X-Factor first burst onto the comics page in 1986 following Jean Grey's return from the dead following the 'Dark Phoenix Saga.' Returning to the X-Men to find that Magneto was leading the mutant team, she turned to old-friends Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel. Under the guise of a mutant-hunting organization, the five created a team which trained new mutants in how to use their powers.
There have been numerous versions of X-Factor since, with the government even establishing its own team to replace Freedom Force, and Multiple Man forming his own private detective agency under the name following the events of M-Day. Here, we take a look back at all the variations of X-Factor and rank the 10 most powerful members to have been a part of the super-team.
Monet St. Croix joined James Madrox's X-Factor Investigations following M-Day. A great all-rounder, M brought a huge number of superpowers to the mutant detective agency. Not only is she gifted with incredible strength and expert hand-to-hand combat skills, but she is near invulnerable, thanks to her quick healing factor. With her sharp senses and ability to see the auras of mutants, she can quickly help those in danger. A strong telepath with telekinetic skills, she can read and manipulate minds and project powerful telekinetic waves. Enhanced by her genius intellect and perfect memory, M is able to quickly adapt to different situations. While she may not be Marvel's strongest mutant, her vast skill set makes her a valuable ally to any X-Team.
One of the original X-Men and a founding member of the first X-Factor team, Warren Worthington III grew large wings on his back when he was a boy. This gifted him the ability of flight and sharpened his senses, particularly his eyesight, allowing him to see like a hawk while flying at high altitudes and at top speeds.
Warren’s abilities were considerably enhanced during his time with X-Factor. After losing his wings during a battle against the Marauders, a deal with Apocalypse granted him new, techno-organic wings with razor-sharp edges, strong enough to split steel, and filled with a paralytic poison. Newly capable of quick healing and armed with a scream that could cause his target to bleed internally, this newly-upgraded Archangel proved to be a formidable foe, and fortunately returned to fight alongside X-Factor instead of against them.
Rahne Sinclair is a Scottish mutant capable of transforming herself into a wolf. Originally a member of the New Mutants, she joined the second incarnation of X-Factor and has returned to the team regularly since.
Although able to take on the form and strengths of a wolf, Rahne isn’t a werewolf, which means her abilities aren’t dictated by traditional supernatural rules. Able to transform whenever she pleases, she is able to retain her human consciousness. In wolf form, her senses are considerably heightened, allowing her to track people and see heat signatures. Combined with a strong physique and deadly claws and fangs, Rahne is a formidable fighter—so long as her human intellect doesn’t get lost on the wild side.
Hank McCoy was one of Professor X’s original students. Gifted with a genius-level IQ and gifted in the sciences, McCoy has been experimenting with various serums which have both helped and hindered his mutations for decades. Beast is extraordinarily strong, able to smash through brick with a single punch. Having been trained by the likes of Captain America, he’s a highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant, and his ability to withstand high force has allowed him to stand up to powerhouses like Colossus and the Hulk. His acrobatic prowess and his ability to run at high speeds allows him to dodge bullets and quickly strike opponents.
With his intellect and abilities combined, Beast is undoubtedly a powerful addition to any team. However, during his time with X-Factor, Caliban, acting as Apocalypse’s Horseman, Pestilence, infected Hank, meaning that every time he used his strength, his intellect decreased, lowering his ranking on this list.
The daughter of Banshee, Theresa Rourke’s superhuman vocal cords are just as powerful as her father’s. Capable of shattering steel or deflecting bullets with her sonic screams, her voice is an incredible weapon. It can be used with such force that it generates concussive blasts or acts as a strong battering ram, and she can also lure humans to her with a magnetic Siren’s Song. She can even harness her vocal power to allow her to fly.
But Siryn is capable of more than just incredible screams; she also has limited psionic powers, granting her the ability to manipulate the minds of her opponents. A force to be reckoned with, Siryn became X-Factor’s deputy leader under Havok’s rule and would later return to work alongside X-Factor Investigations.
It’s hardly surprising that Magneto’s daughter would be ranked an Alpha-level mutant. Gifted with many of the same skills as her father, Lorna Dane has complete control over the earth’s magnetic materials. She can manipulate metal substances to use as shields or weapons, or to destroy them completely. Able to influence Earth’s magnetic field, she can generate magnetic force-fields, generate powerful blasts, and is even capable of manipulating iron in a living being’s bloodstream.
Lorna can also enhance her powers by absorbing various forms of energy, using everything from electricity and gamma radiation to light and even Havok’s energy beams to boost her powers. Thankfully, Lorna didn’t inherit her father’s sinister nature.
Alongside his on-again-off-again romantic partner Polaris, Havok was approached to lead the government-funded X-Factor. Alex Summers is an Alpha-level mutant, nearly as powerful as his brother, Scott. Like his sibling, Alex is able to absorb solar energy, then store and convert it into powerful blasts of heat which can quickly disable enemies or shatter objects. His abilities are so great that he has been known to defeat both Magneto and the Hulk, and even the extremely powerful Vulcan.
Alex’s powers have often proven difficult to control, leading to devastating rampages. As his body constantly absorbs the energy around him, he is required to wear a special suit to help contain his powers.
The first mutant to join Professor Xavier’s X-Men, the true power of Scott Summers’ astonishing optic blasts is still unknown. He is capable of converting absorbed energy into powerful beams of force which are strong enough to pierce steel and punch holes in mountains. Like his brother Alex, Scott finds these optic blasts difficult to control, so he uses a ruby quartz visor or sunglasses to help keep his powers in check. With enough focus, he can control the width and strength of the blasts he releases.
But Scott is capable of much more than projecting energy beams. His years of close relationships with extraordinarily powerful telepaths has led him to develop a resistance to telepathic probes, and he has honed his fighting skills to become an expert combatant. Most significantly, Scott is a strong leader with a tactical mind, making him a master strategist. It’s not surprising that he quickly rose through the ranks of the X-Men to become deputy leader, later founding X-Factor with his love, Jean Grey.
Although Bobby Drake is one of the original X-Men and a founding member of X-Factor, he is often overlooked. While his teammates have been front and center in many of the primary X-Adventures, Bobby has been working hard to develop his powers, gradually growing into an Omega-level mutant.
Bobby’s powers have grown considerably over the years; he is able to manipulate the temperatures around him, allowing him to freeze moisture in the air to create weapons or shields, or even release powerful ice beams. He has been known to create ice structures so strong they can contain the Hulk. He can move quickly thanks to his ability to create icy pathways. Able to transform his entire body into an ice sculpture, he is near invincible, as he is able to heal his human form with his icy exterior. His command over ice has made him a central member of the mutant community.
1 Jean Grey
Jean Grey is undoubtedly one of the most powerful mutants in the entire Marvel Comics’ Universe. Even without the enhancements of the Phoenix Force, her powers reach Omega-level. Even as a child, her abilities were astounding. So much so that Charles Xavier hid her telepathic powers from her, allowing her to gradually unlock them as she grew older and more capable of handling her abilities.
After being separated from the Phoenix Force, Jean’s already vast telekinetic abilities increased considerably, allowing her to command objects, even molecules, to generate blasts or create shields. While it appeared her telepathic powers had been lost after the Phoenix incident, Jean regained them while battling Psynapse with her X-Factor teammates.
What perhaps makes Jean the most powerful X-Factor member is that the new team was originally her idea. Having returned to Earth to find anti-mutant sentiment was increasing and Magneto was running the X-Men, she introduced the team in hopes it would carry out Professor X’s dream of mending the strained relationship between humans and mutants. While she’s physically and mentally capable, her empathy towards mutantkind only enhances her power.