Karnak is a part of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, cousin to Black Bolt. His brother Triton was exposed to the Terrigen Mists as an infant, but his result was him having green scales. Because of this, Karnak's parents begged him not to go on with the procedure. He didn't go ahead with it, instead learning martial arts.
Karnak is the second son of an Inhuman priest and philosopher named Mander and an ocean biologist named Azur. They sent their first son, Triton, into the Terrigen Mists when he was an infant, rendering him unable to function outside an aquatic environment. Thus, they refused to raise Karnak with Terrigen Mists. Karnak was put into his father's religious seminary in the Tower of Wisdom, where he was taught in various physical and mental disciplines until he was eighteen years old. His mother died in a mysterious undersea mishap. His farther is still a teacher at the seminary.
Karnak was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Fantastic Four Vol.1 issue 45 (1965).
Major Story Arcs
Part of the Royal Family
When the Kree refugees came to Attilan for refuge, they actually came to kill Karnak and the rest of the Inhuman Royal Family. Karnak was seen along with Gorgon, Black Bolt, Ahura and Medusa in a garden since the Inhuman Royal Family renounced their claim of power. Before they can shoot Black Bolt senses them and sends a bolt of energy towards their way. Karnak along with Gorgon and Black Bolt goes to attack the Kree assassins. Karnak is then shot. He awakes and teleports with the others outside of Attilan and is held at gun point by Kree soldiers. He attacks them until their boss comes and tells them the situation. He then goes to the Genetics council to hear the decision. Karnak is teleported to the mists to attack the Kree. He helps Medusa attack an energy based Kree, but is taken out easily.
Meeting the Fantastic Four
Karnak was with the Inhuman royal family when Crystal brought the Human Torch to their hidden headquarters, from where they searched for their queen, Medusa. When he met the youth he introduced himself by throwing him over his shoulder in a display of Inhuman skill. When Johnny awoke, Gorgon had returned with Medusa, and it was revealed that the Torch was not an Inhuman as Crystal had thought. After Gorgon and Triton fought with him, Johnny burned his way out of the hideout to alert the other members of the Fantastic Four.
Along with the rest of the Inhumans, led by Black Bolt, Karnak fought with the Fantastic Four-initiating the first attack by chopping off a piece of wall and throwing it at the Thing-until Crystal appeared and announced that Triton had been taken by the Seeker. Karnak and his fellow Inhumans soon surrounded Lockjaw, who teleported them back to Attilan: where Black Bolt faced off against his traitorous brother, Maximus. Black Bolt quickly took his crown back by force and reclaimed leadership of the Inhumans.
But the Fantastic Four appeared moments later, having followed the Seeker back to the refuge. While Johnny Storm and Crystal ran to each other, and Black Bolt and Mister Fantastic argued, Maximus fired his atom-gun, intending to destroy all of humanity. Though when his weapon didn’t work, Medusa deduced that it proved Inhumans and humans were of the same race, which infuriated Maximus. He went out of control and reversed his machine, creating a Negative Zone around Attilan that trapped Karnak and the rest of the Inhumans in, while the Fantastic Four narrowly escaped. While they remained trapped, Karnak became obsessed with breaking the barrier using his skills, but he only succeeded in injuring his hand. Eventually, Black Bolt revealed his secret: that the use of his voice was lethally destructive, and he soon used its power to destroy the barrier that imprisoned them. The Inhumans' Council of Elders soon decreed that the royal family would disperse and go into human society to learn more of it, while the rest of the Inhumans rebuilt Attilan. Black Bolt agreed, and led them out.
Karnak is looking out the window with Gorgon behind him drinking. Gorgon ask what is wrong, and Karnak says he's worried about Black Bolt. Karnak explains to Gorgon how his power works. How he can see the flaw in everything, psychological, physical. But Black Bolt doesn't have a flaw, not one. He then says everything will have a crack in it and he is afraid, that whatever Black Bolt's crack is, it will put the whole city in danger. the time the Kree came to attack the Inhumans, Karnak destroys plenty of the robotic men. Karnak soon learns they have weapons that counteract their abilities and see his abilities turned against him. He is sent to the Shiar ship in an escape pod. When the Shiar open the pod they think as him of one of their own. Karnak is in a war with Triton, trying to colonize a moon. They win and is told that he will become part of the Imperial Guard. Karnak is found out and attacks the rest of the Imperial Guards.
Working for S.H.I.E.L.D
Karnak was approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. to retrieve Adam Roderick from his abductors. Roderick just went through Terrigenesis, but his parents said that he didn't recieve any powers except not being allergic to peanuts anymore. Karnak went to Berlin after Phil Coulson found a lead. Karnak found out that Roderick was lying about his abilities, and that he gained the ability to give everyone what they want. For example, he gave a random priest the ability to fire "zen bullets", also known as energy blasts.
When Karnak met Roderick, he had to fight multiple beasts Roderick designed to keep everyone out. Karnak defeated them, but Roderick got away. When Karnak found Roderick again, he had to fight mutated spiders and eventually Roderick himself. Karnak disabled Roderick's Inhuman abilities and then paralyzed him. After that he went back to the Tower of Wisdom.
Civil War II
During Civil War II Karnak was appointed to be the teacher of Profiler. Profiler, also known as Ulysses, didn't agree with Karnak's methods so he tried to escape while Karnak was temporary in New York to safe the world based on a vision Ulysses had beforehand. This featured Karnak destroying the motor of a train. It isn't exactly clear how this helped but it did.
When the actual Civil War broke out Karnak was on the side of Carol Danvers along with the other members of the Inhumans. Together they fought Iron Man and anyone on his side of the debacle.
During the Secret Empire event, Karnak led a team of characters against HYDRA. The team consisted of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Quake and Inferno. Unsurprisingly, these are all Inhumans. During this storyline Karnak and his team had encounters with the X-Men, Dark Beast and once again HYDRA.
After the Secret Empire event ended, Karnak still led the team for several issues before being banished from Inhuman society. This was later retconned in Death Of The Inhumans.
- Height: 5"7'
- Weight: 159 lbs
- Eye Color: Blue
- Hair Color: Black, often shaved bald
- Identity: Secret
- Place of Birth: Island of Attilan, Atlantic Ocean
- Citizenship: Attilan
- Education: Graduate of religious seminary, Tower of Wisdom, Royal tutors of Attilan
- Occupation: Priest, philosopher, monarch's aide, former spy, soldier
- Known Relatives:Mander (father), Azur (mother, deceased), Triton (brother), Blackagar Boltagon (Black Bolt), Maximus (surname Boltagon), Crystalia Amaquelin (Crystal), Medusalith Boltagon (Medusa) (cousins), Avoe, Aladi Ko Eke, Ronan, Oola Udonta, Onomi Whitemane (cousins in-law), Ahura Boltblackagar, Luna (cousins once removed), Magnar (paternal grandfather, presumed deceased), Zeta (paternal grandmother, presumed deceased), Kobar (Maternal grandfather, presumed deceased), La (Maternal grandmother, presumed deceased), Rynda (Paternal aunt, deceased), Agon (paternal uncle, deceased), Quelin (Maternal uncle) Ambur (maternal aunt), Alecto, Gauntlet, Gorgon, Tusk, Unspoken (distant cousins), Symak, Tanith (distant cousins, presumed deceased), Barrage, Foxbat, Hardrive, Korath, Milena, Psynapse (distant cousins deceased), Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver, ex-cousin-in-law/marriage annulled)
Karnak has the extrasensory ability to sense a weak point in any object or person around him. By applying pressure or hitting the weak points, he can down enemies stronger than him, or break seemingly invincible objects. Because of his discipline with martial arts, this sense is effortless and can use it for periods of time.
Karnak is also a master martial artist who has developed callouses on his hands, allowing him to shatter wood and exchange blows with superhuman opponents who greatly outclass him in durability and strength.
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.
Karnak is also a skilled torturer. He has made superhumans like Dark Beast give up information within seconds. He can also use this power on humans, often relying on his weak spot detection ability for this.
Karnak is a very intelligent man. Likewise with his martial arts and torturing, his weak point detection is an excellent device to help him with this. For example, Karnak has designed a prison without flaws to ensure that Maximus wouldn't escape. He can also hack advanced technology and he has created devices to make sure that his brother Triton could breath out of the water. He has also made a study of human cinema, and is pretty knowledgeable on it.
Age of Apocalypse
Karnak and the Inhuman royal family were all killed by Maximus (Death - Horseman of Apocalypse), and were later cloned to serve as his personal bodyguards using the Terrigen Mists to mutate them.
During the invasion of Magneto´s x-men on Apocalypse´s Ship in the blue area of the moon, the Inhumans confronted them. Karnak was able to immobilize Sabretooth by attacking the pressure points of his body. It is unknown what happened to him after the match but supposedly he could die when Sunfire destroyed Apocalypse´s Ship.
The Fantastic Four 1978
Karnak briefly appears alongside his fellow Inhumans in The Fantastic Four #104 - Medusa and the Inhumans. This Karnak appears to have the same powers and abilities as his classic 616 counterpart although he is only briefly focused on in the epsiode. He looks exactly like the classic version of 616 Karnak.
Fantastic Four 1994
Karnak appears 4 times in the second season of Fantastic Four. He appears in Fantastic Four: The Animated Series #203 - Inhumans Saga Part 2: The Inhumans Among Us, Fantastic Four: The Animated Series #204 - Inhumans Saga Part 3: Beware the Hidden Land!, Fantastic Four: The Animated Series #211 - Hopelessly Impossible and Fantastic Four: The Animated Series #212 - The Sentry Sinister. This Karnak seemingly has the same abilities as his classic 616 counterpart. He also acts and looks the same as 616 Karnak.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Karnak appears two times in Marvel's animated Guardians of the Galaxy tv show. He is featured in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy #112 - Crystal Blue Persuasion and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy #121 - Inhuman Touch. This Karnak has the same abilities as 616 Karnak but he can also absorb energy or something similar. He acts like classic Karnak but his personality has a hint of the more modern version of him. This Karnak looks like a modernized version of his classic design.
Karnak appears in 8 episodes in Marvel's animated TV universe. His appearance include Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. #122 - Inhuman Nature, Avengers Assemble #309 - Inhumans Among Us, Avengers Assemble #310 - The Inhuman Condition, Avengers Assemble #323 - Civil War Part 1: The Fall of Attilan, Avengers Assemble #325 - Civil War Part 3: The Drums of War, Avengers Assemble #326 - Civil War Part 4: Avengers Revolution, Ultimate Spider-Man #318 - Inhumanity and Ultimate Spider-Man #412 - Agent Web. This Karnak looks like the classic version with a modern tint. His personality is very varying in the different shows. His powers are also the same as the 616 version of Karnak.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Karnak appears in all 8 episodes of the MCU version of the Inhumans show. This Karnak looks like the modern all-new all-different version of Karnak but acts completely out of character most of the time. There are some moments hinting at the modern version. This version also has some sort of precognition power.