20 Mutants With Powers Nobody Understands, Finally Explained
There are plenty of confusing mutant powers in the Marvel Universe, so let’s break down some of the biggest ones.
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Sure, the Marvel Comics world of creatures and characters is packed to the brim with superheroes and villains of all types, powers and abilities from every corner of the known universe. But a good portion of the weirdest and unexplainable abilities reside in the X-Men and mutant corner of this universe. And no, they’re not segments the way the live-action films have been, but they’ve had their own stories told in tandem with the rest of the Marvel Universe, where mutants are just as common as Inhumans, aliens, demons and the like. And a lot of mutants are pretty straightforward when it comes to their abilities. Cyclops can shoot optical blasts, Jean Grey is a powerful telepath and Magneto can control and mold metal at a whim using his abilities.
But there are mutants who don’t have their origins and power sets defined quite so well. Even for some of the most well-known mutants and X-Men, like Cable, Dazzler or Rogue, we’re not totally sure what their abilities or extraordinary skills entail, where they come from, how they are managed and how that factors into their team placement while superheroing. The mutants of the Marvel Universe are the unique, interesting bits that make it, so there’s basically a power for everything you can imagine, even if that power if warping reality or expelling gold balls from your body with an aptly-named hero moniker. Seriously, his name is Goldballs. Here are 20 mutants with powers no one totally gets, finally explained.
The short answer here is that Domino has luck powers, but it’s not that simple, is it? The real explanation is that Domino can manipulate probabilities, mostly subconsciously. This means that she does really turn the luck up on herself, but also on those around her, whether it’s to gamble at a casino or miss a gunshot aimed right for her head. It helps that she’s also a mutant with a healing factor and increased strength and durability.
On top of that, she’s an incredible marksman and bounty hunter, which makes her and her Domino crew some of the most prominent sell-swords in the Marvel Universe. But overall, she’s a hero, she just likes doing things her own way.
Bishop may not be from the main Marvel Universe, but his powers are a highlight of those among mutants. Currently, he retains most of the traditional abilities, like superhuman strength, durability, and stamina, but his former powers are even more impressive. There was a time when he was basically controlled by a force called Le Bete Noir, which was not pretty for everyone in the universe, considering that this new power could swallow up all of reality in a black hole-like fashion.
But Bishop’s other prime ability is his power to convert energy and expel it any way he’d like, and he also carries guns that dispel plasma energy and laser bolts.
Magik, another clear keystone of The New Mutants, is full of mutant abilities that are not so easily classified. The most prominent of which is her use of sorcery, using the learnings of Doctor Strange and other mystics, combined with her wielding of the Soulsword to wreak some hell with her magical abilities. She can also create “stepping discs” which offer her a strategic advantage and traversal technique.
Oh, and she can also travel to Limbo and control the energy of the dimension, in addition to control over her own pocket dimension version of the place, which isn’t so nice for her enemies. This comes in handy, though, when the mutant school of Professor X has to be hidden in plain sight. Plain demonic sight.
No, Dazzler isn’t just an incredibly successful pop star with light powers. Those light powers are a bit more complicated than they may seem, in which Dazzler utilizes sound and vibrations to create different levels of light expulsion. And these levels of light can generate anything from a cool laser light show, literal lasers used to cut through things, what is essentially a flash bang, strobe lights, holograms , or a type of “light mist” to confuse and clog the sight of enemies.
Like other mutants, she’s basically immortal, as no one has found a traditional way to take her out. She can also minimize the effects of loud sounds and bright lights, preventing damage to her ears and eyesight.
You may know Cable as the super serious timeslider that likes to try and fix the messes that Deadpool and Co. make, right? His time abilities are supplemented by incredible telekinesis, the ability to harness others minds and control them, healing, super strength and so, so much more. He’s at risk of a technological virus that consumes his body with non-organic machines, though he seems to have that mostly under control by this point.
He was able to turn those “enhancements” into strengths and uses his robotic additions to supplement his incredible mutant abilities. That’s what happens when you’re the child of Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Well, sort-of-child.
Tempus, seen by many as the prime member of Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men team, may be one of the newest mutants to be considered close to Omega Level, able to stand alongside the Jean Greys and Professor Xs of the Marvel Universe. Her powers hinge on two main pillars, the ability to slow down time and the ability to create pockets of displaced time, used as a form of temporary time travel.
Her abilities have stunned everyone from Emma Frost to Doctor Strange, and she’s clearly lying in wait to reappear at some point if more recent issues of X-Men are to be believed. As far as the ideas that popped up as part of this Uncanny X-Men run, Eva Bell is clearly the one with the most staying power.
Ah, Doop. At first glance, this green, globby X-Men member may look like he couldn’t put up a fight, but would you be surprised to learn that Doop’s abilities easily make him one of the strongest and fearsome mutants in the Marvel Universe? Sure, his appearance takes a hit, but Doop makes up for it with a slew of powers that could quite literally mess with reality as we know it.
He can manipulate his size at will, shrinking and growing to fit a situation, utilize magic that he gained from fellow mutant Magik, he contains the “Power of the Funk” and also has his own personal pocket dimension in which he can swallow things and send them to Doop Land, a dimension that is ever-changing. Dude is stacked.
His name may imply that he’s just a by-the-books healer or medic class to his X-Men team, but the mutant Triage’s powers are actually way more intricate than that. To be specific, he has the ability to transmute and control life force and the energy it produces. What this means is that, sure, he can heal his friends and allies in battle, but he can also use it to their detriment, so it’s a good thing he’s a good guy, right?
He’s also basically immortal as shown by the fact that he was seemingly eliminated during his stint with the new Uncanny X-Men, but came back to life plenty freaked out by the experience. Definitely a beneficial ability to have, though.
When you first take a look at the powers of Fantomex, he might not seem totally different from the number of other mutants and experiments that came out of the Weapon Plus program. But this incredibly skilled combatant is quite different than most. Not only does he have what is essentially a nanomech that he can control as an extension of himself, but he has three brains to help compartmentalize damage and pain and emotion from himself and his nanomech. That’s pretty layered, huh?
Perhaps most interesting, or honestly most odd, is that Fantomex does not produce any odor or smell, which may seem useless at first, but when the mutant Weapons Plus and X roster is stacked to the brim with powerful trackers, it certainly comes in handy.
Don’t know who Karma is? Well, you haven’t been keeping up. This member of The New Mutants isn’t your average everyday telepath. No, Karma has the ability to use that telepathy to posses other people and living creatures. But it doesn’t stop there. Karma can also posses more than one person or group of people at once, and can even do it without being near the subject she’s taking control of. That’s right, she can remotely possess them.
What she lacks in physical strength, she makes up for in psychic prowess. This makes her a formidable foe and the natural pick for one of the leaders of the famed New Mutants group.
What her allies an enemies would call “fireworks” are actually pretty intricate “energy plasmoids,” able to deal quite a punch to those she’s facing while also looking pretty dang cool. Jubilee can also create a force field to protect herself. But perhaps the weirder, more interesting powers come from post-M-Day when Jubilee left behind her mutant past and became, yes, a vampire.
Much to the dismay of fans, Jubilee spent a few years as a vampire who was still alligned with the X-Men. She was able to figure out her need to drink blood and stay out of sunlight, was taking care of a child, and developed vampiric abilities of superhuman strength, healing factor, durability, and immortality. That’s quite the power boost.
Not to be confused with other Marvel heroes that sport the same name, this incarnation of Mirage, Dani Moonstar, is actually quite unique. Before losing her powers as a result of M-Day, Mirage was able to produce tangible imagery based on her thoughts, harnessing a psionic force to take down enemies and trick others. She’d also use this power to create animal images, which paired with her “animal empathy” powers, giving her a connection to her creations.
Creepily, she could also determine when death was near, both the physical interpretation of death in the Marvel Universe and the concept itself. After losing her powers, she joined the ranks of the Asgardian Valkyrie and gained a bit of strength back, though just a sample of her abilities from before M-Day.
For Glob, we don’t get much of an explanation for his mutant powers when he shows up, mostly because he feels like a joke character, as a teenager that’s a skeleton encased in some body-shaped pink Jell-O. Gross. But actually, Robert “Glob” Herman is interesting in origin, and that pink substance that surrounds his skeleton is actually a type of wax, which allows him to set himself on fire. While that might not seem useful at first, he can totally help get people out of a burning building.
He also sports the basic abilities of superhuman strength, stamina, and durability, with the added power of being able to pull off parts of his wax exoskeleton, light them on fire and throw them. Yep, still gross.
Far from the Dan Stevens-portrayed version in FX’s Legion television show, the comics mutant Legion is still a force to be reckoned with. Don’t let the Slim Jim appearance fool you, this David Haller is an omega level mutant that has some of the most spontaneous and unpredictable abilities in the Marvel Universe — if not the most. Aside form being a powerful telepath, Legion can also create powers for each of his 200+ split personalities.
Now, it would take way too long to list each of these abilities out, so here’s a sample of them, a combination of his personality disorder combined with his mutant DNA: the ability to bend time and reality, the power to send energy beams from his mouth, the ability to locate anyone in the galaxy and electrical absorption. There doesn’t seem to be a real limit to his powers.
For his new fans, Shatterstar may just seem like a joke from the recent Deadpool 2 movie, but he’s actually so much more than that. Hailing from Mojoworld, a twisted reality of reality television, the son of Dazzler and Longshot sports a number of incredibly cool and increasingly dangerous powers as a mutant. As a superhuman, he checks all of the basic boxes: enhanced strength, senses, durability, balance, and endurance.
In addition to those, he also has an increased healing factor and the ability to create shockwaves, not unlike the Inhuman Quake. One of his most prominent abilities is his “empathic teleportation,” which allows him to transport himself around as long as he has a direct connection with an “anchor” that can see their destination.
From the X-Men films, fans might think that Rogue’s powers revolve specifically around not being able to physically interact with other human beings. And sure, that’s part of her powers, which allow her to basically siphon and harness the abilities of those she comes in contact with, but her permanent superhuman abilities actually come from a use of her powers on none other than Carol Danvers.
After that interaction, Rogue had super strength, could fly, and became incredibly durable. In addition, she had a bit of a heel turn and began fighting with the X-Men for the betterment of mutant kind, using her energy siphoning abilities, combined with her permanent gains from Carol Danvers, to further that cause.
While there’s not a lot of backstory to Goldballs and his powers, fans will be interested to learn that the balls he expels from his body aren’t actually gold at all — they are a totally unknown substance that just seems to take the form of a gold-colored ball, which will then bounce, roll, and pop out of him at random. Well, that last bit was before he could control his abilities.
Currently, he goes to school with Miles Morales and Ganke, but hopefully there’s a future for young Fabio. After all, his concussive “gold” balls are more like those beanbags that riot police use. Yeah, they would absolutely pack a punch.
If you only see Blink in action once or twice, you’d think her powers are similar to a telepath who can bend energy and use it as a weapon. In reality, she’s kind of like a cross between Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler and Gambit. She can use portals to move objects and projectiles around, and those usually appear with a pink ring of light around them. But she also has the more apparent ability to teleport.
She uses that teleportation ability to help her team of Exiles, whether past or present, journey through the multiverse without having to worry about total matter displacement. So she’s not simply a teleporter, but more of a reality-warping superhero.
At first glance, Forge might just seem like an incredibly technically-advanced mechanic. In reality, his proficiency extends far beyond just being able to fix motorized things. In fact, he can create basically anything with “just a box of scraps,” as Obadiah Stane would say. With minimal resources, Forge can create something technically impressive, from transportation devices to full-scale mechanical ecosystems.
He can also see “mechanical energy,” further extending the layers of his abilities, showing that he’s basically a telepath or high-level psychic with a specific proficiency in things that move. That’s pretty impressive for an X-Men we mostly see on the sidelines of the main teams, when in reality he’s their backbone.
Thought Psylocke’s abilities were just about creating psionic weaponry that glows pink? Think again. Not only is Psylocke one of the most powerful mutants and telepaths in the Marvel Universe, but her abilities are also so far-reaching that they make her one of the deadliest and honed forces in comics. In addition to her telekinetic weapons, Psylocke can create force fields, fly and harness astral projection.
Her powers may be confusing, but if you think about it in terms of layers that have been unlocked throughout her comics history, they start to make a lot more sense. Though she may have begun as a lower-level telepath, her weapon proficiency and ability to manipulate energy using her telekineses have her up to par with the best of mutant heroes and villains.
Nicholas Friedman is a journalist based in Dallas-Fort Worth. Originally from Philadelphia, he enjoys collecting records, playing games, having two cats (most days) and reading comics. A graduate from The University of North Texas with a journalism degree, he’s usually wrangling social media and writing. You can find his work in various places, from a comics column and writer interviews in The Dallas Morning News, to gaming reviews and more coverage in the Denton Record-Chronicle, on Comic Book Resources and at GuideLive.com. His favorite game is Tetris DS, and if that sounds surprising, you should probably play it. You’ll mostly catch him reading DC or Image Comics, with his favorites nestled somewhere between Nightwing and Saga, but not afraid to see what Marvel is up to.