Hello and welcome back to another great character spotlight right here in Marvel Snapshot! In this week’s exciting edition, we’ll be taking a look at none other than Nate Grey, A.K.A. X-Man! This is one of the very few characters that I actually think is great that hasn’t been around since the bronze age or earlier. I know some people are put off by parallel universe stories and characters, but this guy breaks the mold of that previously stale track record, and we’re going to check him out right now!
So for anyone that doesn’t know Nate’s origin, we’ll do a refresher. Nate Grey is from the alternate reality called “The Age of Apocalypse.” It’s a world dominated by, you guessed it, Betty White…OK, it’s really Apocalypse that rules there, not a Golden Girl. Anyway, in this reality, Mr. Sinister is the chief scientist for Apocalypse, but realizes his plans for the future don’t mirror the big A’s. He cooks up Nate in a laboratory using the DNA of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Sinister’s genetic prowess is enough to realize that the combined DNA of those two would produce a mutant powerful enough to take down Apocalypse. Along the way, Nate is befriended and then raised by Forge and his band of mutants that are basically freedom fighters under the guise of theatre actors. Eventually, Sinister infiltrates the band of friends, kills most of them, but is then obliterated by Nate. Later, as Nate is going to take on Apocalypse, he’s cut off by Holocaust. Nate is only one of a select few that actually managed to survive the end of that universe, and travel to this one. To my knowledge, Dark Beast, Holocaust, and Sugar Man are the only others to do so.
Once in the normal 616 Universe, Nate had to make his way on his own. He didn’t really trust anybody, mostly with good reason. Xavier tried to reach out to him, but was turned away, and so was Sinister, Madelyne Pryor, Cable, etc. The pages of Nate’s book always had good guest appearances as well – a fight with Cable, Exodus, The Hulk, Holocaust, and most recently Norman Osborn’s X-Team, and the Dark Avengers. Nate pretty much owned Normie’s teams and then ended up possessing Norman. That arc ended a little strangely, though. As Norman and Nate fought inside Norman’s head for control, Mystique and the others released the Green Goblin persona accidentally, and it blew up in their faces. Eventually, Norman somehow managed to defeat Nate, and then we saw Nate being carried off to be put in the loving care of the Dark Beast. No worries, though, this May, in issue #25 of New Mutants (and under the watchful eyes of Abnett & Lanning, I might add), Nate will make his triumphant return to the Marvel U., and all will be well again!
I honestly would recommend the X-Man series to anyone. Sure the part where he went all “Shaman” was sort of silly, but for the most part, that was a solid series top to bottom. Check out my recommended reading list below along with some Nate the great covers!
X-Man vol. 1 (entire run)
Dark X-Men (Limited Series) #1-4
Cable vol. 1 #’s 30, 31
X-Men vol. 1 #’s 56, 96, 97, 98