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What Is an Omega Level Mutant in the Marvel Universe?


What Is an Omega Level Mutant in the Marvel Universe?


The X-Men are one of the most popular superhero teams in the world. Even if one has never read comics, thanks to the various animated series and live-action films, they have seeped into popular culture so that audiences all over the world know who they are. They also understand the basic concepts of mutants, human beings that possess a genetic trait called the X-gene and develop extraordinary abilities, typically around puberty.



Mutant characters like Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey are born with their superpowers as a genetic mutation, while heroes like Spider-Man, The Hulk, and The Fantastic Four get their powers from outside forces to mutate their bodies. Spider-Man is a mutate, and the X-Men are mutants.


Not all mutants are created equal. Some mutants have some no-traditional abilities, while others have extraordinary powers. Mutant abilities are classified, with the strongest being Omega-level mutants. Some might assume characters like Apocalypse or Namor would be Omega-level mutants; they are, in fact, lower on the mutant power rankings. While not mentioned in the live-action films, audiences might have caught the term while watching X-Men ’97, referring to Storm. This certainly has raised the question of what exactly an Omega-level mutant is and who would be classified as one.

Related: X-Men Could Replace The Avengers as Marvel’s Main Franchise


What Is an Omega Level Mutant?


The term Omega-level mutant was first mentioned in Uncanny X-Men #208 in 1986. The original term was “Class Omega.” beyond the obvious implication of it referring to an exceptional level of power, it was never truly classified or defined until 2001’s X-Men: Forever. This is why X-Men: The Animated Series, which aired from 1992 to 1996, never used the term Omega-level mutant, but X-Men ’97, which is set in the 1990s but has the benefit of drawing from more recent X-Men comics, uses the term.

For a while, there was no set definition of what an Omega-level mutant was, except it classified a high power ranking of a mutant. An official definition was finally given in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X #1 from 2019, which kicked off a bold new era for the X-Men in the Marvel Universe. As defined in the comic, an Omega-level Mutant is “a mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register – or reach – an undefinable upper limit of that power’s specific classification.”


That ability of measurement is important. For example, Wolverine has incredible healing, but what makes him not an Omega-level mutant when it comes to healing is the fact that the measure of his healing can hypothetically be surpassed by others, including non-mutants like Deadpool, which makes him not an Omega-level mutant. Yet someone like Magneto’s upper limits seem unlimited and are difficult to measure. This was on display in X-Men: Apocalypse when he was able to tap into the Earth’s magnetic poles.

The comic also shows that the Omega level is a classification of a single mutant power. So, while it is common that mutants manifest multiple powers (like how Emma Frost is both a telepath and has diamond skin), only one is normally of Omega level. Jean Grey might possess telekinesis and telepathy, but she is only an Omega-level telepath.

X-Men '97

X-Men ’97

4.5/5

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Chris Potter , Ray Chase , George Buza , Catherine Disher , JP Karliak

Seasons
1

Studio
Marvel Studios


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Related: 10 Weirdest X-Men You’ll Never See in Live Action

Examples of Omega-Level Mutants

Marvel Comics is filled with Omega-level mutants, with many of the most famous X-Men heroes and villains falling under the category. Magneto, the X-Men’s archenemy, is classified as an Omega-level mutant, and he lives up to the name Master of Magnetism. While the live-action movies don’t use Omega-level rankings, in X-Men: The Last Stand, the mutant Calisto identifies Magneto as “above a class 3”. That film cites Jean Grey as a rare “class 5”, but that is with the Phoenix Force.


Jean Grey, on her own, is not a mutant to be counted out. She is an Omega-level telepath, making her the world’s most powerful psychic and even stronger than Professor X or Emma Frost. Combine that with the Phoenix Force, and Jean Grey becomes one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe. Speaking of Professor X, his son David Heller is an Omega-level mutant.

Fans might recognize him as the lead character of FX’s Legion, played by Dan Stevens. He has the power to alter reality and time on a cosmic scale at will, but due to his dissociative identity disorder (DID), his abilities and control over them depend on which personality is in charge, with some having more control of their powers than others. In theory, with the wide array of powers his various personalities display, Legion might be the most powerful mutant on the planet.

Two of the X-Men’s most famous members, Storm and Iceman, are Omega-level mutants. Everyone knows Storm can control the elements like wind, lightning, rain, and more, but her powers are far greater than that. She can even control electromagnetic storms and cosmic storms, but her powers are limited, as she suppresses extreme feelings to prevent her emotional state from resulting in violent weather.


Iceman might, on the surface, appear just to have the ability to make ice, but his powers actually involve instantly decreasing the temperature of ambient water vapor in his immediate environment to below zero. This creates ice, which he can shape to however he wants. While he has never fully tapped into the full extent of his power, Iceman could theoretically change the entire Earth’s temperature if he wanted to. This, in theory, would also mean Disney’s Elsa from Frozen could be classified as an Omega-level mutant.

A final one worth mentioning is Franklin Richards, the son of Fantastic Four members Reed Richards and Sue Storm. While Reed and Sue got their powers from cosmic radiation and are therefore mutated, their son Franklin Richards, being the child of two superpowered beings, is a mutant. For years, Franklin Richards was classified as an Omega-level mutant, having vast reality-manipulating and psionic powers. He was even offered a place in the mutant nation of Krakoa during House of X #1.


But in 2020’s Fantastic Four #26, they retconned it to be that Franklin was never a mutant, only that he warped his genes to have the mutant X-gene. This is similar to the retcon Marvel made to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in 2015, regarding their mutant heritage. Although recent Marvel Comics now might have retconned that original retcon, and Franklin Richards might be a mutant once again. It is not clear, but with The Fantastic Four set to join the MCU and the X-Men also going to be a big part of the future of the franchise, there is a chance Franklin Richard might be made a mutant again in an attempt to unite the two teams.

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