A vast majority of superheroes have a “no killing” rule. On the surface, this appears to be a good thing. If a hero goes around murdering people with their powers, then what separates them from the villains? However, the real reason they don’t commit murder is so comic writers can create longer issues, otherwise each issue would come to an end fairly quickly. If Batman was cool with killing, then the Joker would have been terminated during his first appearance, and we would have been deprived of the story of one of the greatest comic book villains of all time.
The major exceptions to the no killing rule are the X-Men. While they certainly don’t go around murdering every anti-mutant protester they meet, they do recognize that sometimes killing is necessary for the safety of the world. Or they could just feel like murdering − the writers are somewhat inconsistent on the real reason.
We are here today to look at the main times that members of the X-Men had no problem committing cold-blooded murder. From Wolverine killing one of his old lovers, to the cartoon death of one of the X-Men’s greatest villains, here are 15 Times The X-Men Have Killed People.
15. Wolverine Kills Mystique
Wolverine and Mystique have had a complicated relationship over the years. They have been allies, enemies, lovers, teammates, and each other’s assassination targets on many occasions.
There is a particular X-Men storyline titled “Wolverine Goes to Hell”. In it, Wolverine’s body is taken over by a demon and his soul is banished to the underworld. When Wolverine is able to return, he discovers that Mystique had a part in the plot. He hunts her down to San Francisco, where Mystique resolves to fight Wolverine to the death. This involves Mystique fighting in the nude, which forces the artist to resort to the Austin Powers–style of foreground blocking her body.
Wolverine ultimately wins the battle between the two, as he stabs Mystique in the chest with his claws. This kills Mystique, as her shapeshifting powers don’t allow her to heal from wounds. Her death doesn’t last long, however, as she is resurrected by The Hand shortly after.
14. Rogue Kills The Grim Reaper
Rogue is one of the deadliest members of the X-Men. A touch of her bare skin can drain the life energy of anyone who comes into contact with it. This includes their memories and abilities, including super powers. Rogue has been used to kill people without her knowledge. An example of this is when Mystique uses Rogue to murder Mr. Sinister. Mystique does this by holding Sinister’s body against Rogue’s face, which drains all of his energy and kills him.
The Grim Reaper learns about Rogue’s powers the hard way when he faces her in Uncanny Avengers. Rogue has no idea how strong the Grim Reaper is when she drains some of his powers. She punches him without knowing how much physical strength she has just gained. This enables her to hit the Grim Reaper with such force that he essentially dies. He is later revived as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, where he serves as Death, and Rogue almost manages to kill him again, but the powers he receives from Apocalypse allow him to survive.
13. Storm Kills Marrow
Storm has held many different leadership positions during her life. She was once considered to be a goddess in Africa, before leaving to become a member of the X-Men, where she took Cyclops’ role as the leader of the team. Storm goes on to become the Queen of Wakanda as well as a member of the Avengers, the Hellfire Club, and the Fantastic Four. She is also the leader of the Morlocks after she defeats Callisto in combat.
There are some occasions when Storm is forced to fight in order to protect her position as the leader of the Morlocks. One of these occasions happens when the surviving members of the Morlocks form their own terrorist group, known as the Gene Nation. The X-Men come into conflict with Gene Nation and their new leader, Marrow. Storm takes on Marrow in hand-to-hand combat, which ends with Storm carving Marrow’s heart out of her body and leaving her to die.
12. Archangel Kills William Stryker
William Stryker is one of the most despicable X-Men villains of all time. He was a former sergeant in the army, whose wife gives birth while traveling through the desert. The baby is born a mutant, with horrific physical disfigurements. Stryker decides to kill the baby and his wife, fleeing the scene.
When he discovers the existence of mutants, he justifies his actions by deciding to believe that God made him do it. He believes that God wants him to form an anti-mutant organization. Stryker forms a group known as the Purifiers, who clash with the X-Men on numerous occasions. The Purifiers are responsible for the deaths of numerous mutants, including not only adults, but also children.
During the Second Coming event, the X-Men are outnumbered by Stryker and his Purifiers. Wolverine convinces Angel to transform into the Archangel, since they need the additional aid. Archangel then proceeds to murder William Stryker by slicing him up with his razor-sharp metallic wings.
11. Colossus Kills Riptide
One of the bloodiest moments in Marvel’s history is a crossover event known as the Mutant Massacre. In 1986, the X-Men team up with X-Factor in order to stop a group of mutant mercenaries from wiping out the underground society known as the Morlocks. Thor, Daredevil, the New Mutants, and Power Pack also become involved in the event.
The massacre of the Morlocks is done by a group of mutants known as the Marauders. Their team is formed by Mr. Sinister, who selects bloodthirsty mutants to join up with him. By the time the Mutant Massacre is over, most of the Morlocks are dead and several members of the X-Men and X-Factor are severely wounded.
Colossus of the X-Men decides to use the Marauders’ own horrific methods against them. When Marauder member Riptide wounds Nightcrawler with his throwing blades, Colossus reaches out and mercilessly snaps Riptide’s neck.
10. Cyclops Kills Donald Pierce
Donald Pierce is one of the original members of the Hellfire Club. Unlike his allies in the group, he isn’t a mutant. Pierce is a cyborg, who has replaced all of his limbs with powerful robotic weapons. It is revealed that Pierce actually hates mutants, and only joins the Hellfire Club so that he can destroy it from within. He goes on to form the team of cyborg mercenaries, known as The Reavers, which become of the X-Men’s greatest villains. The Reavers are responsible for the X-Men fleeing through the Siege Perilous, which scatters them around the world and erases their memories.
During the “Second Coming” storyline, Pierce is captured by the X-Men. This turns out to be a calculated move, as Pierce is now working for Bastion, who wants a mole inside the X-Men’s headquarters. He manages to destroy all of the X-Men’s vehicles and Blackbird jets, which causes Cyclops to kill him with a powerful optic blast.
9. Bishop Kills Trevor Fitzroy
The Marvel universe has several apocalyptic future timelines in which everything lies in ruin. We know this because some characters from these periods have arrived in the modern era, in an effort to stop whatever it was that caused the future to go badly. One such character is Bishop, who comes from a timeline where mutants are put into concentration camps. Bishop is sent to go after a mutant named Trevor Fitzroy, who has the power to use the life force of other mutants to create time portals. The conflict between the two leads to them both arriving in the present day. Bishop goes on to join the X-Men, while Fitzroy becomes a member of the Upstarts.
Trevor Fitzroy clashes with Bishop and the X-Men on many occasions. The final encounter happens when Fitzroy flees to the future once more, with Bishop in hot pursuit. Fitzroy tries to escape through another time portal, but Bishop grabs onto his leg just in time. Bishop holds on, until the portal closes on Fitzroy and slices him in half.
8. Cyclops Kills Ugly John
Developing a mutant power is the same as playing the genetic lottery. You can end up becoming an External, which provides you with a range of powers, including immortality. There is also the possibility of turning into a monstrous freak, with no real super powers.
One particular character who got the short end of the stick is Ugly John. When he reached puberty, John grew two additional faces, making his head the bearer of three separate faces.
Ugly John is saved from the Sentinels by Cyclops and Wolverine, who helps him escape from Australia. John later gets kidnapped again by the Sentinels, who torture and critically injure him. When Cyclops discovers that Ugly John cannot be saved, he decides to help put him out of his misery. Cyclops soothingly asks John to look into his eyes as he activates his powers…
7. Cyclops Kills Berzerker
Gene Nation isn’t the only evil offshoot of the Morlocks to appear over the years. There was once a team called the Tunnelers, who hated the rest of the Morlock. They were eliminated during the Mutant Massacre, as most of the members were killed by the Marauders and X-Factor. The surviving members of the team were able to flee to New Jersey, where they quickly ran afoul of the law.
One of the former members of the Tunnelers is Ray Carter, who takes the name Berzerker. He possesses the ability to control electricity, which makes him an incredibly powerful mutant. When Berzerker witnesses his girlfriend being shot by the police, he flies into a rage and attacks them. Cyclops and Jean Grey are forced to intervene and attack Berzerker. Cyclops uses an optic blast to knock Berzerker into water, where he is consumed by the electric energy of his own mutant powers and dies.
6. Iceman Kills Ginniyeh
Iceman starts out as a goofy character. His mutant powers make him look like a snowman wearing combat boots. But over time, he learns to control his powers and refine his form into that of solid ice. No one ever takes Iceman or his power seriously, including himself.
This all changes when Emma Frost takes over his body. She is able to use his powers in frightening new ways that no one had ever seen before. Iceman finally learns how to use the full extent of his powers, which includes controlling liquid matter on an atomic level. This is why he is considered to be an Omega-level mutant and one of the most powerful members of the X-Men.
The Neyaphem are yet another enemy of the X-Men. They are a group of demonic-looking mutants from Biblical times. One of their members is a powerful telepath called Ginniyeh. Iceman saves several members of the X-Men from Ginniyeh’s powers by removing all of the moisture from her body, which gives her quite the horrific death.
5. Cyclops Kills Candra
One of the X-Men’s main villainns is Candra. She is one of the rare subspecies of mutants known as the Externals, who possess immortality and the ability to regenerate from most deadly of wounds. Candra also possesses the power of telekinesis.
Candra became an enemy of the X-Men through Storm. Candra had once tried to take over the Cairo thieves guild that Storm was a member of in her youth. Storm was able to defeat Candra in combat, which led to Candra retreating in order bid her time for an assault against the X-Men.
While Candra’s status as an External should already make her extremely difficult to kill, she decides to follow the Voldermort route and place her soul inside of a gem. The destruction of this gem would mean the death of Candra’s physical body. Cyclops decided to test out her immortality, and shoots Candra’s gem with an optic blast. This instantly kills Candra’s body, leaving her psyche to wander the astral plane.
4. Jean Grey Kills Prism
The Mutant Massacre is a prime example of an event where the X-Men and X-Factor did not hesitate to kill their foes. The killing could easily be justified: both teams were trapped deep underground surrounded by enemies who wanted them dead. “Killing is bad” is a far easier attitude to enforce in bright daylight than it is in the face of genocide.
One of the members of the Marauders is a mutant named Prism, who possesses a body made of crystal. This allows him to reflect energy, as well as light. In retrospect, he may not have been the best choice for a violent mission like the Morlock Massacre, as his body is incredibly fragile. During battle, Jean Grey picks up Prism with her telekinesis and throws him against a wall. This causes his body to smash and break into a hundred different pieces.
3. Colossus Kills Proteus
The member of the X-Men that is most often associated with killing is Wolverine. This is the reason why he is asked to join the New Avengers, as Captain America and Iron Man realized that they need a member who won’t hesitate to kill if necessary. Wolverine isn’t the only member who won’t hesitate, as Colossus has also been forced to take lives on many occasions. However, this is a tragic aspect of Colossus’ character − he is described as being a gentle soul before he joins the X-Men.
One of the saddest deaths in the X-Men comics was that of Proteus. Proteus is the son of Moira MacTaggart. He has the power to transform himself into a being of psychic energy and possess people. Proteus has the ability to reshape reality itself, which makes him a threat that can not be ignored. It was revealed that Proteus’ one weakness is metal, which makes Colossus his strongest opponent. Colossus punches Proteus while in his metal form, which forces Proteus’ soul to shatter and disperse around the world.
2. Wolverine Kills Sabretooth
Killing someone who possesses the ability to heal is always a challenge. One of the main reasons is because each character’s level of regeneration is often poorly defined, and can therefore vary from writer to writer. Wolverine might need time to heal from a bullet wound in one issue of the X-Men, but can be seen instantly regenerating from death in another.
One of the few weapons that can counteract a healing ability is the Muramasa Blade. This was forged by the legendary swordsmith Muramasa, who wanted to create a weapon that could slice at the molecular level. When Wolverine finds the sword in the modern age, he gives it to Cyclops as a last resort weapon to kill him with, should things go awry.
When Sabretooth goes on a rampage in Wakanda, Wolverine reclaims the Muramasa and takes it with him to hunt for Sabretooth. The two have one last battle, which ends with Wolverine beheading Sabretooth. The power of the sword prevents Sabretooth from healing, which kills him once and for all (or at least until he eventually comes back).
1. Professor Xavier Kills Apocalypse
Apocalypse is one of the oldest and most powerful mutants in existence. He is said to be immortal and indestructible, with the ability to regenerate from any wound. Despite this, he sure does die a lot.
The most insulting death of Apocalypse happens in the ’90s X-Men cartoon. This is because the cartoon went out of its way to never kill anyone, including characters like Morph. Apocalypse is the big exception to this, as Professor Xavier had no problem with taking him out.
In the four-part “Beyond Good and Evil,” Apocalypse kidnaps all of the most powerful psychics in the Marvel universe. He does this in order to combined abilities, which would allow him to remake the universe in his image. The X-Men manage to free the psychics, who then launch an assault on Apocalypse. Professor Xavier leads them in an attack that literally wipes Apocalypse from existence.
The enemies of the X-Men aren’t even safe in the saccharine world of Saturday morning cartoons. You would think that they would just give up and start picking on the Fantastic Four instead.
Can you think of any other characters who were eliminated by the X-Men? Let us know in the comments!