It’s no secret that some of the most devastatingly powerful mutants in all of X-Men have been psychic characters.
When I say “psychic” I don’t mean palm reading or just simply reading someone’s mind. We’re using it to describe all aspects of the mind.
Today, we’re going to talk about the X-Men’s most powerful characters that fall within these parameters. To keep it fair, we’re excluding god-like characters like X-Man (Nate Grey), Legion, and Proteus.
Characters will be ranked based upon their ability mastery, raw strength, and past feats. Let’s dig in.
Hisako Ichiki initially joined the Xavier Institute as part of the New X-Men alongside the likes of Surge, Anole, Dust, Hellion, Mercury, and others. Her status as an X-Man in training got fast-tracked after successfully defending herself against the villains Ord and Predator X, as well as, seasoned vets in Wolverine and Beast. She’s also received personal training from Wolverine and Cyclops in combat and strategy, respectively.
Now let’s talk about her powers. What has allowed a kid to survive waves of death? As her codename suggests, Armor’s powers allow her to cast an exoskeleton of psionic energy around her body, much like you’d see a Green Lantern do. Though she often molds it into samurai-like armor, Hisako can essentially make any shape with the force that she wishes.
While she and her allies are within the field, they are resistant to outside forces such as impact, heat, cold and pressure. The field has been described as ‘impenetrable’ (I doubt that). That could suggest that it’s as strong as her will. One of the few things that can penetrate the field is light, which means lasers (weaponized or otherwise) can also pass through it.
If you’re not caught up on current X-Men lore, it’s important to realize who we’re talking about when we say ‘Psylocke’. In 2018, during the Hunt for Wolverine cash-grab – I mean, crossover, Betsy Braddock regained her original body and at the same time revived and restored Kwannon in hers. In the debut of Fallen Angels, it’s revealed that Kwannon also took the codename ‘Psylocke’ for herself.
Before Kwannon got wrapped up with the X-Men and all their body-swapping, death-defying madness, she, like Betsy, was a natural psionic with telepathic powers. However, unlike the uber-talented Brit, Kwannon preferred not to use her powers in favor of her considerable fighting skills. When the two women’s bodies were amalgamated and they had their minds swapped, they gained portions of the other’s skill.
Betsy acquired Kwannon’s fighting prowess, while Kwannon added Betsy’s experience as a telepath to her own. Since returning to life she’s been witnessed not just using her original telepathic powers, but telekinesis. If her body hasn’t been altered since Betsy left it, Kwannon may have come into possession of upper-tier alpha-level psionic powers. The only thing holding her back would be her inexperience.
When Julian Keller was first introduced as a new student of the Xavier Institute he was brash, arrogant, and self-absorbed. He was also well-breed and ridiculously talented. All reasons why Emma Frost took such a shine to him. From the beginning, even before M-Day saw 99% of his classmates robbed of their powers and made targets by the Purifiers, Julian displayed confidence and a grasp of his powers beyond his years.
Hellion is a mutant telekinetic of the highest order. Using his powers, he can propel himself through the air at speeds surpassing Northstar and can toss fully armored tanks like javelins. The most impressive part of his abilities isn’t in how strong he is, but how much fine control he wields over that power.
Other than using his abilities to perfectly manipulate prostatic hands down to finger movements, Hellion has done something even more astounding. At just 17 years of age, he used his powers to reassemble the vaporized remains of Arial, following her apparent death during Second Coming! He telekinetically rebuilt her body, atom by atom. That’s crazy.
7. Quinton Quire
Also, known as Kid Omega, Quire was a disruptive force from the moment he debuted. As a student, while using a drug called ‘kick,’ Quinton and his gang murdered humans in town and then excited a riot at the school that led to the death of Sophie, one of the Stepford Cuckoos. It also left himself in a comatose state that eventually led to his death when his mind transformed into pure psionic energy.
During the short time before the X-Man known as Xorn relieved him of his body, while Quire existed as pure thought, he was connected to every mind on the planet, throughout all-time. Feats such as this are on the same level as when Jean used her powers to stave-off death and attracted the attention of the Phoenix. In Quire’s case, it did.
In the future, or all-time, depending on how you look at it (the Phoenix exists everywhere in all timelines via the ‘White Hot Room’) Quire does become a host of the Phoenix Force. Something saved only for the especially powerful and talented psionic beings in the cosmos. And Wolverine. Recently, Quire’s overall abilities were decreased, otherwise, he’d be higher on this list.
6. Emma Frost
In the case of the White Queen, it’s important that people grasp the difference between “powerful,” and “highly skilled.” Emma Frost IS NOT AN OMEGA LEVEL MUTANT. Not before Jonathan Hickman’s redefining of the term, or after. Emma only held the title while she possessed 1/5 of the Phoenix Force as a member of the Phoenix Five during Avengers Vs. X-Men.
That’s it. So, all you overzealous writers and fans can just get off of that. Now what Emma is, is supremely skilled. Her ability to control her telepathy is top of the top and only rivaled by Xavier himself. In many ways and instances, she’s even outclassed Jean by demonstrating techniques never before attempted prior, such as the instance when she completely possessed Iceman’s body and pushed his powers to godlike heights.
Unlike most telepaths that can subtly influence a crowd of people, Emma actively manipulates dozens simultaneously. She can push thoughts into the heads of others without leaving a trace and use Cerebro as well or better than just about anyone, save Xavier. Her only downfall is her overall power. Emma has been overpowered via brute psionic strength on more than one occasion.
5. Betsy Braddock
Over the years Betsy has received several power buffs that have landed her powers on par with Jean Grey, at least in terms of pure strength. While Braddock is indeed one of the strongest psionic mutants on Earth, due to her reliance upon her considerable fighting prowess- she rarely displays this power. Nonetheless, she’s still among the more powerful psionics.
Before she was buffed into the 1% by the Age of Apocalypse’s version of Jean Grey, Betsy was able to confront, best, and entrap the Shadow King within her mind. It cost her, her use of her telepathic powers. Being able to suppress someone that has been able to dominate entire islands and cities, and in the past, only been handled by the likes of Professor X, says a lot.
4. Rachel Grey Summers
The daughter of Jean Grey and Scott Summers from an alternate future timeline (Days of Future Past), Rachel is one of the few mortals that’s able to naturally contain and control the Phoenix Force. Until it parted ways with her, Rachel wielded the cosmic power for years. Even after she went on without the firebird, Rachel proved to be one of the most adept psionics on Earth.
Having a pedigree that includes both Jean’s psionic potential and Summers family ability to process energy, has aided Rachel in successfully overpowering many threats and even allies, such as Emma Frost. While Jean was temporarily dead, Rachel filled her role as the resident psychic powerhouse for years. Due to how her powers behave it’s possible that though the Phoenix has left her, she’s still very tapped into that cosmic power.
Paris Bennet is better known by his codename, Exodus, the chief disciple, and leader of Magneto’s Acolytes. We aren’t including Legion and X-Man on this list, but right below those levels of power is Exodus.
There’s a reason he’s been able to take on the entire roster of X-Men single-handedly. He’s not just immensely powerful, he’s also one of the most skilled psionics on the planet due to having decades of experience under his belt. Thanks to his immortality, Exodus is well over one-hundred years old.
Other than his long-life span Exodus has several other abilities including telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation, and even superhuman attributes such as augmented strength, reflexes, speed, and accelerated healing. Other than these surface skills he can use his other abilities in a plethora of ways. His telekinesis allows him to produce shields, and propel him effortlessly through the air. Using his telepathy, he can manipulate multiple subjects and sap mental energy from others to use as his own.
2. Professor X
Professor Charles Francis Xavier is by far the most skilled telepath on the planet. Being the first one of his kind in the Marvel universe (in terms of debut), he’s become the measuring stick that all potential telepaths are compared to.
Professor X isn’t just a strong psionic, he wrote the book on what that means. Telepaths come to him to understand themselves and grow in their abilities. Over the years he’s used his abilities to wipe the minds and reconstruct memories without leaving any traces. He can also lock away the abilities of others by putting up mental barriers within their minds. Even powerful ones like Jean.
Under his tutelage, massive talents such as Betsy Braddock, Jean Grey, Rachel Summers and to a point, Emma Frost, have all grown into the monuments of power that they are today. Even titans like X-Man and Proteus have had to contend with the skills he’s employed against them. Xavier isn’t just powerful by happenstance. It’s in his genes. Every example of his prodigy has grown into a monster of psionic muscle.
1. Jean Grey
Jean is the first psionic student of Professor X and the product of his Institute. However, before she ever met the good Professor, she’d already managed to accomplish a feat not many on the planet are capable of. As a child, Jean witnessed a friend being struck by a car. The girl suffered life-threatening injuries and as she began to pass away, the traumatized Jean latched onto her dying friend’s mind and for a time, stopped her from crossing over. She essentially defied death, a cosmic constant of the universe, even if just for a moment.
That act is what first captured the attention of the Phoenix Force. When she managed to do the same with her own life while piloting a space shuttle to Earth it solidified her worthiness. Jean’s powers, even from a child were so immense, that Xavier had to lock away her telepathic abilities until she was mature enough to manage them.
Being Xavier’s star pupil, Jean has a masterful grasp over nearly all aspects of the psionic spectrum. She’s not just highly skilled, but also supremely powerful able to transmit thoughts to multiple minds across the globe all at once. Like her daughter before her, she held onto the Phoenix Force for years, but even without it displayed overwhelming talent. When pushed, she’s out-classed just about every opponent that she’s faced (not counting the likes of Legion and X-Man).