Cosmic Radiation is a as-yet-to-be identified radioactive material found in space that possesses properties capable of altering ordinary people at the genetic level, endowing them with unique supernatural powers.
One such example are the Fantastic Four, who were exposed to a cloud of it.
When first exposed to the cosmic radiation, five individuals didn't display any signs of change right away, but over time, they began to display powers unique to themselves, such as invisibility, pyrokinesis, elasticity, electrokinesis, etc. As their abilities began to adapt and become stronger, one man, Reed Richards, examined the other three and planned to build a machine to recreate the cosmic cloud of radiation in a controlled manner in an attempt to cure them of their powers. However, Doom, who was also affected and embraced his powers, used the machine to increase his abilities while restoring Ben Grimm to human form due to his direct explosion to the cosmic radiation.
- Cosmic radiation has been used in the comic and television incarnations of the Fantastic Four.
- Victor von Doom, Ben Grimm and Reed Richards have been exposed to cosmic radiation twice in the Fantastic Four film.
- In the film, Ben Grimm is the only member of the Fantastic Four who was affected the most by the cosmic radiation, resulting in his inability to return to human form.
- According to Reed, the slightest miscalculation of the machine used to recreate the cosmic radiation cloud could increase an affected person's abilities further or kill them.
- When Reed attempted to use the cosmic radiation machine on himself, the power requirements were insufficient, as it used the power from much of the building it was in, but when Doom used it, the machine was able to affect much of the surrounding area, taking power from several buildings.
- A similar phenomenon in the comics is called the Power Cosmic.
- In the second film, Reed discovers a phenomenon in space that is similar to the cloud that gave the Fantastic Four their powers. This was the Silver Surfer.