Age of Apocalypse
In the parallel reality known as "The Age of Apocalypse", Mr. Sinister, an underling of the High Lord Apocalypse, artificially created Nate using genetic material from Cyclops and Phoenix. Sinister created Nate as the ultimate mutant and hoped to use him in his own bid for power against Apocalypse. However, Cyclops, in his many subversive raids on Sinister's pens, helped Nate escape Sinister's hideout, neither knowing their connection to the other. Somehow, Nate wound up under the tutelage of Forge and several other mutant outcasts. Forge began the long process of teaching Nate how to control his powers as well as the benefits of being a "good guy". Nate also began to see the horrors of Apocalypse's world firsthand, and was determined to bring him down. This alternate Forge was killed by a disguised Sinister who was following Nate's progress, and Nate then battled him, learning of his true nature and mortally wounding Sinister. Nate then left to battle Apocalypse, although that particular slugfest occurred during a time when the alternate X-Men were beginning their final gambit—defeating this reality with the M'Kraan crystal. Holocaust interrupted Nate's battle with Apocalypse as the X-Men’s plan succeeded and the Age of Apocalypse was washed away. In response, an angry Nate impaled Holocaust with a shard of the M'Kraan crystal. The consequences of that act were unexpected and far-reaching, as Nate and Holocaust were both transported to the actual reality when it reasserted itself.
A New World
Nate arrived in Switzerland, and in his confusion, unconsciously resurrected Madelyne Pryor in his subconscious attempt to reach out to his "mother". Pryor helped Nate adjust to this reality, but they were both separated soon after. Nate wandered the earth, being contacted and confronted by many who would want to be his ally -- Professor X, Moira MacTaggert, Mr. Sinister, and others. Instead, Nate was beginning to find himself (with the help of Sinister's old underling, Threnody) and took refuge in New York. He believed Threnody to be dead, and also took up a firm friendship with Spider-Man. When Zero Tolerance troops attacked Xavier’s mansion in Westchester and downloaded Cerebro’s files, Nate was telepathically alerted by Cable that he was the only one close enough to rescue the children of Jean’s sister, Sara Grey, from the Prime Sentinels. Nate did as requested and left Joey and Gailyn in the care of their grandparents, as the Sentinels were curious about the unidentified telepath and still searching for him. During the next few weeks, Nate kept a low profile. One night, he went clubbing with the three girls and many people recognized him from his performances in Central Park. Nate was asked to sing with the band and, surprisingly, he did quite well, though he never had been on stage before. However, the show was interrupted by the arrival of Jackknife, who was hunting down and killing every single person that Nate had contact with. Jackknife was actually Jack Cole, one of the many misfits belonging to the Abomination’s group. Turned out that, during Nate’s battle with the Abomination, he accidentally unlocked Cole’s latent psychic powers. Jack couldn’t handle himself and became psychotic, blaming Nate for the voices in his head. In direct battle, Nate defeated the mentally imbalanced misfit when the police arrived. They asked him to surrender, but the crowd who witnessed the battle intervened, claiming that Nate was a hero. The next day, Jam lost an arm in a motorcycle crash. When Nate, Bux and Marita visited her in the hospital, something strange happened. After touching Nate, one of the medics in the hospital developed the ability to heal and Jam's arm was restored. The miracle boosted Nate’s popularity even more and Nate was now admired by hundreds of followers like some kind of messiah. Still not knowing what happened to Threnody, Nate would have been surprised by the events in New York over the past months. Shortly after her body had been brought to the morgue, the corpse rose and Threnody walked out. In her wake, several dead reanimated themselves too, following Threnody and chanting her name. She made her way to the loft that she and Nate had lived in and kept track of Nate’s activities through the news. Over time, her appearance slightly changed as her belly grew from pregnancy. Nate visited his "parents," Scott and Jean, who were at the time recuperating in Alaska. The strength of the newly forged bonds between Nate and his “parents” was shown when, soon after, as the X-Men had been disbanded, Nate (alongside Archangel, Wolverine and Cable) was one of the few people Jean and Scott called for help, as they needed to defend the new race “the Mannites” from the mysterious “Death”.
Shaman to the Mutant Tribe
Madelyne Pryor returned soon afterwards, but she was manipulating Nate in his sleep and making him destroy things. She finally revealed that she was a Madelyne from another dimension and she needed him to do something for her. This Maddie showed Nate how to shift between parallel earths or alternate realities, and she had Nate take them to the alternate reality that she was from. She wanted to use Nate's vast power to help her rule her Earth. Nate rejected her, and was located by that alternative reality's version of himself, who was a broken version of Nate Grey (meaning he could never reach his full potential in power) and was slightly insane from his experiences; he also considered himself a shaman to the people of that Earth. Nate read the mind of his alternate self to learn the intricacies of alternate realities. Nate also learned how Madelyne would take each Nate Grey from these alternate realities hoping to find "fully functional" ones to use as weapons to rule. He also showed Nate how to talk with a dead man so that they could get information from him about Madelyne; the dead man was that reality's Forge, who was at one time Madelyne's lover. Forge revealed that Madelyne was really an evil Jean Grey from another parallel Earth and was an impostor posing as Madelyne who at one time ruled that world. That reality's real Madelyne had died, but it was said she would return again. Forge also told them how this alternate Jean Grey had used him to make her a machine so she could travel from parallel world to parallel world. At this point, they were attacked by Madelyne's personal bodyguard, Mr. Scratch and in the process, merged parts of themselves to throw him off. Mr. Scratch's mutant power was that no other mutant power had any effect on him, so the Nates had to literally change characteristics to fool him. After the merger, only one Nate remained, so Mr. Scratch crippled him and brought him back to Madelyne, who quickly realized that Mr. Scratch had the wrong Nate. The broken version of Nate told Madelyne he sent Nate somewhere she would never find him. She killed the broken Nate and began to power her parallel world device to find Nate again, but Nate returned and put an end to her world conquering days. As a result of the merger of the two Nate's, a black x-shaped tattoo appeared on Nate's chest to act as a genetic brand - passed on to him from the alternate version of himself - that prevented his powers from killing him as they had threatened to do from the start. After the defeat of this evil "Queen Jean", Nate set out to make a difference in the world and considered himself a Mutant Shaman, a teaching he embraced from the alternate version of himself. Nate became immensely powerful, and had few qualms about using his power to mete out justice to his fellow mutants. He then dealt with and stopped the madman Qabiri from destroying all alternate earths on the Spiral of Earths. Qabiri was a being from an alternate Earth far upspiral, he wanted to destroy every earth below his on the Spiral of Earths because he feared that someone from these lower earths would one day invade his earth and bring it to ruin. Qabiri succeeded in destroying several alternate earths before Nate was able to stop him. Finally, he confronted the Anti-Man, an alien sent to Earth to insinuate his genetic code into all living cells on the planet so that his people could harvest the resulting energy. To save the world from destruction, Nate merged himself with the Anti-Man, in essence "poisoning" the cells of Earth with his presence, and dissipating both of them across the globe. Dark Beast commented that the peculiar circumstances of X-Man's demise would theoretically allow him to be restored to life.
Nate resurfaces once more, in a small town, where his presence causes several of the inhabitants to dreamwalk and continuously repeat "I'm an X-Man." Norman Osborn sends his team of X-Men, consisting of Mimic, Weapon Omega, Dark Beast and Mystique, to investigate and to raise public opinion. As Norman's X-Men investigate, both Mimic and Omega are overwhelmed with Nate's energies and go on a rampage leaving Mystique and Dark Beast alone with a patient that they were examining. Shortly Nate once more takes physical form, much to Beast's shock and horror, believing Mystique to be his mother Jean Grey, since she had taken her form. Nate angrily attacks Beast but doesn't realize that Jean is actually Mystique who manages to distract him long enough in order to save Dark Beast's life. Following that incident Osborn tasks his X-Men to hunt down and possibly capture Nate for experimentation and to feed Weapon Omega. In order to do that the Osborn's X-Men go to H.A.M.M.E.R.'s PSI-division, which has taken a cult like appearance. The PSI-Division manages to contact Nate only for him to absorb most of their psychic energies and to learn what has happened to the world and to the mutant race in his absence. Angrily he demands to know what they, presumably Osborn's X-Men, had done. Nate finally manages to materialize and confronts Norman's X-Men. He dispatches the Sentry by telling him of their mutual past, something that he claims to be the truth, which upsets Sentry so that he retreats in order to consider this. The other members of Norman's team don't fare better either, only Ares poses a threat. Since Ares is the personification of War, Nate is unable to perceive any future or probability that doesn't include Ares fighting him. Mimic still rattled by the vision he saw attempts to learn more only to drag Nate into another plane of existence. After a short conversation they are once more confronted by Ares, who has followed them and is overjoyed to have an opponent such as Nate. Ares finally manages to overpower Nate and while Norman attempts to confirm Nate's death, a flash of light knocks them all back leaving the room empty and Nate's body missing. Unbeknownst to the Dark X-Men, Nate has taken possession of Norman's body, something that only Mystique notices. After trying and failing to persuade Nate to remove the tech in her body which is rigged to explode should she betray Norman, she recruits the rest of the Dark X-Men to invade Norman's mind and to confront X-Man. While Nate and Norman are engaged in a battle of wills Norman gloats that he and Nate are evenly matched. Yet Nate reveals that this was his plan all along and that while he and Norman are deadlocked his X-Men are free to roam the deepest recesses of Norman's mind. Which they do and by doing so they unlock Norman's Green Goblin personality which gloatingly states is about to kill them all. After a brief battle between the Green Goblin and the Dark X-Men, Nate is defeated when Green Goblin forces Mimic to replicate Omega's powers, turning the pair into a powerful siphon that drains Nate's energies. Now returned to the physical world, a powerless Nate is tortured in front of the Dark X-Men as an example to them, after which Norman asks him if he has any last words before he's "used as coal" in Dark Beast's Omega Machine, but a gloating Norman cuts off Nate before he has a chance to finish speaking. Nate is taken away to the machine, though his eventual fate is not shown.
Powers and Abilities
X-Man was one of the most powerful mutants to exist and one of the most powerful beings in the universe. One of the many impressive moments that displayed Nate's powers was when he easily defeated Exodus, a mutant with vast psionic powers who managed to defeat the combined efforts of the X-Men and the Avengers in combat. This easy defeat left Exodus humiliated especially considering he was centuries old while Nate was only around 16 years old (he confirmed himself to be physically 17). He had psionic powers beyond those of any other mutant in the world, and was easily among the most powerful mutants in general. As he grew, he possessed enough power that he could destroy entire worlds if he wished. His power was such that upon examination by Moira MacTaggert, she suggested his psionic powers rivaled that of a Phoenix Force-imbued Jean Grey even at such a young age. In another instance, he was measured as having a psionic energy output matching that of the Dark Phoenix itself and since that moment his powers and control have grown much.
Astral Plane Tap: Ability to tap into the virtually-unlimited psychic resources of the astral plane in order to manipulate matter and energy (even down to the molecular level) and up to a potentially-unlimited scale.
Telepathy: He possessed telepathy of the first order and was unmatched by any other telepath. His telepathy proved great enough in power and scope as to allow him to read thoughts across vast distances, and even interface with multiple minds, simultaneously. His telepathy was so great that, even while inexperienced and weakened, his powers enabled him to easily block and even overcome telepaths such as Charles Xavier. He was even able to hide his mind from Cerebro, which is impossible for even the strongest mutants to accomplish.
- Intuitive Multilingual: Capable of intuitively translating new languages.
- Astral Travel: Capable of forging psi-links to travel in astral form.
- Material Astral Projection: Give substance to astral energy to solidify psychic forms or forge protective psi-armor and even pull the astral projections of other telepaths into the physical world such as Charles Xavier.
- Psychometry: Can read residual thought imprints left on objects touched by people.
- Dimensional Sense: Capable of sensing dimensional rifts or anomalies.
Telekinesis: Telekinetically, Nate was capable of very fine control over objects down to the molecular level. He could telekinetically move the chemicals in someone's brain around, he could disassemble complex devices explosively (separating every last component, such as screws, nuts, circuit boards, etc.), and just as quickly and easily assemble complex devices. This also enabled him to even attain awareness and control over objects as small as individual electrons in an atom. For instance, Nate could detect if a seal was hermetic or not, by checking for the presence of penetrating oxygen molecules. He could even detect and discern individual oxygen molecules, and determine the atomic weight of molecules, by the amount of atoms present. On larger levels, Nate could levitate great weights, but his upper limit remained undisclosed. He was able to crush the entire city of Quito in Ecuador, in just a few moments, in his sleep. He was able to psionically isolate the entire planet's gravitational pull. His telekinesis also allowed him to redirect security lasers around his body and get past even the best security system.
- Concussive Blasts: Could project his telekinetic energies as powerful blast beams directed from his brains that could apparently affect matter with concussive force. His telekinetic blasts were possibly the strongest on earth, strong enough to punch through solid steel.
- Flight: By telekinetically levitating himself, he was able to fly at amazing speeds.
- Force Fields: Nate was able to create protective force shields that could deflect even the most powerful of attacks. There did not appear to be any correlation between field strength and the thickness of his telekinetic fields.
- Intangibility: Could phase through solid matter by mentally shifting his molecules around another object's as he moves forward.
- Telekinetic Holograms: His mental fine motor skills were so acute that he could mentally manipulate dust particles and water vapor to refract lightwaves and create holograms.
- Electromagnetic Pulses: He also had creative uses of his powers, such as using his telekinesis to channel the Earth's magnetic field through the electro-current of his brain and generate devastating electromagnetic pulses.
- Dimensional Teleportation: X-Man even learned that he could use his telekinesis to transport himself to any location and even into other dimensions by mentally bending the dimensional barriers that separate one reality from another.
- Precognition: Since his return, X-Man gained a number of new powers. One of which was precognition, which he possibly used to concoct his plan against Norman Osborne. X-Man's precognition works by displacing himself into a timestream that shows every version of every future. X-Man claims he has over 300 ways to see the future. X-Man's precognition can also be considered time manipulation because he enters a different timestream.
- Psionic Evolution: After becoming one with the earth, X-Man has ascended to a higher state of existence. Because of this, he can exist as pure energy and is no longer restricted by the boundaries of the physical world.
- Physical Reconstitution: After his apparent death against the Anti-man, he has learned to rebuild his body by absorbing psionic energy. He used this power to regain his physical form after becoming one with the earth.
- Physical Possession: Along with learning to rebuild his physical form, X-Man's hightened state of existence has allowed him to convert his body into pure psychic energy and possess people. He used this power to possess Norman Osborne. While possessing someone, he can also explore their mind from the inside. It is possible that if he possesses a mutant, he can use their powers along with his own.
Nate Grey possessed the normal human strength of a man his age, height, and build who engages in moderate regular exercise. When using telekinesis, he was able to lift incredible amounts of weight.
Nate was originally designed so his powers would kill him when he completed his task of destroying the world. Because of this, his powers were slowly destroying him. After receiving the genetic brand, his powers stabilized.
- X-Man, Blink and Morph were originally supposed to be a team of X-Men by themselves, but it was later changed, and therefore never followed upon. Soon the series Exiles and X-Man were created instead.
- Several people claim X-Man is his reality's version of Cable or what Cable would be without the Techno-Organic Virus. The main reason is the long list of similarities: Both are the son of Cyclops and Jean Grey, both are high-level telepaths and telekinetics, both are named Nathan, both have one glowing eye, and both of them looked identical when Cable was de-aged. However, the differences between them, for example, is that Cable can travel through time and X-Man can travel through dimensions, X-Man is younger and stronger than Cable, and the fact that Cable has military training and prefers to use weapons over his mutant abilities because of his limited powers while X-Man prefers to use his powers disprove the theory that they are the same person in different realities. However, this is also argued over the fact that a great portion of Cable's power is used to hold the Techno-Organic Virus in check, that being the reason for Cable's limited powers - otherwise, it is believed that Cable, too, would be as powerful as Nate Grey.