While MCU’s Kilgrave proved to be one of the most terrifyingly powerful villains to have ever appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, X-Men’s strongest comic book mutant makes the Jessica Jones antagonist look pathetic.
In the live-action MCU series Jessica Jones, Kilgrave is introduced as a villain with the power to make anyone do anything he says, even if it is against their better judgment or personal desires. For instance, Kilgrave can make a police officer murder someone and then fling himself off a skyscraper without even a hint of resistance. As explained in the show, Kilgrave’s influence is like an airborne virus. He is essentially able to send psychic particles through the air which then infects anyone he speaks to with a sudden urge to follow his orders. While this ability seems unstoppable and insanely overpowered, one X-Men mutant found a way to top it.
In X-Man #1 by Jeph Loeb and Steve Skroce, Nate Grey aka X-Man is traversing the deadly landscape of the Age of Apocalypse with a team of mutant rebels disguised as a traveling troupe of actors. In this universe, X-Man is believed to be the strongest mutant in the world, one whose power can match that of Apocalypse himself. However, when readers first meet him, X-Man and his troupe of secret mutant freedom fighters are performing Shakespeare for entire towns filled with people void of all hope, as they lived under the tyrannical rule of Apocalypse. Under Apocalypse’s rule, mutants were deemed superior and humans were essentially shot in the street as Apocalypse saw no value in their ‘inferior’ genes. So, X-Man and his band of rebels did what they could to ease the humans’ grief while also maintaining a convincing cover. Unfortunately, since humans were being hunted by a mutant-supremacist regime, all mutants were essentially considered evil. In this issue, X-Man’s troupe is accosted by two aggressive humans after a show as they thought (rightly) that the actors were mutants–and if they were, the two were going to kill them. As Forge is trying (and failing) to talk his way out of the situation, the two humans suddenly change their minds and promptly leave the troupe alone–and this change of heart was due entirely to X-Man.
X-Man’s Power of Influence is Much Stronger than MCU Kilgrave’s
This issue shows X-Man uses his powerful psychic abilities to influence the minds of two people simultaneously without being near them and without uttering a word. As made clear in Jessica Jones, Kilgrave must be breathing the same air as his victims, he must speak his order, and his victims must hear that order in order for it to take effect. The series exploited the many workarounds to Kilgrave’s power which allowed the heroes to capture him and get close to stopping him for good before Jessica proved to simply be stronger than his power. However, every single one of Kilgrave’s shortcomings were not shared by X-Man.
X-Man can control people with a mere thought, meaning his victims don’t need to hear him speak, and he doesn’t need to utter a word. Plus, X-Man can influence people without necessarily needing to ‘breathe the same air’ as them, as his power is a psychic mind-control and not something akin to an airborne virus. With everything shown in just this small exhibition of his power, it is clear that the X-Men’s strongest mutant makes MCU’s Kilgrave look pathetic.