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X-Men Debate Into Marvel Greatest Asset

Creators weigh in on Omega Mutants, power levels, and what really matters in comics, Even Even for fans of fiction, comic book readers are obsessed with the “facts” they know. For some, the question “Who would win?” isn’t just a theoretical pastime, it’s a challenge of the very honor of the character you stan.

Those fans crave the validation of their opinion; they need a trump card. And in the world of the X-Men, one phrase rules above all others: Omega Level Mutant.

But until 2019, nobody even knew what an Omega Mutant was beyond … a powerful mutant. But how powerful did you need to be an Omega? What counted as “power” for a set of characters who controlled weather, shot lasers from their eyes, or simply comprehended every language? Marvel Comics creators had kept the definition soft; an understandable choice for an infinitely expanding universe — you never want to write characters into a corner. Someone down the line might find it restrictive. But then again … restrictions can also breed creativity.

The great Omega Mutant debate offers a case study in putting hard rules around a fictional concept. Do the actual creators working with the modern X-Men find it to be a help? Or a hindrance? Or do they think it matters at all? We decided to find out.

CLASS OMEGA

The first mutant character to ever be called “omega” was Rachel Summers, the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey from an alternate future. “Upper limit of target-subject’s abilities has yet to be determined,” says Nimrod, the final evolution of the mutant-hunting Sentinel robots, as he gives her the label of “Class Omega.” The term wouldn’t be used again for 15 years, and it’d be nearly 20 years after that before anyone would actually define what, exactly, an Omega Mutant is.

Throughout the ’90s the phrase “Alpha Level” was used frequently to the same effect, and in 2001’s X-Men Forever #3 Professor Xavier described Iceman and Jean Grey’s “Omega Level Mutant Abilities” as having unlimited potential. From then on, the phrase was simply used whenever a writer wanted readers to know that this character was a big deal.

Meanwhile, in the fan world, debates about who was an “Omega Level Mutant” ran rampant, but rarely went anywhere. The term was so undefined it was difficult to argue why a character should be “Omega Level” at any level more complex than “They’re my favorite!” The meaninglessness of the term was even used as a punchline in X-Men: Worst X-Men Ever. The Beast described a mutant as “Omicron-Level,” but soon reveals that he just came up with the term because it sounded ominous.

House of X/Powers of X heralded a new dawn for Marvel’s merry mutants, and, surprisingly — a firm definition of “Omega Level Mutant.” Using one of his trademark “data pages,” writer Jonathan Hickman clarified that an Omega Level Mutant is “a mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register — or reach — an undefinable upper limit of that power’s specific classification.” He even went on to index 14 currently known Omega Level Mutants, providing the final word on decades of arguments. On Krakoa, those 14 characters are considered the mutant nation “greatest natural resource,” and critical to securing the future of the state.

MCU Avenger to Defeat an Insidious New Threat

With a dangerous new villain on the prowl, some X-Men characters will recruit a familiar face for help in the upcoming Legion of X, In order to save the island of Krakoa from a dangerous enemy possessing innocent mutants, the X-Men are calling on the recently deceased Doctor Strange for a little backup.

Marvel’s Legion of X #3 — which comes from writer Simon Spurrier, artist Jan Bazaldua and cover artists Matt Wilson and Dike Ruan — will see a handful of X-Men characters enlist the help of Doctor Strange in order to save the Krakoan island that mutantkind calls home. The synopsis for the issue reads, “To be mad is to be devine! An Arakkii fugitive god is lurking somewhere in the shadows of Krakoa, and Weaponless Zsen must track them down or face destruction at the hands of the terrifying Ora Serrata. After hitting a number of dead ends, Zsen and Nightcrawler turn to the astral plane for answers. Meanwhile, Pixie lures the Skinjacker out of hiding with the help of Juggernaut and…Dr. Strange?!”

Doctor Strange is a longtime friend of the X-Men and has assisted them on a number of missions in the past, including the time he journeyed into hell with Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler in 1980’s X-Men Annual #4 by Chris Claremont, John Romita Jr, Bob McLeod, Tom Orzechowski and Glynis Wein. In 2021’s Death of Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts is gruesomely murdered at the hands of Kaecilius, his longtime enemy.

The Legion of X #3 preview teases that the character may now be making his return to the Marvel Universe, although it’s possible the X-Men are traveling back in time or using some other supernatural means to communicate with Strange.

Since his death, Strange’s estranged wife Clea has taken on the title of Sorcerer Supreme — although, it’s a role she’s been reluctant to take. Doctor Doom, who was initially Vishanti’s second choice for the position following Strange, is already challenging Clea for the seat in Strange #1, but his efforts have so far proved unsuccessful.

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