People debating "who's stronger" is nothing new; it's a (usually) friendly argument we first experience in our childhood regarding parents, athletes, each other and more. When it comes to superheroes, however, the "who is stronger" debate takes on new dimensions, and the outcomes are determined by much more than mere physical strength. Comic fans are happy to dive into any such challenge, armed with stats from trading cards and past comic events, but while some debates do result in a clear cut winner, other seem destined to rage for eternity. CBR may have fallen into the latter category with a recent story that declared Nate Grey, aka X-Man, Marvel's strongest mutant, much to the chagrin of another Marvel hero's fanbase.
While this may be a bold claim, there is no doubt that the shaman of mutantkind has been showcasing his extreme power levels in Uncanny X-Men, flexing that resulted in the apparent death of nearly the entire team of X-Men, followed by the creation of a new world created in Grey's personal vision. However, the title of Marvel's Strongest Mutant is not one easily earned, and some of CBR's readers were quick to point out that another mutant actually holds the prestigious title: Franklin Richards, son of Reed and Sue Richards of the Fantastic Four.
Franklin may still be a child, but he holds the potential for untapped levels of power that easily challenge, and possibly surpasses those of X-Man. With that stated, consider the gauntlet thrown, as we take a deep dive into these two mutant heroes to see what makes them tick, and which is Marvel's Strongest Mutant.
While Franklin Richards technically appeared first, we're going to start with Nate Grey since his recent actions sparked this comparison. He first appeared in X-Man #1, which released in 1995 as part of the reality-altering Age of Apocalypse event. Nate's early introduction as a powerful young mutant in an alternate reality ruled by Apocalypse showcased the awesome power he had at his disposal. These powers mostly registered as telepathic and telekinetic abilities, which he inherited from his biological mother - the AoA's Jean Grey. Unfortunately, those powers were burning him out, and the hero soon was forced to learn new ways to not only use his powers, but also help mutantkind in his newfound home in the main Marvel Universe.
Franklin Richards first appeared in the pages of 1968's Fantastic Four Annual #6, where Reed and Sue Richards welcomed their first child, who was soon revealed to be a mutant. However, unlike most mutants, who develop their powers during puberty, Franklin began exhibiting his powers almost immediately, with power levels that attracted villains hoping for a new tool to use against the FF. After a few close calls, Reed developed a way to technologically inhibit Franklin's vast psionic potential in order to allow him to have a normal life. However, young Franklin would soon test the limits of his inhibitors alongside the team of young heroes knowns as Power Pack under the superhero name Tattletale, though readers would soon see a big evolution for the character.