The X-Men are a team of superheroes who have been beloved by comic fans for decades now. To think of the comic book world without them is unthinkable, and so, on behalf of the X-Men fandom, thank you, thank you to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for creating the powerhouse team in 1963. Being reminded of the team’s beginnings, one does have to wonder, how did these well-known superheroes come to be? What is it that makes the X-Men the incredible humans that they are?
In this fantasy realm, it is the X-Gene, otherwise known as the “X-Factor” or the mutant gene, that triggers unbelievable power in those that carry the extra chromosome. The men and women who possess this gene are commonly referred to as mutants or Homo Superiors and are considered to be the next step in human evolution.
To clarify, the X-Gene could very well lie dormant throughout one’s life, but those that are fortunate enough to have the gene triggered typically find that the gene does so at puberty; however it can be awoken during periods of heightened emotional or physical stress as well, or even mechanically.
Once triggered, the gene can manifest in a multitude of ways.The mutations that arise can be physical such as abnormal body coloring, textured skin, excessive hair or fur, disproportionate or additional limbs, extra appendages such as wings, or even animal-like features.
At other times, the mutation will have no affect on its subject’s appearance at all and may only result in extra abilities. Powers vary in nature and can include control over particular elements and energies, energy blasts, flight, shape shifting, superhuman agility and senses, superhuman speed, superhuman strength, telekinesis, telepathy, and teleportation among many others.
It is with the vast combinations and variations of mutations possible that the X-Men are conceived, and are even given their name. That’s right. The “x” in X-Men is not homage to Professor X, or Charles Xavier, but a reference to that unique gene that birthed them into their reality and into our own.