8 X-Men Whose Mutations Really Were Curses

Who doesn’t want super powers? Even the least imaginative person has fantasized about being able to fly peacefully over rush hour traffic, or teleporting past all of the rush hour traffic, or to have eye-lasers, with which you can destroy rush hour traffic.

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It’s ALWAYS been about the rush hour traffic.

The X-Men are the ultimate example of super-power-wish-fulfillment. Getting super powers is pretty risky, usually requiring that a nuke explode in your face or drinking an unmarked “serum” you happen to find in a laboratory. Mutants, however, are born with their powers, and one day they just activate. No horrible, probably-fatal accident required!
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It’s easy to forget that the X-Men are the beautiful people of the mutant community. They’re the celebrities. If they don’t have the stunning good looks of Jean Grey or Gambit, then they look totally-fucking-awesome like Nightcrawler.
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Pictured: The ugly X-Man
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There’s a reason so many mutants call themselves cursed. Being a mutant can ruin someone’s life and not just because they’re hated and feared. Remember how mutants are born with mutations? That’s mutations, not powers. This is a very important distinction, because it means that if you were born a mutant, you probably wouldn’t be Wolverine. You’d probably be more like…
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8. Beak
 
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During Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, the Xavier School went public and the size of the student body exploded from roughly a dozen to over 200. The student body often featured heavily in the stories, kickstarting a period of timewhere the number one cause of death in the Marvel Universe was to be a mutant student. In Morrison’s stories, we spent a lot of time with the Special Class. The Special Class was comprised of students whose powers caused them some kind of significant trauma, usually because they were really shitty.
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Members of the Special Class included No-Girl, who was a telepathic brain in a jar, and Ernst, who had some weird Benjamin Button thing going on. And then there was Beak. Barnell Bohusk seemed to be half-bird, half-man, but he got all of the worst parts of the bird half without a single one of the benefits. His bones are hollow and weak, he has unsightly feathers sprouting in random patches, and he has a freaking beak for a mouth. He sure can’t fly, and his main method of fighting is weakly swinging a baseball bat. Beak spent some time as the poster child for bad mutations.
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Rather than being a depressing tale, though, Beak shows that there is hope for us all and finds love. He marries the sexy fly-girl from First Class, and the two of them have five of the ugliest comic book children ever conceived. His wife was also in the Special Class, because in the comic book her power wasn’t to shoot molten acid balls from her mouth. It was distinctly more fly-like, and when you see that this is a typical family dinner, you’ll know that love knows no bounds:
 
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One parent’s a bird and the other’s a fly, so feeding the young was bound to involve some vomiting..
Beak was soon recruited to the dimension-jumping superteam The Exiles, being told that he was the hero destined to save the Multiverse. Despite that, he remained completely useless, with his inability to contribute absolutely anything becoming a regular plot point. At one point he just gets left behind, only to return in time to help battle the evil Hyperion. As the Exiles with actual powers fall one by one, Beak is left alone to fulfill his destiny as Savior of Everything. He steps up to the task by heroically calling in two Hyperions from other dimensions. When your big, reality-saving moment is just being the guy who called in backup, the prophecy may have overestimated your importance.
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Beak leaves the Exiles when he loses his powers. When I say “Beak leaves,” it’s more like the rest of the team sees him get depowered, shrugs, and just kinda heads home. He turned up again after Marvel’s Civil War event as Blackwing, one of the new New Warriors, a team of former mutants with powers granted to them by technology.
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It was really stupid.
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7. Orphan/Mister Sensitive
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Orphan, later renamed Mister Sensitive, was a member of the mutant team X-Statix. Originally called X-Force, they are in no way affiliated with the more well known team of the same name, or with the X-Men at all. A group of mutants with their own reality TV show, the team was comprised mostly of egotistical, shallow, and untrained mutants willing to cheat, murder, and backstab their way to fame. Add in the fact that they regularly took insanely dangerous missions (for the ratings) and you had probably the highest body count of any Marvel comic not about punishing. By the end, literally all of them were dead except the cameraman.
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This guy. He survived.
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Anyways, Guy Smith was born into a world of agony. You know how one of your skin’s most useful features is its ability to help protect your nerves and innards from the pain of the cruel world? Guy’s skin doesn’t do that. It’s like he’s missing his top layer, but the nerves are still there, free to blow about in the razor-sharp breeze. As if that isn’t already a fate horrible enough to appear in a Hellraiser movie, he was “blessed” with a super human sense of touch. That’s like getting a free ice cream sundae only to discover that it’s full of scorpions. Also, you have no skin. Surprisingly, Google Images didn’t have any results for “scorpions hidden in an ice cream sundae, stinging a skinless man.”
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But I imagine it’d be much like watching Green Lantern again.
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Guy himself describes it by saying “a fine mist felt like needles stabbing my skin.” Lucky for him, at some point in his life he got connected with Professor X, who had a special suit designed for him to dull his senses to a manageable level. Combining that with years of training and radar provided by those antennae on his face, he would eventually become an odder version of Daredevil.
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Oh yeah, speaking of those antennae, let’s discuss how Guy Smith chose the name Orphan. He thought his parents were dead. Except they weren’t, they were alive and in jail for trying to kill Guy for being a freaky-looking mutant baby. It’s not the last time a loved one tries to kill him; during his run as leader of X-Force, his girlfriend conspires to kill him to raise her star profile. She decides she loves him, though, before promptly dying. If you were worried that a character named Mister Sensitive who plays Russian Roulette sounds a bit emo, he is. But good god, he earned it.
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Her name was U-Go Girl. Swear to God I’m naming my first daughter that..
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X-Statix characters had some of the weirdest and most insane powers ever, and many of them just seem terribly unpleasant. Mutations included acid vomit, narcolepsy-inducing teleportation, magic sweat, and a character who could cause bigger and bigger earthquakes the drunker she got. This isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing them.
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6. Tar Baby
 
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The Morlocks were a group of mutants who lived in the sewers. Members joined for one of two reasons: a contempt for humanity, or because their mutation made them too damn ugly to pass among normal humans. While yes, that may suck, at least they usually had a pretty useful superpower to go with it.

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Or in Marrow’s case, a usable sort-of power.
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Then there was Tar Baby. His “superpower” was that he was super sticky. More specifically, it allowed him to secrete a sticky goo through his skin, and that’s really gross. What use could you ever have for that besides living flypaper? 
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Turns out, none. Tar Baby was absolutely pathetic. If you look at that picture above, you can see he’s covered with paper and other bits of trash that just stick to him. He usually appeared as a villain and made his debut by getting taken out by a child. Not long after, he lost a fight to a still-teenage Kitty Pryde by getting stuck to a wall. At one point while staying with X-Factor, they sort of found a use for his power: they stuck a bunch of china on him and had him serve dinner. He even managed to fuck this up by wandering too close to the power-negating Leech, causing it to all go smashing to the floor. Because the X-Men books insist on using every character to ever be introduced into the canon, Tar Baby would manage to make regular appearances until 2003’s “Weapon X #5,” where he dies in a mass killing of shitty characters. People cared more that Maggott died, and that’s just sad.
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I still haven’t touched on his name. It’s very accurate and obviously a reference to the story of Brer Rabbit. Still, it’s probably good the character is dead, because “tar baby” has become something of a racial slur over time. This makes any Google Image search for “xmen tar baby” turn up loads of uncomfortable things that make you feel like you need to take a shower.
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You could use this.

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5. Chamber
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HOLY SHIT HOW AWESOME DOES THAT LOOK?!?
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Jonothon Starsmore was a British kid who was into the Goth music and culture of 1980’s London. When his really awesome-looking power activated, it blew away everything from his belly button to his nose, maiming his girlfriend and leaving a burning inferno in his chest that he could totally shoot energy blasts out of. He didn’t need to eat, drink, or breathe. He had no mouth, but he gained light telepathy so he could communicate. In losing his mouth, though, he lost the ability to kiss anyone without sending them to the burn ward. Teenage romance was a tricky situation.
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Sure it’s tragic, but at least the guy had telepathy and could shoot raging energy blasts. Fair trade, I say. However, after the crossover event House of M, something called M-Day depowered the overwhelming majority of mutants. Chamber was among them. Wanna see what happens to Chamber when his power is turned off?
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Not a scene from Johnny Got His Gun.
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Yeah. Can’t eat, can’t breathe, and he’s only kept alive by machines. He can’t talk and his telepathy is gone, so he has no way to say “kill me.” As if his luck wasn’t bad enough to lose his powers, he somehow happened to be near enough to a medical facility miraculously equipped to keep him alive, trapping him in this existential hell.
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What makes this even worse (yeah, it gets worse) is that Chamber had actually been fixed and had his power contained not long before this. So his mutation gave him one last fuck you and blew him up again before vanishing and leaving him in a vegetative state.
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4. Wither
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Kevin Ford’s power is a death touch that he can’t turn off, which is just as dark as it sounds. More specifically, he causes organic material to decay rapidly. We’re introduced to Wither shortly after he accidentally killed his loving father. He’s wandering around a junkyard, naked because his clothes have decayed off, when he accidentally kills the guard dog. This earns him a brutal ass-beating. He arrives at Xavier’s School, only to flee almost immediately because he correctly feels like he’s a danger to everyone around him. When he’s convinced to return, he gets arrested for murdering his father, and the people he called his friends fight to keep him incarcerated. To top it off, his girl has moved on and is seeing a guy who has, get this, a healing touch.
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Kevin isn’t even fortunate enough to be de-powered by M-Day. He assumes he has been, though, and maims another student before fleeing the school again. In the city, he meets an older woman he can touch. Naturally, this woman is a supervillain and she uses this to seduce him into joining her. This leads to him getting killed by the same guy who stole his girl.
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Jesus Christ, there’s nothing funny about any of that. This kid’s life fucking sucked.
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3. El Guapo
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El Guapo, or The Handsome One, was another member of X-Statix. Frankly, I don’t understand how his power works, and I have a strong impression that nobody else does either. Robert Rodriguez can make his skateboard fly and…  Actually, that’s it. And not just any skateboard, HIS skateboard. I have no idea how he even stumbled upon the thing.  Maybe he birthed it.  Regardless of how it happened, he had a symbiotic relationship with it and if they were separated too long, he’d start to get sick.
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While that’s a bizarrely specific and kind of lame power, why does he make this list when everyone else has a power that basically cripples them? Did I mention that the skateboard is sentient? It is. Also, it’s physically abusive towards him.
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Stop forgetting he did that.
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Essentially, El Guapo’s power is to be trapped in a physically abusive relationship.
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Robbie began his career as a stuntman for the X-Statix movie. When he actually saves the team from a crazed civilian, they offer him membership. It doesn’t take long for Robbie to succumb to the temptations of Hollywood, and he soon finds himself cheating on his girlfriend in a little ménage à trois that gets recorded and leaked in true celebrity fashion. It gets weird when we find out that his skateboard really liked his girlfriend, and upon finding out about the cheating, beats the holy hell out of him. All the “superhero” can do is cower in the corner and cry “Not the face!”
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It’s not surprising that when it was El Guapo’s turn to die, as X-Statix members were wont to do, it was at the mercy of his skateboard.  After losing control of it, the board bucks him and then proceeds to ram itself clear through his chest.
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“I always told him that one day the skateboard would go too far. WHY DIDN’T HE LISTEN?!”
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In fairness, it wasn’t just his skateboard that killed him. El Guapo was put under a curse by an undead pop star who was originally supposed to be a resurrected Princess Diana with mutant superpowers, but someone decided that might be in “bad taste.” God dammit that book was awesome.
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2. Qwerty
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Remember that episode of Buffy where she gains the ability to read minds, but she can’t turn it off and it starts to drive her nuts? It’s actually a pretty popular story in comics, particularly among telepaths. Qwerty was a precog, which means she could see the future, and she had a similar problem.
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Qwerty appeared briefly in a series of flashbacks penned by Ed Brubaker. She was a Morlock who could see every possible outcome of every possible decision, and I mean EVERY outcome of EVERY decision. Even doing as little as flipping a light switch would cause a cascade of visions, showing every possible future based on whether that switch was up or down, branching and spinning off into infinite scenarios. Eventually this constant stream of information overwhelmed her, and her brain straight-up shut her body down to stop her from doing anything. Basically left in a coma, other Morlocks would feed her, clean up after her, and generally take care of her.
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Qwerty lost her powers on M-Day, but retained memories of all of the visions she had before. With no new visions holding her brain hostage, she snapped out of her self-induced coma and immediately began writing. And writing. She wrote with the fervor and dedication of a Korean Starcraft player, and by that I mean she didn’t waste any time with pesky details like eating and sleeping. She wrote until she dropped dead, her prophecies becoming a religious text for a new cult of Morlocks.
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“All work and no play makes Qwerty a dull girl…”

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Qwerty’s name comes from the first six letters on the top row of a standard keyboard. She is named this for no reason what-so-ever.
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1. Dummy

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Dean Boswell was in the same Special Class as Beak and also happened to be autistic. That last part was completely random and makes his codename, Dummy, almost as questionable as Tar Baby’s up there. I mean, his name wasn’t a reference to his intelligence or place in the Special Class, because that would just be horrible, but someone didn’t think this one through fully. Originally a normal human, Boswell was identified as a mutant and brought to Xavier’s before his power manifested. When it did, his body transformed into a gaseous state, which they were able to contain in a human-shaped latex suit that he operates like a puppet. This explains the name, but none of this explains why he has visible pantie lines in that picture.
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What can he do in this new, gaseous state? Absolutely nothing! Poor Dummy has to have the worst mutation ever. On top of no longer having a body, there’s nothing special about the gas besides the fact that it smells bad. He also can’t control his gas form. That little cut in the picture above is a life-threatening wound, because if he disperses, he’s done for. It’s not like that suit is made of some durable material like neoprene, either. It’s latex, the same stuff most condoms are made of. Not only are millions of people allergic to touching him, think about how easy it is to break a condom. Now imagine that all of your insides desperately want to escape out into the world, and a giant condom is the only thing keeping them in. Seriously, imagine it. Like most of the characters on this list, Dummy died a reasonably undignified death. I bet you’ve already figured out how.
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It’s not that violent when you realize this is a papercut.