Not every X-Man Character is a Mutant.
Comic book character origins can really be a tricky matter. Depending on who’s writing what, a character’s background can be interpreted or reinterpreted in many ways. What’s most damning about this is that when certain characters transcend the ink and paper medium- it gets really confusing. Rarely are a character’s origins exactly maintained when they make it to the small or big screen. Quite often, depending on their reception and success there, the comics tend to adjust to, or completely replicate the new Hollywood-based story. It can get pretty confusing, especially if you’re not well-versed in multiple sources to keep it sorted out. To help clear up some misconceptions, here are 10 characters you may have assumed were mutants, but really aren’t.
Sasquatch is a character even comic book reading vets may not know much about, past the fact that he’s a longtime member of Alpha Flight. You can’t blame them, outside of short-lived Alpha Flight books, Sasquatch’s most memorable moments have been within the X-Men Animated Series and comic books. It’s no wonder with his large-framed, furry design, it’s not hard to assume he’s whatever Beast is. Doesn’t help that they have a lot in common. He’s a genius that accidentally turned himself into a big hairy creature. Sound familiar? In fact, his origin is closer to that of the Hulk. Sasquatch’s powers and appearances are results of exposing himself to gamma radiation!
9. Cloak & Dagger
Back in the late 80s and early 90s, the X-Men were literally carrying Marvel Comics. Due to TV shows and movies, their popularity has since increased exponentially. But back then, in the books, there weren’t many that could keep up with them. To capitalize on the X-Men craze, many characters were revealed to secretly or unknowingly be mutants; Elektra, Justice, and Falcon, among others, received the X-Gene treatment (most of this has been walked back). Cloak & Dagger were among such characters.
For many years they were considered mutants whose powers were ignited after being exposed to a drug, but their origins have been reimagined, or at least, reinterpreted. It’s a subject that’s been addressed both in and outside of the books. They’ve even fought alongside the X-Men and New Mutants a time or two, so being confused isn’t all that surprising.
One of the more popular characters readers assume was a mutant was Calvin Rankin. I speak of him in the past tense, because he very recently sacrificed himself in an attempt to protect the teenaged Cyclops from being killed by the villain Ahab. But the reason people assume he’s a mutant is mostly due to his appearance. Mimic has metamorphic capabilities, the infamous ability to copy powers, most notably the powers of the original five X-Men; Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Angel and Jean Grey.
He acquired his abilities the Marvel way. He got a bunch of chemicals dumped on him. His association with mutants isn’t all that outrageous. Heck, he was even an X-Man during the Avengers Vs. X-Men event. Due to his appearance being based on aspects from the Original 5 X-Men, coupled with his usual X-Men comics stomping grounds, his mutancy is a fair assumption. Wrong. But fair.
Warlock is not a mutant. He’s not even a human. Hell, he’s not even humanoid. Warlock is a member of an alien techno-organic race called the Technarchy. He just happens to spend all his time around the X-Men, namely New Mutant member, Douglas ‘Cypher’ Ramsey. The two were positively inseparable, so when Doug died, it deeply affected Warlock. When Warlock himself was killed by Cameron Hodge during the Phalanx Covenant, his New Mutant teammates laid him to rest with Doug. The two friends’ remains interacted with each other and merged. From that point on the new being was known as Douglock. Warlock eventually did regain his original form and personality and Doug was resurrected during Necrosha-X allowing them to reestablish their friendship.
Until Deadpool 2, most of the general public had never seen or even heard of Shatterstar. Unlike his, uh… maybe father-clone-brother (?) Longshot, he hasn’t been attached to a cultural icon in Dazzler to help boost his profile. Shatterstar hails from the Mojoverse, but not the one we are accustomed to. He’s from a future timeline of the realm, so technically he’s a time traveler from a different dimension. Shatterstar is a genetically engineered being, trained to participate in gladiatorial fighting pits, purely for entertainment purposes. So, he’s not even human, much less a mutant-human. The misconception comes from the fact he’s traditionally a member of Cable’s X-Force, though he’s also been part of X-Factor Investigations. Without having to say, he’s normally surrounded by mutants, so assuming he’s one, as well, isn’t exactly a reach in logic.
A classic X-Men villain made more endearing due to his several appearances in the 90’s X-Men animated series, Sauron is what is called a ‘mutate.’ Which is an easier way of describing someone that gained powers via an outside influence; ie the Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, etc… Karl (his real name) acquired his powers after being bitten by a mutant pterodactyl (only in Marvel, baby). He later discovered he had the ability to drain the life force out of other beings. However, it wasn’t until he came in contact with the mutant adventurer, and X-Man, Havok and drained his energy, was Karl able to transform into the monstrous Sauron. His transformation into Sauron only lasts as long as he has the required life force necessary. Without it, he reverts back into a normal human. While in the form he behaves very much like a junky looking for his next score, but his drug is people. So, yeah, not a mutant.
4. Ms. Marvel
This is an assumption again fueled by her usage in the X-Men Animated series. Back when Carol Danvers was still going by Ms. Marvel she famously came into contact with the Brotherhood member Rogue. After touching Carol for a prolonged amount of time, Rogue permanently copied a portion of Danzers’ abilities, namely her ‘flying brick’ powers. By now, most people know that Danvers’ received her powers from Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel (the MCU take will change this because obviously- ‘Carol don’t need no man’). The misconception is probably in part due to Chris Claremont’s affinity for the character, whose book he also wrote for a period.
Between 1984 and 1991 Claremont heavily used (compared to most other Avengers characters) Ms. Marvel/Binary in the X-Men, New Mutants, Excalibur, and Uncanny X-Men books. She would also come to play a large part in the Brood story arc. Years later he would renew her attachment to the X-Men franchise by making Danvers’ personality act as the A.I. of the Starjammer during his X-Men: The End mini-series. So, this is more like being guilty by tons of association.
Longshot is one of those characters that hit his apex during the 80s but had enough usage and general appeal that he continued to pop in and out of continuity throughout the next decade. So, if you came into the books following the debut of XTAS in 1993, then you probably just accepted Longshot as one of the X-Men that debuted before your time. Can’t blame anyone for doing that because he was just that. One thing- while he was in league with the team, dated Dazzler (a known mutant), and had special abilities, he is not a mutant. Much like Shatterstar, Longshot is a genetically engineered man. This four-fingered, acrobatic, supernaturally lucky character also originates from the Mojoverse, which makes him an interdimensional alien. Not a mutant.
With as many giant mountains of men that have graced the pages of the X-Men, it’s not difficult to handwave them all off as mutants. Because, for the most part, they all are. Except for, arguably, the most famous among them, the Juggernaut. Cain Marko, the step-brother of Professor Charles Xavier, acquired his unstoppable powers when he came into possession of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak! After reading the inscription he became the emissary of the chaos god, and from then on would be known as the Juggernaut.
Intensely jealous of his step-brother’s success and social stature, Juggernaut made it his life’s work to tear down everything that Professor-X held dear. Let’s be fair, mistaking Marko as a mutant isn’t hard. He’s an X-Man villain and his brother is like the most prominent mutant-figure in the world. Not to mention he was referred to as being a mutant in both X-Men: The Last Stand and in the Ultimate Marvel imprint. However, anyone that paid attention during his first appearance in XTAS would remember he twice assured the X-Men that he wasn’t a mutant. I mean, who could forget Rogue’s scream when she discovered that?
1. Mister Sinister
I’m fairly certain even some seasoned comic book readers get this wrong! Nathaniel Essex was born in Victorian Britain, which translates to the 1800s. At the time he was one of the world’s foremost, and probably one of the very few, experts in genetics, biology, and biochemistry. But for all intents and purposes, he was a human. It wasn’t until Apocalypse transformed him using his Celestial technology did he gain the ghastly appearance he’s known for.
Other than Magneto and Apocalypse himself, Mister Sinister was one the most infamous villains to grace the 90’s X-Men animated series. By now, I’m sure you’re asking- ‘why does he keep bringing up that show?’ It’s because that cartoon’s immense popularity, the X-Men are what they are today. I love the X-Men comic books, but there is no way they’ll ever reach as many people or create as many new readers as that show did. It’s also the main reason half of this list exists.
It bred misconceptions due to the time constraints of being a 22-minute program. Mister Sinister, as prolific of a baddie as he was, had never been presented to the viewers as not being a mutant (except in one episode during its last season, but by then most of the viewership had moved on, and it was really hard to watch). So, naturally, his powers and appearance were blamed on the X-Gene. To be clear, Sinister is a human that has gained powers via alien technology, and self-experimentation. Really, not a mutant.
There you are, 10 characters that you thought were mutants, but aren’t. Who’s your favorite notta-mutant?