X-Men Family Tree — The Big Five Legacies

The X-Men are all about family. Often, this is the literal case since these heroes gain their power through genetics. But family as a social unit is also a heavy story device for the Children of the Atom. There are even certain family trees that could be considered mutant legacies. These genetic pillars of mutantkind have produced Omega levels and beloved heroes, along with more than their share of villains too. Marvel’s genetically challenged characters (as Strong Guy once so eloquently put it) have power and passion to spare. But family time? That’s a whole issue.

There are plenty of famous sibling duos, like the Proudstars or Illyana and Piotr Rasputin, but the following families are trees with sprawling branches and complicated roots. And recently, in the Age of Krakoa, resurrection has made it possible for multiple generations of mutants to coexist like never before. Let’s get to know the most influential mutant families and where they’re headed now.

Born To Be Wild

For a mutant like Wolverine, whose greeting is more snarl than “hello,” you might not immediately think, ah yes, Logan the family man. But beneath his rough exterior, this iconic mutant hero is actually a father figure to many mutants. He has mentored numerous young heroes, such as Jubilee in X-Men: The Animated Series and Rogue in the Fox films, but Wolverine has blood-related family as well.

Considering his traumatic past with the Weapon X program, Logan having a family adds considerable depth to his gruff archetype. Back in the ’40s, Logan was training in Japan and fell in love with a woman named Itsu. Sadly, when pregnant with their child, Itsu was murdered by the Winter Soldier — yet that child would grow up to be Akihiro, AKA Daken, the son of Wolverine. Decades later, attempts were made to recreate the Weapon X program, but only damaged DNA from Wolverine is available. After 22 failures, Dr. Sarah Kinney secretly used her own DNA to help create a female Wolverine clone, and thus Laura Kinney, AKA X-23, is born. From Laura Kinney, Alchemax Genetics later produced 10 clones, collectively called The Sisters, which included Gabby Kinney, the Honey Badger.

Though all of his children struggled with trauma, leading them to walk dangerous paths close to villainy, the powerful legacy of the Wolverine ultimately inspired each of their redemptions. Gabby Kinney and her sisters rebelled against Alchemax, taking them down and finally connecting with Laura. Now, Gabby fights on Krakoa with the younger mutant squads under the alias Scout. She often looks to her older siblings, Laura and Daken, for guidance and support, who in turn have benefitted from the influence of their father, Logan. Laura has taken up the Wolverine mantle while Daken is a member of the current X-Factor.

It’s A Cruel Summers

As members of the original X-Men team, Jean Grey and Scott Summers are the foundation of countless iconic storylines. And alongside them are their relatives, the Summers-Grey clan, a dysfunctional mix of secret clones, time-travelers, and awkward messiahs.

Following Jean’s sacrifice as the Phoenix and a reunion with his father, the space pirate Corsair, Scott was lost. He left the X-Men and ran off to live in Alaska, where he met Madelyne Pryor, a woman whose resemblance to Jean was uncanny. Their relationship with each other quickly escalated into a marriage and a baby, Nathaniel Christopher Charles Summer. In time, Mister Sinister would reveal himself as the mastermind behind Madelyne’s appearance, who was a clone of Jean meant to allow Sinister control over Jean and Scott’s genetic super-mutant child. Of course, assassination plots and demons came into play, and soon Apocalypse had infected the infant with a Techno Organic Virus.

Time Is an Illusion

That infant, who would grow up to be Cable, was rescued by a time-traveling representative of an alternate future Rachel Summers, AKA Prestige. Rachel hails from the Days of Future Past timeline, in which Jean/Phoenix never sacrificed herself and instead had a daughter with Scott, Rachel, who inherited her mother’s mutations as well as the ability to call on the Phoenix Force.

Speaking of alternate timelines, there’s also Nate Gray, AKA X-Man, the product of Sinister’s tampering with Jean and Scott’s DNA in the Age of Apocalypse. Nate possesses nearly limitless psionic battles and his reality warping ability rivals the Scarlet Witch in its massive scale. After Wanda’s decimation of mutants on M-Day, Hope Summers was the first mutant child to be born. Naturally, many groups wanted control of this new mutant but Cable took her into the future for safekeeping, officially making her a Summers. Years of family struggles later, Hope reawakened the Phoenix Force and ignited a war between the X-Men and the Avengers. Now, in the Age of Krakoa, Hope is part of the mutant resurrection team known as The Five.

Xavier’s Family for Gifted Disasters

There’s no denying that Charles Xavier’s leadership of the X-Men is questionable, at best. His methods are often suspect and he is infamous for keeping his students in the dark when it comes to a mission or even their own powers. But Charles Xavier’s family, in a very loose sense of the word, has also brought utter destruction upon the world.

The first long-lasting member of Xavier’s family to be introduced was his stepbrother Cain Marko, a bully, then a rival, and later the Juggernaut. Cain was always jealous of Charles when they grew up together, prompting a deep hatred for the altruistic man. While stationed in Korea, Cain stole a ruby from the Temple of Cyttorak, leading to his emergence as the nearly unstoppable super-villain Juggernaut. Over the course of his life, Cain would struggle to tame the mystical demonic power of Cyttorak, severing and reconnecting with it as its earthly avatar.

Mind Over Matter

Other Xavier family members have also unleashed horrific danger into the world. Xavier’s son, David Haller, AKA Legion, remained apart from his biological father until he was a teenager. By that point, David had already suffered severe trauma at the onset of his mutant powers that resulted in multiple personalities, many of whom were unstable and hostile. Legion, with his tenuous grasp on his powers and reality, kills Destiny but not before her visions can latch onto his mind and haunt him. In an attempt to create mutant/human unity, Legion goes back in time to assassinate Magneto but ends up killing Xavier and creating the Age of Apocalypse.

While we’re on the subject of world-ending catastrophes, there’s always Onslaught and Cassandra Nova to consider. Onslaught is the result of a psychic meld between Magneto’s most base qualities and Xavier’s suppressed anger. Only the combined force of the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers could defeat Onslaught’s devastation. Another piece of Xavier’s past that came back to haunt the X-Men was his twin sister. In the womb, Charles had sensed Cassandra’s latent evil and attempted to kill her, but Cassandra survived her stillborn birth only to return later and cause the genocide of 16 million mutants on Genosha, plus multiple mind-body swaps and the invention of brain-infiltrating Sentinels.

That’s So Raven

Raven Darkhölme, otherwise known as Mystique, is a figure who purposefully shrouds herself in mystery. A shapeshifter by nature and and double agent by trade, Mystique answers to no one but her own self interest. Unless, of course, her precognitive wife Irene Adler, AKA Destiny, is in the picture. Their love has lasted over a century and across timelines, defying social stigma and creating their own misshapen family.

In between her decades with Destiny, Mystique also had affairs under the guise of various identities. With Victor Creed, AKA Sabretooth, she gave birth to a son, Graydon Creed. To her extreme disappointment, Graydon turned out to be a human. Mystique abandoned her son, inspiring Graydon’s lifelong hatred of mutants and his creation of the hate group Friends of Humanity. Mystique would later time travel and assassinate Graydon.

As the wife of a German baron, Mystique later had an affair with Azazel, an ancient shapeshifting mutant with teleportation powers. The resulting child, Nightcrawler, was abandoned by Mystique after a messy birth. But, prompted by Destiny’s vision, Mystique adopted a troubled young mutant named Rogue, for whom Mystique would develop deep maternal instincts. Though the trust of Mystique is as permanent as her appearance, she does care for a select few mutants.

The House of M

Finally, when it comes to mutant royalty, there are few families more infamous than that of Magneto. Max Eisenhardt, who later changed his name to Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, is the undisputed Master of Magnetism. His early life was defined by loss, first his family during the Holocaust and later his wife and daughter at the hands of more hateful humans. After these events, Erik’s view of humanity would forever skew toward disgust, occasionally marked by periods of indifference.

Although he has plenty of alternate timeline children and even a clone or two, there are three children for whom Magneto is most well known. Although they were subject to an unpopular retcon because of licensing rights, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff will always be thought of as Magneto’s twins. Wanda’s ability to affect probability as Scarlet Witch and Pietro’s super speed as Quicksilver made them valuable assets to their father’s cause. The twins were members of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, though they would later defect to the Avengers. In addition to Wanda and Pietro, Magneto also has another daughter from an affair: Lorna Dane, AKA Polaris.

These three children each carry on unique aspects of Magneto. Aside from an astonishing father-son resemblance, Pietro also shares his father’s devotion to family and his hotheadedness. Lorna, having inherited Magneto’s mastery of magnetism, is the heir of the House of M. Like her father, she is also a natural leader in any setting. Lastly, there’s Wanda, arguably Magneto’s favorite. Wanda could be said to represent the best of her father, the idealism and the fight against persecution of all kinds. Of course, both Scarlet Witch and Magneto warp that vision and hurt countless people in the process, but what’s a little pain on the road to power?

Since their beginning, the X-Men comics have centralized the concept of family. Mutant teams often become found families for its members, a place to find acceptance when intolerance is everywhere else. And some of these families, whether by blood or not, have created the most well-known stories of mutantkind.

Which mutant family legacy is your favorite? Tell us why in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!