When it comes to being a mutant in the Marvel Universe, some fans might think you’ve got it made. Sure, you’re born into a world that hates and fears you — but you also get to manifest some amazing powers like laser vision or super strength. Plus, being a mutant basically guarantees you a spot on the X-Men and a place among Marvel’s greatest superheroes, right?
Well, not necessarily. Actually, most Marvel mutants born with the X-gene don’t have combat-ready powers. Some just have blue skin or a prehensile tongue that lets them eat flies. Even those who do have powers with offensive uses may be more interested in doing something that doesn’t involve beating up bad guys.
And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, some of the most fascinating — and powerful — mutants in the Marvel Universe aren’t reluctant superheroes like the X-Men or tortured warriors like Wolverine. Some have actually found ways to use their powers in other occupations, leading to very well-rounded lives.
If you’d like to know what you can do with mutant powers besides beat up Sentinels, read on. You’re about to learn the details of the best Marvel mutant powers not used for fighting.
Cypher Can Create a New Renaissance
Doug Ramsey (aka Cypher) is one mutant who gets a lot of ridicule from comic book fans. As a mutant with the power of omnilingualism, Doug can understand and translate any language, spoken or written. This extends to forgotten languages and extraterrestrial dialects, making Doug invaluable as a translator, computer programmer, or diplomat.
Unfortunately, since Doug’s powers don’t have an obvious combat-related use, he was devalued by readers who felt he was useless and could be replaced by a Google translator. It got so bad that in "New Mutants" #60, he was shot trying to help his teammates — but nobody noticed until after he died. Years later he was resurrected and comic creators tried to make him more popular by stating he could now "read" body language and be the ultimate hand-to-hand combatant, or translate spells and be a formidable magic user.
However, these attempts to shoehorn Doug into the role of a superhero ignore the fact that he shouldn’t be valued just for how well he can fight. In "What If –?" #12 an alternate universe version of Doug immigrated to Asgard where he used his ability to translate long-forgotten Asgardian texts and ushered in a new renaissance age. Since Asgard’s culture is already full of warriors, a scholar is considered more valuable than a superhero in this realm, showing the weakness was never in Doug’s abilities, but the value system of those who found him unworthy.
Mutant Tailors Redefine the World of Fashion
So many mutants are valued for their ability to destroy that few people focus on those with the power to create. One such mutant is Silkworm, a young man who showed up in "Excalibur" #63. Mutated by the reality-warping Mad Jim Jaspers, Silkworm has the ability to manipulate fabric and possibly manifest additional material. He uses his powers to repair and design new clothes for others, like when he transformed the tatters of the superhero Nightcrawler into a brand-new costume of his own design. Nightcrawler found the look "Wunderbar," but due to Silkworm’s non-offensive powers, the fashion-conscious character never showed up again.
Then there are mutants who design clothes specifically for the unique physiologies of other mutants — like Jumbo Carnation. A four-armed mutant, Jumbo is uniquely aware that some mutants need fashions designed specifically to accommodate multiple limbs or heads, as well as different skin and body types. As such, he developed his own mutant clothing line, BuFu, which offers clothes with multiple sleeves, tentacle stockings, and gloves for wings.
Jumbo’s skills were so legendary that after he was killed, the X-Men chose to resurrect him using mutant medicine. He’s currently working as a fashion designer for Emma Frost (aka the White Queen), and is a valued member of her entourage.
Mutant Healers Defy Medical Science
Wolverine’s healing factor might be legendary, but when it comes down to it, his power isn’t that useful. Few scientists have managed to successfully replicate it and thanks to the damage done to his body by infusing his skeleton with Adamantium, his power may eventually burn itself out, as seen in the movie "Logan" (2017).
Other mutant healers, however, can use their powers in more versatile ways. Both the Morlock mutant known as Healer and the New Mutant Joshua Foley (aka Elixir) have healing touches that can repair unbelievable amounts of physical damage and even jumpstart seemingly-lost mutant powers. Considering how often mutant superheroes come close to death, these healers are the true MVPs, although they don’t always fight.
Even mutants without obvious healing abilities have revolutionized medicine. The mutant Maggie from Kurt Busiek’s "Marvels" series has X-ray vision, which she used to diagnose illnesses in a New Guinea tribe and make sure they get proper medical treatment. The mutant Goldball was ridiculed for his ability to produce golden balls from his body — until people discovered the balls were actually infertile eggs that could be used to grow cloned bodies of mutants and make the mutant population immortal. It often takes innovative thinking, but seemingly-silly mutant gifts can revolutionize science.
Mutant Photography Puts You in the Eye of the Camera
The Marvel Universe is full of incredible sights. Superheroes and supervillains get into epic battles every other day. Aliens visit the planet in spectacular spaceships. And if you’re lucky enough to visit a place like Wakanda or the Blue Area of the Moon, you’ll have no shortage of photo ops.
It’s even better for mutant photographers. In "Generation M" #3, we’re introduced to Joey, a freelance photographer who didn’t even know he was a mutant. Thanks to his power — which is linked to some sort of low-level precognition — Joey could "see" a great photo opportunity just as it was beginning. This ability allowed him to line himself and his camera up with the event perfectly so he could take spectacular action, sports, and human-interest photographs.
Unfortunately, during Marvel’s "M-Day" event, the Scarlet Witch erased the powers of over 90% of the mutant population, robbing thousands of mutants of their birthright. This included Joey, who found he couldn’t take a decent picture after he lost his gift.
Mutant Prostitution is … Stimulating
Mutants work in a variety of occupations — including the world’s oldest profession. Thanks to their mutant powers, however, prostitution works very differently for mutant escorts.
At one point, the X-Men discovered a mutant brothel operating in Nevada, calling itself the "X-Ranch." Although the mutants working there were prostitutes, they were unique in that very few of them had to touch their clients. One of the most popular sex workers, a woman who called herself Stacy X, could exude mutant pheromones that stimulated different body functions. By generating different chemicals, Stacy could make others vomit, experience bursts of adrenaline, or even heal faster.
While this could make Stacy invaluable as a fighter or a medic, she chose to use her power for a different purpose — namely, making her clients experience intense orgasms. Her power was such that she never had to actually have sexual intercourse with anyone, yet was one of the X-Ranch’s most popular employees.
Outside of the X-Ranch, mutants have used their powers in other alluring ways. Lara King (aka "Lara the Illusionist"), a recurring character in the "District X" comic book, is a plain woman who can make herself and her environment look like anything you can dream of. This has earned her many high-paying clients (including one former president) who have wanted to sleep with everyone from Marilyn Monroe to a demon from hell. Talk about your extreme fetishes.
Jamie Madrox is the Ultimate Study Buddy
Some mutants like Professor X are renowned for their intelligence, but Jamie Madrox takes learning to an entirely new level. Known as the "Multiple Man," Jamie can replicate himself into a near-infinite number of "dupes" who look like him and can operate independently.
That might not sound so impressive — until you realize that when Jamie reabsorbs the dupes, he also gains any new memories, knowledge, or talents they’ve developed. This has led him to create hundreds of dupes and send them around the world to learn everything from martial arts to lock-picking to card throwing. The dupes then return to him, so he can absorb their knowledge and experiences.
This gets even more impressive when you realize that each dupe can also create dupes of their own and reabsorb them to gain their knowledge and skills. Just imagine what this could mean for studying. If Jamie wants to learn a new language, he could get a dupe to split himself into multiple copies and then have each new dupe devote himself to studying and memorizing one single aspect of the language for a week. The dupes could then all re-merge and instantly gain the equivalent of several years of studying.
Even better, once "Jamie Prime" reabsorbs his dupes, all of his future dupes from that point on will have his accumulated knowledge — which will just make learning new skills even easier. Even quick studies like Batman have nothing on this mutant study buddy.
Mutant Performance Dance is Alluring
In the early days of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created Medusa, an "Inhuman" woman with prehensile hair. Not only could Medusa manipulate her hair like an octopus’ tentacles, each strand was tougher than iron and could strike at the speed of sound. This made Medusa a formidable warrior and she regularly took down some very powerful foes.
At first glance, Lorelei Travis, a mutant who appears in the "District-X" comic book, seems like a copy of Medusa. Like the Inhuman, Lorelei has long prehensile pink hair that she can manipulate with her mind. But unlike Medusa, Lorelei’s hair isn’t superhumanly strong, meaning it wouldn’t be very useful in a fight.
Not to worry, though — by training herself to move her hair in artistic, sensual motions, Lorelei was able to turn her mutant gift into an asset for her career as an exotic dancer. Unfortunately, this also made her a target for bigots who attacked her one day and shaved her head. Luckily, the mutant healer known as "Mr. M" was able to rapidly grow her hair back to its former length. Proving that even mutants who aren’t your typical "superhero" can look out for you in other ways.
Mutant Coroners Put CSI to Shame
Determining a cause of death might be challenging in real life, but it’s even tougher in the Marvel Universe, where you can meet your end by contracting an alien virus or having a foreign object teleported into your brain.
However, as these challenges rise, so do the tools and skills to meet them. Just ask Doc, a four-armed mutant coroner who shows up in "Uncanny X-Men" #450 as a specialist examining the bodies of people killed in mysterious attacks. While Doc’s arms are strong — he can lift a car engine block with one hand — it’s his eyes that are his most impressive feature. Using his microvision, Doc can examine the molecular structure of people and objects to determine cause of death.
Doc can even tell at a glance if a potential suspect is guilty or not. For instance, he once examined Wolverine’s adamantium claws after sensing traces of adamantium in a murder victim’s corpse, but immediately saw that the spacing between the claws didn’t match up with the wounds. With eyes like that, who needs expensive medical equipment?
ForgetMeNot is the Unknown X-Men MVP
Think you know all the important members of the X-Men? Think again. While legends like Cyclops and Wolverine might get all the attention, it’s actually a forgotten mutant who’s the X-Men’s MVP.
Readers finally got a chance to glimpse this little-known mutant in "X-Men: Legacy" #300 when he appeared to help a teenage girl trapped in one of the X-Mansion’s security devices. Turns out, ForgetMeNot has been a member of the X-Men for years. However, his powers cause people to forget all about him the second they stop looking at him. He doesn’t just fade from human memories either — photographs and computer records also can’t retain anything about him.
While many people would become embittered and depressed by this, ForgetMeNot lives by the philosophy: "It’s better to do something that matters and not be noticed than the other way around." As such, he routinely places himself in the line of fire while the X-Men are fighting — allowing his power to screw up enemy shots and keep his teammates safe. Other times, he’ll sabotage an attacker’s equipment and be the "Deus Ex Machina" that saves the day. People might think the X-Men are lucky to survive everything they’ve been through, but actually? In many cases it’s all thanks to ForgetMeNot.
Mutant Rock Music is Totally Everyone’s Jam
Despite being feared and hated by many humans, many mutants have become very popular musicians, with some rising to rock star-level fame. Maybe it’s their outsider status that appeals to fans who embrace the counter culture, but if you can reach people with your music, becoming a mutant rock star could definitely work in your favor.
Many people know about Allison Blaire (aka Dazzler), a mutant originally developed as a multi-media creation between Casablanca Records and Marvel Comics. Although Dazzler’s ability to transmute sound into powerful blasts of light had a definite offensive use, she originally used her power to enhance her disco singing performances by creating a "dazzling" light show.
Then there are the more local mutant rock bands, including "Sentinel Bait," "Juggernaut," and "Cerebrastorm" that make up much of the mutant night life in District X. Some of these bands have even proved popular with non-mutants, creating tension with the usual mutant fans.
But the mutant rock star with arguably the greatest music career is Lila Cheney. A British rocker who performed alongside the real-life folk-rock band "Cats Laughing," Lila’s mutant powers actually aren’t directly related to her singing talent or ability to play musical instruments. Instead, she has the ability to teleport across intergalactic distances (but not shorter distances), which comes in handy when she goes on tour across alien worlds. Some musicians can only dream of having a universal tour, but for Lila, it’s a way of life.
Mutant Olympics Push Athletic Limits
When you have powerful mutants like Colossus who can turn themselves into organic steel and lift several tons, the phrase, "Strongest Man in the World" takes on a whole new meaning. And while most mutants with physical enhancements tend to use them on the battlefield, some have actually tried to use them in the world of sports.
Take Patricia Hamilton, a young woman who appears in the "District-X" comic book. Born with webbed hands and feet, Patricia tried to use her aquatic mutation to compete in swimming contests and rose to become an Olympic-class swimmer. However, once judges saw she had the X-gene, her abilities were ruled an unfair advantage and she was disqualified.
Which doesn’t seem fair. After all, surely a "Mutant Olympics" with runners who can break the sound barrier or weight lifters who can bench press mountains would attract plenty of spectators. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for Patricia, who later found work as an exotic dancer in a water-themed show.
Mutant Comedy is Hysterical
When you think about the types of occupations that mutants might pursue, "stand-up comedian" probably isn’t the first job on your mind. However, this proved to be a smart career choice for "Paula the Comic," a mutant civilian who appeared in "X-Factor" #31.
A low-level mutant with the ability to stimulate people’s pleasure centers, Paula used her power to make her audience laugh when she performed her sets. This made her a very popular stand-up comic — but unfortunately since Paula didn’t have to struggle to make people laugh, she never bothered to write very funny jokes and didn’t bother trying to make a personal connection with her audience.
This proved problematic when Paula lost her mutant powers during Marvel’s "M Day" event and found that her material wasn’t very funny without her mutant ability to enhance it. Rather than actually putting in the work to be a better comic, Paula admitted she just shut her brain down and kept making lame jokes. Comedy might stem from tragedy, but in Paula’s case her life is just sad.
Mutant Remote Control
Ask anyone what the most annoying part of watching TV is, and the answer "can’t find the remote control" will probably rank pretty high on the list. However, that isn’t a problem for Jones, a mutant boy who first appears in "X2: X-Men United" where he chats with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Played by Connor Widdows, Jones has the uncanny ability to … turn TV sets on and off and change the channel with his mind. He also claims he doesn’t sleep, which means he probably spends nights in front of a television set, flipping between channels and watching old movies like … "X2: X-Men United."
While this doesn’t sound like a very impressive power, Jones gets a surprising amount of screen time and even reappears in "X-Men: The Last Stand" when Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) asks him to … turn on the TV set with his mind. Actually, Jones’ power is classified as "technopathy" which means he can control multiple types of technology with his mind and get machines to do all sorts of different things. So, at least he’s a universal remote control.
His power over technology could potentially make him an effective combatant if the X-Men chose to train him as a fighter. But even without the training, changing TV channels with your mind is still a super power we’d all like to have. If you can control the volume too, even better.
Mutant Art Offers Visionary Perspectives
Much like the "Heroes" character Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), the mutant artist Nemesio Pietri from the "District X" comic can paint the future.
Initially homeless, Pietri was discovered by his benefactor Laline Ortega, who helped him launch a career as an avant-garde mutant artist. Unfortunately, his visions proved too troubling and he went back to being homeless. He even created a painting showing his own death, then willingly went to be killed by his murderer.
Oddly enough, in the alternate reality "House of M," Nemesio Pietri is celebrated as a "Visionary" artist who paints much happier images in a world where mutants are the ruling class. This same alternate world offers much more favorable occupations and career paths for mutants who don’t get a lot of good work opportunities in the "mainstream" Marvel Universe.
Sadly, this shows that the usefulness of your mutant gift is often constrained by how a society limits the way you can use it. This might be disheartening, but it also shows the importance of outside-the-box thinking when it comes to making your power work for you.