people like Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, and Matt Murdock, perhaps.

Avengers isn’t done telling “The Secret Origin of the Marvel Universe” just yet, so perhaps we’ll get more specifics about how the Celestial’s landing on Earth altered its evolution in future issues.

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What do you think of this as a possible explanation for radiation leading to superpowers in the Marvel Universe? Let us know in the comments!

Avengers #5 is now on sale.