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10 Oldest Mutants In X-Men History

The strangest superheroes of all have been around for about fifty years at this point, but there are many mutant members of the X-Men whose history stretches back way, way further than that.

For some, the mutant gene manifests itself in being able to fly, or shoot laser beams from their eyes, or have their skin turn invisible so you can see all their insides (which is pretty gross). For others, their principal superhuman ability seems to be being old. Like, so old. Old as balls. Wolverine’s pretty cool with his knife hands and mutton chops, right? Yeah, he’s super old. He’s your grandfather times your great grandfather. Just a bit less racist and much better looking in yellow spandex.

In reality Marvel Comics has a history that begins around the time of the Second World War, when a group of superheroes called The Invaders banded together to fight Hitler. In the fictional Marvel Universe that’s also around about the time metahumans showed up, so far as most people knew. In fact the homo superior leap in evolution actually happened decades, even centuries earlier – unbeknownst to everyone. Including those early writers.

Mutants were around way before the X-Men showed up to “lead” them, when fancying Jean Grey was just a creepy glimmer in Charles Xavier’s eye. Some mutants were part of that initial wave of WWII-era heroes; some have thought in even more wars than that; and some have been around for something like 2000 years. And they’re still going strong. Good genes, we hear.

 

10. Professor X (Estimated Age 60-70)

Marvel Comics

We don’t have an exact figure to put on it, but we’re pretty sure Charles Francis Xavier has been around the block a few times. Marvel has this slightly confusing sliding timeline which means that characters who were introduced as teens or twenty-year-olds in the sixties aren’t eligible for a bus pass now.

Peter Parker has slowly developed from high schooler through college to being an adult, when actually Spider-Man should be carting around a zimmer frame by now. Originally it was Frank Castle’s tour in Vietnam that gave him the skills to be The Punisher, but nowadays it’s the first Gulf War (or maybe even the second), so that he’s not an octogenarian going around murdering criminals.

The Professor X we see in modern-day comics looks to be in his forties or fifties which, considering he looked about the same when the first issue of X-Men debuted in 1963, would make him like a hundred years old now. Which isn’t quite right, but even with that sliding timeline thingy he’s pretty old.

After all, he needed time to get a bachelor’s degree in biology, study for a master’s at Cambridge, sleep with a load of women who thought bald was sexy, and had a load of adventures before getting crippled and starting up his School for Gifted Youngsters. Including hanging out in Israel with one Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, who was a kid during the Second World War, making both him and Charles at least sixty or seventy years old.

9. Magneto (Estimated Age – 60-70)

Marvel Comics

So yeah, that Erik Magnus Lehnsherr guy. Or Max Eisenhardt. Or whatever his actual name is.

The origin story of Magneto is pretty well known at this point, owing to the powerful flashback scene that opened the first X-Men film and the current solo series that explores the character’s tragic past: a young Jewish boy at the outbreak of World War II, Max was sent to the Nazi concentration camps where his parents were killed and his latent mutant abilities – he can control metal, if his name wasn’t a dead giveaway – manifested themselves. After escaping Auschwitz he faced persecution elsewhere across Europe before finally decamping to Israel, where he hooked up with Charles Xavier to stop Baron Von Strucker from resurrecting Hydra.

Taking into account the sliding timeline and the relative age of his old mucker Professor X, Erick/Max/Magnus/Eric The Red/Magneto must be pushing seventy by now, at the very least. And if he was a kid during the holocaust he’s probably more like eighty, which would explain the white hair which has had time to grow into long, flowing locks, and the fact that he’s the sort of crotchety old git you try and avoid talking to at bus stops. Except he could mold the shelter into a trap to ensnare you so you have no choice but to listen to his ramblings about homo superior and why humans suck.

So we put Xavier somewhere in his seventies, technically, and Magneto in his eighties. Both have obviously been beneficiaries of the sliding timeline, but also from having their bodies “renewed” a handful of times. Xavier has died and been brought back to life one more than one occasion, and he himself was responsible for somehow turning Magneto back into a baby, before letting him grow up again.

So: both old as balls, just in deceptively young bodies.

8. Wipeout (Estimated Age – 70+)

Marvel Comics

Wipeout is a pretty minor character in the X-Mythos, a comic book series that is infamous for its ludicrously large ensemble cast of supporting roles (it got so bad they had to do a storyline that was just about reducing the mutant population by 99%, and we still don’t know who half the members of X-Factor are). Still, he’s a minor character who, if you look up any bio or mention of him during his scant appearances, is principally characterised by being elderly.

His mutant power actually is being old as balls! Well, actually his mutant power was that he could block of “wipe out” the abilities of his kin using mental powers. Something he mainly used for EVIL. You see Wipeout was a member of the Press Gang, a group of shadowy enforcer types who kept the mutant slaves of sovereign island state Genosha in check. Yeah, the history of Genosha is weird.

Whilst it became a save haven for mutantkind in later years – before it got blown up by Sentinels – it started off as a bit of a ham-handed allegory for apartheid-era South Africa, which is why gross old white dude Wipeout was helping keep those pesky muties in check. Owing to his advanced years he didn’t actually got on on missions for the country’s Magistrates, but instead presided over their prison system.

In most cases he just sat around in the Genoshan jail, waiting for his teammate Pipeline to bring him new prisoners whose powers he could get rid of and then chuck them in a cell. During the mostly terrible X-Tinction Agenda storyline, Wipeout gets murdered in a confusing plot to frame Cyclops’ brother Havok for some reason.

Still, before he bit the dust he was one of the few confirmed elderly mutants, so that’s why he’s here.

7. Namor – (Estimated Age – 100+)

Marvel Comics

The Sub-Mariner? King Of Atlantis? A mutant? Imperius Rex! You can shout that confusing catchphrase all you want, but as your publishers and creators are so fond on telling us, you are technically “Marvel’s First Mutant”. You even had a miniseries with that exact name!

In recent years Namor has become a bit of a joke character, the preeminent narcissist called upon when you want a bit of comic relief or some marital strife in the Fantastic Four. He’s actually one of Marvel’s oldest characters, however, part of that first wave of WWII-era heroes that introduced superpeople to the world at large. Your dad’s probably heard of him. If he hasn’t, though, here’s a quick potted history:

Namor McKenzie was born the son of a human sailor and an Atlantean noble, which is why he has pink skin, unlike the rest of the population who are blue-skinned. He looked like a person but still had some goofy little wings on his feet and superpowers that are several times that of most Atlanteans. Technically he is a “hybrid” of undersea and human physiology, which means he is a mutant of sorts – although we don’t know for sure if he’s a legit member of the homo superior genus.

He did get approached by Xavier and Magneto early on in the pair’s joint attempt to unite mutantkind, but was hesitant to sign up. We’re not sure if this was because he knew he wasn’t a “proper” mutant or just because he’s Namor, and kind of an uppity jerk, but Marvel have repeatedly identified him as their “first mutant” and, whilst he’s not as old as some of the others on this list, his birth in the twenties puts him as pretty darn elderly.

He should definitely have some wrinkles by now, between the age and the time spent underwater.

6. Graymalkin (Estimated Age – 216)

Marvel Comics

Jonas Graymalkin – who took his surname for his code name because of course you would, Graymalkin is a baller name – is a more recent addition to the X-Men universe, but his origins are actually rooted all the way back in the 18th century. Back in the day Jonas was a 16-year-old struggling with a secret that would find him ostracised from his ignorant, narrow-minded community, causing his friends and neighbours to hate and fear him: he was gay.

When his dad caught him in bed with another man he beat Graymalkin to a pulp and, assuming he was dead, dragged him out into the woods and buried him. Which is right around the time his mutant abilities began to kick in.

Graymalkin gains power from being in the darkness, and the longer he spends in the shadows the greater his strength, enhanced agility and seeming invulnerability. So spending two hundred years in complete darkness meant that he managed to heal from what would have been lethal injuries sustained from his homophobic father, and then some.

Turns out his family lived on the land the Xavier Institute was later built on so, during one of the many, many attacks on the school by the Brotherhood Of Evil Mutants (bad name, guys, btw) Jonas was shaken out of his 200 year suspended animation snooze and joined up with the Young X-Men.

Despite him being, technically, 216 years old, he’s not been up to much recently, but maybe he’s taking a well deserved rest. Dude’s pretty old.

5. Mystique And Destiny (Estimated Age – 250+)

Marvel Comics

Mystique certainly lives up to her name, and then some. In the movies her continuity is a little shaky but pretty much set, with her being roughly the same age of Charles Xavier, having been taken in by his family and raised like his sister. In the comic books, however, nothing is ever that simple. Which is saying something, considering all the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff we had to contend with in Days Of Future Past.

Anyway, when you delve into the history of Raven Darkholme, you also have to take a long, hard look at her decades-long relationship with Irene Adler, better known as Destiny. And if that name reminds you of the Sherlock Holmes character, well, that’s because she’s supposed to be that self same Sherlock Holmes character.

Irene Adler the X-Men character is the same as the Arthur Conan Doyle creation, which means she’s at least been around since the late 1800s. If reports are to be believed, Destiny and Mystique – who have had a long-standing gay relationship, albeit less explicitly in the more conservative early era of the comics – though, the pair have been around even longer than that. Again there’s no exact figure on it, but the official word from Marvel is that Raven and Irene have been active since the “dawn of the 20th Century”, which means they’re at least a hundred years old, but probably more.

“Active” suggests that the pair, who combine Mystique’s shapeshifting abilities with Destiny’s power to see the future, have been up to no good for a hundred years. So they’re probably even older, having grown up and got their powers and decided to use them for bad stuff. So one of the X-Men’s biggest foes is an old awesome lesbian, which is pretty neat.

4. Wolverine (Estimated Age 250+)

Marvel

At this point, James “Logan” Howlett’s history has become a running joke. His history is so boned that Marvel have so far published not one but two “Origin” miniseries trying to clear up the backstory of the most popular and possibly one of the oldest X-Men on the block. The important thing to know is that, as seen in the opening montage to X-Men: Origins Wolverine (basically the only part of X-Men: Origins Wolverine worth watching), the canucklehead has fought in basically every major war since the 1800s. He’s a veteran multiple times over, and that’s before he even got involved with the X-Men.

Born James Howlett to rich farm owners John and Elizabeth Howlett in the late 1880s, and is kind of a total wuss. The cool kids are his pal Dog and his dad, Thomas Logan, who worked on the grounds of their huge house. After getting fired and tossed out onto the street Logan came back and killed James’ dad, which caused the poor kid to pop his bone claws for the first time and stick ’em through the guy’s chest. His mum got scared, threw him out, and he adopted the Logan name as his own.

From there he fought in both World Wars (during which time he settled in Japan and teamed up with Captain America), hooked up with the Canadian government’s shady Weapon X program and got all those weird adamantium skeleton experiments done on him. All the stuff that’s happened in Wolverine’s long life, you have to think maybe he’s looking forward to a bit of a dirt nap.

Also a little insulting to Hugh Jackman they think he’d be good as an 120-year-old.

3. Exodus (Estimated Age – 1000)

Marvel Comics

Where do you go after an X-Man born in the 19th Century? Easy, you go even further and uncover an X-Men villain who’s been knocking about since the 12th Century, if you can believe that.

Mr Sinister, the bad guy who’s weirdly obsessed with Cyclops and the Summers family as a whole, has also been around since the mid-19th Century, but he’s technically not a mutant – just a regular human who messed about with his genetics so he looks like a scary mime (just a regular mime, then). Exodus is not only the real deal, but he’s also so much older, having been born in 12th Century France under the name Bennet Du Paris. Which is like the most French name ever.

Sure, Wolverine fought in a couple of poxy World Wars, but Exodus? That guy was in the Crusades. As a Crusader. So not only is he ancient, but also kind of a douche.

When his powers manifested he was found worthy of chilling with Apocalypse, who is like the ultimate ancient X-Men villain and will probably show up in this list at some point – be patient. Unfortunately he wasn’t as submissive as the bad guy needed and so he got sealed up in a crypt in the Swiss Alps, trapped in a coma-like state for literal centuries.

Suddenly Graymalkin’s not looking so impressive. Nobody managed to wake him from his slumber until that trouble maker Magneto showed up, roused him and recruited him to his Acolytes over on his asteroid base Avalon (Magneto’s other, lesser-known mutant power is alliteration). Exodus, like a lot of these ancient superfolk, has a buttload of powers, because we guess he had more time to practice, or something?

Clearly he’s not got the wisdom of the old timers, though, since he’s currently in a mutant prison. Ha, ha.

2. Apocalypse (Estimated Age 5000)

Marvel Comics

Namor might be listed as Marvel’s “First Mutant”, but En Sabah Nur is the character most often noted as being the first mutant in the fictional comic book universe. His name even means “The First One”, to belabour the point a little.

Also known as Apocalypse, he’s been one of the main antagonists not only for the X-Men but the whole of mutantkind since, like, forever, appearing as a bad guy in comics, video games and the awesome nineties animated series.

True to his name, Apocalypse’s whole bag is that he wants to bring about the end of the world, with the help of his Four Horseman which usually involves at least one tragic, fallen X-Man who’s been brainwashed by the grey-faced goon.

He’s apparently not all that good at bringing about death and destruction, however, given he’s been at it since the 30th Century BC. Dude’s literally Biblically old, born 5000 years ago in ancient Jordan. He was supposedly the first person on Earth to possess the mutant gene, causing his lips to turn blue, his skin grey, and his people to abandon him.

Thankfully a nice bunch of folks called the Sandstormers take him in, instilling the whole Darwinian “survival of the fittest” philosophy and effectively raising history’s greatest monster. X-Men history’s, anyway. When his powers – basically every basic superpower you can think of – turned up, and he further augmented himself with Celestial technology from beyond space, he found he was essentially immortal and never aged. Which is probably why he still looks so fresh-faced.

1. Selene (Estimated Age 17,000)

Marvel Comics

It may literally be En Sabah Nur’s name, but it’s something of a misnomer. Technically he isn’t “the first one” – there’s another mutant who’s got him beat who has him beat by a good few centuries.

Apocalypse has been about for five thousand years, but Selene Gallio has apparently been active since at least 10,000 BC. And we have to say, she’s looking pretty good for her age! That’s probably owing to her being a “psychic vampire” who literally sucks the life out of other people so that she can keep on living and looking like a spring chicken, even though she’s hung out with Conan The Barbarian and Julius Caesar. Two totally old and totally real historical figures.

Claiming to have already been old when mankind was just getting started, Selene was born 17,000 years ago and began her life by controlling her entire tribe and forcing them to sacrifice their lives so that she could feed. From that auspicious start she was active during the Hyborian Age (before any recorded civilizations), when Conan The Barbarian and Red Sonja were said to be up to all their sword ‘n’ sorcery shenanigans.

She settled in Rome at the height of their empire, where she turned a guy into a vampire and then had him buried for 700 years, because anyone immortal in X-Men comics has to do a spell where they’re undead and buried. For centuries she was trapped in the the Amazon in the Romanesque town of Nova Roma, worshipped as a goddess but never allowed to leave for reasons that were never really explained. Then the young X-Team New Mutants showed up, fought her and chucked her into a volcano, which was pretty harsh.

Eventually her worshippers dug her out and removed the curse that kept her in Nova Roma, she got to New York and joined long time X-Men villains/leather fetishists the Hellfire Club to get her revenge. She’s also one of the few mutants lucky enough to keep their powers after the aforementioned M-Day, when 99% of the population had their special abilities “cured”.

So not only has Selene been around for 17,000 years and has still got a few good years left in her so unless some enterprising writer can conceive of someone even more ancient? She is undoubtedly the oldest X-Man ever.

 

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