Despite Marvel Comics' recent actions, the X-Men remain one of the most beloved and popular superhero groups in comic book history. For a very long time, no comic sold better than X-Men comics, and Marvel Comics milked it for all it was worth, with multiple teams, spin-offs, event series, and solo adventures for Marvel’s mutants. With so much rich but confusing history thanks to mutant mastermind Chris Claremont, this has also allowed the X-Men to have a convoluted past with way too many plot holes and discrepancies.
Interestingly, that is also where the X-Men movies have stumbled. While almost all the films in Fox’s X-Men universe have been entertaining on some level (with two glaring exceptions), the continuity problems and changing of specific mutant’s histories have made it almost impossible to follow them in any satisfying way. This issue is something comic book fans have long bemoaned about the X-Men, with retcons, changing histories, and many vital moments swept under the rug. With such a pivotal superhero team, this is almost unforgivable, even in the ever-changing realm of comic book properties. Here is a look at 15 things even superfans gets wrong about the X-Men.
15 THE SOURCE OF ROGUE’S POWERS
Most fans know that Rogue used to be a villain before she hooked up with the X-Men. She was an ally of Mystique and has a strange relationship with her and Destiny that changes based on who writes the character. Her powers are one of the most tragic of all the X-Men, and of superheroes in general. She can’t touch anyone without taking their memories, abilities, and almost killing them. It makes her a perfect member of a group of outsiders like the X-Men.
However, none of the X-Men wanted her because of her most prominent crime. She sucked the powers from Carol Danvers, which is what gave Rogue the ability to fly and her super strength. It seems that a lot of people forget that those are not part of her mutant powers. She stole them from another hero in the most devastating way possible.
14 MAGNETO’S PURPOSE AND GOALS
Magneto is one of the most complex villains in Marvel history. However, way too many writers get it completely wrong when they are putting his story on the page. He is not a generic supervillain who wants to rob banks and cause chaos. He is a man who believes humans will one-day hunt down and kill his kind, much like the Nazis in Germany did to his parents. Magneto is a man who truly believes that he must fight for Mutant-kind because no one else will.
Too many writers who do not understand Magneto make him just another villain – often teaming him up with other villains who are not mutants at all – something he should never do. Luckily, the movies got him right. However, writers in comics still get him wrong. Recently, he joined forces with HYDRA, which was arguably his worst sin of them all.
13 PROFESSOR X ISN’T THAT HONORABLE
While Magneto is a man who has the will and desire to stand up and fight for the survival of mutants all over the world, Professor Charles Xavier has a longstanding mission to work alongside humans to make people understand that humans and mutants can live in peace. Charles is honorable in that manner. However, there are way too many things that Professor X has done over his life in the comics that makes him a real piece of crap.
He has manipulated people’s minds without their permission, and even wiped them clean! This was something the Justice League were rightly vilified for in their pages, and Professor X has them beaten 10-times over. Before Cyclops became a martyr for mutants, Professor X was the man who stood up to him at the end, but Charles is possibly the least heroic of all the X-Men.
12 THE MINOR MUTANTS ARE NOT JOKES
It seems that mutants who have lesser powers are either shown as jokes or as mutants that need to be saved. However, that can’t be further from the truth. The idea of the X-Men is to show inequality in life – whether it is race relations or other minority figures. For anyone to look at lesser-powered mutants and think they are somehow minor heroes goes against the overlying themes of the X-Men.
Why are minor mutants not as valuable as the major ones like Cyclops or Wolverine? In the early comics, Angel had wings, and that was it. They created Archangel to make him more powerful, but he could hold his own just fine before that. Dazzler was a joke because she could make strobe lights, but she can use sound to shoot laser beams or concussive force beams. No one is worthless, and even minor mutants can stand up in a fight.
11 DEADPOOL – IS HE OR ISN’T HE A MUTANT?
It seems like no writer or filmmaker can agree with whether Deadpool is a mutant or not. The new Deadpool movie had him driven to extreme measures to bring out the mutant gene and set it in motion. That is different from X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he was part of a mercenary team with Logan and then was genetically mutated, giving hi the designation of "mutate," which is what he is in the comics. There, he was given his powers by Department K after they wove a synthetic version of Wolverine's healing factor into his DNA, at the cost of his mind.
In the new Deadpool movie, there was also the case of Colossus telling Deadpool he should join the X-Men to use his powers for good. However, it seems that no one who writes Deadpool can decide on whether he is a mutant or just someone who gained superpowers in a factory. For the record, Deadpool isn’t a mutant, he's a mutate.
10 THE PHOENIX FORCE
The Phoenix Force sadly is misunderstood thanks to retcons and changes in history and writers who just lazily threw it into stories without ever understanding what it is all about. The best story concerning the Phoenix Force followed the death of Jean Grey as the Force took over her body and led to her losing control and her ultimate sacrifice and death. However, Marvel chose to retcon that by showing it wasn’t Jean’s body at all.
Forget that, though. The Phoenix Force is an ancient presence similar to Galactus and is necessary for life to continue throughout the eons. Avengers V. X-Men came close to showing how frightening the Phoenix Force is but Marvel is not consistent with the idea of the Phoenix through the years. Honestly, the What If? that showed the Phoenix killing everyone in the Marvel Universe is the only one that got it perfect.
9 JUGGERNAUT IS NOT A MUTANT
While it is something that most longtime Marvel readers already know, it seems that there are still people who pass Juggernaut off as a mutant. In reality, Cain Marko is Professor Charles Xavier’s stepbrother, and unlike the leader of the X-Men, Juggernaut is not a mutant. Instead, as the comic books have shown us, Cain gained his powers when he found a mythical gem that gave him his superhuman strength and invulnerability.
The third X-Men movie might go a long way in explaining why there is confusion on what Juggernaut is. In X-Men: The Last Stand, Juggernaut is a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (portrayed by Vinnie Jones). He is not Professor X’s brother here and is, in fact, a mutant working with Magneto. Since more people watch movies than those who read comics, this has blurred the truth of the source of his powers.
8 CONTINUITY PROBLEMS IN THE MOVIES
If you want to know what makes most X-Men fans angriest about the Fox movies, ask them about the continuity. Now, Bryan Singer tried to fix things with X-Men: Days of Future Past because that original comic book storyline was created to introduce alternate worlds and timelines and retcon a lot of things to clear up the convoluted history Chris Claremont had built over the years. However, in the movie world, things grew even more confusing as the films didn’t play by the rules.
An example was when they changed the past so, in the new timeline of the movies, Cyclops and Jean Grey both lived. That is just fine, except that the age differences of many characters screwed things up. Changing a point in time should not affect the period before that, so people like Angel, Emma Frost and Scott Summers should not have been born before the new timeline changed things.
7 CYCLOPS WAS NEVER A GOOD BOY SCOUT
When Cyclops turned evil in Avengers Vs. X-Men and killed Professor X to make himself a martyr for the mutant cause, it sent ripples through the X-Men universe. For years, Scott was a good boy scout, especially compared to Wolverine’s loose cannon. It was a good dynamic but was nowhere near the truth. Ever since the start of the X-Men, Scott was not the boy scout people considered him to be, but was a self-absorbed jerk who did what he wanted to reach his own goals.
When Joss Whedon worked as a script doctor for X-Men and added the line from Wolverine – “you’re a dick” - that was an apt description of Cyclops from the comics. He was a control freak and was the worst of the X-Men when it came to the idea of teamwork. When he became a martyr, it shouldn’t have been shocking because it made him relevant, something he always longed to be.
6 SCARLET WITCH: MUTANT OR SORCERER?
There was a giant battle between the MCU and Fox over the rights to Quicksilver in the X-Men and Avengers movies. They both ended up using him, with his sister Wanda joining the Avengers and Quicksilver eventually settling into one of many roles on various X-teams. That was a nice line in the sand, having Quicksilver as a mutant and Scarlet Witch as an Avenger. However, the two characters first appeared as villains in Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in the X-Men comics.
Over the years, Wanda has been a mutant with the powers to manipulate probability, warp reality and use chaos magic. Marvel chose to retcon that when they claimed the two were not Magneto’s children and were given powers by the High Evolutionary. Honestly, not many people know whether Wanda is a mutant or just a magician like Doctor Strange and Marvel seems to change its mind at the drop of a hat. For now, it's kind of... both? She is both mutant who can control reality and sorcerer, which is admittedly a terrifying combo.
5 X-MEN MEMBERS DON’T HAVE TO BE MUTANTS
One of the biggest misconceptions about the X-Men is that every member has to be a mutant. While the original basis of the X-Men was for Professor X to bring in young mutants and teach them how to control their powers and blend into society, that did not remain the case over the years. They are also not a team that accepts just any mutant who comes their way. Only Cannonball was allowed to join the X-Men from the ranks of the original New Mutants.
However, there are also members like Jubilee, who used to be a mutant but isn’t anymore. She remains a member despite being a vampire now. Juggernaut turned good for a short time and joined the X-Men despite the fact his powers came from a gem. Polaris lost her mutant powers but gained new ones thanks to Apocalypse, remaining a member of the X-Men. The group is not a mutant-only club.
4 CYCLOPS DOESN’T SHOOT LASERS FROM HIS EYES
On a more technical side, most people look at Cyclops and see him as a guy who shoots lasers from his eyes. There is also a misconception that he has never had control over the power, thanks in large part to the X-Men movies. However, Scott does not shoot lasers from his eyes at all. They are concussive force beams. Lasers produce heat, and these beams do not; instead, they blast through objects with force.
Also, the fact that he can’t control the beams has nothing to do with his eyes but with brain damage that Scott suffered as a youngster after a plane crash. Something else that people get wrong about Cyclops is that, even before AvX, he was a formidable fighter and one of the strongest of the X-Men. Cyclops was never a joke and can beat many of his fellow X-Men and their adversaries in a one-on-one fight.
3 DAYS OF FUTURE PAST’S HISTORY AND CHARACTERS
Days of Future Past remains one of the most beloved X-Men storylines in comic book history. The comics also allowed Marvel to retcon various things and clean up the convoluted history of the team of mutants. In the story, Kitty Pride went back in time to try to stop an assassination that led to the death of most of the world and the destruction of the mutants. In the movies, it was Wolverine, but that was just a small change.
The most significant thing that most people get wrong is the aftermath of Days of Future Past. The changing of the timeline was not changing the world. Things were already different, such as the birth and life of Rachel Summers, the existence of Cable, the arrival of Bishop, and more. This story is about multiple timelines, not changing the past. Plus, why did so many DoFP characters show up in the 616 universe? Time travel is something Marvel has always struggled to pull off effectively, at least as regards long-term continuity.
2 THE X-MEN WERE NOT MEANT TO BE A SUPERHERO TEAM
The Avengers formed after they teamed to fight Hulk and Loki and stayed together to become an elite fighting force. The Fantastic Four were accidental heroes after gaining their powers and deciding they needed to defend the world. However, when it comes to the X-Men, they were never meant to be a superhero team that saved the world on a regular basis. Instead, Professor X put his school together to help teach young mutants how to control their powers.
The X-Men were just kids that Charles wanted to help. Later, the X-Men were teachers for younger mutants and helped them learn about themselves. However, many writers have the X-Men heading out to fight evil mutants, save the world, and act like the Avengers. That was never the purpose of the X-Men, and they are arguably the most boring when writers put them in those situations.
1 EVERYTHING ABOUT WOLVERINE
If there is one X-Men character that gets retconned and changed on a constant basis, it is Wolverine. Start with his powers – which is basically just a super-hot healing ability. He can’t remain injured for long before his body heals itself. He can die, which wasn’t always the case with some writers, but he rarely stays dead, which Marvel has just proven once again in Legacy. He also has heightened senses and bone claws. However, his unbreakable metal skeleton was due to experimentation and are not his natural mutant powers.
Things get even worse with his history. How long has he been alive? Did he fight in the World War with Captain America? Did Stryker give him his exoskeleton? Is Sabretooth a relative? (He isn’t.) Does Wolverine have amnesia of his past? There isn’t an X-Men member more confusing than Logan. Or is it James Howlett? Ugh.
What other things do most fans get wrong about the X-Men? Let us know in the comments!