When Apocalypse hits the big screen next year in X-Men: Apocalypse, he may become the most powerful mutant that we have seen on the big screen to date. However, while Apocalypse is a total badass and an incredible foe for the young(er) Charles Xavier and his team to face, is he actually the most powerful mutant in the X-verse? We rounded up the twelve most powerful X-Men from the comic books, and even Apocalypse himself would have a hard time up against some of these heavy-hitters.
The Rules: This list focuses on mutants who have, at some point in time, been affiliated with the X-Men team. Marvel characters who have never been part of the team or the school, even as villains who fought the X-Men, are not included. Members of X-Men teams such as X-Force, New Mutants, etc are considered X-Men for the purposes of this list. Finally, because all of these mutants possess a huge range of abilities (sometimes infinite power), not every ability is listed for every mutant, because it would simply take too long; these entries focus on their most prominent or most impressive powers.
12 X-Man/Nate Grey
Nate Grey is an Omega level mutant genetically engineered during the Age of Apocalypse timeline from the DNA of Scott Summers and Jean Grey. He was designed as the ultimate mutant with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, and when he escaped from his test tube environment, he learned to use some of his powers and managed to kill Apocalypse, sending himself from their reality to Earth 616.
Nate is constantly trying to control and expand his powers, and at times has been almost unstoppable (as the Mutant Shaman), but his abilities have made him a target since he was first created. Multiple factions and other mutants have tried to control and use him, even using him as a power source to open portals to other realities (he’s just that powerful). However, his time in the Omega machine burned out most of his powers, and he is now in the process of attempting to regain his abilities, which drops him to the bottom of this list.
11 Cable/Nathan Summers
A time-traveler with techno-organic parts and the same genetic background as X-Man, Cable is the child of Scott Summer and Madelyne Prior (a Jean Grey clone). The DNA that he shares with Jean Grey is instrumental in giving him incredible telepathic and telekinetic powers, but he was infected with a techno-organic virus which prevented him from using them to the fullest. Despite this, he still possessed incredible abilities, including mind possession, psionic shields and blasts, mind control, illusions, matter control at a molecular level, forcefields and flight. He is also able to time travel and link to the Infonet to read digital information with his mind.
His various techno-organic implants give him other abilities. He has a bionic gauntlet armed with rockets, which gives him super-strength in that arm, as well as a cybernetic eye that allows him to shoot lasers from it as well as see the infra-red spectrum.
10 Emma Frost
Another powerful telepath, Emma Frost began as a villain, the White Queen of the Hellfire club, but has since joined the X-Men and holds a position of authority with them and at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. As well as her telepathic and telekinetic abilities, she is known for being able to turn her body into organic diamond, making her effectively invulnerable.
She is known for controlling the minds (and therefore bodies) of others (especially in her tenure as a villain) as well as for very precise psionic control. She is often considered on equal footing with Xavier in terms of pure power, and is a confirmed Omega level telepath (but not an Omega level mutant).
9 Iceman/Bobby Drake
Often overlooked as one of the X-men’s most powerful members, Bobby is actually an Omega mutant, often described as having the ability to control ice (and create it from water). However, there is much more to his mutant ability than that. Iceman actually creates ice by absorbing and dispelling heat, giving him the power to control thermal energies, as well as some special bonus “ice powers” that aren’t entirely explained within the realm of thermodynamics.
He is able to turn his entire body into organic ice, gain super strength and size by absorbing water molecules around him, heal in ice form, and kill or paralyse by freezing the water in a human body. With the help of Emma Frost, he has developed further powers, including the ability to change his body to a gas form, to travel by merging himself with water molecules, to shape shift, and to survive as sentient water vapor (making him essentially invincible).
8 Storm/Ororo Munroe
One of the most powerful mutants in the world, Storm has the ability to control weather, which in turn allows her to do far more than simply make it rain. She can control winds to allow her to fly (and breathe at any speed/height in the atmosphere), direct and create lightning bolts, manipulate environmental electrical energy and alter her vision to see patterns in the electrical energy nearby. Her powers are adaptive, allowing her to (after a short period) adapt to the environment on other planets or in other worlds and control the elements there.
While she is incredibly powerful, she isn’t without limits. She can only create weather conditions that exist naturally, and generally over a limited area. Her powers are also tied to her moods and her own energy; a large expenditure of her powers will drain her energy proportionately. Should Ororo lose her temper or lose control due to grief, it will unleash her power on the area around her, so that she is having to constantly balance her emotional state to protect those around her.
7 Legion/David Haller
The son of Charles Xavier, this Omega level mutant has incredible powers that range from telepathy through pyrokinesis, healing, probability manipulation, super strength, speed, time travel and reality warping. There is essentially very little that he is incapable of, and on top of that he can absorb others’ consciousnesses. Despite being almost all-powerful, Legion isn’t able to properly control or channel his powers.
When still a child, his home was attacked by assassins, and he spent much of his formative years in a catatonic state. When he emerged from this, it was revealed that the shock had splintered his mind, and his core persona now exists as only one of many different personas within him. Each of these personas control specific powers, so although he is capable of nearly anything, he cannot combine his various powers at once (although his personas take control in rapid succession at times).
His lack of control (and dissociative personalities) can make him extremely dangerous. While functioning as his core self, he is a kind and loving soul, but many of his personas worship chaos and love to hurt others.
6 Hope Summers
This Omega level mutant was born with vast power, but as of yet it hasn’t been fully realized in her. Her birth itself sent out a psionic pulse that destroyed Cerebro, and she has been hailed as both the Mutant Messiah and the harbinger of humanity’s death.
Various different powers have emerged from her at different times. She healed Rogue as a baby, and as a teen and adult she has shown telepathy and telekinesis powerful enough to stop a bullet. She has also revealed pyrokinesis, turned parts of her body into organic metal and fired psionic blasts. She, like Jean Grey, is connected to the Phoenix Force but she cannot control this connection in any way, and he powers have manifested when she is emotional or under threat. Her powers have been described as both mimicry (being able to repeat any power that she sees, much like Rogue can, but without time limits or the need for physical contact) and as the combination of every mutant power currently in existence.
Although better known as the nemesis to Professor Xavier and the X-Men, Magneto has actually been part of the team on several occasions, teaching the New Mutants and even leading the X-Men.
His central power is the ability to control magnetic fields (he’s also a genius with an impressively long life span), which doesn’t necessarily seem all that amazing at first glance. Why is the power to be a human magnet as impressive as some of the other reality-controlling mutants on this list?
The thing is, magnetic field control isn’t just about making metal objects fly around (although that’s pretty cool, and something we see the most often). Everything in the world has a magnetic field, and he can manipulate all of them without breaking a sweat. This ability allows him to fly, manipulate magnetic fields around electricity and power, create force fields, and even affect telepathy (which would suggest he could potentially use his power for mind control as well). Essentially, he is an absolute badass who is more than worthy of going toe-to-toe with Professor Xavier (and gives fans a little lesson on magnetic fields while he’s at it).
4 Magik/Illyana Rasputina
Colossus’s sister, Illyana is vastly more powerful than her brother, and has previously been both Sorcerer Supreme and Queen of Limbo. She has two distinct sets of powers, one as a mutant (teleportation) and one that is magical. Both these provide her with incredible gifts, and these were increased after the events of Avengers vs X-Men, when she was imbued with Phoenix Force.
Her teleportation power appears limited only by her own control over it. She is able to teleport by creating “stepping disks” which take her anywhere in time or space, including in or out of another dimension. It is in this dimension (Limbo) that she learned the sorcerer’s arts to become Sorcerer Supreme, including astral projection, metamorphosis, necromancy, force fields, possession and the creation of magical constructs. During her time in Limbo, she learned both black and white magic, and lost part of her soul – the part-demon soul that she now has grants her psionic shielding.
She also created and holds the Soul Sword, a magical sword with its own specific magic. Within Limbo, she is the supreme being and all-powerful, but on Earth, she is not yet at 100% of her power, and has started training with Dr. Strange to try and control her abilities.
3 Professor Charles Xavier
The original leader and founder of the X-Men, Xavier is an especially powerful telepath, but his true power lies in his incredible skill with his telepathy. Unlike many other powerful and Omega-levels (Xavier is an Omega level telepath), Xavier has almost complete control over his ability, and has honed his skills over decades of work. His level of telepathic power gives him the ability to take over other minds, hypnotize, create visions and illusions, and use psionic abilities, but he is not a telekinetic mutant. He created tech to expand and focus his powers, making him even more powerful – the most obvious example being Cerebro, a conduit for and magnifier of telepathic powers.
Although he is currently dead (death isn’t often permanent in the Marvel-verse), his time as a scientific genius and telepathic global mastermind clearly puts him with the most powerful X-Men on the planet.
2 Franklin Richards
The young son of Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Woman, Franklin has essentially unlimited psionic and reality warping powers, and can control literally any force in the universe. Unlike many mutants who don’t display powers until they are teens or older, Franklin first came into the full force of his powers as a child. While he has reverted back to his child form, this event led to some dampers on his powers – preventing him from using them in full while he is still too young, before starting an extremely careful training process to control them.
Franklin is potentially capable of reality warping and controlling the entire universe (although he is still a child and not at the full limit of his abilities – assuming a limit even exists). He can time travel, resurrect the dead, create doubles of people and entirely new planets, is a precog and created a pocket universe – a miniature double of the existing universe. He has been recognized by the Celestials as on their level, although he defeated two Celestials in combat in adult form. He’s also potentially immortal, and it may be that he will far eclipse the Phoenix when he gains full control of his abilities.
Though Franklin has never been a member of the X-Men in the regular comic timeline, he was actually a student at Xavier's Academy and a member of the New Mutants in the Days of Future Past timeline. He's also a future X-Men member in the Ultimate X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four timelines, and even hosts the Phoenix at one point.
1 Jean Grey/Phoenix
Often cited as the most powerful mutant ever, Jean Grey is a telepathic, telekinetic Omega mutant who also hosted the Phoenix Force. While she started out as simple a powerful telepath (and went by the name of Marvel Girl when she first joined the X-Men), her repeated involvement with the Phoenix Force has now given her near-infinite power. Having also merged with the Primal Force, her powers are second only to God and the Living Tribunal.
Jean has returned from the dead on several occasions, and her telepathy and telekinesis allow her to fly, create force fields, create power blasts, manipulate wormholes, manipulate matter at a subatomic level, and control and hypnotize others. Because of the sheer level of raw power that Grey possesses, she is also one of the most dangerous mutants. Although she is one of the original X-Men and on the side of good, if she is ever controlled by another or loses control of her ability, she can wreak ultimate devastation.
Did we miss any more powerful X-Men than the ones on this list? Let us know in the comments!