When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men, they couldn’t have expected to be creating not only one of the most successful franchises at Marvel, but also a brand that so many people identified with. But if your connection to the X-Men is only through the movies, you might also think Storm and Bishop are the only Black folks on the squad. In honor of X-Men Day—and the new Dark Phoenix movie dropping on June 7—we decided to school you on 10 X-Men who are Black and aren’t Storm or Bishop.
Armando Munoz is of Afro-Latinx descent, and if you saw First Class, he was the brother that was fed fire an energy ball and turned to stone. Darwin made his first appearance in 2006’s X-Men: Deadly Genesis and has stints on the X-Men and X-Factor. His mutation is called “reactive evolution,” as his body adapts to any environment or threat—e.g. tossed in water he might grow gills; attacked and his body might harden.
2 Cecilia Reyes
The Bronx-born, Afro-Latina mutant Cecilia Reyes was a reluctant member of the X-Men. After the violent death of her father, she had intentions of becoming a doctor, but with the events of Operation: Zero Tolerance, she was forced to work with them in order to survive. Afterwards, she tried to go back to her normal life, but racism and other events would lead her back to joining the team. Her mutant ability allows her to generate force fields around her body that she can control the shape and strength of.
The flashy and flamboyant South African Japheth’s power was just as unconventional as he was. Born during Apartheid, Japheth was sickly and could not eat solid foods. As he got older, he left home as to not be a burden on his family, hoping to die. He was found by Magneto, who discovered his mutant ability and that his digestive system was actually two sentient slugs names, which Japheth named Eany and Meany. they could eat anything and convert that energy to Maggot to use for power to increase his physical abilities. Maggot eventually left Magneto after learning his violent philosophy and sought out the X-Men. He also has the ability to get psychic imprints from his environment and see the past or future.
Mostly associated with his partner Dagger, both have done time as members of the X-Men. Tyrone “Cloak” Johnson was a Boston teen who ran away to New York City after being unable to stop his friend from being shot by police due to his stutter. After a chance run-in with Tandy ”Dagger” Bowen, the two form a friendship. They’re later kidnapped and tested on by criminal chemists, which eventually lead to their powers. Not really mutants, as their powers were created through chemicals and not released by them, they were still members of the X-Men and the Dark X-Men. Cloak’s powers manifest in a dark cloak he wears. With it, he is connected to an alternative dimension called the darkforce. Through manipulation of this, he can teleport himself and others vast distances, he can become intangible, control and generate shadows, cause insanity and paranoia, and sees the fears of those he touches.
Joanna Cargill’s relationship with the X-Men can only be characterized as being complex. She has been seen often fighting against them as a member of Magneto’s Acolytes or The Alliance of Evil. But it’s understandable, as fighting is all she knows. Frenzy was born prematurely and spent much of her youth small and sickly—an affront to her father, who was a member of the Armed Forces and was protective of his family’s legacy as soldiers. The only attention he showed her was abuse, as he despised the sight of her weakness and regarded it as an affront to his legacy. When her brother was killed in action, he grew in a rage and after almost beating her to death, her mutant ability activated as she punched a whole through him, killing him. She ran from home and never looked back.
After stints as a mercenary under the employ of whoever could pay her price, including once for Apocalypse, she met Magneto and became one of his most Zionistic Acolytes. She briefly joined the X-Men to free Genosha, albeit through coercion, by Jean Grey, who controlled her mind. After she was freed, she immediately left the team. She would eventually join the team of her own free will after the events of Age of X where she was married to Cyclops. She becomes a valuable member of the team and also a teacher at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. Frenzy’s powers are an extremely steel-hard skin much like the X-Men Colossus and has super strength.
Monet Yvette Clarisse Maria Therese St. Croix grew up the spoiled child of a Monegasque Ambassador to France. Her brother Marius, who was also a mutant and student of the dark arts, asked her to join him in conquering another dimension. After she refused, he transformed her into a creature that served him called Penance. Their sisters Nicole and Claudette, mutants themselves, knew their father would be heartbroken, so used their abilities to fuse and take on the image of Monet.
They would join Generation X. After a time, they would fuse with their brother and find out that Penance was indeed their sister Monet. They then fused with Penance and released Monet. Monet continued on as a member of Generation X until it finally ended. She then served on X-Corps, X-Factor, and then eventually Magneto’s team of X Men after the M-Pox crisis. Monet has super strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and senses. She also possesses genius-level intellect, accelerated healing, flight, telekinesis, telepathy, and can see mutant auras.
The Wakandan Nezhno Abidemi was dealt with being an outcast beyond his abilities, even by his own mother, because of his father being a Russian man. He was raised at the royal court of Wakanda and was given Vibranium tattoos over his body. These helped him deal with the pain and seizures left from his deep psychological scars and to prevent his powers from killing him from over exertion. At the Xavier Institute, he was given the codename Gentle due to his pacifist nature and his being found often meditating and separate from his peers. He has the ability to increase his muscle mass and increase his size, strength and durability.
Angel Salvadore made her big screen debut along side Darwin, played by Zoe Kravitz, in X-Men: First Class. Angel’s mutation manifests when she is 14 and she is thrown out of her house by her stepfather. To add to her problems, the next day she wakes up in a cocoon and emerges with wings. She is captured by the U-Men, who intend to harvest her body, but is saved by Wolverine and is recruited to join the Xavier school. At the school, Emma Frost takes her under her wing and she develops a relationship with the mutant Beck. She and beck eventually lose their powers during the events of House of M. Tempest had insect wings that gave her flight and sonic vibration, acid spit and insectoid physiolog. With a faster metabolism, she also now has technology given to her by Night Thrasher that allows her to manipulate cold with one arm and fire with the other.
Roxanne “ Roxy” Washington is the daughter of hip-hop artists and has been in the public eye most of her young life. When she becomes a teenager, she decides against following her parents into entertainment and enrolls in the Xavier Institute. Bling is also one of the only bi-sexual comic book characters, having a crush on Gambit and Rogue at various times. Bling tends to focus more on her own pursuits rather than the conflict between mutants and humans. Bling’s abilities are like a mix of Marrow and Emma Frost. Her bone marrow creates diamond shards that give her a crystal appearance but can also project them from her body. It also gives her high durability.
David Alleyne was always smart. But that took on another form when he would be able to see the answers to questions just by being in the same room with his teachers and that helped him discover his mutant ability. He spends a long time living with his ability in secret until an anti-mutant campus group outs him and he leaves his family to go to the Xavier Institute. While at the institute he learns that his mental blocks to only retain information for a short period is a mental block which can be removed. Before doing so he is shown a vision by Danille Moonstar and Emma Frost where he creates a utopia with his vast knowledge by genocide and he refuses to have the mental blocks removed.
After losing his powers after the House of M event, they are eventually partially restored by the Stepford Cuckoos. So while he can no longer absorb knowledge he has the collective knowledge of everyone he encountered before the House of M event. With these skills and knowledge—which include Beast, Wolverine and many others—he quickly excels and is named a new trainer by Cyclops. Prodigy has the vast knowledge of anyone he has ever come in contact with before the House of M event.