Eternals #1 (1976)
The Deviants were brought into being approximately one million years ago through genetic experimentation by the enigmatic Celestials. The Celestials altered the structure of the DNA complexes of the proto-humans whom they genetically transformed into the first Deviants so that physical characteristics radically changed with each generation. Thus a Deviant child will greatly differ in appearance from either of his or her parents. Similar experiments conducted by the Celestials at the time also resulted in the creation of the Eternals. Unlike the Eternals, the Deviants are not virtually immortal or indestructible. The sole known exception is the Warlord Kro, who, despite being vulnerable to injury, has lived for untold centuries, although he has concealed this fact from his fellow Deviants.
Although the Deviants are ruled by a hereditary monarchy and governed by a class of nobility, a great deal of power in Deviant society is held by the priesthood. The priests attempt to weed out those Deviants who are born with the most extreme and grotesque genetic differences from the others by consigning these Deviants to death in the flame pits at "Purity Time." Through such measure, the priests hope to keep variation with the Deviant race's genetic makeup within certain limits.
Because there is no standard physical appearance for Deviants, and because their race produces such grotesqueries, Deviant culture lacks the concept of physical beauty, although, perhaps due to envy, almost all Deviants regard humans and Eternals as physically repellent. Since Deviant children do not resemble their parents, and indeed may look physically repellent even to them, Deviant parents take no joy in childbearing. Indeed, Deviants look upon sexual activity merely as a necessary means of propagating the race and take no pleasure in it. The sexes are segregated from each other in most public places in Deviant cities. Because of the Deviants' distaste for childbearing, they have felt no need to increase their numbers by a considerable degree, and today there are only about two thousand Deviants in the world, most of whom are sequestered underground.
The Deviants were the first natives of Earth to develop technology and even thousands of years ago had already become highly advanced in the study of genetics. The Deviants claim to have created the Subterreneans as their slaves, and it has been speculated that it was the Deviants who genetically transformed ordinary humans into the water-breathing Atlantean race.
Originally, the Deviants built their cities on the Earth's surface. They used their advanced technology to conquer the nations of humans and eventually conquered the entire known world except for the empire of Atlantis. The center of the Deviants' empire was the island continent of Lemuria in what is now the Pacific Ocean. The Deviants treated the humans they conquered as slaves and forced many of them to serve in armies that the Deviants sent to conquer other human nations. Finally, the Deviants sent a human army from the Lemurian Isles to attack Atlantis itself. To rout the invaders, Atlantis's King Kamuu opened the magma pits which were the capital city's means of heating. The Lemurian invaders were destroyed by the molten lava, but its release triggered seismological upheavals. Meanwhile, the Celestials' second expedition to Earth was sighted over Lemuria itself. The Deviants launched an attack on the Celestials, who retaliated by using an immensely powerful nuclear weapon on Lemuria. The weapon's shock waves combined with the disturbances beneath Atlantis to crest the Great Cataclysm that devastated much of the planet. Lemuria and Atlantis both sank, and most of the Deviant population was destroyed. The Deviants who survived did so by escaping to the small number of underground cities they had previously established. They built more subterranean cities, but eventually abandoned most of them for their new subterranean capital city on the sunken Lemurian continent, the so-called "City of Toads." Since the sinking of Lemuria, Earth's Deviant population has been greatly reduced from what it was.
In more recent years, the Deviants have experienced many shake-ups of leadership. Brother Tode, ruler of the Deviants shortly after the arrival of the Fourth Host of Celestials, once successfully invaded the Eternal city of Olympia, but he was stopped by Iron Man (James Rhodes) and imprisoned with other Deviants in a block of stone. New Lemuria was rebuilt by this time, and the priest Ghaur designated Kro as a puppet ruler while the priests quietly ruled behind the scenes. The two split, however, when Kro failed to retrieve the essence of the Dreaming Celestial, a holy relic for the Deviants. Kro led his own faction of Deviants with Ghaur more public in his reign. During one scheme, Ghaur finally put into operation the Deviant priesthood's millenia-old plans to challenge the alien Celestials in their role in creating the Deviant race. Ghaur ultimately infused himself with the power of a Celestial. When this power was driven from him by the power of the Eternals' Uni-Mind, so was Ghaur's consciousness, and he was presumed dead, thereby allowing Kro complete rule over the Deviants. However, Ghaur later regained his physical form after being set adrift in space, and he led a faction of Deviants, at one point allying with Llyra and her Lemurians in a plot to resurrect the Elder God Set only to be slain again.
Later, Kro was supplanted by Visara, who renewed the Deviants’ practices of executing Deviants who exhibited extreme genetic instability. This led to a type of underground railroad, the Delta Network. Even Kro had to avail himself of this, smuggling his children, Donald and Deborah Ritter, to safety with hopes of assimilating into human society. Around the same time, the Avengers hoped to stop the resurrection of Ghaur, but despite their help and the help of Kro, his children, and other Deviants known as Delta Force, Ghaur revived himself and once again took over leadership of Lemuria. Soon, Ghaur launched an attempt to create a Deviant equivalent of the Uni-Mind, the so-called "Anti-Mind," and captured a number of Eternals He was stopped once more by Kro, who led a rebellion against Ghaur, and the Eternals were rescued along with the help of Thena and the Heroes for Hire.
Subsequently, the near-immortal mutant Apocalypse set off nuclear missiles at Lemuria, causing a surge in mutations. During the tumult, Ghaur's statue form was captured by the United States military, forcing Ghaur to resume his mortal form. The Eternals helped end the rampages that resulted from the incident, and in the aftermath, Kro and Ghaur formed an alliance in which Kro resumed his role as ruler, but was forced to share power uneasily with Ghaur. When the Black Panther found a Deviant mother and her human-like child in Wakanda, Ghaur demanded their release, which Prince T'Challa refused. This sparked an international incident, and nearly plunged Wakanda into war with Lemuria when Klaw tricked the Wakandans into firing upon Lemuria, but T'Challa's friend Everett K. Ross eventually discerned that the child was Ghaur's daughter, and Ghaur feared the scandal that would erupt were it known he had sired such a human-like offspring. Ghaur ultimately stood down, and the mother and child were placed in the custody of the Sub-Mariner, with their deaths faked for the sake of the public.
When the time traveler Kang the Conqueror prepared to invade Earth, he offered a place in his new rule to anyone who would rise up and conquer territory for him, and the rogue general Dulpus led his soldiers to invade China, but the Avengers defeated them. Kro apologized to the Avengers for the incident, and later aided them by offering Lemuria's sanctuary to the United States' President when Kang conquered the Earth, and then added Lemuria's forces in the uprising, which ultimately overthrew Kang.The Deviants remain apart from humanity, but are now recognized by the United Nations, and under Kro's rule are on amicable terms with the United States and Atlantis.