"They will always hate us. We will never live in a world of peace. Which is why control and non-violence are essential. We must prove ourselves a peaceful people. We must give the ordinary humans respect, compliance, and understanding. And we must never mistake that for trust."
— Emma Frost, Astonishing X-Men #1, volume three.
The X-Men are a superhero team in the Marvel Universe. They were created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby (but made famous by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne) and first appeared in The X-Men #1 (September 1963).Under a cloud of increasing anti-mutant sentiment, Professor Xavier creates a haven at his Westchester mansion to train young mutants to use their powers for the benefit of humanity, as well as to prove mutants can be heroes. Xavier recruited Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast and Jean Grey, calling them "X-Men" because they possessed X-tra power due to their possession of the "X-Gene", a gene which normal humans lack and which gives mutants their abilities. Though the X-Men started off with just five members, as the years went on, many characters joined the team. Just as many left, and some returned.Early issues introduced the team's archenemy, Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants, who would battle the X-Men for years. Although the original team was composed entirely of WASPs, as was typical of the time, the All-New, All-Different team of 1975 was incredibly diverse (and for the most part averting Captain Ethnic), and subsequent team makeups have kept this aspect.The X-Men comics have been adapted in other media, including animated television series, video games, and a successful series of films.Due to a massive spike in popularity in the late 1980s, the X-Men name now covers a whole franchise of different titles. These are some of the various spin-offs to be found here on TV tropes.The current main titles are:
All-New X-Men: A title launched as part of the 2012 Marvel NOW! initiative, started by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen. The setting takes place in the aftermath of Avengers Vs X-Men where the original five X-Men are yanked from the past into the present day.
Astonishing X-Men, started by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday to critical acclaim. It initially featured Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Beast, Shadowcat, and the resurrected Colossus as the core team, later replaced by Storm and newcomer Hisako Ichiki (AKA: Armor). Since then, the volume has been written by different writers (such as Warren Ellis, Greg Pak, and Marjorie Liu) with different teams and story arcs. The team currently operates out of the Jean Grey School and has many of its instructors as members.
Cable and X-Force, created by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larroca; the series follows Cable and a team including Domino, Colossus, Forge and Dr. Nemesis on the run from the latest Avengers team, the Uncanny Avengers.
X-Men, the relaunch of the title as a separate entity from Legacy, its first arc was an event that confronted the X-Men against the son of Dracula and many vampires, the most remembered side effect of this battle was the transformation of Jubilee into a vampire. It was a book that focused on the X-Men interacting with the Marvel Universe, and after Schism showcased a team Storm led from Utopia. In 2013, a new volume was launched and focused on an exclusively female X-Men team.
X-Men Legacy, previously known as just X-Men (or "Adjectiveless X-Men" to distinguish it from Uncanny). Started off as a showcase for Jim Lee, but it was transformed into Grant Morrison's New X-Men to coincide with the first two movies. After Schism, the book served as a display for Rogue and the teachers at the Jean Grey School. The second volume, launched as part of the 2012 Marvel NOW! initiative focuses on Legion, Professor Xavier's son.
Comic book titles linked to the X-men include:
Age of Apocalypse: Spinning out of the Uncanny X-Force arc "The Dark Angel Saga", this title follows characters in the apocalyptic hellhole that was once the setting of the eponymous crossover from the 90s. The title ended in 2013 with the Bat Family CrossoverX-Termination.
Generation Hope, after the events of Second Coming, the mutant Messiah Hope Summers returned to the 616 universe and started repopulating the mutant race activating the powers of new mutants around the world. This book is about her and her group of mutants called "Lights". The title ended with #17 in 2012.
X-Treme X-Men: A title premiered in July 2012 by Greg Pak that featured Dazzler and a team of alternate universe X-Men and is similar in tone to the Exiles series. Has no real relation to the 2001 Chris Claremont series of the same name. The title ended in 2013 with the Bat Family CrossoverX-Termination.
Wolverine (which had its own spin-off titles, including Origins and The Best There Is)
...and too many more to name. Every major character has had at least one miniseries, usually several. See whatThe Other Wiki has to say about it.In addition to the comic series, they have also been adapted to television:
Addiction Powered: The drug Kick is a highly addictive power-booster that works only on mutants. It's inverted when it's revealed that it comes from the sentient bacteria Sublime, making its mutation to be an addictive power source.
Alternate Universe: This trope often crosses over with Bad Future, but not always. As the trope itself describes, the X-Men and their associated Spin-Off groups sometimes find themselves either having to deal with, or sometimes even visiting, various different Alternate Universes or Bad Futures, to the point where several different members of the team even come from the. Rachel's from the Days of Future Past timeline, Cable spent most of his life in a Dystopic Hellhole, Bishop's from a Cop from a future where mutants either work for the government or are otherwise herded into concentration camps, and X-Man and Uncanny X-Force's Nightcrawler are from the Ao A timeline, where Apocalypse started taking over everything before the X-Men were even formed.
Always Chaotic Evil: Just about every villainous group, like the Reavers, the Purifiers or the Hellfire Club to name a few.
Amazing Technicolor Population: Mutant skin color ranges far beyond peach to brown seen in humans. Blue is an especially common color, for some reason - there have probably been more blue X-men than black X-men. Background mutants are also commonly given unusual skin color to make their subspecies immediately identifiable to the reader.
Amazon Brigade: The 2013 relaunch of (adjectiveless) X-Men will feature an all-female team: Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, Psylocke and Jubilee.
Animal-Themed Superbeing: Wolverine, Maggot, Leech, Beak, any of the Phoenixes, Thunderbird, and, to a certain extent, Kitty Pryde when she went by the name Shadowcat were all members that utilized this trope. Also, when Beast became lion-like, he invoked this trope but not necessarily before that point. Nightcrawler completely subverts this, having nothing to do with the worm from which his name stems.
Astonishing pointed out that he isn't a regular Team Pet; he's an alien empath who speaks dozens of languages, and is smarter than the Professor. Also, He'd been spying on the X-Men for SWORD since he came back.
Anti-Climactic Unmasking: The story arc of Kaga in Astonishing X-Men, who is nothing more than a deformed elderly man who survived Hiroshima who's jealous of the X-Men's looks.
Anti-Hero: Wolverine is the archetypal example, but many more have joined
At present count, these X-men characters are Anti Heroes: Archangel, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Namor, Psylocke, Wolverine, Warpath, X-23. Really, it's starting to look like there are more anti-heroes than there are heroes.
While Anti-Hero might be too strong a term, Thunderbird was certainly a jerk and was killed off because he and Wolverine were deemed too similar.
Army of The Ages: Inverted when Fitzroy tries to conquer the present (his past) with future sentinel technology. It finally backfires spectacularly when he opens a portal to a prison riot in the future, bringing in a horde of mutant inmates - Bishop follows.
Ashes to Crashes: Destiny (girlfriend/advisor to Mystique) left very specific instructions for when Mystique was to scatter her ashes. It was to be on the fantail of a particular cruise liner, on a specific date, at a specific time. Mystique waits for the specific time, then tosses the ashes, only to have the wind blow them right back in her face. The fact that Destiny was a clairvoyant means the entire thing was a rather macabre practical joke. Mystique appropriately laughs at her lover's final joke.
Assimilation Backfire: Even though Rogue is not an assimilator proper, her absorption power has often enough resulted in assimilation backfire, e. g. absorbing a particularly strong personality may result in her control of her own body to the persona she absorbed. This happened with Spiral, for instance. She also sometimes had to struggle for control of her own body with some other personalities she absorbed, especially with that of Ms. Marvel.
Author Appeal: The way Claremont writes Storm becomes... noticeable, over the years.
It has become something of a joke at how many characters have died and returned. But trying to avert this not only fools nobody, it comes across as writers using averting this to get rid of characters they don't like.
The entire team dies in Uncanny X-Men #227, only to come back a few pages later.
Characters like Psylocke and Colossus have been killed off, only to return, in the case of these two, both returned in the same year.
Badass: Wolverine, Storm, Gambit, Cyclops, Beast, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Havok, Polaris, Rogue, Iceman, Colossus, Shadowcat, Emma Frost, Warpath, Cable, Jubilee, X-23... Just too many badasses to count.
Badass Longcoat: Gambit primarily, though Rogue and others have been known to don the longcoat on occasion. Subverted by Jubilee, whose most iconic costume is a flashy bright yellow longcoat.
Bad Future: "Days of Futures Past" is a major one, where Sentinels have taken over the world.
Apocalypse also takes over the world 2,000 years in the future and is equally awful.
Few futures seen thus far can be considered GOOD. Cable's most recent book sent him through what may be one timeline, or many timelines. Messiah Complex sent two clones of Madrox into two separate futures, one where humans had packed mutants into concentration camps (Bishop's time) and one where Homo superior had violently come to dominate the planet. Only the "What If: Age of Xavier" has ever produced an alternate reality that didn't completely suck, in this Troper's memory.
Barrier Warrior: The Blob and Unus the Untouchable are examples of these. Subverted in that they're both obnoxious Jerkasses who use their powers to bully others.
Bat Family Crossover: Very common. For a while, they were affectionately referred to by fans as "X-overs". At times, the X-Books have almost seemed like an entirely separate universe. Inferno and Onslaught averted this, however, as did Maximum Security. And "Mutant Massacre" (X-Men's first major crossover) featured Thor and the Power Pack in minor roles.
One of the major complaints of the franchise is that Marvel rarely acknowledges the oddity of mutants getting so much more flack than other superpowered beings.
Some of the more successful examples of this trope are Age Of Apocalypse, Mutant Massacre and Fatal Attractions.
Betrayal Insurance: Professor Xavier has a set of plans on how to stop the X-Men, Xavier himself being the subject of the first entry; however, these have rarely been mentioned since they were introduced.
Jean Grey choosing between Cyclops (Betty) and Wolverine (Veronica)
And last but not least, Cyclops with Jean Grey (Betty) and Psylocke (Veronica).
Beware the Nice Ones: Storm, Nightcrawler, Cannonball, Colossus, Shadowcat, Beast, and most notably Jean Grey, are all pretty nice people, in spite of their lives being one big Trauma Conga Line. But don't push it...
Magneto is currently enduring a case of Heel Face Turn; however, new big bads have been popping up, most recently bringing Bastion back.
Bigger Bad: Sublime, a sentient colony of bacteria almost as old as the Earth itself, definitely qualifies. In "Here Comes Tomorrow", it was revealed to have orchestrated many events in the X-Men's past, including the creation of the Weapon X program, all in a centuries-old campaign to wipe the mutant race from the Earth (as they are the only species immune to its mind control). It's implied that it may have even manipulated humanity to create the very idea of anti-mutant prejudice in the first place.
The Celestials also qualify. The very-abridged-and-not-entirely-accurate version is essentially that Sublime invented anti-mutant prejudice and the Celestials invented mutant supremacism.
Big Good: Xavier originally, but since being forced to take control, Cyclops has taken this role.
Following Avengers Vs X-Men and Cyclops being branded a criminal, his brother, Havok has with a bit of prodding taken up the role.
Bitter Wedding Speech: In an issue of X-Men Unlimited about the wedding of one of Emma's college friends.
Blessed with Suck: Apparently, evolution isn't too good at telling when a mutation totally sucks. Somewhat justified, in that most mutations in Real Life are not beneficial.
There are several examples (Cyclops, Blob, Rogue; the list goes on and on) but the Gold Medal would have to go to Wither, who literally has the power to suck out life-force... which is uncontrollable, irreversible and activates at any and all skin-to-skin contact. Blessed with Suck figuratively and literally.
At least Rogue's damage is temporary if she's careful, whereas Wither tends to irreversibly cripple or horribly kill anyone he touches. After M-Day, he thinks he can finally hold the hand of the girl he's in love with... and promptly maims her. Poor kid.
Rogue also does not drain life-force, she drains powers and memories. The loss of life was an unfortunate side effect that got briefly tuned up that's was eventually dropped entirely.
Cyclops is—err, was a special case: His powers ought to be as controllable as any other energy blaster, but he suffered a concussion in his youth (his parents had pushed him out of a plane when they were attacked by the Shi'ar), which somehow lead to his inability to shut off his powers after they emerged. Emma Frost later removed a mental block to give him control of his powers, since he had apparently been subconsciously keeping his eyes on to ensure he'd never hurt anyone with his powers (her explanation).
Surge has a similar problem to Cyclops in that she needs special equipment (her gauntlets) to control and regulate the flow of electricity to and from her body. Without it, the electricity overloads her brain and prevents her from controlling it fully.
None of the above compares to the power of a random kid in Ultimate X-Men- when his mutant power (to release some kind of highly acidic toxin in the air that melted absolutely anything organic) triggered, he killed his whole hometown without even realizing it. Eventually he figured it out and hid in a cave. Wolverine was sent to track him down, and after a talk with him about how much life can suck sometime (and a lot of beer, because come on, underage drinking was the least of the kid's problems), he had to kill him because that power was completely uncontrollable and very taxing even on his healing factor, so imagine how it'd have been for, say, anybody else on the planet. He'd either have committed a hideous massacre or been weaponized, had he been left alive. To the kid's credit, he himself concluded that was the best solution for everyone, himself included.
Blown Across the Room: Cyclops' eye beams knock bad guys back, but not Cyclops himself. It's one of the ways he's immune to his own power.
Marvel got a ruling saying mutants weren't people for purposes of taxes and tariffs on merchandise. See here.
Also, after decades of using mutants as a metaphor for an oppressed minority that we should love and respect, Joe Quesada mandates the Decimation event, in which a vast majority of the Marvel universe's mutants are depowered and there are in the low three digits of mutants left.
One of the taglines for the first movie was "Trust some. Fear the rest." Imagine this being applied to any minority group.
Since their move to Utopia, the X-Men have been almost exclusively devoted to the survival of the dwindling numbers of their race, up to and including fighting the Avengers over a potential threat that might possibly re-ignite the X-gene worldwide. Even those who ended up siding with the Avengers to stop the Phoenix Five seem to have long forgotten that Xavier's dream was to have peaceful co-existence with humans, not complete segregation for the sake of safety.
Brought Down to Normal: The Decimation event mentioned above did this to nearly the entire mutant population. There are only roughly 300 mutants left with powers after everything is said and done.
Brought Down to Badass In Astonishing X-Men, Emma's mind rape of him turns off Cyclops' powers, causing him to take a gun and start shooting mental images, to make a point.
This also happens to both Rouge and Gambit for the second half of X-treme X-Men. An incident involving getting hooked up to a portal streaming in countless alien warships, and subsequently getting stabbed through the chest to bring the portal to a halt, resulted in the two of them losing their powers; for Rouge, she still had them for another issue, but lost them after that. Rouge and Gambit then go away for ten issues or so, trying to settle down for a bit and have a life together now that they can, you know, do it. Eventually though, they rejoin the team, but still without their powers. Does this make them any less effective in the field? The answer to that, is: Hell no. Rouge stops a bomber from blowing up over 70 people by taking the bomb off in the freaking air, and and manages to kick a few mutant's asses with just some good old fashioned brawling, while Gambit is able to take down a mind-controlled Bishop, who has access to a bunch of fancy future-tech. Gambit, however, manages to use some of that tech against Bishop. In the end, the two of them both prove that they don't need their powers at all; in fact, not having their powers only makes them seem more Badass.
Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie: Destiny gives Mystique a precise request on where and when to scatter her ashes because she knows the future. As it turns out, Destiny has quite the sense of humor. When Mystique goes to honor Destiny's request, the wind changes direction, and throws the ashes right into Mystique's face; she gets the joke and doubles over laughing.
But Not Too Black: Storm is African-American, but she has fair hair and blue eyes, which is supposed to be a mark of her royal heritage. Also, Bishop is black, but he was born in Australia and is part Aborigine, which may account for his straight hair and his lighter skin tone. M from X Factor is French-African and Algerian and her skin tone has ranged wildly throughout the years, from dark caramel to "damn near white."
But Not Too Foreign: Storm has an African mother, and grew up in Africa, but her father was an American, and she was apparently born in New York.
Cannot Tell a Joke: Colossus by his own admission in Astonishing X-Men #19, after being told of a prophecy that he is destined to destroy the Breakworld:
"I have been planning on destroying the Breakworld ever since I was a child." (after the X-Men look at him in shock) "This is why I don't make so many jokes. I never know when is good."
Captain Ethnic: They tend to be well written and popular characters, but many mutants skirt the line. Sunspire is the only one who fits both in powers and heroic identity and also manages to be Captain Geographic.
Cheated Angle: Artists' notes on how to draw Nightcrawler say that they must draw his tail with a curve in it (when character is drawn from the front, with legs apart) so the tail wouldn't look phallic.
Cloning Blues: Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor. Cable and Stryfe. Magneto and Joseph. Wolverine and X-23. Apocalypse and Genesis.
Clothes Make the Legend: Averted for most characters, with all the costume changes. Magneto is one of the few who's kept the same general costume.
Wolverine, possibly due to Wolverine Publicity, is probably the character whose costume has changed the least. He wears black leather like everyone else in the movies and the Ultimates line, and in the main continuity his costume has gone through a slight color shift and ragged phases, but that's nothing compared to the variations every long-running main team member goes through. He did have a brown and orange costume for a while, though, but returned to his old colors soon enough.
Continuity Snarl: Everything from the pasts of many characters to the origin of mutants.
Convenient Terminal Illness: A flashback explaining how Professor X could come back from the dead uses this: a terminally ill mutant scallywag calling himself the Changeling offered to pose as Xavier so the Prof could prepare for an imminent invasion.
Crapsack World: The Marvel Universe verges on this for mutants. Let's face it, if a mutant exists somewhere, a lynch mob can't be far behind.
The Days of Future Past reality and Age of Apocalypse are more straightforward examples.
Many of the characters, since there are a lot of them and have been a lot of writers.
You'll also notice a subtle difference in the way sympathetic characters use the word "human" as a blanket term for both mutants and ordinary humans, but occasionally use it to mean just ordinary humans when it's clear from context they're not implying a value judgment. Under some writers, though, they'll avoid the second usage or use the word "human" exclusively for non-mutants (e.g. specifying "humans and mutants" when talking to aliens). For a long time, this didn't vary from character to character, except for villains: the anti-mutant racists inhuman freaks unworthy of being part of humanity while evil mutants are emphasizing the supremacy of homo-sapiens-superior over mere Muggles. However with the recent Decimation and Endangered Species events, everyone is referring to mutants as a separate species from humans without regard to the good/bad implications.
Differently Powered Individual: Mutants are classified as Omega (potentially limitless power), Alpha (can turn their powers on or off), Beta (always on) and other lower-tier classes. Besides mutants, there are the Mutates, the Neo, the Children of the Vault, and plenty of other named "subspecies" of superpowered folk that are just like mutants, except—not.
Legacy Virus = AIDS. Genosha = World War II concentration camp.
Which brings us to Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?. X-Men is one of the Trope Namers. Mutant = being gay but with superpowers of varying usefulness/appeal, and no marriage controversy, but giant robots want to kill you.
It's a lot more obvious in The Movie. It helps that the director, Brian Singer, and the star, Ian McKellen, are both openly gay.
Unless you're a gay mutant. Poor, poor Northstar, who is both of those things, and French-Canadian on top.
Additionally: In the book Who Needs a Superhero?, H. Michael Brewer uses the X-Men (and mutants in general) as an illustration of how Christians are to be "in the world, but not of the world." He discusses the four basic ways mutants deal with being hated by humans (peacefully coexisting [Xavier], attacking back [Magneto], compromising to fit in (Nightcrawler's holographic disguise), or withdrawing entirely [the Morlocks]) and how each fails to capture the entirety of the Christian's duties. (Better solution, says Brewer: a cross-over.)
The metaphor kinda falls apart if you watch the movie and get to the scene where Cyclops involuntarily blasts the roof off a train station. Most gay people can't do that.
That's why it's called a metaphor. They're not actually gay people.
If you think about it, the metaphor doesn't fall apart. Gays are supposed to somehow destroy the sanctity of marriage or randomly turn people gay. You never know who among us has the power to destroy civilization.
But is re-established when mutants who have the Amazing power of being green, or really hairy, or lumpy slightly higher than others. And are all still attacked by Mutant haters. Or when a bunch of mutants lost their powers and were then blown up on a bus.
Besides, the exact targets of the phobia may be different, but the motivation is the same: people are scared of the target. Muggles fear Cyclops because he can blast the roof off a train. They fear gays because legalizing gay marriage will cause people to wed their dogs and their toasters. Either way, the Hate Dumb doesn't want it to happen.
Five-Token Band: Seven, actually. The All-New, All-Different X-Men could be considered this, with at least three characters (Storm, Sunfire and Thunderbird) being of a different ethnicity, but each one of them comes from anywhere in the world: the aforementioned Thunderbird is the only American in the team.
Flight Of Romance: This trope is taken to a extreme when Angel has sex with Husk in mid air in front of her mother, Nightcrawler, and several other people.
Forced To Watch: Professor X, being forced by Mojo to watch his students compete in his twisted gameshow.
Foreshadowing: During Whedon's "Astonishing" arc, Agent Brand mentions that Breakworld had a bullet pointed at Earth's head. Except for the "head" part, this turns out to be literally true.
Friendly Tickle Torture: Nightcrawler has done this to, on various occasions, Rogue, Phoenix (Rachel), and Meggan (of Excalibur). Between his teleporting ability and his prehensile tail, he's apparently quite good at it.
Furry Fandom: In the "Breakworld" arc, Brand's deep secret is that she's "hot" for Beast.
Gang of Hats: The Hellfire Club (the mutant mafia, essentially) all dress themselves as 18th Century British aristocrats and take on the titles of chess pieces.
Generation Xerox: Wolverine and X-23, Emma Frost and the remaining Stepford Cuckoos.
Subverted with Cyclops and Surge in that they're not related in anyway. Other than that however, Surge is effectively a younger Cyclops, complete with crippling self doubt and a power that needs to be kept in check by an external device (in this case, her gauntlets). Her relationship with X-23 is also starting to mirror that between Scott and Logan, right down to the love triangle.
Genre Blindness: Parallels between anti-mutant bigotry and historical racism (especially that of Hitler and the Nazis) are repeatedly emphasized, especially by Magneto. Despite that mutants, including even the X-Men themselves, have become increasingly prone to emphasize how they are a separate "species" from the rest of humanity, in many ways validating the position of their ideological opponents. This was lampshaded in an argument between Scott Summers and Jamie Madrox. The latter, who favors living in New York City and running his team, X-Factor, as a private detective agency argued that the real problem was that normal humans could not tell the difference between good mutants and evil mutants. Scott insisted that was ridiculous, and at that exact moment Magneto, Emma Frost and Namor appeared to welcome Jamie to their "Brotherhood" (a reference to Magneto's old Brotherhood of Evil Mutants). Layla Miller, who was following them while they argued, promptly doubled over in laughter to Scott's chagrin.
Genre Savvy: Anole. When Elixir tells him that he has to learn human anatomy to make his powers more effective, Anole just points out that the X-Men always have knowledge like that dumped into their heads telepathically. Also, when interrogated by SHIELD to reveal the location of his friends, he simply goes over a list of all the unlikely places the X-Men and New Mutants have gone.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Though their mission statement is to fight against human racists and mutant terrorists, at least a third of Chris Claremont's run had them fighting against random evil aliens. To be fair, audiences would have grown bored if the storylines were solely about human racists and mutant terrorists.
Peter Milligan's Golgotha was a giant space flea... and it was literally from nowhere. Especially when you realize you expected the hangar without seeing anything suspicious... and a few moments later you come back and see there's a ginormous squicky creature on top of the Blackbird.
Glamour: Gambit's charm is now officially part of his power.
Gambit had this power in his first appearance and even had it listed as a power in TSR role-playing modules.
Good Is Not Nice: Wolverine is the most notable example, thought Cyclops has recently faded into this area due to the dark age forcing him to take command and become Nick Fury with eye beams. Since the switch to the Heroic Age, he's reverted to a more well rounded, no-nonsense leader type and Big Good.
Grade School CEO: The villains of Schism are a quartet of obscenely rich kids around 12 years old, the leader of whom takes over for his late father as CEO of the company that manufactures Sentinels.
Greater Need Than Mine: When Rogue first joined the team, and was mortally injured, Wolverine forced her to absorb his powers, despite his own injuries, and the fact that 25 pages/half a day earlier, Wolverine literally wanted to kill her himself. Her Noble Sacrifice on behalf of Wolvie, and more important Wolvie's fiancee, Mariko Yashida, convinced him that she was worthy of mercy.
Grey and Gray Morality: Except for the occasional Omnicidal Maniac, this runs very strong as far as mainstream superhero titles go. It's rare to find a guide list that even tries to separate the non-X-wearing cast into allies and villains, and quite a few stories end with the villain talking the X-Men down.
Guile Hero: Xavier loves sneaking around and setting up long-term schemes, going back to the first time he faked his death in the Silver Age.
Hand Blast: A common manifestation of mutant powers. For example, Havoc fires concussive beams from his hands.
The Sentinels typically fire Hand Blasts in their mutant-hunting endeavors.
There was a beautiful use of this during Joss Whedon's Astonishing run. When a "cure for the X-gene" is found, Beast want to investigate it and see if it works, and White Queen explicitly asks him if he'd feel the same if it were a "cure" for homosexuality. Emma Frost is a beautiful, rich white woman whose powers are telephathy and turning to nigh-invulnerable diamond. Beast is a random guy from Illinois who was turned into an agile catperson who is blue, and has had more and more trouble controlling his instincts. The implication is that it's easy for Emma to say she doesn't need to be "cured", but not so much for Beast.
To be fair, the story in question also revealed that Emma (since coming out of the mutant closet at the start of Morrison's run) has been blackballed by high society and that X-Treme X-Men Annual 2001 made a huge point that Emma spent a huge amount of money on lawyers suing anti-mutant hate groups to stay in the closet. Not to mention the fact that Emma technically ISN'T rich anymore since her evil siblings and Xavier own most of her assets when she was presumed dead.
Heel Face Turn: Gambit, Magneto during his "headmaster" phase, Emma Frost, Juggernaut, Rogue.
The Sentinels: after Decimation, they're now a human-piloted peacekeeping force to protect the remaining mutants.
To be a bit more specific; Mystique joined the X-Men and left, Sabretooth joined the X-men and left, Juggernaut joined the X-Men and left, Magneto joined the X-Men, left, and joined again, Sebastian Shaw joined Hope's Lights and left... Really, about the only two Heel Face Turn 's to have stuck are Rouge, Tessa/Sage, (who turned out to be Good All Along,) and Emma Frost. Every other villain that's joined eventually just stabs the group in the back. (Either that, or they just up an leave.) Oh, and lest we forget; Lady Mastermind joined the X-Men and left...
Hero Killer: Nimrod, the Ultimate Sentinel from the Days of Future Past who can adapt on the fly to any mutant power and rebuild himself from total destruction and requires at least half a team of X-Men to put down.
Though canon now states that Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique and Azazel.
OTOH, canon as laid down by Chuck Austen, so expect Fan Discontinuity and perhaps in the not too distant future Canon Discontinuity as Austen has pretty much made himself persona non grata with both comic readers and the comics industry as a whole.
Hufflepuff House: A staple of the series in the last few years is to have a group of C-list mutants hovering around the X-Men's periphery, such as the X-kids not currently on a team, The 198, or the other mutants living on Utopia. Sometimes they'll get A Day in the Limelight or become an Ensemble Darkhorse, but usually their purpose is to serve as background color and to provide cannon fodder should the story need it.
An Ice Suit: Bobby / Iceman usually only wears briefs when going into his ice form.
Surprisingly averted with some characters who have obvious physical mutations, like Nightcrawler. He's perfectly happy with the way he looks, even though, resembling a blue demon, he actually would have some legitimate reasons to complain. If such a character were written by another writer and not Chris Claremont, he likely would've fallen into this trope.
Implicit Prison: In Marvel Comics "Decimation" event, the Xavier Institute was called a "Haven" for remaining mutants, but was really an internment camp for them.
Informed Ability: Due to Loads and Loads of Characters the series have mounted over the decades and the Popularity Power, Pandering to the Base, Running the Asylum factors might guide the course of the story, many mutants suffer the case of poorly expanded and very limited use of their powers, it's more common to see these renegated characters, or someone other than, stating what they could do instead of actually doing it, not even once at least in one of the many alternate universes and continuities. The most prominent examples are the Omega Level mutants, the term itself is not properly fleshed out but it's clear that the mutants under this class are likely to be a Person of Mass Destruction, Physical God, Reality Warper, etc. etc. Arguably only Jean Grey/Phoenix and Franklin Richards has shown what a Omega Level is truly capable of; Elixir, Vulcan, Legion and X-Man have at least shown a little of their magnificent powers; but Iceman, Mister M, Rachel Summers and Torrent are really, really kept in the dark.
Justified that many of these "renegates" suffers of this because some only appeared in a single arc concerning an alternate future/universe or a What If?, Torrent in particular fits the bill. The one truly worthy of mentioning is Iceman, the original who has been there since day one has not had a single continuity where he peforms actions of extreme prowess compared to the likes of Phoenix; being able to create endless ice streams, barrages and beams out of thin air with no visible water supply is impressive enough, but not even close to the things his (seemly unlimited) control of moisture and temperature would imply he could do. No wonder many of his alternate incarnations in media, cartoons and video games adaptations are prone to make him an young newcomer who still is learning to control his powers along with the others young mutants in the Danger Room.
Iceman has gotten a major upgrade in the new Wolverine & The X-Men comic. In issue two, he defeats an army of flamethrower-wielding Frankenstein clones by activating the sprinkler system and spawning dozens of autonomous ice duplicates. It's pretty much exactly as awesome as it sounds.
Or the time he fought a bunch of vampires by having a priest BLESS HIS ICE FORM.
Kudzu Plot: Claremont's uncannily long stint on Uncanny X-men
La Résistance: The resistance on Breakworld, who are some of the few Breakworlders who actually feel compassion, and believe caring for the weak and wounded is not a sin. So much compassion, in fact, that their Prophet wants to destroy the planet to end everyone's suffering, and set up the whole prophecy in order to manipulate Colossus into it.
Leotard of Power: Storm and Psylocke traditionally wear these, though there are several others.
Less Embarrassing Term: In one comic, Jean Grey asks Jubilee if she still has nightmares. Jubilee responds that nightmares are for babies; she has "traumatic evening episodes."
Lethal Harmless Powers: Nightcrawler and Teleporting. Also, Kitty often threatens to phase a part of her body into a part of an enemy's. Of course, this would result in mutual Tele Frag and Kitty would run out of hands in a hurry.
This depends on how well her Required Secondary Powers do - there is a villain with similar power, Shinobi Shaw, and he does exactly that as his trademark move.
Loads and Loads of Characters: And loads and loads. The Decimation event stripped the number of mutants down to 198 because the boys at Marvel had gotten sick of trying to keep up with so many mutant characters in the ranks.
Look Ma, No Plane!: Rogue does this in the X-Men comics, buzzing Air Force One and giving ol' Ronnie Reagan a thrill. She does it again in the first issue of her limited series, this time planting a kiss on one of two fighter jets.
Perhaps it's a case of "be yourself," which in the real world is the best solution.
As a general rule, the more powerful they are, the more likely they are are to actually be a threat to humanity. This is especially true of Omega level mutants. Even in a best case scenario you have instances like Franklin Richards and the Scarlet Witch. On the more deliberately villainous side of things you have Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix, Magneto, Proteus, Onslaught, Vulcan and others. Is it really irrational that regular humans might be just a tad bit disconcerted by this state of affairs and feel that it could be prudent to do something about it? For the most part, the writers have made such a point of creating dangerous and/or evil mutants, and then hurling them at the general public, that one would think humanity would have to be insane to not be terrified for their lives! Which unfortunately makes their attitude towards mutants seem more than a little bit justified.
The recurring nature of world-smashing conflicts initiated by mutant villains (and sometimes heroes), combined with the fact that most of the alternate future timeline's we have seen are of the Bad Future variety could leave a reader with a sense that the anti-mutant crowd makes sense. The writers seem to revel in the notion that the rise of mutants is setting the world on a path to a horrific future, and yet it is still supposed to be seen as a positive thing.
The Magic Touch: Gambit has the power to turn anything he touches into an explosive.
Inverted with the (incorrectly named) Decimation Wave created by the Scarlet Witch, which depowered 90% of all mutants.
Mental Affair: Scott and Emma. Not entirely surprising that Jean, a fellow telepath, catches them in the act.
Meta Origin: The X-Gene causes all sorts of different physical changes.
Mind Over Manners: Preached more than practiced, particularly by Xavier. It could be argued that he takes the trope name more literally than most; it's not a rigid ethical code, but simple etiquette, and he'll sidestep his "principles" with all the sincere regret he'd give an ill-timed belch at a formal dinner. However, he's only gotten particularlyJerk Ass about it with recent attempts to make him more flawed or something.
Mind Rape: What Jean does to Emma to wipe the smug look off her face after having been caught with Scott.
Jason Wyngarde used Dark Phoenix to become more powerful, so she returned in kind... by granting him omniscience to drive him insane.
Monster Modesty: Beast started off as looking mostly-human and was covered head to toe (his original costume is depicted in the page image). Once he turned into a blue ape-man, he took to wearing black underwear and nothing else. His current costume averts this a bit more.
Muggle Power: For Magneto and his bunch. The X-Men, naturally, oppose both sides.
Must Make Amends: This happens to Magneto. He's always been opposed by the X-Men, so by now he often attacks them at full power (which is a lot) instinctively. Sadly, the X-Men are mutants... some of the people Magneto wants to protect. Even worse, the one he accidentally hurts is the newest recruit, a 13-year-old (mutant) girl. "What have I done?" is the short version of his monologue, when he realizes what he has done. Follow his Villainous BSOD and his first Heel Face Turn as The Atoner.
He also served in this role briefly for the CIA, resigning in a rather...spectacular fashion when agents killed his then-girlfriend because he had gone after a Nazi who, unknown to him, was working for the United States.
Nested Mouths: Bliss the Morlock has an extra mouth on her tongue.
No Fourth Wall: Deadpool. His entry at the top should really tell you all you need to know, but if you're still in doubt you can just go ahead and check my- I mean HIS awesome main article... Uuh... I have to go now. Ciao!
Not So Different: Comparisons between Magneto's ideology and Hitler's are inevitable, particularly as Magneto oscillates between a Well-Intentioned Extremist protecting mutantkind from the same fate his family and the rest of the Holocaust victims suffered and an evolutionary supremacist who sees Homo Superior enslaving or killing off Muggles as the natural order of things.
Oddly Common Rarity: Omega level mutants. Mutants in general are supposed to be rare. Mutants whose potential and/or actual power levels are so great as to be difficult to measure should therefore be almost unheard of. Only they are not. During the Silver Age and the Bronze Age it was generally held that Professor X and Magneto were the most powerful mutants in the world. But in recent times mutants whose power equals or exceeds their's are surprisingly common, and with the recent reduction in the size of the overall mutant population they stand out even more.
Orgy Of Evidence: In X-Men Noir, Tommy Halloway/the Angel investigates the murder of Jean Grey, which was clearly done with Wolverine Claws. When he finds the missing X-Man, Anne-Marie Rankin, he's suspicious because she pointed him in the direction of Captain Logan almost immediately after they met. Halloway manages to figure out it couldn't be Logan very quickly, leading to the obvious conclusion that Rankin's trying to frame him - and since Logan's neko de aren't too hard to come by if you know where to look, she likely killed Jean herself.
Outsidethe Box Tactic: Sebastian Shaw absorbs any kinetic energy directed at him, even a bullet, so Storm covers him in snow, which actually saps his energy, due to cold being a lack of said energy. note Ironically, 15ish years later the X-Man Bishop—whose powers are similar to Shaw's—would charge himself up by using snowfall.
Painted On Pants: Nearly every female X-Man wears these at least once (but all the costume changes mean none have worn them constantly).
Passion Is Evil: Several Face Heel Turns are caused by emotional overload throughout the series—but the most shining example is the Dark Phoenix. The Dark Phoenix itself only came to exist because Jean Grey was fed decadent and hedonistic desires which corrupted the cosmic entity.
Phlebotinum Battery: Cyclops' red optic blasts are charged by solar power. In a pinch they can be charged by Storm's lightning (which turns them white) but it is not at all pleasant for him.
Phlegmings: Often exhibited by Wolverine, the Brood, and many others.
Magneto is the most notable example, with his power level depending heavily on which side of the Face Heel Revolving Door he is on at any given time. As a rule, when he is being a villain he has practically unlimited power. When behaving more benignly his powers are usually dialed back substantially.
Professor X also tends to drift around a bit, usually in response to how much he might mess up the plot. Back in the early days, he could telepathically mindwipe an entire town. More recently, even a little bit of Psychic Static can give him a headache.
Wolverine's healing factor was not nearly as invincible in earlier stories as it is of late.
Power Incontinence: Most mutants start out with little to no control over their powers when first activated. Mutants not Blessed with Suck can gain control through careful practice.
Power Loss Makes You Strong: Storm, back in the 80's. She lost her powers at the hands of Forge and ends up with a mohawk living with the Morlocks, even beating Callisto in hand to hand combat and defeating Cyclops without powers to retain leadership of the X-Men. She was the primary leader until the teams split into Gold and Blue...then different books...and then she got married so she never actually was out of a command position.
She defeated Callisto to become the leader of the Morlocks before losing her powers. She's just thatBadass, normal or not. On a related note, she never lived with the Morlocks, despite being their boss.
It's worth mentioning that the rules of her duel with Callisto specifically forbid Storm to use her mutant power, and she still defeated her, even though she hadn't yet fully recovered from a sickness caused by another Morlock, and even though everyone assumed Callisto to be the better fighter. So it could be said that the duel with Callisto was a prelude to her Badass Normal period.
Power Strain Blackout: Nearly all the female characters, especially telepaths like Jean Grey, have done this at least once across many incarnations.
Required Secondary Powers: Often averted, many mutants need technological assistance to keep their powers from being a danger to themselves or others. For example, Cyclops needs to wear a visor or he'll blast everything in front of him whenever he has his eyes open.
Retcon: Absurdly common, especially with characters with mysterious pasts.
Rogues Gallery: Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mister Sinister and the Marauders, the Friends of Humanity, the Sentinels, Gene Nation, Humanity's Last Stand, the Brood, the Phalanx, the Shadow King, Nimrod, the Juggernaut, Black Tom Cassidy, the Hellfire Club, Apocalypse and his Horsemen, the Acolytes of Magneto, Sublime, the Reavers, the Mutant Liberation Front and the Weapon X project (* whew!* ) have all functioned as recurring enemies for the X-Men as a group.
Rule of Drama: Common. For example, Rogue and Gambit. Every time a writer tries to resolve the angst of their relationship, the next one will find a way to stir it up again. Ditto for Polaris and Havok; the writers have used actual black holes to keep them apart.
A few years back the lineup of one team consisted of Gambit, Rogue, Iceman, Polaris, and Havok. My god...
With Iceman and nurse Annie being part of a big love quadrangle with Polaris and Havok.
Running Gag: During Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine's obsession with beer. It actually becomes a plot point: a can of beer falls on his head and snaps him out of his mental reversion to James Howlett.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Brood exist to mutilate and enslave other races, transforming them into still more of their depraved kind. The Phalanx exist to convert all other entities in the universe into part of their race of living circuitry. Both have clashed with the X-Men.
Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story: Banshee's death in Deadly Genesis. Not only does Vulcan kill him, but the plane he was trying to save at the time crashes, killing everyone aboard. This is often cited among fans as one of the absolute least-satisfying X-deaths, and as one they want to see reversed.
The worst offenders in the X-men are probably Emma Frost and Psylocke. Emma Frost is so bad that a lingerie teddy was her original costume and it got worse from there. They've even Lampshaded it in one comic, where the students are glad she wears pants now. Psylocke is noted that its not so much that her costume is revealing as it is a thong and might as well be painted on.
Well, she was part of a club which prided itself on "going back to a purer time where money ruled without sexual inhibitions".
Emma Frost: "This, children, is Kitty Pryde, who apparently feels the need to make a grand entrance."
Kitty Pryde: "I'm sorry. I was busy remembering to put on all my clothes."
Emma Frost: "So gushingly glad you could join us."
Super Power Meltdown: A common problem for newly-manifested mutants, who typically have no idea that they are mutants, no prior knowledge of what their powers may be and are frequently teenagers or younger. Also tends to happen to those suffering from severe psychological issues.
Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Why the Avengers and other non-mutant heroes on friendly terms with the X-Men don't get involved in their Fantastic Racism troubles: because they don't have to deal with it themselves. Lampshaded during the Civil War when Emma Frost gives a What the Hell, Hero? speech to Tony Stark asking why the X-Men should care about Stamford when none of the other heroes got involved after the destruction of Genosha.
To be fair, the absence of non-mutant heroes at Genosha had more to do with the fact that Grant Morrison was trying to distance X-Men from its roots as a superhero comic, and insisted on going the whole run without other superheroes even making cameos. Hell, under Morrison's watch the other superheroes didn't even bother to show up when Magneto destroyed half of New York City.
It's starting to get averted since the Heroic Age rolled by: the Avengers tried to help the X-Men out in dealing with Bastion (but predictably, couldn't do a thing, since Bastion raised a force field around Utopia so strong that not even Mjolnir could break through it; by the time it was gone, it was when Hope had already blown Bastion to smithereens). The idea behind the Uncanny Avengers is also an effort to avert this following the Avengers Vs X-Men crisis: ostensibly, it's half veteran Avengers (Captain America, Thor and Scarlet Witchnote Who is a mutant herself, for bonus points) and half veteran X-Men (Wolverinenote Don't forget he was an X-Man before he started pulling double shifts with the Avengers, Havok and Rogue).
Except for the fact that she doesn't act anything like Jean, doesn't have Jean's power set, is frequently shown to be not-so-great at anything that doesn't involve shooting a bad guy due to her hunted-through-a-wasteland childhood, and hasn't manifested the Phoenix Force in any meaningful way outside of cover art... So, no, not really.
So that thing at the end of Second Coming was just Emma's imagination? As far as the setting for Avengers vs. X-Men goes, no.
Since Kitty Pryde left the team, it's pretty much become a rule that the roster has to include one plucky teenage girl who latches onto Wolverine as a Big Brother Mentor. Over the years, the replacements have included Jubilee, Marrow, Armor, Pixie, and X-23. They shook up the tradition a bit with Marrow by making Gambit her mentor instead, but they cut out the middleman with X-23 by making her Wolverine's female clone (the closest thing to an actual little sister he's ever gonna get).
Marrow actually wasn't as plucky as she was rebellious: being a Morlock, she was the only one who could not leave if not for missions, and was constantly rubbing Storm the wrong way. And she only gained respect for Wolverine after she forced him to go berserk and he beat the crap out of her.
Take That: In one Generation M comic, the main character is an alcoholic reporter. A suspiciously-familiar guy calling himself Tony S attends one of her AA meetings. At a later point, after being beaten up she refers to herself as "looking like one of Hank Pym's girlfriends".
No fewer than four characters in the main continuity of the X-Men comics can be said to be the child of Scott Summers, only one of whom (Cable) was actually born during the timeline of the main Marvel Universe, and none of whom are more than about ten years younger than their parents (including Cable, who is, due to the massive amount of Time Travel in his backstory, at least ten years older than his parents).
Add to that Scott's brother Alex, their long-lost father (the space pirate Corsair), and the supervillain-ruler-of-a-galactic-empire Third Summers Brother (Vulcan), and the whole thing is just one big mess. Ironically, Scott started out as an orphan with no known family.
There Are No Therapists: The members of the various X-teams could really benefit from regular therapy. In Claremont's run alone the main team members were repeatedly (and painfully) devolved into primates by Sauron and then evolved back, they lost Thunderbird, there was the Dark Phoenix Saga, the Mutant Massacre, Inferno, being the captives of the Brood, Cyclops and Storm and Xavier all being tortured by William Stryker, Wolverine being tortured by the Reavers until he went partially insane, and more! It's amazing that the entire team didn't just break down sobbing and curl up into the fetal position after all of that. Apart from the members of X-Factor going to see Doc Samson a couple of times, we've never seen any of them receive any sort of treatment.
Rogue, in particular, is a psychiatric marvel in that after all the psychic and psychological trauma she endured before and after joining the X-Men she didn't have to end her days committed to a mental hospital for life.
Un-Canceled: The original X-Men title was canceled after seven years of horrible sales and no popularity (it was revived nine months later, but only published reprints of earlier issues). It was basically seen as a poor-man's version of the Fantastic Four. Then it was rebooted with all new characters like Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus, along with minor Hulk villain Wolverine. Under the skilled writing of Chris Claremont, it became Marvel's flagship title throughout the '80s and '90s.
Vocal Minority: invoked An In Unverse version. Most mutants that are seen are usually relatively powerful, but its been said that most mutants are either relatively weak, or even completely harmless, but are still treated to the same stuff the actual dangerous ones are, and is usually the reason the Mutants are a minority metephor works. But of course, no one wants to read a comic about a group of people who only have an extra pair of hands or the ability to glow.
Actually, having stories about a group of people with minor things like an extra pair of hands or the ability to glow would be interesting. They could have stories about the "everymutant" who is just trying to live his or her life without getting persecuted.
Taken to extreme lengths with everyone's reaction to finding out Scott assembled the X-Force, a black ops team with the most dangerous mutants to go and kill the X-Men's most deadly enemies who could possibly erradicate the last of the mutants. What they (and sadly some fans) fail to notice is that that is exactly what has prevented every last mutant on earth from being eradicated. Note that the second that Bastion and the Purifiers are defeated, Scott disbands the team since they won't be up against anyone as dangerous as them in the meantime.
Mind you, Wolverine and Angel immediately re-band the team as "Uncanny X-Force", which tends to find itself up against plenty of extinction-level threats.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Many characters, like Polaris, Psylocke, and Pixie; these usually show up as a side-effect of their mutation expressing itself.
Psylocke actually dyed her hair, which was originally blonde, up until Spiral and the Body Shop got hold of her. After that all bets are off.
—It has been stated that since the original switch, she still dyes her hair purple. Either thru lazy coloring or...well, what other reason...(particularly thru her stint in Uncanny X-Force) her hair appears to be more black than purple (about the only "Asian" quality sometimes given to her). (Usually confirmed thru letters pages) There has been fan speculation that Spiral may have made the hair color a permanant dna change when the Race-Lift was done. This usually ccrops up whenever Kwannon (Or Betsy's British body) crops up. Only other suggestion would be Spiral has a thing for playing "Barbie Hair Salon Head" with Betsy/Kwannon bodies)
Surge's has blue hair, it came in a bottle labeled "electric blue."
Beast and Nightcrawler. Yeah, it's blue fur, but same difference.