What Are Mutants
The Marvel Comics Universe has it's fair share of amazing origins. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and thus he became Spider-man. The young Johny Blaze makes a deal with the devil himself and he is reborn every night as the Ghostrider. Of course you also have the ambitious scientist Bruce Banner who after being bombarded with gamma radiation becomes the Hulk. What happens when a writer just can't create a good origin for a super power?
Marvel's laziest idea may have very well been the crowning achievement of the company. That achievement is none other than the mutants! It may be hard to determine why young Billy can suddenl;y shoot lasers out of his ears. Was he bitten by a radioactive Dumbo? Did a nuclear infused Ben Afleck brush up against him? Nope! Billy is a mutant. The mutant idea gave writers and creators the ability to not have to deal with the how so and so got their powers, they were simply born with a genetic defect that gave them the ability. What started as an easy way to avoid complicated origins and back stories grew into it's own universe filled with colorful characters and storylines. Each of these colorful characters sports their own special ability. As time went on the universe grew and grew and now it is in a lot of ways it's own world within the comics genre. Of course Marvel's big dogs in the mutant world are the X-men. But from there spin offs such as Excalibur, X-Force, X-Factor and many many more have taken root in the comic's world.
Eventually Marvel would realize the pure potential of it's mutant creation and divide them as good and bad. Of course some individuals in this strange universe transcend both sides of that spectrum. These amazing mutants would become movie icons, comic legends and even spill over into other titles in the Marvel universe. Some may be unaware but X-men original Beast was an Avenger as well.
Each X-men (and all of the counterparts, villains, and such) have their own unique mutant power. Some have power of such magnitude it makes them more dangerous than others while some of the powers seem rather trivial and useless at times. I want to present to you a top 10 list of some of the more common mutant abilities found in the pages of the X-men franchise. These are the powers that really stand out and seem to have the most endurance in the comics history. I will give you a run down of each power as well as which marvel characters make use of the power. I want to remind you this is not the definitive say so on the mutant powers presented in the comics, just my take on them and their uses.
Imagine if you will, you are involved in a car accident. You have a severe cut and are losing great deals of blood. It could be several moments before any help arrives and you are scared that you may die on this long stretch of highway. That situation would be any thing but pleasant. But, let's say you have the mutant ability to heal wounds. Now that cut closes and heals itself in seconds and you will be fine and dandy, well you would be better off if you have the mutant ability to repair a wrecked car but you get the picture. The mutant power of healing is one with great uses. It makes the mutants who harbor it nearly impossible to defeat in battle and one of the side effects to it's use is it keeps them young. We have recently learned that Wolverine was born in the 19th century and that his mutant ability of healing has slowed the aging process greatly.
Even the most drastic injuries are simply healed away by mutants possessing the healing ability. A great example is Wolverine who gets shot in the head in one of the X-men movies and lays unconscious for a bit but quickly gets back up. (of course part of this is due to his metal lines skeleton).
While there are numerous mutants in the marvel universe that have this ability a few of them stand out a lot more. Sabretooth for example is one of the villains who possesses the healing ability. But the one that everyone remembers and I have mentioned here all ready is Wolverine.
Wolverine's healing was so potent that he was used as the catalyst for an experiment in which his bones would be fused with adomantium metal. This would make him nearly indestructible. Wolverine would go on to become one of the most cherished of all Marvel's mutant creations starring in his own origins movie and being featured in more comic book titles than any other X-man to date. The level of his healing factor is beyond what any other mutant can accomplish. He was even ran over by the Punisher, who was driving a steamroller and left to die but of course we all know that is not happening.
9. Element Control
As a firefighter I see the potential in this ability right off the bat. I could just will the fire to go away or if need be control a water source to put it out. The shear magnitude of how dangerous this power really is becomes often understated in the pages of comic books. Controlling the elements means having the ability to control wind, water, fire and even the earth we walk on so you can imagine how dangerous this power can be in the hands of a bad mutant.
One such baddie is the ambitious Pyro. Pyro can manipulate fire. This power has made him one of the X-men's most dangerous foes. Pyro manipulates the fire into the form of a dragon or a sword but whatever the form is you can rest assured it is deadly and with Pyro at the helm accurate as well.
Controlling the elements is not always a violent feature in the mutant world. Iceman for instance is a prime example of elemental control at a civilised level. He can freeze the air around him and create ice from it. This has granted him a profound ability in battle as well as a means of travel. The most remembered aspect of Iceman is the fact he creates icy slopes that he slides across to get from point A to point B. One aspect that is often forgotten by many fans is that Iceman was originally a mobile snowman of sorts. He was one of the original members of the X-men.
As far as elemental control goes one mutant goes way ahead of the curve on the subject. That mutant is Storm. Storm can control the weather, giving her amazing powers to cause destruction or repair it. Storm grew to know her ability so well that she became leader of X-men Gold. Imagine the shear power of controlling a lightning bolt, or being able to blow someone to safety.
Teleportation seems over rated with it's appearance in every sci-fi film out there, namely Star Trek but it's uses are numerous. Mutants with the power of teleportation have the ability to simply will themselves somewhere else. This can be rather productive in battle. Teleport, punch, teleport, repeat. Of course other uses exist as well. Imagine needing to get to the mall before it closes to return that Taylor Swift CD because Beyonce's video was better but you only have a few minutes. If you can teleport you have no worries.
Of course there are drawbacks to this ability. If you were to teleport into a solid object you would be crushed to death. That being said it seems most of the mutants in the X-world are only confident about teleporting to places they have already been or can see clearly.
The most noted teleportation export would have to be the mysterious Nightcrawler. His blue skin and almost demonic appearance are shadows of his true nature. The Nightcrawler is actually a gentle creature whose ability has helped the X-men numerous times. The mutant ability to teleport is more complicated with the crawler because he actually goes into a different dimension when he teleports. This presents even more dangers for the individual.
This ability presents itself as one of the most useful yet immoral abilities a mutant can possess. If I had this one I could easily get backstage at an Avril Lavigne concert..... or I mean a huge party with lots of beer. Shapeshifting is the ability to change ones appearance. This could be a simple change of a hand into a sword or as complex as taking the appearance of another human being. Sadly this power is one that lends itself to the bad side of the mutant gene pool more often than not. Imagine how easy it would be to rob a bank or blackmail someone using this ability. You simply appear to be someone else, do the deed and split. As soon as time allows you become yourself again.
Another feature of shapeshifting that has made characters in the marvel universe so elusive is how can you track a shifter? The reality is they have the best get away plan because you may never know who really did the crime. Not to mention if you have some acne or nasty blemishes this ability would take care of that quicker than you can say Baron Zemo.
Fans of the X-men animated series from the 90s will remember Morph, Wolverine's best friend who was killed in battle. Most X-men fans however will remember a much darker shapeshifter in the form of Mystique. Mystique acts as Magneto's right hand and is one of the most lethal foes of the X-men. She infiltrates offices, acts as seats of power and in many ways has become a bane in the existence of Wolverine. Mystique is the most gifted shapeshifter in the mutant universe but sadly she chooses to use her talent for evil.
6. Speed and Agility
This power is really one I will divide into 2 parts. The first is speed. Now I have to admit thinking of heroes with speed the first choice would be DC's The Flash. It may surprise some of my readers to learn that Magneto had a son with a similar affliction. His son Quicksiver possesses the mutant ability to run at great speeds. This makes him the Marvel equivalent of the Flash.
The second and most important feature of this power is agility. Some mutants have this ability on lock down, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and a few more but none have the ability has well as the original X-men member, Beast.
Beast possesses the mutant power of keen agility and balance. In many ways he is like a big blue cat. Agility is a power that is often underrated despite the fact ir has millions of uses. One who can control their balance will always have an edge in the battle by being able to take the battle to a different location or even by making it nearly impossible to hit them. If anything this power is the greatest defense a mutant can have.
Strength has it's perks be it tearing down a wall, beating a sentinel into metallic dust or just opening a stuck door. Mutants with this power are brutes who act as major forces in the war between mutant and mutant. Some people would assume that brute power would be all you need but sadly in the marvel world most mutants possessing brute power are rather dense. Think of The Blob. He is nearly an unmovable force but at the same time he has the intelligence of a daisy.
Imagine having the ability to life any heavy object and heave it like a ball at your opponent. I can't help but picture Action Comics issue 1 when I think of this power. The comic features Superman hoisting a small car into the air. Granted he is not a mutant the idea remains the same. Some may be lead to believe that Juggernaut would fall into this category of powers but he is not a true mutant. In fact his powers are granted to him by a magic gemstone.
For this power I chose X-factor member Strong Guy. Granted the name kind of sucks he is still a mutant with amazing strength. His powers have made him one of the most cherished members of the team and even spawned several comic book spin offs.
The ability to read other's thoughts and in a sense force them to your will has many uses. You would really not need any other power if you had this one. Just will the other person to do what you want and be done with it. Marvel has it's fair share of telepaths in the mutant world. jean Grey for one has proven to be one of the major stand outs but none can compare to Charles Xavier. That's right Professor X himself takes the trophy for best mind muscle.
Being able to literally get inside one's head has so much potential. Lucky for most Professor X used his ability to track down mutants and give them a place to learn how to control their abilities. Not all of them would become X-men but some would go on to be great heroes, while others would do the opposite and join the forces of evil. It was also Professor X who tried to aid his team member Wolverine in deciphering his mixed up past.
Few powers rival this one in terms of intensity and destructive potential. The ability to control and manipulate metal makes one nearly unstoppable. If you really think about it metal is a part of nearly everything. Even the human body can have significant traces of metal. In essence a mutant containing this power can rip a body to pieces, cause a metal structure to collapse or even rip a car apart simply by willing it so.
The thing I find most interesting about this ability it the implications of power with the user. If the mutant controlling metal was powerful enough they could possible direct their force to a satellite and move it through space. The statue of liberty would even be a prime target for this type of power.
Looking at this power only one mutant could ever top the list. Magneto has been a thorn in the side of the X-men and even from time to time a friend in a time of need. His powers of magnetism are off the scale. Magneto has assembled some of the most powerful mutants discovered into several legions of warriors for his war on human kind. One aspect that always entertained me about Magneto is his was with Xavier's X-men. It is no secret that Magneto and Professor X are friends. This is what made me feel so drawn to some of the Spider-man villains. Magneto has used his powers to destroy buildings, aircraft, and nearly cripple Wolverine.
2. Energy Projection
The ability to fire energy from one's body makes them a living weapon of sorts. Some mutants dabble in this power with great accuracy and depth while others simply blow things up. Energy projection could be something as simple as a laser from the hands or as complex as energy rings shot from the body itself. Havok, the brother of Cyclops fires his projection from his body in the form of highly devastating energy rings.
When it comes to energy projection one mutant may very well have the subject tied and sealed. That mutant is X-men team leader Scott Summers, who goes by the code name Cyclops. Cyclops fires his projectile from his eyes. It is a devastating laser capable of traveling great distances and with amazing force. The only thing that contains the destructive ability is a custom pair of ruby visors, and of course his eyelids. In the comics Cyclops has leveled sentinel forces, stopped tanks and even sealed metal gapes in the X-men jet with his laser.
1. Energy Transfer
This power is possibly the coolest one in the marvel universe. The ability to take energy, transfer it and then either project it back on something like Bishop does or even better charge an inanimate object and use it like a grenade. Imagine being able to charge a quarter with enough force to level a building and than just toss it at your target and walk away. It is an amazing concept to say the least.
The most noted mutant for doing this is my personal favorite of all mutants and that is none other than Gambit. Gambit is a smooth creole talking rogue with an affliction for cards. In fact those are his weapons of choice. Gambit charges playing cards with his energy and uses them like radioactive darts to down his foes. Even as a kid I loved Gambit in the comic books. He had a personality that just set him over the top. Of course his power was equally amazing. Gambit could simply grab an item, whatever it is is irrelevant and charge it with an explosive force. Can you imagine how effective of a combat tactic that would be? You could get a handful of pennies or even some metal jax and in no time have a city at your disposal. But, Gambit is no thug, he chose the side of good and alongside his fellow X-men he is nearly unstoppable.
I admit these are great powers but some mutants have abilities that just can't be classified. Take Rogue for instance. She absorbs other mutant powers by touch and is actually able to fly and be strong because of her encounter with Ms. Marvel. Than you have Colossus who can turn his skin into metal. How cool is that?
Other mutants have equally impressive abilities. Take Angel for instance, His mutation gave him wings. Look at Wolfsbane who is basically a werewolf due to her mutation. Each mutant is unique in their own rite. I think that is what gave Marvel the edge when producing these amazing comic stories with such elaborate characters. The mutant impact on comics remains a strong one with movies and tv spots as well as the continued success of the comics themselves. Each year more and more people are introduced to the ploys and plots of Marvel's mutant creation. It is no secret that what was to be the lazy way out turned into gold for the Marvel industry and continues to rake in the money year after year. In fact Marvel's mutant creation Deadpool has grown to such hieghts of popularity that he even has his own Facebook page and a future movie.
Regardless of your love or hate for mutant kind you can't deny the success of a mutated gene pool.
Zaton-Taran from California on March 13, 2017:
I'd definitely have to go with super-strength as my primary power. Although, perhaps invulnerability might be better - but it seems that these two MUST go hand-in-hand to work effectively.
Drbown7 on May 14, 2015:
Blink is one of my favorites! Shoot something at me and i teleport it to hit you or teleport myself or a friend to kick ass! Awesome mutant power!
Kaley on January 07, 2015:
An answer from an expert! Thanks for coruinbtting.
Sam Little (author) from Wheelwright KY on December 11, 2013:
Glad you enjoyed it.
Levy Tate from California, USA on December 11, 2013:
Agreed. Never really saw it that way, Len Cannon. Anyway, thanks for this hub, pal! Voted up.
Sam Little (author) from Wheelwright KY on September 10, 2012:
That is a great observation. I hadn't really noticed that
Len Cannon from Brooklyn, NY on September 09, 2012:
What I always thought was interesting about mutants in the Marvel world is that an overwhelming percentage of them are telepaths. There are in fact, almost zero non-mutant telapaths in the Marvel U, and most of them are not human or extraterrestrial in some way. It really sets them apart in a way that isn't immediately clear.
Domenick Dicce on September 07, 2012:
Fun hub. I really liked the humor. Marked funny.
I really like the way Marvel has used mutations to explain superpowers. They did flood the market back in the 90s but so was every comic company. Then using House of M to cut back on the number of mutants was an interesting move.
Dominique L from Oregon on September 07, 2012:
Fun Hub! I love Gambit, he's my favorite X-Man too, but I have to go with shapeshifting, because then you'd be pretty much unstoppable. Especially if you're nasty like Mystique, who is my #1 favorite mutant.
Sam Little (author) from Wheelwright KY on September 07, 2012:
Nope afraid not but I have heard great things about it.
Zack Love on September 07, 2012:
lorddraven2000, do you play the Marvel Alliance game on FB?
Sam Little (author) from Wheelwright KY on September 07, 2012:
Thaks guys. My dad loves Iceman. I myself am a Gambit fan.
Alma Cabase from Philippines on September 07, 2012:
Iceman is great! So I wanna be Icewoman! Cool right? hehe
AaronHubb89 on September 07, 2012:
I would love the ability to transform...I would totally pursue an acting career lol