Karnak (comics)

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Karnak sih 02.png
Karnak fighting a Skrull as seen in Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Fantastic Four vol. 1, #45 (Dec 1965)
Created by Stan Lee (writer)
Jack Kirby (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Karnak
Species Inhumans
Place of origin Attilan
Team affiliations Inhuman Royal Family
Notable aliases The Shatterer
Abilities Ability to sense weak points
Enhanced physical attributes
Master martial artist
Experienced hand-to-hand combatant

Karnak is a fictional martial artist published by Marvel Comics.

Publication history[edit]

He first appears in Fantastic Four vol. 1, #45, and was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Karnak is a member of the Inhuman race, one of those who form the Inhuman Royal Family, born on the island of Attilan. Cousin of Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, Karnak has the ability to find the weak point in any person, plan, or object. Thus, he is usually used as planner by the Inhumans. He also serves as a priest and philosopher to the Inhumans.

He is the brother of Triton, who endured Terrigenesis before he did. However, Triton's Terrigenesis was so extreme that his parents, Mander and Azur, begged that Karnak not have to endure the procedure. Instead, he was sent to a monastery, where he learned martial arts.

He is usually attended by his relatives, Gorgon and Triton. He has taken part in most of the Inhumans' adventures, such as the Kree-Skrull War, and the many moves of the Inhuman city of Attilan.

Karnak and the Royal Family encounter Maximus' creation, the Trikon, and are driven from Attilan's Great Refuge in exile.[1]

Karnak first appeared as a member of the Inhumans when he attempted to retrieve his cousin and queen, Medusa from the outside world and take her back to Attilan. This led him into conflict with the Fantastic Four, the first humans he met, who were harboring Medusa after rescuing her from the villainous Frightful Four. Accordingly, Karnak is indirectly responsible for revealing the existence of Attilan to the outside world. Karnak battled Maximus alongside the Inhuman Royal Family, and became trapped in Maximus' "negative zone" barrier around the Great Refuge.[2] He was freed from the "negative zone" barrier along with the rest of the Inhumans,[by whom?][clarification needed] and left the Great Refuge with the Royal Family to visit the outside world.[3] He teamed with the Thing, Human Torch, and Black Panther against the Psycho-Man.[4] He aided the Inhuman Royal Family in defeating Maximus' next attempt to overthrow the Great Refuge.[5]

He later assisted Gorgon in freeing Maximus.[6] He journeyed to America to search for the missing Black Bolt.[7] Gorgon battled Magneto and his mutated minions.[8]

Karnak later battled Blastaar and the Kree Kaptroids.[9] He traveled to New York City, where he battled Kree agent Shatterstar.[9] Karnak was imprisoned by Maximus.[10] He aided in the defeat of Maximus and the Evil Inhumans.[11] Karnak then left Earth with the Inhuman Royal Family to prevent the Kree subjugation of the Inhumans, and battled various aliens.[12] He continued to battle Kree agents, and then returned to Earth.[13] Karnak later accompanied the Inhuman exodus when Attilan was relocated to the Blue Area of Earth's Moon.[14]

Karnak later battled the Avengers while under Maximus' mind control.[15] He then battled the High Evolutionary's forces during the Evolutionary War.[16] He accompanied Medusa to Earth when she fled Attilan to avoid a compulsory abortion.[17]

He was later sent to Earth with Gorgon in an attempt to find Black Bolt's missing son with Daredevil's help.[18] There he and his companions fought against Ultron-13 in which Karnak's power allowed him to discover the weak spot in Ultron's neck. Later they became entangled in Mephisto's plot against Daredevil, and were transported to a netherworld where they were personally attacked by the supernatural entity known as Blackheart. Karnak's animosity towards Gorgon was fanned into a rage, causing actual physical violence. Blackheart was soon defeated and the group went their intended ways.[19]

Karnak later aided the New Warriors against the third Star-Thief.[20] Alongside X-Factor, he then battled Apocalypse.[21] Alongside the Avengers, he then battled Thane Ector.[22]

Later, during a conflict with several Earth countries, Karnak fought with a new costume, designed with the powers of one of the older Inhumans.[volume & issue needed]

Karnak, along with Gorgon, has been uncovered as violating Inhuman law. After a conflict with the Black Panther, Black Bolt uncovers evidence that the two have been using "Alpha Primitives," a long-freed slave caste as slaves again. They do not feel that Inhumans should be doing regular chores.[volume & issue needed]

Karnak joins an Inhuman strike team to help take down the confused super-powered Sentry.[23]

During the Secret Invasion, Karnak encounters a Skrull in the form of Toros.[24] Karnak engages it and learns that it can copy his powers. Karnak manages to defeat the Toros-Skrull by sending it out the window where it was impaled on a fence.[25]

Following Attilan's destruction during the Infinity storyline, Karnak goes on a rampage in New York at the start of the Inhumanity storyline. He is stopped and imprisoned by the Avengers. After warning Medusa to forget what she knows in order to prepare for a coming cataclysm, Karnak commits suicide by leaping out of one of the windows in Avengers Tower.[26]

Months pass by, and the terrigen mists that spread throughout the world during Inhumanity have revealed Inhuman hybrids living among humans, dubbed the NuHumans. Medusa reveals their existence to the general public, and NuHumans become integrated into New Attilan society. One NuHuman named Lineage joins Medusa's council, taking Karnak's place. Lineage's power is having the knowledge of all his ancestors. Lineage plans to use the Inhuman genome to destroy humanity and rule the Inhumans. Meanwhile, Karnak has wound up in a strange afterlife that he believes to be hell. He and an ally he meets here plans to escape this place, and they successfully find a door out while holding off strange creatures. He uses his ability to see the weakness in things to open the door, and finds himself bursting out of Lineage's chest in the real world, killing Lineage in the process. He realizes that what he thought was hell was inside Lineage, as Karnak is one of his ancestors. He tells Medusa he knows that she has been an outstanding queen in his absence, and rejoins her council.[27]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Karnak has enhanced strength, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes as a result of his genetically superior Inhuman physiology. Unlike most Inhumans, he does not have superhuman powers as a result of exposure to the mutagenic Terrigen Mist, as he was never exposed to the Mist. Instead, Karnak has the extrasensory ability (achieved through meditation and intensive training) to perceive stress points, fracture planes, or weaknesses in objects or persons. He has complete voluntary control of most of his autonomic bodily functions. All striking surfaces of his body are extremely toughened. He is capable of shattering substances up to and including mild steel and rendering superhuman opponents unconscious by striking them.

Like all Inhumans, Karnak's immune system is weaker than that of an average human.

Karnak has received his fighting skills as a result of Inhuman royal militia training. He is also a graduate of the religious seminary, at the Tower of Wisdom in Attilan.

He uses a hover-platform for transportation designed by Inhuman technicians.

Other versions[edit]

Amalgam Comics[edit]

In Amalgam Comics, Triserinak - a combination of DC's Serifan and Marvel's Triton and Karnak - is a member of the superhero group Un-People in Amalgam Comics universe.[28]

Earth X[edit]

In the alternate future of Earth X, Karnak has undergone a further mutation. His cranium has greatly increased and his features are now more sunken. During an investigative mission to Earth, he attempts to act as a calming influence among the members of the Royal Family. He has altered his uniform in order to expose his powerful limbs.[volume & issue needed]

In the sequel Paradise X, he is shown as having exiled himself from his own people, seeing the marriage of Medusa and the King of Brittan as a betrayal of Black Bolt's memory and the superiority of the Inhumans.[volume & issue needed]


In issues #23 and #25 of Exiles, Karnak appears as one of the many heroes overtaken by a mutated version of the techno-organic Phalanx.[volume & issue needed]

Heroes Reborn[edit]

In the Heroes Reborn continuity, Karnak lives with the other Inhumans, hidden on Earth. His society pays reverence to Galactus and his many heralds via statues. Karnak dresses in a more stylized version of his 616 uniform.[29]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

In the Marvel Zombies continuity, Karnak is seen as one of the many zombies trying to bring down the Silver Surfer.[30] He turns up again in a sequel to the story, visiting the "clone pens" of a zombified Kingpin. He is shredded by a chainsaw when he battles Earth-616's Machine Man.[31] Another version, from Earth Z, is seen assisting in eating the Warbound.[32] In a flashback series, Karnak is one of the many heroes fighting a last-ditch effort to evacuate as many un-infected humans to an alternate reality.[33]

Mutant X[edit]

In Mutant X, Karnak joins with his fellow Inhumans and a team of Eternals to confront the murderous duo of the Beyonder and Dracula. Inhumans and Eternals alike are all killed and Dracula drains them.[34]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel continuity, the Ultimate version of Karnak was introduced in Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1. Here, he is a member of the Inhuman royal family, a cousin of Crystal, Medusa and Gorgon, and presumably a brother of Triton. There are differences in the character: firstly, his features are Asian and white-haired; secondly, he has superpowers. His power is the ability to sense and control energy, for example, he sensed the stress-points in Sue Storm's invisible force-field, and attacked it with a bolt of electricity.[35]

Other media[edit]


  • Karnak appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Inhumanity," voiced again by Fred Tatasciore.

Video games[edit]


  • Karnak appears as one of the 12 unique Heroclix figures included in the Marvel Supernova set. His collectors number is #088. He is appropriately equipped with many clicks of exploit weakness and has powerful attack and damage numbers.


  1. ^ Revealed in Inhumans Special #1
  2. ^ Fantastic Four #45-48
  3. ^ Fantastic Four #59-61
  4. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #5
  5. ^ Fantastic Four #82-83
  6. ^ Amazing Adventures #5
  7. ^ Amazing Adventures #7
  8. ^ Amazing Adventures #9-10
  9. ^ a b Inhumans #3-4
  10. ^ Inhumans #5
  11. ^ Inhumans #6
  12. ^ Inhumans #7-8
  13. ^ Inhumans #10
  14. ^ Fantastic Four #240
  15. ^ Avengers Annual #12
  16. ^ Fantastic Four Annual #21
  17. ^ Inhumans Graphic Novel
  18. ^ Daredevil #274
  19. ^ Daredevil #278-282
  20. ^ New Warriors #6
  21. ^ X-Factor #67-68
  22. ^ Avengers #334-335
  23. ^ New Avengers #9
  24. ^ Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1
  25. ^ Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2
  26. ^ Inhumanity #1
  27. ^ Inhuman Annual #1
  28. ^ Challengers of the Fantastic #1 (1997)
  29. ^ Fantastic Four Vol. 2 #3 (1996)
  30. ^ Marvel Zombies #1 - 8 (2003)
  31. ^ Marvel Zombies 3 #2-3 (2009)
  32. ^ Marvel Zombies Return: Hulk (September 2009)
  33. ^ Marvel Zombies: Dead Days (July, 2007)
  34. ^ Mutant X #32 (June 1, 2001)
  35. ^ Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1 (2005)

External links[edit]