Marvel’s merry band of mutants are easily some of the most popular superhero characters in comics. Starting out as a single book in Uncanny X-Men, the group’s popularity caused their own little corner of the X-Universe to expand outward rapidly, creating more and more titles and needing more mutants to be a part of them. There’ve literally been dozens of mutants to join the X-Men at this point. But have you wondered who among the group was the strongest? Or the weakest?
This time, CBR takes twenty different X-Men and ranks them all, starting with the weakest and working our way up to the most powerful. There are a couple rules though: there aren’t any clones, so no point in including both Cable and X-Man, or Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor. We also tried to grab characters who were apart of the X-Men universe for longer than an issue or a year or two, so no weirdo picks like Lifeguard or Maggot. Preferably, they’ve had some kind of relevance to the X-Verse in the past ten years. Lastly, we didn’t just grab the twenty most powerful, because that would probably just be a list of Omega-level psychics (there’s still a ton of psychics, though -- it’s the X-Men).
Douglas Ramsey used to possess what fans called one of the most useless abilities a mutant could have. Able to intuitively understand and speak all languages written or spoken, the character was disliked by fans and artists alike for being "boring" when he was introduced in the early '80s by legendary X-Scribe Chris Claremont and artist Sal Buscema.
But by the time the character was revived twenty years later in the X-Men crossover series "Necrosha", the most popular new languages to learn became computer programming, and suddenly Cypher's "usefulness" rating took on a whole new meaning. Still, with zero physical abilities, his new-found advantages as a member of the X-Men still take a backseat to some of the abilities on this list.
Jubilation Lee is one of the many X-Men characters often mocked for her powers. Introduced in Uncanny X-Men #244 in 1989, she started out as a homeless mall rat but eventually became a part of the Emma Frost and Banshee-led team of mutants in Generation X. Fans often misconstrue her powers as the simple ability to create firework-like blasts from her hands, but her former teacher Emma Frost has diagnosed her powers as the ability to destroy matter at the subatomic level, which is what creates her so-called fireworks.
Still, because Jubilee prefers not to harm anyone, she rarely ever utilizes her abilities to the fullest, and thus she generally comes off as a Dazzler clone without the awesome sense of fashion and music talents.
First introduced in New Mutants #16 James Proudstar initially joined Emma Frost’s Hellions in an attempt to gain revenge for his brother John Proudstar/Thunderbird, who died disobeying Cyclops’ orders early in Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men run. Fortunately he quickly saw the light and joined the team , as James is a true heavyweight in terms of physical capabilities. Standing at over seven feet, two inches tall and weighing 350 pounds, James is a monster of a man that has superhuman senses, an enhanced healing factor, flight, and enough super-strength to trade hands with the Juggernaut for a while without getting blown away.
Still, despite all of that and being a skilled hand-to-hand fighter and being notoriously hard to injure, Warpath’s purely physical abilities keep him from breaking through into the upper limits of this list.
Easily one of the more well-known and popular X-Men of all time, Piotr Rasputin joined the X-Men in 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, helping the second team of X-Men rescue the original five. His mutant ability allows him to transmute his entire body into a form of organic steel, vastly increasing his durability and making him immune to most forms of physical damage, while also raising his strength into superhuman levels where he’s been known to lift anywhere from 50 to 100 tons.
Still, Colossus’ abilities are largely physical in nature. And more importantly, his lack of a killer instinct often gets in the way of his ability to get the job done -- leading to him losing fights that he generally shouldn’t.
Warren Worthington III is one of the founding members of the X-Men. Initially gifted with feathered, bird-like wings that granted him the power of flight, Warren (then “Angel”) wouldn’t have made it even this high on the list with his original powers. But after being experimented on by Apocalypse and made into one of his Four Horseman, Warren received new techno-organic wings with feathers that can be shot out at rapid speeds.
Capable of piercing steel, these wings also contain a paralytic poison to them, making him a deadly foe capable of defeating most X-Men that would be trapped on the ground. The time-displaced Warren gets an even larger boost thanks to the powers of the Black Vortex, gaining energy wings that allow him to travel faster than the speed of light and fire powerful cosmic energy blasts.
Sam Guthrie is another member of the powerful New Mutants team, first appearing in Marvel Graphic Novel #4: The New Mutants in 1982 from Chris Claremont and Bob MacLeod. A young boy from a coal mining family in Kentucky, Cannonball is best known for his old-school values.
Well, that and his ability to fly through the air via combustion, which generates a blast field around him that makes him otherwise impervious to harm (and also that nearly every member of his family has become a mutant…but mostly the combustion thing.) He also may be an External, as the character has survived several experiences that should have resulted in his immediate death. This power, combined with the invulnerability while using his powers, make him a threat to anyone below him on this list.
Younger brother to one of the first X-Men, Alex Summers first appeared in 1969’s Uncanny X-Men #54. He has the power to absorb cosmic energy in the air, processing and re-directing it as waves of energy that can be turned into plasma. Unlike Cyclops, whose blasts are concussive in nature, Havok’s power is one that specifically heats up objects it hits, often causing them to disintegrate from high temperatures. Constantly absorbing cosmic energy, Havok possesses an immunity to most radiation, which is good because otherwise he probably would’ve died by now given his powers.
Though it’s been said that Alex has the potential to surpass his brother’s powers, he also lacks his brother’s experience, greater tactical abilities, and hand to hand combat skills. He also unfortunately has a limit to the amount of energy he can absorb, and takes hours to recharge once he runs dry.
Scott Summers is one of, if not the very first, X-Man. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appearing in X-Men #1, Scott has a very simple power: blasting powerful beams of pure energy from his eyes. Decades of training combined with his ruby quartz visor has given him ultimate control over these blasts (you know, aside from being able to properly shut them off), and he can do everything from punch holes in mountains to blast the handle off a door with his powers.
Though there is a limit to his abilities, unlike his brother Alex he can seemingly always use his powers, they just become considerably weaker. Still, this singular power lacks versatility compared to some of the people higher up on the list.
Probably the most popular member of Marvel’s merry band of mutants, Wolverine is easily one of the most threatening members on the team, even if he isn’t the most powerful. Logan possesses enhanced senses and reflexes, but his true powers are his adamantium claws and his healing factor.
Initially taxed merely by being riddled with bullets, constant usage of his healing factor over time along with writers simply boosting his powers has left his healing factor at a level so powerful that even Cyclops couldn’t just off the guy with a laser blast. Originally capable of being killed by a stray blast from a Sentinel, they’ve sinced powered him up so that can survive nuclear explosions and being nearly completely incinerated, recovering after only a few minutes of time.
Part of Xavier’s third class, Sunspot was one of the first members of the “New Mutant” group. Something of a mutant Superman, Roberto DaCosta found himself capable of transforming solar energy into super-strength and durability at the very mild cost of turning his skin pitch-black. Later, after being kidnapped and experimented on during the events of “X-Force”, Roberto was fed excessive amounts of solar energy that pushed his powers to a new level. He could now fly, fire concussive blasts, and gained a measure of invulnerability when his powers were activated.
Trained by Cable as well as the X-Men, and having experience leading teams like Avengers Idea Mechanics and the U.S. Avengers as well as running companies like his own and the business wing of A.I.M., Sunspot is essentially Cyclops with a larger power set.
10 MONET ST. CROIX
Monet St. Croix’s origin is more confusing and longer than one can concisely recount. She was a member of Generation X for much of the '90s, then later joined Jamie Madrox’s X-Factor Investigations before spending some time as a legitimate member of the X-Men. She ranks this high on the list because she’s been gifted with superpowers far surpassing nearly any other person on this list in pure numbers.
In addition to being capable of flight, invulnerability and super-strength, possessing enhanced senses and a healing factor and having a genius-level intellect, Monet is also a telekinetic and a telepath. If there’s a mutant power jackpot, she definitely hit it. Still, though she’s a great all-arounder, Monet doesn’t specifically excel at any of these powers, and that becomes a weakness against some of the higher-ups on this list.
The worst time possible to discover your mutant power is draining the energy, memories, and abilities from anyone you come into skin-to-skin contact with would have to be your first kiss. But that’s what happened to Rogue, leading the misguided teen to briefly join the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before hooking up with X-Men after Professor Xavier promised to help her control her powers.
Rogue’s actual levels of control have varied over the decades she’s been a member of the team, but fully developed she can control whether or not her draining touch is lethal and activate it at will. For most of the people below on her on this list, all it would take is a simple touch from Rogue to take them out.
Armando Munoz was first introduced in Ed Brubaker and Pete Woods’ X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2. Gifted with one of the most unique powers on this list, Darwin’s mutant ability is known as reactive evolution. Living up to his codename, Darwin will instantly adapt his body in order to survive a dangerous situation.
One might think that this means Darwin is capable of defeating everyone on this list. However, Darwin’s power is focused on survival rather than winning every fight he’s in. In a battle against the Hulk, Darwin’s body teleported him away from the fight rather than continue to risk himself in a battle against the Hulk. Though it would be hard for most of the people on this list to beat him one-on-one, some of the higher people would most likely flip the switch on Darwin’s fight-or-flight instinct to flight, making it no fight at all.
Illyana Rasputin (sister to Colossus) was supposed to just be a mutant imbued with teleportation powers. She first joined the New Mutants as a young child in New Mutants #14 by Chris Claremont and Sal Buscema, and using special “stepping discs”, she could skip through any distance she chose with ease. But after being kidnapped by a demon from Limbo, Magik is exposed to magical training from several different sources, and eventually takes over as Queen of Limbo after defeating her kidnapper.
The combination of her “simple” teleportation powers, a decade of training in magic, and being ruler of an entire demonic realm has made her one of the most formidable members of the X-Men. More recently she even studied under a past version of Stephen Strange, further increasing both her powers and the control she possesses over her magical abilities.
Before being recruited by Xavier to join the X-Men, Ororo Munroe was worshipped as a goddess by the people in her country -- and is it any wonder? Occasionally deemed The Weather Witch, Storm has utter control over the weather in nearly any situation. She can fly by manipulating the winds, cause thunderstorms and whirlwinds, and manipulate pollutants in the air to cause acid rain or toxic fog.
Her powers aren’t even limited to being on Earth -- that same level of control exists on other planets and in outer space as well. She’s also spent years honing her abilities during her time leading and fighting alongside the X-Men, making it difficult for anyone with less than Omega-Level mutant power to even think about taking her down.
Though Bobby is a founding member of the X-Men, people often refuse to take him seriously due to the perception of him being something of the team jokester/class clown. But Bobby Drake is an Omega-level mutant, with complete control over reducing the thermal energy in anything he chooses. He can craft weapons, transform his body to ice form to recover from extreme damage, and while already in ice form he can immediately regenerate damage to himself without any harm coming to his human body.
He’s even capable of transforming his body into liquid and gas states, and freezing the water inside of someone’s body without trying, meaning he can easily go lethal if he chooses. His incredible level of power is only balanced by his unwillingness to use it to its full potential, and the fact that the X-Men remaining would likely stop him before he could get started.
4 JEAN GREY
Most of the founding members of the X-Men wound up being incredibly powerful -- who would’ve guessed? Jean Grey started out as just a telekinetic, but as her powers grew she eventually gained telepathic abilities as well, making her one of the most powerful psychics on the Earth. She has most of the power of her mentor Professor Xavier, but without the experience that comes from decades of managing one’s abilities.
Now, there are a ton of people that would likely argue that Jean Grey should be at the top of this list. But it’s worth taking into account that most of Jean Grey’s most impressive feats come from her being imbued with the Phoenix Force. Without the Phoenix and the more bloodthirsty instinct it provides, she can’t quite compete with the last three members of this list.
The Master of Magnetism, it’s easy to see why Magneto is so high on this list. Possessing control of one of the four fundamental forces of the universe, Magneto’s displayed a level of control over the magnetic forces of the Earth that it’s scary. An Omega-level mutant, he’s created magnetic force fields capable of blocking Cyclops’ optic blasts, and ripped the adamantium right off of Wolverine’s skeleton.
And that’s part of why Magneto ranks so highly in the first place: as a villain, he’s actually faced most of the people on this list in serious combat situations, and more often came out on top when it came down to sheer power. Only through teamwork and superior training were the X-Men ever able to stop Magneto from achieving his extremist plans.
2 PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER
Regarded by all as world’s foremost telepath, Professor Charles Xavier’s powers of the mind are all but unmatched, unless you’re talking about a Jean Grey empowered by the Phoenix. He’s carried out massive mental battles against creatures that were barely human like the Shadow King, his mind is capable of picking up transmissions of people in entirely different parts of the galaxy.
The only people capable of withstanding his powers generally can’t beat him in actual mental combat, and instead carry some sort of device with them that can make them immune to his powers. The rest of the people on this list, no matter how destructive their powerset is or can be, would simply wind up getting their minds shut down before the battle even started.
1 X-MAN (NATE GREY)
Created by Jeph Loeb and Steve Skroce, Nate Grey is Cable from a timeline in which he was never infected with the Legacy Virus. Without constantly having to use his telekinetic powers to keep the virus from killing him, Nate’s abilities become exponentially greater than Cable’s. Fully-powered, Nate’s list of accomplishments and abilities is so absurd that just listing them makes him sound like more of a fanfiction character than anything else.
His TK blasts could shatter steel and let him fly at super-speed, he could create electro-magnetic pulses with his mind by playing with the Earth’s magnetic field. He’s even been tested to have powers on par with that of both Phoenix and Dark Phoenix, making him capable of going toe-to-toe with the X-Men’s greatest threat. Even though he’s since been de-powered, at his best Nathan Grey was certainly the most powerful member of the X-Men of all time.
Are there any X-Men you think should’ve been on the list? Be sure to tell us about it in the comments below!