ByAndrew Habashy, writer at
Marvel Comics, Good Movies and The Pittsburgh Steelers. That's my life.
Andrew Habashy

Oh, the X-Men. Forever misunderstood in a world that fears and hates them. Unfortunately for our outcast heroes even those that claim to be their greatest fans tend to misunderstand them far more than they believe. Whether it be due to differing plots in the cartoons, movies, or even video games some have come to believe things about these outsiders that just aren’t true. We could even blame the writers themselves as they will often ignore a character’s history, change facts to fit their own stories, or simply create something that is so elaborate that readers lose their way in the labyrinth of stories.

Well, have no fear true believers. I am here to set the record straight about what is and is not true in the world of the X-Men. While some facts may be as simple as a character’s name or power description others run far deeper into the histories and origins of favorite characters and famous storylines. If the only involvement you have had with the X-Men are the movies you must continue reading to begin your much-needed education. If you’re a long-time reader of the comics and think you know everything there is to know go ahead and see how much you know.

10. Rogue’s History

One of the most misunderstood of all mutants, poor Rogue has forever been cursed with the inability to touch others lest she drain their full life energies. Despite this she continues to fight for the good of the population that both hates her and will never understand the pain she feels. But did you know that Rogue was once a villain? In fact, she was a pretty nasty little lady using her powers to get whatever she wanted under the guidance of Mystique – her adoptive mother. Rogue was a rather malicious villain with an even harsher temper. She had absolutely no qualms about doing harm to others and hurt later teammates such as Storm, Wolverine, and Dazzler not to mention the many fights she had with the Avengers (of which she is now a member of as well.)

Rogue’s biggest rivalry, however, was with the woman whose life she stole – Carol Danvers. Though longtime comic readers – and anyone who happened to catch a specific episode of X-Men: the Animated series – know how Rogue obtained her super strength and flight it’s actually quite sad how many believed them to be amongst her natural power set or – even worse – not to have existed at all. For those of you that didn’t know, Rogue used her powers to completely drain Carol’s life force permanently stealing her super abilities and psyche. Housing Carol’s psyche within her own caused Rogue to go raving mad and eventually she sought help from Professor Xavier. This is when Rogue joined the X-Men, and was pretty much forgiven for her villainous past most of which was blamed on Rogue’s own fragile psyche and Mystique’s manipulations.

For those who are caught up in the movieverse, Rogue’s name is not Marie, and was left unknown for quite a long time. Around 2002 it was revealed that Rogue’s given name is Anna – most likely a reference to the actress who played her in the films – Anna Paquin. Rogue has now finally managed to control her deadly powers while having purged herself of past absorptions, but will probably continue being portrayed as untouchable in other media.

9. Supposedly Useless Powers

Within every group of super-powered beings there’s going to be those that awe fans with impressive displays of raw power, i.e. Storm or Havok. But for every hero wielding energies far beyond the normal power spectrum there will be those whose powers are seemingly useless. Many fans sprawled across the wide sea of the internet have been extremely critical of certain X-Men. But is this judgment fair? Not really. Instead, it’s but another example of one thing everyone tends to get wrong.

A favorite example of a mutant who gets no respect is Dazzler. Being able to convert sound into light may not sound too cool but if you put some serious thought into it you’ll understand why it’s anything but useless. Not only is Alison Blaire able to absorb sound to create light but in doing so is able to create a field of complete silence. In what world is stealth useless? And as far as light goes, those who write that such powers are weak obviously have no knowledge of how the visual system works. It takes only a single flash of the harshest intensity to blind a victim. Photon particles can also be hardened into lasers which Dazzler once used to blow off part of Psylocke’s face. Useless, huh? Another young mutant with powers similar only in appearance to Dazzler’s is Jubilee. While many presume that shooting fireworks is a useless power they 1) have obviously never had a firework go off in their face and 2) honestly don’t know how Jubilee’s powers actually work. She fires energy plasmoids that have the potential to be used on a sub-atomic level. Not sure about you, but that’s something we’d rather avoid.

The girls aren’t the only ones to come under scrutiny. Cypher is a classic example of powers that are seemingly useless. With the ability to basically learn and speak in any language it’s obvious that such a skill would do nothing in physical combat. However, who says that a superhero’s abilities must always be physical? Part of what makes Batman so great are his detective skills while other more subtle powers such as telepathy definitely come in handy. Being able to communicate with any person, any species, and even with computers through binary code is far from useless. So while we may be quick to judge a character’s powers we mustn’t forget that no power is truly useless. Well, except for lesser known characters like Jazz whose power is… being blue…

8. The Enigma That Is Deadpool

Ever since he was given his first solo series in the 90’s the character of Deadpool has become an obsession of Marvel fanboys across the globe. Surprisingly, this foulmouthed mercenary has often been the subject of incorrect analyses. For instance, there’s this rumour going around the internet that Deadpool can’t die due to his powers and this isn’t exactly true. We could argue on and on regarding the extent of Deadpool’s healing factor but, seeing as how Marvel writers like to change things up to fit their current plots, it would be for naught. However, there is an instance in the comics which details the exact reason that Deadpool cannot die – even in the event of his healing factor failing. Wade Wilson was cursed with immortality by Thanos for his involvement with Death whom the latter is infatuated with. How many of you knew that?

Also commonly misconceived by fans is Deadpool’s status as an X-Man. While many believed Deadpool to be among their ranks he actually is not. Only recently was Deadpool given “probationary” membership upon his arrival to Utopia. In reality, Deadpool is only a self-professed member of the X-Men. And while we’re at it we should go ahead and mention that contrary to popular belief Deadpool is not a mutant. Wade Wilson was but a man with terminal cancer who underwent a process to save his life. Those that performed on him, however, were none other than Weapon X giving him an incredible healing factor but also deforming him by supercharging the cancer in his cells. While he regenerates at an abnormal speed his skin is completely scarred as a by-product.

While we’re spilling truths we could go on to mention that Deadpool isn’t nearly as funny or cool as most fans believe him to be but let’s not get too contentious.

7. Not Everyone Is A Mutant

Deadpool isn’t the only superpowered being in the X-Men family to wrongly be labeled a mutant. It seems that just about everyone is assumed to be a child of the atom which some characters, such as Juggernaut, take offense to. Juggs actually received his powers from a mystic gem known as the Gem of Cyttorak. He then became a pretty hefty villain before joining the X-Men circa 2003-2004 though he has since fallen back into his old ways. Other former X-Men are also non-mutants including Longshot who is actually an extradimensional being.

Characters like Jubilee and Moonstar are former mutants with the former now being a vampire. While some depowered mutants eventually regained their abilities in one way or another they still aren’t technically mutants as they lack the X-gene. A good example of this is Polaris who lost her powers due to M-Day and received similar powers from the machinations of Apocalypse. Furthermore, characters long believed to have had their latent mutations unlocked through various means actually received their powers from said means. Cloak, Dagger, Sunfire, and Wild Child are among those ranks.

Lately the X-Men have been adding many non-mutant members to the team. Examples include Warbird and Hepzibah who are both aliens. Other characters such as Fantomex have been allowed into the ranks while the X-Club – featuring many humans – has been getting quite a bit of attention as well. The most bizarre addition has to be Karima Shapandar – the Omega Sentinel. She was just a cop who was transformed by the evil Bastion into a cyborg whose top priorities were mutant slaying and more mutant slaying. She was able to overcome her programming, however, as she was in love with a mutant and love is greater than advanced electronic weaponry.

6. Cyclops – Not Who We Make Him Out To Be


The very first X-Man of them all, Cyclops is perhaps the most misunderstood and the fault lies within the ignorance of the general public. They can blame the media for his inaccurate portrayals as well as some writers who have abused his character as years went by. Just to establish a few factual errors – Cyclops does not shoot lasers from his eyes. What he emits are actually beams of pure, concussive force. This means the beams do not produce heat and while they can puncture matter they do not burn through it. For those who are interested it was recently ‘explained’ that the beams actually come from another dimension with his eyes acting as portals. Yeah, we’ll just go on waiting until that is retconned as well…

Speaking of his powers many believe that the beams are naturally uncontrollable akin to Rogue’s abilities. The truth is that Scott actually damaged a portion of his brain when he and younger brother Alex jumped from a burning plane and Scott’s parachute caught fire. The ruby quartz glasses he wears to control these powers were not given to him by Professor Charles Xavier but by Dr. Nathaniel Essex – aka Mister Sinister – who kept an eye on him during his childhood in the orphanage.

Once again, most of what is misunderstood about Cyclops stems from the movieverse in which he is nothing more than a soldier to Professor Xavier and a rival for Wolverine. In the comics, however, Cyclops is a muthafu**in [email protected]$$. He has completely decimated sentinels, Apocalypse, Sinister, and more. He has taken on the entire group of X-Men at once and won using his knowledge of their skills against them. Scott is a major player not just amongst the X-Men but within the entire Marvel Universe. It’s really just quite sad how poorly he’s been treated in the films and even within some of the cartoon adaptations. His longstanding rival with Wolverine isn’t even that substantial. It was only recently in the comics that two have become known as ‘rivals’ with only one instance of rivalry between the two in their past. Just another example of how the media has poorly affected the actual source material.

5. The Entire Phoenix Saga

Oh the Phoenix Saga. One of the best and most memorable of not only the X-Men but all comic storylines. It is also one of the most convoluted stories in all of comic history. It’s no wonder why so many people make mistakes when it comes to just about anything to do with Jean Grey or the Phoenix force. And let us be quite clear when we state that while we will point out the factual inaccuracies associated with it there is a lot that is still open to interpretation. Things have been retconned and reworked so often that even some writers can’t seem to get things right.

First of all, the Phoenix force is not Jean’s mutation. It is a cosmic entity that chose Jean Grey as a vessel due to her extremely potent psionic abilities when she telepathically called out for help in outer space. While it can still be debated that perhaps the force is an extension of her powers due to such manifestations of Phoenix-like abilities when Jean was not possessed by the entity it must be agreed upon that the two are completely separate life forms. It could also be possible that Jean’s powers 1) were naturally developed to accept the Phoenix force and bond with it or 2) evolved upon joining with the force giving her such cosmic powers even outside of possession. These are not facts but simple observational possibilities. The fact that Rachel Summers – being Jean’s ‘supposed’ daughter from an alternate timeline (see the next post for clarification) – had a deep connection to the Phoenix does point out the possibility of the Grey line having a mutation that allows absolute bonding. It doesn’t, however, explain why others unrelated to Jean so easily bonded with the force as well.

Secondly, the woman that committed the terrible horrors during the Dark Phoenix Saga was not Jean Grey. That’s right; Jean did not commit murder on a cosmic scale but rather it was the force having taken on her form, memories, and overall identity. The real Jean Grey was later revealed to have been safely preserved in a telekinetic cocoon residing at the bottom of Jamaica Bay. The third point – and this one is but speculation - sees Jean and the Phoenix force as separate entities with the force being an omnipotent presence within the cosmos. It is said that there are multiple avatars with which to host the Phoenix and that they are created – as is everything – from its energies. Jean Grey was said to be the one most closely related to the Phoenix and that it has been with her since her inception. Once again, that is but a theory.

It seems that no matter what the true story with the Phoenix is – having been rewritten so often – readers and non-readers alike will make mistakes in coming to understand it. For the sake of not treading too far into dangerous territory we too will let the matter rest.

4. The Days Of Future Past

The Days Of Future Past
The Days Of Future Past

Any medium that incorporates time travel into its world should tread carefully so as not to end up entirely paradoxical. This was something the writers of X-Men never feared as they worked time travel into their stories as a pretty central theme and a rather confusing one at times. The Days of Future Past story has been receiving quite a bit of attention as it’s the inspiration for the upcoming X-Men flick of the same name. That film aside it is also one of the greatest stories ever told within the comic medium and introduced X-Men readers to the concept of time travel. But one thing you should know about the story is that it wasn’t Wolverine nor Bishop who traveled into the past to stop a devastating event. It was Kitty Pryde.

It must be noted that when one travels to the past to change an event it doesn’t stop the future from coming to fruition. Instead, it simply creates an alternate timeline split between the original future and the result of what was changed. The Days of Future Past timeline still exists within the Marvel Universe. It should also be noted that there are actually two points of divergence in which the Days of Future Past timeline differs from the main Earth-616. Whereas Kitty Pryde travels in time and possesses the body of her younger self in order to stop an assassination attempt on Senator Kelly’s life this was not the only event that differed from the main universe. In fact, Rachel Summers was born following the marriage of Scott and Jean shortly after the Dark Phoenix Saga. In the main 616-universe Dark Phoenix was cast out of Jean’s home following a demonstration of her power to her parents. In Rachel’s world, however, she was not rejected but instead accepted lovingly leading her to stay on Earth, not die following the Shi’ar battle, and reconcile with Scott, get married, and have Rachel. This poses two points: 1) that the DoFP timeline may have already existed and the world Kitty Pryde traveled to was a separate reality meaning her actions had no effect on her home reality causing nothing to change at all. The past she traveled to could not have been her own as Rachel would have already been born and she was not. 2) Jean Grey is not actually Rachel’s real mother but the Phoenix impersonating Jean’s form which could explain Rachel’s own connection to the entity.

The Days of Future Past isn’t the only instance of time travel that many tend to get wrong as the Age of Apocalypse, the Askani timeline, and Bishop’s future are also so convoluted that one can’t help but scratch their head at the physics surrounding them. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that the upcoming film will deviate heavily from the source material. Whether this will be a good thing or bad it’s certain that like its comics counterpart it will function based on a science that is far from logical.

3. Evolution Of The Beast

Evolution Of The Beast
Evolution Of The Beast

No X-Man has gone through as many changes as loveable, blue-haired scientist Henry McCoy. What started as a simple mutation has since been exploited by many writers until he became the true Beast we know today. Beast’s mutation was nothing more than enlarged hands and feet, incredible strength, and grappling feet similar to those of other primates. The film X-Men: First Class actually portrayed Hank’s original mutation quite well despite getting the rest horribly wrong.

Beast first donned his furry suit shortly after he left the X-Men. While working at a genetics research facility Hank comes up with a formula that allows the user to become a mutant for a short period of time. He uses it on himself in order to enhance his already existing abilities so that he can foil an attempt to steal his research. He waits too long to reverse the process and becomes permanently mutated now more feral and covered in grey fur. Beast’s fur didn’t actually turn blue until later when for some reason or another blue became the go-to color for mutation. Shortly after this Beast was invited to join the Avengers making him the first X-Man – and third mutant following Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch – to do so. While just about everyone is an Avenger today this was kind of a big deal back then.

While the furry, blue ape-like appearance is how we’ve come to remember Hank best it wasn’t his final form. He eventually became a large, cat-like creature which was not a result of natural evolution or a super serum but was due to Sage’s own powers jump-starting a secondary mutation. With All-New X-Men transforming Beast’s appearance once more while teaming him up with a time-displaced younger version of himself it’s difficult to say where the character will be taken next.

2. Membership Is Exclusive

While the X-Men have accepted many members throughout the years – both mutant and not – they have been somewhat iffy about who they allow within their ranks. It’s not that they’re incredibly picky but like any team of superheroes one must choose wisely when deciding who will fight alongside them. The X-Men family is quite large consisting of separate teams such as X-Factor, X-Force, Excalibur and more but simply being related to the center team does not mean one is a member of it. It wasn’t until but a few years ago that the X-Men increased their numbers dramatically and the lines between who is a full member and who is not have become blurred.

The first off-shoot team to be directly related to the X-Men were the New Mutants. The team was formed to train the young students in the use of their powers and was never meant to become combative. Throughout their disbanding and drastic change into X-Force only one member was actually accepted into the X-Men – Cannonball. Whereas later members such as Moonstar and Karma would go on to train the newest generation of students they didn’t become actual members until much later. Some such as Wolfsbane have never actually been regular members of the X-Men.

Furthermore though some characters have become quite popular within the X-Men universe they all haven’t gone on to actually become X-Men themselves. Some characters that are quite often mistaken for members include Madrox, M, Deadpool, Quicksilver, and Strong Guy among others. While these heroes have never actually been inducted into the X-Men some of their greatest foes have actually been members. Did you know Mystique, Sabretooth, Magneto, Juggernaut and Lady Mastermind have all been members of the X-Men? While many villains reform these guys have since gone back to their old habits. Recently, there has been quite an influx in the number of X-Men as well as a major schism between the members making it even more difficult to determine who is and is not an actual member.

1. Wolverine, Wolverine, Wolverine

The most overrated X-Man of all time, Wolverine is a magnet for incorrect assumptions, common misconceptions, and adulterated fanboy bullsh*t. It’s not all their fault though as Marvel has so often offered us differing explanations for his powers, origin, and general history while simultaneously managing to allow the character to appear in seven different ongoing comics. So what is it exactly that so many always tend to get wrong about Marvel’s most famous mutant? Well, just about everything.

To begin with Wolverine is far from immortal and there are multiple ways in which he can die. These concepts ring true even despite the fact that current writers have drastically overpowered the character beyond even that of a fictional mutant. Though Wolverine ages much slower than usual humans he will still eventually die of old age. Furthermore, it has been stated by the Xavier Protocols that the most effective way to kill Wolverine would be to remove his head from his body thereby separating the heart and brain. This may prove difficult due to the super strong adamantium bones he possesses so we’ve listed a few other ways in which Wolverine could bite the dust.

Though Wolverine has been shown to survive electrical shocks this would be a surefire way to kill him. If Storm were to use Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton as a conductor for lightning she could effectively fry every cell within his body simultaneously while interfering with the bioelectrical properties of the brain thereby short-circuiting his entire nervous system and inhibiting his healing factor. Iceman could also kill Wolverine just as easily by completely freezing the 60% of his body that is made of water and in doing so completely shutting down his bodily functions. Speaking of water, it’s been stated before that drowning is also an effective way of killing Wolverine as not only does his metal skeleton cause him to sink rather easily but oxygen deprivation would eventually lead to cell death and brain damage that would inhibit cellular regeneration. Cells need oxygen to reproduce meaning any form of asphyxiation could kill Wolverine. Magneto has, at one point, almost killed Wolverine when he ripped the adamantium out of his body and would have succeeded if not for Professor Xavier stopping him and later boosting Wolverine’s healing factor. Technically, Magneto still could kill Wolverine in many ways if he were to use the adamantium to successfully damage his brain, heart, or lungs. Lastly, Wolverine could die by something as simple as malnutrition as cells need nourishment to grow and it’s been stated specifically that Wolverine needs a great deal of protein to use his healing factor.

As far as Wolverine’s origins go there are many facts that are usually misrepresented. For instance, his name is not Logan but James Howlett. Despite what the films lead you to believe Sabretooth is in no way related to Wolverine by familial means. Despite the romantic tension Wolverine and Jean were never actually together though the two did share a kiss on at least two occasions both of which when they thought they were going to die. While Wolverine had feelings for Jean she never completely reciprocated them though she did love him as a friend – and she did indeed find him physically attractive. It has been hinted that Jean’s feelings for Wolverine ran a bit deeper – which could be evidenced by their kissing – but it was never fully disclosed and she always remained faithful to Cyclops. Lastly, Wolverine is only 5’3″. Take that, Hugh Jackman!

If you want to explore Wolverine’s full and extremely intricate history check out the recently uploaded Wolverine Spotlight on which offers just about everything you would need to know. It addresses just about every other issue fans tend to get wrong regarding Wolverine’s past that we don’t have the space to commit to. Before we end the post we must address one last thing – regarding Wolverine’s supposed immortality it is true that it was once established that when Wolverine dies “for real” he would fight the angel of death for the gift of resurrection. However, that pact has since been nullified and also that plot was incredibly stupid and should be retconned for the benefit of every X-Men fan too intelligent enough to believe such crap.

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