Published by Marvel Comics, the X-Men were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #1 in 1963.

The X-Men are Marvel's premiere mutant super hero team and one of the publisher's most popular titles. The themes within the X-Men storylines touch on adult issues like bigotry, heroism, and sacrifice without ever forgetting that their core audience wants to see people in spandex with amazing powers battle for the fate of the world. The X-Men have spawned a whole line of X-titles featuring members of the team or teams spawned from or related to the X-Men mythos.

The Basics

The X-Men are ultimately a group of mutants. Mutants in the Marvel Universe represent humanity's next step on the evolutionary ladder homo superior. Mutants possess a special x-factor which in most cases manifests itself upon the mutant reaching puberty. The result is extraordinary abilites or physical manifestations which give them unusual powers.

The X-Men were founded and led by Professor Charles Xavier. Xavier organized the X-Men for two reasons. First, he gathered young mutants to train them in the use of their powers in hopes of allowing them to achieve the maximum benifit from their abilities, while instilling in them the responsibility that those powers come with. Second, Xavier gathered the team to help defend against those mutants who would use their abilities to do evil as well as to fight for his dream of a peaceful co-existence between mutants and humans.

Though they have been based at other locations, the home of the X-Men is Xavier's ancestral home in Westchester, New York on Graymalkin Lane. Originally called Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, the mansion houses sleeping quarters, infirmary, and training facilities (including the famous Danger Room), as well as state of the art laboratories and science equipment, including Xavier's mutant detecting computer Cerebro.

A Brief History of the X-Men

To try and detail all of the events of X-Men over the past thirty years would be an overwhelming task. What follows is some of the highlights of the team's adventures over the years, touching on the major story lines

  • X-Men's First Mission: (Uncanny X-Men #1, 1963)
    Professor Charles Xavier gathers his mutant students to face their arch-enemy Magneto and his henchmen the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for the first time. The X-Men comprised of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the Beast are able to keep Magneto from destroying a rocket base, though the villains escape in the end. Magneto would reappear as a persistent foe over the years.
  • The Sentinels: (Uncanny X-Men #14)
    Warning of the growing mutant menace, Bolivar Trask debates with Professor X in front of a national TV audience. He then unleashes his giant mutant hunting robots the Sentinels upon the X-Men. The Sentinels become some of the X-Men's most dangerous foes.
  • The Mimic: (Uncanny X-Men #27-29) Calvin Rankin joins the X-Men as Mimic. Rankin possesses the ability to duplicate the power of any superhuman he is near. Rankin is the first member of the X-Men to not be a mutant.
  • The "Death" of Professor X: (Uncanny X-Men #41-42)
    While fighting the menace of Grotesk, Professor X is seemingly killed. In actuality, Xavier had been replaced by the Changeling, a fellow mutant, while he fought off an alien invasion.
  • A New Beginning: (Giant-Size X-Men #1 - Uncanny X-Men #94)
    Xavier gathers a new group of mutants to help look for his original students who have disappeared while on a mission. Colossus, Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Banshee, and Thunderbird join the team with most of the original X-Men leaving except Cyclops.
  • The Death of Thunderbird: (Uncanny X-Men #95)
    The X-Men suffer their first true fatality when on the new team's first mission Thunderbird is killed when the plane he is battling Count Nefaria on crashes, killing him.
  • Jean Grey becomes the Phoenix: (Uncanny X-Men #101)
    Jean Grey (Marvel Girl) seemingly is killed and born again as the more powerful Phoenix when she uses her telekenesis to help land a crippled space shuttle. This begins what will ultimately be known as the Phoenix Saga.
  • Dark Phoenix: (Uncanny X-Men #132-137)
    Driven mad by the mechanations of the evil mutant Mastermind, Phoenix turns evil and with her growing power destroys a planet and its inhabitants. Opposed by the very ones she loves, Dark Phoenix, as she is now known, is brought down by the X-Men, but is found guilty by the Sh'iar and sentenced to death. The X-Men fight to defend their teammate, but Phoenix ultimately chooses to end her life and the menace that she represents.
  • Mutant Massacre: (Uncanny X-Men #210-211)
    Gathered by Mister Sinister, the Mauraders begin killing the mutant Morlocks who live in the sewers beneath New York. The X-Men attempt to protect them and suffer heavy losses as Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Shadowcat are injured. They are replaced within the team by Havok, Longshot, Dazzler, and Psylocke.
  • Inferno: (Uncanny X-Men #240-243)
    In an attempt to take over the Earth, two demons from Limbo attempt to use members of the X-Men and members of other X-teams to join the two worlds. With the help of the original X-Men, the demons are defeated.
  • The Age of Apocalypse:
    When Professor X's son travels to the past and accidently kills his father, an alternate timeline takes over in which the world is ruled by the evil mutant Apocalypse. Only through the efforts of time-lost Bishop is the world made right again.
  • Onslaught:
    Professor X seemingly loses control of his powers and manifests all of his darkest impulses into a immensely powerful creature of mental energy known as Onslaught. Only with the sacrifice of the lives of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four are the X-Men able to defeat this menace.


The following is a listing of all of the members of the X-Men and a brief description of their powers:

  • Professor X (Charles Xavier)
    Founder of the X-Men and world's most powerful telepath. Confined to a wheelchair due to injuries sustained at different times of his life.
  • Cyclops (Scott Summers)
    Field leader of the X-Men. Possesses the ability to shoot beams of force from his eyes which can only be contained by ruby quartz glasses. Married to Phoenix and father of the hero Cable
  • Marvel Girl/Phoenix (Jean Grey)
    Possesses both telepathy and telekenesis. Married to Cyclops.
  • The Beast (Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy)
    Superhumanly agile and strong also possessing an extremely keen mind. Has gone through a number of physical changes over the years. Originally his mutation manifested as large hands and feet, but later due to experimentation, was covered in blue fur and possessed fangs. Of late, the Beast has taken on a more bestial or lion-like appearance.
  • Iceman (Robert "Bobby" Drake) Possesses the ability to produce extremely cold temperatures. He has learned to use his abilities to create an icy covering over himself as protection as well as produce a wide variety of ice effects. He has in recent years learned that he can actually change his physical form using his power.
  • Angel/Archangel (Warren Worthington III)
    Possesses large wings which allow him to fly. For a time after changes by the villain Apocalypse, his wings were made of metal and he could throw the feathers like blades. Being struck by one of the blades caused paralysis. His wings have since returned to normal.
  • Mimic (Calvin Rankin)
    Possessed the ability to duplicate the powers of superhumans around him. First member of the X-Men to not be a mutant.
  • Havok (Alex Summers)
    Brother of Cyclops who possess the ability to absorb cosmic rays and expel them in a powerful energy beam.
  • Polaris (Lorna Dane)
    Green-haired mutant with the ability to generate magnetic fields. Originally believed to be the daughter of Magneto this was later proven to be untrue.
  • Colossus (Piotr Rasputin)
    Russian farmer who possesses the ability to transform his body into organic metal, giving him a high degree of invulnerability and superhuman strength. Sacrificed his life to activate the antidote to the mutant killing virus known as the Legacy virus.
  • Storm (Ororo Munroe)
    Possesses the ability to control the weather on both a small and large scale. Often times leader of the X-Men when in the field.
  • Wolverine (Logan)
    Former Canadian secret agent, possessing a quick healing ability. Wolverine possesses claws which extend from the back of both hands. As part of a government experiment, he has had the unbreakable metal adamantium laced in his bones giving him a high degree of invulnerability.
  • Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner)
    Possesses superhuman agility, a prehensile tail and the ability of line-of-sight teleportation. Nightcrawler also possesses the ability to climb walls and fade to near invisibility in shadowed spaces. He is covered in blue fur, has fangs and yellow eyes, giving him a demonic appearance.
  • Thunderbird I (John Proudstar)
    Apache warrior with heightened strength, speed, and endurance as well as heightened tracking abilities. Thunderbird was killed in his second mission with the X-Men.
  • Sunfire (Shiro Yoshida)
    Japanese hero who possesses the ability to fly and project beams of intense heat. Only participated in a single adventure with the X-Men before quitting.
  • Banshee (Sean Cassidy)
    A former secret agent and criminal, Banshee possessed the ability to use his voice to produce sounds that allowed him to fly and project his scream as a weapon.
  • Sprite/Ariel/Shadowcat (Katherine "Kitty" Pryde)
    Shadowcat possesses the ability to become intangible as well as being a brilliant programmer.
  • Rogue (Name Unknown)
    Rogue is a former member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants who possesses the ability to absorb both abilities and memories from anyone she touches. Has the permanent abilities of flight, superhuman strength, and invulnerability.
  • Phoenix II (Rachel Summers)
    Daughter of Cyclops and Marvel Girl from an alternate timeline. Possesses her mother's abilities (telepathy and telekenesis) but to a greater degree.
  • Longshot (No other identity)
    From an alternate dimension, Longshot possesses superhuman agility and the ability to shift luck to his advantage.
  • Dazzler (Allison Blaire)
    Former disco singer who possesses the ability to convert sound waves into light for a variety of uses including to shoot laser beams and strobe effects.
  • Psylocke (Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock)
    Sister of Captain Britain, Psylocke originally had the ability to project mental bolts. After passing through the mystic Siege Perilous, Psylocke possessed the ability to create a psychic knife that would disrupt its victim's brain. Later she developed the ability to travel from one shadow to another after being saved by the mystic energy known as the Crimson Dawn and even later developed telekenesis.
  • Jubilee (Jubilation Lee)
    Former mall rat, Jubilee possesses the ability to project enegry globes that appear as something resembling fireworks. They vary in intensity and can be mentally directed by Jubilee.
  • Gambit (Remy Lebeau)
    A former thief, Gambit possesses the ability to charge an object with kinetic energy and then use said object as an exploding missile. His usual weapons are playing cards. He is also superhumanly agile.
  • Forge (No other name revealed)
    Forge possesses the mutant ability of invention, as well as being a Native American shaman. He possesses a cybernetic leg and hand to replace those lost when he served in the U.S. armed forces.
  • Bishop (Lucas)
    A mutant from the future, Bishop possesses the ability to absorb and then redirect any energy used against him.
  • Marrow (Sarah)
    Former Morlock and mutant radical, Marrow's mutant power causes extreme growth in all of her bone structures as well as advanced growth of said bones. She is able to, with some pain, to pull bones from her body to use as weapons and also possesses organ redundancy. While off planet, a Skrull medical device, gave Marrow greater control over her bone growth and allowed her to appear normal with some effort on her part.
  • Maggott (Japheth)
    Maggott's mutant power is based on the fact that he has a symbiotic relationship with two large slug-like creatures that have the ability to eat any substance.
  • Joseph (No Other Name Revealed)
    Originally believed to be the mind wiped Magneto, it was later revealed that Joseph was a clone of Magneto. Joseph possessed the ability to generate magnetic fields for various uses.
  • Cecilia Reyes (No other name given)
    A doctor, Cecilia Reyes worked with the X-Men for a time. Reyes mutant ability is to create an invulnerable force shield.
  • Cannonball (Sam Guthrie)
    Cannonball possesses the mutant ability to generate a blast field that propels him like a human cannonball. While blasting, Guthrie is invulnerable to harm because of said blast field.
  • Cable (Nathan Summers)
    Son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, Cable possesses telepathic and telekenetic abilites. Cable is also infected with a techno-organic virus that threatens to take over his body, if not kept in check by this abilities.
  • Thunderbird III (Neal Shaara)
    Possesses the ability produce both intense heat and intense light.
  • Chamber (Jonathan Starsmore)
    Powerful mutant whose body contains intense psychic energy. Upon the first use of his power, Chamber disintergrated the lower part of his face and the upper part of his chest. Because he is composed of psionic energy, Chamber does not eat, breath, or drink. He "speaks" via telepathy.
  • White Queen (Emma Frost)
    Former member of the Hellfire Club, Frost is a telepath with abilities rivaling those of Jean Grey. Has also shown the ability to possess others at times. Of late, Frost has also discovered she possesses the ability to transform herself into a diamond-like form, possessing great resistence to harm.
  • M (Monet St. Croix)
    M possesses superhuman strength, the ability to fly, invulnerability, acute night vision as well as advanced intelligence.
  • Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier)
    Former international skiing star, Northstar possesses the ability to fly and move at fantastic speeds. Northstar also is the first Marvel hero to be publically announced as gay, though a number of others have followed suit.
  • Sage (Tessa Niles)
    A former aid to the Black King of the Hellfire Club, Sage possesses the ability of total recall, can sense other mutants and can trigger unrealized mutation in others.
  • Lifeguard (Heather Cameron)
    Sister of Slipstream, Lifeguard possesses the mutant ability to detect when others are in danger and adapt an ability or abilities to protect them.
  • Slipstream (Davis Cameron)
    Brother to Lifeguard, Slipstream possesses the mutant ability to open holes in the fabric of reality to transport himself and others to different locations around the globe.
Related Titles

The X-Men and the mythos surrounding this group has been the launching point for many other titles published by Marvel Comics. These titles include:

Writers and Artists

The X-Men have been the proving ground of many fine artists and writers. Apart from the classic team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee as its creator, the pages of the X-Men have been filled with stories and art work of some of the biggest names in comicdom.

Probably the most famous writer of the X-Men has been Chris Claremont. Beginning with Uncanny X-Men #94 in 1975, Claremont was the writer during the second team of X-Men's rise to glory and the beginning of the X-Men dynasty at Marvel Comics. He was the author of the Dark Phoenix Saga and was instrumental in the creation of much of the back story of some of Marvel's best loved mutant characters.Of late, Grant Morrison has done much to inject new life into the X-titles.

The artists that have graced the pages of X-Men include such names as John Byrne, Dave Cockrum, John Romita, Jr., Jim Lee, Frank Quitely and others. Many of these artists first gained public attention while drawing the adventures of the X-Men.

Source Material:
Also, thanks to RoguePoet for additional edits to this node.