How Metahumans are treated by Humans in the DCU

Let me start by answering the obvious question: no, this is not my dissertation on Metahuman/Human relations in the DC Universe. I don’t I have THAT kind of energy, on here ore anywhere else.

Instead rather, this is meant to be a discussion starter, based on thoughts I’ve had in my head for sometime now.

Now, I don’t know how else to say this, but for my topic to be understood, I’m gonna have to reference a band of merry individuals and the distinguished competition they hail from. Please don’t freak out.

You ready?

So, in the Marvel Universe™, the core conceit of the X-Men is that the Mutants, even in a world of super-soldiers, Norse gods, and green rage monsters, are (mostly) hated and feared by humanity at large. Pretty much, from the moment they started popping up, the reaction from human society in the MU is to basically fear them, shun them, cure them, and when that all fails, attempt to kill them all.

In the DC Universe, where Marvel’s ‘Mutant’ finds its rough counterpart with the term ‘Metahuman’, things go a bit differently.

Since the start of what’s commonly referred to as the ‘Age of Heroes’, Metahumans are widespread and, as far as I know, are widely accepted by human society. Organizations like S.T.A.R. Labs dedicate their research to understanding them, but that research is often for the purpose of helping superpowered individuals like The Flash. Whole entire ‘communities’ of Metahumans can be found in cities across the world, and while some do get experimented on or captured/held against their will, it’s usually at the hands of people with untold amounts of jealousy towards them (hi Lex).

Of course, I’m talking about the comics continuity, specifically what I’ve observed these past few years through a variety of different titles. I’m not even getting into Film and TV, where the focus on Metahumans and their role in human society fluctuates depending on the creatives involved.

A quick list of examples: the ‘Metahuman Thesis’ in BvS, the occupation storyline in Black Lightning, literally every storyline on The Flash, and the rounding-up of metahumans in Suicide Squad (just to name a few).

So I guess my question to start this topic would be: based on just solely what’s in the comics, what do we know about how Metahumans navigate human society? Do we know of any places outside of S.T.A.R. Labs, Titans Tower, and the Hall of Justice that make special accommodations for them? Are they really ‘hated and feared’ as much as the X-Men or not?


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This is one of the core conceits of Kurt Busiek and George Pérez’s JLA/Avengers crossover, which I highly recommend seeking out. Marvel heroes are shocked to see how ”mutants” are not only accepted, but celebrated in the DC Universe, and DC heroes are dismayed to see how “metahumans” are vilified in the Marvel universe.