Who are the X-Men? Well, that depends on what iteration of Marvel’s mutant superhero team you’re talking about. They’ve ranged from upstart private school do-gooders to immortal clone island nation. There have been so many members who have filled up their ranks that their homebase is essentially a revolving door. The X-Men have spawned cartoons, movie franchises, video games, board games, and countless comic spin-offs, splinters teams, and blockbuster summer events. The plight of mutants have been compared to a myriad of metaphors and real-world issues: racial minorities, AIDs allegories, apartheid, queer spaces, genocide. They are an enduring franchise and a true pillar of the Marvel comic empire.
But I’m not here to talk about any of that. I’m here to talk about something infinitely more important than anything that has been debated before in the world of X-Men. I’m here to talk about what puts the MEN in X-men.
We need to talk about who are the Most Zaddy X-Characters. For those of you not in the know, a zaddy is “a sexually attractive man, especially an older one who is fashionable or charismatic” (Oxford Languages). As you can see, a zaddy is a particular type of daddy lust-object — these ones have some sort of je ne se quois that excites and titillates just by their sheer presence. These persons hold a certain gravitas that draws in those foolish enough to enter their orbit. Consider me a foolish space rock then, babes, because I’m spiraling out of control!
So now it is my enviable (and self-anointed) task to distill and quantify who and who does not fit into this descriptor. To be honest, this list came too readily from me. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I do know that whatever quality this fervor spawned from, you, my dear reader, must have the same spark within yourself. (I do realize that who I consider a zaddy may be different from who you consider a zaddy, so take this list not with a grain of salt but with a tall glass of sangria accompanied by a majestic and regal fan as you soak in the heat radiating from these manly men.)
Admittedly, to just what Degree of Zaddyism a character achieves is in some part due to the skills of the artist, but the following characters, no matter who draws them, are still able to produce that unconscious “gulp” as I reach for some water to slake my thirst because my god just look at him.
Without further ado, here in no particular order are the 12 Most Zaddy X-Characters. They deserved to be drooled after. They make me hot under the collar. They are zaddies.
Let’s make one thing clear: about 90% of the time I find Colossus horribly boring personality-wise. He reminds me of wet cardboard that someone has painted muscles on. But man oh man those muscles. From the get-go, Piotr Rasputin was not afraid to show some skin. His mutant ability to transform his skin into organic metal apparently had the side-effect of convincing Colossus to show the world as much skin as mutantly possible. He gave two middle-fingers to the Russian snow as he flaunted his muscly goodness. Now if being as nude as possible just to gloat with your glamour muscles isn’t fashion, then what is? Colossus is at his best when he is a thicc boy. I want those thighs to be like tree trunks or so help me or I will relegate you to another substandard X-Men splinter team! The piece de resistance for Colossus is his way too infrequent beard. That addition INSTANTLY gets me off the fence and fully into “Zaddy Colossus” territory. Note to all future artists: more facial hair, less fabric. You can’t go wrong!
Bishop hails from a dystopian far future where mutants are put into concentration camps, but that may or not be possible any more due to timey wimey wibbly wobbly deus ex machina mutant revolution bullshit. He also may have gone off the deep end for a couple years and became a sociopathic Terminator so hellbent on killing a mutant child on the off chance that she would cause said dystopian future that he razed a couple different timelines in pursuit of said. He’s also a cop, but a mutant cop from the future, so…there’s a lot to question. He’s shown where his true allegiances lie, and they are solidly on the side of good. For now. But let’s push all that aside. Let’s talk about what makes this zaddy tick. Let’s talk about how he was a mainstay in the swimsuit issues of the 90s and why current Marvel NEEDS TO BRING THESE BACK. Let’s talk about how his whole demeanor has me standing at attention and yelling, “yes, Sir!”.
What else is there to know? Is it the way he can rock multiple hairstyles so gloriously from long flowing locks and cueball bald to homicidal dreads and modern fade high top? Is it the fact that he definitely owns handcuffs? Is it his natural swagger and what I imagine palpable musk? Whatever question is asked, there’s only one answer: he’s a zaddy. Also ACAB.
Papa Summers has hit the building and I am NOT talking about Daddy Cyclops. We’re bypassing the man synonymous with X-Men in favor of his zaddy son-from-the-future Cable. But let me be clear — we are not talking about current Teen Cable that’s running around Krakoa. If he was of age, he would clearly be a Twunk. We’re talking grizzled, future-scarred, badass mercenary, old AF with guns bigger than a capybara Cable. This version of Nathan Summers was introduced with a gaggle of extraneous pockets and pouches and sporting a behemoth of gun. And you know what they say about muscle-bound blokes with big pockets and even bigger guns — he a zaddy. He’s gruff. Mysterious. Is constantly utilizing his near-omega level telekinesis to slow down the techno-organic virus that’s ravaging his body. Older than his own father but not anymore. His look leans more towards the utilitarian and Mad Max side of things, but he pulls it off with panache. This old dog is cocked and ready to go. Just make sure you’re hanging with the main Cable and not one of his various clones that were sent to the past in order to overcome some disease shenanigans because…comics. It was a whole thing, and you don’t want him suddenly plopping over and becoming a waste of an evening.
First off, this needs to be gotten out of the way. Yes, Karl Lykos is named after the Sauron from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yes, that basically makes him a walking copyright infringement case. No, I don’t understand how he’s allowed to keep his name. What truly matters about Sauron is his zaddy qualifications. An older male? Check. Cultured? Again, named after the ultimate baddie synonymous with high fantasy. Charismatic? He has mind-control powers so I believe that is a “technically, yes” check mark but also leaves the door open for questions revolving consent. Sexy monster mash-up? Well, technically dinosaur-mutate-vampire who feeds off the life force energy of mutants but who cares. What we really care about is his fashion choices. For decades, Sauron’s go-to costume has been a booty-huggin’ Tarzan loincloth or mid-calf denim jeans distressed to perfection. That is a fashion risk I can get behind! What he lacks in overt muscles and body hair he makes up with a Coco Chanel level of boldness and emerald green scales. He also can apparently breathe fire now. Hot! Plus, he lives in the Savage Land. If that doesn’t scream zaddy material, I don’t know what else will convince you.
Well tickle me green and call me a Bonnie lass, up next is one of the original members of the All-New All-Different X-Men roster, Banshee. This man has got the luck of Irish leprechauns on his side (Literally. They live under his ancestral home Cassidy Keep), but he doesn’t even need that because his natural charm is what we’re here for.
He rocked mutton chops back in the day, actually makes the color combo of green and yellow look dashing, and was even once a member of Interpol, so he definitely has the muscle machismo fashionista street cred down pat. With his mutant ability to scream, Banshee is able to fly through the skies and can easily sweep you off your feet for a jaunt through the clouds. Just don’t forget earplugs! To be a quintessential zaddy, you have to really lean into the hyper-masculine persona, so the fact that Sean Cassidy is named after a historically female Irish cryptid makes him even more swoon-worthy. He’s so secure in his manliness that he’ll rock that Banshee moniker. Though he’s had some low points in his career (throat slit by Mystique but still alive and not able to use his powers, finally using his powers again to try to stop a plane but not being powerful enough and having it explode and kill him, being revived as one of the Apocalypse Twins’ Horsemen), there’s no keeping a good Irish zaddy down.
In the previous entry, I noted how Banshee used to rock mutton chops. But with this next entry, I’m happy to report that Sebastian Shaw has always and still continues to sport mutton chops. Otherwise, this perennial Black King of the Hellfire Club would look utterly ridiculous in his Victorian Era ensemble. Shaw is all about procuring, consolidating, and wielding power, both bureaucratically in benefit to the before mentioned Hellfire Club or that of his own mutant abilities. He sports the power of kinetic and thermal energy absorption in order to enhance his own strength, stamina, and recuperative abilities. In other words, he makes himself harder, better, faster, stronger all while making the good guys look wholly inadequate. I mean, the Hellfire Club always had an underground current of S&M pastiche in their DNA, but even Blindfold (who is blind) can see how Fifty Shades of Shaw his powerset can be.
I distinctly remember a scene of X-Man Gambit using his powers to kinetically supercharge Sebastian Shaw while Shaw was shirtless and Gambit was grabbing his pecs. Of course there was body hair, but there was also a gloriously copious amount of muscles. For a Victorian dandy, Sebastian Shaw is one zaddy of a baddie which makes it even funnier that his son Shinobi Shaw is so utterly un-zaddy like (stay tuned for more on Shinobi in future articles!).
Despite how little I feel about the omnipresent milquetoast Wolverine, I can’t deny his zaddy status (also we share the same name so that’s dope). Wolverine is “the best there is at what he does,” so it’s no surprise to find him on this zaddy list. He’s overly-muscled. He’s gruff and stocky. Smokes cigars. Wears more flannel than a Canadian lumberjack which is not that shocking once you realize that he was living it up in Canada for many years. Wolverine’s not afraid to let loose his machismo wrath and he chooses to do it all in form-fitting spandex. His fashion ‘do is simply iconique. Why does his hair match his mask? Which came first? Who cares. He may have a kill list longer than even the most genocidal dictators, but have you seen his chest hair? Glorious. Wolverine almost lost his spot on this list because of that one time when Magneto ripped the adamantium from his skeleton and for some reason this caused Wolverine to devolve into a neanderthal-esque state with no nose but that was mercifully short-lived. This Weapon X Alum has been to hell and back, led a school in the memory of his comrade’s wife because he wanted to bang her, and was an Avenger at one point. There’s honestly too much going on with Wolverine to keep it all straight (lol) that I haven’t even talked about his mutant powers. So I won’t. But I will say that the best version of 616 Universe Wolverine is Patch, his go to disguise when he needs to be undercover where…he wears an eye patch. Like literally that’s it. Go on zaddy! Give us nothing!
What has the great nation of Ireland been up to in the Marvel universe? Apparently exporting zaddies because they’ve given us not one zaddy with Banshee but a second one! And they’re cousins! There must be something extra zexy in the Cassidy Keep water to keep churning out these wonders.
Black Tom originally had the power to control to absorb energy and redirect it through wood and plant life, so of course him being Irish led to him carrying around a shillelagh at all times. Badass man with a cane alert! He eventually learned to expand his powers to controlling and communicating plant life as well as turning into some ungodly tree-mutant hybrid so…werk. He’s no longer a plant-person and instead has his zaddy body back. But what has always been a constant in Tom’s life was his attention to fashion and personal grooming. Red and black: classic combo. Sporting a gentleman’s sash cocked to one side? Exquisite and oh so pirate. Never afraid of a signature look, he’s always had some form of mustache-goatee combo and now is sporting a streak of grey. This man is slick. He also kidnapped Banshee’s daughter Siryn and raised her as his own daughter for some reason, but every family has their quirks. Now he’s ostensibly one of the good guys on Krakoa, talking to the living island and letting his chest hair flow free in the Pacific Ocean breeze.
Well helloooooooooo, Mr. Veteran! Also, helloooooooooo Mr. Shaman! If those two occupations seem discordant, you’re correct! Forge’s real name has never been revealed, and that just adds to this zaddy’s mystery appeal. He is a man of multiple worlds: a mutant hero, a genocidal maniac, a failed shaman, an authoritarian government agent, an eccentric inventor. What’s not to love? Forge created his own Aerie using his mutant powers of being able to build whatever he can come up with, so this zaddy already gets bonus points for having his own personal pad away from the chaos of the Marvel universe. Minus points for summoning a demon during the Vietnam War that got his whole squad killed (side note: such a bad idea to tie his comics origin to such a major event. How old is he now? 40+? 60+??). It was this whole thing, so he swore off magic and went full into tech and guns. Lots of guns. It was the 90s. Everyone had guns. And pouches. But now we’re getting side-tracked. As a member of the Apache tribe, Forge sports some chic fringe on almost every uniform he’s worn, and even more so rocks a manly ponytail and red headband combo. Did I mention he always has facial hair and sometimes booty jorts? That definitely makes up for the time he tried to wipe out the universe or something! But the icing on the cake is that his main love interest was and has always been Ms. Storm herself. If you have the Ororo Munroe seal of approval, what else is there to strive for?
Ok, when we think zaddy, we think distinguished older gentleman, amiright? Well what about a gentleman from the age of the pharaohs? That’s right, zaddy Apocalypse himself is here. Thousands of years old with blue skin like a dusky evening as well as some pillowy (genocidal?) lips, En Sabah Nur will make you walk like an Egyptian as you drink in his grandeur and sheer charisma.
With his mantra of “survival of the fittest” and his whole Book of Revelations complete with Four Horseman Motif going on, many would not be hard-pressed to call this walking mutant god “intimidating” or at the very least “theatrical”. He was always seen as the perennial villain, but he apparently hired a bitchin’ PR agent, because his whole image has been revamped and I am shooketh. No more is he a basically walking trite trope of neerdowell-ism. Oh no. Turns out Apocalypse’s ideology comes from him being mutant kind’s first Family Man. His wife and four kids were apparently trapped in an alternate dimension, so all of Apocalypse’s grandstanding and hemming and hawing was in service to be reunited with his wife Genesis (because of course). A zaddy who cares who is also a DILF? Wow. He also is chin-deep in Mutant Magic which is still newly being explored but seems like something right up zaddy-lane with the possible inclusion of wizardly beards and robes. Now, to be fair, there was the Age of Apocalypse wherein En Sabah Nur ruled over an alternate timeline and royally screwed up everything, but that was the 90s. Focus more on the beautiful reunited family as they walk to the end of existence together (but focus more on that mutant zaddy derriere).
A lot of you may be scratching your head at who this character is, but trust me Captain Brian Braddock is squarely entrenched in the world of mutants. His twin is Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke and their older brother Jamie Braddock also happens to be an omega class mutant himself. Brian, sadly, is not a human. Instead, he is the sworn protector of the British Isles that gets his powers from the Amulet of Might (sometimes the Sword of Might) and acts as a link between the regular world and Otherworld, a land of swords and sorcery and British stereotypes. He can fly. He is strong. He’s a scientist. He’s the butt of many jokes. For a long stretch, he was the leader of Excalibur (note the X), a satellite X-Men team based out of a lighthouse in England. Notable mutant members include Shadowcat, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers, and many more. But enough about his mutant cred.
Let’s talk zaddy. Captain Britain typically sports a skintight costume — the better to see his rippling abs and showboating muscles. The best versions of him, however, sport a truly glorious beard that makes him seem like some sort of Celtic demi-god wrapped up in the Union Jack. He’s also had bad hair days such as that era where he was sporting a mullet, but this English Gentleman is firmly entrenched in the zaddy multiverse. He’s fit. Bloody handsome. Cultured. Fun to make fun of. He’s the whole package! Except for the fact that he lost the title of Captain Britain to his twin sister and is currently going by Captain Avalon after being brainwashed by Morgan Le Fay but I digress. He’s cheeky, govnah!
Last but not least, we come to Kenuichio Harada aka the Silver Samurai. To be fair, he’s not that popular, though he has gotten major exposure by being included in the seminal fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (he was also in the Wolverine movie but I did not enjoy that movie so let’s ignore that). The Silver Samurai’s mutant powers revolve around channeling tachyon energy through his sword and only his sword which seems…oddly specific and situational with a vague hint or orientalism. But man is he built like a brick! Who knew modern day mutant samurais were swole and lived at the gym! And his color scheme? Silvery chrome perfection. He is both blindingly handsome and just straight up blinding depending on light source. Kenuichio, Ken to his friends which are none, is one angry, gruff dude. Probably stems from him being the bastard son of the Yashida crime syndicate and half-brother to Mariko Yashida (one of) the love of Wolverine’s life who Logan killed due to her being poisoned. But whose interpersonal social life isn’t a skosh complicated. Due to his overcompensation for something out of his control, the Silver Samurai has become a very learned individual, so he checks off the culture box in spades. Plus, he’s an expert swordsman which makes anyone instantly more attractive. Unfortunately, he died (the details are fuzzy to me because it didn’t happen in an X-Men comic), but now he’s alive again because of the new mutant status quo. If you’re looking for him, check the Crucible on Krakoa. That’s where depowered mutants fight Apocalypse to the death so that they can be reborn with their mutant powers. He’s the referee. A zaddy into sports? Quick, coach, put me in!
Tagged as: art, #xmen, marvel, wolverine, logan, marvelcomics, avengers, deadpool, mcu, spiderman, xmencomics, marvellegends, comicbooks, marveluniverse, mutants, magneto, jeangrey, captainamerica, hulk, xforce, cyclops, colossus, bishop, bishop lucas, kable, sauron, banshee, sebastian shaw, forge, black tom cassidy, apocalypse, En Sabah Nur, captain britain, silver samurai, Brian Braddock, Kenuichio Harada, zaddies, zaddy.