The Beginner’s Guide to the X-Men Characters

The X-Men have a seminal role in my comic reading experience. Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee for Marvel Comics in 1963, the team of superhero mutants has fought for both mutant-kind and humanity for decades. Their roster has changed since then as beloved X-Men characters died and fresh recruits took their place. Only the most ardent fans have in-depth knowledge of every character featured in a splash page.

But any good fan of the X-Men will tell you that breaking into the comics is no joke. Between crossover events, team books, non-canon titles…it’s hard to find out what Nightcrawler is up to if he’s in five different titles at the same time. (How does this work? Hey, this is X-Men comics: confusing is their modus operandi.)

Our guide features 41 X-Men characters, their powers, fun trivia, and recent appearances. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the popular X-Men characters that made it to mainstream media along with the characters that have only made comic book appearances.

Cyclops

Name: Scott Summers

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963), All-New X-Men #1 (2013)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Men: Blue (2019), House of X (2019), Wolverine (2020)

Abilities: Can emit powerful energy beams from his eyes

Trivia: Cyclops is the older brother of fellow teammate, Havoc. However, in the X-Men film franchise, Havoc is portrayed as the older brother. Actor James Marsden plays him in the original X-Men trilogy before being succeeded by Tye Sheridan as the younger version of Cyclops.

Marvel Girl, Or Jean Grey

Name: Jean Grey

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963), All-New X-Men #1 (2013)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), X-Force (2019), Wolverine (2020)

Abilities: Omega-level Telepathy

Trivia: Jean Grey was one of the central characters in the animated shows, X-Men: the Animated Series and X-Men: Evolution. In the original film X-Men trilogy, Famke Janssen portrays Jean before being succeeded by Sophie Turner in films, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019).

Beast

Name: Hank McCoy

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963), All-New X-Men #1 (2013)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), X-Force (2019)

Abilities: Ape-like superhuman physical strengths and agility, oversized hands and feet, genius-level intellect

Trivia: Beast made his first mainstream live-action appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand, portrayed by Kelsey Grammer. He later appeared as one of the main characters in the films X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Apocalypse, and X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

Archangel

Name: Warren Worthington III

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963), All-New X-Men #1 (2013)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019)

Abilities: The large wings on his back enable him to fly.

Trivia: Warren was iconically the Horseman of Death after the ancient mutant Apocalypse empowered and brainwashed him. This storyline was revisited in the 2016 film, X-Men: Apocalypse. He was portrayed by Ben Hardy.

Iceman

Name: Bobby Drake

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963), All-New X-Men #1 (2013)

Recent Comic Appearance: Iceman (2018), House of X (2019), Marauders (2020)

Abilities: Ice manipulation

Trivia: In the first X-Men film trilogy, Shawn Ashmore portrays Iceman, a love-interest for Rogue. In the comics, Iceman dated X-Men enemies Pyro and Mystique.

Wolfsbane

Name: Rahn Sinclair

First Comic Appearance: The New Mutants #1 (1983)

Recent Comic Appearance: New Mutants (2019)

Abilities: Lycanthropy

Trivia: Sinclair was the first character introduced in the original run of The New Mutants. Maisie Williams will portray her in the upcoming film The New Mutants (2020).

Magik

Name: Illyana Rasputin

First Comic Appearance: Magik #1 (1983)

Recent Comic Appearance: New Mutants (2019), Strange Academy (2019)

Abilities: Teleportation and sorcery

Trivia: Illyana is the younger sister of Colossus. She’ll make her mainstream debut in the upcoming film New Mutants (2020), portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy.

Cecilia Reyes

Name: Cecilia Reyes

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #65 (1997)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019), Age of X-Man: NextGen (2019), Wolverine (2020)

Abilities: Generating psioplasmic force field at will

Trivia: Alice Braga will portray Cecilia in The New Mutants (2020).

Mirage

Name: Danielle “Dani” Moonstar

First Comic Appearance: The New Mutants #1 (1983)

Recent Comic Appearance: War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men (2019), New Mutants (2019)

Abilities: Psionic and energy manipulation

Trivia: Moonstar gained the ability to sense death after temporarily becoming a Valkyrie. Blu Hunt will portray her in the upcoming film, The New Mutants (2020).

Sunspot

Name: Roberto da Costa

First Comic Appearance: The New Mutants #4 (1983)

Recent Comic Appearance: New Mutants (2019)

Abilities: Solar energy manipulation

Trivia: Sunspot is the first New Mutant to make a mainstream debut in X-Men: Days of Future Past, portrayed by actor Adan Canto. He will be portrayed by Henry Zaga in The New Mutants (2020).

Cannonball

Name: Sam Guthrie

First Comic Appearance: The New Mutants #4 (1983)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019), New Mutants (2019)

Abilities: Jet speed flight while encased in an impenetrable force field

Trivia: Four of his siblings are X-Men members. Charlie Heaton will portray Guthrie in the upcoming film, The New Mutants (2020).

Rictor

Name: Juilo Richter

First Comic Appearance:  X-Factor #17 (1987)

Recent Comic Appearance: Excalibur (2019)

Abilities: Clairvoyance and geokinesis

Trivia: Richter is an openly gay X-Man and currently dating teammate Shatterstar.

Karma

Name: Xi’an Coy Manh

First Comic Appearance: Marvel Team-Up #100 (1980)

Recent Comic Appearance: New Mutants (2019)

Powers: Telepathy, mind possession

Trivia: Karma was one of the first openly lesbian characters introduced in Marvel Comics.

Wolverine, or X-23

Name: Laura Kinney

First Comic Appearance: NYX #3 (2004)

Recent Comic Appearance: Age of X-Man: NextGen (2019), X-Men (2020), House of X (2019), Fallen Angels (2020)

Abilities: Retractable claws laced with adamantium in her hands and feet, accelerated healing, enhanced senses and enhanced human attributes.

Trivia: First created for the animated series, X-Men: Evolution, X-23 has also appeared in Wolverine and the X-Men. She is portrayed by actress Daphne Keen in the live-action 2017 film, Logan.

Blink

Name: Clarice Ferguson

First Comic Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994)

Recent Comic Appearance: Fallen Angels (2020)

Abilities: Warping teleportation

Trivia: Actress Fan Bingbing portrays Blink in the film X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). She also makes an appearance in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men.

Husk

Name: Paige Guthrie

First Comic Appearance: Rom Annual #3 (1984)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), Fallen Angels (2020)

Abilities: Husk can shed her skin and morph into any solid form including metal and diamond.

Trivia: Husk appeared in X-Men: The Animated Series. She’s the younger sister of Cannonball.

Trinary

Name: Trinary

First Comic appearance: X-Men: Red #1 (2018)

Recent Comic appearance: House of X (2019), Excalibur (2019)

Abilities: Technopathy

Trivia: Trinary can control any form of technology, including cellphones.

Gentle

Name: Nezhno Abidemi

First Comic Appearance: New X-Men #23 (2006)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Men: Red (2018), House of X (2019)

Abilities: Gentle can increase his size by manipulating the muscle mass of his body. He can also make himself stronger and withstand any harsh blows to his body.

Trivia: His signature tattoos are made from molten raw vibranium and used as a technique to ease his ongoing seizures and tremors when he uses his abilities. However, he no longer has seizures due to Jean Grey’s telepathic therapy.

Kid Omega

Name: Quintavius Quire

First Comic Appearance: New X-Men #134 (2003)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019), Wolverine (2002)

Abilities: Omega-level Telepathy

Trivia: Kid Omega was once an avatar of the Phoenix Force. His telepathy is pretty much unmatched.

Rockslide

Name: Santo Vaccarro

First Comic appearance: New Mutants #3 (2003)

Recent Comic appearance: House of X (2019)

Abilities: His body is made up of inorganic granite. He can shoot granite projectiles and can self-detonate at will.

Trivia: Rockslide appears in the animated series, Wolverine and the X-Men.

Wolverine

Name: James Howlett, AKA Logan

First Comic Appearance: Incredible Hulk #180 (1974)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019), Wolverine (2020), House of X (2020), Marauders (2020)

Abilities: Regenerative healing factor, retractable bone claws encased in Adamantium, superhuman senses.

Trivia: Daken Akihiro is Logan’s only son and Laura Kinney is Logan’s clone. Daken and Laura have both taken the mantle of “Wolverine” in Earth 616. In the X-Men film franchise, Hugh Jackman has portrayed Wolverine.

Domino

Name: Neena Thurman

First Comic Appearance: X-Force #8 (1992)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019)

Abilities: Probability manipulation

Trivia: Domino has appearances in X-Men: The Animated Series and Wolverine and the X-Men. She is portrayed by actress Zazie Beetz in the 2018 film Deadpool 2.

Warpath

Name: James Proudstar

First Comic Appearance: New Mutants #16 (1984)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019)

Abilities: Enhanced physical attributes, flight, shamanism, and accelerated healing.

Trivia: Warpath made an appearance in the film, X-Men: Days of the Future’s Past, portrayed by actor Booboo Stewart. His signature knives are also made of Vibranium.

Shatterstar

Name: Gaveedra Seven

First Comic Appearance: New Mutants #99 (1991)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-force (2019)

Abilities: Enhanced physical attributes, accelerated healing, teleportation, and channels vibratory shockwaves through his signature swords.

Trivia: Lewis Tan portrays Shatterstar in the 2018 film Deadpool 2.

Boom Boom

Name: Tabitha Smith

First Comic Appearance: Secret Wars II #5 (1985)

Recent Comic Appearance: X-Force (2019), New Mutants (2019)

Abilities: Can create yellow orbs of pure energy that can explode with concussive and destructive force.

Trivia: Boom Boom makes her first mainstream appearance in the animated series X-Men Evolution.

Bishop

Name: Lucas Bishop

First Comic Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #282 (1991)

Recent Comic Appearance: Uncanny X-Men (2018), Age of X-Men: Prisoner X (2019), Marauders (2020)

Abilities: Absorbing and redirect kinetic blasts

Trivia: Bishop first debuted in X-Men: The Animated Series. His first mainstream media appearance was in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, portrayed by Omar Sy.

Armor

Name: Hisako Ichiki

First Comic Appearance: Astonishing X-Men #4 (2004)

Recent Comic Appearance: New Mutants (2020)

Abilities: Psionic exoskeleton

Trivia: Armor made her debut animated appearance in Marvel Anime: X-Men. 

Captain Britain

Name: Betsy Braddock

First Comic Appearance: Captain Britain #8 (1976)

Recent Comic Appearance: Excalibur #1 (2019)

Abilities: Telekinesis; she can construct weapons out of psychic energy

Trivia: Braddock was formerly known as Psylocke, with her mind placed in the body of Kwannon. Olivia Munn portrays Betsy in the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse. She also makes an appearance in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men.

Psylocke

Name: Kwannon

First Comic Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #256 (1989)

Recent Comic Appearance: Excalibur (2019), Fallen Angels (2020)

Abilities: Empath, telekinesis, can construct blades out of psychic energy

Trivia: Kwannon had a brief cameo in X-Men: the Animated Series.

Storm

Name: Ororo Munroe

First Comic Appearance: Giant Size X-Men #1 (1975)

Recent Comic Appearance: Black Panther (2019), X-Men: Red (2019), House of X (2019), Marauders (2020)

Abilities: Weather manipulation

Trivia: Storm has a large role in X-Men: the Animated Series, X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men. Halle Berry portrays Storm in the first X-Men film trilogy. In X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and Dark Phoenix (2019), Alexandra Shipp portrays a younger Storm.

Captain Kate Pryde

Name: Kate Pryde

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #129 (1980)

Recent Comic Appearance: Iceman (2018), Mr. and Mrs. X (2018), Marauders (2020)

Abilities: Phase through solid matter

Trivia: Formerly known as “Shadow Cat” and “Kitty Pryde,” she’s made several animated appearances including, X-Men Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men. She’s also portrayed by Ellen Paige in the films X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Colossus

Name: Piotr Rasputin

First Comic Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), X-Force (2019)

Abilities: Shift his tissue into an organic steel form

Trivia: Daniel Cudmore portrays Colossus in the live-action films, X2: X-Men United (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). He also had small roles in X-Men: the Animated Series and X-Men Evolution.

Rogue

Name: Anna Marie

First Comic Appearance: Avengers Annual #10 (1981)

Recent Comic Appearance: Mr. and Mrs. X (2018), Excalibur (2019), Captain Marvel (2019)

Abilities: To absorb the psyche and abilities of anyone through skin contact.

Trivia: Rogue is married to Gambit. She’s portrayed by actress Anna Paquin in the X-Men film franchise and was a part of the central cast in X-Men: the Animated Series, X-Men Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men.

Gambit

Name: Remy Labeau

First Comic Appearance: Uncanny X-Men Annual #1 (1990), Uncanny X-Men #266 (1990)

Recent Comic Appearance: Mr. and Mrs. X (2018), Excalibur (2019)

Abilities: Manipulate the potential energy of an object into light kinetic energy, resulting in an explosive charge.

Trivia: Gambit is married to Rogue. He was in the central cast of X-Men: the Animated Series and had small roles in X-Men Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men. He’s portrayed by Taylor Kitsch in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Jubilee

Name: Jubilation Lee

First Comic Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #244 (1989)

Recent Comic Appearance: Age of X-Man (2019), Excalibur (2019)

Abilities: Generating globules of light explosive light energy

Trivia: Jubilee made her mainstream debut as the central character in X-Men: the Animated Series and a cameo in the live-action film X-Men (2000), portrayed by Katrina Florece. Lana Condor would later portray Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

Nightcrawler

Name: Kurt Wagner

First Comic Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019)

Abilities: Teleportation

Trivia: Nightcrawler appeared in the live-action films X2: X-Men United, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix. In X2: X-Men United, Alan Cumming portrayed Nightcrawler; for Apocalypse and Dark Pheonix, Nightcrawler was portrayed by Kodi Smit-McPhee. Nightcrawler was also in the central cast in the animated shows X-Men: the Animated Series, X-Men Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men.

Emma Frost

Name: Emma Frost

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #129 (1980)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), Marauders (2020)

Abilities: Omega-Level Telepathy

Trivia: Frost was the antagonist in X-Men: the Animated Series as a member of the Hellfire Club and in the 2011 live-action film X-Men: First Class, played by January Jones. However, she was a teacher at the Xavier Institute in Wolverine and the X-Men.

Dazzler

Name: Alison Blair

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #130 (1980)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), Powers of X (2016)

Abilities: Sound conversion, light projection, superhuman hearing, resurrection

Trivia: She appeared in Dark Phoenix (2019), portrayed by Halston Sage.

Magneto

Name: Max Eisenhardt, AKA Erik Lensherr

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), Marauders (2020), Wolverine (2020), Fallen Angels (2020)

Abilities: Omega-Level Magnetokinesis

Trivia: Magneto is the father of Polaris. While it was popularly believed that he was also the father of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, it was revealed that he isn’t their biological parent.

Professor X

Name: Charles Xavier

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #1 (1963)

Recent Comic Appearance: House of X (2019), Marauders (2020), Powers of X (2019)

Abilities: Alpha-Level Telepathy

Trivia: Xavier is married to Mystique. He also has three children in Marvel 616: David Haller (also known as Legion), Xandra Nermani, and Charles Xavier II.

Polaris

Name: Lorna Dane

First Comic Appearance: X-Men #49 (1968)

Recent Comic Appearance: Age of X-Man: Prisoner X (2019), House of X (2019)

Abilities: Alpha-Level Magnetokinesis

Trivia: Polaris appeared in X-Men: the Animated Series and Wolverine and the X-Men. Her first live-action debut was in the Fox TV series the Gifted, portrayed by Emma Dumont.

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