The 90s were a dark time for comic books; everywhere you looked, superheroes were getting edgier, darker, and more extreme. Every hero had pouches, and knives were everywhere, even DC Comics replaced Dr. Fate with a former mercenary that used a knife instead of magic. Yet no hero personifies the 90s more than Adam-X, The X-Treme, the X-Men character filled with attitude, and while I feel like the only fan of his on Earth, I think he’d be great for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Who Is Adam-X, The X-Treme?
First off, Adam-X is the best character Marvel writer Fabien Niceiza ever created (and he wrote NFL SuperPro), and when he debuted in X-Force Annual #2, he became an immediate icon. With the mutant power to ignite blood that has been exposed to air, an in-universe way to explain why he’s covered in sharp blades, Adam-X brought the entire X-Force team to their knees. Parting on good terms with the mutant strike force, Adam-X would go on to make sporadic appearances in X-Men comics.
Raised on the planet Ch’reesharaa, by a former personal guard to the Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken, Adam-X became a skilled warrior and pilot, but eventually, he decided to head to Earth to try and learn more about his origins. As it turns out, Adam-X was a hybrid mutant partially created from the DNA of Katherine Summers, the mother of the X-Men, Scott “Cyclops” Summers, and Alex “Havok” Summers. This was always the plan of Fabien Niceiza, but it took decades to be revealed as he left Marvel before he could reveal the whole origin in X-Men Legends, released in 2021.
Why Adam-X, The X-Treme, Is Treated Like A Joke
At the time of his creation, Adam-X was one of many new characters across all media that embraced attitude; look at the original version of Sonic the Hedgehog, or even better, Poochie. When The Simpsons decided to parody the type of extreme character with an attitude that was popular at the time, they created Poochie. This skateboarding, sunglass-wearing dog was so cool that every time he wasn’t on screen, all the other characters should be asking, “Where’s Poochie?”
Adam-X the X-Treme, unfairly, has been designated as the Poochie of the X-Men, a character purposely created to be extreme and filled with attitude. This is not entirely true, as yes, he wears a backward baseball hat, has outrageous blonde hair, is covered in spikes, and his name is Adam-X the X-Treme, but he was treated as a serious character, and the worst parts of his personality from the mid-2000s were non-existent.
X-Men #39 is the rare issue that focuses on Adam-X, and it happens to be the best story about the long-lost Summers brother. In the Alaskan wilderness, Adam-X helps to rescue Phillip Summers after his plane crashes, and it’s the type of mutant vs. wild stories, filled with introspective dialogue, that is often done incredibly well by the writers at Marvel (see also: X-Men Unlimited #1). It’s a fantastic story, but it leads to nothing, and for the last few decades, Adam-X has languished, cursed to be part of group shots or one-panel segments during an event.
During “Fear Itself,” Juggernaut became a thrall of Sett and was marching towards the X-Men’s island of Utopia, so they deployed Adam-X to try and stop him. It didn’t work, but at least this panel didn’t turn Adam-X into a joke. Earlier in the arc, a villain is offering up drugs that grant temporary mutant powers to a crowd of high-rollers, and when he asks what powers they want, he’s shocked at one suggestion and responds, “Adam-X? Really?”
Adam-X In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
When I was a kid and reading X-Force Annual #2 over and over, I fell in love with Adam-X and wanted him to be one of the real X-Men. For decades, I’ve been waiting for the character to get his chance to shine, and now, thanks to Disney starting to incorporate the X-Men into the MCU, the chance is finally here. Instead of debuting with the X-Men ’92 line-up, if Disney had any guts, they would, first, give us Doop, and, secondly, Adam-X.
This makes sense because, first off, his look is perfectly aimed to appeal to teenagers. Disney needs to hook that demographic before they lose interest in superhero movies, and we’re already seeing evidence of that, so a character that screams attitude is perfect. I’m accepting of the fact that the Adam-X from the serious stories won’t be making an appearance, but that’s fine; he can be an exaggerated version of the 90s attitude in the MCU.
In fact, that would be preferable because at least then he’d have a real, defined personality trait, which might be one-note, but let’s be honest, most of the MCU line-up is bland. When Doctor Strange drops snarky one-liners like Tony Stark and Star-Lord, there’s not a lot of room to stand out.
As for who we think could pull the perfect Adam-X for when the X-Men join the MCU, we have a few suggestions:
Riverdale’s Cole Sprouse is our first pick for Adam-X. As Jughead, Sprouse has shown he’s capable of taking a joke character and adding a serious edge amid the insanity of The CW teen drama. On the X-Men, he’d have to either grow his hair out or wear a blonde wig, but his past work has shown he’s perfect for ensuring that The X-Treme is taken seriously.
The Euphoria star would be ideal as Nightwing in the DC Universe, but since that won’t happen before the heat death of the universe, how about instead Jacob Elordi joining the X-Men? Used to playing jerks, like Nathan in Euphoria and Elvis in Priscilla, getting a chance to play the heroic Adam-X would be a nice change of pace for the Australian star.
Another teen drama veteran, Drew Starkey, played Rafe on Netflix’s Outer Banks, and I think he could bring a more unhinged, dangerous edge to Adam-X. The greatest X-Men character in history may be a good guy, but Starkey’s ability to portray simmering anger in the Netflix series would pair well with the hero still trying to find his place in the world.
Adam-X Can Be Easily Elevated From The D-List
After six X-Men movies, three Wolverine films, and two Deadpool outings, an incredible amount of X-Men have made their way to the big screen, including Teenage Negasonic Warhead. Adam-X would be a breath of fresh air compared to the third Cyclops or fourth Kitty Pyrde. All it would take is one writer to bring the character back to his roots and away from the 90s Flanderization of modern writers.
If Disney could find a way to make Groot a pop culture icon, there has to be a way for the coolest of the X-Men to become the next big thing in the MCU. They won’t, but if they do, the one Adam-X fan that exists will be incredibly happy.