Comic Book / X-Men

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The strangest heroes of all!note 

"Sworn to protect a world that hates and fears them."

The Strangest Superheroes of them all. The Uncanny Misfits. The Heroic Outcasts.

The X-Men are a Super Team in the Marvel Universe 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).

The team are members of a human subspecies, Homo superiornote , colloquially referred to as "mutants". Mutants are humans who possess the "X-gene", a gene that gives them special superpowers and unique capabilities, which normal humans lack. Believed to be humanity's next evolutionary phase, their discovery has generated massive dissension within the human population. While many mutants strive for a civil coexistence, some continue to inflict great harm and as a result, all mutants are generally met with fear, hatred, violence, envy and discrimination by the majority of humans. Under a cloud of increasing anti-mutant sentiment, mutant telepath Charles 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. Initially, Xavier recruited Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast and Jean Grey, calling them "X-Men" as they possessed "X-tra" power with the X-gene. 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 even returned.

Early issues introduced the team's archenemy, Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil 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. Since it's debut, the comic has been a major allegory of civil rights, specifically the American Civil Rights Movement and, more recently, the LGBT Rights Movement.

The X-Men comics have been adapted in other media, including animated television series, video games, and a rather 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.

Here are the different incarnations of the X-Men so far:

  • The Original Team (Stan Lee/Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas/Neal Adams): The founding team from 1963, which featured Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl as its central cast, and was led by Professor X. These early issues introduced Magneto as the team's archnemesis, along with his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which at the time featured his twin children Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (before both reformed and became Avengers), Mastermind, and Toad. While the early issues focused on typical good versus evil/law versus crime stories, they did feature an undertone (which, depending on the issue, would become more overt) of racism and prejudice as a central theme. When the Lee and Kirby team left the book and it was, after a few different teams, passed to Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, who added Mimic (the first non-mutant, and only briefly), Polaris, and Cyclops' long-lost brother Havok to the roster, as well as retconning Changeling into becoming a member to facilitate one of the first instances of Comic Book Death. However, the book proved not to be exciting enough for readers, and suffered from poor sales, to the point where issues #67-93 were just reprints of older issues.
  • The New X-Men (Len Wein/Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont/John Byrne): After the disappointing original run of the X-Men in the '60s, 1975 saw a change as Wein and Cockrum released the pivotal Giant-Size X-Men #1. In this issue, Xavier and Cyclops were forced to recruit a new, international, multi-racial team, made up of Storm from Kenya, Nightcrawler from West Germany, Colossus from Russia, Banshee from Ireland, Sunfire from Japan, Thunderbird from an Apache nation, and, of course, Wolverine, to save the old team from a failed mission. This team was immensely more popular than the first, and can likely be attributed to the franchise's growing popularity ever since. Sunfire left the team immediately after his introduction, and Thunderbird was promptly killed, and the X-Men found themselves delving into a darker territory than before. Marvel Girl soon rejoined the team, thus heralding the series' best known story arc, The Dark Phoenix Saga.
  • Post-Phoenix X-Men (Chris Claremont/John Byrne): After the death of Jean Grey, the face of the X-Men continued to, pardon the pun, mutate. The last of the founding members, Cyclops, took an unspecified leave of absence to grieve, leaving Storm as the leader. Kitty Pryde was soon recruited, which led to the famous Days of Future Past storyline. Shortly after, Rogue was recruited, and Rachel Summers, the second Phoenix, Cyclops and Jean's child from an alternate future, was sent back in time to join the team. Other recruits during this time included Psylocke, Forge, Dazzler, and Longshot, who was an alien, rather than a mutant. Then, perhaps most pivotally, Magneto himself reformed and joined the team, even being appointed leader of the X-Men's first spin-off team...
  • The New Mutants (Chris Claremont/Bob McLeod): As the X-Men got more and more successful, higher-ups decided it was time to cash in on the success. Claremont and X-Men editor Louise Simonson didn't want to turn the X-Men into a franchise, so that the X-Men could remain unique and special, but after being informed that the series would be created regardless of their involvement, they put together the New Mutants, who bore a resemblance to the original five as they were all teenagers with uniforms, but also to the 70s team as they were multi-ethnic and international. Led by Magneto, it was made up of Mirage, Cannonball, Karma, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane. The team was quickly expanded after the death of Karma to include Magma, Colossus' sister Magik, the techno-organic alien Warlock, and Cyphernote .

    open/close all folders 

    The current main titles are: 
  • X-Men: Gold: This title features Kitty Pryde as leader of a reinvigorated X-Men team after the aftermath of Inhumans vs. X-Men.
  • X-Men: Blue: The original five X-Men (from All-New X-Men) are still in the present, being lead by young Jean Grey and mentored by Magneto.
  • X Men Red: The newly resurrected Jean Grey leads her own team targeting an enemy of Charles Xavier.
  • Generation X: A title launched in the 1990s focusing on Emma Frost's own Superhero School and her team of teenage mutants which included Jubilee. Over 15 years later, a new volume launched which features Jubilee mentoring a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits team at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning.
  • Weapon X: A title featuring a revived Weapon X program bent on eradicating mutants and another "black ops" X-Team fighting to stop them.
  • 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, Marjorie Liu, and Charles Soule) with different teams and story arcs, one of the most famous being Northstar marrying his boyfriend.

    Comic book titles linked to the X-Men include: 

...and too many more to name. Every major character has had at least one miniseries, usually several. See what The Other Wiki has to say about it.

    In addition to the comic series, they have also been adapted to television: 

    And film: 

    And last but not least, our merry mutants have starred in a few videogames: 


The X-Men comics provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Zaladane's supposed connection to Polaris has never been explored or touched upon, though Zaladane's being Killed Off for Real doubtless has helped.
    • When Alisa is introduced, she worries about a mysterious person finding her, but nothing has come of it in the 6 years since then.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Wolverine's adamantium-coated claws.
  • Academy of Adventure: The Charles Xavier School For Gifted Youngsters and now renamed Jean Grey School For Higher Learning
  • Action Dress Rip: Wolverine performs this for Jean Grey when they're escaping from some sentinels, Jean having been captured while on a date with Cyclops, and is having difficulty doing the deed herself.
  • Action Girl: Most, but not all of the X-Women, fit this in spades. Though there are exceptions...
  • The Adjectival Superhero: A dozen times over, to distinguish all their many series. "All-New, All-Different", "Astonishing", "Uncanny", and "X-Treme". Parodied with the Fan Nickname for the original book, "Adjectiveless X-Men".
  • 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.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Repeatedly. Many scenes take place in a hospital waiting room.
  • Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: The X-Men are a diverse bunch, as are most of their foes.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Many of the X-Men are ostracized for their gifts.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The X-Mansion used to get trashed every few years, usually by the villains (one occasion had Kitty being responsible, killing a demon with the X-Jet's engines... and taking out half the mansion in the process). After Messiah Complex, this practice has died down (especially since between 2007 and 2011 the X-Men didn't have a mansion to trash).
  • 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 them. Rachel's from the Days of Future Past timeline, Cable spent most of his life in a Dystopic Hellhole, Bishop's 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 Age of Apocalypse 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 featured an all-female team: Storm, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, Psylocke and Jubilee. They also got a villainous counterpart with a race-lifted Lady Deathstrike forming a "Sisterhood" with Typhoid Mary and Amora the Enchantress.
  • Amusing Alien:
    • Lockheed the dragon.
    • Astonishing reveals that he isn't a regular Team Pet; he's an alien empath who speaks dozens of languages, and is smarter than the professor. And he'd been spying on the X-Men for SWORD since he came back.
  • 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.
    • As for villains, there is Toad.
  • 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.
    • Colossus in the Breakworld Arc.
    • Magik in Inferno, and again after her resurrection. Being raised in a Hell-like dimension and literally soulless does a number on a person's grasp for morality.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Jean Grey as the Phoenix.
  • 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.
  • Artifact Alias: The original five X-Men take their code names in order to protect their identities and keep their powers secret. All but Jean Grey hang on to them even after their identities became public knowledge. The tradition of mutants taking up names to reflect their mutations continued as well, with most mutants choosing mutant names for reasons that have nothing to do with concealing their identities.
  • Artifact Title: The X-Men are still occasionally referred to as "the Children of the Atom", despite the original 1960s explanation for the X-gene (increased radiation from atomic weapons testing in the atmosphere) long since having been retconned away.
  • Artistic License – Biology: While very common in comics in general, it is especially prominent here where genetics (especially the "X-Gene") are a catchall plot device.
    • Lampshaded by the Professor in the first film:
      Professor X: (narration and first lines) Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It is how we have evolved from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward.
  • 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 losing 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.
    • Claremont had a fondness for certain things. Lesbians, and woman in Victorian underwear, for a start.
  • Author Catchphrase: Especially during Chris Claremont's run.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Professor X was the first major character, but later on Jean Grey remains one of the first superheroines to be brought back from the dead. But if you think she was Killed Off for Real even a fraction as many times as Magneto, you haven't done your homework.
    • 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.
    • Nightcrawler.
  • Badass Family: Mutation is obviously genetic, so this tends to show up pretty often.
    • The Grey-Summers extended family is the ne plus ultra of this in superhero comics. Briefly put, that family covers a Space Piratenote , his two mutant paramilitary sons (and one space emperor son, and one 90s reject who ''might'' be his son), his eldest son's demigod wife (and her super-powered clone), their also-occasionally-godlike son, who came back from a Bad Future as an old mannote , their daughter, who's from a different bad future, and their other occasionally godlike son (from a bad Alternate Universe that isn't the future). Finally, the first of those sons has both a son and an evil clone of his own. And they're all pretty badass.
      • Add to that Hope Summers, Cable's adoptive daughter, and Ruby Summers, daughter of Cyclops and Emma Frost from a different future.
    • The Guthries too, with the exception of Jay.
    • The Bohusk-Salvadores. Barnell and Angel stayed in the superhero game even after being depowered, and a Bad Future revealed their grandson would be the third generation of a heroic legacy.
    • Also Wolverine's Dysfunctional Badass Family. We have his long forgotten son Daken who wants to kill him, and then there's his teenage female clone/daughter figure X-23 who was a member of X-Force and has been killing people since she was a pre-teen.
    • Magneto, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Polaris may be as Dysfunctional Family as it gets, but they are all quite badass. Add in Scarlet Witch's twin sons Wiccan and Speed who are Young Avengers.
  • 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 America, and killed almost every superhero.
    • Apocalypse also takes over the world 2,000 years in the future and is equally awful.
    • Bishop's future. It starts with one of the X-Men turning traitor and killing the others and gets worse from there. At some point, there was a nuclear war, and by the time Bishop's born mutants are thrown into camps. The camps eventually get destroyed, but this means a lot of mutants running around who really don't like humans, forcing some mutants to form their own police force. And then there are the marauding packs of vampire-monsters. And just to add insult to injury, no-one has a jetpack.
    • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • During issue 100, the X-Men come under attack from... the X-Men? Eventually, Wolverine lunges at Jean Grey, we see Banshee's horrified reaction... and then we see the wires of the robotic Jean duplicate.
    • One issue ends with Bishop shooting everyone else on the team apropos of nothing. The next issue reveals they'd been infected with nanites that would've killed them in an instant had he not acted.
  • 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.
    • Cecilia Reyes is a pretty straightforward example.
    • Most telekinetic mutants tend to become this if the situation calls for it.
  • 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.
      • This is occasionally partially addressed with the idea that mutants can be anyone, signified by the famous line 'It's 1987. Do you know what your children are?' and post Avengers vs. X-Men, this seems to be being addressed through the Uncanny Avengers.
    • 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.
  • Betty and Veronica: Cyclops choosing between Jean Grey (Betty) and Emma Frost (Veronica).
    • 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...
    • Cyclops used to be this, but too many people pushed him too far too many times, and, well...
  • Big Bad: The major evils of the X-Men universe are Magneto and Apocalypse.
  • 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.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: The X-Men have fought The Brood, a race of intelligent Captain Ersatzes of the creature from Alien. A human implanted with a Brood egg will eventually be physically (and mentally) transformed into a Brood member, and will retain any genetic-based abilities (e.g. mutant powers) the victim had.
  • Black and Gray Morality: This gradually crept in ever since the late 80s Mutant Massacre, but got blatant with Darker and Edgier storylines after the mid-00s.
  • Blessed with Suck: Apparently, evolution isn't too good at telling when a mutation totally sucks.
    • 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.
    • 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). Since Status Quo Is God, no attempt to fix this ever stays fixed, and recently his control over his powers has gotten worse.
    • 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 sometimes (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.
  • Body Horror: Very common during Claremont's run.
  • Bouncing Battler: Several characters, most notably the Toad and Bouncing Betty.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Practically every member of the X-Men has fallen victim to this trope at least once. (See Author Appeal.)
    • Poor Polaris spent a good chunk of Claremont's run possessed or controlled by someone.
    • Mesmero's stock in trade. In one instance, he managed to get the entire team. They were only saved via Beast (who was with the Avengers at that time) learning about what happened and investigating.
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: Claremont's last storyline had Magneto learn Moira had experimented on him when he'd been de-aged, in a way meant to dial down his aggression. And then Moira reveals the brainwashing wore off the minute he used his powers again (making it a jab at those wanting Magneto to revert back to villainy by handwaving his turn to good. Nope, all of Magneto's free-will).
  • Broken Aesop: Many.
    • Despite trying to lecture the world about how great mutants were and how they should be allowed to embrace their identities, Xavier spent most of his life masquerading as a normal human who just happened to be a mutant expert. Xavier only involuntarily 'outed' himself during Grant Morrison's New X-Men run when he was possessed by his evil twin.
    • James McAvoy said he actually kept this in mind while portraying Xavier in X-Men: First Class. He pointed out that Xavier is a well-meaning, but ultimately misguided liberal, as he still has tons of societal advantages given that he's white, heterosexual, male, and extremely wealthy. He certainly doesn't have to put up with the same bigotry many mutants face (hell, the same bigotry many real world minorities still face), which causes his message of peace to ring if not false, at least simplistic to many.
      • Also, compare Xavier's powerset to those of characters like Rogue, Toad, or Cyclops. Xavier has telepathy, a power that he can control perfectly, that has absolutely no negative effects on him physically or mentally, and that is a massive benefit to his life. In comparison? Rogue's powers render unconscious anyone she has physical contact with. She cannot control this or stop it in any way, and has resigned herself to being isolated from her peers. Her powers have drastically injured her self-esteem and social life. Toad's mutation turned him into an ugly, lizardlike humanoid and made him the subject of severe bullying from other children. Cyclops projects a continuous wave of destructive energy from his eyes and relies on special glasses just to live a normal life. Even Phoenix, another telepath, is often overwhelmed by the thoughts of others, to the point of mental instability. Looking at the general trend of mutant powers, it's hard not to think that Xavier really lucked out where the Superpower Lottery was concerned.
    • In general, the X-Men books have a theme of how regular humans and mutants should coexist peacefully. The problem with this? Exactly how often did they try to have regular humans around them? How many regular humans were at the institute? How often did the X-Men go to Washington to try to convince legislators to accept mutants? The aesop seems more 'mutants should band together into militant groups to protect themselves', in other words Magneto's message. To make it even worse, the first comic featuring the X-Men had them casually push around regular human soldiers with their powers because the soldiers didn't want to let them enter a military base.
    • There's also a dissonance where the fear of mutants is portrayed as prejudice and fear of what's different, but there have been times when mutants - even fully-trained adults — have lost control of their powers without meaning to and caused a lot of damage. In the '80s X-Men cartoon, Storm was claustrophobic, causing her to freak out with her powers whenever she was triggered. Mutants are a danger to the normal humans around them no matter how good their intentions are and that is a perfectly valid reason for fear.
    • 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.
    • 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 (admittedly, this last one is done out of absolute necessity, but even Wolverine points out how far away from Xavier's vision the X-Men have moved).
  • Broken Angel
  • 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 Rogue 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 Rogue, she still had them for another issue, but lost them after that. Rogue 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. Rogue 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/Algerian and her skin tone has ranged wildly throughout the years, from dark caramel to "damn near white."
    • In one issue, an unconscious (and also de-aged at the time) Storm was being examined by a doctor, who said her features came from several different races.
  • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ord started out as the Big Bad of the Breakworld arc, only to get demoted to The Woobie after his failure.
  • 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.
  • Chrome Dome Psi: Professor X
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Remember Peter Corbeau? Long-time friend of Charles Xavier? No? Neither do the writers.
    • Nurse Annie and her son were shoved onto a bus after Chuck Austen's run, and never heard from again. Not that anyone was necessarily complaining in this case.
  • Clash of Evolutionary Levels: The X-Men, and mutants in general, embody all three modes of this trope. While the X-Men strive for peaceful co-existence, they tend to hide themselves from normal humans, and there are mutant extremists who want to subjugate or destroy normal humans. And of course, the X-Men seem to bear the brunt of attacks against mutants by normal humans.
    • Specifically, the Brotherhood (sometimes exemplified by Magneto) is all about subjugating or destroying humans, while the Morlocks decided to just hide out in New York's sewers and ignore the conflict.
  • Claustrophobia: Storm, on account of a plane falling on her parents' house during her childhood, and having to spend several days next to her mother's corpse.
  • Clip Its Wings: Angel has large wings: during the Mutant Massacre storyline, his wings are mutilated and later develop gangrene so they're amputated. For a while, he uses artificial wings; later, real wings grow back.
  • 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.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Many times over the years. John Byrne in particular based all his characters on actors - a full list can be found on that page. For example, Byrne based Kitty Pryde on his conception of an adolescent Sigourney Weaver.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The original Nimrod was a veritable juggernaut, capable of taking on the X-Men and matching them. In Second Coming, an army of Nimrods are sent to kill the X-Men, with much less luck. Justified, given the expansion of them X-Men's numbers in the years between, at that point including people like Magneto and Legion.
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The first time the New X-Men faced Magneto, freshly rejuvenated and restored to sanity, he beat them without breaking a sweat.
    • During the climax to Second Coming, the revived Graydon Creed and Steven Lang are turned into Sentinels and sent to kill the X-Men when Bastion fights Hope Summers. Given the X-Men have just gone through a battle with dozens of Nimrods, Creed and Lang don't have a chance. Their defeat isn't given any real attention, being the subject of one panel.
  • Cute Monster: Lockheed the dragon. Most of the time. He's a purple dragon, but the size of a dog or even just a housecat. He's treated as a pet by Kitty Pryde, and he's fine with that.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: Trope Namer.
  • Dark Lord: Apocalypse does this in Cable's future and during the Age of Apocalypse.
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart: There's an alternate universe in which hundreds of alternates of the X-Men the readers know have been killed for an arguably greater good.
  • Deadly Training Area: The Danger Room, which is probably the Trope Maker and definitely the Trope Codifier, at least for the superhero genre.
  • Dehumanization: During the climatic confrontation in the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills, Rev. Stryker points to Nightcrawler and exclaims:
    Human?! You dare call that... thing—HUMAN?!?
  • Defacement Insult: "Mutie", the go-to slur for mutants, is a common thing to get graffitied when mutants' property is vandalized.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • The Shadow King is a recurring X-Men villain with the psychic powers, who does not have a physical form. To compensate, he possesses the bodies of others.
    • Proteus has to possess people, as his Reality Warper powers burned out his original body, and does to those he possesses.
  • Demoted to Extra: Cyclops in The Movie. Kitty Pryde gets this in most adaptations, despite spending years as one of the central characters of the series.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • 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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In order to get to Muir Island from Scotland, the X-Men purchase a boat, which in short order gets totalled by Magneto. What does the boat's owner do in response? Sneaks over to Moira's facility and tries to blow it up. He even says that if anyone's killed then 'so much the better'. Laser-Guided Karma comes in the form of Proteus, who takes over the man before he can do anything.
    • Before he mellowed out, this used to be Wolverine's thing. Someone would do something and he would respond with violence or threats. For example, Colossus sees a steel beam falling towards Wolverine (this was back in the days before Wolverine had an established healing factor) and pushes him out of the way. Wolverine's response? He tries to kill Colossus for "cramping (his) style".
  • Do Unto Others Before They Do Unto Us: One of the key differences between Magneto's and Xavier's viewpoints - Magneto believes this, Xavier doesn't.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • "Mutant = black" was a major theme in The '70s and The '80s, now more-or-less abandoned for "mutant = gay".
      • 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, Bryan 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.)
  • Dominatrix: X-Men writers LOVE this trope. Emma Frost is the most obvious example. But then there was also Jean Grey as the Black Queen in The Dark Phoenix Saga. More recently, Red Queen took it Up to Eleven in the "Manifest Destiny" arc.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Sentinel Squad O*N*E were introduced during Decimation, treated as major recurring characters, even given their own miniseries, and then during Messiah CompleX they're all killed to a man by nanosentinels.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Hooooooo boy...
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The original series can serve as this when comparing its teenage heroes, uniforms, mundane crime-fighter missions, and Beast's human form to modern comics' grown-up cast, colorful costumes, phenomenal cosmic adventures, and the furry blue Beast.
    • The first two issues alone can serve as this even compared to the other more adjacent issues, with Beast being a lot more Hot-Blooded and not nearly as intellectual, and the first page making it look like Xavier is completely paralyzed, instead of just crippled.
    • Some of the earliest issues even had Magneto having some sort of mental powers, not too dissimilar from Xavier's telepathy. This was dropped later, but it can be quite jarring to anyone used to Mags usual powerset of magnetic mastery.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: Denied in-universe, but c'mon...
  • Elemental Baggage: For Storm and Iceman's powers sources of water and ice, respectively.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Several.
    • Magma can transform into magma and rocks.
    • Dust can turn herself into a sandstorm.
    • Rockslide and Onyxx are big guys made of rocks.
  • End of an Age: The Dream's End storyline, which ran through several titles and massively shook up the status quo, including the deaths of several supporting characters.
  • Everyone Is a Super: It's not all cool to have a super powered population.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Savage Land, a common destination of the X-Men, features dinosaurs galore (it's an abandoned alien zoo).
  • Evil Costume Switch: Dark Phoenix, going from a mainly green outfit to dark red (and the phoenix symbol on her chest getting larger).
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Mr. Sinister; Dark Beast; Apocalypse;
  • Evolutionary Levels: Mutants as "Homo superior".
  • Evolutionary Ret Con: The X-Men costumes have undergone numerous changes when retelling stories set in the early years of the yellow and black outfits. The film, X-Men: First Class, for example, retcons those costumes as military flight suits and the yellow is somewhat understated.
  • Face–Heel Revolving Door: Magneto. In his backstory he was a friend of Xavier until they split over disagreement about how to best help mutants and almost all versions of Magneto are Well Intentioned Extremists, so it's a relatively small jump to a What Have I Done moment leading him to moderate his methods or an Enemy Mine situation forcing the X-Men to put up with him despite them. Circumstances don't let him stay that way, however. Depending on the Writer comes into play, as well, both in how far off the deep end he can go and whether he should be antihero or arch nemesis.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Gambit, Bishop.
    • Gambit, especially has turned this into a revolving door.
  • Fanservice Model: In an early arc the team has to go undercover in New York, and Jean Grey gets a job modelling swimsuits.
  • Fantastic Racism: One of the main points of the comics. They protect a world that fears and hates them.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: Professor X uses the Cerebro computer to locate mutants so he can recruit them into his school.
  • Fantastic Slur:
    • "Mutie", "Genejoke" and "Genefreak" are a few of the more common anti-mutant slurs.
    • Meanwhile, the Mutants have "Flatscan" for humans.
  • Fastball Special: The Trope Namer, classic is Wolverine and Colossus.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: Usually, with telepathy.
    • Which is about the only thing keeping that particular power out of Deus ex Machina territory in this universe...
  • Fights Like a Normal: Several have powers which are either not directly applicable to combat or are too dangerous to fling about willy-nilly, and rely primarily on combat training instead.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Wolverine and Rogue are particularly notable.
    • Given enough time, every team develops this. It's the main reason the "All-New, All-Different" crowd is as tight as it is.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: This is part of what solidifies Cyclops' two love interests, Jean Grey and Emma Frost, as diametric opposites of one another.
    • Jean is a red-haired woman who has gone by the codename "Phoenix" for a good bit of her career, wears a flaming bird insignia as part of her costume, and has psychic powers that frequently manifest themselves as flames. Appropriately, she's known for her warm, compassionate personality and (on darker occasions) for her unpredictable fiery temper.
    • Though she doesn't actually have ice-based powers, Emma is frequently visually associated with ice and the cold because of her surname "Frost", her all-white clothing, and her diamond-based form that makes her resemble an ice sculpture. Appropriately, she's known for her icy demeanor, and her coldly cynical attitude towards life.
  • 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.
  • Flying Firepower:
    • Sunfire: Sun-related array of powers, and flight.
    • Sunpyre: Sunfire's younger sister possesses the same powerset.
    • Alternate, female version of Sunfire from Exiles
    • Sunspot from New Mutants, often described as a "living solar battery." He turns solar energy into Flying Brick powers with energy blasts.
    • Jean Grey with the power of The Phoenix Force.
  • Follow the Chaos: Sort of a running gag, except they don't find it funny.
  • 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. Of them, Rogue didn't find it all too friendly — although Nightcrawler was intending to get her to laugh, it pointed out to Rogue in sharp relief the one thing she desperately wanted to do but couldn't — touch another human being.
  • From a Single Cell: Wolverine, on one occasion, which the writers have since thankfully Voodoo Sharked out.
  • 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.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Chris Claremont does that very well...
    • Selene forces Mirage to enjoy the sacrifices and she screams "No... Yes, oh yes !" Quite impressive.
  • Giant Mecha: The Sentinels, the giant robots which are programmed by mutant-hating humans to hunt down mutants
  • 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 and demons.
    • 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 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.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: During the Juggernaut's first appearance, Professor X called in the Human Torch for help.
  • 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 C.E.O.: 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.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: 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.
    • Apocalypse of course qualifies as well. A lot of stories set him up as this.
    • Weapon X too.
    • In the past, Magneto was this for a few stories as well.
    • The Wolverine comics revealed not only that Weapon X is in fact controlled by an organization of greater scope villains called Weapon Plus¸, a secret governmental organization hellbent on eradicating mutants, who is responsible (directly or indirectly) for a LOT of the crappy stuff that Wolverine went through in his life, but also that they are (directly or indirectly) responsible for the existence of many heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe, not just Wolverine himself. They created project rebirth, wich makes them indirectly responsible for the creation of Captain America and Isaiah Bradley(or to be more specific, the super soldier serum, AKA Weapon I). They also created Weapon II(a weird squirrel with Wolverine's powers), The Skinless Man(Weapon III), Nuke(One of Daredevil's villains and Weapon VII), X-23, Deadpool, Huntsman(Weapon XII), Fantomex(Weapon XIII), The Stepford Cuckoos(Clones of Emma Frost and Weapon XIV), Ultimaton(Weapon XV), Allgod(Weapon XVI) and according to Word of God, they are also responsible for creating or empowering many more unknown characters, both heroes and villains. They are also responsible for creating Project:Gladiator, wich makes them indirectly responsible for creating Man-Thing. In some comics, it's also implied that they might have been involved with the prison experiments that gave Luke Cage his powers, the program that created the sentinels and the Red Room Black Widow Ops organization that created the multiple Black Widows(like Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova). The organization has also been known to work with and provide money and ressources to other villainous organizations(especially those that hate the X-men) like A.I.M., HYDRA, The Hellfire Club, ROXXON, The Purifiers, OSCORP, ect...Later on, it's revealed that Weapon Plus was created and controlled by an even GREATER greater scope villain known as Romulus. He claims to be responsible for EVERYTHING that happened in Logan's life and more, with plenty of evidence to back up said claim (Such as immense intimate knowledge of Wolverine's life, for example). The aforementioned John Sublime was pulling strings in the program as well, and to make things even more confusing, Word of God from the writer of the very first Weapon X story indicated that the original greater scope villain was going to be the aforementionned Apocalypse, but this never saw print for unknown reasons.
  • 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.
  • Hate Plague: The Muir Island Saga has the Shadow King spreading one across the planet, via a possessed Polaris.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: See Does This Remind You of Anything?.
    • There was a beautiful use of this during Joss Whedon's Astonishing run. When a "cure for the X-gene" is found, Beast wants to investigate it and see if it works, and Emma Frost explicitly asks him if he'd feel the same if it were a "cure" for homosexuality. Emma is a beautiful, rich white woman whose powers are telepathy and turning into 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.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Gambit, Magneto during his "headmaster" phase, Emma Frost, Juggernaut, Rogue.
    • The Sentinels: after Decimation, they were a human-piloted peacekeeping force to protect the remaining mutants. Well, in theory at any rate. They turned on the X-Men soon enough.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Everyone, but special mention goes to Mystique.
    • 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 three Heel Face Turns to have stuck are Rogue, Tessa/Sage, (who turned out to be Good All Along) and Emma Frost (except Emma Frost). Every other villain that's joined eventually just stabs the group in the back. (Either that, or they just up and leave.) Oh, and lest we forget; Lady Mastermind joined the X-Men and left...
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Mutant baseball.
  • 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. Despite this, he's never actually killed any X-Men.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: It's gotten less frequent since Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief, though.
  • Hidden Depths: Back during the 70s, Wolverine was the Token Evil Teammate, so the X-Men were surprised whenever he showed any depth beyond "murderous rage", like when he revealed he could speak and read Japanese (for the record, Logan angrily retorted that no-one bothered asking him about that).
  • Hollywood Tactics: Frequently in the older comics and in the movies.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: One proposed origin of Nightcrawler, as Destiny and a temporarily male-morphed Mystique's son.
    • 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.
  • An Ice Person: Founding member Iceman is one of these.
  • Idiot Ball: For some reason, the O*N*E builds a fleet of manually-operated Sentinels (built by Tony Stark), and decide to have them police Mutantkind. That'd be dumb enough given the shaky nature of Sentinels and Starktech, but they also put a blatant Mutantphobe in charge.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal:
    • A number of mutants, thanks to the aforementioned Fantastic Racism and being Blessed with Suck. Rogue is the poster child for it; her powers make her an outcast among her fellow outcasts.
    • Interestingly, a lot of human parents feel this way about their mutant children but when a lot of the students were Brought Down to Normal, Put on a Bus and the bus blew up, they never bothered to collect their remains.
    • 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.
  • I Just Want to Be Special:
    • The U-Men are a bunch of humans who want to be Mutants.
    • Donald Pierce turned himself into a cyborg because he hated being weak compared to Mutants.
  • Implacable Man:
    • Nothing can stop the Juggernaut!
    • Nothing moves the Blob!
    • Chris Claremont's third run on Uncanny introduces a small-time mobster mutant who applies. Somehow, none of the highly trained and experienced X-Men can take him down until his boss's daughter shows up and scolds him.
  • 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.
  • Improvised Lockpick: Gambit does this while trapped by Cameron Hodge. He is hanging by his hands trapped in manacles and frees himself by curling up, using his teeth to pull out a metal spike that had been shot through his leg, and using it as a lockpick — with his feet.
  • 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, Franklin Richards and Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man (before his sudden De-Power) have shown what a Omega is truly capable of; Elixir, Vulcan, Legion 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.
    • Iceman has gotten a major upgrade in the new Wolverine & The X-Men comic. In issue #2, 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.
    • On a smaller note, Wolverine is supposed to be a Grandmaster-level martial artist, Olympic-level gymnast, has high caliber tactical acumen, and is a complete and total badass with weapons (go figure). While his combat ability has actually made some appearances, those appearances NEVER show anything that really resembles the level of combat badassery he supposedly has.
  • Jerkass Ball: When he returned from Shi'Ar space, just before the Dark Phoenix saga, the Professor quickly set about treating the X-Men like children. Wolverine quickly stormed out of a Danger Room session because of this. Cyclops' attempts to point out to the Professor that the new X-Men aren't like the original class only results in the Professor saying this is somehow Scott's fault.
  • Joker Immunity: Mr. Sinister, the Sentinels, Donald Pierce, Selene. None of them ever stay gone for long.
  • Joker Jury: Factor 3.
    • Also Magneto, to Gambit.
  • The Juggernaut: Arguably the Trope Namer... Bitch!
  • Killer Robot: The Sentinels
  • Kudzu Plot: Claremont's uncannily long stint on Uncanny X-Men.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Often, especially during the later part of Claremont's run, when the X-Men get pretty savvy as to just how weird their lives are.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: X-23 was introduced to X-Men proper slicing up a group of frat boys who were trying to kill a young woman for dating a mutant.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: The Blob is a giant fat guy who literally absorbs punches into his massive belly, leaving his attackers stuck in him (in some incarnations).
  • 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."
  • Let X Be the Unknown
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Nightcrawler's teleporting.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Ink is a mutant whose power is related to the tattoos he has on his body. He can "activate" the tattoo to use its power, but afterwards it'll disappear. He has multiple kinds of tattoos, from one shaped like lightning bolt (allowing him to wield lightning and move super fast for a while) to even the logo of the Phoenix (allowing access to Phoenix Force's godlike power). It's revealed that that guy is not a mutant - rather, his tattoo artist is the real mutant who never knew his own ability.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Colossus.
  • 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!:
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Sabretooth. In spades.
  • Lost Aesop: Is being a mutant supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing? Many X-Folks have pointed out how the X-Men don't do much beyond fight other mutants or mutant-haters. Then there's Blessed with Suck mutants like Rogue who want to lose their mutant "gifts" altogether. Muggles want to gain those same gifts because mutants are special. But anytime either side tries to change their situation with the best intentions in mind, things go wrong real fast and status quo reasserts itself.
    • 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 (though less so following House of M), 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.
      • On the other hand, a few of the truly bad timelines (think Days of Futures Past here) have been the result of muggles attempting to exterminate mutants, so it seems like the future is screwed either way.
  • The Magic Touch: Gambit has the power to turn anything he touches into an explosive.
  • Make Them Rot: The mutant Wither has the power to decay any organic material his skin comes in contact with. Power Incontinence leaves his power permanently on. Especially heartbreaking is when the majority of mutants in the world lose their ability, Wither mistakenly believes he has too. He grabs the wrist of the girl he is in love with and her hand withers away.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: Just after Claremont left X-Men after his seventeen year run, new villain Trevor Fitzroy killed off the Hellions to a mutant, one of the more infamous cases of this example in comics.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Colossus, the Husky Russkie with metallic skin, is often paired with Kitty Pride, an Intangible Woman who has trained in ninja skills.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Mr. Sinister, resident Evilutionary Biologist.
    • Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost also qualify.
    • Even Professor X has his moments.
    • Cyclops lately has also been taking a page or two from Xavier's book.
  • Married in the Future:
    • In Days of Future Past, Wolverine and Storm are a married couple, as are Colossus and Kitty.
    • In The End, Beast and Cecilia Reyes are a married couple. So are Sam Guthrie and Lila Cheney.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event:
    • The detonation of the atom bombs drastically increased the number of mutant births.
    • Inverted with the (incorrectly named) Decimation Wave created by the Scarlet Witch, which depowered 90% of all mutants.
  • Memory Jar: The Shi'ar gave Jean's family a crystal ball full of their and other people's memories of Jean after she saved the universe, but before the Dark Phoenix Saga.
  • Mental Affair: Scott and Emma. It's 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 particularly Jerk 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 actually to shin, since his original costume left his abnormally large hands and feet exposed (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.
    • In fact, Hank plays it straight or averts it depending at what point is his mutation today. He's currently reverted to black shorts only.
  • More Hero Than Thou: Wolverine and Scott Summers used to get into this all the time.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Emma Frost, full stop.
  • Muggle Power: For Magneto and his bunch. The X-Men, naturally, oppose both sides.
  • Multistage Teleport: Nightcrawler has had to travel long distances quickly on several occasions and in different incarnations. Since he can only teleport along a line-of-sight, he does this by teleporting over and over in rapid succession, similar to how he does Teleport Spam in combat, but in a straight line. Eventually the line-of-sight requirement turns out to be more of a mental block that he overcomes, by which point he no longer fits the trope.
  • 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 B.S.O.D. and his first Heel–Face Turn as The Atoner.
  • Mutants: Of course.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: A plot line just before Adjectiveless' 200th issue has Rogue encounter a living weapon that absorbs the mind of anything it comes near, and has been travelling across the universe for hundreds of years. As a result, it has several billion minds in there. And then Rogue absorbs them all. It takes coming into contact with Hope Summers to wipe them out of her.
  • Nazi Hunter: Magneto tracked down the Red Skull due to his past as a Holocaust survivor. 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.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Magneto, Depending on the Writer. Sometimes it's just never hurt a mutant innocent.
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: A mid-00s storyline has several thugs apparently murdered by Wolverine, who doesn't have much of an alibi since the only witness has gone missing. But the coroner notes the claw marks on the thug's car don't match Logan's. For one, the distance between the claws is too small. It's actually X-23's work.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Cable and Bishop are both very rare successful examples of this trope, having managed to develop a level of characterization and depth that's usually not applied to characters covered by this trope.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Cyclops (Noble) and Wolverine (Roguish) in some depictions.
  • 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!
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The proper pronunciation of the "M'kraan crystal" has been a source of frustration for fans for years. It doesn't help that the 90's cartoon pronounced it "Em-Krahn" while the video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance pronounced it "Muh-Kran".
  • 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.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Valerie Cooper, who genuinely means well (most of the time) but often takes the most counterproductive choice possible. Like protecting the X-Men by basically turning the school into an internment camp and putting giant sentinels on guard, before getting annoyed when the X-Men are offended by this.
  • 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 theirs are surprisingly common, and with the recent reduction in the size of the overall mutant population they stand out even more.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Shi'ar ship that chases Lilandra to Earth is very blasé about the planet's recent history as they check it. The science officer casually points out they've already fought off Skrulls and the Kree, and that they've met the Celestials. Then she finds out that Earth has fought off Galactus twice. The Shi'ar immediately freak out and run.
  • One Super One Powerset: Unlike most examples of this trope, Professor Xavier has tried many times to restore the use of his legs, but when he does succeed, he becomes crippled again before long.
  • Opening a Can of Clones
  • 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.
  • Outside-the-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 
  • 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.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: During God Loves, Man Kills, Magneto finds a group of Mutant children have been lynched by racists. He finds the ones responsible.
  • 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.
  • Pinball Projectile: Cyclops' optic blasts have a habit of doing this.
  • Playing with Fire: Longstanding villain Pyro was one of these, although he couldn't actually create fire. Other villains like Fever Pitch also exemplified this trope.
    • Heroic examples Sunfire and Neal Sharra.
  • Playing with Syringes: The Weapon-X project.
  • Plot Hole: Gambit & the X-ternals reveals that, since in the Age of Apocalypse Jean Grey never saved the M'Kraan crystal, the entire multiverse (i.e. every single continuity in every single Marvel book ever) is on the point of collapsing. Not only does this contradict how time travel works in the Marvel universe (each change to the past creates a tangent timeline instead of overwriting the old one), it's also never been an issue in any other alternate timeline story before or since.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: During the early 70s, Magneto (and the rest of the Brotherhood) was aged down to a child by Alpha the Ultimate Mutant. When Erik the Red needed a distraction, he re-aged Magneto to adulthood.
  • Poirot Speak: Claremont was very fond of it.
  • Possession Burnout: Proteus possessing a person causes their body to burn up.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: The powers of several characters have been inconsistently portrayed.
    • 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 Levels: The 6 classes of mutation.
    • Epsilon Mutants are unfortunate mutants. Epsilon mutants pretty much have no chance of having a regular life in society due to their major flaws like an inhuman appearance or their mutation makes it impossible for them to function normally. If that isn't bad enough Epsilon mutants also only have minor "superpowers" that are next to useless.
    • Delta Mutants are like Alpha mutants in that they don't have any significant flaws. The only problem is that Delta mutants don't have powers that match an Alpha mutant, or even a Beta or Gamma mutant. They have a normal human appearance, but their mutagenic powers are weaker or only narrowly applicable, though still controllable.
    • Gamma mutants have very powerful mutations, but they have flaws. Unlike the Beta mutants a Gamma mutant's flaw is a major flaw that makes his or her life very hard. Also, while Alpha and Beta mutants can pass as regular looking humans, many Gamma mutants cannot because they have physical deformities.
    • Beta Mutants are on the same level as Alpha-level mutants as far as how potent their powers are. But the difference between Beta Mutants and Alpha Mutants is that the Beta Mutants have flaws, albeit very small flaws. They have a normal human appearance (or close to it) and their mutation is powerful, useful, but less controllable but can still lead a normal life with only minor preparation.
    • Alpha Mutants are the second most powerful and feared mutants. Alpha mutants have extremely powerful mutant traits without any significant flaws. They have a normal human appearance and their mutation is powerful, useful and controllable (i.e. turn it on and off, direct it at will.)
    • Omega Mutants are ones with the most powerful genetic potential of their mutant abilities. No firm definition has been offered in comics. As a result this classification's qualifications can fall under Depending on the Writer, but some abilities depicted by mutants described as Omega-level include immortality, extreme manipulation of matter and energy, high psionic ability, strong telekinesis, and the potential to exist beyond the boundaries of the known physical universe.
  • 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 and boss of the Morlocks, she also 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.
  • Power-Strain Blackout: Nearly all the female characters, especially telepaths like Jean Grey, have done this at least once across many incarnations.
  • Pretty in Mink: Some of the ladies will wear fur at some points. Even those not rich might wear a fur-trimmed coat.
  • Psychic Glimpse of Death:
    • Jean Grey's telepathic powers first kicked in when she and a friend were in a car accident and her friend died, causing her to experience the death mentally. That led to years of therapy with Professor Xavier.
    • Minor villain Mr. X (not to be confused with Xavier) had his telepathy awaken in a similar manner, but he never received any help from other telepaths and developed an addiction to the sensation, becoming a serial killer.
  • Psychic Powers: Professor X, Jean Grey (and all of her time-traveling offspring), Psylocke, Emma Frost... the list goes on.
  • The Purge: The Shi'ar are so scared of the Phoenix that if someone becomes its host, they'll throw out all the stops to kill that person and their entire family, as Rachel Grey learned first-hand.
    • We later meet a Shi'ar who was on the receiving end of the same treatment as Rachel. The only reason he's alive is because the resident Evil Chancellor knows that someone with the power of a cosmic entity can be useful.
  • Purple Prose: Claremont's run frequently delved into it. Tropes Are Not Bad, though.
  • Random Power Ranking: In the comic, they have Greek letters for a mutant's power level. Omegas, the highest, can manipulate matter on the atomic level.
  • Randomly Gifted: The X-gene has complicated heredity.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Rogue and Gambit have been in a constant state of ‘on-and-off’ ever since Gambit first joined the X-Men, to the extent that it's practically a permanent sub-plot. While they both have declared love and devotion for one another on multiple occasions, the relationship never lasts too long before something happens and they end up separating again, only to reconcile at a later stage. This is partially due to the strain on the relationship caused by Rogue’s mutation, meaning the pair can never make physical contact, but also both partners carry some serious emotional baggage which surfaces every so often, sometimes leading to a break-up, whilst other times bringing the pair together
  • Re-Power: This actually has an In-Universe term; "Secondary Mutation". In effect, any given mutant may potentially, in the right circumstances, develop one or more entirely new powers. This may alter, replace or add to original powers. For two of the most iconic example, Beast's transformation from "somewhat ape-like man" to "talking gorilla" to "ape-cat" over the years as his powers have strengthened, and Emma Frost's developing the ability to assume a crystaline "diamond form" that makes her Nigh Invulnerable and gives her Super Strength at the cost of being unable to access her psychic powers in that form.
  • Retcon: Absurdly common, especially with characters with mysterious pasts.
  • The Reveal: It isn't until issue 98 that we learn Wolverine's claws are a natural part of him.
  • Robot Hair: In Joss Whedon's run, the Danger Room developed sapience and (after creating a body from an old Sentinel) became Danger. "She" has cables coming out of the back of her head that resemble hair.
  • 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. 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.
  • Sapient Ship: The Brood used lobotomized Space Whales for transport, and the surviving ones at liberty were both sentient and not happy at all about the situation.
  • 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.
  • Self-Duplication: Jamie Madrox, aka Multiple Man. If he leaves his duplicates separated for too long, they start to become more independent and develop their own personalities. Sadly making a Me's a Crowd plot difficult for too long but an Evil Twin incredibly easy.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: The bridge of the Shi'ar ship that chases Lilandra to Earth looks... familiar. They even have similar uniforms, and a Prime Directive. A few pages later, Lilandra teleports to Earth, and Misty Knight comments that it even looks like the transporter effects.
  • Slash Fic: Very common, a particular favourite is Nightcrawler/other male X-man
  • Sixth Ranger: Havok and Polaris both filled this role when they joined the original Five-Man Band of X-Men.
  • Smug Snake: Steven Lang (No relation), head of Project: Armageddon, is this, and a Dirty Coward to boot.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Nightcrawler might be the best example.
  • Spider Limbs
  • Skunk Stripe: Rogue, X-Man.
  • Space Pirates: The Starjammers
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Psylocke's "focused totality of her psychic power".
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Wolverine is the poster boy.
    • Emma Frost is now the most prominent woman on the team, over all the others who've been there longer.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Arguably, Scott and Jean classify as this to many fans.
  • Still Wearing the Old Colors: Nightcrawler wears his circus costume for years after joining the X-Men. His later costumes still take influence from the design.
  • Stripperific: Dear God, this trope.
    • 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."
  • Sunglasses at Night: Cyclops, to keep control over his powers.
  • Super Empowering: Sage, but only for those with latent mutations.
  • Super Family Team: For various related X-Men.
  • Super Registration Act: The first ever, in fact. A thorn in the X-Men's side during the eighties, it disappeared once Claremont left the books.
  • Superhero School: (Trope Maker) Xavier Academy, especially right in the beginning and in recent years.
  • Super Human Trafficking
  • 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.
    • 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 ) and half veteran X-Men (Wolverine, Havok and Rogue).
  • Super Supremacist: The mutants usually have to deal with Fantastic Racism directed at themselves by humans, but some mutants conversely believe that Homo Superior was designed to rule over regular humans.
    • Magneto, from his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, believes that humans rightly fear mutants because mutants are their evolutionary replacements. Depending on the Writer, he believes that fear and prejudice are a product of their innate inferiority and that the inherent diversity within the mutant species would allow them to overcome said prejudices if freed from humanity's chains. He is unable to see the irony in how being a mutant supremacist makes him no better than a human supremacist. (But again, this depends on the writer.)
    • Apocalypse is Magneto's philosophy taken to an even more frightening conclusion. Apocalypse not only believes that humans are obsolete, but also that there is no room for mutants who lost the Superpower Lottery and got Blessed with Suck. To Apocalypse, survival of the fittest is all that matters, which means that there is no difference between a Muggle and a weaksauce mutant. Both equally deserve extinction.
  • Super Wheelchair: Professor X frequently gets this though it is Depending on the Writer. Hovering is common.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Jean Grey gained a few of these after her original death. Let's see: her daughter Rachel Grey, her clone Madelyne Pryor, and her possible reincarnation Hope Summers are all Significant Green Eyed Redheads that can manifest the Phoenix Force.
    • Since Kitty Pryde left the team, it 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).
  • 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".
  • Tangled Family Tree: The Summers family is a massive Continuity Snarl to itself, and is so convoluted that at this point Scott Summers may in fact be his own grandfather. 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.
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery: Most of the X-Men's enemies can be put into one of four broad categories:
    • Human bigots who want to murder or enslave every mutant on Earth
    • Mutant radicals who want to murder or enslave every human on Earth.
    • Assorted Evil Overlords who want to murder or enslave every mutant and human on Earth.
    • Scary Dogmatic Aliens who want to convert every mutant and human on Earth into more of their own kind.
  • 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.
  • Time Travel: Starting with "Days of Future Past" and going from there. The X-Men have been involved in so many Time Travel incidents that it has begun to be Lampshaded by nearly everyone after the ANAD relaunch.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One fitting most X-Men media, the military and police's attempts to stop evil mutants, but particularly ones like Magneto. How many times must they throw metal tanks, missles, bullets, etc. at him only to have them effortlessly stopped and often turned against them before they realize that is not ever going to work?
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: How several powers are attained, combined with Puberty Superpower.
  • True Love Is Boring: Don't expect many couples to last.
  • Tsundere: Hellion is type A towards X-23.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Steven Lang kidnaps the Professor and Jean Grey, Cyclops gets angry. Angry enough that he nearly beats Steven Lang to death. The only reason he doesn't is because of Jean and a Sentinel. Even imprisoned, Cyclops is so angry he manages to break free of his restrains, and tries all over again.
  • Useless Without Powers: This happens to Storm when she loses her powers. She eventually overcame this by learning various martial arts techniques in order to compensate for her loss and become a Badass Normal for a few years real time. Afterwards when she got her powers back the experience of being depowered made her even more powerful.
  • Use Your Head: The Juggernaut
  • 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.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: Juggernaut's default method of crossing bodies of water.
  • Weaponized Offspring: The minor villain Tusk could create smaller copies of himself.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Uncanny X-Men issue 105: The alien that has been haunting Xavier's dreams reveals themselves... and just happens to be a beautiful woman.
    • Uncanny X-Men issue 275: Magneto renounces his attempt at reforming, and kills Zaladane.
    • Uncanny X-Men issue 388: The Muir Island facility is totalled.
    • X-Men issue 108: Moira Mactaggert passes on, despite the best efforts of the X-Men. And Senator Kelly is murdered by a human.
  • Wham Line: Issue 101, courtesy of Jean Grey, who it should be noted is supposed to be dead: "Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever — I AM PHOENIX!"
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: For those who think mutants aren't human.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sometimes characters get called out on things they did, sometimes not.
    • 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.
  • A Wizard Did It: As knowledge of genetics and radiation became more prominent, it was eventually decided that Sufficiently Advanced Aliens "planted the seeds for beneficial mutation," rather than natural processes giving random people cool superpowers. This is not explicitly stated as fact though it at least acknowledges the underlying problem.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Trope Namer.
  • The Worf Effect: If the writers want to show that a telepath, Eldritch Abomination, Cosmic Entity, etc. has REALLY powerful mental abilities, they have the character curbstomp Charles Xavier in a mental battle. Since most every telepath in the Marvel universe has gone up against him at some point, this happens a lot, to the point where Xavier's status as one of/the most powerful telepath on Earth becomes more of an Informed Ability.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In order to break her free of Mesmero's hypnosis and lacking any solution, Wolverine reluctantly hits Jean Grey, on the basis that since they're Not So Different her anger will bring her back to normal. It works, though Wolverine still gets the power of Phoenix thrown at him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A distressing number of the X-Men's foes have absolutely no problem harming children or teens. The Purifiers take this to sickening heights, being willing to torch an entire maternity ward just to get one Mutant.
  • 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.
    • Surge's has blue hair, it came in a bottle labeled "electric blue."
    • Beast and Nightcrawler. Yeah, it's blue fur, but same difference.
  • You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses?: Some drunkards try to pick a fight with (civilian-dressed) Cyclops. He says the stock phrase, so one of them takes off his glasses.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Comicbook/Xmen