Throughout 2 and now beginning 3, I've wondered what is up with the Illusive Man's eyes and why they are so unique.

Is there an explanation by the series end that tells us why his eyes are so weird looking whether it be from biotic power which gained him his status and started the Cerberus group or maybe cybernetic infusion since it seems the Cerberus operatives are going under these changes/Shepard was infused with cybernetics when revived, or is this just an aesthetic feature added to emphasize his character?


The origin of The Illusive Man's eyes is told in the one of the Mass Effect comic books, titled Evolution, the full plot summary of which you can read here on the Mass Effect wikia. It's a 4-issue miniseries, so it's a bit long to completely paste here.

In it, you learn the origins of The Illusive Man and who he was before becoming the leader of Cerberus. I'd highly recommend reading the issues yourself, as it's a nice bit of background information, but I'll write up a quick summary about his eyes.

During the First Contact War, he was part of a mercenary group working for General Williams (Ashley's grandfather). He was exposed to a Prothean relic on Shanxi. Despite the fact that others who were exposed to when it activated ended up basically turning into Husks and losing their higher cognitive abilities, he did not change. However, his eyes were permanently changed and he is able to understand the language that the Husk-like beings now speak. You get to see the more human side of The Illusive Man, what happened to him to engender his pro-humanity stance, and why he believes in it so strongly.

It does not further specify in the comic book series nor in the Mass Effect novels what exactly the impact of this change was, and it is currently part of the mystery of The Illusive Man. The fact that it was a Prothean Relic however, may change your interpretations of his actions and motives.

  • For the record, I am perfectly fine with spoilers on anything. Though I do want to read these comics as it sounds like they would be a very good read to figure out why Illusive Man is how he is today.
    – Tablemaker
    Mar 9 '12 at 0:52
  • That plot summary is not written very well at all... Mar 9 '12 at 3:07
  • @Raven It wasn't my intention to do a full recap of the entire miniseries here, I just wanted to give him the basics. The details about Saren and his brother, the temple, the experiments, etc. aren't necessarily directly germane to the question and I figured the OP would get more out of reading the smaller details in the comics themselves. :) Or do you mean the linked one?
    – FAE
    Mar 9 '12 at 12:14
  • 1
    @FallenAngelEyes Oh, no not you. I meant the wiki. Yours was much better. :) Mar 9 '12 at 16:30
  • Its not a Prothean Relic but instead a Reaper Artifact.
    – user25148
    May 9 '12 at 18:58

the book mass effect:evolution states that the illusive man's eyes were

changed by secondary reaper indoctrination.

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