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"Are these words from the future?"
Charles Xavier
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New X-Men (2001-2004) is an American comic book series written by Grant Morrison, which follows the X-Men's "Blue Team" as they attempt to stop several new threats against both mutants and mankind.

The series was a retitling of the then-ongoing second volume of the X-Men series which began in the early 90's, and shared the series' numbering. Morrison, a critically-acclaimed writer known for their high-profile works at DC Comics, was brought onboard to revitalize the title and introduce a number of new story elements. Morrison started as they meant to go on, as the new villain Cassandra Nova directed an army of Sentinels to destroy the mutant island Genosha, resulting in sixteen million mutant deaths and a shake-up to the status quo.

The following arcs introduced several new students at Charles Xavier's school (including Beak, a deformed half-human birdman, Angel Salvadore, a young woman who sports the wings of a fly, the Stepford Cuckoos, and Xorn, a Chinese prisoner who can heal injured people and sports a star inside his helmet), and dealt with more mature themes.

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The book resulted in a re-energizing of the franchise, and was critically and commercially acclaimed. However, certain controversial twists were hastily retconned by Marvel after the run due to fan backlash. The series reverted back to the original X-Men title beginning at issue #157.

Not to be confused for New X-Men: Academy X (which later went by New X-Men in it's later issues), or All-New X-Men.


The series contains examples of:

  • Absolute Xenophobe: The Sublime bacteria want to halt the evolutionary process by killing off every other species and repopulating the Earth with its own synthetic, stagnant life forms.
  • All Muslims Are Arab: Dust speaks Arabic and wears a Saudi-style abaya, despite hailing from a poor region in Afghanistan, where she would be much more likely to speak Pashto or Dari.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Crawlers are genetic abominations created by Sublime using Nightcrawler's DNA as a template. In addition to said mutant's teleportation and wall-crawling abilities, they also possess Cyclops' optic blasts, Multiple Man's self-duplication and Archangel's wings.
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  • Alternate Universe: "Here Comes Tomorrow" takes place on Earth-15104, an alternate timeline where Beast was possessed by Sublime and waged a war against all other life forms, leading to a dystopic world where most species have gone extinct and evolution has been rendered stagnant.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The motivations and morality of the Omega Gang are left to the reader's interpretation. Redneck argues that some of the members were under Quentin Quire's telepathic control, though Wolverine dismisses it as a bluff and keeps viewing them as a bunch of juvenile criminals. The final arc further muddies the waters by revealing that the Gang's abuse of the Kick drug left them vulnerable to possession by Sublime, though whether this was a decisive factor in the way they carried out their actions isn't elaborated upon either.
  • The Antichrist: Sublime, the series' Greater-Scope Villain, is an evil intelligence that takes over multiple characters with the goal of bringing about The End of the World as We Know It. His final body is even that of "the Beast."
  • Apocalypse How: Magneto's plan in "Planet X" is a Class 4 (species extinction) - he intends to repopulate Earth with mutants.
  • Arc Villain:
    • Cassandra Nova is the central antagonist of "E is for Extinction" and "Imperial". In both arcs, she tries to ruin Xavier's life by various means, such as massacring the population of Genosha, exposing his status as a mutant to the general public, and straining his relationship with the Shi'ar Empire.
    • In "Riot at Xavier's", Quentin Quire and his Omega Gang try to take over the Xavier Institute in order to instill the belief that humans and mutants cannot coexist peacefully.
    • The villain of "Planet X" is Xorn, who turns out to have been Magneto all along. Unhinged due to overindulging in the Kick drug, he plans to exterminate humanity by using his amplified powers to commit genocide on a global scale.
    • In "Here Comes Tomorrow", Sublime has possessed Beast and exterminated most life forms on Earth. The few remaining survivors have to regroup and launch a final offensive against their enemy.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Quoted almost word for word by Professor Xavier after Quentin Quire's "death":
    "Quentin Quire was liberated from his physical cocoon and born into a higher world at exactly 4:32 this afternoon. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but in this case we believe it to be the literal truth."
  • Back from the Dead: Jean/Phoenix is resurrected 150 years in the future after being killed during the "Planet X" storyline.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Officer Foster is the only normal human to participate in the final battle against Magneto. He valiantly draws the murderous mutant's attention, enabling Beast to sneak up and attack the villain from behind.
    • Tom Skylark is a regular human in a team comprised of Wolverine, the Sentinel Rover, the telepaths Cassandra and Martha, the avian humanoid Beak, and the robotic shapeshifter E.V.A. He still manages to kill several Crawlers with nothing but basic firearms.
  • Bad Future: "Here Comes Tomorrow" - most of the X-Men (and humanity) are dead, with the few survivors being Fantomex's A.I. EVA, the Stepford Cuckoos and Wolverine.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun:
    • At the end of the "E is for Extinction" arc, Professor Xavier picks up a gun and promptly shoots Cassandra when it becomes clear that the X-Men are in over their heads in their battle with her, breaking his strict "No Kill" policy. Subverted, though, in that it later turns that it was Cassandra's mind in the Professor's body, and that the Professor's mind was in Cassandra's body when it happened.
    • Xavier threatens to shoot himself to prevent Cassandra Nova from taking over his body and Cerebra.
  • Behind the Black: In one issue, someone is trying to assassinate Professor Xavier in an airport. The assassin is covered in a shawl, and when some of the X-corp branch unmask the assassin, it is only then that the Professor, several yards away, tells Jean Grey who it is. This is a telepath who should have been able to tell the other telepath who it was before the audience finds out.
  • Biblical Motifs: The final arc is framed as a battle between analogues of God and Satan. It takes place in an apocalyptic world ruled by the Beast, who commands an army of demonic creatures. The heroes have become deeply religious, erecting a statue in honour of the late Professor X and praying to him as if he was a guardian deity. Finally, good triumphs when a messiah is reborn and purifies the wicked.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Stepford Cuckoos take it upon themselves to stop Quentin Quire's riot. Sophie uses Cerebra (and some Kick) to boost their abilities while her sisters handle Quentin face-to-face. Sophie dies as a result, though this turned out to be orchestrated by Esme.
  • Biological Weapons Solve Everything:
    • In the final arc, it turns out that the one person the Big Bad had to possess in order to take over the world was Beast. While said hero's mutation was sorely lacking in terms of sheer power, he made up for it by having access to the X-Men's genetic database and the intellect to create bioweapons with it. Following the inception of the Crawler army and a series of modifications to his own body, Sublime was unstoppable.
    • The last telepaths on Earth are protected from Sublime's army by a shield that disrupts the Crawlers' teleportation. The villain overcomes this obstacle by forcing an infected Crawler to teleport through the shield. Though the monster dies in the process, its parasite quickly spreads through the telepaths.
  • Birds of a Feather: Beak and Angel come from similar backgrounds and meet when a group of students dares Angel to kiss the ugliest student in the school. They eventually raise a family together.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Donald Trask repeatedly expresses how disturbed he is about the mutant genocide and says that, even if their deaths are necessary, the process should at least be painless. Cassandra calls him out for his hypocrisy, since he is still willing to go through with the massacre. Furthermore, she probes his mind and finds out he secretly harbors a deep hatred for mutants, and even desires to keep some of them as slaves in his basement.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jean is dead, Xavier is wheelchair-bound, Magneto's attack on Manhattan has reignited humanity's hatred for mutants, and the existence of the Extinction gene means the days of Homo sapiens are counted. On the bright side, the X-Men have disassembled the Super Sentinel Program, Wolverine has learned more about his past, and Scott is able to move on and start a relationship with Emma.
  • Bizarrchitecture: In issue #121, Jean and Emma probe Professor Xavier's memories while he's trapped inside Cassandra's brain. One of the places they visit is a tower whose walls are shaped like Cassandra's face, which come to life and attack the duo by biting, firing laser beams and vomiting on them.
  • Black Bug Room: The Trope Namer. During Cassandra's first battle against the X-Men in issue #116, she traps Cyclops in a hallucinatory room that embodies the dark side of his consciousness. Said location is a red room covered in slime, whose only inhabitants are three massive bugs.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Angel Salvadore has the ability to fly, but does so at the cost of not being able to consume her food like a human; she has more fly-like organs, meaning that to eat, she has to vomit acidic slime on her food and let it dissolve into paste before sucking it back up. Even many of her fellow mutants regard this as gross. She also has a fly-like reproductive system, and ends up giving birth to five children — which she lays as part of a clutch of about a dozen or more huge, ugly eggs — about a week after getting pregnant.
    • Beak's mutation causes him to look like a deformed humanoid chicken.
    • Dummy became a literal fart cloud once his X gene was manifested. He must wear a special suit at all times, otherwise he will leak and disperse. He ultimately dies at the end of the "Riot at Xavier's" arc, when shrapnel tears his outfit in half.
  • Brain in a Jar: One of the new students at the Institute is Martha Johannsen, a powerful psychic whose brain was severed by Sublime, leaving her as a disembodied brain on life support. Fortunately, she's still able to communicate with people telepathically, and Quentin Quire develops a special jar for her with antigravity capabilities.
  • Brain Monster: E.V.A. is a techno-organic space ship that functions as Fantomex's nervous system. He claims to have vomited her when he was younger, and she soon developed a consciousness of her own.
  • Brain Theft: Martha Johansson was an innocent mutant runaway who was kidnapped by the U-Men, who removed her brain from her body and placed it in a tank in order to force her to do their bidding.
  • Breather Episode: "Assault on Weapon Plus". After all of the drama over Scott's infidelity and the attempt on Emma's life, Scott goes out for a nice "boy's night out" with Logan and Fantomex (which involves them battling some cyborgs and breaking into a space station). They get back just in time for "Planet X".
  • Call-Back: Just before Jean dies, she makes a reference to dying right after coming back as the Phoenix.
  • The Cameo:
    • A few of the X-Men outside of the main five make brief appearances. Archangel appears after "Imperial" to give a few of the new students a flying lesson, and Storm can be seen helping with the cleanup of Genosha along with Thunderbird, Sabra and a few others. In addition, some of the auxiliary X-teams also appear as employees of the X-Corporation. Many of the members of X-Factor note  work for the Paris branch, and a few former X-Force members note  work for the Mumbai branch.
    • Captain America and Nuke briefly appear in the "Assault on Weapon Plus" arc, as Wolverine browses through pictures of Weapon Plus' past test subjects.
  • Chained by Fashion: Xorn's first appearance shows him covered in chains, which is followed by a gratuitous demonstration of his incredibly destructive powers. His tendency to wear chains as accessories even after joining the X-Men is one of the more subtle hints of him being Magneto in disguise.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The recorder which Magneto uses to broadcast his final words to the rest of the world turns out to be the vector for a computer virus which shuts off all electronic systems during the "Planet X" arc.
  • Civvie Spandex: The team (sans Emma) wears matching yellow-and-black leather jackets and pants for the duration of the series. This was an influence from the movie that came out the year before this series.
  • Cloning Blues: The Stepford Cuckoos have this to some extent. In particular, Esme ends up taking Kick so she can feel like an individual, and she ultimately rebels against the X-Men and joins Magneto. It's understandable that all of them might have some doubts about themselves, though, since they were actually bred as weapons by Weapon Plus.
  • Color-Coded Speech: Jean's speech bubbles turn black with white text whenever the Phoenix speaks through her.
  • Comic Book Movies Dont Use Code Names: Whenever he's mentioned, Apocalypse is only referred to by his true name "En Sabah Nur". A rare case of this occurring in a comic book itself.
  • Composite Character: Sort of. Morrison says that they gave Emma the ability to turn into diamond because they originally wanted to put Colossus in the team's lineup, but decided to combine his powers with another character after he was killed off in the "Legacy Virus" arc.
  • Cool Helmet: Xorn has a star for a head, so he must wear a special helmet to keep its energy and gravitational pull under check. The star's light can be seen faintly shining through his visor. Though this is all a lie, since Xorn is really Magneto in disguise. The helmet's true purpose is to protect him from telepaths' mind reading, as well as grant him a couple of other abilities he wouldn't normally have, such as the laser blast he uses to start a campfire.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Omega Squad executes an U-Man by having Glob drip his flammable skin into Redneck's hands, who then pours the ignited fluid into the victim's face, burning him alive.
  • Darkest Hour: Issue #147 - Xavier has been crippled (again), Xorn has revealed himself to be Magneto and leaves with several of Xavier's students, Logan and Jean are on an asteroid that's hurtling into the sun, Hank and Emma are stuck on a small island in the middle of nowhere after the Blackbird crashes, and the rest of the team is scattered and unsure of what to do.
  • Dead Man Writing: Magneto uses a black box to record his last words, which Polaris then broadcasts worldwide with her magnetic powers.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jean Grey as Phoenix, who starts by passively asking the mutilated Wolverine if his "eyes have grown back yet" and dies just after she remarks to Cyclops how she seems to come back only to die again soon after.
  • Deconstruction: The series explores many of the harsher aspects of how a subculture of superhumans might function in the real world, with abuse of power-enhancing drugs, campus insurrection at the Xavier Institute, the homegrown culture of the "mutant ghetto", and even Che Guevara-esque idolization of Magneto figuring into the plot.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Cyclops is left emotionally unstable after being freed from En Sabah Nur's influence and begins displaying signs of depression. He confides to Emma that his marriage no longer feels fulfilling, and laments that the X-Men are still seen as menaces despite all the heroic deeds they have performed. This culminates in him suffering a Heroic BSoD after Phoenix dies, which prompts him to quit the X-Men.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Subverted. Basilisk interrupts Magneto's speech to make an inappropriate joke, so the villain retaliates by killing him with a magnetic pulse. However, Magneto is shocked and says he never intended for the attack to be lethal, implying that the drugs he had been taking caused him to lose control of his powers.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Magneto forbids Esme from calling him by his birth name, as he wishes to dissociate himself from any labels that regular humans attributed to him.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the final issue, it's revealed that Beast started inhaling Kick in the past, despite knowing that long-term use of the drug is lethal to mutants. After Jean purifies him, he mumbles that he never expected to live so long with his asthma, subtly implying that he was trying to kill himself via an overdose.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Genosha is unceremoniously destroyed at the end of the second issue of "E For Extinction", killing millions and leaving a few survivors to pick up the pieces.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Both Quentin Quire and Xorn/Magneto are revealed to be addicted to the mutant drug Kick, which enhances their powers and motivates the "Riot At Xavier" and "Planet X" arcs.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Beast jokingly tells his ex-girlfriend that he is gay, though she takes his words as truthful and publishes his Coming-Out Story in a newspaper. Hank is amused and keeps pretending to be homosexual, though Cyclops tells him that people will be very displeased once his charade is broken.
  • Dying Race:
    • Beast discovers that the genome of hominids contains an "extinction gene", which is responsible for eradicating older species so that they can be replaced by their evolutionary successors. With the then recent boom in mutant populations, he postulates that Homo sapiens will cease to exist within four generations.
    • Sublime believes itself to be one. The emergence of a life form capable of resisting its infection caused it to grow paranoid and believe that its species will go extinct unless the evolutionary process is halted.
  • Easily Forgiven: The rest of the team doesn't seem to bear Emma any ill will for seducing Scott behind Jean's back. Even Professor Xavier, who has very little tolerance for people using psychic powers to manipulate others, doesn't call her out on her using telepathy to exploit his confusion.
  • Electronic Telepathy: It's implied that Cerebra can not only amplify telepaths' natural talents, but also bestow psionic abilities upon mutants who lack said power. When Feral complains that nobody in the Mumbai branch of the X-Corporation can read minds, Jean explains that using the machine is not all that difficult: "You just think into it and it finds mutants for you".
  • Enemy Mine: Subverted. The "Assault on Weapon Plus" and "Planet X" arcs imply that the mutant supremacist Magneto is acting as an informant for Weapon Plus, which is a project bent on exterminating all mutants. It's later revealed that this apparently inexplicable alliance was only a result of Sublime taking over both parties in order to further its own goals.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Esme Cuckoo's clothing style changes radically after she betrays the team and joins Magneto. Justified, since the change in dress makes it clear that she has definitively broken free from the Cuckoos and become an individual (before that point, the Cuckoos always dressed identically).
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Sublime's U-Men and and Quentin Quire's Omega Gang both serve as this for the X-Men, though in varying ways:
      • The U-Men are humans who intentionally try to give themselves mutant powers by harvesting mutants' organs, and believe that it's their destiny to become a new superior species.
      • The Omega Gang are rebellious mutant teenagers who enact brutal vigilante justice on any humans with anti-mutant tendencies.
    • Cassandra Nova is this for Professor Xavier, essentially showing us how the Professor might turn out if he was mentally unstable and used his vast psychic powers for evil.
  • Evil Learns of Outside Context: After defeating the murderous psychic Cassandra Nova, Professor Xavier decides to leave for space to rest with his lover Lilandra, Empress of the Shi'ar empire. Just as he's leaving, Beast discovers that Cassandra has taken control of Xavier's body and now has access to Shi'ar technology, which she plans to use to wipe out all mutants.
  • Evil Twin:
    • Cassandra Nova is Charles's twin sister, whom he killed in the womb in self-defense.
    • Esme Cuckoo goes rogue and tries to take over her sisters' Hive Mind. She would go on to join Magneto's Brotherhood and orchestrate the deaths of both Sophie and Emma. By the start of "Planet X", the remaining Cuckoos have all but disowned her.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: During the final battle with Xorn/Magneto, Fantomex opens fire on the villain, who of course deflects the bullets with his powers... right into the stasis tank imprisoning Xavier, freeing him. Given who Fantomex is, it's not hard to imagine this trope was at play here.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Esme Cuckoo gets hooked on Kick, tries to murder Emma, and finally falls in with Magneto when he tries to destroy New York City.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Discussed by Cyclops in one of his sessions with Emma, when he complains that Jean wears corsets and high heels at work as an X-man, but at home with him she wears flats and turtlenecks.
    • Jean, who previously stripped down to her bra and pants while on Asteroid M as it's hurtling into the sun, is stabbed in the gut by Logan.
    • Lampshaded in Issue 142 where Cyclops spends a good while listing off all the unappealing aspects of strip clubs while he's in a Hellfire Club strip club getting a private dance from a stripper.
  • Fanservice: In Polaris' sole appearance, her clothes are corroded by radioactive sludge, leaving her completely naked. Her breasts and genitals are only obscured by her hair and some carefully drawn shadows.
  • Forced Orgasm: Emma Frost uses her telepathy powers to stimulate the pleasure centers in a person's brain. She used these powers to neutralize a hostile group of anti-mutant protestors, by "pushing their bliss buttons" causing a mass simultaneous case of Jizzed in My Pants so strong they all collapsed on the spot.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Martha Johansson being No-Girl is hinted at when Ernst does a Verbal Backspace when she claims Martha says No-Girl agreed to going out on a date with Basilisk.
    • There are quite a few hints about Cassandra Nova having swapped her and Xavier's minds. Xavier earlier says he absolutely refuses to use a gun on another living creature, only to have no hesitation in shooting "Cassandra" later. When "Cassandra" tries to recover from Emma breaking her neck, she moans "ummmma....ummmm Charles..." or to be more coherent, "I'm Charles".
    • Quentin Quire's speech at the end of "Riot at Xavier's" foreshadows the events of "Planet X": He says that Manhattan will be destroyed and that the school is huge. Then, as Xorn approaches, he mumbles that the real enemy was amongst them the entire time. He was trying to warn Professor X that the Chinese mutant was actually Magneto in disguise, and that the villain intended to take over Manhattan by teaching his supremacist ideologies to Xavier's students.
    • Araki says that the Phoenix's actions are a form of "disinfection". In the final arc, the Phoenix's ultimate goal turns out to be destroying all the Sublime bacteria that have infected Beast.
    • When Fantomex shows up at the end of the "Planet X" arc, Esme Cuckoo is somehow able to identify him as "Weapon XIII". This sets up the revelation that she and her sisters were Fantomex's successors in the Weapon Plus program.
  • Freaky Friday Sabotage: Cassandra Nova somehow manages to give herself a modified version of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease before switching minds with her twin brother Charles Xavier, causing him to become trapped in a rapidly-degenerating body.
  • French Jerk: Subverted with Fantomex, who enjoys annoying the other heroes with his heavy French accent, but has no ties to France whatsoever.
  • Future Badass: Beak's grandson Tito Bohusk Jr. is essentially Beak with full control over his flight powers—and without the angst or social awkwardness.
  • Gambit Roulette:
    • Sublime's master plan to wipe out mutantkind is, for lack of a better term, ridiculously convoluted, as he was controlling pretty much every character at one point or another, either through direct Demonic Possession or simply through subterfuge, meaning a couple of times one of his pawns will be defeated by another one.
    • Magneto's plan to infiltrate and destroy the X-Men. He fakes his death and goes into hiding after surviving an attack on Genosha that kills 16 million mutants, then builds a prison in China and poses as a prisoner on the off chance that the X-Men will rescue him and invite him to become a teacher at the Xavier Institute. Then he spends at least a year living under the X-Men's roof and indoctrinating a group of teenage students to hate humanity, presumably hoping and praying that nobody will figure out or look too hard at the content of his lessons. And he manages to trap Jean and Logan on his old asteroid base after Logan coincidentally winds up stranded in space and Jean goes to rescue him (which he couldn't possibly have planned on).
  • Glamour: The student Slick has this power telepathically, and his true appearance after being depowered is akin to an impish creature with duck like feet.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: In the final arc, the villain's minions all have bat wings that highlight their evil nature. In contrast, the female mutant that assists survivors at the Xavier Institute has angelic wings.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Sublime. He was behind everything from the Kick drug to the creation of Weapon X (actually the tenth experiment of Weapon Plus), and may even have manipulated humanity into turning against mutants in the first place.
  • Great Offscreen War: Sublime's takeover of Earth happens completely offscreen. After "Planet X", the action cuts straight from the present day to 150 years in the future.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Beak and Angel end up joining Xorn/Magneto when he reformed the Brotherhood of Mutants, then regain their conscience and rejoin the X-Men as they make their assault on the Brotherhood's base.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the Bad Future caused by Sublime's rise to power, a reformed Cassandra Nova ends up leading the next generation of X-Men in resisting him. It's implied that Ernst may have been a reborn Cassandra all along.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Polaris is revealed to have been in this state for months when the team finds her on Genosha - she blamed herself for not being able to save the millions of massacred mutants, and became a nude, deranged recluse who wandered around the island.
    • Beast suffers an overwork-induced breakdown as a result of his inability to juggle between his multiple responsibilities as the Xavier Institute's headmaster, coupled with his repeated failed attempts to find a solution to humanity's imminent extinction. He starts inhaling Kick as a means to cope with the stress, unwittingly becoming Sublime's final host in the process.
  • Hive Mind: The Stepford Cuckoos, first introduced in this series, share a mental link as part of their mutation. It's later revealed that they were actually created to be like this by Weapon Plus.
  • I Can Explain: When Jean catches Scott having a mental affair with Emma, she says: "Don't tell me. You can explain..."
  • Immune to Mind Control: Downplayed. Sublime can influence the behaviour of any creature it infects, except mutants. However, it can bypass the immunity if it's inhaled alongside the other components of the Kick drug.
  • Implied Rape: Cassandra snarks that Lilandra is terrible in bed, heavily implying that she raped the brainwashed empress while occupying Xavier's body.
  • Important Haircut: Esme Cuckoo cuts her hair short after she breaks free from the rest of the Cuckoos and joins Magneto. The haircut helps distinguish her from her sister clones, finally marking her as an individual instead of one-fifth of a Hive Mind.
  • Informed Ability: The Beast says that he will give the Crawlers, among other abilities, "voices which can shatter stones and bones and flesh". This heavily implies that said creatures inherited Siryn's super scream, though they were never seen using it.
  • Intangibility: Tattoo can phase through objects. She is first seen using this power when she executes a man by materializing her arm while it's lodged on his chest, and later attempts to do the same thing to Cyclops.
  • Ironic Echo: "Did you think YOU would live forever, little speck?" Said by Sublime as he turns off Wolverine's Healing Factor, then repeated by Jean as she exorcises Sublime from Beast's body.
  • Kill 'Em All: The ending of the "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc. Everyone at the Xavier Institute dies due to a Feeder infestation, the X-Men are murdered by Sublime, and Beast is killed by Apollyon. The only survivor is Jean, who amputates that timeline from the multiverse and rewrites the past to ensure that the dystopic future never comes to.
  • Last of His Kind: Mer-Max became the last whale on Earth after Sublime started his war against all other species.
  • Light 'em Up:
    • Basilisk can emit a photon blast from his eye, which paralyzes anyone who stares at it. This causes Beak to label him as a lamer version of Cyclops.note 
    • Radian can emit blasts of blinding light from his body.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: While none of them receive that much panel time, the Xavier Institute was filled with hundreds of students each with unique mutations. Most of them weren't properly identified until years later.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: The intensity of Magneto's electromagnetic fields increases exponentially after he is exposed to Kick, enabling him to disrupt the nervous system of his targets and induce strokes. This is how he kills Basilisk, Esme and Phoenix.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: When the European branch of the X-Corporation is cornered by Weapon XII's possessed minions in a subway tunnel, Siryn lets out a massive sonic scream that knocks all the enemies away and gives the team a chance to escape. Unfortunately, said action put too much strain on her vocal chords, with Xavier worriedly commenting that her throat is bleeding too much and ordering Cannonball to take her somewhere safe while he takes over the mission.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The later arcs, starting with "Murder at the Mansion," begin revealing a whole string of people behind other people: Angel Salvadore shot Emma Frost... under a psychic command from Esme Cuckoo... who gave said command at the behest of Xorn... who was possessed by Sublime. Furthermore, Sublime was ultimately revealed to be responsible for everything bad that happened in the run. Even Cassandra Nova, who seemed to act independently, is implied to be one of his puppets, as he describes one of his former allies as a "stillborn in the sewers of nightmare".
  • Master of Illusion: Fantomex takes Jean and Xavier to his luxurious manor and introduces them to his elderly mother. When Jean later finds out that he is a product of the Weapon Plus project, she questions him about the identity of the old woman, but Fantomex's response is to sardonically ask "What old woman?", implying that everything the heroes had experienced was an elaborate illusion.
  • Meta Origin:
    • The series officially canonizes the fact that mutants can receive additional secondary mutations, highlighted by Emma's survival during the destruction of Genosha (she becomes an indestructible diamond form, at the cost of the temporary loss of her telepathy).
    • The Weapon X program also gets this treatment. We learn that the "X" in its name is actually the Roman numeral for "10"—it's the tenth in a series of experiments devised by Sublime to create the perfect super-soldiers for combating the mutant menace. The project began with in World War II with the creation of Weapon I... better known as Captain America.
  • Mind Screw: "Here Comes Tomorrow" is classic Morrison, particularly the final scene taking place in the acid trip of a dimension that is the White Hot Room, which may be the afterlife, the realm of the Phoenix Force, the inside of the M'krann Crystal, or any combination of the three.
  • Mind Virus:
    • Creatures who are infected by Sublime don't display any noticeable symptoms, but the bacteria can influence the host's behaviour to a certain degree, most often by instilling feelings of aggression, fear or paranoia. It's implied that mankind's inexplicable prejudice towards mutants is due to the ubiquity of said microrganism on the biosphere.
    • Feeders are mind parasites that eat the thoughts of their hosts. This is represented by the infectee mumbling nonsense, which devolves into a Madness Mantra of "Hungry! Feed!" as they are taken over.
  • Moving Beyond Bereavement: Cyclops' inability to cope with Phoenix's death kick-starts a series of events that culminate in a Bad Future where mutants have been hunted to near extinction and the world is ruled by Sublime. The entire point of the final story arc is for the resurrected Phoenix to send a message to her lover in the past, encouraging him to move on with his life and prevent the cataclysm from happening.
  • Neck Snap: Emma breaks Cassandra's neck at the end of the "E For Extinction" arc while she is using Cerebra.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Beak's story arc seems to be building up to his first flight, as Beast and Archangel tell him he should be capable of such and encourage him to keep trying. In "Planet X", Beak falls from a great height and starts flapping his arms as he proclaims that he is going to fly this time... only to fail once more and plummet into the street below.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Morrison's run introduced the concept of "secondary mutations", with a few of the X-Men gaining new powers. Conveniently, Emma discovers her ability to transform into diamond right before a building falls on her.
  • No Fourth Wall: At one point in "Here Comes Tomorrow," Cassandra turns to the reader and says "I've had dreams, you know. Dreams with you in them."
  • No-Sell: Since telepathy is a rather common and powerful mutant ability, numerous organizations have developed technology specifically to nullify it. This forces Jean Grey to rely solely on her telekinesis and her own martial arts when she is forced to engage the U-Men and the Imperial Guard in a direct battle.
  • Off-Model: In issues that were illustrated by Igor Kordey, the characters look noticeably different and borderline deformed.
    • For most of the "Imperial" arc, Wolverine is drawn with overly large eyes that are also too far apart from each other.
    • When Jean and Professor X first meet Fantomex, the first two are drawn with an identical facial structure, resulting in the woman looking much older and more masculine.
    • During Emma Frost and Cyclops' first "therapy session", the former is drawn with an abnormally large forehead.
    • Jean in the last panel of issue #130 has a massive upper lip, and the shadows in her chin are drawn with rough lines that make it appear as if she has a beard.
  • Out-of-Character Moment:
    • Xorn had been portrayed as a gullible pacifist until halfway through the "Riot at Xavier's" arc, in which he suddenly shows a much more sinister side when he obliterates a U-Men squad that is threatening his Special Class. The ominous lighting on his close-up face, coupled with Angel's shocked expression, is the most blatant hint that there is more to him than meets the eye.
    • In "Planet X", Esme and Cyclops note that Magneto is behaving unusually, with the X-Man going as far as to say he never thought said villain would come up with such idiotic plans. Beak provides a justification by explaining that their enemy has been indulging himself with the Kick drug.
  • Party Scattering: Done intentionally by Xorn/Magneto to separate the team while he cripples Xavier in "Planet X".
  • The Peeping Tom: An U-Man spies on Beak and Angel as the two have sex in the woods, lamenting that he doesn't have Magical Eyes that would enable him to watch the scene without the aid of binoculars.
  • The Phoenix: Jean Grey's codename is Phoenix, and her Battle Aura resembles a fire bird. Much like the creature she is named after, she can repeatedly come Back from the Dead, as she is reborn 150 years in the future following her demise at the hands of Magneto.
  • Pieces of God: Jean Grey uses Cerebra to take a dying Charles Xavier's consciousness and put a fragment of it into the mind of every mutant on Earth. Then he's able to retake his own body when Cassandra Nova uses Cerebra to reach out to every mutant at once, in an attempt to Kill 'Em All. He's not a god, though.
  • Power Incontinence: The excessive number of magnetic patterns in Genosha overwhelm Polaris, causing her powers to run out of control and generate magnetic fields which the others mistake for ghosts.
  • Prevent the War: Following Magneto's takeover of Manhattan, a representative of the Weapon Plus project tries to convince the US Government to start an all-out war against mutants, and further reinforces his argument by publicizing data on the Extinction gene, which he believes will eradicate Homo sapiens unless their genetic successors are eliminated. Desperate to prevent the conflict, Beast contacts the president and begs him to reconsider, a request that is only attended once the hero lies by claiming he has found a way to suppress the Extinction gene.
  • Psychic Link: The Stepford Cuckoos are quintuplets who share a psychic link, enabling them to function as a single person.
  • Psycho Serum: Kick/Hypercortisone D is an inhalatory drug that greatly amplifies mutants' superpowers, but also induces psychosis and causes irreversible damage to the X gene. The final arc reveals that Kick is really the aerosol version of a sentient bacterium, which either kills or possesses its hosts.
  • Puberty Superpower: Both Beak and Angel manifested their powers when they were in their teens - Angel was thrown out of her home when her father discovered she could fly, and Beak fled his home after discovering his physical changes.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Special Class is a group of mutant children who are unable to fit in with the other students due to their unusual personalities. Though their powers pale in comparison with the X-Men's, they become a somewhat competent team thanks to Xorn's tutoring. Subverted in that they were actually being trained by Magneto to supplant the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. By the end of the run, two members end up dead, while all the others pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Real Remington Steele: Xorn "reveals" himself as Magneto before being killed.
  • Red Herring: When Cassandra first shows up, the X-Men theorize that she's the first specimen of a completely new species that's more advanced than both humans and mutants. This seems the most likely explanation for her strange physiology... until it turns out that she's actually professor Xavier's deranged twin sister, and that her messed up anatomy is the result of her creating her own body after existing as an incorporeal being on the astral plane.
  • Ret-Canon: The decision to give the X-Men black leather suits was inspired by the suits in X-Men.
  • Retirony: Inverted. Midway through the run, Xavier announces that he wishes to retire and appoint Jean as the new Headmistress of the Institute in his place. Though he survives, Jean is killed, leaving Scott to become the new Headmaster instead.
  • Rewrite: The Weapon X facility is explained to be just one of several such installations created throughout the world. Captain America is revealed to be "Weapon I" (from the Project: Rebirth program), while several other characters (including the Stepford Cuckoos) are revealed to be later test subjects.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • Is Apollyon Fantomex? It's hinted at, but in a context where it may just be a dying fantasy.
    • Though Sublime compares the Feeders' parasitic nature to the Mummudrai, the connection between the two species, if any, is not elaborated upon.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Emma in the "E For Extinction" arc, who initially goes after humanity for destroying Genosha, but discovers the real culprit (Cassandra) and snaps her neck.
  • Robosexual: Tom Skylark is a normal human who is hinted to have romantic feelings towards E.V.A., a techno-organic being.
  • Robot Buddy: Rover in "Here Comes Tomorrow" is a sentient, slightly dimwitted Sentinel (one of the few still left on the planet) who is commanded by future X-Man Tom Skylark.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Here Comes Tomorrow has a ton of Revelation imagery; Sublime takes the form of "the Beast" and talks about all life receiving "his Mark," and his second-in-command, Apollyon, shares his name with the being prophesied to release the horrors of Hell to torment the wicked prior to Judgment Day, among them an endless plague of giant, human-faced locusts possibly represented by the Crawlers. In addition, the White Hot Room visually calls to mind Revelation's seriously mindscrewy version of Heaven, and the Phoenix herself the "Woman cloaked in sun" said to birth the world's savior. Word of God confirms Buddhist imagery as well, another basis for the White Hot Room being the crown chakra, which is also mentioned in the story as the place at which the Phoenix anchors itself to its host.
  • Sanity Slippage: Magneto, who is being manipulated by Sublime through the use of Kick, begins to hear Xorn speak to him, with the explanation that he made Xorn too well. Xorn swears that he is his consciousness and will never leave him.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: One of the members of the future X-Men team is a sapient whale called Mer-Max.
  • Satan: Sublime is an ancient creature who deceives humans to possess and rule the world though the body of a man known as "the Beast" in an apocalyptic future. Morrison would recycle a number of phrases used to describe Sublime, such as "hole in things" and "true enemy," for Doctor Hurt, the Louis Cypher Big Bad of his run on Batman.
  • Self-Surgery: Fantomex performs surgery on himself, dislodging a bullet and suturing the wound.
  • Series Continuity Error: In "Here Comes Tomorrow", a flashback shows Beast becoming headmaster of the Xavier Institute and teaching Xorn's former students, including Basilisk, who died and was implied to be cremated in the preceding arc.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silence Is Golden: The chapter "Silence: Psychic Rescue In Progress" is part of the "'Nuff Said" Marvel event, in which all comics published during the month are devoid of dialogue. It chronicles Jean and Emma as they journey through Cassandra Nova's subconscious in search of Xavier's mind, with all their communication being done through psionic emoticons. The only line uttered in the issue is in the very last panel.
    Jean: Professor X tried to kill his twin sister while they were both still in the womb. We ought to talk...
  • So Proud of You: Inverted. When Magneto kills Esme, Emma cradles the dying girl and tells her that in spite of her turning against the X-Men, she's still proud of her.
  • Squick: In-Universe. Siryn asks the Multiple Man whether he ever considered using his powers to have an orgy with himself. Monet groans in response and tells her to shut it.
  • Story-Breaker Power: As demonstrated throughout the "New Worlds" arc, Jean and Professor X can easily solve most conflicts by using telepathy to pacify their foes. The antagonists circumvent this by wearing gear that nullifies psychic attacks note , having innate protection against telepathynote  or just being more proficient telepaths.note 
  • Stripperific: Emma - this is highlighted by the final issue (#156), which has a cover photo of her (wearing a skintight pantsuit) hugging Cyclops while looking devilishly into the camera as she sticks her butt out.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Justified. Beak explains that no superheroes can assist the X-Men during the battle of New York because Magneto had sent them on a wild-goose chase before seizing the city. After they left, the villain erected a magnetic shield around the city, preventing anyone from entering.
  • Supernatural Angst: Ultimaton is a supersoldier designed to kill mutants, but finds himself constantly wondering if that really is his purpose in life, even saying that he could have been a painter.
  • Title Drop: Quentin Quire rejects Professor X's pacifist ideology and decides to take over the Institute with the aid of his Omega Gang, labeling his group as "the New X-Men".
  • Twins Are Special: This series introduces the Stepford Cuckoos, quintuplets who share a telepathic link. Due to their Hive Mind, they have extraordinarily powerful psychic abilities in spite of their young age.
  • Twin Telepathy: The Stepford Cuckoos, quintuplets who have powerful psychic powers, exhibit this.
  • Ugly All Along: Slick has illusory abilities, which he uses to transform himself into a tall, handsome young man. His true form has a bat-like face, three-toed webbed feet, and is the size of a toddler. When Quentin uses his own power to negate Slick's, the latter is humiliated and shunned by the other students.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In "Planet X", Magneto is unaware that he is being manipulated by Sublime. After he takes over New York and assembles the mutant population, another host of Sublime is seen convincing the president of the United States to bombard the city with neutron warheads, which would wipe out all mutants instantly.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: In issue #150 (the final part of "Planet X"), Magneto says this after killing Esme:
    Magneto: May the future forgive me. May history judge my actions, great or small. In the final reckoning... when I have given them paradise, and the world is free... those poor dead will not seem so many. Now, let the sky fall.
  • Villain Ball: Apollyon tells Sublime they should kill the amnesiac Phoenix, given that she will inevitably turn on them as soon as she regains her memories. However, Sublime points out that, since the Phoenix was the heroes' last hope of defeating him, having her be a part of his army would be the perfect irony. Predictably, Jean's memories return during the final battle, effectively spelling Sublime's downfall.
  • The Virus: Any being that comes into contact with Weapon XII is infected with his consciousness and becomes an extension of him.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • Donald Trask vomits after Cassandra Nova forces him to witness a simulation of a group of Homo sapiens brutally slaughtering their genetic predecessors.
    • Angel's fly physiology forces her to vomit her stomach acids into the food she intends to eat.
    • Wolverine tears a hole into Blimp's suit, causing the latter to fly around uncontrollably as the bio-helium leaks out. When the alien is finally caught by Beast, he vomits a blue substance.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Esme's boyfriend Kato turned out to be a shapeshifting member of the Imperial Guard, Stuff. A shocked Esme mentions that "Kato" read her poetry and told her he loved her, to which Stuff coldly replies "and like a fool you believed me."
  • Wham Episode: The "Planet X" arc is a concentrated sequence of these - Xorn reveals that he's Magneto, Jean finds Logan alive and well at the asteroid, the asteroid is destroyed and Jean becomes the Phoenix again, Xavier is crippled (again), Magneto enacts his plan to kill all the humans in New York and many mutants are killed, including Magneto, Esme (one of the Stepford Cuckoos) and Jean, just before the last panel reveals that the Phoenix Force is alive and well hundreds of years in the future!
  • Wham Line:
    • "And it's Weapon Ten, not X." - Issue #129; Fantomex drops an essential piece of Backstory as casually as if he were talking about the weather: The Weapon X program, which up to this point was assumed to be limited to a couple of experiments on mutants, is actually just a small component of a much bigger project, with Wolverine being but the tenth of its creations.
    • "X-Men emergency indeed, Charles... the dream is over." - Issue #146 - Xorn reveals his true identity (sort of).
    • "... call me SUBLIME." - Issue #152; the puppetmaster stands revealed, and it's... the Starter Villain? Did not see that coming.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Redneck can make his hands as hot as a hair iron. He uses this power to torture a mutant-hating thug, and later learns to create makeshift explosives by setting chunks of Glob's skin on fire. However, this ability doesn't have many other applications and comes across as worthless in any other scenario, as proven when he is immediately taken out by Cyclops during the Omega Gang's battle against the X-Men. By his next appearance, he has come to realize how useless his power truly is, as he laments that everyone in prison abuses him and there is nothing he can do to protect himself.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The "Here Comes Tomorrow" arc is heavily influenced by The Wizard of Oz. Many of the characters are direct counterparts to those found in Oz (Tom and Rover are Dorothy and Toto, flying Nightcrawlers are the flying monkeys, Tito is the Cowardly Lion, etc.), and the ending strongly mirrors the film (someone wishes for something to be true, and goes to a wizard for help).
    • "Riot at Xavier's" is Lindsey Anderson's If with Quentin Quire in the place of Mick Travis.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Inverted this time with Jean and the Phoenix entity. It's implied that Jean only lost control because she was afraid of her power before, and repressed it. Now, she's out and proud, and completely in control of herself.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Lampshaded - one of the students asks how Logan finds the time to be on three teams at once.
  • The Worm That Walks:
    • Jean and Madrox describe Weapon XII's mind as an agglomerate of worms that infect and dominate other hosts.
    • Sublime is really a colony of bacteria that has been infecting other beings since the evolution of the first lifeforms on Earth.
  • You Are Too Late: In the first issue, Scott and Logan nail Cassandra after a brief, tense battle with her nano-sentinels... only to find that she already sent them to Genosha and nearly killed almost everyone on the island.
  • Younger Than They Look: Ernst is a little girl with super strength, but her mutation has made her look like a little old woman. It's implied it's actually because she's Cassandra Nova in the midst of rehabilitation.

Live, Scott.
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