CREATED BY: Writer Jeph Loeb and Artist Steve Skroce
NATE GREY – FIRST APPEARANCE: X-MAN #1 (1985)
Today on The Heroes, Villains and Sidekicks show we’ll be talking about an omega level mutant that was created on an alternate earth in the Marvel Universe, Earth 295 to be exact and was such a popular addition he was transported to Earth proper, Earth 616. Today we’ll be learning about the mutant Nate Grey.
So I have to admit something here. I’ve never really read a lot of X-men titles, a little Clermont stuff and then some in the 90’s, but there were just too many titles and characters and I just couldn’t get into them. The stuff I did read I remember enjoying, but just not enough to buy a million “X” titles. But like I always say, this is one of the things I love about doing this show, I get to learn about characters that I know nothing about, and Nate Grey is one of those characters. The idea for this episode was actually given to me by someone over on the shows Facebook page, so thanks for the idea.
This is another one of those characters that doesn’t really have a straightforward origin. Nate Grey’s origin starts on one Earth and Timeline and moves to another. But let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. The character of Nathaniel “Nate” Grey was created for Marvel comics by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Steve Skroce and first appeared in X-Man #1 in March of 1995.
Like I mentioned, Nate Grey was not actually born on Earth 616, the prime earth in the Marvel Universe where we and all the main heroes in the Marvel U live. He was born during what was called the Age of Apocalypse during Marvel’s Age of Apocalypse storyline. Now what is the Age of Apocalypse storyline and how did it feed into creating this character. The storyline is pretty much an alternate timeline that was created by the super powerful and mentally unstable mutant named David Haller a.k.a Legion. On a side note, if you haven’t watched the Legion show on FX then you are missing one of the best superhero shows on TV now. It is awesome. Well, Legion decides he will nip things in the bud and go back in time to kill Magneto before he can become the big baddie of the Mutant side of the Marvel U. Unfortunately he accidentally kills Professor X.
This sets in motion huge ramifications down the timeline and eventually leads Apocalypse to attack 10 years earlier than he did in the original timeline. He takes control of the planet, the X-Men put up a fight, but they are defeated, and Apocalypse takes control of North America and begins killing humans in a genocidal campaign called the cullings, where he kills millions of humans. Mutants are now the ruling class and Apocalypse is getting rid of who he feels are the past and inferior. It’s in this timeline that one of Apocalypse’s elite Horseman, Mr. Sinister chafes under his bosses rules and wants to see him destroyed. So he then decides he needs to create a weapon, a very powerful weapon. Sinister uses DNA from Cyclops and Jean Grey to create a super powerful mutant that is not infected with the techno virus that Apocalypse unleashed on the world to de-power and cripple mutants that could stand against him. He names him Nate, after himself. Mr. Sinister’s real first name is Nathaniel Essex.
But before Mr. Sinister could indoctrinate the boy into his schemes Cyclops raided Sinister’s lab and helped Nate escape, never even knowing he was helping his own biological son. Nate then ends up under the guidance of one of my favorite “X” characters Forge. I always loved his abilities and powers. He is able to craft almost any machine or device imaginable, he has an almost empathic way with machines and their workings. As someone who loves to build things, furniture, cosplaying stuff, all kinds of things, I really dig his powers. So Forge sensed the raw power in the boy, it wasn’t named yet in the Marvel U, but Nate is what’s called an Omega Level Power Mutant. This is the highest power level possible and is almost undefinable or measurable. But this power was also a danger to Nate as it was to powerful and would one day destroy him, eating away at him till he was no more. Forge worked to teach the boy to be good and to use his power wisely. As he matured Mr. Sinister wanted to check up on him and infiltrated their camp. Sinister attacked and killed Forge and when Nate attacked him Sinister let the boy read his mind revealing to him that he and he alone had the power to destroy Apocalypse.
Nate then mortally wounds Sinister and sets his sights on Apocalypse. The two battle, and as they are fighting the X-Men of that timeline are putting in place their final plan to end Apocalypse. During Nate’s fight with Apocalypse the X-Men’s plan succeeds and the false timeline begins to vanish from existence. As this is happening the mutant Holocaust interrupts Nate’s battle and when Nate retaliates in kind both vanish as the timeline is washed away.
And this is when Nate Grey enters Earth Prime, Earth 616. It’s almost like they wink out of existence just as the timeline ends sparring them, then they pop back when the real, or our own timeline is reestablished.
Ok, let’s take a quick break in Nate Grey’s origin and talk a bit about his actual powers. It’s almost easier to list what he can’t do. Let’s compare his powers to another characters for some sense of scale. It is said that he has more power than the Phoenix, his mother when she is under control of the Phoenix Force. That is almost God-like power. Nate is able to read thoughts, control minds, read thoughts off objects that someone has held, create illusions, fire psionic blasts and even leave his body and travel to the astral plane. And that’s just his psychic ability. He is also the planet’s strongest telekinetic and has the ability to move massive objects, fire blasts that can shatter steel, create shields, fly, pretty much anything. For example, the guy can create interactive holograms using water and change the Earth’s magnetic fields. He pretty much has control over everything at a molecular level.
Now you would think with all this power Nate would clean up in the 616, but that’s not the case. Even though the book is called X-man, Nate spends very little time on the actual X-man team. He did meet up with his alternate parents Jean and Scott, but in the end he battles and fights some good guys and bad and eventually during one of those battles trying to save the planet he loses his life, but remember, in comics nobody stays dead and he appears again. When he reappears he is massively de-powered but he trains and manages to still fight the good fight though all of marvel’s events that followed.