A C-list mutant just proved the X-Men can counter one of Marvel’s most powerful SupermenJust proved the X-Men can counter one of Marvel’s most powerful Supermen

The following contains spoilers for Marauders #3, now on sale from Marvel Comics.

The X-Men are increasingly recognized by the greater Marvel Universe as some of the most powerful beings in existence. Thanks to the omega-level mutants they have on their side, the X-Men have been able to deal with all sorts of dangerous threats. Even some forces that mutants previously considered unstoppable can be defeated with the right application of creative power.

In Marauders #3 (by Steve Orlando, Eleonora Carlini, Matt Milla and Ariana Maher of VC), the mutant team discovers that Tempo, a former minor villain, could be the key to countering some of the toughest fighters in the universe. Such as Gladiator, also known as Kallark.

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In the Marvel Universe, Kallark is generally considered one of the most powerful physical figures, debuting in x-men #107 (by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum). He is a member of the Strontian race, whose abilities largely mimic those of DC Comics’ powerful Kryptonians. This means he is able to fly, possesses enhanced stamina and super strength, and can generate powerful energy blasts from his eyes. Gladiator has stood up to entire teams of superheroes. Although he is a noble figure, his loyalty to the Shi’Ar outweighs his personal morality, which means he will commit horrible deeds if he serves his leader’s orders. There have been very few people who have even been able to withstand his abilities let alone defeat him – it usually takes something as overwhelming as the Phoenix Force to bring him down.

During his last encounter with Earth’s X-Men-affiliated mutant heroes, another mutant proved capable of stopping him. Battling the Marauders, the mutant team can do nothing to counter Gladiator, with the lone fighter more than able to hold their own. However, the Tempo that was controlling the time closed the distance and latched onto him. Using his powers to advance or slow the passage of time, Tempo is able to age Gladiator’s fist by millennia – reducing it to a skeletal form. While this seriously drains Tempo and leaves her exposed to counterattacks, it also significantly slows Gladiator more than anyone ever could.

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It’s a particularly impressive turn of events, given that Kallark can usually shrug off any threat as long as his confidence stays high. But Tempo being able to stop her onslaught speaks to the idea that she could easily serve as a counterforce to the great powers. Although she is breathless from the effort of weakening a single arm, there are possible workarounds thanks to mutant technologies. Like pairing it with Fabian Cortez’s power amplification abilities or Hope’s mutant mimicry to make any attack even more effective. She could also be paired with someone like Healer or Elixir, who could restore Tempo’s stamina as she wears down, allowing her to continue using her powers.

In theory, this strategy could be useful against just about anything or anyone that ages – converting all enemies to literal dust. Tempo might have to overwork himself to use this power to its fullest, but that’s one of the reasons Krakoa has a host of healers waiting. With his specific abilities, Tempo could counter anything short of immortal, meaning generally unstoppable forces like Gladiator would be unlikely to walk away from a full battle. While Tempo may not be the most powerful mutant, his abilities make him one of the most dangerous and give the Marauders someone capable of stopping a Superman equivalent.

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