Quick background info: The Scarlet Witch just decimated mutantdom by stripping 99% of their powers in an event known in the Marvel universe as M-Day, leaving only less than 200 mutants in the entire world. X-Men leader Cyclops preserved his species by uniting them all under his leadership and settling into an island fortress off the coast of San Francisco called Utopia. After a major disagreement with his lieutenant Wolverine on what the best approach is to protect the remaining mutants, a schism occurred which saw the mutants divided into two teams: Team Cyclops and Team Wolverine. Team Cyclops stayed on Utopia and continued their militant approach on protecting its young members at whatever the cost, while Team Wolverine went back to the ruined X-Mansion of the X-Men in Westchester, New York and re-opened the school for young mutants. Cyclops, fearing that the split would be taken as a sign by their enemies that the mutants were ripe for the taking, decided that a show of force was necessary. Hence, the Extinction Team was born. Simply put, it’s a team comprised of the most powerful mutants Cyclops could assemble on his side. Their sole objective? To save the world from extinction level events. It was Cyclops’s belief that if they were continuously shown in that light, the entire world would come to understand that the X-Men has always been the strongest superhero group on the planet, and anyone foolish enough to harm mutants would have to answer to them directly. So what does it take to qualify as an Extinction Team member? Below are short bios of the members and what powers they bring to the table.
The first X-Man. Professor Xavier’s first recruit to his cause of creating a society where humans and mutants could live together in peace. Having led the X-Men since his teens, Cyclops’s strategic and tactical skills are among the best in the Marvel universe. He knows every skill and talent his team members have and how to best use them in combat situations. Having gone through many trials and tragedies in his life, Cyclops is never without a plan and always comes out the victor in every engagement. And beyond all that, there’s still his formidable mutant power of generating optic blasts from his eyes that could shatter Sentinels or entire mountains.
Also one of the long standing members of the X-Men, Storm lends more than her destructive weather-controlling powers to the team. Worshiped as a goddess in many rural tribes in Africa, she married T’Challa, also known as the hero the Black Panther and king of the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda, which instantly provides the Extinction team with diplomatic clout. Her position as Queen, as well as her experience in leading teams like the X-Men and Morlocks, has enhanced her decision making and leadership skills. Her value to the team is emphasized clearly when, having decided that she’ll be joining Wolverine’s side due to her disdain of Cyclops’s increasing pro-active stance on mutant protection, Cyclops had to personally beg her to stay. Worried that he was surrounding himself with a group of former villains and hardliners like Magneto and Namor, Cyclops convinced Storm that the team would only function correctly if she was a part of it, that her rational voice was needed in his decisions. Relenting, Storm accepted Cyclops’s offer to be his second-in-command.
The former White Queen of the Hellfire club. Emma has since reformed her ways and has joined the ranks of the X-Men, serving as co-leader with her lover Cyclops. Emma is classified as an Omega-level telepath, the same level as Professor Xavier and Jean Grey. In combat situations, she often links Cyclops’s thoughts to everyone in the field, which allows him to dispense his battle orders easier and more efficiently. When not serving as a battle coordinator, her telepathy allows her to attack her opponent’s minds directly. There’s also her secondary mutation, which turns her entire body into a diamond that supplements her advanced hand to hand fighting skills perfectly.
One of the veteran members of the X-Men, Colossus has always been known for his strength and organic steel skin. But after the events of Fear Itself, which saw the X-Men save San Francisco from an Asgardian Serpent-powered Juggernaut (Cain Marko), Colossus became the new avatar of Cyttorak, the demonic deity who gave Marko his powers. Angry that his former avatar was serving a new master, Cyttorak gave Colossus all the powers of the Juggernaut, thereby increasing Colossus’s power levels exponentially. A side effect of these new powers is that the once gentle giant developed a violent temperament and strong urges for death and destruction.
Professor Xavier, knowing that his X-Men needed to be trained in combat, created the Danger Room using Shi’ar holographic technology that allowed lifelike battle simulations . At some point, the Danger Room program became self-aware and broke free from its programming restraints. It assembled a humanoid form for itself through its technomorphing abilities and assumed the name Danger. Her powers allow her to access any computers and reform her body into all sorts of technological weaponry. On her own, she is at par with the strongest members of the X-Men, defeating Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Wolverine, and Beast simultaneously by using her extensive knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses gathered from their training sessions. Joining the Extinction team, she serves as the team’s expert on everything technological.
Terrorist. Holocaust survivor. Mutant protector. Magneto is all of this and more. One of the X-Men’s most powerful enemies, he has fought numerous battles against them and often had to be confronted by several X-Men members simultaneously in order to be defeated. After the events of M-Day, Magneto decided to submit to Cyclops’s leadership, believing that following Cyclops is the best way to protect all of the remaining mutants. Commonly known for his fearsome ability to control magnetic fields and metals, most people tend to overlook the fact that Magneto is an excellent tactician, having led the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and for a short time, the X-Men as well. He’s also considered a genius in many fields of science like robotics, engineering, and genetic mutation. And despite his seemingly new role as a hero, Magneto still holds true to his creed of protecting mutants first over humans.
The halt of mutant births after M-Day was one of the darkest periods for the X-Men. With a limited gene pool to sustain their population, Hope’s birth was the sign that Cyclops was desperately waiting for. He believed that she was the key to restarting the mutant race, an idea that made Hope the focus of all the X-Men’s enemies. To add to that, a time-traveling X-Man from the future named Bishop proclaimed that Hope would kill 6 million humans when she reached adulthood, causing the mutant-oppressive future he escaped from. Bishop vowed to kill the infant and Cyclops decided to send Hope into the future under the protection and tutelage of Cable, Cyclops’s own son. When Hope finally returned to the present, she brandished an Omega-level power mimic ability that allows her to simultaneously copy any mutant ability within near proximity. To top it off, it was later revealed that she was to become the vessel of the Phoenix Force.
Illyana “Magik” Rasputin is the youngest sister of Piotr, commonly known as Colossus, and the famous cosmonaut Mikhail Rasputin. Her mutant ability of teleportation through what she calls “stepping discs” is extremely useful in transporting the Extinction team to their destinations in a matter of seconds. She is also the Sorceress Supreme of the dimension known as Limbo, a hellish place filled with powerful demonic entities who do her bidding. Magik once nearly brought the entire world to ruin when she gambled its fate on her quest to retrieve her stolen soul. When she succeeded in vanquishing the Elder Gods, a group of ethereal beings with powerful cosmic powers, Cyclops was forced to imprison her on Utopia’s brig upon learning what she did. Despite surrendering willingly, Cyclops took no chances and had to call on all of the heavy hitters among Utopia’s mutants in order to contain Magik should she resist. After losing half of Utopia’s mutants to the Schism with Wolverine, Cyclops was again forced by circumstances and gave her a spot on the Extinction team under one condition – that she remain imprisoned whenever the team does not have a mission.
As the sovereign of an ancient and powerful civilization such as Atlantis, King Namor constantly projects an aura of royalty and power. He answers to no one and is always quick to anger when his pride is sullied. Cyclops was only able to call upon Namor’s many impressive powers in exchange for the mutual protection of Atlantis and Utopia. Namor’s unique half mutant and half Atlantean physiology grants him the following enhanced powers: strength, stamina, speed, agility, and reflexes. His ankle wings grant him the ability to fly while his Atlantean heritage allows him to survive underwater and telepathically communicate with aquatic sea life to do his bidding. Last but not the least, he has the fearsome Atlantean army at his beck and call.
To know more about the adventures of the Extinction Team, go read the Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2 series, which has 20 issues, and the Marvel crossover event Avengers VS X-Men.
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