Proteus (comics)

Proteus (comics)


caption=Proteus, in art from the cover to "Uncanny X-Men" #127, by John Byrne
real_name=Kevin MacTaggert
species=Human Mutant
publisher=Marvel Comics
debut="Uncanny X-Men" #125 (September 1979)
creators=Chris Claremont
John Byrne
aliases=Mutant X
powers=Reality warping
Body possession
Composed of psionic energy.|

Kevin MacTaggert, best known as Proteus and also called Mutant X, is a Marvel Comics character, associated with the X-Men. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist/co-writer John Byrne, he first appeared in "Uncanny X-Men" #125 (September 1979), though hints to his character appeared in earlier issues.

Kevin was the mutant son of Scottish genetic researcher Moira MacTaggert and politician Joseph MacTaggert. Kevin had reality warping and possession powers and lived most of his life in forced seclusion at his mother’s Muir Island research facility.

His attempt to break free and find his father made up a classic 1979–80 "Uncanny X-Men" storyline that was adapted in the 1990s "X-Men" animated series.

Fictional character biography

Proteus is written as one of the strongest and deadliest mutants ever to appear in Marvel Comics. Despite being one of the most powerful mutants, Proteus was not fortunate enough to have a happy life. Even his conception was under unpleasant circumstances. He was the son of Moira MacTaggert and her sinister husband, Joseph MacTaggert, who forced Moira into an unhappy marriage. Kevin was conceived after his mother, Moira, was severely beaten (and, it is implied, raped) by Joseph. After this traumatic experience, Moira left Joseph. She did not notify him that she was pregnant with his child.

Moira and Kevin lived on Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland. Kevin eventually began manifesting his mutant abilities and became a danger to everyone around him. His abilities gave him an uncontrollable hunger for energy. To protect herself and others, Moira was forced to confine Kevin. To keep the truth about her son secret, she began to describe him to others only as "Mutant X."

For years, Kevin remained inside his cell, until one day, after a battle between Magneto and the X-Men, Kevin was able to escape. During his escape, Kevin came into contact with Phoenix, Polaris, and Multiple Man. While he was able to defeat Polaris and Multiple Man, he barely escaped with his life when he confronted Phoenix. The only problem was, without the isosteric energy fields of his cell to sustain him, Kevin began to burn his body out. The only temporary solution he could find was to possess several human host bodies, including one of Multiple Man's duplicates.

Kevin eventually encountered the X-Men and proceeded to rename himself as Proteus, after the Greek god. Proteus eventually went to Edinburgh, to possess his father, Joseph. After possessing his father, Proteus made a last stand against the X-Men; he destroyed Joseph MacTaggert's body in battle. Before Proteus could take another host, Colossus (in his metallic form) punched Proteus in his energy form. Due to Proteus' weakness to metal, Proteus was unable to maintain his energy form. His energy was therefore dispersed across the world. [Uncanny X-Men #128]

Some time after his death, Moira MacTaggert thought about cloning Kevin, but she was discouraged successfully by Sean Cassidy.

Several years later, A.I.M. attempted to recreate Proteus. The organization used a woman named Harness and her mutant son, Piecemeal, to absorb all of the dispersed energy of Proteus. As the boy went about absorbing the energy, his body grew too large for his system to handle. Eventually, what was left of Proteus' consciousness and Piecemeal merged as one being.

The combined efforts of the New Warriors, the New Mutants, the Muir Islanders, and the original X-Factor wasn't enough against this new creature. When the amalgamated being decided that it would not find happiness, it decided to disappear.

Powers and abilities

Proteus has reality manipulation powers allowing him to transmute matter and bend the laws of physics according to his imagination within a certain distance. Using this power he can easily turn a building into liquid, turn a vehicle into bees that attack at his mental command, transform energy into matter, manipulate weather, or strip a person of their mutant powers. He often reverses local gravity, opens fissures in the earth, and stretches people painfully into liquid shapes (they return to normal when he no longer concentrates on manipulating their bodies). Use of this ability tends to speed up the rate at which his body will burn out. Other reality manipulators, such as Longshot may be immune to Proteus' manipulations.

Proteus can enter and completely possess another living being. Only beings with metal in their bodies appear to be immune. The bodies of most beings burn out within hours or a few days, although a few have been known to last longer. Proteus could leave a body before it is destroyed, but he usually does not. No possessed person has been shown able to resist or break free of Proteus' domination. Proteus has access to all the memories of his host while he possesses them and after he has left the body. Proteus has occasionally exhibited some telepathy, perfect recall, and the ability to mentally download computer information.

Proteus can become a being made of energy at will. He will also do this automatically whenever his body burns out so badly that it disintegrates. The ability to possess a new host and to manipulate reality is greater in this form. However, it is more vulnerable to the touch of metal. Contact with enough metal in this form can disrupt Proteus' energy and destroy his consciousness. It is possible for his consciousness to reform after such a disruption, but he has not shown the ability to do so without assistance. Proteus has at times exhibited the ability to transport himself interdimensionally, but it is not known whether he always could do this, or his resurrection by the Scarlet Witch enhanced his powers, or if he needed to use a connection to the Panoptichron in order to accomplish this.

Other versions

"Star Trek/X-Men" crossover

In the "Star Trek/X-Men" crossover, the spirit of Proteus crosses over to the universe of Star Trek because of a rift created by classic Star Trek antagonist Gary Mitchell (who also had reality warping powers). Proteus is able to reanimate and inhabit Mitchell's corpse, which does not deteriorate like other hosts. While chasing Deathbird, the X-Men end up teaming up with the crew of the USS "Enterprise" to stop Proteus, who forms an alliance with Deathbird to escape the planet.

At one point, Proteus compares Mitchell's fate (as seen in the "" TV series episode "Where No Man Has Gone Before") to the kind of anti-mutant prejudice that the X-Men are fighting.

Ultimate Proteus

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Proteus is named David Xavier and is the son of Moira MacTaggert and her ex-husband Professor X (Charles Xavier). Like in the mainstream version, he escapes his mother's keep on Muir Island, seeking his father in order to kill him. Before David can finish his deadly vendetta, Colossus mercy-kills him by crushing him under a car, while he was possessing Psylocke. Given his name and biological relationship to Xavier, this version can be considered an amalgamation of the main Marvel Universe versions of Proteus and David Haller (Legion), Charles Xavier's son.

House of M/Exiles

When the Scarlet Witch reshapes Earth-616, Proteus is resurrected as the serial killer Mutant X, who steals bodies across two continents and is hunted down by Moira MacTaggert, who is framed by the government for Proteus' deaths. He encounters the Exiles and actually manages to escape the House of M by stealing data from the Panoptichron. Something notable is when he leaves his home reality; he only inhabits bodies of superhumans from "approximation" realities or Exiles members. He has inhabited the bodies of an unnamed mutant, Blunderbuss, and Angel Salvadore in "House of M"; Mimic and Morph in "Exiles"; Justice from the New Universe; and the Hulk from the Marvel 2099 universe. None of these bodies last for long and eventually wither away, with the exception of Angel Salvadore. Mutant X's current body, Morph from Exiles, also does not seem to deteriorate while Proteus is inhabiting it.

Proteus states that he could not stop thinking about Blink ["Exiles" #76] . Whether it was because he still had some of Mimic's memories or because he actually felt something for her is not yet clear. He states he was tired of fighting and that he just wants to talk, but before he can say anything, Longshot shields Blink, allowing her to teleport to safety. It is revealed by Proteus himself that his mind is able to recall all memories and feelings of his previous hosts. Blink tricks Proteus into wearing a portable Behavior Modification System (from the Squadron Supreme's world), which she teleported into the crown he was wearing. The device brainwashes him into believing he is actually Morph and leaves him able to recall only Morph's memories prior to his possession. Unaware of his true identity, he begins behaving exactly like Morph and a member of the Exiles, much to the discomfort of the other Exiles.

In other media


Proteus appeared in a two-part Season 4 episode of the animated "X-Men" series. He was voiced by Stu Stone.

In the animated series, Kevin had his reality warping and possession powers, but he also had the ability to change himself back into his human form as well, a power he did not have in the comics. Also, when he took over people's bodies, it did not kill them like it did in the comics, it only weakened them. Proteus himself was somewhat humanized and much less evil; he was a violent, unstable, 17-year-old adolescent with a child-like mentality and little grasp on reality (Moira kept him practically locked in her center for years), and at a certain moment he even saved a young man from being beaten up by a gang of bullies.

Kevin/Proteus took off in search for his father; not knowing the truth and craving for his father's love, he blamed his mother Moira for not giving his father a chance. He then attacked Professor X, Rogue, Moira, Wolverine, and Beast. Moira tells Professor X that Proteus' father, Joseph, did not want him because he was a mutant. Professor X and the X-men confront Joseph himself, but he refuses to listen and is only bothered about people finding out he is Kevin's father because he is a mutant. Rogue is set to protect Joseph, and she hears his speech about loving children, thus triggering her to remember her past of when her father rejected her due to her own mutancy.

Kevin arrives at the hall and attacks Rogue and Beast as Joseph leaves. Professor X tries to reason with Proteus and he blames the Professor for keeping Joseph away from him. Wolverine arrives in time to save Professor X and Beast. Professor X tries to contact Proteus mentally and tells him he can help him, but Proteus insists on seeing his father. Moira says they've tried to reason with him enough and tells them she needs to do something about it now.

Kevin arrives at another speech of Joseph's, saying that he wants Joseph to love him but Joseph says that he's a trick and trying to ruin him. Joseph tells him to leave and Kevin gets so mad that he loses control. Professor X manages to stop him by using his psychic powers, calming Kevin down; he returns to his normal shape and gets a hug from Moira. Joseph arrives, apologizes to Kevin, and the two reconcile.


List of titles

* "Uncanny X-Men" #125–128
* "Uncanny X-Men Annual" #15
* "Classic X-Men" #32
* "New Mutants Annual" #7
* "New Warriors Annual" #1
* "X-Factor Annual" #6
* "Star Trek/X-Men"
* "Exiles" #69–82


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