It’s not a great time for the X-Men. In the comics, they’re once more an endangered species, potentially wiped out in a generation due to the M-Pox. In the real world, they have been in steady decline in popularity since their early- ‘90s heyday, with The Avengers once more Marvel’s flagship team of heroes.
As for the characters themselves, once popular mutants have gone from prominence to mere background characters, and others have pretty much disappeared altogether. Some of the characters in this list have been the focus of a major storyline, or were designed to be a major player moving forwards, only to have been discarded for years at a time by new writers. Some have disappeared altogether, with little or no mention of them since their initial stories.
But, given that every one of Marvel’s merry mutants deserves their moment, we put the spotlight on some beloved, if largely forgotten about characters from the X-Men’s long history. So, here’s 16 Mutants Who Just Disappeared From The Comics.
When Omega Red was first introduced by Jim Lee, he was intended to be the definitive foe for Wolverine. Unlike Wolverine’s other arch-enemy Sabretooth, Omega Red had never been a teammate but was engineered by the Soviet equivalent of the Weapon X division that turned Logan into Wolverine.
Omega Red was physically stronger than Wolverine, with coils in his forearms to counter Wolverine’s Adamantium claws. He also possessed a death-factor which served as an opposite to Wolverine’s own healing factor. In every way, Omega Red was intended to be an ultimate nemesis for everyone’s favourite mutant berserker.
While their first encounter in the modern era was brutal, it ended with the X-Men rescuing Wolverine from Omega Red, with the two destined to meet again for an epic rematch. Only, Jim Lee left X-Men almost immediately after Omega Red’s introduction and his subsequent appearances have been dealt with by dozens of other writers, each less keen to use him as an arch-villain, preferring to put Sabretooth in that role. While he has appeared from time to time in the many years since his introduction, it’s often as a henchman or pawn in an equally forgettable villain’s plan. Considering his introduction, it’s a waste of his potential.
Xorn appeared around the same time Marvel got desperate to revive X-Men and gave creative control of their former flagship title over to Grant Morrison. Depending on who you ask, that was either their smartest move, or their dumbest. Either way, the notorious Grant Morrison era is still being debated to this day, some 15 years later.
In the mess of Cyclops’ psychic affair with the White Queen and Xavier’s previously unknown twin sister, came Xorn. Seemingly a Chinese mutant with a tiny star where his brain should be, Xorn quickly became an X-Man and teacher at Xavier’s school. Teaching a class of very special students, Xorn began to manipulate certain events until he was revealed to be Magneto who was hiding in plain sight with a helmet shielding his thoughts from the three most powerful psychics in the world.
He was defeated, and that should have been that. But it later transpired that a second Xorn was the brother of the first and claimed the original had been impersonating Magneto, not the other way around. Undoing everything Morrison had written.
The first Xorn reappeared briefly as a guiding force in what became known as The Collective, before being thrown into the sun by The Sentry. While the second Xorn has reappeared, thankfully the first one seems to have stayed dead.
Sage, also known as Tessa, is a walking computer with the secondary ability to jump-start latent mutations or secondary mutations in existing mutants.
She served as a spy, secretly working for Xavier, undercover in the Hellfire Club where she became a lieutenant to its master, Sebastian Shaw. Over the years, she came to serve his son, Shinobi, when he briefly assumed control of the organisation.
Eventually, she came to join the X-Men and joined the so-called X-Treme X-Men as they searched the globe for the lost diaries of the blind prophet known as Destiny. After the diaries are discredited, Storm takes her team in a new direction and Sage becomes an agent of the short-lived X.S.E working for the united nations. After this, Sage become a lesser character once more. She re-joined the Hellfire Club to keep an eye on Sunspot, and then joined various lesser-known teams before fading into obscurity.
X-Man has one of the most convoluted back-stories in all comic book history. He’s a genetically engineered super-mutant spawned from the genetic material of Cyclops and Jean Grey from a timeline created by a time-travelling Legion where mutants rule the world under the tyrant Apocalypse. He is also genetically identical to Cable, albeit much younger and more powerful. Accidentally transported to Earth-616 he began going by the name X-Man where he quickly became wanted by every major player in the world due to his incredible power-levels.
Used as a battery for psionic energy by Onslaught, and later captured by Apocalypse as an intended vessel for the ancient Egyptian’s soul, Nate had a rough time during the ‘90s.
After escaping Apocalypse, he began to traverse the multiverse until he lost his corporeal form and was forgotten for a decade until he was brought back to Earth-616, where he was almost immediately captured by Norman Osborn and almost totally de-powered. He later joined the New Mutants, but remains a background character these days. A far cry from the central figure of the mid- ‘90s.
We first met Cecilia Reyes during the events of Operation Zero Tolerance where the mutant hating Bastion was on a mission to kill or imprison all members of the mutant race. She was working as an ER doctor until Prime Sentinels tried to kill her while she was on duty. Iceman appeared out of nowhere to rescue her having been given her name as someone to locate if such a series of events should ever occur.
Outed as a mutant, she had little choice but to follow Iceman and his rag-tag team, including Marrow, until they defeated Bastion with the aid of S.H.I.E.L.D. She went back to the X-Mansion where she stayed with the team for a while, aiding against threats such as The Shadow King.
Cecilia was all but forgotten by the team during a creative shake up but briefly appeared again during a series of events with the mysterious Neo, where she briefly became addicted to a drug called Rave. She again appeared during the events of the Neverland storyline, where many mutants were herded into a concentration camp. She survived the camp, but her location was unknown for years until she again surfaced, this time as an unlicensed doctor.
Born in a poor part of South Africa, the boy that would become Maggot was small and sickly and cost his parents a great deal in medical bills. Seeking to spare them the expense, he decided to go into the scorching desert to end his suffering. He happened across a wandering Magneto who sensed that the boy was special and used his powers to hasten Maggot’s mutation. Two giant, sentient, slugs burst forth from his stomach and began to feed on matter around him. They became his mutant power and would periodically re-enter his body to pass along nutrients as well as endow him with super-strength and blue skin.
His friendly nature earned him the friendship of Wolverine who had a knack for bonding with fellow outsiders. He left the team to join Generation-X, the junior X-Men of the day, but left after only one mission.
Many years later he surfaced as an inmate of the mutant concentration camp known as Neverland, where he died along with thousands of others, killed for simply being different. He was revived many years later by Selene, using a techno-organic virus to re-animate dead Mutants. While he remains alive after those events ended, he has only been seen in the background of crowd scenes since.
The illegitimate son of Hellfire Club Black King Sebastian Shaw, Shinobi was also a mutant and equally hungry for power. After apparently killing his father, Shinobi took his place as the leader of the Hellfire Club, but lacking his father’s skills made it little more than an upscale drinking establishment. He did, however, join the so-called Upstarts – a group of individuals poised to become the next generation of leaders of the mutant community. Shinobi was a high-ranking member of the group due to the many points he gained for killing his father.
A regular in the mid- ‘90s X-Men titles, he all but disappeared completely when Sebastian was revealed to have survived his assassination attempt and re-took his position as the Black King. Shinobi wasn’t seen or mentioned for many years until he was discovered to have been one of the few mutants to have retained their powers after M-Day. His father finally tracked him down and killed him, but Shinobi was resurrected by Selene.
Despite exploding onto the scene as a member of the Upstarts, Siena Blaze was quickly forgotten about for many years.
In her first appearances, she attempted to kill Charles Xavier, Cyclops, and Storm while they were flying over the Antarctic. She nearly succeeded and almost tore a hole in Earth’s magnetic field in the attempt. When the X-Men fought back, she teleported away laughing. Only seen a few times after that, she briefly appeared as a hero alongside the Juggernaut as a member of the first team of Exiles (not to be confused with the more famous team of the same name). Despite having been a stone-cold killer in her original escapades, she took to the role of hero surprisingly well.
Once again disappearing from the books, she surfaced briefly as an inmate at Neverland before being killed. Again, she didn’t appear for a decade, until she was revealed to have been revived by Selene but has yet to be given a big story since her resurrection.
Mimic is an honest-to-goodness creation of Stan Lee himself, which makes his sporadic appearances over the years an even bigger waste of potential. Unlike most mutants, Calvin Rankin wasn’t born a mutant but obtained mutant powers due to an accident. He appeared in X-Men #19 where his ability to mimic the abilities of mutants allowed him to duplicate the powers of the five X-Men present. Despite being arrogant and headstrong, he served as the sixth member of the team and even became deputy leader for a time. After the temporary loss of his powers, he left the team and was forgotten about for years.
Eventually, he was remembered by X-Men writers and his powers were restored. Due to his prolonged exposure to the powers of the original X-Men, he held on to their powers permanently making him incredibly powerful. He could also mimic other powers, but he would lose them after a while if the person he was duplicating moved out of range. Mimic joined the Brotherhood of Mutants, and eventually the Dark X-Men before eventually joining the X-Men once more, some 40 years after his first stint with the team.
Two of the most forgettable characters ever created by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont, Lifeguard and Slipstream came during the writer's second stint on the franchise. When Claremont took to writing X-Treme X-Men, the cast of characters were stretched across three on-going books which allowed him to fill some space on his new team with two new members.
Lifeguard and Slipstream encountered the X-Men in Australia and quickly discovered that they were both mutants, and also the children of a notorious mob boss. Lifeguard, Heather Cameron, discovered that she could manifest whatever power was necessary to help those around her. Slipstream, Davis Cameron, after a jump-start from Sage learned that he could generate wormholes which he could navigate via a surfboard.
Heather became quite a powerful member of the team and generated numerous powers to aid them during an extra-dimensional invasion. Davis became disturbed by Heather’s changes, particularly her gold-skinned appearance which seemed permanent, and left the team for an undisclosed location. Heather left to search for him and neither were seen again.
During Marvel’s re-launch of the X-Men titles in the summer of 2000, the books took a six-month jump into the future. This allowed a massive change in the status quo without having to tell the story of why things had changed so drastically. During this window of time, a new X-Man appeared to have joined the team. The pyrokinetic mutant Neil Shaara had become the third man to take the name Thunderbird and used his power to generate solar plasma as a rookie member of the team.
It was later discovered that Neil had had a previous encounter with the leader of the Prime Sentinels, the man known as Bastion. Bastion was responsible for Neil’s powers manifesting, and Neil seeking out the X-Men. During Neil’s brief (two years, our time) stint on the X-Men he helped them save the world as well as search for the lost diaries of the mutant pre-cog Destiny. He struck up a friendship with Bishop, who claimed that Thunderbird was a legend in his time, and a romantic relationship with Psylocke.
Thunderbird was intended by Claremont to be a major player in the series, but hasn’t had a major appearance since 2002, seemingly forgotten by all subsequent writers.
During Chris Claremont’s heyday in the mid 1980s, Longshot was created. A genetically engineered mutant from Mojoworld, he was bred for entertainment purposes but broke free and ended up joining the X-Men on Earth. His acrobatic skills and good-luck power made him a popular member of the team; he even developed a relationship with the mutant pop-star turned adventurer known as Dazzler.
While an integral member of the team during pivotal moments such as Inferno and The Fall of The Mutants, Longshot was written out of the book after going through the Siege Perilous with the rest of the team. He has made some appearances since, but they were few and far between. Considering his long tenure with the team during the ‘80s, it’s a surprise that he hasn’t been brought back more often. Perhaps he is simply too ‘80s for modern readers? Perhaps the role of good-looking acrobatic guy was taken by Gambit, and Longshot was just seen as an unneeded extra member of the team? Only time will tell if this once popular member of the team will ever be a key player again.
The third member of a CIA strike force that consisted of him, Wolverine, and Sabretooth in the days before Wolverine joined the X-Men. After the so-called Team-X disbanded Maverick became a solo operative, sometime doing freelance work, other times working solely for the U.S. or Canadian Governments. Like his teammates, his genetic code was altered in his case allowing him to remain youthful, even after being active for well over thirty years. Although it seemed that his mutant power to absorb kinetic energy had faded to nothing, he remained a skilled combatant who wore specialised armour.
He surfaced when Wolverine was abducted by Omega Red, all the men concerned were searching for a C-synthesiser which Omega Red needed to sustain his life. Wolverine was the only one who knew the location of the device and when the mission ended, gave it to Maverick for safekeeping.
Maverick was intended to be a major character, but disappeared for several years until receiving his own title in 1996. It lasted a single year but was praised for its fast pace and espionage themes. Although he has appeared occasionally since, notably as a brainwashed agent of Weapon X, he is rarely seen these days except as occasional back-up in Wolverine titles.
When Joseph first appeared, he seemed to be the familiar character of Magneto, except he was mysteriously younger which was believed to be due to his near-death orbiting Earth, somehow his body had been rejuvenated by Earth’s electromagnetic field. His amnesia was attributed to Magneto’s wind-wipe at the hands of Xavier in the now famous X-Men #25. Due to the on-going Onslaught crisis and the subsequent ‘deaths’ of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, the X-Men didn’t ask too many questions of their new comrade. It later transpired that, after numerous retcons and changes in the creative team, Joseph wasn’t Magneto at all and was a clone created by equally-forgettable villain Astra. He fought Magneto over control of Earth’s magnetic field and his cloned cells degraded to the point where his essence became one with said magnetic field.
Forgotten about for a decade, he was resurrected but was seemingly evil now and bent on revenge. He was quickly defeated and placed in the X-Men’s prison on their floating island. As the X-Men left the island after the events of AvX, Joseph has seemingly been forgotten once more, possibly still languishing in prison wondering why he hasn’t been fed in a while.
Despite being something of a fan-favourite, the mutant known as both Morph and Changeling a.k.a Kevin Sidney has been little more than a curious footnote in the history of the team.
Predating Mystique by many years, Changeling was the first shapeshifter to face off against the X-Men and was a minor foe before he came to Professor Xavier and announced that he was terminally ill and wanted a chance to do something heroic before he died. Xavier had recently discovered the alien Z’Noxx were approaching Earth, and had formulated a plan to defeat them using the combined telepathic power of everyone on the planet. To achieve this, Xavier had to spend many months preparing his mind in isolation so asked Changeling to take his place within the X-Men. Changeling, as Xavier, died and it was many months before the X-Men discovered the ruse.
In several other continuities Kevin Sidney was known as Morph and was a much more jovial character. In the X-Men animated series from the ‘90s, he was Wolverine’s best friend and the only one to make Logan laugh. He died at the hands of Sentinels during the team’s first on-screen adventure, but was later resurrected by Mister Sinister as a tool of revenge.
Morph also featured in the Age of Apocalypse stories, again as comic relief. He even served as a member of the reality-hopping Exiles, as that teams longest-standing member. All of which makes the fact that the original character is one of the few mutants to stay dead even sadder.
Forget-Me-Not’s power is to be instantly forgotten by a person as soon as he is out of sight. Therefore, it’s only fitting that he should be on this list. After his debut in 2014, Forget-Me-Not was said to have been a team member for many years and had served though many major turning points in the history of the X-Men. Of course, nobody remembered him.
Despite nobody remembering him, and receiving no praise for his many accomplishments, he chose to stay with the team due to his heroic nature. He was finally remembered after he joined the most recent incarnation of X-Force, where several psychic team members began to be able to bypass his power and remember him after he left their presence. He also began to leave physical clues as to his existence, which helped the rest of the team develop a relationship with the enigmatic mutant.
However, since the end of the last X-Force series, Forget-Me-Not has been absent from the X-Titles. Maybe he’s been forgotten by the writers? Time will tell…