was a Marvel Comics Comic Book
series starring Nate Grey, a psychic
of near-cosmic level
who was an Alternate Universe
version of Cable
of the X-Men
The character first appeared in X-Man
#1 (March, 1995), created by Jeph Loeb and Steve Skroce. X-Man
was originally planned as a four-issue miniseries that was part of the Age of Apocalypse
crossover. It was later promoted to an ongoing series. Initially written by Jeph Loeb, it changed several writers before Terry Kavanagh came aboard; he wrote the book for most of its run. The series lasted for 75 issues (March, 1995- May, 2001).
Nate was created by his universe's version of Mister Sinister using DNA taken from Cyclops and Jean Grey (in the main universe Sinister had to manipulate Cyclops into marrying a clone of Jean Grey to achieve the same result) his final goal being the same: to create a being powerful enough to destroy his nemesis, Apocalypse. Nate was one of four beings that were accidentally transported from the Age of Apocalypse
reality to the main Marvel Universe
after it was destroyed due to a combination of changes to history
and the explosion of a Cosmic Keystone
. (The other survivors being Sugar Man, Holocaust and Dark Beast- all villains.)
The book followed Nate's exploits at finding his own place in this new world as well as dealing with various villains trying to manipulate him for his vast superpowers. In 2000 it was heavily Retooled
and a year later canceled because Joe Quesada
thought that there were too many X-Books. Nate was killed off in the last issue and stayed "dead" until a point during Dark Reign
where he under went a Unexplained Recovery
and went up against Norman Osborn
and his team of Dark X-Men, before being captured. After Osborn's defeat, he was captured again by Sugar Man but rescued by the New Mutants and then joined the team.
As of Marvel NOW! he seems to be at a loose end, with a brief appearance in Fearless Defenders
being the only hint that the Marvel editorial staff even remember that he exists.
This series contains examples of:
- All-Loving Hero: has shades of this in his Shaman era and on his return from apparent death.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: The Protectorate (heroes of an alternate earth) to The Authority. Curiously, several members were actually versions of pre-existing Marvel characters.
- Arch-Enemy: A case could be made for either Sugar Man or Holocaust, with Dark Beast being a close runner up.
- Back from the Dead: Madelyne Pryor, and eventually Nate himself.
- Cape Busters: Gauntlet, a team of low-level telepaths dedicated to taking down Nate. They proved to be formidable enough threats thanks to psi-blocking armor and didn't care much about casual victims or collateral damage.
- Character Development: Nate gets this in pretty epic fashion, going from scared Fish out of Water with far too much power under too little control, his powers flickering on and off near at random, who regards most issues as not being his problem, to a Knight In Sour Armour hero and cocky teen, still very aware that he's nearing the point where his body is going to burn out, to an incredibly powerful, controlled, kind and rather messianic hero.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: All members of Nate's support cast were never mentioned after the series ended.
- Deadpan Snarker: Whenever he's not acting like a teen, he tends to end up like this.
- This has increased exponentially since he joined the New Mutants.
- De-power: Nate has gone through a lot of these at one point or another. The most spectacular happened after his resurrection, he is captured by Sugar Man and used as a power source to the point of being nowhere near his previous abilities.
- And it looks like it's wearing off. Slowly. Very slowly.
- Or it was until Marvel NOW! At present, he was last seen as a minor character in Fearless Defenders #9.
- Dimensional Traveler: At the height of his powers he can achieve this.
- Divided We Fall: The first encounter with Professor Xavier (who had been long dead in his universe) going bad led Nate to keep his distance from the X-Men for a long time.
- The Dreaded: To many of the people in the 616 universe, at first. Since he was outright stated to be equal to Dark Phoenix in power while he was still a teenager, and isn't the world's most stable individual, this isn't overly surprising.
- Energy Being: Has become one on several occasions.
- Femme Fatale: Madelyne Pryor.
- Fish out of Water: Nate.
- Forgot About His Powers: From time to time Nate forgets about one of his powers or another.
- Considering the sheer number of them, this is far from surprising.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Nate dispersed his essence to every living being on Earth to prevent an alien parasite from consuming them killing them both.
- It lasted eight years real time, surprisingly enough.
- Holding Back the Phlebotinum: With no TO virus like Cable, keeping him from using his immense power to solve problems in a flash requires his powers to frequently be burned out, somehow blocked, or on occasion held back by having him pick up the Idiot Ball.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: as epitomised by his 'Greyville' fantasy under the influence of Mysterio.
- Kid From The Alternate Universe: Nate for Cyclops and Jean Grey.
- Knight In Shining Armour: To Threnody in particular.
- Laser-Guided Tykebomb: Nate was created by the Sinister of the Age of Apocalypse timeline, for the express purpose of killing Apocalypse, who Sinister currently served as a Horseman.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Nate's acquaintance with characters from the main Marvel Universe usually started from trading blows.
- Not overly surprising since his power levels made him The Dreaded (something Cable notes).
- Notably averted with Spider-Man. When Peter finds the 'street prophet', Nate calmly walks on to him and suggests to just talk things through. Peter accepts.
- Mind over Matter: his telekinesis is probably his go-to ability.
- Mommy Issues: Not a villain, but what with Madelyne Pryor and Queen Jean, he could quite easily be the poster child for this trope.
- Name's the Same: A Cape Busters organization above and a group of power-hungry mutants were both called the Gauntlet.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The people controlled by Threnody.
- Papa Wolf: Cyclops seems to have developed a degree of this towards him after he was rescued from the Omega Machine, making it clear that Nate is family and that he is coming back to Utopia whether Captain America and SHIELD like it or not.
- Parental Incest: Although combined with Fridge Logic. Nate had a relationship with Madelyne Pryor who is a clone of Jean Grey, an alternate version of the woman whose DNA he was created from, making her essentially his genetic mother. And it got worse when she was killed and impersonated by Jean Grey from yet another alternate universe.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Nate was considered to be the most powerful mutant in the world with Dark Phoenix-level power.
- If his powers had killed him as planned, it would have wiped out a quarter of the planet.
- He says that he was born to destroy planets. The being he is fighting at the time does not dispute this.
- Planar Champion: As part of the 'Mutant Shaman' retool.
- Power Degeneration: Nate's power put a huge strain on his body and would kill him before he turned 21. This was eventually revealed to be a fail-safe put into place by AoA!Sinister, because he didn't want Nate to be around to destroy him after he took out Apocalypse.
- Psychic Nosebleed: famous for this.
- Reality Warper: perpetually worried that he might accidentally rewrite the world around him, and for good reason.
- Shout-Out: Harvester's arrival to Earth is very clearly a twisted reflection of Superman's. First his spaceship destroys a military aircraft. Then an elderly couple who are married (but not to each other) witnesses its crashlanding and goes to investigate. They are turned into stone. Yeah, what we have here is the opposite of a saviour.
- Take a Third Option: The Gauntlet explained to Nate that they refused to side with Professor Xavier or Magneto because they were not interested in mutant politics, and because they believed that both sides had worldviews that were too narrow. Given that they were able to operate for God knows how long without either side learning about them, the Gauntlet may have had a point.
- Tangled Family Tree: part of a particularly tangled bit of the Grey-Summers family tree.
- Took a Level in Badass: Takes several. At his first appearance in the 616 universe, he's basically a scared kid in an adult's body. Thereafter, he pulls off a whole bunch of insane feats When he comes Back from the Dead, he immediately takes on all of the Dark Avengers at once. The only one who even slows him down is Ares, and even then, he still has the time to verbally dissect the abilities of the entire team and explain why they won't work on him, while being surprisingly polite about it. He then pulls a Batman Gambit worthy of the trope namer in possessing Norman Osborn and is only beaten by misjudging the rationality of the Green Goblin persona.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Not a villain, but it is a little startling to contrast his Knight In Sour Armour personality to his very first appearance as a kid no more than five or six years old who manages, without saying a word, to elicit a little bit of Cuteness Proximity from Sinister himself!
- Walking Shirtless Scene: After the retool, his standard outfit becomes a open jacket with no shirt.
- Younger than They Look: Despite being for all intents and purposes in his late teens Nate actually is only a few years old due to accelerated ageing by Sinister.