If we’re being honest, nearly all of us have dreamed of having superpowers in one fashion or another. For power, profit, glory, or just to have an extraordinary life, the appeal is natural. Of the various power acquiring possibilities, the X-Men have the most likely scenario. As natural mutation is the literal reasoning for their powers, while their genetic code creates the diversity of powers we see in the comics.
At the Xavier School For Higher Learning, the X-Men learn not only to control their powers, but also blend into society. With that in mind, one has to ask, what powers would be both cool to have, but also practical enough to use in society without “being caught”?
An important note. When we say “use in society” we mean in a way that is not generally harmful to others, nor enforcing one’s will on people. So for example, the ability to get people to do what you want is cool, but you’re limited in when you can do that and not be considered a villainous individual. Likewise, while Colossus and his transformation is amazing, it’s easy to be seen (and subsequently ostracized) when you’re fully covered in organic metal.
Thus, our list strikes a balance between the good use of powers, and the ability to use them without raising alarm bells. Here are the 15 Most Practical X-Men Powers.
A high spot on most peoples’ lists, it’s hard to deny the use of telepathy can have in everyday life. Being able to read others minds to either help them, support them, comfort them, or even control them (to an extent), the allure to such a gift is definitely a strong one.
Now true, there are dangers here — you’d probably see a few things you didn’t want to see, and if not controlled, hearing everyone’s thoughts and not just the person you’re trying to focus on could be incredibly overwhelming.
That being said, a person in full control of their telepathy who finds a proper channel for their ability could have a Professor X-like impact on the world, changing the lives of scores of gifted youngsters for the better. Or they can end up in a mental institution like his son. Either or.
Kitty Pryde is arguably one of the most popular and famous X-Men ever. Her run in the comics since her introduction in 1980 skyrocketed her to fame. She also happens to have one of the most useful powers when the right thought is put into it.
The ability to phase through objects has plenty of use, especially in rescue scenarios when you need to get through debris and you can’t move what’s in front of you. Even on a home base level, reaching through an object, instead of having to work around it, is something we’ve all wanted to do at least once. The real fun here is the ease of getting around without those annoying laws of physics getting in the way. Oh, and the whole, being able to phase through danger thing. The cops are shooting at you after you just phased your way in and out of a bank vault? You’re in the clear, my friend.
And when you need to make a clean getaway? Go through a wall, they’ll never catch you (unless they too can go through a wall, of course).
While technically a little more limited in its uses, the ability to hide from sight has long been a desire for people. Whether it’s just to hide from someone who’s after you, wanting to just avert the looks people give you while still going to your destination, or just to sneak into somewhere (this is very likely the most sought-after superpower for creepy people), we’ve all wanted to not be seen as one point or another.
If used correctly, invisibility can even be used to help protect people. You can be their silent and unseen guardians, watching over them and protecting them from harm with no one the wiser. Ironically, few X-Men have the ability to turn invisible. The ones that do aren’t particularly prominent in mainstream comics.
In fact, one of the more famous heroes in the Marvel universe to have invisibility powers is Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four. Interestingly enough, her children, Franklin and Valeria Richards, are actually mutants.
12. Animal Empathy/Communication
What are animals thinking? How can we better help them? The ability to communicate with animals would pay huge dividends in the hands of the right person. From simply helping animals to survive, to warding off predators, to simply being able to understand the needs and desires of the animals themselves, this would be a nifty little trick to have in your back pocket.
Imagine whole nature preserves that are truly and totally in balance with the animals that reside in them? Believe it or not, multiple mutants have the ability to sense animals feelings and even talk to them. For example? Wolverine. Who knew?
The other big example of this power was from the recent X-Men: Apocalypse film, where Magneto’s daughter was seen chatting with her “friends,” the animals. She was so gifted in fact that when the police tried to take her father away, her abilities attracted the nearby animals, who tried to stop the men from take Magneto and (SPOILER ALERT) ended up getting her and her mother killed.
11. Appearance Shifting
Made famous by Mystique, it’s hard to deny that shifting one’s appearance would be a really cool trick to have. But how is it practical? Well, as in all things, it just depends on who’s using it.
Imagine being able to ward off people from hurting others because a “cop” is coming their way? Or stopping bullies from picking on people because a teacher is about to walk by? Or how about someone who isn’t that fully confident in their looks? Being able to alter ones appearance, even subtly, could help a person get through life. It was this exact thought that had Jennifer Lawrence’s take on the character in the recent X-Men films maintain a “disguise” of a human female (though some fans have called into question whether her human disguise may have had more to do with the actresses’ unwillingness to sit in a makeup chair for hours on end rather than it being an actual character decision). The ability to become anyone would be a powerful nevertheless, though, even if it was just to help you feel more normal.
10. Probability Manipulation
How many times have you broken something because it slipped right out of your hand? Or because you exerted yourself a little more than usual and you end up hurting yourself? What do you say when that happens? “What rotten luck!” Right? Well now imagine the ability to make things go your way a little more often.
Two X-Men in fact have that ability in the comics. Both Longshot and Scarlet Witch are able to affect the natural order of the world to make things happen in their favor — in other words, to make their own luck. Of course, this would be an easy skill to utilize at the blackjack table in Vegas, but if we’re not going the evil route, this power would simply be used to make your day, or even other peoples’ days, better.
About to stub your toe? Your foot stops just short. Dropping something? You catch it without a second thought. These subtle changes in the probability of certain situations will allow you to have the best day possible, every single day. Then, if you can cast this field of luck to someone else, you’ll be brightening their day as well. A truly noble gesture.
Made famous, or possibly infamous, by Magneto, the ability to manipulate metal has never been more useful than in our current day and age, when nearly everything is made out of metal in some fashion.
What’s ironic here, is that you don’t need to go big with these powers to be useful. Simply attracting something to your hand that is metal, or has metal in it, is big enough to change your day. Like your car keys, or a remote control. In a heroic sense, imagine being able to stop bullets, or just being able to make a gun unusable. You’d be the most valuable cop on the force if you chose to expose yourself (or simply viewed as the luckiest if you didn’t). Either way, the line to be your partner would be a mile long.
What has made Magneto such a memorable character from a strictly powers perspective is the creative uses he’s found for his powers. In X-Men: Apocalypse, he even used the metal within the earth itself to engulf Auschwitz, a feat even he didn’t know he could do. While the Master of Magnetism has often used his gifts for nefarious purposes, surely you’d be a bit more of a humanitarian, right?
8. Weather Manipulation
The weather often governs the way of the world, it’s a simple truth. But, if you could change that, imagine what you could do. Even subtly, weather manipulation can be a hugely practical power.
Imagine it’s hot outside, using your powers, you could easily make clouds to make the temperature drop, or, you could just lower the temperature itself, leaving a clear and sunny day.
For farmers, a drought is the worst kind of thing to happen during the busy season. With the ability to control the weather though, you could make it rain, and thus save the crops, and the farmers’ time. For those that face natural disasters on a semi-regular basis, redirecting a hurricane from the coastal shores of Florida, or stopping a tornado in the heartland of the US, would save hundreds, even thousands of lives.
7 . Telekinesis
Not to be confused with the first entry on this list, telekinesis is the ability to lift objects with your mind, a hyper-useful skill many have wanted to have. From grabbing objects, to pushing them away, to lifting them up with minimal effort, there are plenty of practical uses for one with telekinetic powers.
Truly, the only limit for this power would be the imagination of the user. In theory, you could manipulate whatever you put your mind to. You could reorganize a house in a matter of seconds with clear thought. Or, if the need is there, you can save someone by either pushing them out of harms way or pulling them to you to ensure their safety.
The limits of one’s imagination are important — if you’re as creative as say, Jean Grey is, you could land yourself (and those around you) in quite a bit of trouble. And then of course there’s the threat of being overtaken by the Phoenix Force. While telekinesis sounds like a ton of fun on paper, there’s always the chance that your incredible abilities could lead to a complete break with reality, much like they did with Ms. Grey in The Last Stand. Thus, as Professor X once said, “Don’t let it control you.”
Nightcrawler is another very popular mutant, and his ability to teleport nearly anywhere also makes him one of the most useful.
Saving time is always on peoples’ minds, and being able to blink and be somewhere else you need to be is incredibly useful. With this ability you could literally go anywhere in the world in a snap (assuming your powers aren’t limited like Nightcrawler’s sometimes are), then be back to where you need to be with no issues. Now yes, the instantly appearing does make this a less subtle power, but the practical uses far outweigh that particular risk. You could travel to places that would’ve been a mere dream before, not to mention go to certain spots that no one is allowed to go to.
5. Mechanical Mastery
Imagine being able to make any machine you need, regardless of its complexity, because you know you need to make it. That’s the ability of Forge, a mutant who can truly make anything as long as he knows what he’s making.
How would this work exactly? You would know what you need to make, see the parts or machines in front of you, then, almost out of instinct, know exactly what needs to be done to make the machine work. For Forge, he often doesn’t know how his machines work after completion, as his subconscious usually does all the tinkering and problem solving at lightening speeds. However, every time he’s done, the machine does exactly what he needs it to do.
With that ability, you could craft incredible machines, even supercomputers, or you could simply go about improving other items because you can. Fixing, re-purposing, rebuilding from the ground up even — it’d all be a snap with this ability.
4. Super Strength
Arguably one of the most desired powers, super strength pretty much speaks for itself in terms of practicality, as you’ll be able to lift, push, punch, kick, or bend nearly anything without too much effort.
Need to make something smaller? Push it between your hands. Need to move a lot in a little amount of time? Stack the items up into a pile, pick up said pile, and walk out the door. But also, in helping people, enhanced strength would be a boon, as you could rip a door open to get inside somewhere, like a car. Or if someone is pinned under something, you could remove the object with ease. Super strength also often comes with bonus effects, like increased durability and stamina, meaning you could do even more to help others without worrying about tiring yourself.
Finally, it’s just a nice party trick, and all you have to say it, “I’ve been working out.” There’s a reason why it’s probably the second most desired superpower in the minds of most (after flight, which was excluded from this list due to its lacking subtlety).
3. Super Speed
Of the recent X-Men films, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver has managed to steal every scene he’s set foot in. While it is totally cool what he does, in the practical sense, super speed is easily one of the best powers to have. With the ability to move faster than anyone in existence, along with the ability for your mind and body to understand what you are doing, you can move mountains in seconds.
Have a load of work to do? Done. Need to get somewhere quick? You’re back already. Late for an appointment? Never again. With super speed you can accomplish an infinite number of tasks. And of course, as Quicksilver demonstrated, the world sometimes just looks more beautiful in slow motion.
It’s important to note for this one that we don’t mean healing to the extent that you are essentially immortal, like Wolverine or Deadpool. We simply mean being able to heal from wounds or diseases. Something nearly every person on the planet wishes we could more easily.
Just by saying the word, the practicality of healing is obvious. You will never be sick, as your body will prevent anything from affecting you, whether it be a natural event or a foreign entity entering your body. You’ll heal from nearly any injury within seconds, not even needing a band-aid or a doctor. Which would no doubt save you a lot of money on insurance/hospital bills.
While you won’t be invincible, you’ll likely live a long time with only minimal pain, something many can only dream of. Also, as both comic book shows and TV shows have often demonstrated, you could give your blood to someone else, and let the healing factor cure their ailments as well. Even if it’s only temporary, it’s be a very humanitarian approach to using your healing abilities.
1. Time Manipulation
Another key note for this one. Time travel is dangerous, no matter who does it. However, if your ability was a bit more limited than Kitty Pryde’s was in Days of Future Past, say a few minutes? Then it could be the most practical power in the world.
Make a mistake? Go back and fix it. Break something? Go back and make sure you don’t. Feel you need to redo something because you feel off about it? Make it so. Imagine what could happen when you have multiple chances to do the right thing.
While you might think it’s wrong to limit such a power, it’s important to recall we’re trying to avoid powers that could be world-changing if used improperly. Besides, a few minutes is enough to change someone’s world if done right. You could see a terrible accident happen right in front of you, go back in time, and prevent it from happening. Again, it’s the little things that can often change the world.
There are numerous superpowers in the realm of fantasy and comics. From the small, insignificant skills to universe-altering abilities, there is no lack of creativity when it comes to powers. Many more could’ve been on this list, but not as many of them are as practical as these here. Which superpower would you like to possess? Which do you think should have made the cut here? Sound off in the comments section.