In the X-Men universe, as a sampling, we have:

  • Energy projection (Cyclops)
  • Physical modification (Beast, Nightcrawler, Angel, Toad)
    • Plus shape-shifting (Mystique)
  • Teleportation (Nightcrawler)
  • Control of the weather (Storm)
  • Telekineses and other mental abilities (Jean Grey, Professor X)
  • Manipulation of magnetics (Magneto)
  • Healing factor (Wolverine, Sabertooth)

And many other types of mutations (Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, and so on).

Has there ever been a set limitation, where an ability has been deemed too unrealistic to be caused by mutation?

And the related opposite (which I feel like is only relevant if the answer to the above is "no"), has a reason ever been given in-universe for why mutants have such a varied array of powers, some of them as powerful as they are?

I'd prefer one that applies to most/all mutants; I vaguely know Jean Grey is as powerful as she is due to a link to a cosmic entity known as the Phoenix Force - but as far as I know, that wouldn't apply to any of the other above examples.

This question is partially inspired by this answer to Is there a difference between Marvel and DC Comics' philosophy?

  • 6
    Scarlet Witch can remake the universe by accident. So I'm guessing the answer is 'no'. But I await a more informed opinion.
    – Tynam
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:09
  • 1
    @Tynam I was going to include her as an example, but a quick look at her bio page says that the strength of her powers were caused by an external factor - the Elder God Chthon. So her powers don't solely come from mutation.
    – Izkata
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:12
  • 3
    How much Chthon has to do with it seems to vary hugely from writer to writer. But, yeah. If you want 'all natural' examples with insane telekinetic/reality-warping/game-changing power levels, look at Nate Grey, Holocaust, Onslaught. Or Multiple Man.
    – Tynam
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:39
  • Mister M is also practically godlike Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:53
  • 1
    Scarlet Witch aside, Franklin Richards is a mutant who can literally MOLD REALITY with a thought. It doesn't get much more unlimited than that. Proteus could do the same thing on a much smaller level - warping reality within a room or building, and he was definitely a mutant as well.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 20:19

3 Answers 3


No. Using the basic premise that mutants were caused by the experimentation on the human genome by the god-like and mysterious beings known as the Celestials, first upon the Deviants, then the Eternals, and finally Humanity and the Inhumans, there has always been an implied arms races to create the most powerful reality-altering life-form possible for an unknown purpose.**

Mutant Genesis

Currently, this title belongs to the mutant offspring of famed mutates, Reed and Susan Richards, of Fantastic Four fame. Franklin Richards, whose powers defy description (rumored to be Celestial level) and is, until otherwise de-throned, the most powerful mutant to have ever lived. Franklin Richards is an Omega-Level mutant with vast reality-manipulating and psionic powers.

What are mutants being made for?

What are the Celestials looking for? They never say. They never admit to why they performed the experimentation that links the human genome and the possibility for mutant capability. The only things we know for certain:

  • The Deviants, an evolutionary offshoot of humanity, were their first experiments and are genetically unstable
  • Their forms varied wildly and it was said that no two Deviants looked alike (which always made me curious how they reproduced...perhaps technology was involved.)
  • They boasted a wide array of superhuman levels of ability

Their next experiments, the Eternals, were far more successful in certain respects:

  • While the Eternals look superficially like humans, each is capable of vast superhuman capabilities.
  • All are capable of superhuman strength, resistance to injury and energy manipulation
  • With training, all of them were capable of amazing psionic ability as well.
  • They were also deemed a failure because their abilities did not diverge nearly enough and while quite powerful were never capable of being the equal of the Celestial themselves.
  • There were two groups of Eternals, one on Earth, the other living on the moon, Titan.
  • Thanos, a Titanian Eternal has shown a potential for far greater capacity than any other Eternal.

Homo Sapiens Superior

Mutants, a sub-group of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, has shown both a diverse range of powers and a scale of power previously unseen in either Deviants or Eternals. In addition:

  • Mutants have a wide array of physical abilities without distorting the physical shape of humanity (unlike the Deviants, where form often equaled function),
  • there are also diverse ranges of energy manipulation, temporal manipulation, and vast psionic potential
  • the ability to alter the fabric of space-time, for feats like teleportation and space-flight and even alter the fabric of reality, changing both the past and the future in multiple universes.

These powers are inconsistently scattered among the human populace and has on more than one occasion been potentially capable of destroying the entire species.

The Celestials have made at least three trips to study the results of their experiments, and only with the aid of the beings posing as gods, were they repelled when they decided to end their experimentation on Earth. (Thor, Vol 1. #300, 1980)

enter link description here

For the record, Odin and the other Sky-Fathers were unable to repel the Celestials, despite their preparations. It was the Earth Mothers who offered up twelve genetically perfect humans (see Young Gods) which caused the Celestials to leave the Earth. (Yaaaah, Mom!)

Since that visit, M-day has destroyed 90+% of all mutant abilities, Franklin Richards and Hope Summers have also been born, potentially two of the most powerful mutants to have ever existed. What this means for humanity and their future relationship to the Celestials is anyone's guess.

Out of Universe

The Marvel Universe has been since the Bronze Age of comics (1970-1985) in an arms race of "cooler" mutant creation. The Celestial story line culminating in Thor #300 allowed them to flesh out the "gods of Earth" explaining them as beings living in symbiosis with Humanity, explaining why the Destroyer was created, and how mutants, Deviants and Eternals came to be.

It is unlikely that all of these things were planned, since all of these stories had come into being separately by the great writers of earlier eras. The awesomeness of Thor #300 was the weaving of all of these separate elements into a cohesive story that would carry Marvel forward and retroactively bind these disparate elements together.

I think Marvel had, for the longest time, never considered what the numbers of mutants would do to their world, especially if you considered mutation along a population curve. Unless humans started killing them, the world would literally be swarming with mutants.

If they all contained powers equal to groups like the X-men, then Magneto would ultimately be proven right. Humanity would end up on the scrap pile replaced by our physically, psychically, mentally, and eventually technologically superior offspring.

M-day wasn't an accident. For Marvel to continue, it was an inevitability.

  • 1
    The out-of-universe part doesn't exactly apply to the question, but it is a great extra bit of background. +1 and Accepted!
    – Izkata
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 0:55

Nope, there are no limits. From the most ridiculous power, gaseous form as noted, to the most extreme. Proteus could alter time and space at his will, in exiles comics he sought to also be able to cross through dimensions. He was the first one to be seen to have such unlimited powers. Even Krakoa the living island was just a huge mutant but not even in comparison with what power set Proteus had. After that, many have followed, including in general in the Omega level mutants category: mutants with powers of cosmic scale. so came Mickhail Rasputin (brother of Colossus) with energy absorbing and redirection power. They have leveled up the scarlet witch to extreme powers. Jaime Braddock (elder brother of Psylocke) had the ability to pull and shape the strings of reality. Nathan summers (Cable) that his powers were turned down cause of the technovirus in him (in a saga the virus is gone and Cable goes Godlike powers, he is in risk of his life getting sooooo powerful so he downgrades himself again). Franklin Richards (son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman) has had Celestial level powers since being a little kid. And sooo many others. Even Jean Grey is Omega level on her own, Phoenix Force wouldn't choose a random host, it craves for power.

So NO limits at all. Choose a set of powers and just pump it on a little teenager and wonders will happen.


No there is no set limits on what is unrealistic here is my main example.

Dummy First appearance: New X-Men #135 Last appearance: New X-Men #137

All Xavier Institute appearances: New X-Men #135-137

Powers: exists as an astral intelligence housed in a shapeless gas form, keeps himself in a containment suit that approximates human proportions for him

Notes: - Dummy’s gaseous form was fully released when his special containment suit was pierced by flying glass during the riot at Xavier’s depicted in New X-Men #137. He has yet to re-form and is presumed dead or dissipated beyond return.

The guy apparently mutated into a gas. Which is not a mutation at all. It's ridiculous. Also as far as limits on power ranges as noted above the Scarlet Witch can alter reality and she's actually been considered a B list mutant for most of her existence.

To my knowledge it has never been stated why there are such wide variations of powers in the Marvel Universe. I don't believe it ever would be either as other questions asked on here show that the writers in general believe it cripples their artistic ability to have to explain in detail how powers work. They will give a brief explanation and throw in some pseudo-science but that's it.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.