Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had created all sorts of superheroes for Marvel Comics. They had a team who had an accident in space and got super powers, they had a guy who was too close to a nuclear explosion and turned green, a dork who got bitten by a spider and suddenly got strange powers, the list goes on and on.
But in 1963, Lee and Kirby thought of an easier way to explain all the super powers some of their characters had: they were born with them.

Marvel Comics published the first issue of X-Men in 1963. The team, which consisted of Cyclops (Scott Summers), Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Iceman (Bobby Drake), Angel (Warren Worthington III) and the Beast (Hank McCoy), was led by professor Charles Xavier, and fought the evil Magneto in the first issue. They all were so-called mutants, humans who were born with a special ability. This special ability usually was dormant until the person reached puberty, then the gift (or curse) would become visible.

Unfortunately for Xavier and his team, the comic got cancelled at issue 66 because not enough copies were sold each month. Instead, Marvel Comics started reprinting the X-Men's adventures in issue 67. While the X-Men comicbook was reprinting stories, the X-Men occasionally showed up in other comics.

That was until 1975, when Giant-Size X-Men #1 was published. The issue was written by Len Wein, with pencils by Dave Cockrum, and showed that the original team of X-Men was captured by the Living Island Of Krakoa. The island summoned Professor Xavier to form a new team of mutants, so it could feed its hunger. The new team consisted of Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), Banshee (Sean Cassidy), Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida), Wolverine (Logan), Storm (Ororo Munroe), Thunderbird (John Proudstar) and Colossus (Piotr Rasputin). They succeeded in rescuing the original X-Men. Giant-Size X-Men lasted only one issue, but it set the stage for new stories.

Chris Claremont restarted the X-Men comic with issue 94, which was the beginning of his 16 year run as writer. Over the years, he made the X-Men go through a lot of line-up changes. Some mutants joined, others left, even a few died. Claremont was responsible for classic stories like the Dark Phoenix saga, Days Of Future Past, the Brood saga, and many others.

With issue 114, the title officially changed to Uncanny X-Men. Uncanny X-Men would have quite a few spin-offs. The first one would be the New Mutants, which would later be turned into X-Force It had a different team of X-Men, not lead by Xavier. After a while, the two titles were still not enough to satisfy the readers, so a third title, X-Factor was launched. The X-Factor team consisted of the original team of X-Men: Cyclops, Beast, Angel, Iceman and Jean Grey.

Over the years, lots of X-Men titles have come and gone. Wolverine and Cable still have their own comic, but Gambit and Bishop apparently didn't sell well enough so their titles were cancelled. In 1991, X-Men was started by Claremont and Jim Lee. This was the second title to feature the team that was known as the X-Men, since Uncanny X-Men was also still published every month. Unfortunately, both Claremont and Lee would leave the title after only a few issues.

The X-Men still remain the most popular comics every month, and it's still Marvel's biggest moneymaker. Currently there are about 10 X-Men comics published each month, of which 6 are ongoing series.

After seeing the "yaoi" and "gay cartoon character" softlinks on this node, I felt that I had to mention the homosexual themes of X-Men.

It's obvious that X-Men is the ultimate minority victory in a literary realm. A child, considerably more impressionable than an adult, is much more likely to read a comic than a novel, and therefore I would say that this is exactly what the world needed. A work of literature, aimed at children, celebrating the necessity of diversity and rights of minorities.

The series even manages to rope people in, no matter their race, gender, etc. It began with six white men and one white woman in the first issue - something, which, while not ideal (although it did have the Handicapped Xavier), is almost necessary to get the majority hooked. As time went on, characters were introduced into the Marvel universe from all walks of life. From the African Storm to the Japanese Sunfire to the Gay Northstar to the countless other characters from other countries, other cultures, and even other planets. The dynamic value of this technique is astounding - it liberates minds not only from current hatred for minorities but even from future issues in the case that we find other life out there.

Let's not even go into why Magneto is Hitler. Figure that one out for yourself.

So you may be wondering why I say that it has homosexual themes. Personally, being a homosexual, these themes are particularly apparent to me. Firstly, as mentioned above, these mutant powers manifest themselves around puberty. That's something not usually associated with race but quite common with homosexuality - even though it may be determined around the age of five by some studies, it isn't usually until the individual becomes aware of sex that their homosexuality becomes readily apparent to them.

Second, there was a disease released (by Mr. Sinister, I believe) called the Legacy Virus. This disease was a particularly touching part of X-Men. It was an invisible threat, and it claimed the life of Ilyanna, a beloved character not only for her own self but also because of her strong bond with her brother, Colossus (Piotr, Peter). This disease began by infecting mutants, but within a short period of time, it spread to humans, and the mutants were blamed. This disease's infection pattern almost perfectly parallels that of AIDS. The symmetry is beautiful, and terrifying. In a way, the issue that was devoted to Ilyanna's death was devoted to what it was like for someone to die of AIDS, and I remember weeping when I read it, at a time when I barely even cared about anyone in such a way that could lead me to tears.

Thirdly, the most common theme of the X-Men is that mutants are humans too. I remember watching the cartoon as a child, and seeing Beast make the classic speech, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" Then again, this is just another example of how it refers to minorities, not homosexuals, but it's quite obvious that Beast is just a big ol' bear. ;)

I appreciate very much that this series was written, and I can honestly say that no other single source has influenced me as much as this great symbolic masterpiece has. The most beautiful thing about this is that it has created a fictional minority. It is a minority that has yet to be tainted by the biases of the readers. The work is therefore able to exploit this tabula rasa and create the positive attitude for the minority in the reader, and hopefully extend that positive attitude to other pre-existing minorities such as non-white races, the handicapped, and the homosexuals...

Published by Marvel Comics, the X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #1 in 1963.

The X-Men are Marvel's premiere mutant super hero team and one of the publisher's most popular titles. The themes within the X-Men storylines touch on adult issues like bigotry, heroism, and sacrifice without ever forgetting that their core audience wants to see people in spandex with amazing powers battle for the fate of the world. The X-Men have spawned a whole line of X-titles featuring members of the team or teams spawned from or related to the X-Men mythos.

The Basics

The X-Men are ultimately a group of mutants. Mutants in the Marvel Universe represent humanity's next step on the evolutionary ladder homo superior. Mutants possess a special x-factor which in most cases manifests itself upon the mutant reaching puberty. The result is extraordinary abilites or physical manifestations which give them unusual powers.

The X-Men were founded and led by Professor Charles Xavier. Xavier organized the X-Men for two reasons. First, he gathered young mutants to train them in the use of their powers in hopes of allowing them to achieve the maximum benifit from their abilities, while instilling in them the responsibility that those powers come with. Second, Xavier gathered the team to help defend against those mutants who would use their abilities to do evil as well as to fight for his dream of a peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans.

Though they have been based at other locations, the home of the X-Men is Xavier's ancestral home in Westchester, New York on Graymalkin Lane. Originally called Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the mansion houses sleeping quarters, infirmary, and training facilities (including the famous Danger Room), as well as state of the art laboratories and science equipment, including Xavier's mutant detecting computer Cerebro.

A Brief History of the X-Men

To try and detail all of the events of X-Men over the past thirty years would be an overwhelming task. What follows is some of the highlights of the team's adventures over the years, touching on the major story lines

  • X-Men's First Mission: (Uncanny X-Men #1, 1963)
    Professor Charles Xavier gathers his mutant students to face their arch-enemy Magneto and his henchmen the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for the first time. The X-Men comprised of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the Beast are able to keep Magneto from destroying a rocket base, though the villains escape in the end. Magneto would reappear as a persistent foe over the years.
  • The Sentinels: (Uncanny X-Men #14)
    Warning of the growing mutant menace, Bolivar Trask debates with Professor X in front of a national TV audience. He then unleashes his giant mutant hunting robots the Sentinels upon the X-Men. The Sentinels become some of the X-Men's most dangerous foes.
  • The Mimic: (Uncanny X-Men #27-29) Calvin Rankin joins the X-Men as Mimic. Rankin possesses the ability to duplicate the power of any superhuman he is near. Rankin is the first member of the X-Men to not be a mutant.
  • The "Death" of Professor X: (Uncanny X-Men #41-42)
    While fighting the menace of Grotesk, Professor X is seemingly killed. In actuality, Xavier had been replaced by the Changeling, a fellow mutant, while he fought off an alien invasion.
  • A New Beginning: (Giant-Size X-Men #1 - Uncanny X-Men #94)
    Xavier gathers a new group of mutants to help look for his original students who have disappeared while on a mission. Colossus, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Banshee, and Thunderbird join the team with most of the original X-Men leaving except Cyclops.
  • The Death of Thunderbird: (Uncanny X-Men #95)
    The X-Men suffer their first true fatality when on the new team's first mission Thunderbird is killed when the plane he is battling Count Nefaria on crashes, killing him.
  • Jean Grey becomes the Phoenix: (Uncanny X-Men #101)
    Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) seemingly is killed and born again as the more powerful Phoenix when she uses her telekenesis to help land a crippled space shuttle. This begins what will ultimately be known as the Phoenix Saga.
  • Dark Phoenix: (Uncanny X-Men #132-137)
    Driven mad by the mechanations of the evil mutant Mastermind, Phoenix turns evil and with her growing power destroys a planet and its inhabitants. Opposed by the very ones she loves, Dark Phoenix, as she is now known, is brought down by the X-Men, but is found guilty by the Sh'iar and sentenced to death. The X-Men fight to defend their teammate, but Phoenix ultimately chooses to end her life and the menace that she represents.
  • Mutant Massacre: (Uncanny X-Men #210-211)
    Gathered by Mister Sinister, the Mauraders begin killing the mutant Morlocks who live in the sewers beneath New York. The X-Men attempt to protect them and suffer heavy losses as Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Shadowcat are injured. They are replaced within the team by Havok, Longshot, Dazzler, and Psylocke.
  • Inferno: (Uncanny X-Men #240-243)
    In an attempt to take over the Earth, two demons from Limbo attempt to use members of the X-Men and members of other X-teams to join the two worlds. With the help of the original X-Men, the demons are defeated.
  • The Age of Apocalypse:
    When Professor X's son travels to the past and accidently kills his father, an alternate timeline takes over in which the world is ruled by the evil mutant Apocalypse. Only through the efforts of time-lost Bishop is the world made right again.
  • Onslaught:
    Professor X seemingly loses control of his powers and manifests all of his darkest impulses into a immensely powerful creature of mental energy known as Onslaught. Only with the sacrifice of the lives of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are the X-Men able to defeat this menace.


The following is a listing of all of the members of the X-Men and a brief description of their powers:

  • Professor X (Charles Xavier)
    Founder of the X-Men and world's most powerful telepath. Confined to a wheelchair due to injuries sustained at different times of his life.
  • Cyclops (Scott Summers)
    Field leader of the X-Men. Possesses the ability to shoot beams of force from his eyes which can only be contained by ruby quartz glasses. Married to Phoenix and father of the hero Cable
  • Marvel Girl/Phoenix (Jean Grey)
    Possesses both telepathy and telekenesis. Married to Cyclops.
  • The Beast (Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy)
    Superhumanly agile and strong also possessing an extremely keen mind. Has gone through a number of physical changes over the years. Originally his mutation manifested as large hands and feet, but later due to experimentation, was covered in blue fur and possessed fangs. Of late, the Beast has taken on a more bestial or lion-like appearance.
  • Iceman (Robert "Bobby" Drake) Possesses the ability to produce extremely cold temperatures. He has learned to use his abilities to create an icy covering over himself as protection as well as produce a wide variety of ice effects. He has in recent years learned that he can actually change his physical form using his power.
  • Angel/Archangel (Warren Worthington III)
    Possesses large wings which allow him to fly. For a time after changes by the villain Apocalypse, his wings were made of metal and he could throw the feathers like blades. Being struck by one of the blades caused paralysis. His wings have since returned to normal.
  • Mimic (Calvin Rankin)
    Possessed the ability to duplicate the powers of superhumans around him. First member of the X-Men to not be a mutant.
  • Havok (Alex Summers)
    Brother of Cyclops who possess the ability to absorb cosmic rays and expel them in a powerful energy beam.
  • Polaris (Lorna Dane)
    Green-haired mutant with the ability to generate magnetic fields. Originally believed to be the daughter of Magneto this was later proven to be untrue.
  • Colossus (Piotr Rasputin)
    Russian farmer who possesses the ability to transform his body into organic metal, giving him a high degree of invulnerability and superhuman strength. Sacrificed his life to activate the antidote to the mutant killing virus known as the Legacy virus.
  • Storm (Ororo Munroe)
    Possesses the ability to control the weather on both a small and large scale. Often times leader of the X-Men when in the field.
  • Wolverine (Logan)
    Former Canadian secret agent, possessing a quick healing ability. Wolverine possesses claws which extend from the back of both hands. As part of a government experiment, he has had the unbreakable metal adamantium laced in his bones giving him a high degree of invulnerability.
  • Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner)
    Possesses superhuman agility, a prehensile tail and the ability of line-of-sight teleportation. Nightcrawler also possesses the ability to climb walls and fade to near invisibility in shadowed spaces. He is covered in blue fur, has fangs and yellow eyes, giving him a demonic appearance.
  • Thunderbird I (John Proudstar)
    Apache warrior with heightened strength, speed, and endurance as well as heightened tracking abilities. Thunderbird was killed in his second mission with the X-Men.
  • Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida)
    Japanese hero who possesses the ability to fly and project beams of intense heat. Only participated in a single adventure with the X-Men before quitting.
  • Banshee (Sean Cassidy)
    A former secret agent and criminal, Banshee possessed the ability to use his voice to produce sounds that allowed him to fly and project his scream as a weapon.
  • Sprite/Ariel/Shadowcat (Katherine "Kitty" Pryde)
    Shadowcat possesses the ability to become intangible as well as being a brilliant programmer.
  • Rogue (Name Unknown)
    Rogue is a former member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who possesses the ability to absorb both abilities and memories from anyone she touches. Has the permanent abilities of flight, superhuman strength, and invulnerability.
  • Phoenix II (Rachel Summers)
    Daughter of Cyclops and Marvel Girl from an alternate timeline. Possesses her mother's abilities (telepathy and telekenesis) but to a greater degree.
  • Longshot (No other identity)
    From an alternate dimension, Longshot possesses superhuman agility and the ability to shift luck to his advantage.
  • Dazzler (Allison Blaire)
    Former disco singer who possesses the ability to convert sound waves into light for a variety of uses including to shoot laser beams and strobe effects.
  • Psylocke (Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock)
    Sister of Captain Britain, Psylocke originally had the ability to project mental bolts. After passing through the mystic Siege Perilous, Psylocke possessed the ability to create a psychic knife that would disrupt its victim's brain. Later she developed the ability to travel from one shadow to another after being saved by the mystic energy known as the Crimson Dawn and even later developed telekenesis.
  • Jubilee (Jubilation Lee)
    Former mall rat, Jubilee possesses the ability to project enegry globes that appear as something resembling fireworks. They vary in intensity and can be mentally directed by Jubilee.
  • Gambit (Remy Lebeau)
    A former thief, Gambit possesses the ability to charge an object with kinetic energy and then use said object as an exploding missile. His usual weapons are playing cards. He is also superhumanly agile.
  • Forge (No other name revealed)
    Forge possesses the mutant ability of invention, as well as being a Native American shaman. He possesses a cybernetic leg and hand to replace those lost when he served in the U.S. armed forces.
  • Bishop (Lucas)
    A mutant from the future, Bishop possesses the ability to absorb and then redirect any energy used against him.
  • Marrow (Sarah)
    Former Morlock and mutant radical, Marrow's mutant power causes extreme growth in all of her bone structures as well as advanced growth of said bones. She is able to, with some pain, to pull bones from her body to use as weapons and also possesses organ redundancy. While off planet, a Skrull medical device, gave Marrow greater control over her bone growth and allowed her to appear normal with some effort on her part.
  • Maggott (Japheth)
    Maggott's mutant power is based on the fact that he has a symbiotic relationship with two large slug-like creatures that have the ability to eat any substance.
  • Joseph (No Other Name Revealed)
    Originally believed to be the mind wiped Magneto, it was later revealed that Joseph was a clone of Magneto. Joseph possessed the ability to generate magnetic fields for various uses.
  • Cecilia Reyes (No other name given)
    A doctor, Cecilia Reyes worked with the X-Men for a time. Reyes mutant ability is to create an invulnerable force shield.
  • Cannonball (Sam Guthrie)
    Cannonball possesses the mutant ability to generate a blast field that propels him like a human cannonball. While blasting, Guthrie is invulnerable to harm because of said blast field.
  • Cable (Nathan Summers)
    Son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, Cable possesses telepathic and telekenetic abilites. Cable is also infected with a techno-organic virus that threatens to take over his body, if not kept in check by this abilities.
  • Thunderbird III (Neal Shaara)
    Possesses the ability produce both intense heat and intense light.
  • Chamber (Jonathan Starsmore)
    Powerful mutant whose body contains intense psychic energy. Upon the first use of his power, Chamber disintergrated the lower part of his face and the upper part of his chest. Because he is composed of psionic energy, Chamber does not eat, breath, or drink. He "speaks" via telepathy.
  • White Queen (Emma Frost)
    Former member of the Hellfire Club, Frost is a telepath with abilities rivaling those of Jean Grey. Has also shown the ability to possess others at times. Of late, Frost has also discovered she possesses the ability to transform herself into a diamond-like form, possessing great resistence to harm.
  • M (Monet St. Croix)
    M possesses superhuman strength, the ability to fly, invulnerability, acute night vision as well as advanced intelligence.
  • Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier)
    Former international skiing star, Northstar possesses the ability to fly and move at fantastic speeds. Northstar also is the first Marvel hero to be publically announced as gay, though a number of others have followed suit.
  • Sage (Tessa Niles)
    A former aid to the Black King of the Hellfire Club, Sage possesses the ability of total recall, can sense other mutants and can trigger unrealized mutation in others.
  • Lifeguard (Heather Cameron)
    Sister of Slipstream, Lifeguard possesses the mutant ability to detect when others are in danger and adapt an ability or abilities to protect them.
  • Slipstream (Davis Cameron)
    Brother to Lifeguard, Slipstream possesses the mutant ability to open holes in the fabric of reality to transport himself and others to different locations around the globe.
Related Titles

The X-Men and the mythos surrounding this group has been the launching point for many other titles published by Marvel Comics. These titles include:

Writers and Artists

The X-Men have been the proving ground of many fine artists and writers. Apart from the classic team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as its creator, the pages of the X-Men have been filled with stories and art work of some of the biggest names in comicdom.

Probably the most famous writer of the X-Men has been Chris Claremont. Beginning with Uncanny X-Men #94 in 1975, Claremont was the writer during the second team of X-Men's rise to glory and the beginning of the X-Men dynasty at Marvel Comics. He was the author of the Dark Phoenix Saga and was instrumental in the creation of much of the back story of some of Marvel's best loved mutant characters.Of late, Grant Morrison has done much to inject new life into the X-titles.

The artists that have graced the pages of X-Men include such names as John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, John Romita, Jr., Jim Lee, Frank Quitely and others. Many of these artists first gained public attention while drawing the adventures of the X-Men.

Source Material:
Also, thanks to RoguePoet for additional edits to this node.

"'X-Men'? What is so special about these 'X-Men'?"
- Henry Gyrich, interrogating Gambit in "Slave Island"

A cartoon based on the Marvel comic book of the same name, aired on the "Fox Kids Network" from 1992 to 1997. Needless to say, for a children's cartoon to run for that many seasons is rare; and its success is probably responsible (at least in part) for the plethora of Marvel-based cartoons which appeared since then (e.g. Spider-Man and the short-lived Silver Surfer series).

The X-Men cartoon, by and large, took a lot of its plots from the comic, but altered them either to make it fit into a 30-minute show, or for content, or for other reasons. For instance, there are versions of the Phoenix and Dark Phoenix sagas in the cartoon; but unlike in the comics (where Phoenix is some weird alien clone of Jean Grey), in the cartoon, Phoenix is an entity of pure energy that possesses Jean Grey. Likewise, the cartoon has its own versions of the Days of Future Past, Age of Apocalypse, and Phalanx Covenant storylines, among others. As children's shows go, X-Men was pretty well written - hardly Shakespeare, but infinitely more intelligent than, say, the Power Rangers (with the possible exception of the fifth season, which is noticably dumbed-down in spots).

Like the comic, the X-Men cartoon frequently deals with themes of racism and prejudice in general (though they carefully avoid the subject of homophobia, even though Northstar guest-stars in one episode). One episode in particular, "Beauty and the Beast", is an excellent example of this; in it, Beast is torn by his love for a (human) patient, the revealing of which provokes her bigoted father (and leads the anti-mutant Friends of Humanity to kidnap her).

"All right, you egg-sucking piece of gutter trash! You always liked pushin' around people smaller'n you. Well, I'M smaller! TRY PUSHIN' ME! "
- Wolverine, just before fighting Sabretooth in "Deadly Reunions"


(For obvious reasons, the info here deals with the cartoon versions of these characters, who (in some ways) are different than their comicbook versions. Furthermore, I'm trying to give background without giving spoilers for the show - for instance, you'll notice the info on Jean Grey does not include the Phoenix Saga, even though it occurs in the cartoon.)

Codename: Professor X
Real Name: Charles Xavier
Powers: Xavier is the most powerful mutant telepath on the face of the Earth (though he was briefly superseded by Phoenix).
Background: Born into a wealthy family in the early 20th century, Charles was prone to powerful headaches in which he claimed to "see" things. These were the first manifestations of his mutant powers. Charles' father died very early on, and his mother became very ill during his early adolescence. She became involved with her physician, Dr. Marko, and eventually married him. Marko had a son from a previous marriage, Cain - who would become the Juggernaut. Later, Xavier became a doctor, and helped victims of an ongoing war. (It's never said what war this is, though in the comics, Xavier was drafted into the Korean War.) While there, he met another doctor, Magnus, who had the power to control electromagnetic fields. When enemy soldiers raided the hospital and took patients prisoner, Magnus and Xavier used their powers to rescue the hostages, revealing for the first time to anyone that they were mutants. While Magnus (who would later be Magneto) believed humankind would never accept mutants, Xavier was more optimistic, and in that spirit created his "school for the gifted" and the X-Men. Xavier usually stays behind on combat missions, though on a few occasions, his intervention has meant the difference between victory and destruction for the X-Men.

Codename: Cyclops
Real Name: Scott Summers
Powers: Can fire powerful laser-like rays from his eyes. Only eyewear made of ruby quartz keeps this power in check.
Background: When the Summers' private plane was attacked by a Sh'iar battlecruiser, the young couple heroically gave the only parachute to their young son, Scott, and tied his younger brother Alex to him. The two were sent to different orphanages; Scott spent the rest of his childhood under the care of Dr. Taylor Prescott, and then was taken in by Xavier as one of his first pupils. Cyclops long-time girlfriend is fellow student and later X-Woman, Jean Grey. He is field commander among the X-Men; only Xavier can supersede his orders.

Codename: Storm
Real Name: Ororo Munroe
Powers: Flight; Control and spontaneous creation of weather phenomena.
Background: Orphaned on the streets of Cairo; as a child, she was a pickpocket for the Shadow King. An accident from her youth which trapped her under the rubble of a building has caused her to develop claustrophobia as an adult, and this is referenced to several times throughout the series. Storm, through an odd sequence of events, is also godmother to an adolescent Kenyan boy named Mishnari; a mutant with the ability to run at great speeds (much like Quicksilver). She is second-in-command of the X-Men.

Codename: Jean Grey1
Real Name: Jean Grey (Duh.)
Powers: Strong telepath, also possesses some telekinetic ability
Background: Was one of the first students of Xavier's School for Gifted Children. Cyclops is Jean Grey's long-time boyfriend and fellow X-Man (or X-Person, if you want to be politically correct). She often stays behind on combat missions.2 1: Okay, it's not really a codename. But she doesn't have one in the cartoon. So there.
2:Okay, there's not a lot of info here. They never really delved into her past on the cartoon, and I don't want to contradict myself by putting in stuff from the comic.

Codename: Beast
Real Name: Henry "Hank" McCoy
Powers: Possesses superhuman strength and agility.
Background: Henry McCoy started out normal enough. As he progressed through adolescence, however, his arms and legs became progressively larger and heavily-muscled, his began growing fangs, claws and blue fur. (The cartoon contradicts itself here; that explanation was proffered in the episode "Beauty and the Beast", but later they used an explanation more in keeping with the origins of his "bestial" appearance - that it was caused by an experiment he conducted to try to rid himself of his mutation.) He was recruited by Xavier and (together with Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, and Angel) formed the original X-Men. Besides his more obvious mutant abilities, it's possible that his extremely high intelligence is a result of mutation; besides holding a doctorate in biochemistry, Beast appears to be an expert in literature, medicine, and most of the sciences.

Codename: Wolverine
Real Name: Logan
Powers: Possesses enhanced senses and the ability to heal very quickly; skeleton and claws plated with adamantium.
Background: Much of Wolverine's past is a mystery, even to himself. Logan himself has no idea where he came from, who his parents were, or how old he is. His earliest memories involve working for Canadian intelligence during World War II; at one point going up against the Red Skull. Later, he was captured and made part of the Weapon X project, where various neurological experiments were performed on him, and ultimately he was subjected to a process that infused adamantium into his bones. After he escaped from Weapon X, he joined the Canadian state-supported superhero team Alpha Flight; but later left to find Xavier in the hopes that the Professor could help him control his bloodlust and help him piece together his past.

Codename: Rogue
Real Name: Unknown
Powers:Possesses superhuman strength, the ability to fly unaided, and the ability to borrow or steal life energy (and mutant powers) from others. Background: Rogue was born and raised in the Deep South (we never find out exactly where). The method by which she discovered her energy-stealing powers were unfortunate, to say the least; they first manifested in her first kiss - the boy in question was put into a coma for three weeks. Her family disowned her, and Rogue wandered around until she was found by Mystique, who made her part of her "family" of mutants. Mystique tricked Rogue into using her powers against Ms. Marvel, the resulting battle left Rogue with her powers - and her mind. She went to Xavier for help, and he used his telepathic powers to block Carol Danvers' mind from interacting with Rogue's. She has been a member of the X-Men ever since.

Codename: Gambit
Real Name: Remy LeBeau
Powers: Ability to make objects explode using their kinetic energy.
Background: Gambit lived in the swamps of Louisiana as a member of the Thieves' Guild. This is pretty much all that is known about him; Gambit is, as a rule, a very secretive man. (He also has one of the most nonsensical mutant powers ever conceived.)

Codename: Jubilee
Real Name: Jubilation Lee
Powers: Pyrokinetic; can create explosive bolts of plasma.
Background: Orphaned as a child, her adoptive parents became concerned (to put it mildly) when everything electronic that she touched began exploding. Unsure what to do, they registered her with Mutant Protection Agency - which sent a couple Sentinels after her. After Storm, Rogue and Gambit rescued her from the Sentinels, she became a permanent member of the X-men; however, due to her young age, she often is not allowed to enter combat situations. It has been suggested that Jubilee is much more powerful than one would suspect, but that they have been kept limited by mental blocks. There does seem to be some evidence of this; in the cartoon, her attacks are often more powerful when she's angry.

"Fools! You bleat for the future like a herd of sheep. I'll GIVE you your future - RIGHT NOW!"
- Apocalypse in "Come the Apocalypse"


Codename: Magneto
Real Name: Magnus
Powers: Can manipulate electromagnetic fields and magnetic metals to a very great degree.
Background: War has left Magnus a bitter man, and his view of the future is much more cynical that that of Charles Xavier. He believes that a war between humans and mutants is inevitable, and his goal is to strike first in order to weaken humanity as much as possible. He will do anything to achieve this goal - even kill the best friend he ever had.

Codename: Apocalypse
Real Name: En Sabah Nur
Powers: Shapeshifting to apparently-limitless proportions and superhuman strength; appears to be functionally invincible and immortal.
Background: Born to Egyptian royalty 5000 years ago, Apocalypse is one of the few mutants to emerge before the 20th century. He believes it is his destiny to destroy humankind and weed out "inferior" mutants, to create the perfect civilization, and his powers (and immortality) make it seem that he may eventually achieve his goal. It has been posited by some that he is the true Personification of Evil, though he does not see himself this way: "Evil? I am not malevolent; I simply am." ("Beyond Good and Evil, Part I")

Codename: Juggernaut
Real Name: Cain Marko
Powers: Possesses superhuman strength and is completely invincible.
Background: Cain Marko is Charles Xavier's stepbrother, and he holds one mountain of a grudge against him; Cain believes Charles was to blame for his father's abuse of him. One day Cain stumbled across the legendary Cave of Cyttorak (what he was doing there is not explained). Reciting the words on an ancient tablet while holding the "Ruby of Cyttorak", Cain was transformed into a "living juggernaut". Not only is he superstrong, but nothing seems to be able to kill him. Physical attacks, at best, slow him down; and he doesn't need to eat, drink, sleep, or even breathe. His only vulnerability is his mind, and even that is protected by his suit's helmet.

Codename: Mr. Sinister
Real Name: Nathaniel Essex
Powers: Superhuman healing ability, can also fire laser-like beams from his hands.
Background: After reading Darwin's Origin of the Species, Essex became obsessed with the concept of mutation. He was convinced that Darwin was only half-right; while admitting the existence of slow natural selection, he also believed that evolution could make great leaps in a single generation (acting on the erroneous belief that evolution is a process of progressive complexity). He was laughed out of the Royal Academy of Science for his theories and his rumoredly "sinister" experiments on human subjects. Studying various "freaks" he had had taken to him, he devised a serum that mutated his own genes. Besides turning his eyes red and his skin pure white, it gave him new, inhuman abilities. With these abilities, he vowed to show the world just how "sinister" he could be.

Codename: Sabretooth
Real Name: Graydon Creed Sr.
Powers: Superhuman strength, senses and healing ability, possesses fangs and claws. Background: Like Wolverine, Sabretooth was part of the Weapon X program. Frequently beaten by his father for his feral appearance, and subsequently experiencing a lifetime of bigotry on the part of "normal" humans, Sabretooth became a hardened, cold-blooded killer. He is in the employ of Magneto.

Codename: The Sentinels
Real Name: N/A
Powers: Each Sentinel is about 50 feet tall, can fly, shoot lasers, use tentacles to attack targets, and emit sleeping gas.
Background: Created by Dr. Bolivar Trask, the Sentinels are huge robots that exist for one purpose: to apprehend or destroy all mutants. They are created and programmed by Mastermold, an even bigger robot.

Fun Facts

  • Besides voicing their respective characters in various video games, many of the voice actors in X-Men were given roles in the various other Marvel cartoons, especially Silver Surfer and The Avengers. George Buza, the voice of Beast, played a small role as a trucker in the first X-Men movie.
  • Director Dan Hennessey did the voice for the role of the mutate Ruckus (who is essentially a pink-haired Banshee who can't fly).
  • There are at least two 'easter eggs' referencing producer Joseph Calamari. The first is in the season two episode, "Mojovision": Cyclops and Jean Grey go to an electronics store and the clerk's name badge has the word "Calamari" on it. The other is from the season five premiere, "Phalanx Covenant (Part 1)": Right at the beginning, a fake Sabretooth rips open the side of a truck and jumps out. The truck has the words "Joe's Calamari" on the side.
  • The entire cast of X-Men was flown to Los Angeles (from their studio in Canada) to voice their characters on two episodes of the Spider-Man cartoon that was also aired by FOX at the time, making those episodes rather expensive.
    And of course, personal experience watching the show.
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