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X-Man was a Marvel Comics Comic Book series starring Nate Grey, a psychic of near-cosmic levels of power who was an Alternate Universe version of Cable of the X-Men.

The character first appeared in X-Man #1 (March, 1995), created by Jeph Loeb and Steve Skroce. X-Man was originally planned as a four-issue miniseries that was part of the Age of Apocalypse crossover. It was later promoted to an ongoing series thanks to Popularity Power. Initially written by Jeph Loeb, it changed several writers before Terry Kavanagh came aboard; he wrote the book for most of its run. The series lasted for 75 issues (March, 1995- May, 2001).

Nate was created by his universe's version of Mister Sinister using DNA taken from Cyclops and Jean Grey (in the main universe Sinister had to manipulate Cyclops into marrying a clone of Jean Grey to achieve the same result) his final goal being the same: to create a being powerful enough to destroy his nemesis, Apocalypse. Nate was one of four beings that were accidentally transported from the Age of Apocalypse reality to the main Marvel Universe after it was destroyed due to a combination of changes to history and the explosion of a Cosmic Keystone. (The other survivors being Sugar Man, Holocaust and Dark Beast- all villains.)

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The book followed Nate's exploits at finding his own place in this new world as well as dealing with various villains trying to manipulate him for his vast superpowers. In 2000 it was heavily Retooled and a year later cancelled because Joe Quesada thought that there were too many X-Books. Nate was killed off in the last issue and stayed "dead" until a point during Dark Reign where he under went a Unexplained Recovery and went up against Norman Osborn and his team of Dark X-Men, before being captured. After Osborn's defeat, he was captured again by Sugar Man but rescued by the New Mutants and then joined the team.

As of Marvel NOW! he was at a loose end, with a brief appearance in Fearless Defenders, a mention in All New X-Men, and a mention and an appearance in two issues of Cable's 2017 run being the only hints that the Marvel editorial staff even remembered that he exists. This, however, changed when he returned in 2018's Uncanny X-Men, which leads into an X-Event in January 2019 called Age of X-Man.

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This series contains examples of:

  • '90s Anti-Hero: Surprisingly, (especially considering that his 616 counterpart, Cable, was pretty much the Trope Codifier) not all that much. He's never had much compunction about killing, and even as a teenager he's so built that it's perfectly obvious that he's Cable's brother, but even at his worst, he's just been in a Knight in Sour Armour.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The AoA counterparts of Mastermind, Toad and Sauron that appeared in X-Man's solo title were all cases of this, notably Sauron who was a grumpy Jerk with a Heart of Gold and even tried defending Nate and AoA Siryn from AoA Sinister while injured
  • Adorkable: He starts off with No Social Skills (like his father), but with all the warmth and passion of his mother (though, at first, it can be a little difficult to find) and, on his arrival in the 616 'verse, is a Fish out of Water.
  • A God Am I: Occasionally, particularly in Uncanny X-Men, declaring his intent to remake the world in his image - and the scary thing is that he more than has the power to back it up.
    • To further highlight this, for his reinvention as a villain in the Age of X-Man event it was decided to give him a visual revamp, and in a classic case of Marvel's idea of subtlety they went with this. A God Is He indeed.
  • All-Loving Hero: Has shades of this throughout his solo run, particularly during his New York hero/street prophet era, culminating in his Shaman era and again after his return from apparent death. Norman Osborn regards this attitude as amusingly quaint. However, this should not in any way be mistaken for 'soft' or even, for that matter, 'good'.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The Protectorate (heroes of an alternate earth) to The Authority. Curiously, several members were actually versions of pre-existing Marvel characters.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: He was this, in some respects, to Cable, who occasionally tried to help him, even risking his life to save Nate, seeing him as being the kid that Cable could have been and therefore being determined that he'd get the chance to live his life. Nate, partly suffering from an inferiority complex and mostly just wanting to be left alone and have nothing to do with Cable - and it didn't help that being close to each other or getting into telepathic contact was physically painful - at least at first.
  • Arch-Enemy: Apocalypse by design. Thereafter, a case could be made for either Sugar Man or Holocaust, with Dark Beast being a close runner up.
  • Badass Adorable: As a physically five or six year old child, he casually displays the sort of psychic powers that would challenge Jean Grey at her Non-Phoenix peak.
  • Back from the Dead: Madelyne Pryor, and eventually Nate himself. Twice.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Or rather, Extreme Powers, Extreme People in his case. The fact is, very rarely do superheroes get power on the scale that Nate wields it, and for good reasons from a storytelling point of view (read more on that in the Story-Breaker Power entry below). While Nate's powers are not intrinsically bad, most of the characters at Nate's power scale are villains - and Nate himself has a track record of going for rather over-scale solutions. After years of struggling to write situations and villains to challenge a character as powerful as him, writers finally gave up in 2018 and put him through a Face–Heel Turn, though it at least didn't come out of nowhere and was both somewhat in character and moderately sympathetic (he's dying - again - and desperate to prevent the 616 universe from going the same way as his reality while he still can).
  • Badass Beard: In Uncanny X-Men.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Against Ares himself, no less.
  • Berserk Button: Trying to control or manipulate him. He really, really does not like it... which makes his own habit of Mind Control more than a little hypocritical.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Peter Parker takes on this role to him.
    • And Nate in turn takes on this role to Franklin Richards.
  • Break Out Character: Arguably the most popular character to come from the Age of Apocalypse, as even Blink (the other big Breakout Character from that series) didn't get a title so popular it lasted a whole five years.
  • Bullying a Dragon: This happens to him fairly often, as his extremely high power level combined with his unassuming appearance makes him a dragon very few see coming. The bullies range from people who know full well what they're getting into (Holocaust, Dark Beast) to the more traditional jerks who just come along with no idea of the power they're messing with (the Purple Man and Mysterio being among the jerkiest).
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Neither the Dark Avengers nor the Dark X-Men particularly faze him, and when both teams attack him at once he proves more than capable of holding them all off while verbally dissecting their powers and explaining why they won't work.
  • Cape Busters: The Gauntlet, a team of low-level telepaths dedicated to taking down Nate. They proved to be formidable enough threats thanks to psi-blocking armour and the fact they didn't care much about casual victims or collateral damage.
  • Cassandra Truth: During the Onslaught Saga he sensed very early on that something was wrong with Professor X (as this was in their first meeting, this led to a distrust of the Professor and his X-Men in general) and tried to warn the Avengers. They more or less brushed him off, even if they were polite about it, only to quickly regret it as the Onslaught persona assumed full control and seized control of New York.
  • Character Development: Nate gets this in pretty epic fashion, going from scared Fish out of Water with far too much power under too little control, his powers flickering on and off near at random, who regards most issues as not being his problem, to a Knight in Sour Armour hero and cocky teen, still very aware that he's nearing the point where his body is going to burn out, to an incredibly powerful, controlled, kind and rather messianic hero. Then, after his De-Power, his Deadpan Snarker tendencies resurfaced, coming to terms with his drastic loss of power, find somewhere he belonged and trying to do some good along the way.
    • Following his return, with full powers, in Uncanny X-Men, he seems to have become a Well-Intentioned Extremist, with his occasional messiah complex apparently having gone Up to Eleven. Part of it is an act.
  • Charm Person: His high-order telepathic powers make him very capable of this, though he only ever uses it unconsciously. This is still more than enough to turn him into a...
  • Chick Magnet: Whether by accident or design, most of Nate's supporting cast of characters were women, and a good chunk of those women were attracted to him. This becomes especially pronounced in his "New York street messiah" phase, where a Power Trio of party girls all fall for him and move in with him, helping him to manage his newfound fame.
  • Child Soldier: He started out as a Laser Guided Tyke Bomb and quickly grew into this during his time with Forge's Outcasts.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: He hides it well behind his Knight In Sour Armor attitude, but when push comes to shove Nate will never stand by and not act when an innocent person's life is in danger.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: None of the members of Nate's supporting cast were ever seen or mentioned again after the series ended, save for the very thin exception of Threnody who was given a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo as a potential recruit in Avengers: The Initiative, before finally popping up again in 2018 in an issue of Deadpool as part of the New Orleans Assassins Guild. And of course Madelyne Pryor appeared again, but she was also an established character long before Nate himself arrived on the scene.
  • Cloning Blues: Played with. He's the artificially created son of Scott and Jean, and a counterpart of Cable (though also technically his half-brother, as Cable describes him - while Cable's mother was a clone of Nate's mother, they're technically sisters rather than the same person) while he doesn't noticeably angst about it - he saves that for his Living Weapon status and justified fears that he's accidentally going to rewrite reality in his sleep - his lack of life experience informs his character.
    • Amusingly, Nate is the source of this trope for another Summers family clone, Stryfe. Essentially a flawed clone of Cable (who is himself flawed compared to Nate), Stryfe regards Nate's existence as something of a personal affront, and wastes no time capturing him and hooking up to one of Doctor Doom's power syphons upon his return in order to steal Nate's power, which he believes to be rightfully his. To further heighten the irony, Stryfe's scheme is largely derailed by Madelyne Pryor, who is herself a clone and frequent sufferer of Cloning Blues.
  • Compelling Voice: Occasionally, he's capable of controlling people with just his voice, as an extension of his psychic abilities.
  • Covert Pervert: Nate, occasionally. For instance, when he's chatting with Franklin Richards about the Avengers, and Franklin brings up that one of his favourites is the Scarlet Witch, Nate's immediate assumption is because - like him - Franklin likes her famously Stripperific costume. Franklin being a little young for this, casually dismisses it, instead referencing the fact that she's a mutant and that she learned magic from Agatha Harkness, his babysitter.
  • Deadly Upgrade: His powers were designed to kill him from the beginning, but in X-Men: Disassembled, it transpires that his powers were restored and boosted by a Life Seed, but it failed to heal him/restored his genetic degeneration problem.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Whenever he's not acting petulant, his dialogue tends to end up like this. This has increased exponentially since he lost most of his powers and joined the New Mutants, with practically every other line of dialogue being snark.
  • Defiant to the End: To the Crusader, after his powers betray him and the other has him at his mercy, and tells him to make his peace with 'whatever false deities you worship' (having got it into his head that Nate is some tool of Satan - the Crusader is not known for logic or sanity).
    Nate: Get... stuffed...
  • Depending on the Artist: How old he actually looks - he's meant to be about 17, and later, his late teens/early twenties. However, some artists draw him built along Cable's lines (while they're counterparts, Cable's had a lifetime of extensive physical training to bulk him up, while Nate's still a kid) and looking closer to his late twenties, while others draw him more slender and looking more like his actual age, and others still draw him looking about 15, at most. However, some degree of athletic build is a constant, with his frequently being referred to as 'Muscles' or similar.
  • De-Power: Nate has gone through a lot of these at one point or another. The most spectacular happened after his resurrection, he is captured by Sugar Man and used as a power source to the point of being nowhere near his previous abilities. By 2018's Uncanny X-Men, however, they're back, and then some (though he seems to lose them when transported back to the Age of Apocalypse, for some unknown reason... then it turns out that he's just inside Legion's head, and gets them back as soon as he realises this, flattening Legion in the space of about five seconds).
  • Destructive Saviour: Due to his take-no-prisoners fighting style, and the power levels of his enemies, Nate's fights tend to have a high collateral damage quotient - for instance, he once practically levelled the city of Dublin.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: A purpose other than "killing Apocalypse", to be precise. Following the Shaman reboot, with a hiatus when he lost most of his powers, it's a matter of saving the world - whether it wants to be saved or not.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In one what-if tale he literally liquifies Apocalypse by mind-melding with Owen Reece the Molecule Man and forcibly unlocking the. full potential of the latter's Reality Warper powers.
  • Dimensional Traveler: At the height of his powers, after the Shaman Reboot, he can achieve this with almost insulting ease, treating the Multiverse as his personal stepladder.
  • Divided We Fall: The first encounter with Professor Xavier (who had been long dead in his universe) going bad led Nate to keep his distance from the X-Men for a long time.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Following the Shaman reboot. This becomes a problem once he undergoes a De-Power and can no longer just levitate over mud and stuff like that. Now that his powers are back, that's no longer a problem.
  • The Dreaded: To many of the people in the 616 universe, at first. Since he was outright stated to be equal to Dark Phoenix in power while he was still a teenager, and isn't the world's most stable individual, this isn't overly surprising.
    • Dark Beast is terrified of him. With good reason.
    • Sunspot explicitly states in Unfinished Business that he's not too keen on finding Nate because he finds him scary. Considering that he's seen Nate on more than one bad day, this is not entirely surprising.
    • As of 2018, even Legion, one of the most powerful mutants ever, is scared of him. As it turns out, there is very good reason for this, and when the two finally go toe to toe in issue 8, Nate wipes him out in five seconds flat.
  • Energy Being: Has become one on several occasions.
  • Expy:
    • Literally an in-universe one to Cable, as they are essentially the same person from different realities and they have an identical genetic makeup (though Nate's genesis was slightly different from Cable's and he is much more powerful, due to not being infected with the T-O Virus).
    • He also might have spawned an Alternate Company Equivalent one in the form of the New 52 version of Super Boy, who has the same power set, the same Living Weapon backstory, the same development from nigh sociopathic Reluctant Hero with mild kleptomaniac tendencies into a genuine Nice Guy (though Nate was a fair bit nicer to begin with, if grumpy), the same difficult relationship with his elder counterpart and the same nature as The Dreaded to most of those he encounters.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Apparently in 2018's X-Men: Disassembled, of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety, and not a totally surprising one in retrospect. Nate has always had a tendency to judge people, 'separating the just from the guilty', and an inclination to impose his will on the world (or at the very least, do everything he feels is required to prevent it from becoming another Age of Apocalypse). It is eventually explained that he's dying, thanks to a Deadly Upgrade by a Life Seed, and thus desperate to do what he can, while he can.
  • Fashion Dissonance: Nate's fashion sense is not the best.
    • While the whole shirtless leather jacket thing might have worked in the early noughties, it generally leads to Nate being the butt of jokes about his fashion sense.
    • His Age of Apocalypse leathers got this treatment too, even back in the nineties, with Pete Wisdom of Excalibur calling him a 'horrible little MTV clone'.
  • Femme Fatale: Madelyne Pryor. Just look at the cover of issue #41. This is made all the more disturbing by the fact that she's the mother of his 616 counterpart, Cable.
  • The Fettered: Had a period where he begrudgingly became this by necessity due to his Power Degeneration literally putting his life in danger every time he used it.
  • Fish out of Water: Due to his forcible transition from the utter Crapsack World of the Age of Apocalypse to the comparatively more peaceful and sane reality of Earth-616.
  • Foreshadowing: In 2010's Heroic Age: Heroes, a one-shot in which Captain America assesses the various heroes of the Marvel Universe, he expresses some ambivalence about Nate, saying that he is "hesitant to trust a young man with such excessive telepathic and telekinetic powers" as Nate and grading him low on his personal scale of what defines a hero due to his lack of vulnerability. While Cap's suspicion seemed a little unfair (though not totally unwarranted) in light of Nate's track record at the time, eight years later writers decided that Cap had the right idea after all, as evidenced by Nate's Face–Heel Turn into a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Forgot About His Powers: From time to time Nate forgets about one of his powers or another. Considering the sheer number of them, this is far from surprising.
  • Freudian Excuse: Not a villain, but between Madelyne Pryor, AOA!Jean, 616!Jean and Queen Jean, he could quite easily be the poster child for this trope.
  • Friend to All Children: Something he shares with Cable, and that they both get from their mother. Despite his occasionally gruff exterior, he's particularly nice to and good with children, as best shown when he affectionately tickles a small baby that he'd just saved from a building that an arsonist had just set on fire (after downloading the baby's terrified memories of choking to death into the arsonist's head).
    • Also, during Operation: Zero Tolerance, Cable roped him in to protect the Grey family, which Nate did to the best of his ability - while his powers were more or less fried (again), and he was unable to save Sara Bailey (Jean's older sister) and her husband, he did manage to protect their kids, proving remarkably gentle and caring with two very traumatised young children. For instance, to keep one of them calm, he used the last of his powers to essentially conjure up a construct of her stuffed bear.
    • Even after his Face–Heel Turn of sorts in X-Men: Disassembled, he flattens the X-Men, but doesn't raise a hand to the Young X-Men, instead happily explaining his motives to them.
  • Generation Xerox: Everyone's reaction to him are comparable to their reaction to his mother Jean and the Phoenix Force, with emphasis put on his destructive potential underlined by his power readings matching those of the Dark Phoenix.
    • A What If? reveals that he will grow up to look exactly like Cable, leading to an elderly Sunfire mistaking the two. Equally, whenever Cable is deaged/shown as a young man, he looks exactly like Nate (allowing for the metal arm).
    • His ability to play Norman Osborn and his cohorts like a harp is highly reminiscent of his dad. Unlike Cyclops, however, he made a crucial mistake - he underestimated the Goblin personality's capacity for rationality. If he'd adjusted his plan, he'd have succeeded in bringing down the entirety of Dark Reign in a matter of days - and considering that Osborn very quickly snapped and went full Green Goblin, in public, just as Nate planned, it's arguable that he had the last laugh on that one.
  • Genius Bruiser: When he gets past his temper, he's actually very clever and very resourceful, using his power creatively and effectively. On his return, he proves that he's very much Cyclops's son by promptly out manoeuvring Norman Osborn, the entire Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men, teams including Karla Sofen, Daken, Mystique and Ares and very nearly ends Dark Reign in the space of a couple of issues. If he hadn't misjudged the Goblin persona, he'd have won. And this is with a plan that he came up with on the fly.
    • He also knows, it seems, everything there is to know about reality warping and dimension jumping. He's certainly done enough of it.
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: Refers to 616 Cyclops as this, almost word for word, to 616 Havok. He's on better terms with him later - though he still likes his mother better.
    • He refers to his mother in similar terms in X-Men: Disassembled, rejecting her attempt to reach out to him, albeit in a less than convincing fashion. The finale of the arc makes it very clear that this was a sham.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Nate's basically what you get when you give a grumpy teenager Chronic Hero Syndrome, a raging case of PTSD, and a reputation as The Dreaded that means that pretty much everyone is scared witless of him. This trope is the unsurprising result.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Nate is a hero through and through, but he can also be bullheaded and abrasive to the people around him. And when it comes to combat, he does not hold back, expressly rejecting the traditional Thou Shalt Not Kill philosophy of the X-Men due to coming of age in a much more hard and brutal world than the one they know.
    • He's also got a bit of a God Complex, which can be... worrying.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Nate's only video game appearance (as of 2019) in X-Men Legends II sees him play this role. Unfortunately, he only appears in the PSP version of the game.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Nate dispersed his essence to every living being on Earth to prevent an alien parasite from consuming them killing them both. It lasted eight years real time, surprisingly enough.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: With no TO virus like Cable, keeping him from using his immense power to solve problems in a flash requires his powers to frequently be burned out, somehow blocked, or on occasion held back by having him pick up the Idiot Ball.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: In the first few issues of his solo title, Nate was pretty much the only member of the Outcasts who didn't feel uneasy about the hulking, red-eyed Essex, who was of course Mr. Sinister in disguise, and who ended up killing almost all of the Outcasts save Nate himself. The experience was transformative, as not only did Nate never again extend any other villains such benefit of the doubt, he swung to the opposite extreme and became suspicious by default, which hurt his relationship with the 616 X-Men.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Inverted in Age of X-Man, where Nate assembled a team called the Horsemen of Salvation. In place of Pestilence, Famine, War and Death Nate has Horsemen of Life, Bounty, Wellness and Peace. The choices for this team fall straight into bizarre, though, as Nate chooses Magneto to be his Horseman of Peace (which Magneto promptly demonstrates his qualifications for by blowing up the X-Mansion) and for the other Horsemen he chooses Angel, Blob and Omega Red, none of whom Nate ever met or had any even remote ties to before this story.
  • Hypocrite: He hates being controlled or manipulated, but if he feels it necessary, has no compunction about doing the same to others - something which has been discussed from time to time.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Originally, as epitomised by his 'Greyville' fantasy under the influence of Mysterio.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: His... odd fashion sense is a Running Gag.
  • Improvised Weapon: During one story arc late in the X-Man run when he fought the Crusader, Nate decided to fight him on his level and assembled a sword and set of armor for himself with his telekinetic powers.
  • Incest Subtext: By the bucketload with Maddie Pryor, mother of Cable (his 616 counterpart) and clone of Jean (616 counterpart of his mother). To Nate's credit, he backed off fast as soon as he realised just how she was related to him. Maddie... not so much. It got to the point where they were the series' Fan-Preferred Couple.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: As a small child. When he's older, during one of his rare moments of wonder and joy, they look like this. Thanks to the art of Roger Cruz, it's absurdly adorable.
  • Invincible Hero: By the end of his series it takes a planetary or universal (even multiversal) scale threat to challenge him or an outright sucker punch. On his return in the Dark X-Men miniseries, he can singlehandedly assault a HAMMER complex and take a moment to stop and tell a HAMMER Agent that yes, she should take that UNICEF job she's considering, and take on the Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men simultaneously without breaking a sweat and explaining exactly why their attacks won't work all the while.
    • As of his return in X-Men: Disassembled, he seems to be even stronger. He can communicate with everyone in the world without much discernible effort, and when Kitty questions the plausibility of this, Apocalypse flatly points out that he's got Magneto on a leash, turned off Kitty's powers with a word, and has Apocalypse himself in chains (who he's apparently just keeping around as a reminder of what he's working to prevent - though he does listen to him later on). It later turns out that, for whatever reason, his powers don't work in the Age of Apocalypse... then it's revealed that it's actually inside Legion's head, and once he figures that out, he effortlessly destroys Legion and body-jacks him. After that, it takes Jean, Psylocke, the Stepford Sisters, and Sage, along with a whopping great lightning bolt from Storm, to separate him from Legion - and even after that, he carries on a conversation inside his head with Jean while all those psychics, Storm, the rest of the X-Men, and Magneto hammer away at his defences. The final issue reveals that his powers are back and boosted because of a Life Seed, which gave him his powers back but left him still dying, leaving him confused as to what he was meant to do, and inspiring his actions throughout the arc.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even at his most dickish and grumpy, it's very clear that Nate inherited heroism from both parents, particularly his mother's compassion. Even after his Face–Heel Turn in X-Men: Disassembled, compassion and trying to do something good - albeit through extreme methods - are his driving motives.
  • Kid From The Alternate Universe: Nate for Cyclops and Jean Grey.
  • Knife Nut: Jackknife, one of the few original villains from Nate's title, was essentially a mutant version of this, as his Psychic Powers manifested as crimson Energy Weapon blades.
  • Knight In Shining Armour: To Threnody in particular.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: for much of his series, at least until he met Peter Parker, he was fully convinced that people, human and mutant alike, sucked. Since he was regularly persecuted, never thanked and most people were utterly terrified of him, it's hard to argue against this. But he still saved people, because that's what heroes do.
  • Large Ham: Early on, it seems like he can't do anything without all volume control being off and, usually, a large explosion of power and a barrage of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. Even after he calms down and evens out a bit, he still retains a penchant for dramatics. This makes a lot more sense when you remember that he was basically raised by Shakespearean stage actors.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: Nate was created by the Sinister of the Age of Apocalypse timeline, for the express purpose of killing Apocalypse, who Sinister currently served as a Horseman.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He's particularly adept at this, even early on, downloading the memories of a terrified baby who'd been caught in a blaze into the mind of the arsonist that set it. He also punished AoA!Domino, Apocalypse's assassin, by restoring her previously defunct conscience.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Nate's acquaintance with characters from the main Marvel Universe usually started from trading blows.
    • Not overly surprising since his power levels made him The Dreaded (something Cable notes), he had a rather skewed idea of who the good and bad guys were in 616 thanks to the differences in his world, as well as (at least at first) a rather nasty temper, and a very justified sense of a paranoia.
    • Notably averted with Spider-Man. When Peter finds the 'street prophet', Nate picks him out, calmly walks up to him and suggests that they just talk things through. Peter accepts.
    Nate: I know it's practically a requirement in situations like this but is there any chance we could pass on the gratuitous fight?
  • Like a Son to Me: To the Forge of his home reality.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Rogue had a certain degree of Big Sister Instinct towards him, intermittently keeping an eye on him from a distance and trying to help keep him out of trouble. Since Nate was The Dreaded, a Weirdness Magnet even by X-Men standards, and none too eager to join up with the X-Men, there wasn't too much she could do - though she did give Bishop a memorable dressing down when he wound up picking a fight with Nate over concerns that Nate was an irresponsible threat to everyone around him. Nate, for his part, played the role of grumpy little brother to perfection (much as he did to Cable). Remarkably, she was also one of the few people who the Hot-Blooded Nate grudgingly listened to, and actually liked. Thanks to the fact that both had a Skunk Stripe and dark hair, they even looked a bit alike.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Mostly averted - he has his mother's power set, her compassion and her explosive temper (the latter being most obvious). On the other hand, he also has his father's cynicism, snark, looks, and tendencies towards being The Chessmaster.
  • Long Bus Trip: Takes two; between the end of his solo series in 2001 and Dark X-Men in 2009 (which was mainly about his return), and between the end of the New Mutants run in 2012 and 2018 when he reappeared as an important part of the Metus arc in Cable's ongoing - albeit only in flashbacks. Following that, he's returning in the present as part of the relaunch of Uncanny X-Men and January 2019's X-Event is called Age of X-Man.
  • Love Triangle: With the introduction of Threnody one of these developed between Nate, Thren, and Madelyne Pryor. Nate himself was largely clueless of this, to the frustration of both women. Extra awkwardness would come from the In-Universe revelation that Nate and Maddie were related, even if neither of them knew this for a long time. As it turned out, while it bothered Nate, it didn't seem to bother Maddie in the slightest, who seemed to see him as a Replacement Gold Fish both for her ex-husband, Scott, and her son, Cable.
  • Messianic Archetype: Every now and then, starting in the Age of Apocalypse when he's the one meant to destroy Apocalypse (which he does - or rather, beats him to a pulp and leaves him for Magneto to finish) and later during his days as the Street Prophet of Washington Square, in which he shows something of a knack for playing the messiah role. However, it really comes in when he gets the Shaman upgrade.
    • He fully embraces the role in Uncanny X-Men, though it's somewhat subverted by the fact that he seems to be playing a role, and is mostly acting out of desperation because he's dying again and he's trying to do what he can in the time that he has, because that's what he thinks he's meant to do, thanks to the Life Seed giving him his powers back, but not his life.
  • Mind over Manners: Frequently disregards this early on, though he gets called on it just as frequently, including by himself. He discards those tendencies as part of his Character Development.
    • He seems to have reverted on this score in Uncanny X-Men, as part of a Face–Heel Turn (albeit of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety), casually using Magneto, Blob, Omega Red, and Archangel (and later Storm) as puppets - though at least in Archangel's case, he was apparently actually helping him with his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • Mind over Matter: His telekinesis is probably his go-to ability, and considering it is powerful enough to qualify him for Reality Warper status, it well should be.
  • Mind Rape: Generally avoids this, especially as he gets nicer. However, he's also capable of getting very nasty and very creative with the Laser-Guided Karma when pushed - note what he did to AoA!Domino, Apocalypse's assassin (restored her long withered conscience, reducing her to a catatonic wreck), and to a random arsonist during his New York hero days who had set fire to a building containing a lot of homeless people, including a small baby (transferred the baby's traumatic memories of choking to death to the arsonist).
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Nate was not a team player, even less so than Cable, and usually preferred to do his own thing, prior to joining up with the New Mutants. He was also widely feared for his unfortunate combination of monstrous raw power, frequent Power Incontinence, and an epic Hair-Trigger Temper. Plus his fears over how he was essentially dying from the moment of his birth, thanks to Sinister's genetic time bomb. However, he was also a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at worst, invariably kind to children, and an all round hero who mostly just wanted to help out every now and then, while being left alone to live his life.
  • Momma's Boy: A positive example. Nate gets on with his father fairly well, but unlike his 616 counterpart Cable, he's closest to his mother. They only meet briefly in his native universe and don't realise who they are to each other, but this is sufficient to form a connection which leads to him subconsciously reaching out on arriving in the 616 'verse and resurrecting Maddie Pryor. He and 616!Jean develop a close bond and she's the one who inspires him to be a real hero. Needless to say, he is pissed on his return to find out that his mother is dead and that Mystique had been impersonating her.
    • She's also the one person who really manages to get through to him in X-Men: Disassembled, getting to the heart of his motives - part of his Motive Rant includes the line, "I tried to be the son you wanted me to be." Unfortunately, it's not quite enough.
    • Moira MacTaggert also served as a Parental Substitute, and she was one of the few people he listened to - on one memorable occasion, he was having a spectacular tantrum/freak-out following his paranoia getting the better of him. Moira then basically scolded him into submission (as Rahne put it "putting the hard word on him"), to the bafflement of Excalibur and seemingly, Nate himself. As Moira herself observed, due to his lack of life experience, he simply didn't know how to argue back.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Quito incident. Specifically, while under the control of Queen Jean, he flattens Quito.
  • Naïve Newcomer: When he first arrives in Earth 616 he is baffled by the prospect of a world that is largely at peace.
  • Name's the Same: The Gauntlet, a bunch of psychic Cape Busters are not the same as the Gauntlet, a group of psychic mutants who use their powers for their own gain.
    • And neither of them have any relation to Gauntlet, the Dark Rider and one-eyed mutant mercenary.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: His encounters with Cable generally explored this.
  • The Needless: By the end of his series, he doesn't actually need to eat, drink, sleep or breathe, and does human things mostly to reassure humans and mutants alike. However, following his depowering, he does seem to need to do all of the above.
  • Nice Guy: After his character development, all he really wants to do is help people. Even early on, he shows signs of this, pulling a Moses for Wolfsbane just to show her the sunken ships that she dreamed about seeing, even though it hurt him to do so.
  • Nom de Mom: He is Nathan Grey while Cable is Nathan Summers. Unsurprisingly, he's always been much closer to his mother, regarding his father with a certain degree of ambivalence - though he does warm up towards Cyclops when he joins up with the New Mutants.
  • Nonindicative Name: Nate's the X-Man, but he's ironically never actually been a member of the team.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: Rocked this look during his return in the Dark X-Men miniseries, before returning to his previous leather jacket.
  • Not So Different: He spends a long time distancing himself from Cable, but he turns out quite a lot like him, with the two going through nigh-identical character developments - Nate becomes a Shaman, while Cable goes through his 'Saviour Cable' phase (though in Cable's case, it was part of a complicated Genghis Gambit. For Nate, it was apparently genuine.)
  • Odd Friendship: With Peter Parker, as at first glance a cynical, brooding character like Nate doesn't seem like an obvious fit for the wisecracking and free-spirited Spider-Man. That said, both men have been forced by tragedy into growing Wise Beyond Their Years, and that common bond draws them together. Additionally, Nate honestly looked up to Peter as a mentor and older brother figure, while Captain America's Heroic Age file on him notes that Spidey spoke in his favour after he turned up again.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The people controlled by Threnody.
  • Papa Wolf: Cyclops seems to have developed a degree of this towards him after he was rescued from the Omega Machine, making it clear that Nate is family and that he is coming back to Utopia whether Captain America and SHIELD like it or not.
    • The Age of Apocalypse version of Forge had this towards him, protecting him at all costs.
  • Parental Incest: Although combined with Fridge Logic. Nate had a relationship with Madelyne Pryor who is a clone of Jean Grey, an alternate version of the woman whose DNA he was created from, making her essentially his genetic mother. The relationship mercifully lost its romantic overtones once Nate found out who she was, at least on Nate's part... And it got worse when she was killed and impersonated by an evil megalomaniac Jean Grey from yet another alternate universe for months. She later brought Nate to her reality, where she became the evil queen of Earth, and introduced him to that reality's version of Nate Grey, and it is all but openly stated that she made him —- her own biological son for all intents and purposes —- be her slave even in sexual aspects. Nate was later forced to kill her in self-defense.
  • Parental Substitute: Age of Apocalypse Forge and Cyclops in the father column, 616!Jean Grey and Moira MacTaggert in the mother column.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Nate was considered to be the most powerful mutant in the world with Dark Phoenix-level power, and increasingly verged on Physical God territory. If his powers had killed him as planned, it would have wiped out a quarter of the planet, and he states towards the end of the Shaman run that he was born to destroy planets. The being he is fighting at the time does not dispute this.
  • Physical God: Towards the end of the Shaman arc, during Dark X-Men, and following his Depower, once again in Uncanny X-Men, to the point where he comfortably subdued Apocalypse - another example of this trope - and is keeping him around simply as a living reminder of what he's working to prevent, and later takes out an entire team of X-Men featuring Jean Grey, Psylocke, Storm, and Ice Man, four Omega Class mutants in their own right, in a very brief Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
  • Popularity Power: after the Age of Apocalypse ended, he was sufficiently popular to get a self-titled series that ran for 75 issues, a key role in the Onslaught crisis crossover, essentially a miniseries of his own in Dark X-Men (albeit after an eight year real time gap), then a spot on the New Mutants, and then a leading arc and Bat Family Crossover in 2018/19.
  • Power Degeneration: Nate's power put a huge strain on his body and would kill him before he turned 21. This was eventually revealed to be a fail-safe put into place by AoA!Sinister, because he didn't want Nate to be around to destroy him after he took out Apocalypse.
  • Power Tattoo: He received the traditional "X" symbol as a large tatoo covering the left side of his chest after assuming the role as Mutant Shaman. It was given to him by an alternate counterpart to stabilize his genetics.
  • Power Trio: Jam, Bux and Rita, a trio of streetwise party girls from Nate's New York hero period.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: A frequent sufferer of these, as most psychics tend to be. In his case, however, it was usually a sign of degenerating powers.
  • Psychic Powers: His telekinesis makes him a Reality Warper at full blast, and his telepathy is strong enough that he curbstomps Legion and possesses him in approximately five seconds.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Forge's Outcasts, the AoA group that took Nate in during the first few issues of his title.
  • Reality Warper: His Mind over Matter power is so great that it makes him this in all but name. Prior to his Shaman upgrade he was perpetually worried that he might accidentally rewrite the world around him, even in his sleep. As he had already restored a one-armed man's arm to him (completely subconsciously), literally resurrected Madelyne Pryor during a fever dream, and accidentally turned his clothes into his Age of Apocalypse gear in his sleep this concern was not at all unwarranted.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In Uncanny X-Men when using his powers (and when annoyed by Apocalypse) - unsurprisingly, this is following an apparent Face–Heel Turn.
  • Refusal of the Call: Early in the X-Man run he is met by Charles Xavier, who senses his enormous psychic presence immediately upon his arrival in Earth-616, and wastes no time tracking him down and making an offer to him to join the X-Men. Wary of men like him and not knowing that Xavier is alive on this world, consequently thinking that Xavier is feeding him a line, Nate refuses. Violently. Ten issues later, he refuses the call a second time, this time from Jean Grey.
  • Running Gag: A low-key one is Nate's perpetual lack of fashion sense.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Early on, he was very verbose, and a bit of a ham too. This probably had quite a lot to do with the fact that the people who wound up raising him were posing as a theatre troupe, performances and all, meaning that he picked up a lot, including showmanship.
  • Shout-Out: Harvester's arrival to Earth is very clearly a twisted reflection of Superman's. First his spaceship destroys a military aircraft. Then an elderly couple who are married (but not to each other) witnesses its crashlanding and goes to investigate. They are turned into stone. Yeah, what we have here is the opposite of a saviour.
  • Skunk Stripe: His lock of white hair is probably his most notable distinguishing feature. He even has one on his beard when he comes back in the 2018 Uncanny X-Men series.
  • Story-Breaker Power: The main reason why he doesn't have very many appearances outside of his (admittedly long running) solo series and decades-later revival in the pages of New Mutants. Even in the pages of his solo title, almost none of the villains were anywhere close to his level of power and the only way for the writers to maintain a sense of dramatic tension was to either play on his Power Degeneration or have him be depowered (as evidenced by the sheer number of times he suffered from the latter). Writers finally decided the best way to keep him from breaking the story was to just turn him into a villain (albeit a sympathetic one), as seen by his 2018 Face–Heel Turn.
  • Super Weight: Mostly operates at a Type 3 level at first owing to a lack of experience/control/one of his powers switching off/genetic degeneration, spiking to Type 4 more and more as he gets better control of his powers. Grows into a Type 5 following the Shaman Reboot, then drops down to borderline Type 2 following his De-Power. Following his Face–Heel Turn in 2018, he seems to have finally embraced his full potential as a Type 6, worfing the likes of Apocalypse and terrifying even Legion (for good reason, as he crushes the latter in about five seconds when they finally fight).
  • Tagalong Kid: Roust, a street-savvy kid from Nate's New York hero period.
  • Take a Third Option: The second Gauntlet (telepaths using their gifts to quietly enrich themselves) explained to Nate that they refused to side with Professor Xavier or Magneto because they were not interested in mutant politics, and because they believed that both sides had worldviews that were too narrow. Given that they were able to operate for God knows how long without either side learning about them, the Gauntlet may have had a point.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He takes after his dad.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Part of a particularly tangled bit of the Grey-Summers family tree. This is lampshaded by Dani Moonstar when a therapist comments on Hope's attitude towards Nate.
  • Teens Are Short: Sometimes - his height varied on depiction, sometimes being around 6 feet tall, sometimes being comfortably shorter than Rogue.
  • Token Good Teammate: He was a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants for a very brief time (Havok and Dark Beast's version of the team, which they called simply "The Brotherhood") and during this time Nate was very much this.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Takes several. At his first appearance in the 616 universe, he's basically a scared kid in an adult's body. Many levels in badass later, he can comfortably take on opponents like Hybrid, Maddie Pryor, and the Great Beasts, who are historically threats to entire teams of X-Men. This level of capability is demonstrated when he comes Back from the Dead, he immediately takes on all of the Dark Avengers at once. The only one who even slows him down is Ares, and even then, he still has the time to verbally dissect the abilities of the entire team and explain why they won't work on him, while being surprisingly polite about it. He then pulls a Batman Gambit worthy of the trope namer in possessing Norman Osborn and only loses because he misjudged the Green Goblin persona's capacity for rationality - and since Osborn went nuts, Goblin style, shortly afterwards during Siege, just as Nate had intended, it's arguable that he had the last laugh on that one.
    • And then, on his 2018 return, he takes out an entire team of X-Men - including Psylocke, Jean Grey, Iceman, and Storm - in a few moments offscreen.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Steadily grows nicer throughout his ongoing series. The Shaman reboot just cements this... mostly. He's a bit otherworldly and weird. Plus, if you cross one of his lines, he's even more uncompromisingly ruthless than before - and he wasn't exactly a devotee of Thou Shalt Not Kill before, either.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: One alternate reality comic set in the future shows that he'll grow up to look exactly like Cable, to the point where an elderly Sunfire mistakes him for Cable. Conversely, a deaged Cable looks exactly like Nate, Skunk Stripe and all.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Not a villain (but definitely an antagonist in Uncanny X-Men), but it is a little startling to contrast his Knight in Sour Armour personality to his very first appearance as a kid no more than five or six years old who manages, without saying a word, to elicit a little bit of Cuteness Proximity from Sinister himself!
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: His primary motive in 2018's Uncanny X-Men, in the run up to the creation of the Age of X-Man - though this is later modified to Avoiding Dystopia Justifies The Means.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: After the retool, his standard outfit becomes a open jacket with no shirt. Even before that, he was prone to wandering around without his shirt off.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: He always had elements of this, thanks to a more ruthless streak than most heroes because of his origins, but it got dialled up during his Shaman period, and most recently in X-Men: Disassembled when he's entirely willing to kill off the X-Men, even if he does regret doing so, while also seeking to repair the world by force. When they reappear, he tries to talk them round, and only ultimately decides to get rid of them - presumably to the Age of X-Man - as a last resort. His explanation for his actions boils down to this one line, to Jean:
    I'm dying, mother. I just wanted to do something good before I go.
  • When He Smiles: It's rare, but when he does genuinely smile, it is absolutely adorable.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Was this to an extent. He's under absolutely no illusions about what humans and mutants are capable of, but he believes in a better world and is absolutely horrified by what he missed, i.e. Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion and the beginning of Dark Reign. Norman Osborn remarks on it and mocks him. Considering Siege, it looks like Nate had the last laugh on that one.
    • He also notes that he believes in Hope as the Mutant Messiah - which is pretty impressive, since he'd done the Mutant Messiah gig himself - and consequently takes Cyclops' side in Avengers vs. X-Men.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Zig-Zagged. Being a force-grown Living Weapon who's biologically 17 and chronologically only a few years old, if that, he mixes this with profound immaturity. Early on, all he knows how to do is fight, and on Muir Island during one manifestation of his not unreasonable paranoia and his Hair-Trigger Temper, unleashing his vast power, how is he stopped? By Team Mom Moira MacTaggert giving him a loud scolding. Wolfsbane noted that he just didn't know how to argue back. Moira herself said at the end of the issue that Nate had absolutely no life experience and worried for him.
  • Worthy Opponent: Apocalypse sees him as this, as shown in a what-if scenario when Big Blue makes him a We Can Rule Together offer. Nate's response is very memorable.
    Apocalypse: Cease this posturing. Accept your legacy and claim your rightful position at my side. You have earned this.
    Nate: Earned... yeah, I forgot your credo that only the strong deserve to survive. Well, meet Owen Reece, with me in his head— he's stronger than you.
    • Apocalypse's son Holocaust wants to be this to Nate, but Nate consistently dismisses the psychotic little bugger as "small fry". Since every single fight between the two ends in a Curbstomp Battle in Nate's favour, malfunctioning powers and all, this is not especially surprising.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: He becomes very, very good at this after his Shaman upgrade.
  • Younger Than They Look: Despite being for all intents and purposes in his late teens Nate actually is only a few years old due to accelerated aging by Sinister.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In Dark X-Men he freezes Venom by making him psychosomatically relive the experience.
  • You See, I'm Dying: Revealed early on in his series. Then, long after it was apparently cured, it returned in issue 4 of X-Men: Disassembled, when he explains that he's dying and that's why he's acting as he is. As he puts it to Jean, "I'm dying, mother. I just wanted to do something good before I go."

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