X-Men Characters Who Should Not Be Mutants | Fanboys Anonymous

X-Men Characters Who Should Not Be Mutants

Posted by Anthony Mango Monday, June 10, 2019
The X-Men series is equal parts some of the best storytelling in the superhero genre, with absolutely marvelous (no pun intended) characters who have incredible depth and nuance, as well as 50% "what the hell is this doing in this story?"

Like all comics that have been around for so many decades, the creators and writers took it in so many different directions that pretty much everything has been done at some point, and in my mind, a lot of it shouldn't have been.

To me, X-Men is best when its core is simple, and it can be expanded on in more philosophical ways. By that, I mean the foundational structure of the series is the mutant phenomenon and how life is like when you're different.

There are so many ways to tell the story of "the troubles of being different from the norm" because there are so many variations to what "different" means. Some mutants have a physical deformity and can't blend into normal society by sheer looks alone. Others have troublesome powers that prevent them from getting close to people, or makes others afraid of them.

It's all about alienation and how the "regular people" or the "average citizen" would be scared, inhibited, confused, discriminatory, aggressive toward, or, hey, even excited about the mutants.

But this is all muddied up when the X-Men series crosses over with the regular Marvel universe. Why would people be up in arms over mutants, but have no issues with Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man (save for J. Jonah Jameson, of course) and others who have powers? They're still superhuman and there's no way you can say Angel poses more of a threat to the human race than The Fantastic 4.

And that got me thinking a long while back on the idea of the reverse: characters from the X-Men series who would probably work even better if they were NOT mutants, but just regular members of the Marvel Universe similar to Iron Man and Luke Cage.

So now that Dark Phoenix has this even more at the forefront of my mind, I present to you my unofficial list of X-Men characters who should not be in the X-Men series, should not be mutants, and so on.


Note: I'm well aware some of these characters are not actually mutants themselves, but the general idea I'm going with is "characters who should be used in other series in Marvel other than the X-Men series and some of them shouldn't be mutants even in other context" which is not a snappy title.

Everything Alien and Magic

As a general rule of thumb, I don't think anything about the alien or magic side of the X-Men series should be in it—at least, not in that context.

I want my X-Men to be like Beast—one of the absolute best characters in this series. He's very clearly a mutant based on his appearance, but he also has major benefits that come about from that, with his increased strength, agility, and senses. Even more so, he's not entirely defined by his appearance, because he's pretty much "the smart guy" on the team, and that goes to show how he's more than his looks.

Give me Stacy X (although I'd much prefer her being named X-Stacy) who can use her mutation of pheromone manipulation to be the best damn prostitute out there. Give me Husk and Rogue and whatnot.

What you shouldn't give me is the Starjammers having space adventures with aliens from the Shi'ar Empire and the M'Kraan Crystal. Why, in a story about mutated humans, are we talking about the nexus of all realities in the cosmos? And yes, that means the Phoenix Force should not be a thing. I know that's controversial, but there's no reason why Jean Grey can't just be a super powerful mutant with D.I.D. or whatever, rather than being a vessel for all the life that has and ever will exist in the multiverse.

Instead, all of those aliens should just be regular alien races in the Marvel universe, without being factored into the X-Men series. Gladiator shouldn't be more of an X-Men character, he should be more of an Avengers character.

What the hell is Mojo World? Everything revolving around Mojo sounds like it was a backdoor pilot introduced in X-Men that they were hoping would be its own corner of the Marvel Universe completely unrelated. And you know what? That's what it should be. The whole Mojoverse story idea with Longshot and the Running Man sort of television series works better as a general Avengers plotline than the X-Men. Shatterstar, too, of course.

And this goes for the magic side of things, too. Juggernaut should not have anything in his origin based on demons from other realities. More on him later. The same for Scarlet Witch.

Lockheed shouldn't be an actual pet dragon that hangs around Kitty Pryde. That makes no sense. That's like the type of thing you'd hear a studio executive say when they're looking at notes of how to get viewers on the 5th season of a sitcom. "What if she had like, a pet? People like pets. I know, a dragon! That'll sell lots of toys! And then, we can introduce Cousin Oliver!" Instead, Lockheed should be her childhood stuffed animal, or maybe the name of her normal cat or pet lizard or something. Not a magical dragon.

Sorry Magik. You don't have magic powers. In fact, you probably don't need to exist at all (like 90% of the telepaths and such).

Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Juggernaut

So let's dig into these, as I mentioned them with the magic side of things.

Nothing at all makes sense with Juggernaut being in the X-Men series with the backstory he's been given, and there are three possible ways to get around that to make a better version of the character:

1. Cain Marko is Xavier's stepbrother and is jealous of his powers, so he undergoes experimentation with mutant blood/genetics/whatever and ends up Juggernaut. He himself isn't a mutant, but he's powered by mutants.

2. Cain Marko is whoever (it doesn't matter if he's related to Xavier) and he is a mutant with exactly the same powers as Juggernaut. His origin is simplified. He's just a mutant, like in X-Men: The Last Stand, but...you know...not a horrible movie.

3. Cain Marko is whoever. He's completely unrelated to the X-Men series and he receives his powers through whatever means you want, and is an Avengers villain, rather than an X-Men villain.

And since we're on the topic of magic not having a place in the X-Men series, that means Scarlet Witch, too. But her character, as well as Quicksilver, is even more complicated, as their backstories are all over the place.

There's already a history of them being in the Avengers, so that's good, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone a long way in the right direction (in my mind) in steering the Maximoff twins away from the X-Men franchise, but the idea of their lineage is where some fans get in a tizzy.

For a long while, Magneto was their dad. That's even the case with the Michael Fassbender and Evan Peters versions of the characters in the three most recent films. Frankly, I say toss that aside in favor of some of the other explanations of their characters.

The Inhumans, to me, are just "poor man's X-Men" and something that shouldn't exist, for the most part, at all. In fact, it should be merged with the X-Men franchise in some fashion. More on the concept of merging further down this post. But I say, don't make them Inhumans, either.

Products from the High Evolutionary is a much better explanation that I'd like to see them stick to. Make it so they were created out of experimentation with science (Pietro) and magic (Wanda) to explain their powers and make them just regular, non-mutants, because there's nothing inherently "mutant" about someone like Quicksilver, in particular. He's just fast. That sounds more like an Avenger than an X-Man. And Scarlet Witch is in a world with too many telepaths as it is, so taking her out of the franchise and making her more along the lines of the marriage between a Professor X and Doctor Strange is more up my alley.

Storm

Woah. I know. Hold on there. Don't crucify me. Let me explain.

Storm is too good for how she's used in the X-Men series, which is hampering her growth considerably.

She's constantly being overtaken by other people in her roles. For instance, she's a great team leader, but she serves no purpose when Professor X, Beast and Cyclops are around, because Xavier is the philosophical one, Beast is, in many ways, the Vice Principal, and Cyclops is the field leader. What does Storm get to do?

She isn't the troubled youngster. That's Rogue, in some incarnations, or Jubilee, or Kitty Pryde, or Dazzler, or whatever. It's never Storm. She's not the funny one. She's not the crass one. She's not the tough one. She's just this super awesome character who happens to always be pushed aside.

You can get the sisterhood relationship that comes about with herself and Jean Grey by replacing Storm with one of the other women, namely Rogue. If she's out of this franchise, you don't have to worry about nerfing her powers, as she's too OP for most fights and they always have to just treat her like she doesn't know what she's doing.

There's nothing "mutant" about her. She's a beautiful woman who has her head on straight, can command respect, lead her troops, present great moral code and tear the house down with her INSANE superpowers.

If Storm were not a mutant, and were just a regular character in the Marvel Universe, she could be Marvel's equivalent of Wonder Woman: a symbol of female empowerment who is one of the top foremost members of the Avengers on par with the other big guns like Thor and Iron Man, who can not only help out with massive threats like Galactus, but also be such a damn good humanitarian.

Imagine Storm, without the baggage of being a mutant and having to play fifth-fiddle to other team members, booked (wrestling term) as someone who is an A-lister on the power spectrum like Sentry and who spends her time doing things like trying to correct the ecosystem because of how connected she is to Earth and mankind as a whole.

We need this version of Storm, not the character who is always pushed aside in favor of Wolverine and others, who are also great, but never make room for her.

Arcade

While Arcade is not a mutant, nor even an X-Men exclusive character, it seems like he hovers around that franchise more than anything. But there's no reason for him to be tied to that series so much, rather than maybe only guest starring in one story.

I imagine it this way: Arcade's Murderworld is like an underground fighting league, mixed with a carnival, but on steroids. He creates these elaborate traps and this amusement park with robots and everything that is customary with the character, and his targets are based on contracts that could be anything at all.

For the most part, it's not related to the X-Men. He can capture Spider-Man and put him through the games after Norman Osborn hires him to do so. The same could happen to Daredevil, or Jessica Jones (ooooh that would be interesting), or Wonder Man, or Ant-Man!!

Just as much, someone with an anti-mutant agenda could hire him to take out a bunch of mutants, and that's where one story of the X-Men comes into play. But that would be one story, or a few random ones at times, rather than happening on such a regular basis.

The Sentinels

Just kidding! I wanted to see who was paying attention. There's no way these aren't still in this series. They're a staple.

Forge

What a horrible life to live when you're a mutant who has the curse of being able to understand technology really well and be super good at engineering.

WTF? How does that work? "Being good at machines" isn't a mutation, that's a skill! He's just Tony Stark without having to think about it, which is less impressive.

Forge shouldn't be a character with a "power" at all, because he should just be a regular member of S.H.I.E.L.D. or something who happens to be damn smart with technology. There's absolutely no justification behind him being a mutant.

The only way I could accept Forge being a mutant is if a byproduct of this "power" was that he could control machines, like his brain was constantly connected to the internet and he could communicate telepathically with electrical interfaces and whatnot. Then, sure, you can make him someone who struggles to interact with people unless he's talking to them via social media or through a screen, and he could have trouble understanding social cues because humans are tough to read, but machines are simpler.

Just being able to tinker around with mechanical devices, though, isn't a mutation or power.

Thunderbird, Warpath, Proudstar, etc

If your character is broken down as "Captain America, but (insert another ethnicity or country allegiance)" who is basically just a regular human, but at the athletic level of someone who is maxing out their potential, you're not a mutant.

Just look at the Proudstar brothers. John's powers are listed as "superhuman senses, strength, speed, stamina, and studiness / trained unarmed and hand-to-hand combatant." Being trained in combat isn't a power, and having heightened normal abilities is just Captain America.

James/Warpath has the same things. He's a "skilled hunter and tracker"—nothing superhuman. He's got the same bump up in senses and strength and all. He uses vibranium knives, which anyone can use. The only difference is that he's got an enhanced healing factor and flight, and that's just not cutting it for me.

Instead of having two variations of this character and having him in the X-Men franchise, they should've just trimmed him down to "the Native American equivalent of Steve Rogers" and called it a day.

And that helps transition us into a final topic that was previously alluded to...

On the Concept of Merging...

There are far too many characters who have the same exact purpose, too similar powers, or just serve no fundamental purpose for having multiple versions of. Unless one of them is a villain, there's no need to have two of the same thing.

I couldn't possibly begin to list everything, because telepaths alone are in the hundreds at this point, it seems, which all just takes away from characters like Xavier and Jean, who would be considered more special if there weren't dozens of other equivalents around.

For instance, Emma Frost is just an answer for the question "what if we had a sexy Professor X, but didn't want to use Jean Grey?" Yes, she's a villain, and yes, she has her diamond abilities, but that illustrates even more how she should just be a villain who can turn her skin into diamond form, as opposed to a telepath.

Controversial point of view, but I think since Jean Grey has never stuck to a codename, she and Psylocke should be merged together. This would help with Jean's lack of a physical power to help in battles, since she could have the psychic energy blades, and the name works with her powers, too (she's locked in her psyche).

Morph is just a lame version of Mystique. Maybe you can make the case that he's on the good side and she's a villain, so they can serve different roles, but at most, those are your TWO shapeshifting characters you need. No more.

Who needs Polaris when you have Magneto? Just because they wanted to give him a daughter?

Pyro. Sunfire. Sunspot. Firestar. Basically, "fire control." Okay. I know that there are differences, like Sunfire being more on the radiation side of things, but that's where they should make the differences more unique and distinct.

Siryn is just basically Banshee, but in daughter form. You only need one of them.

With just a few tweaks, there isn't much different from Jubilee and Dazzler. When you boil them down, one is a teenage girl who can make fireworks and the other is a teenage girl who makes fireworks. The differences is are in their ethnicity, Dazzler is a singer and that's how she converts sound into light, while Jubilee shoots them out of her hands. You can easily just make that one character who is a combo. Give her the codename of Dazzler, nickname her Jubilee after her full name of Jubilation Lee Blaire (mixture of Jubilation Lee and Alison "Ali" Blaire) and have her be an Asian teenage girl who can control and create light by doing things like turning her singing talent into a light show or shooting fireworks from her hands. Hell, if you want to change things up a bit more, change her from Chinese to Korean and have her be in a K-pop band. It's not that hard to cover all bases with minimal characters.

And that's just scratching the surface!

I am by no means an expert who can name you all the variations of all the characters that have been introduced. I know nothing of Rockslide and Hellion. I can't tell you everyone who has ever been in Alpha Flight. But I do know that there is a TON of clutter in the X-Men franchise and if this were a computer being defragged, a lot could be cleaned up.

But what do you have to say on the subject? Are there other characters you feel would be better off not being in the X-Men series and either being merged or made just parts of the regular Marvel universe? Drop a comment below and tell me what you think!
THIS POST WRITTEN BY: ANTHONY MANGO

Tony Mango is the founder, head writer and show host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment and more. He is a writer, creative director/consultant, media manager and entertainer. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Extended profile here.

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