One of the greatest hand-to-hand combatants the galaxy has ever seen, Karnak (with his enlarged cranium) is somewhat of an enigma within Inhuman society. He is incredibly powerful and gifted with the sight to see flaws and weaknesses in all things, yet he is not a true Inhuman, having never been exposed to the Terrigen Mists. Still, as a member of the Inhuman royal family, he has played a crucial role in the history of his people, helping his cousin Black Bolt become the king of Attilan.

The Shatterer is Born

Millennia ago, the alien Kree Supreme Intelligence experimented on alien species to breed super-soldiers to serve in the Kree Empire’s interminable war against the shape-shifting Skrulls. On Earth, 25,000 years ago, the Kree turned prehistoric humans into Inhumans, who settled on the island Attilan off Atlantis’ coast. The Inhumans later discovered Terrigen Crystals from which they derived Terrigen Mists to unlock each Inhuman’s super-powered potential. Developing the sacred rite of Terrigenesis, they exposed children to the mists at their coming-of-age, with the Genetics Council strictly controlling which Inhuman couples could have children.

In the first half of the 20th century, Karnak was born into the House of Agon, the Inhuman Royal Family, the second son of philosopher priest Mander and ocean biologist Azur. Terrigenesis leaves his brother Triton unable to survive out of water unassisted, so the couple decide to raise Karnak without Terrigen mutation, instead enrolling him in his father’s religious seminary in the Tower of Wisdom where he trains in physical and mental disciplines.

Karnak as a child

In his teens, Karnak’s innate powers developed without direct Terrigen exposure due to generations of familial mutation, allowing him to sense weaknesses in people and objects. Backed by his fighting skills, this ability earns him the nickname “the Shatterer.” Shortly after this power emerged, Karnak sensed that Attilan was vulnerable. He also realized that the Inhumans’ monarch secretly removed the Slave Engine and hid it to protect mankind. Karnak informs Black Bolt, the previous king’s son, and they confronted the monarch in a challenge that ended with Black Bolt taking the crown. Karnak’s mother later died in a mysterious undersea mishap after Karnak turned eighteen and left the seminary.

Naturally Gifted

Karnak has an extrasensory ability, virtually effortless and enhanced by mental discipline, to perceive stress points, fracture planes, or weaknesses in objects, people, and even societies. By striking or applying pressure at these points, he can split or shatter objects as hard as diamond. He has strengthened all the striking surfaces of his body in his hands in particular, so they are covered with dense calluses. Karnak can shatter objects with sufficient precision as to send shrapnel larger than he could lift to strike specific targets. Combining this power with his exceptional martial arts skills, he can knock people out with a single tap, render insensate beings of far greater strength than he or even slay most opponents with a single blow, though he rarely chooses to do so. When Karnak battled Mantis after Phyla-Vell took Crystal hostage and the Inhumans pursued the Guardians to Knowhere, he complimented her on her combat skills but noted that he would find the weakness in her technique. She bested him before he got the chance.

Karnak talking about his abilities

Karnak can refocus this perception to probe for subterranean structures, locate weak points in force fields, sense the location of specific machinery from across a space station, spot underwater objects too small for sonar to detect, analyze weaknesses in alien computer firewalls, and learn how to pilot unfamiliar alien spacecraft within a few seconds. Karnak’s superior genetic structure and intensive exercise regimen allows him to lift one ton, and his Inhuman metabolism affords him slightly superior reaction time, endurance, and speed than the most perfect human specimen. He has physically conditioned his mind and body to peak levels of efficiency, and he retains voluntary control over most of his body’s autonomic functions including breathing, heartbeat, bleeding, reaction to pain, and healing rate. Extremely lithe and flexible, he can expand and contract muscles and contort his body into seemingly painful positions. As an Inhuman male, his natural lifespan is about 120 years (compared to mid-70s for a human male). However, like all Inhumans, his immune system is weaker than a human’s.

Familiar Foes

Maximus, Black Bolt’s power-hungry brother, is one of Karnak’s primary foes as he constantly vies for the throne, which Karnak defends. Once Karnak and Gorgon foolishly release Maximus from confinement to confirm that Black Bolt had not broken a sacred Inhuman vow never to slay another of their kind.

Karnak also stands with Attilan when it repels incursions by Chinese soldiers, Doctor Victor von Doom, the Silver Surfer (Norrin Radd), Mandarin, Ultron-7, and the Fifth Dimension tyrant Xemu.

Medusa fighting Maximums with Karnak

Royal Allies

Though the extended House of Agon has many branches, Karnak’s closest associates are peers close to his age: his brother Triton, cousins Black Bolt, Medusa and Medusa’s sister, Crystal, and Bolt’s cousin Gorgon, the latter his closest compatriot. Gorgon’s impulsive, aggressive nature is a stark contrast to Karnak’s analytical calm.

Karnak with Medusa and Black Bolt

When Black Bolt’s insane brother Maximus orchestrated a coup and forced the rest of the royal family into exile, they befriended the Fantastic Four. Over the next few years, Karnak and the royal family forged close bonds with many Super Heroes including the X-Men, Black Panther (T’Challa), Hulk (Bruce Banner), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), and the Avengers.




150 lbs.






Black, often shaved bald

Universe, Other Aliases, Education, Place of Origin, Identity, Known Relatives, Powers, Group Affiliation
  • Universe

  • Other Aliases

  • Education

  • Place of Origin

  • Identity

  • Known Relatives

  • Powers

  • Group Affiliation

Loyal to the Royal

The Kree sought to claim their creations, using their agent, Shatterstar (Arides), Fantastic Four foe Blastaar and Maximus as pawns. After defeating them, the Royal Family ventured into space seeking a new home for their people, but on the first world they visited they became embroiled in local politics between Kree allies and anti-Kree rebels. Failing to save innocents caught in the crossfire, Karnak suffered a confidence crisis, feeling his ability was only useful for destruction, but rallied after using his power to navigate Kree Space Station Web’s mazelike interior, allowing the Royal Family to escape before their rebel allies blew up Web. Returning to Earth, the Royal Family helped Kree renegade Captain Mar-Vell thwart a Kree invasion. Later, Dr. Hydro (Herman Frayne) used Terrigen to turn unwilling humans into amphibious “Hydro-Men.” Fantastic Four leader Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards) developed an anti-Terrigen cure, but since it could also reverse Inhuman Terrigenesis, Karnak and Gorgon accompanied Reed and the Thing (Ben Grimm) to guard it. Frayne’s Terrigen supplier, Maelstrom, a renegade Deviant-Inhuman hybrid, stole the anti-Terrigen and captured the heroes, but Karnak broke free of the restraints that frustrated his stronger allies, and Maelstrom was defeated.

Finding Earth’s increasing pollution toxic, the Inhumans relocated Attilan to the Moon’s Blue Area, which possessed a breathable atmosphere, though even this remote spot did not prevent further attacks. Karnak grew concerned the Genetic Council’s increasingly harsh childbirth rulings were prompting suicides. When Medusa, now married to Black Bolt, announced her unexpected pregnancy, the Council’s Chief Justice, secretly aspiring to ascend the throne, ordered the pregnancy’s termination. With Black Bolt feeling unable to oppose them, Medusa fled to Earth, and Karnak, Gorgon, and Crystal followed to support her. Karnak became attracted to Medusa’s maid, Minxi, but to his jealous annoyance, she initiated a relationship with Gorgon instead. Eventually, after Medusa’s child Ahura was born, Black Bolt was reunited with his wife, and everyone returned to Attilan, where the Council took custody of the infant then secretly traded him to an Earth genetics lab. Aware only that Ahura had been sent to Earth, Karnak and Gorgon went looking for the boy.

Karnak Fighting

They aided Daredevil (Matt Murdock) against robot Ultron-13 and in turn, he helped them locate Ahura. The demon Blackheart targeted them all as part of a ploy against his father Mephisto and exacerbated Karnak’s annoyance at Gorgon’s recklessness and success with women to bring the two Inhumans to blows. Blackheart then pulled all of them into Hell but the abductees resisted his manipulations and escaped. Distrusting the Council, Karnak and Gorgon left Ahura with human friends, planning to retrieve him once the Council stopped monitoring them. Over the next few months, Attilan suffered further attacks, including one by the mutant Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur), who transformed some of Karnak’s more distant Royal Family relatives into his murderous Riders of the Storm before being driven off. The Council’s machinations were eventually exposed and Black Bolt disbanded both the Council and monarchy, then led the Royal Family to Earth.

When the Blue Area’s atmosphere was compromised, the Royal Family saved Attilan with the Fantastic Four’s help, and it was relocated to a recently raised section of Atlantis. But being back on Earth brought Attilan within reach of forces who coveted the Inhumans’ technology. Consulting only Karnak and Medusa, Black Bolt let invading mercenaries breach Attilan’s outer defenses then triggered the island’s destruction to cover Lockjaw teleporting the city back to the Himalayas. In space, the Supreme Intelligence had been destroyed and the Kree absorbed into the rival Shi’ar Empire. Kree rebels led by Ronan the Accuser transported Attilan into space, forcing the Inhumans to fight for them. Karnak and Triton infiltrated the Shi’ar army and then the Imperial Guard, aiding Black Bolt in an assassination attempt on Shi’ar empress Lilandra. A Guard precognitive foresaw the attack, which saved Lilandra and the Inhumans narrowly escaped. Challenging Ronan, Black Bolt won the Inhumans’ freedom and they returned to the Moon. Ronan subsequently won Kree independence from the Shi’ar.

Karnak with the Fantastic Four

After a reality warp depowered most of Earth’s mutants including Quicksilver, Crystal’s ex-husband stole the Terrigen Crystals. The Royal Family pursued him, but U.S. forces took the crystals from Quicksilver first, rejecting diplomatic requests to return them. Black Bolt declared war and the Inhumans reclaimed the Crystals by force. Skrulls later abducted Black Bolt, replacing him with a Skrull agent. When this was discovered, Karnak breached Skrull computer systems to find Black Bolt and the Royal Family rescued him. Tired of being victims, Black Bolt took the Inhumans back into space to hunt down the Skrulls and seize control of the Kree Empire. The Shi’ar’s belligerent new ruler Vulcan (Gabriel Summers) declared war, a conflict that ended with Black Bolt and Vulcan seemingly slain and a Terrigen-bomb ripping a parsecs-wide Fault between realities.

As Medusa’s aide, Karnak represented the Empire at the Galactic Council and worked on strategies to win the Kree over to Inhuman rule, supporting Medusa in having Maximus stage false threats the Inhumans could be seen to heroically defeat. When Black Bolt was found alive, the Inhumans followed him back to Earth where they formed alliances with alien Inhumans to create the Universal Inhumans. A restored Supreme Intelligence resumed control of the Kree, ordering Earth attacked and the Inhumans wiped out, and the Universal Inhumans allied with the Future Foundation and Avengers to battle the Kree armada. The Universal Inhumans then pursued the Supreme Intelligence into space.

Karnak talking about his role

During the second Super Hero Civil War, Karnak trained Ulysses, the young Inhuman who could see the future and the source of the argument between Stark and Captain Marvel. He is kidnapped by Tony Stark, who infiltrates New Attilan, an act of war to the Inhumans. In retaliation, Karnak planned to destroy Stark Tower with a fatal blow to its foundation before being stopped by the Ultimates, the Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D.

fighting skills