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- In Naruto everything remotely powerful can be traced back to the Sage of the Six Paths. Ninjutsu? Created by the Sage. The powerful Uchiha and Senju clans? Descendants of the Sage. The Tailed Beasts? Was originally the Ten Tails but split by the Sage. Rinnegan? Eyes of the Sage. The Uzumaki clan? Related to Senju.
- In the Stars storyline for the Sailor Moon manga, the Galaxy Cauldron essentially functions as this.
- In Claymore, all of the various superpowers in the series can be traced back to the dragons allied with the Organization's nation's enemies. The youma were created through experiments performed on a pair of captive dragons' flesh, and the Claymores are merely humans with youma flesh implanted in their bodies.
- In Hellsing, almost every supernatural being seen in the series is related to Alucard. All of Millenium's vampires are simply knockoffs created with the remains of Mina Harker, one of Alucard's past victims who still retained a bit of his vampiric power. The Captain a werewolf is one of the few exceptions.
- In Kill la Kill, every superpower is caused directly by Life Fibers, which are Starfish Aliens that feed off their hosts and want to destroy Earth so that they can spread to other planets.
- The Powerpuff Girls anime adaptation Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z, among other liberal changes to the source material, made it so that the Powerpuff Girls, their Rogues Gallery, and several one-shot antagonists were created when Professor Utonium's son Ken fired a ray of Chemical Z at an iceberg in an attempt to fix the city's weather problem, which resulted in rays of white light striking the girls and several people, animals, and inanimate objects being exposed to black light, changing them all and giving them their powers.
- The Marvel Universe has Sufficiently Advanced Alien Ancient Astronauts called the "Celestials", who did experiments millions of years ago on proto-humanity, creating the offshoot races known as the Eternals and Deviants, as well as putting in the "X-gene", which causes the wide variety of super-powered mutants in the MU.
- In Earth X, everything is a direct-or-indirect result of Celestial manipulation. The superhumans, The Inhumans, the Kree, the Skrulls, and even the Asgardians.
- In Marvel Knights Spider-Man #9, it was explained that, after World War II, big businessmen had feared superheroes would start interfering with politics and business, so they created most of the early supervillains, to keep them busy and make sure that Reed Richards Is Useless. This hasn't been mentioned again since, and may have fallen into Dork Age status. Although it should be noted that the fourth issue of Daniel Way's Bullseye miniseries threw out the same concept at the same time (they were published the same month) with no apparent contact between the two writers.
- In Ultimate Marvel, everyone who isn't a mutant, an alien or a god has their powers derived from the Super Soldier project or one of its offshoots. The mini-series Ultimate Origins elaborates on the Meta Origin and how it connects everything else; it seems that the mutants, too, owe their origin to the project.
- It also reveals that the Super Soldier project was responsible for Nick Fury's entire career. He was part of the same program that spawned Captain America, but chose to conceal evidence of his peak-human abilities and increased lifespan so that he could have some shot at a normal life.
- The forgotten miniseries Conspiracy implied this was largely true of the 616-verse as well but everyone's forgotten about that.
- In the Golden Age flashback miniseries The Marvels Project, it's implied that the super-soldier serum was derived from Atlantean DNA.
- The New Universe had the "White Event", a sudden flash of energy over the entire surface of the Earth that gave one out of every 500,000 people powers. Later revealed to be the first Star Brand wearer trying to rid himself of his power. A similar event destroys Pittsburgh when the next Star Brand also becomes unsatisfied with his power.
- In the reimagined newuniversal [sic] series, the Earth enters a region of space controlled by a vast, ancient computer system that empowers several humans as heralds to help humanity adapt to the new physical laws. It's shown that this has happened before, but was interfered with by other humans each time.
- Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602 empowers Elizabethan-era Captains Ersatz of mainstream Marvel characters by sending Captain America back in time during a failed execution attempt, which "signals" to the universe that it's time for superheroes to start showing up.
- Grant Morrison's New X-Men run revealed that Wolverine was the product of a larger project dubbed Weapon Plus, which was also responsible for the creations of Captain America and the Daredevil foe Nuke, among others.
- It's also since been implied in Secret Avengers that both Captain America and Luke Cage owe their origins to John Steele, a Golden Age superhero who was captured and experimented upon by German scientists (one of whom was Professor Erskine, the man who would later create the Super Soldier Serum).
- The Marvel Universe takes this to its limit with the little known Anthropomorphic Personification called Origin, the origin of every empowered individual.
- Infinity and the followup, Inhumanity, reveal that numerous humans across the globe possess dormant Inhuman genes, which can activate when they are exposed to the Terrigen Mists.
- Matt Fraction's final arc on The Defenders revealed that all superhumans are the result of manipulation from a race of beings called The Omega, who needed a fighting force of extraordinary creatures to battle a god-like entity called the Death Celestial. The Omega used a machine that helped miracles occur in order to create said superhumans, thus explaining why so many people have gained powers from Freak Lab Accidents and Million To One Chances, rather than simply ending up dead as they would in real ife.
- Previously unconnected Power Crystal using superhumans were connected by establishing the Lifestone Tree as a collaboration of eight alien races to empower a group to protect them all deemed the Guardians of the Galaxy.
- The DCU copied the Marvel concept when they introduced the "metagene" in the 1988 Crisis Crossover Invasion!!. When someone with this gene underwent a moment of extraordinary physical stress, the gene would activate, giving them some ability that would allow them to handle it. Any character who doesn't have powers from some other, explicit source is assumed to be a "metahuman". Interestingly, the reason for the extreme variance and unusual circumstances of activation is explained; the gene was originally adapted to give everyone all available powers freely, but was sabotaged by some Ancient Astronauts tens of thousands of years ago because humanity frightened them.
- The titular hero of Hitman once recapped his origin from the 1992 Crisis Crossover "Bloodlines", and said "Even I think it's embarrassing." Said origin involved said metahumans having a specialized reaction that allowed them to survive when aliens with a taste for spinal fluid fed on them.
- It also has the "Speed Force", which links most super-speed heroes (like The Flash) by positing that they draw the energy needed to break physics like they do from an extradimensional power source; it's implied that the Speed Force has a will of its own and needs to "notice" you to give you its powers, and it's also implied to be a sort of Heaven/Valhalla for dead speedsters.
- As well, there's the "Godwave" from the Crisis Crossover "Genesis", which was explained as creating both Physical Gods and super-powered humans, but that seems to have been quietly ignored since.
- In Milestone Comics (now part of the DCU), many supers are "Big Bang Babies" who got their powers when a massive gang fight was broken up by cops deploying tear gas that had (without the cops' knowledge) been laced with "quantum juice".
- Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing established that all characters with plant powers (Poison Ivy, Floronic Man, etc.) were connected to "the Green". Neil Gaiman later added Black Orchid, and revealed most of them were at university together. Animal Man parallels it by establishing that Animal Man and all animal-based characters (Beast Boy, Horsewoman, Vixen etc.) are connected to "the Red". The New 52 keeps this.
- In the New 52 version of Action Comics, John Henry Irons (Steel) and John Corben (Metallo) both got their Powered Armor from the US Military's "Steel Soldier" project, which was designed by Lex Luthor and headed by Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane. Further on, it's also revealed that their suits were reverse-engineered from Brainiac's technology, and that Brainiac's psychic influence was the initial cause of Metallo's insanity.
- The Valiant Comics universe was a fairly ordinary universe with no supernatural aspects until a scientist named Phil Seleski accidentally created a "wish machine" that gave him god-like powers. Due to events too long to summarize, he wound up collapsing the entire universe into a black hole. He tried to restore it, but, because he was a superhero fan, he subconsciously recreated the universe as a more fantastic version of the original, complete with invading aliens, evil robots, sentient Powered Armor and mutant-like "Harbingers".
- In the WildStorm universe (now also part of the DCU), the main sources of powers were either alien ancestry (like the Wild CA Ts, who were all part or full Kherubim) or the Gen-Factor, a Super Serum whose results were inheritable. The Century Babies also often had mysterious abilities, but their origin is unclear.
- In Planetary, it was revealed that all Century Babies are part of the universe's immunity system, created to stop attacks from Alternate Earths.
- The mysterious comet that passed Earth in the 1970's, which was the cause of the powers of the Seedlings, not to mention the all-powerful yet crazed WarGuard.
- In PS238, metahuman powers, which come from a *huge* variety of sources, are inborn or obtained in an equally large amount of ways; it is eventually revealed that an unknown cosmic determinant appears to be responsible for whether or not humanity will have access to metahuman powers. The process is circular; ever so often, humans will start to develop/be exposed to superpowers, and then, following a short 'trial period', this determinant will select a 'chooser' from humanity to decide if this state of affairs will continue. If the chooser says no, those with powers will retain them but no new metapowered individuals will emerge and humanity will have a century or two without them. If yes, metahumans will continue to exist and increase in numbers. Tyler Marloch AKA Moonshadow was the first chooser to ever say yes.
- In Defiant Comics' shared universe, the powers could all be somehow traced back to "dreamtime" - humanity's collective ID that existed on another plane of reality. All super-powered humans either learned to tap into dreamtime and wished superpowers for themselves or got powers from dreamtime's native lifeforms.
- Supreme Power links all of the powered heroes' origins to Hyperion's arrival on earth.
- Spider-Man: Chapter One retconned and fused Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus' origins.
- In the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series from Mirage Studios, a chance leakage of radioactive mutagen led Splinter and the Turtles to be mutated from a random sewer rat and four turtles that had been abandoned in the sewers of New York. In the more recent IDW series, the Turtles' origin story is reworked to involve nearly every significant character in the TMNT mythos. Splinter and the Turtles start out as test subjects in a lab owned by Baxter Stockman, the mutagen is an alien substance developed by Krang, April O'Neil is an intern in the lab, and the Turtles escape into the sewers with Splinter after Shredder's Foot Clan attempts to steal them from the lab. Even Casey Jones plays an important role: after Raphael fails to escape with the others and ends up separated from his brothers on the streets of New York, Casey is the one who helps him find his way to the sewers.
- Some comics in both Marvel and DC (and possibly other publishers) have toyed with the idea that all superpowered characters really have the same power: reality warping. The apparent differences between them are the result of limits in how they can express that reality alteration, and why winners of the Superpower Lottery can have different powers that would seem logically unrelated to each other.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both Banner / the Hulk and Emil Blonsky / the Abomination gained their powers through attempts to replicate Captain America's Super Serum. Banner thought he was researching ways to resist radiation and had no idea what his superiors were really after. Emil Blonsky's version of the serum seemed to work just fine, but when the Hulk still curb-stomped him he got greedy and demanded they inject him with even more dangerous serum.
- It's implied the the Arc Reactor created by Howard Stark was created by studying the Tessaract (an Asgardian artifact discovered by the Red Skull) which in turn was adapted and miniaturized by Tony Stark for his Iron Man armor, linking Iron Man to Asgard by way of the Super Soldier project.
- Several characters are revealed to have gotten their powers from the Infinity Stones, and several powerful objects from the comics are revealed to be Infinity Stones.
- Thor: The Dark World reveals that the Tesseract (the "Cosmic Cube" in the comics) and the Aether are the Space Stone and the Reality Stone, respectively, and it's heavily implied that the Asgardians can build space portals because they had the Space Stone in their possession for centuries.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan the Accuser gets his enhanced strength from having the Power Stone embedded in his hammer.
- In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, The Vision and Ultron himself are all created in some form or another by the Mind Stone; Ultron achieved sentience after being connected to it, the twins gained their powers from experimentation with it, and the Vision achieved both his sentience and his energy-blasts from the Stone being embedded in his forehead.
- The Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange contains the Time Stone which gives it its powers.
- In the supplementary material for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it's revealed that The Falcon's military exoskeleton was designed by Stark Industries, presumably utilizing technology similar to what is found in by Tony's Iron Man suits.
- The weapons used by the soldiers in Incredible Hulk were also designed by Stark Industries. In fact, the sonic weapon seems to be the big brother of the sonic paralyser Stane uses on Tony at the start of the final act of Iron Man.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. establishes that HYDRA was originally an ancient cult worshiping a powerful Inhuman who had been exiled from Earth. HYDRA was the proximate cause of much of the preceding: their actions led to the creation of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (later SHIELD) in response, which led to the creation of the Super Soldier Project, HYDRA were the ones who uncovered the Tesseract and began using it, uncovering the Tesseract led to Loki's invasion that created the Avengers, and HYDRA was also responsible for the creation of the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver (which accidentally led to Tony Stark creating Ultron). All of this can therefore be directly connected to the Kree having attempted to create supersoldiers out of humans (creating the first Inhumans) in the ancient past.
- The Transformers Film Series established the AllSpark as a mystical artifact responsible for the creation of Cybertron and Cybertronians, including other artifacts like the Matrix of Leadership. The AllSpark itself is a composite of various items like the Matrix of Leadership and the supercomputer Vector Sigma, and helps explain multiple transforming robot species in the galaxy that were apparently unrelated to Cybertron, such as the Junkions and Unicron (whose original origin was rather bizarre, created by a monkey scientist). The films and later incarnations of the franchise, such as the Transformers Aligned Universe, have followed suit by establishing that everything is connected to the AllSpark, or at the least the AllSpark itself is tied closely with the power of Primus, a mechanical deity.
- Oscorp, with its mysterious "Special Projects" division, is the common thread tying together all costumed characters in The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel. The company produces the genetically-enhanced hybrid spiders that give Peter Parker his abilities, and Peter eventually uses synthetic threads from the same spiders to build his web-shooters, while Harry Osborn gets his superhuman abilities from a concentrated dose of the spiders' venom. Meanwhile, Curt Connors (Lizard) and Max Dillon (Electro) are both Oscorp scientists who gain superpowers from projects gone awry, while Aleksei Sytsevich (Rhino) uses a robotic exoskeleton given to him by Oscorp. A scene near the end of the second movie even shows a pair of robotic wings and a harness of four robotic tentacles in the Special Projects vault, hinting at the eventual emergence of the Vulture and Doctor Octopus.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Eric Sacks' experiments lead to the geneses of both Shredder and the Turtles, as he apparently designed Shredder's armor in addition to synthesizing the mutagenic chemicals that mutated the Turtles.
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has an unusual example that overlaps with Composite Character. In the comics, Doomsday (from The Death of Superman) was a genetically engineered alien Living Weapon born on Krypton in the distant past, and he confronted Superman after he was shot into space by the people of the planet Calaton and ultimately crashed on Earth. The "Kryptonian Living Weapon" premise is more or less intact in the film, but Lex Luthor is the one who performs the experiments that create him, and he creates him by mutating and reanimating General Zod's corpse. Thus, Doomsday and Zod are technically the same being, and Luthor is effectively Doomsday's "father".
- In Hero.com and Villain.net by Andy Briggs, the six Core Powers qualify, all other superpowers in existence being only twisted and weakened descendants of the Core Powers. One is a Time Master ability, one is a Gravity Master power, and the third known gives power over life and death.
- On a lesser level, the titular websites for Downloaders, since they don't have powers permanently like Primes, and have to absorb them through the internet.
- In Salman Rushdie's Magic Realism novel Midnight's Children, 1001 babies born at midnight on the day that India achieves its independence gain low-level superpowers. One can reverse gender, another can teleport through bodies of water, and the main character can smell disaster and other things no one can smell. They're also all able to maintain telepathic contact with one another, and try to form a sort of national congress (it fails miserably).
- In the classic pulp horror novel Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson, all the monstrous creatures of worldwide myth and legend (and most of the evil in the world) spring from Homo lycanthropus, a werewolf-vampire species of "witch men" who have lived secretly alongside "real men" since prehistoric times and can interbreed with Homo sapiens.
- Philip Josť Farmer's Wold Newton Family concept posited the Wold Newton meteorite as a source of mutation, which, while generally not producing metahumans, produced an extended family including Tarzan, Doc Savage et al.
- Christopher Stasheff's Warlock of Gramarye series reveals that the existence of so many mythological creatures on the world of Gramarye is due to the presence of "witch-moss," which can be psychically shaped.
- In the Wild Cards book series, all human supers get their powers via infection with the Wild Card virus. This also explains why so damn many of them live in New York City; that's where the virus was originally released.
- In Wearing the Cape, all superhumans are "breakthroughs"—individuals who's powers manifested in response to great physical stress or emotional trauma. Superhumans themselves began appearing in the aftermath of the Event (a worldwide phenomena where every living person experienced complete sensory deprivation for 3.2 seconds), but neither the Event nor the source of superhuman powers is every explained.
- In Dark Life, living at the high pressures of the undersea homesteads gives people "Dark Gifts".
- In The Grimnoir Chronicles books by Larry Correia, all powers come from a vast cosmic entity known as ... well, The Power.
- In Perry Rhodan, while humanity has branched into environmentally adapted strains (usually making people stronger, hardier or even smaller), there also exist people with psionic powers called mutants, as they literally are just that. In the early years, most known mutants were born in 1946 with the implication that they were a result of the nuclear bombs used in 1945. Later, after they finally died off, an evil overlord tried breeding super-soldiers, but was thwarted and removed from power. Several generations later, the descendants of the test subjects showed a high chance of being totally color-blind (unable to discern colors at all), while exhibiting mutant powers as well. Unfortunately, after just one arc, most of these were killed off again by a power trying to take a shortcut to becoming a super-intelligence.
- In The Cosmere, everything ultimately boils down to the planet Yolen and its god, Adonalsium, which got shattered by sixteen Yolenians. Those eventually took up pieces - Shards - of Adonalsium, becoming divine themselves, and evacuated humanity (or started it anew) to other planets. Shards' magic then mixed with local supernatural "climate", creating Cosmere's various magic systems - not to mention that Shards themselves are initiators of most of Cosmere's plots.
- In Sanctioned, there are genetic markers that indicate a person might develop super-powers. Not everyone who has those markers develops powers, but no one can develop powers without them. In Scotland, potential sixteen year olds are taken to a state run school for the government to try and unlock the powers and then teach the youths to control them. So far, there seems to be two theories about the origin of the powers, the Harrington theory (God did it) and the Benoit theory (we don't know the science, yet, but we know it wasn't God).
Live Action TV
- Where The DCU has the Speed Force, Power Rangers has the Morphing Grid. In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the series' first incarnation, it was a term frequently tossed out in technobabble but never defined. Dusted off over a decade later, it seems that all Rangers, whether their apparent power source is magic, technology, Green Rocks, or some combination thereof, are actually powered by a connection to the Grid. The Grid is potentially explained in Power Rangers RPM (that's season seventeen) to be an energy field produced by the bioelectricity of living beings, but RPM never acknowledges it by name (it was described as a "grid" so we're assuming it's the Grid) and takes place in a separate universe from the rest. In any case, it's still not explained how the various apparent power sources and the Grid interact with each other.
- Fanon suggests that the morphing powers tap into the grid to access the uniform and weapons, it is sort of a canon Hyperspace Arsenal. The Grid doesn't necessarily supply the power to the morphers but it instead channels that power into what they need. That's why the different teams with wildly different power sources can all use the morphing grid, you just need to figure out how to channel the grid abilities. This also explains why in teamups, the power-ups and weapons are easily compatible with other teams. There are other characters within the franchise that can "Morph" without being called Rangers, such as Masked Rider and (debatably) the Magna Defender.
- All the superpowers on Heroes supposedly come from certain people evolving a sort of "superpower gene," like in X-Men. However, a few scenes, as well as some Word of God comments, suggest there might be a quasi-religious aspect determining which people are granted which powers.
- A two-parter in season 3 attempted to retcon an explanation that an eclipse was what caused the characters' latent powers to emerge, with another eclipse taking those powers away. Completely neglected is the fact that many characters had been using their powers before the first eclipse.
- Word of God has suggested that an eclipse just marks some sort of significant event for people with powers and that this happens with every eclipse.
- A two-parter in season 3 attempted to retcon an explanation that an eclipse was what caused the characters' latent powers to emerge, with another eclipse taking those powers away. Completely neglected is the fact that many characters had been using their powers before the first eclipse.
- Similar to the Morphing Grid concept, the Crisis Crossover Grand Finale of Kamen Rider Wizard introduces the Cross of Fire, which is stated to be the literal embodiment of the powers granted to each of the Kamen Riders throughout the franchise's history.
- The superhumans in the TV version of Painkiller Jane were all either "Neuros" who shared a neurological abberation, or were empowered by a Neuro.
- In The 4400, everyone's powers are due to everyone getting a fifth neural transmitter, promicin, when they were kidnapped by the future.
- In Arrow, Solomon Grundy, Roy Harper, and Slade Wilson all got their powers from a Japanese Super Serum dubbed "Mirakuru".
- In The Flash (2014), the hero and most of his villains got their powers from a particle accelerator explosion that occurred at S.T.A.R. Labs.
- With the Speed Force still serving as an unifying factor for speedsters' powers.
- The entirety of Exalted is one big Meta Origin, with the various types of Exalted having been literally Chosen By The Gods to receive their powers.
- The Mutants & Masterminds setting Paragons has everyone's powers emerge in the past few years due to one source; however, that unified source is left deliberately vague, though the book heavily hints that the world of myth is leaking back into reality.
- The setting Shards: Unsung Destiny, featured in the sourcebook Mecha & Manga, has all powers come from special crystals deposited on Earth by a comet.
- In the Trinity Universe, Novas and Psions both have the same latent genetic potential that is later activated by some outside stimulus, particularly the presence of existing Novas or Psions. In Aberrant, a large number of Novas were activated by the explosion of the Galatea, and in Trinity, most Psions are activated by dunking in one of the psi-orders' Prometheus Chambers.
- International Super Teams, the official super hero roleplaying setting for GURPS, traces powers back to the Seeders, Precursor-like aliens who uplift dead-end species by adding the potential for sapience and a racial super power (to be determined by its evolution and environmental stresses) to the species' genetic code. In the case of Earth, humanity's engineered ancestors suffered a solar radiation event which suppressed most of the Seeder genes; only intelligence evolved until another radiation event in the late 1920s reactivated the "power genes", which then began to express themselves more or less randomly from individual to individual.
- Warhammer 40,000 ultimately traces everything back to the War In Heaven between the C'tan and the Old Ones, two races with powers bordering on Reality Warping. C'tan uplifted Necrontyr into robotic Necrons to fight for them, while the Old Ones created the Eldar and Orks to counter that. Furthermore, the war led to disturbance in the Sea of Souls that would lead to Chaos forming, which in turn led to Earth shamans deciding to band together for protection, thus creating the Emperor. Add to that the implications that the Eldar have uplifted the Tau, and the War In Heaven is behind all of 40K's factions.
- The backstory of City of Heroes involves the original Super Hero and his Rival Turned Evil opening Pandora's Box, unleashing the last four millennia of humanity's stored creativity. This was in the early 1930s, again paralleling The Golden Age of Comic Books. In the novel Web of Arachnos, it's claimed that the last time the box was opened, it led to the gods of Greek myth. But it's also said specifically that not all beings of legend were born of its power...
- There's also "the Nuclear 90", "90 children from around the world all born in one year with an unusual mutation that gives them natural magnetic nuclear fusion reactors for hearts, and the ability to channel energy from their internal reactor for a variety of super powers." The only one of these who's currently a character in the game is the NPC Fusionette.
- A story arc included in Issue 12 notes that the first mutants appeared after 1938, corresponding to the earliest human-controlled nuclear fission.
- There's also the Meta Origin of the Origins themselves, and the apparent web that connects and entangles all super-powered beings — meaning that there is, apparently, a reason that going through Training from Hell doesn't give everyone superpowers, or that scientific accidents don't always cause powers...
- Lionheart had King Richard the Lionheart's aggressive hoarding of holy relics during the Third Crusade result in an explosion of magical energy, the "Disjunction", that caused human beings to begin manifesting magical powers, significantly altered the geography of western Europe, and turned ordinary animals into mythological beasts.
- Most of the characters in Freedom Force got their powers from a mysterious form of energy imaginatively called "Energy X". This energy is explained as the "secret weapon" of the multiverse-spanning empire known as the Domain. Their leader, Lord Dominion, thinking that Earth, the only place he hasn't conquered, won't prove to be a challenge, orders his underlings to give Energy X to the most evil people on Earth in the hopes that they will destroy Humanity and each other. However, a rebel named Mentor steals all the Energy X canisters and tries to bring them to Earth, so he can give them to the most heroic people on Earth... only to be shot down by the pursuing fleet, causing the canisters to rain down on Earth, and giving powers to those who happened to be in their vicinity.
- This is taken even further by the sequel, Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich. At the end, it is revealed that Energy X is actually a sentient being. This was probably planned to be further explained in another sequel, but at this point that seems pretty unlikely.
- A few of the origins are questionable. Eve may or may not get her power from Pan, for instance. Another may be getting it from a Wiccan goddess, the origin video is actually ambiguous on that point but she thinks so. And it's never explained exactly who Blitzkrieg is and where he got his powers.
- Pan himself is an example of a character who appears to have had powers long before the Energy X spill happened.
- Amusingly enough, the company that created Freedom Force would later go on to create Bioshock...
- With the Alpha series, Super Robot Wars began handling this trope surprisingly well, especially when there are so many series in each Continuity which requires balancing to prevent Story-Breaker Power. Most involve Human Aliens, Ancient Astronauts and so on, but a few games will mix the different varieties of Applied Phlebotinum as manifestations of some greater, overarching power in the universe. For example, Alpha establishes that Getter Rays, The Power, Beamler, Psychodrivers, the STMC, Anima Spiritia and the Ide are all aspects of the Akashic Records, better known as fate.
- In fact, the final Alpha game reveals the Greater Scope Villain was behind every original villain in the previous installments; additionally, all the Big Bads from the licensed series that appeared were directed into the path that led them against the heroes of Alpha.
- Batman: Arkham City retcons Solomon Grundy's origin and ability to die and resurrect to a Lazarus Pit in the swamp near Gotham City where his body was dumped, these Lazarus Pits are part of a big scheme by Ra's Al-Ghul.
- Many characters from Mindmistress have connected origins. Mindmistress and Forethought gained their intellect from the same source. Moodswing and members of Venegance Inc. mutated because of the same thing. Moodswing's belt and tsunami-causing rod of sea people were both created by Miraclemaker. And there's bunch of character created by mindmistress actions
- In the Whateley Universe, people with the "meta-gene complex" may just manifest as a mutant (typically around age fourteen) for no known reason. However, at least a sixth of everyone on earth has this genetic structure, and yet there are only thousands of mutants. The roughly 600 mutants at Whateley Academy represent by far most of the high-school age mutants on the planet.
- The story, "Razzle Dazzle," has villain Mephisto explain that the "meta-gene complex" almost never showed up until after governments started giving vast numbers of people "allergy shots" that were actually supposed to create super-soldiers and suggests that the "meta-gene complex" were the results of people who didn't react to the serum initially, but passed it on to their children. Then again, he also implies at the end of his story that he made much of it up for his audience of one...
- Academy of Superheroes has the Magene, which gives one the ability to, essentially, break the laws of physics. The original holders in prehistory were powerful wizards, and the most powerful became the gods of mythology. In the modern day, the gene is far more diluted, resulting in superhumans. There are highly-detailed classifications detailing what kind and how powerful a particular individual's physics-violating abilities are.
- The Global Guardians PBEM Universe copied the Marvel solution by having Sufficiently Advanced Alien Ancient Astronauts, the P!k Gardeners, experiment on early protohumans millions of years ago, adding the metagene to human DNA, thus allowing the possibility of superpowers. The 1908 Tunguska explosion caused extraterrestrial biomolecules to spread around the world and bond to human DNA, causing superhuman children to be born.
- In the comicbook-styled Omega universe, all superpowers (be they magic, psychic or even chi), come from the same source i.e. all humans are at least latent psychics. Omegas generally activate with a single power while mages use rituals to temporarily access their dormant psychic talents. The gods in the setting didn't create humanity, it was the other way around.
- In Worm, parahumans gain their powers through a process called a "trigger event," where the individual goes through a highly traumatic experience and gains superpowers from it. The reasons for this, and for disruptions in the pattern (such as Case 53s, or inhuman parahumans, and extremely powerful parahumans such as Scion and the Endbringers) are major plot points later in the story.
- All superpowers (include the Super Serum variants created by Cauldron) come from pieces of vast extra-dimensional beings often called "passengers" or 'agents'. One of these beings is Scion, the first "parahuman" to come into existence; the other one giving powers to humans is known as Eden, and has been harvested by Cauldron for the power-giving shards to turn into their Super Serums.
- Some of the proposals for the SCP-001 article of the SCP Foundation are about what's caused the Foundation universe to have so many paranormal entities and phenomenon. Two of them also provide origins for several of the groups involved in the paranormal, including the Foundation itself.
- The 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series has the science of "Neogenics", which is basically the science of applying LEGO Genetics to an existing life-form (why take years to grow your super-mutant to adulthood when you can zap someone who is already an adult?) in a process that involves a kind of radiation. The spider that bit Peter hadn't been zapped by generic radiation, but with a "neogenic recombinator". Neogenics goes on to be responsible for the transformation Lizard, Scorpion, Vulture, and Morbius, mostly preserving their comic-book origins but pulling them together in a way that makes it a bit more plausible than a bunch of Million-to-One Chance accidents.
- Similarly, The Spectacular Spider-Man: Many of the previously unconnected villains now related back to Oscorp (just like in the Ultimate Universe): Dr. Octopus worked as a brilliant scientist and inventor who works at Oscorp, Toomes became the Vulture because Oscorp stole his technology, Sandman and Rhino get their powers from Oscorp experiments, Shocker gets his suit as the result of Norman Osborn's machinations, and so on. Interestingly, one of the few major villains in the series whose origin was related to Oscorp in the comics universe, Tombstone, has a criminal-working relationship with the company, and nothing more.
- Spectacular also makes use of the ESU genetics lab: For one thing, it's where Spider-Man himself got his powers. Then there was a electrical freak accident that created Electro, which in turn affected Doc Connors' Lizard serum. Miles Warren later used the Lizard serum research in order to give Kraven powers. And to top things off, the symbiote later known as Venom was to be studied in the lab (just like in the Ultimate Universe), too.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, both Venom and Carnage are genetically-engineered from samples of Spider-Man's blood, while the Rhino, the Lizard and the Vulture are all products of Doctor Octopus. Additionally, the Awesome Android is a S.H.I.E.L.D. project created by Curt Connors, and Deadpool is a former S.H.I.E.L.D. trainee and protege of Nick Fury.
- In Avengers Assemble, The Falcon's wings and costume are actually a suit of Powered Armor he made with help from his teammate Tony Stark.
- Wolverine and the X-Men:
- Nitro is a mutant rather than the product of Kree experimentation like he was in the original Captain Mar-Vell comics.
- The Wendigo is also introduced as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempt at recreating the Super Serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America. In the comics, the Wendigo was the product of an ancient Indigenous curse.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures:
- Likewise, this show makes the Extremis formula into an another attempt at recreating the Super Serum, even though they're entirely unrelated in the comics.
- It also establishes Doctor Doom's Powered Armor as something engineered from Makluan technology, much like the Mandarin's rings. Likewise, the Grey Gargoyle is reimagined as one of the Makluan's guardians, rather than a human scientist who gave himself superpowers.
- Bang Babies from Static Shock all got their powers from a single event.
- DC Animated Universe:
- While much less overarchingly-celestial in origin, Superman: The Animated Series tended to interlink the origins of various characters that were previously not related in-comics, making for stronger continuity: For instance, rather than being made by an unaffiliated scientists, Metallo and Bizarro are now the direct creation of Lexcorp (though the latter was true in the comics canon as of John Byrne's Post-Crisis Man Of Steel reboot). Brainiac is portrayed as a Kryptonian computer system with a direct link to the end of that world, rather than being an unrelated alien that just happens to stumble across Earth. Toyman's origin is now the result of the actions of Intergang, which itself became a pawn to Darkseid's schemes, and so on.
- Batman: The Animated Series did the same thing with a few characters, such as having The Creeper gain his powers after being dumped into a vat of chemicals by The Joker.
- Justice League explicitly ties the origins of Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter to the same alien invasion that leads to the formation of the Justice League, since both characters made their debut in that show without prior introduction. Diana chooses to leave Themyscira to aid the people of "Man's World" against the invaders, refusing to remain safe in the Amazons' island refuge while innocent people die; J'onn J'onzz is a veteran of the invaders' earlier war with the peaceful Martian race, who escapes to Earth to warn humanity about their return, and he's the Last of His Kind because the invaders slaughtered his people. Note that Green Lantern and Hawkgirl don't get this treatment, instead being examples of Remember the New Guy. note
- In the Ben 10 verse, each sapient species has evolved a series of traits that they consider mundane, and others consider superpowers. The Omnitrix was designed to allow a single individual to use all those myriad powers.
- Oh, and Humanity's "superpower" is the ability to produce viable offspring with ANY other sentient life-form. Which retain the strengths of both species. Theoretically, Humanity's mongrelized descendants could have every power in the universe. In one alternate timeline, a future version of Ben used the Ultimatrix on his human body. "Ultimate Ben" is basically Ben if he was the result of generations of breeding with every other race in the universe, and is able to unlock any of the other races' powers at will.
- Season 2 of Young Justice introduced the concept of the metagene into animation, with the explanation that a small percentage of the human race possessed the genetic potential to develop superpowers in times of duress. Static, Neutron, and Captain Ersatzes of the four Canon Foreigner Superfriends all got their powers from metagenes, as opposed to the comics, where they all had separate and wildly different origins.
- Another, minor example was Bumblebee. In the show, she was the sidekick of The Atom and got her Sizeshifter powers from the same white dwarf star matter that her mentor used.
- Beast Boy manifests his abilities after getting a blood transfusion from Miss Martian.
- Matt Hagen was transformed into Clayface after being trapped in Ra's Al-Ghul's Lazarus Pit for too long.
- The show's tie-in comic provides a coherent Meta Origin for the various Killer Gorilla characters DC has (Monsieur Mallah, Gorilla Grodd, Ultra-Humanite, and Congorilla) by establishing that they were all part of a troop of gorillas that had been captured and experimented upon.
- The Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Heart of Evil" reveals that Blue Falcon and Dynomutt were originally a security guard and a guard dog (respectively) at the facilities of Quest Labs, and that Dynomutt got his robotic enhancements as a life-saving measure from Dr. Benton Quest after he nearly died defending the lab from Dr. Napoleon Zin. Though never outright stated, it's heavily implied that Blue Falcon's gadgets were also originally Quest Labs hardware.