Comics
Published March 20, 2020

The X-Men's 8 Greatest Mentor-Apprentice Relationships

Prepare for 'Children of the Atom' #1 with a look at some cross-generational team-ups!

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the X-Men got sidekicks? On Wednesday, April 15, writer Vita Ayala and artist Bernard Chang might just show us in CHILDREN OF THE ATOM #1!

Five teenagers have seemingly manifested the powers of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Angel, and Gambit. But who are they? And why are their mutations so exact? Could there be something sinister in the state of Krakoa?

Children of the Atom

Somebody has to show these kids the ropes. And while the X-Men don’t generally have sidekicks, they have long been imparting the lessons they’ve learned to the generations of heroes who came after them. That’s why we’re taking a look back at some of the most memorable mentor-protege relationships of Marvel’s mighty mutant heroes!

X-Factor and the X-Terminators

When the original X-Men reunited in X-FACTOR (1986) #1, they pretended to be mutant hunters as a cover story. In reality, they brought together untrained teenage mutants like Rusty Collins, Skids, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Leech, and Artie Maddicks to protect and train them. Both Cyclops and Jean felt an affinity for Rusty and Skids, because the lovebirds reminded them of their own early romance. These young mutants eventually headlined the X-TERMINATORS (1988) miniseries before the older kids left to join the New Mutants.

X-Factor (1986) #1

X-Factor (1986) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Cyclops & Jean Grey and Cable

The tragedy of X-FACTOR (1986) #68 was that Cyclops had to send his son, Nathan Christopher Summers, into the far future with the full knowledge that he was unlikely to ever see him again. But it was the only way to save Nathan from the Techno-Organic Virus that was ravaging his body. Nathan eventually returned to the present as Cable, but that didn’t make up for the decades that were lost between him and his father.

Fortunately, ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX (1994) gave the Summers family a second chance. Shortly after they were wed in X-MEN (1991) #30, Cyclops and Jean’s minds were transported to the future and placed in new bodies. That allowed them to be present in Nathan’s early life and they helped him become the hero he was always meant to be. After raising Nathan for years, their minds were returned to the present.

Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix (1994) #1

Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix (1994) #1

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Angel and Icarus

There aren’t a lot of X-Men with the wings of an angel. But Warren Worthington III and Josh Guthrie were birds of a feather. In UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #437-441, Angel gave Icarus some guidance as Josh experienced a star-crossed romance with Julia Cabot, a daughter from a rival family. Although it’s fair to say that Angel was a bit preoccupied with romancing Josh’s sister, Paige, AKA Husk.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #437

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #437

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Josh eventually fell under the sway of Reverend Stryker and betrayed his friends before meeting an untimely end in NEW X-MEN (2004) #26-27. Maybe Warren’s just not cut out to be a mentor. Regardless, Josh is back among the living as of X-MEN (2019) #7. Hopefully, he’ll make better choices this time.

Gambit and View, Quill, & Flood

Remy LeBeau isn’t exactly mentor material himself. But in GAMBIT (2004) #10, Remy found some eager disciples in View, Quill, and Flood. The trio of students were caught attempting to steal answers from their upcoming tests. But rather than setting them straight, Gambit enlisted their help retrieving an incriminating video that could have ended his relationship with Rogue. As far as Gambit was concerned, the kids’ thievery was perfectly acceptable as long as they learned something along the way.

Gambit (2004) #10

Gambit (2004) #10

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Although Flood and View have yet to return, Quill has made a few appearances in NEW X-MEN (2004).

Nightcrawler and Scorpion Boy

Coming back from the dead can really change your perspective. That was the case in NIGHTCRAWLER (2014), when Kurt Wagner embraced his role as a teacher at the Jean Grey School. Although Kurt lent his guidance to several students, he seemed to have a particularly strong bond with Rico, AKA Scorpion Boy. It’s difficult to say whether Rico will become a hero to rival his mentor, but he definitely had a great teacher!

Nightcrawler (2014) #1

Nightcrawler (2014) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Emma Frost and The Stepford Cuckoos

During NEW X-MEN (2001), Emma Frost seemingly found the perfect protegees: Sophie, Phoebe, Irma, Celeste, and Esme Cuckoo. If the Stepford Cuckoos seemed like telepathic clones of Emma herself, it’s because they actually are clones created from Emma’s stolen genetic material. X-MEN: PHOENIX - WARSONG (2006) revealed the truth about the Cuckoos’ origins and their connections to the Phoenix itself.

X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong (2006) #1

X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong (2006) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Although Esme and Sophie died during their run in NEW X-MEN (2001), both have been resurrected in the Dawn of X.

Wolverine and X-23

Although Wolverine would have had every right to resent X-23, Logan showed compassion towards Laura during their first meeting in X-23: TARGET X (2006) #6. Laura was created from Wolverine’s genetic samples, but she is biologically the closest thing that he has to a daughter.

X-23: Target X (2006) #6

X-23: Target X (2006) #6

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Over the years, their father-daughter bond has only been strengthened, and Laura became the All-New Wolverine after Logan perished in DEATH OF WOLVERINE. Thankfully, both are currently among the living again.

X-23 and Scout

Years later, Laura paid it forward in ALL-NEW WOLVERINE (2015) #2. Shortly after assuming the mantle of Wolverine, Laura met a few of her clone sisters. She quickly bonded with her youngest sister, Gabrielle. Although Laura was initially reluctant to keep Gabby by her side, they were soon inseparable. Gabby claimed Honey Badger as her codename, then took the new moniker Scout, and even joined the X-MEN: RED team alongside her big sis.

All-New Wolverine (2015) #2

All-New Wolverine (2015) #2

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Pre-order CHILDREN OF THE ATOM #1 with your local comic shop today, then read it on April 15! For the latest Marvel comics releases, please reach out to your local retailer about services they may offer, including holding or creating pull lists, curbside pick-ups, special deliveries, and other options to accommodate.

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