The X-Men aren’t just people. It is an entity that expands beyond just people with abilities, or mutants. The X-Men has a vast and detailed lore dating back all the way to 1963. It's a community for the fans and endless entertainment for those of all ages. It is a mixture of the action, drama and romance genres all in one. The films and TV shows have tried their best, but nothing compares to the comics and the ability to world build within the pages.
With this huge amount of characters, teams and stories, there are bound to be a lot of deaths. Some deaths are insignificant and others are world-changing and we honor those deaths here. To make comic books interesting, the death of a character can get savage beyond anything in TV or the movies. The X-Men is no exception to having gruesome death scenes in comics. Some examples of deaths are self sacrifice, brutal arch nemesis battles and huge events that end our favorite characters. It makes a death all more impactful when there is a story behind it and we as readers follow the character through their adventures. Here are the most savage X-Men deaths that made us cry, laugh and scream to the heavens.
15 MAGIK AND THE LEGACY VIRUS
Magik, or Illyana Rasputina, was a mutant who first appeared in Giant-Size X-Men. She is most known as Colossus’ younger sister, and her mutant powers, among others, gives her the gift of creating teleportation discs. She got this power from being in Limbo for seven years and became a sorceress. She unfortunately met her end in an issue of Uncanny X-Men.
Magik had a short but magical life. She contracted the mutant-killing disease known as the Legacy Virus. The whole Legacy Virus is pretty complicated disease but basically Legacy-1 means it affects a mutant in the way that cancer does to humans. While dying from the virus, Xavier and Moira MacTaggert try everything in their power to save her, but all attempts failed and she dies in the X-Mansion.
14 CYCLOPS’ CONVOLUTED END
The story of Cyclops’ death is a bit of a confusing roller coaster but we'll try and straighten it out for you. See, Black Bolt obliterated the X-Men leader during the mini-series Death of X, that had pitted the Inhumans up against the X-Men. During the fight, Black Bolt's wife gave him the order to kill Scott which he did, but little did anyone know he was already dead.
Having died in the very first issue of the same Death of X series from a disease known as M-Pox, Emma Frost created an Astral Projection of the X-Men leader and all of his actions since after that first issue of Death of X was actually that of the fake Cyclops. Emma's idea was to hopefully give Cyclops the life and legacy he deserved: as a hero, warrior and leader.
13 BANSHEE’S DEATH BY PLANE
Banshee, named after the Irish mythology for his strong sonic vocal chords, has powers that allow him to render people unconscious and even fly. Sean Cassidy was originally forced to be a member of Factor Three, who used his mutant abilities to commit crimes for them. When he encountered Professor X on a mission, Professor X freed him of the controlling headband and he became an X-Men from then on. As an X-Men, he went on many missions and used his abilities to eavesdrop on important intel and help fight battles.
His savage death, like most heroes, was while trying to save innocent bystanders. The Blackbird was overtaken by Vulcan and aimed it at a commercial plane. Sean tried to use his powers and save both the plane and passengers, but he wasn’t strong enough and the plane went through him and the commercial plane.
12 COLOSSUS’ SACRIFICE
Colossus’ death was purley self sacrifice. The Legacy Virus had been taking over and spreading throughout the universe and scientists were trying everything to stop it. Legacy-1 was airborne and spread the easiest. Dr. Moira MacTaggert was one of the scientist studying the virus for a cure. When she found it, she was murdered before she was able to share the information. Beast was able to get Moira’s research notes and thoughts from her deceased mind to carry out the cure.
The research that Moira discovered was the cure could be airborne as well but it would kill the first person that made it airborne. Colossus had just had his younger sister die of this disease and did not want any more people do die from it. So when he heard about the cure, he didn’t hesitate to take it and end his life.
11 THE PHOENIX FORCE DESTROYS XAVIER
In Avengers vs. X-Men, Professor X is savagely killed by his own student Cyclops. The only way Cyclops was powerful enough to defeat Xavier was by possessing the Phoenix Force. In this mini-series, the Phoenix Force has returned and is split between five mutants: Namor, Colossus, Magik, Emma Frost and Cyclops.
The Force just takes over Emma Frost and Cyclops and Professor X tries to stop them. But Cyclops ends up killing Professor X in battle, while the other X-Men try to force the Phoenix out of Cyclops and Emma. This causes even more trouble because the Red Skull finds Xavier’s body and steals his brain and fuses it to his making him more powerful. He tries to use his new powers to start riots but the X-Men and Avengers stop him.
10 CYPHERS’ BULLET WOUND
Cypher, Doug Ramsey, was the runt of the X-Men when he was alive. His mutant ability was understanding any language, whether spoken or written. This ability made him useless in almost every battle and the fans didn’t care for him and even the artists got tired of drawing him in the corners of fight scenes. So what did they do with a character no one likes? They killed him.
His death was more memorable than his life, and fans started to like him only when he died. Cypher and Wolfsbane started dating right before his death. They were part of the team that rescued Bird-Brain. While on this mission, they also fight Ani-Mator and during the fight, Cypher sacrifices himself and gets hit by a bullet that was for Wolfsbane. Magneto thinks of his death as one of his most traumatic memories.
9 NIGHTCRAWLER TELEPORTS INTO AN ARM
Nightcrawler is a good mutant. He prays to his god, follows the rules and helps out when he can, despite his mother being Mystique and his father being a demonic warlord Azazel. He grew up in a circus and when his mutant abilities matured he was able to escape after much trouble and battles. Professor Xavier searched him out and saved him from a predicament and made him an X-Man.
A savage way to die is by someone extending their arm where you are going to teleport -- and that is exactly how Nightcrawler died. But he isn’t as dumb as he seems. He died a heroes death while during battle and still managed to save Hope, which was his mission. He even helped mutants in the afterlife before returning like all X-Men do.
8 CAMERON HODGE LOSES HIS HEAD
Cameron Hodge is not one of the most popular X-Men villains, but he did have a pretty savage death. One that involved an alien ripping his head off and then draining his life force. But this wasn’t his first death either. Cameron has had a rough life being a villain. Before being decapitated he was pushed off the edges of Mt. Everest with Dr. Steven Lang when he found out Lang betrayed him.
Cameron was resurrected from his cliff crash only to die again. The Technarch technology is what resurrected him from the Purifiers and Baston. After being brought to life he went into battle with New Mutants because he stole a Legacy Virus vile. Warlock proceeded to tear his head of and drain his life force.
7 MAGNETO TEARS APOCALYPSE APART
Apocalypse has has several deaths but probably the most savage of his deaths occurs during "Age of Apocalypse". In this story, Xavier is dead and Magneto carries out his goal of bringing humans and mutants together and ending Apocalypse's brutal domination over the world. Apocalypse was taking over the world and creating a nuclear holocaust, but not on Magneto’s watch.
After battling across the globe and getting involved in a love triangle, he realizes there is a way to restore order and bring Xavier back. During the final battle to put everything right, Magneto focuses all his strength and power into killing Apocalypse. The two trade shots as Magento's team of X-Men attempt to repair the universe back to the norm that we all know and love. As Magneto's final act of heroism in this world, he tears Apocalypse apart with his magnetic powers.
6 THE ULTIMATE SABRETOOTH AND WOLVERINE BATTLE
If you are a Wolverine fan and haven’t read this long and glorious fight scene, you should right away (Wolverine Vol. 3 #50-55). Sabretooth and Wolverine were arch nemeses in every way and have had many battles, but this six-issue battle is the most savage.
The very short cliff notes version is as follows: The fight starts at the X-Mansion, but then soon they both go through a window and Wolverine rips his throat and Sabretooth rips his heart. Wolverine then wakes up on the Blackbird and they fight some more and then end up in Wakanda. While in Wakanda, Sabretooth is tied up, but of course gets loose and then caught and tied up again, and then gets loose. The battle ends when Wolverine acquires the Muramasa and cuts off Sabretooth’s arm and then his head.
5 DEATH OF WOLVERINE
Wolverine has been a long-time fan favorite so of course his most savage death is on this list: the death where he didn’t come back... for a while. In Wolverine’s past or future lives, he has been killed by a ninja, Magneto and a possessed Beast. But none of those deaths stopped him from resurrecting and coming back. But the death that did end it all (err...for a bit) was in Death of Wolverine.
In the story, Wolverine's healing ability was obstructed by a virus. Dr. Cornelius is the founder of Weapon X and the reason Wolverine has adamantium bones. He puts a bounty on Wolverine and Wolverine is forced to defeat his latest experiments. Wolverine dies from being coated in the liquid adamantium when he is trying to stop the creation of other soldiers.
4 JEAN GREY AND DARK PHOENIX
One of the most well-known X-Men deaths is the double-death of Jean Grey in “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” It was one of the first dramatic deaths and certainly not the last. As the saying goes “with great power, comes great responsibility” and Jean has Omega-level mutant power. With her power she manifested into the Phoenix Force.
While with the X-Men, Jean Grey pilots the shuttle to Earth and is exposed to a deadly amount of radiation. While she is dying and trying to save her friends, the Phoenix Forces takes her over and leaves the real Jean Grey to sink to the bottom of the ocean in a cocoon. Jean is now known as Phoenix and wears a green and gold costume. Her second death isn't that long after as Jean takes over Dark Phoenix and kills herself because the cosmic entity is too powerful.
3 THE ATROCITIES AT NEVERLAND
This item on the list represents all the mutants that were killed in the gas chamber at the concentration camp. The camp was created in the Weapon X series to find Weapon X operatives or mutants to experiment on. Those that arrived at the camp had to have their abilities tested. If their powers were useful, they got to live in the camp. If their powers weren’t useful, they were executed right away or had their powers stripped.
Some of the more well known X-Men characters that were subject to Neverland were Paul Provenzano and Siena Blaze. Paul, or Omerta, was captured and killed in a gas chamber when the camp deemed his powers useless. Siena Blaze was also captured by Weapon X and killed in the gas chamber at the hell known as Neverland as well.
2 CATSEYE IS USED AS FUEL
Sharon Smith, or Catseye, started out in the X-Men universe as a Hellion and was brought on by Emma Frost. She became close to Emma Frost and learned how to control her abilities through Emma. Emma Frost was know to throw many parties that ended in fights, and it was in one of those parties that Catseye met her demise.
Cateye’s death is savage because is has no meaning other than to fuel a teleportation portal for the villain Fitzroy. During one of Emma’s parties with the Hellions and the X-Men Gold team, Trevor Fitzroy crashed the partying with the intent of killing Emma Frost. To get away, Fitzroy drained Cateye’s life along with others such as Jetstream to fuel his teleportation portal.
1 THE BUS STOPS HERE
This event tops the list of most savage X-Men deaths because 42 students from Professor X’s school were killed. They were in a bus when a missile hit them and killed most of the students that didn’t have their mutant abilities following M-Day. It was a sad and savage time in the X-Men Universe following the events of House of M.
In New X-Men, M-Day occurred where many mutants lost their powers. Some thought of it as a blessing, some thought of it as a curse. The mutant-turned humans at the school decided to leave before they were expelled and the X-Men had a secret plan to transport them on a bus to a safe destination. Stryker found out about the bus and launched a missile at the bus and blew it up, an attack that killed 42 students.