Countdown to X-Men: First Class – JW Ward on Marvel’s 5 Lamest Mutants

In preparation for the latest film in the X-Men film franchise, this week at Biff Bam Pop we’re counting down to the Friday release of X-Men: First Class with a series of x-focused articles.

Marvel Comics, the home of the X-Men, has been known over the years as “The House of Ideas.”

Sometimes, that house was empty.

Back in September of 1963, comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack “King” Kirby unleashed X-Men #1, bringing us the merry world of the Marvel mutant; a world where those born with extra abilities were persecuted for being different.

While initially successful, X-Men’s sales began to lag. Issues #67 to 93 featured reprints of earlier stories because Marvel just couldn’t be bothered to do otherwise.

Then came 1975. Writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum helped re-launch Marvel’s mutants with Giant Size X-Men #1, bringing forth a whole new group of superpowered heroes for fans to enjoy.

Ever since, success has never been far behind, so long as Marvel kept coming up with more mutants with even stranger powers.

Often, those powers are awesome. Magneto? The master of magnetism. Wolverine? Claws and superhealing. Cyclops? Frickin’ laser beams – from his eyes.

Then, there are the others. Some mutants got the short end of the power stick, or were just plain useless. Presented here for your pleasure (and, in a way, for the sake of mutant persecution) are Marvel’s five lamest mutants ever.

#5 – Caliban – This albino mutant had an unfortunate appearance but a somewhat decent power – he could track down other mutants. Problem is, if there are no other mutants around, Caliban’s just a funny looking albino. Realizing his lameness even in X-Men stories, he went begging to the X-baddie Apocalypse for a power upgrade – twice. Caliban’s efforts to become more useful overshadow his annoying habit of speaking in the third person, but only enough to keep him this low on the list.

#4 – Dazzler – Alison Blair was an X-Man introduced at the height of the disco craze, and her powers are nearly as useless as the music. Able to convert sound waves into light and energy beams, you’d think she’d be less lame, but she’s never fully realized the potential of her powers outside of using them to cut pyro costs during her pop music career. At least she rocks the disco suit.

#3 – Doug Ramsey – Called Cypher when introduced in the X-Men spinoff title The New Mutants, Doug Ramsey was better known by his given name than a descriptor of his powers. Able to decipher any language almost instantaneously, Doug became the team’s universal translator and computer programmer – and utterly pointless in an action-oriented comic book. In an effort to make him more interesting, Doug was killed off, merged with a techno-organic alien, retroactively killed again, and was recently resurrected. Who said comics aren’t like soap operas?

#2 – Maggott – When it comes to disgusting mutant powers, there are few that can top this South African. Instead of a normal digestive system, Maggott’s chest releases two large slugs with the ability to eat through anything. Once satiated, they return to his body to nourish him and, if they’ve eaten something really powerful, turn his skin blue. As you’d never be sure if he was satisfied or choking, Maggott’s clearly not the kind of guy you want over for dinner.

#1 – Beak – If you want to talk about being a useless mutant, this one is tops. Born in the Netherlands, Barnell Bohusk’s mutation turned him into a humanoid bird – without the ability to fly. Made somewhat famous by Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, the most useful thing this turkey could do was take a hit for someone (anyone) else. When the Scarlet Witch used her reality-altering abilities to de-power most of the mutants in 2005, Beak found himself human once again. Donning a superpowered suit, Barnell overcame his earlier impotence as Blackwing, a member of the New Warriors with the power of – you guessed it – flight. When you’re cooler without your mutant powers, you know you suck.

Think we missed any? Who’s your lamest mutant ever?

JW Ward is a Toronto based writer, media personality and professional cynic. After much harassment he’s finally appeared at Biff Bam Pop! Follow him on Twitter at @jasonwardDOTca and at his own site, cryptically titled

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