So how do the powers work?
Well the answer is simple yet it isn't. From a basic stand point our heroes and some of their adversaries get their powers when they are facing certain death. For the antagonist of this first volume he has this moment in the first act of volume. And they then gain one power that is meant to defend from the situation that caused them to die and then also a power that they have always wanted. A simply way to think about this would be that they are given a shield and a sword. Now the scales can be very balanced like in the case of the antagonist where his shield power is primarily a shield and his sword is primarily a sword. However there are cases like Lukas, Cole, and Angelien where it will be difficult to determine which power is meant to be the sword or the shield. I will plan on revealing that, but this first volume isn't the right time or place.
Now for the more complicated side of it. The root of the powers is a fantasy scenario using epigenetics. What is this fancy word... Don't you mean genetics. No, I mean epigenetics. It is the study of changing gene expressions (active versus inactive genes). This is how we are able to end up with different cells from skin tissue to muscle cells to brain cells. It controls with genes are turned on which then changes the function of the cells. There are also possible links to cancer where certain genes that block tumors are turned off and in turn the risk in cancer is increased. This is where the fantasy part comes in. The powers are generation locked. So, powers are now starting to manifest in the Millennial generation. As the life span of humanity has grown exponentially through medicine and science the body has started to evolve at a rapid rate. We are seeing children being born to older people and this is allowing the body determine which DNA is most vital to elongating life and it is allowing the body to try new combinations to enhance life as well. These combinations are cancers until it begins to get perfected in the Millennial generation. So a common ark in all the known parents and grandparents of our wielders (people with powers) is that they have encountered a life and death situation young and have had cancer or tumors. So we are now looking at cancer not as a disease, but as humanity trying to perfect a longer and more fruitful life and it becomes perfected. Wielders will have life expectancies nearing 200 years old. Their bodies will be much more efficient at using energy and oxygen. When they aren't using their powers they won't need as much food as previous generations to survive. If they were to eat on a normal schedule like other people they would actually gain a significant amount of weight due to the excess calories. Their heart rates would drop from 60-70 beats a minute down to 20 beats a minute. Inversely though when they are using their powers they need to consume a large amount of calories and their heart will elevate to around 80 beats a minute. With their bodies running more efficiently they are also able to create better muscle tissue which allows the wielders to run faster lift more and jump higher than any non-wielder. So where Usain Bolt can run at 26 mph in the 100m dash this would be the jogging speed of most wielders. Some have boosted speeds based their powers. Also with how Eddie Hall (Powerlifter) can deadlift 500 KG (1,102 lbs) the wielders can near that number while retaining a normal body image.
That is the long answer to how these powers work. I wanted to find some way to base the powers on actual real world science to add more to the story. I don't want to brush over details in the books that are actually really important. I also am excited as to how fight situations might change if someone manifests powers in the surrounding rumble of a fight because they get crushed by falling debris or they get electrocuted by snapped power lines.
I do want to say Thank you to The Game Theorists on Youtube. They posted a video on looking into Pokemon evolutions and this is where I first learned about epigenetics. Yeah, I am a bit of a nerd deal with it. I am writing a superhero graphic novel that should have been a given.