It is not easy being a member of Marvel's merry mutants, the X-Men. Not only do they have to deal with hatred and discrimination for being a mutant every day of their lives, but it also can put them in very dangerous situations. Thankfully the X-Men have received extensive training over the years at the X-Mansion that has equipped them to handle these dangerous threats, and usually, that's enough to get them through. Of course, it has to be said that the mortality rate among the X-Men compared to other superhero groups across the Marvel Universe is frighteningly high. The X-Men are quite literally putting their lives on the line in every battle, and we've seen a number of teammates meet their dooms on missions, beginning with the historic death of John Proudstar AKA Warpath in X-Men #95.
Of course, since we are talking about comics, Thunderbird wasn't exactly gone forever. He's been brought back to life temporarily a few times over the years in one event or another, mainly to serve as a reminder that death comes for the X-Men. With that being said, the constant odd resurrections somewhat defeat the whole impact of the death, which is why Thunderbird has never fully returned to the land of the living. There are many other X-Men who have crossed over to the other side (or been presumed dead) only to come back to life in an impossible fashion that leaves fans heads spinning, which we will take a closer look at today. Here are 20 of the X-Men's most bizarre resurrections.
Rogue's death came not during her time as an X-Man, but when she was serving on Captain America's Avengers Unity Squad (Uncanny Avengers) as they took on the time-traveling Apocalypse Twins. Rogue had a rough time during her initial tenure on the team and had previously accidentally killed the villain Grim Reaper. Manipulated by the Apocalypse Twins, Rogue also kills Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch, before being killed herself by the newly resurrected Grim Reaper. Her resurrection came about only when the timeline was repaired by Avengers from the resulting future, who manage to save Rogue, who in turn saves the rest of the Earth.
Jean-Paul Beaubier began his superhero career on the Canadian government team known as Alpha Flight, where he used his powers of super-speed and flight alongside his twin sister Aurora. After he joined the X-Men he was mortally wounded by Wolverine, who had been brainwashed by a deadly partnership between Hydra, the Hand, and the Dawn of the White Light. Northstar was abducted by the villainous group and then killed, resurrected, brainwashed, and used as a superpowered assassin in an attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury. While Jean-Paul was eventually deprogrammed, this resurrection left Northstar vulnerable and it took him a while to return back to the X-Men.
Colossus' death was tragically heroic and actually lasted for quite a while in comic terms. After the death of his sister Illyana (more on her soon) due to the mutant-ravaging disease known as the Legacy Virus, Colossus sacrificed himself in order to release a cure for the virus, saving mutantkind. During Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's run on Astonishing X-Men, readers were shocked by the revelation that Piotr Rasputin had been resurrected by aliens from the Breakworld shortly after he sacrificed himself, and imprisoned deep underground. Ironically, the aliens were trying to prevent a world-ending prophecy by bringing the one prophesized to destroy their planet back to life... it obviously didn't work.
17 RACHEL GREY
Rachel Grey (formerly Summers) is no stranger to time-travel, as she first appeared in the bleak future first seen in the iconic "Days of Future Past" storyline. Rachel became a member of the X-Men and Excalibur as the second Phoenix in the present day. After her teammate Captain Britain was lost in time, Rachel took his place and ended up stranded two-thousand years in the future. There she grew old and became Mother Askani, eventually saving her younger brother Nathan Summers' life by bringing him to the future before she died. He would then grow up to become Cable and rescue her from a dying timeline before she became Mother Askani, returning them both to the modern-day timeline.
During the Second Coming event, the X-Men were undergoing a major shift as a number of ongoing storylines were meeting head-on with the return of the mutant messiah, Hope Summers. Kurt Wagner, the teleporting mutant known as Nightcrawler, was dealing with his own issues with the X-Men's current direction, yet still flung himself into danger without hesitation to save Hope's life at the cost of his home. Kurt's death hit fans hard, but the character was soon seen in Heaven, helping other lost heroes find their eternal peace. It was there he found himself in a battle with his demonic father Azazel, which forced Kurt to give up his soul and spot in paradise to return to Earth and keep Azazel from attacking Heaven ever again.
Wolverine is currently returning from the dead after a long absence in the Marvel Universe, though it wasn't the first time we've seen the Death and Return of Wolverine. Following the shattering of the X-Men, a new team had gathered to protect a new race of mutate children known as the Mannites, who were being hunted by Death, a new Horseman of Apocalypse. During their skirmish, Death manages to kill Wolverine... at least until it's revealed that Wolverine is actually a Skrull, who was attempting to infiltrate the X-Men. They soon learn that the mysterious Death is actually their missing teammate Wolverine, now reborn as an instrument of Apocalypse. He eventually returns to his usual self, before dying and returning to life again in Return of Wolverine.
Sean Cassidy began his career as the Banshee working against the X-Men, though he later joined the team in the iconic Giant-Size X-Men #1. His death came during Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine's Deadly Genesis storyline, which saw Cassidy sacrifice himself in an attempt to save a plane full of people from the murderous Gabriel Summers AKA Vulcan. His recent rebirth came at the hands of the Apocalypse Twins, Uriel and Eimin, who resurrected Banshee and three others as their Horsemen of Apocalypse using the energies from a Celestial Death Seed. This strange resurrection left Banshee damaged by his exposure to the Death Seed, with no cure supposedly in sight.
Xi'an Coy Manh was an original member of the New Mutants known as Karma, who was able to psionically possess people. However, her time with the team was short-lived as she apparently died in an AIM base explosion during a battle with Viper and Silver Samurai. However, the New Mutants later learn that Xi'an was actually possessed by the psychic entity known as the Shadow King. He used her body to become a gluttonous gladiatorial crime lord, and eventually, they ran into the New Mutants again, who were shocked to see what had become of their old teammate. Once they learned of the Shadow King's influence on Karma, they managed to free her and she began her long road to recovery.
Nate Grey is an alternate reality-transplant to the mainstream Marvel Universe, having first appeared during the Age of Apocalypse event. After struggling to find his place in the 616 universe, Nate eventually becomes a Shaman of the mutant race, dedicated to protecting Earth and its mutants from other-dimensional threats. He is forced to sacrifice himself by merging with a villain known as the Anti-Man, effectively merging his essence with all the living cells on Earth. After a few years, Nate was able to pull his cells back together through sheer force of will, though recent events in Age of X-Man have shown that Nate Grey might not have come back as intact as the X-Men would have hoped.
11 SCARLET WITCH
During the Onslaught Saga, The X-Men worked alongside the Avengers and the X-Men to battle the merged threat of Magento and Professor Xavier. To do this, most of the heroes had to sacrifice themselves to defeat the psionic villain, with former Brotherhood of Mutants member Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch joining her fellow Avengers in this final act. It was later revealed that the "deceased" heroes had instead been transported to a pocket dimension created by Franklin Richards where their origins were rebooted, with Wanda becoming a founding member of the new Avengers team. Eventually, Scarlet Witch and the heroes returned to the mainstream universe in a very bizarre resurrection storyline aptly titled Heroes Return.
Betsy Braddock has dealt with her own death a few times, and each event has left her transformed. After an attack by Sabretooth, she was saved only be the mystical Crimson Dawn, which changed her abilities, and connected her to a shadow dimension. She actually died for the first time during Chris Claremont, Salvador Larroca, and Igor Kordey's X-Treme X-Men, stabbed by the villain known as Vargas. She was later resurrected by her insane brother Jamie Braddock, who also happened to have the power to reshape reality on a whim, luckily for Psylocke. More recently Psylocke was absorbed by a soul vampire, who she then killed and used to recreate her body. Bizarre.
Warren Worthington III seemed to have it all in his early days, as a beautiful privileged trust fund kid who also happened to have a set of breathtaking wings on his back that allowed him to fly. During the Mutant Massacre storyline, his wings are badly damaged and amputated leaving Warren emotionally destroyed. He is later presumed dead after his sabotaged plane explodes, but it is soon revealed that he was taken by the eternal mutant Apocalypse, who transforms the hero formerly known as Angel. Warren is reborn as the Horsemen Death (later Archangel), his amputated wings replaced by razor-sharp metallic replicas and his mind forever tainted by Apocalypse's mental manipulation.
Marrow was also a victim of the aforementioned Mutant Massacre, which saw a huge portion of the underground mutant population known as the Morlocks murdered by Sinister's sadistic Marauders. Marrow, then only a little girl known as Sarah, managed to survive the massacre, and grew up vengeful in a time-displaced alternate reality (long story) and joined the mutant extremist organization known as Gene Nation as an adult. During one of the group's violent campaigns, Marrow attached a timebomb to her heart, forcing X-Men leader Storm to rip out her heart to stop the bomb. Unbeknownst to Storm, Marrow's mutant physiology conveniently featured a second heart, allowing her to survive the ordeal and seek redemption as a member of the X-Men.
Alex Summers followed in his older brother Cyclops footsteps and became the leader of the government sponsored-team known as X-Factor. During one of the team's missions, Havok is caught in an airplane explosion and presumed dead. However, fans soon learn that Havok's spirit was actually switched with an alternate reality version of himself who had just died. In this new reality, Havok found himself as the leader of a dark team known as The Six, with corrupted versions of his former teammates in the X-Men. After living there for a while, Havok is eventually forced to sacrifice himself again, which allows his spirit to return to his original body in the mainstream universe.
Following the "Fall of the Mutants" storyline that saw the main team of X-Men sacrifice themselves to stop the Adversary, the whole team is resurrected and relocates to Australia. However, that's not the most bizarre "resurrection" in this timeframe. Shortly after the team relocates, the team is attacked by Nanny and the Orphan-Maker, which results in the apparent death of Storm and the two villains. Fans later learned that the Storm who died was a robotic LMD (Life Model Decoy), and Storm had actually been regressed in age by Nanny. It was as this teenaged version that Storm first met future X-Man Gambit, who helped her regain her memories, and eventually her true age.
One of the most impactful deaths in the X-Men franchise after John Proudstar occurred on the junior X-team known as the New Mutants. Doug Ramsey joined the team as Cypher, a mutant who whose power to understand any language didn't save him from a deadly gunshot during a mission. A similar character appeared when the alien Warlock used imprinted memories from teammate Ramsey to become Douglock for a short time. Cypher was brought back from the dead by the Eternal known as Selene during the "Necrosha" storyline, though he was under her control as a techno-organic zombie. The X-Men and New Mutants were able to restore Doug's memories and personality, but this was definitely one of the X-Men's darkest resurrections.
As we mentioned before, Illyana Rasputin was a young mutant who died from the Legacy Virus which her older brother Colossus later sacrificed his own life to cure. However, the 6-year old girl who died had already been through quite a bit, including spending years in the hellish dimension of Limbo where she became known as Darkchylde after taking control from the demon Belasco. After the "Inferno" event Illyana was returned to her younger self before contracting the Legacy Virus. Not content with Illyana's death, the demon Belasco creates a new version of Illyana out of her essence left in Limbo, creating a new Darkchylde without the innocent soul of Illyana to anchor her.
3 JEAN GREY
Jean Grey lives up to her namesake as the Phoenix a few times over the X-Men's years of continuity. Her first "death" occurred after the cosmic entity known as the Phoenix possessed and corrupted her into the Dark Phoenix before committing suicide to end her threat. However, it was later revealed that the Phoenix had actually created a body based on Jean Grey while the real Jean was recovering in a cocoon at the bottom of Jamaica Bay. Jean retained some of the Phoenix's powers after she awoke and eventually returned to the X-Men - where she died again. This death lasted for 14 years until the character was brought back to life by the Phoenix Force again, in the failed hopes of reuniting with its former host.
2 EMMA FROST
Emma Frost joined up with the X-Men after the destruction of the mutant island Genosha, where Frost's secondary mutation kicked in and saved her. This new mutation transformed her into a temporary diamond-form that was nearly invulnerable. Nearly being the key word, as shortly after she joined the X-Men she was found in her diamond form shattered on the floor of the X-Mansion. Beast manages to reassemble the various pieces of Emma's body like a jigsaw puzzle while investigating the crime, and Jean Grey is able to use her growing Phoenix powers to fuse her body back together and rejoin it with Emma's psychic essence, bringing the character back to life.
1 CHARLES XAVIER
Without a doubt, one of the more bizarre methods an X-Man has used to come back to life has to be the recent return of Charles Xavier to the land of the living. Charles Soule's Astonishing X-Men run revealed that the soul of Xavier, who had been killed by Cyclops while under the influence of Dark Phoenix, survived on the astral plane locked in an eternal battle with the Shadow King. The X-Men manage to defeat the Shadow King through the help of the mysterious X, who revealed himself to be Charles Xavier in the body of Fantomex. If X really is Charles Xavier, his time in the Astral Plane or the merger with Fantomex has left the character ominously altered.