The X-Men comics series is a wonderful metaphor for the challenges facing marginalized groups across the world. In modern comics, there’s no good or evil characters, simply different perspectives on what’s best to help mutant-kind. As such, various X-Men often find themselves disagreeing over their various opinions and approaches to mutant-human relations, but each side has a valid argument and a logical perspective.
But that’s no fun – sometimes comics are better with good, old fashioned supervillains for the heroes to fight. Some of the X-Men’s most famous heroes (and plenty of their more obscure ones) would actually be more fun to see as evil schemers and tyrants, using their powers for personal gain rather than the greater good for their species.
Here are 15 X-Men Who Would Be A Lot More Fun As Villains.
It’s hard to argue with the fact that the power to call down lightning is one of the more impressive talents among the X-Men’s ranks. Unfortunately for fans of explosive comic book action, Storm’s full destructive capabilities are often limited by her desire not to harm others.
Imagine if Storm could unleash her anger and frustration upon the world in the form of tidal waves, cyclones, and tsunamis – Ororoe Munroe has the potential to be far more deadly than main X-Men villain (and sometimes reformed hero) Magneto. Storm’s powerset definitely lends itself better to destruction and danger than it does to the relatively peaceful ways of the X-Men.
Take into account the fact that Storm was once worshipped as a goddess, and there are a lot of potential stories to be told surrounding the character’s dark side should she ever choose to become a vengeful spirit of destruction. Her fellow teammates would certainly have their work cut out for them if they wanted to stop her.
After many years and countless additional films, the opening to X2 is still one of the most enjoyable scenes in the X-Men movie franchise – viewers marvel as a mind-controlled Nightcrawler breaks into the White House, effortlessly dismantles the secret service, and comes inches from murdering the President, all while classical music plays calmly in the background.
There’s a lot that a bamfing blue devil can get away with by virtue of his teleportation and acrobatic skills that most other mutants wouldn’t be able to pull off – in many ways, Kurt Wagner would be the perfect assassin, were it not for his pesky morals and belief in celestial judgement upon the wicked.
Plus, there’s the character’s visual design. While Nightcrawler is a living embodiment of how mutants are feared and hated simply for being different, it’s hard to argue with the fact that he looks incredibly devilish, and it would be a lot of fun to see the kind of dark and spooky art that could be produced for a less altruistic Nightcrawler.
In the first X-Men movie, when speaking about the dangers that mutants pose to society and the need for a registration act, Senator Kelly cites the example of a girl who can walk through walls, wondering what’s to stop her from walking into a bank vault, or into the homes of unsuspecting citizens.
As it turns out, the thing that stops Kitty Pryde from walking through the wrong walls is simply her sense of right and wrong. This is a real shame, because an incorporeal villain would be an excellent addition to the franchise.
An evil Shadowcat could pose a real threat to the X-Men – she’d be unstoppable, as no security system in the world could stop her from phasing through everything to steal government secrets. Letting loose with her phasing power could also prove incredibly deadly, as there’d be nothing to stop her from putting her hand right through someone’s chest, then exploding their heart from the inside out.
It’d be messy, but it’d certainly be effective.
Jubilee drew the short straw when it came to mutant powers. While some of the X-Men have the power to alter people’s minds or summon lightning at will, poor old Jubilation Lee got stuck shooting fireworks - something that’s probably a lot of fun at parties, at least until Cyclops shows up with a far more visually impressive laser show. As far as motivation to turn over to the dark side goes, jealousy over the powers of her more impressive colleagues should be more than enough to get Jubilee to fight her former friends. Plus, being forced to wear a bright yellow costume for the better part of three decades is enough to make anyone resent their coworkers.
In many ways, though, firework powers are perfect for a supervillain. While heroes have to turn up and stop bad guys from setting off explosives, Jubilee is a walking disaster in all the best ways, and letting loose with her special abilities, aside from everything else, would look really cool.
Pietr (or Peter) Maximoff has done his fair share of villainy over the years. From his appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron to his legacy role in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and even to comic book stories such as House of M, versions of Quicksilver have done their fair share of damage to the mutant cause over the years.
Of course, the current most popular incarnation of Quicksilver is also an unashamed hero. When not being duped into freeing his father from a secure facility in order to save the world (and then instantly feeling terrible about it when his dad tries to shoot the President), the Quicksilver of the X-Men movie universe spends his time moving bullets out of people’s way, and pulling children out of exploding buildings – all while listening to his trusty Walkman.
But this version of Quicksilver, who’s so fast that time almost seems to stand still for him, would make an excellent villain – still quirky, still sarcastic and irreverent, the character would pose a serious threat to the X-Men, and would look fantastic while dodging laser blasts, lightning bolts, and whatever else the team can throw at him.
11 Rachel Grey
While the X-Men have spent plenty of time dealing with alternate timelines and parallel dimensions, when recruiting across time and space they have a tendency to pick out the most friendly, agreeable heroes to join their team. This makes sense, but one has to hope that somewhere out there is a parallel dimension where an evil Rachel Grey is making things extremely difficult for the X-Men.
The daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in another dimension, Rachel Grey (also called Rachel Summers at times, just to be confusing) was recruited to the main Marvel comics universe to join the primary X-Men team. She has psychic powers like her mother, and has also successfully controlled the Phoenix Force in the past, using it as a weapon for good.
With the Phoenix Force, Rachel Grey is a particularly deadly opponent, but she’d be no less impressive as a villain without it – there’s plenty that an evil psychic can do to make lives difficult for her adversaries without even raising a finger.
While we’re on the subject of alternate universe offspring of Scott Summers, here's Cable! The future son of Scott and a clone of Jean Grey (because comics are weird), Cable was sent into the far future to be raised as a warrior before returning to present day (1980s) Earth. Big, gruff, mean, and angry, his original design was summed up at the time as a ‘man of action’, but now he looks more scary and overly muscular than any other X-Man.
It’s a shame to waste all that muscle, testosterone, and grimacing on a hero. Cable would make an excellent addition to the X-Men’s rogues gallery. It also helps that, with his penchant for time travelling and his somewhat traumatic upbringing, it wouldn’t take too much to push Cable to becoming a villain – especially as, in the years since his debut, it’s become fairly clear that the world he grew up in is never actually going to exist. Time travel is always awkward in the X-Men canon.
A natural master of technology, there’s not much that Forge can’t make when given long enough to tinker. His mutant power is a fundamental understanding of tech and an ability to create complex and eloquent machinery that makes the lives of those around him far easier. As such, he has plenty of uses for the X-Men, having upgraded the X-Mansion defenses more than once. Of course, his powers also make him very useful to the X-Men’s enemies, and he’s been strong-armed or otherwise forced into creating dangerous anti-mutant weapons on many occasions.
Technology is one of the biggest recurring threats to the X-Men, often providing an obstacle in the form of Sentinels, giant robots that seek out and neutralize mutant lifeforms. Forge has had run-ins with the Sentinels in multiple stories, sometimes working to destroy them with his technological genius, while adapting or redesigning them at other times. It would be interesting to see an army of Sentinels or other weapons under the control of Forge, should he ever decide to stop playing nice.
Gambit’s ability to charge up any item he touches with explosive kinetic energy is fun, but it doesn’t have a lot of practical uses, and certainly doesn’t measure up against the powers of a villain like Magneto. Even so, there is a side to Gambit that would make him a very powerful villain – his connection to the shady underworld of the Thieves Guild.
Having been raised as a member of the Thieves Guild, Gambit typically puts his sneaky skills to work by acting as a scoundrel with a heart of gold, stealing things that look appealing but ultimately doing the right thing when push comes to shove. Were the character ever to decide to cause some real trouble for the X-Men, though, it wouldn’t take too much work – all he’d need to do would be take control of the Thieves Guild and use his political power to manipulate others behind the scenes. And, when the occasion calls for it, blow something up, just for old time’s sake.
One of the founding members of the X-Men, Bobby Drake is often underestimated by a lot of his opponents who think his powers don’t go much further beyond being able to throw snowballs. In reality, Iceman’s freezing powers often prove to be brutally effective when facing enemies, even if, for the most part, the character avoids trying to murder other people.
As Bobby’s powers develop further, however, he eventually learns not only to turn to ice, but also to split apart frozen avatars from himself that can be controlled separately. This not only makes Iceman unkillable (getting your head chopped off when you’re made of ice isn’t much of a problem), but he also has his own team of minions to carry out his evil deeds, should be ever decide to break the rules. The result would be an army of snow creatures not unlike Elsa’s giant creation in Frozen, but far more deadly.
Movie Wolverine is good at slicing things up, but fairly ineffective in most situations that require subtlety (as Magneto jokes in X2, there’s not much Logan can do against complex machinery that doesn’t involve scratching at it with his claws).
Comic book Wolverine, however, is a very different story. Trained as a samurai, and with years of practice as a deadly assassin, Logan is a dangerous man to be around, and excellent at finding and eliminating any target that he’s set towards. There have been plenty of comic book stories in which alternate-universe versions of Wolverine have torn through the X-Men ranks with deadly savagery, and one long comic arc that sees Wolverine turned into a brainwashed agent of Hydra who makes short work of plenty of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe.
Given a chance to shine as a deadly villain, Wolverine could cause a lot of damage to the X-Men and everything they hold dear. Besides, thanks to his healing factor, the character could come back again and again, surviving every run-in with the heroes, only to cause more trouble in future.
It’s hard to defend against bad luck, which is why Longshot is a chronically underused character in Marvel comics in general, and why he’d make an excellent villain. Longshot’s power is to alter probabilities, making him incredibly lucky, and making unfortunate things happen to his opponents regularly throughout a fight. Longshot would also be useful as a recurring villain because there’s no way of stopping him long-term – even if he’s defeated, it doesn’t take much creativity to come up with a scenario where he manages to escape capture through sheer dumb luck.
The Marvel universe does have another incredibly lucky sometimes-villain – Black Cat’s powers similarly cause misfortune for her enemies, although in practice that doesn’t tend to stop her from getting arrested. She’s also not hugely into villainy in any big way, often taking on a role as an antihero more often than not.
All things considered, it’s be fun to see a villainous Longshot fighting against the X-Men if only to see Cyclops getting increasingly frustrated at constantly missing when trying to fire a laser blast during battle.
Another time traveler who would make an excellent villain, Bishop has travelled from an apocalyptic future to try and save the past – a goal which has often seen him face off against the X-Men anyway. It wouldn’t take much to tweak the character’ motivations or needs so that they’re in direct conflict with the continued existence of mutant superheroes in general.
Bishop’s power involves absorbing and redistributing energy – something which is hinted at but never properly explained when he appears in the Days of Future Past movie adaptation. This power is a useful one to counter the energy-firing X-Men such as Cyclops, Gambit, and Storm. Any time Cyclops hits Bishop with an energy blast, Bishop can hurl it right back again. This could make for some particularly visually stunning fights between the two, as writers have to come up with new and inventive ways for the X-Men to take Bishop down.
3 Cloak and Dagger
A pair of mutants who typically exist as their own crimefighting duo, Cloak and Dagger have also joined the X-Men and other mutant teams in the past. Their range of powers is quite diverse – Cloak has powers of teleportation, intangibility, and dimension-hopping, while Dagger can create energy weapons and even heal people with her ‘light daggers’. The two are a formidable force, and Marvel certainly has faith in them, as a television series based on the pair is currently in development.
While Cloak and Dagger are normally heroic characters, they’d definitely also make fantastic villains. Cloak looks particularly imposing – his design sees the character often floating in the air as little more than a black cloud which is enough to be unsettling in any circumstance. Dagger, meanwhile, has the potential to do real damage with her light daggers – as is often the case with comic book heroes, her weapon might look cool, but it’s difficult for her to reach her full potential if she’s not using the daggers to kill people.
2 Glob Herman
A surprisingly enduring X-Men character, Glob Herman’s mutation is pretty much a joke – he’s a big squishy bag of pink goo with a skeleton inside. Symbolizing the dramatic physical differences that mutants might experience, Glob has had his run-ins with the X-Men on several occasions, and while studying at the School for Gifted Youngsters, he’s often ended up causing trouble and hassling other students. Glob Herman is hardly a nice kid.
That said, as he’s young, his teachers don’t tend to play too rough with him, and that’s a shame – since he’s made of pink flammable goo, Glob Herman is essentially a walking punching bag. Watching him get beaten up by Wolverine or Colossus would be immensely satisfying.
What’s more, as he’s flammable, Glob is an excellent tool of destruction. At one point in the comics, he lights himself on fire to try and blow up a bus – it’d be fun to see his potential as a full-on supervillain.
In truth, many of the X-Men have spent their fair time as villains – it almost seems part of the entry requirements onto the various X-teams to have been evil (or at least morally confused) at one time. This is one of the enduring aspects of the X-Men and their metaphor for human rights groups around the world, championing the message that any misguided social group can be a force for good when given the right push.
Of course, this also means that a lot of fantastic villainous potential is wasted. It would be wonderful to see a few more X-Men trying to take over the world or stop humanity’s persecution by force – otherwise, many heroes never get the chance to unleash their incredible potential for destruction and mayhem.
Who did we miss off our list? Which other X-Men characters would make excellent villains, or vice versa? Share your opinions in the comments section below.