The over-utilization of the term ‘Omega Level Mutant’ in X-Men Comics has severely damaged the title.
Once upon a time, when a writer used the term ‘Omega-Level’ to describe an X-Man or mutant threat, it meant something. But now it seems it is merely used to describe how cool a writer’s pet character is. The term originally was meant classify mutants that were the strongest in their particular category. However, in recent years, it’s been thrown around to simply mean “stronger than average” which could describe just about every X-Man. To my knowledge, that used to mean ‘alpha.’ There are only two reasons for this upsurge in Omega-Level mutants; 1. The mutant race has evolved or 2. There’s a severe lack of editorial oversight of the X-Men. I’m leaning towards the later.
Here are 5 examples of real Omega-Level characters and 5 that have gained the title, but don’t deserve it.
Definitely Omega Level: Legion
It’s no mystery that the mutant son of Professor-X, David Charles Haller, better known as Legion, is one of the most powerful beings on earth. Heck, he may be one of the most powerful mortals in the known universe. When he was first introduced as a child, he would routinely demonstrate levels of power that would dwarf and humble some of the world’s most powerful and experienced mutants, chief among them being Jean Grey, Storm, and Iceman. And I mean all at the same time.
As he grew and matured David’s awesome powers did as well. And what are those powers? Basically, anything he wants them to be. It’s been said he possibly possesses thousands of powers, one or more for each of his personalities. I counter that idea by theorizing that David has just one ability. He’s a high-grade reality warper. Even if that’s not the case, he’s still by far one of the strongest mutants to have ever lived.
Not Omega Level: Psylocke
Since her inception in the 80s, Betsy Braddock, on her best day has demonstrated nothing more than Alpha-level ability. She is one of the most experienced and skilled telepaths among the X-Men, perhaps the world, but that doesn’t make her god-like. Being compared to a deity is reserved for the mightiest of the mighty. Despite SEVERAL power upgrades and declaration from creative teams, Psylocke has never been any stronger than the next X-Man. Her first real upgrade came by way of a power-reset that saw her telepathy turn into telekinesis.
Upon being resurrected by her brother (a reality warper and Omega-level mutant in his own right), she gained another power-buff. The final upgrade came by way of a Dragon Ball Z-like feat from an alternate reality Jean Grey (Age of Apocalypse). After “opening her mind” Psylocke officially ascended to Omega-Level. Though it’s brought up from time to time, Psylocke has yet to exhibit these godly levels of power and is found quite often on her backside alongside the rest of the X-Men. 100%, not an Omega-level mutant.
Definitely Omega Level: Jean with the Phoenix Force
Like the Phoenix, Jean Grey performed some amazing feats- for the good of the galaxy, and to its detriment. As a conduit for the cosmic being, she’s both reversed the effects of death and doomed an entire solar system BY EATING A STAR. This is what omega-level threats are capable of. Smiting entire planets, moving worlds off of their axis, and manipulating the laws of physics on a whim. These are the feats that a Phoenix Force inhabited person is capable of.
Jean, as the Phoenix, also had free control over an entire dimension- a place referred to as the White-Hot Room. It’s a plane of existence solely meant for those that have walked with the Firebird. From there, it can monitor all space and time and exist outside of it. In a way, every Phoenix conduit that ever has and ever will be are always connected. That kind of power exceeds omnipresence and makes cosmic awareness look like a cheap cell-phone.
Not Omega Level: Jean without the Phoenix Force
Jean, without receiving a power boost from the Phoenix, is still one of the strongest mutants on Earth- at her level. She still requires the use of a machine to touch far-off minds and do battle with stronger foes. Unlike others of her ilk, she cannot use her telekinesis to rip holes in time or manipulate matter. Heck, I doubt she has the fine-tuned ability of Hellion who, at his best, reassembled a person at the molecular level (yeah, he did that in X-Men Legacy to save Ariel).
Upon her latest return, it was insinuated that Jean’s powers have always been held back; first by Xavier’s mental block and then by her fear of letting the Phoenix Force take over. However, the Phoenix Force is gone and yet she finds herself as useless as any other when confronted by Legion and her sorta-son, Nate Grey. Top level alpha? Yes. Omega-level? Heck, no.
Definitely Omega Level: X-Man
Nate “X-Man” Grey is nothing more than a living weapon. In fact, he was created during the Age of Apocalypse timeline by that world’s Mister Sinister in hopes of using him to finally kill Apocalypse. Utilizing cloning and genetic manipulation, Sinister combined the raw power conducting ability of the Summers’ family (Cyclops) with the unfathomable psionic prowess of the Grey-family (Jean). What resulted was a being of power that rivaled the Phoenix.
Nate has performed feats such as pulling physical beings into and out of the astral plane (a place purely made of thought and energy), created a new flesh and blood body for the displaced essence of Madelyn Pryor and empathically manipulated an entire city’s worth of people just by being ‘upset.’ Most of these feats have been on reflex! That means he wasn’t even trying.
Not Omega Level: Magneto
At times, the Master of Magnetism has been depicted as unbeatable and others, just bigger than the normal threat. Magneto is undoubtedly powerful, experienced and immediately deadly, but a god, he is not. The man can use his powers in a plethora of ways and with little effort, but it still requires him to focus. With that, he can only perform tasks one at a time, thus how he’s been defeated on dozens of occasions. Being powerful doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the most powerful.
Magneto has been overpowered by a number of men including Xavier, Legion and very recently by X-Man. By far, his most impressive feat has to be putting Asteroid-M in orbit, but even the mighty Magneto needed assistance to do that, and afterward, he was left a husk of himself for quite some time. Magneto’s power comes less from being innately strong and more from being extremely cunning. He knows how to use his powers in the most efficient ways possible. Powerful, but far from world breaking on his own.
Definitely Omega Level: Franklin Richards
The first child of the union between Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman is undoubtedly one of the most feared and respected beings in this and many other universes. He, a mortal, has the right to sit as an equal among the likes of Galactus. Franklin is a reality warper of the highest order. After the Onslaught incident that saw to the death of just about every non-mutant hero on the planet, Franklin reversed the event. With little more than a wish, he created a pocket universe and resurrected everyone including his parents, and of course the Human Torch and the Thing.
There is even a cosmic law that no one should antagonize the young man or else risk his wrath, something that is to be feared. Franklin’s most recent amazing demonstration of power had him dreaming up and creating new universes to replace the ones that were destroyed at the onset of Secret Wars II. Yes. You heard that correctly. The boy, under the direction of his father, seeded the new multiverse after its cataclysmic collapse. Atop of all this, he’s also displayed a vast array of psionic abilities. So much so, a future version of him was codenamed “Psi-lord”.
Not Omega Level: Emma Frost
Emma Frost, the White Queen is a telepath of the highest order. She is by leaps and bounds one of the most experienced and skilled telepaths mutant-kind has ever produced. She’s powerful enough to telepathically manipulate a large mass of super-powered beings simultaneously. This was made evident when she was able to cast an illusion so strong it fooled dozens of Inhumans and X-Men and resulted in a war that lasted the better part of a year.
That’s about it. One-on-one, against a typical level telepath, she’s just about unbeatable. She can seal and lead even the most skilled telepaths in circles. What she lacks isn’t skill, its brute force. On a number of occasions, Emma has fallen before stronger but infinitely less experienced foes such as Jean Grey and Legion. She’s just as masterful as anyone using Cerebro, but saying it puts her on the same level as even Xavier is a stretch.
Definitely Omega Level: Proteus
Kevin MacTaggart is quite possibly the first pure mutant threat that the X-Men faced which turned out to be out of their league. Even in his defeat, Kevin, better known as Proteus, was merely just slowed down. So far, his only real weakness is his own body. You see, Proteus is made up of pure psionic energy. This is both his greatest attribute and also his biggest weakness. Energy can be absorbed, dissipated (as Magneto did to him not too long ago) and sometimes converted but it can never be destroyed. Not completely. This essentially makes Proteus immortal.
Being composed of the same energy that powers beings such as the Phoenix, Legion, Franklin Richards, and X-Man- Proteus can perform an array of terrifying feats such as telepathy, the ability to forcefully possess other living beings, warp and manipulate matter around him, interface with computer systems and is for the most part unaffected by physical attacks. Proteus isn’t just named after a god, he’s as close to being one as any mutant has ever been.
Not Omega Level: Iceman
Iceman is a great example of being able to perform Omega-level feats without actually being an Omega-level mutant. Iceman has loads of potential. LOADS. His powers are also extremely flexible and inventive. In his “iced-up” form he can repair damage to himself, augment his size and strength, create hordes of autonomous ice-golems of various sizes and project blasts of cold capable of cracking the hardest of metals. If there is water around him, or even just moisture in the air, Iceman is a threat. However, if you separate him from his necessary element he’s not much to worry about.
Bobby can quite possibly throw the planet into a second ice-age. But that’s not something he can do on a whim. He’d need optimal conditions. The effort would require every ounce of his concentration and focus. Bobby did come close to doing just that but only after receiving a significant power boost thanks to the Death Seed. Iceman can be incredibly powerful, but I believe he’s just an Alpha-level standout with an extremely high ceiling.
The term Omega-Level was first used to describe a threat along the lines of the Phoenix Force. A semi-incorporeal cosmic firebird capable of eating suns. Yes. Eating #[email protected]#@$# suns. That was the bar characters used to be measured by to be considered an Omega-Level. When you start using a term like that so flippantly as has been in the past few years, it begins to lose its impact. It’s not special anymore.
So what mutants do you think should be considered Omega-Level or not? Let Us Know!