Who Were Marvel’s Non-X-Men ‘Homo Superior’ – and Why Were They Terrifying?

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The massive scope of the mutant race across the Marvel Universe means there are plenty of different kinds of powers and attributes among the X-Men. This has led to some level of in-fighting over the years, such as with Apocayplse’s long-standing belief in survival of the fittest eliminating weaker generations of mutants.

The Dominant Species were a briefly terrifying enemy that believed similarly and even came close to killing the X-Men during their only encounters — and could have become a massive threat if they hadn’t been dealt with by a universe-altering event.

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The Dominant Species as a group made their debut in Uncanny X-Men #417 by Chuck Austen and Kia Asamiya. Led by Maximus Lobo, the Dominant Species were a collection of similarly powered mutants. Capable of transforming from a human disguise into a hulking wolf-life form, these mutants determined they were an ideal form of the mutant race — the Dominant Species within the next evolutionary step. Other similar mutants exist like Wolfsbane of the New Mutants and Feral of X-Force, but neither of them was approached by the race. Instead, they made their presence known to the X-Men during a plan to procure Stark Tech and sell it as weapons — framing Warren Worthington in the process.

Physically strong, surprisingly durable, and ruthless with their claws, the Dominant Species proved fast and ferocious enough — especially in a pack, as they like to travel — to even leave Wolverine bleeding out on the ground. Although this initial plan failed, they later tried to recruit the Academy X-era student Wolf Cub to their side, targeting the “other species” of mutants present at the Xavier Insititute. Luckily, this second attack was halted by the X-Men and the reality-hopping Exiles. Initially, it wasn’t clear what kind of mutants the Dominant Species were — if they were truly a sub-species of wolf mutants separate from most others, or if they were a similar kind of mutant trying to strengthen their own specific gene-pool by ‘eliminating the competition.”

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Notably, the Dominant Species was genuinely fearsome in their few appearances. Massive in stature and able to blend into crowds by assuming human forms, Maximus Lobo and his forces made quick work of the X-Men under Worthington’s command: Wolverine was left seriously injured, and it was only the discovery of a latent healing factor in his own blood that saved Archangel and Husk. Even the inventive shape-shifter Morph had difficulty when fighting against them in Exiles #28-30 by Austen and Clayton Henry, being sliced to pieces and only surviving due to his power. They also seemed to have a clear effect on other mutants like them, influencing Wolf Cub and potentially being capable of doing the same to someone like Wolfsbane or even Wild Child.

Unfortunately for them (and luckily for the rest of the mutant race), the Dominant Species never got the chance to truly spread their influence. In theory, they could have become serious threats — with Norman Osborn’s assessment of Lobo in Dark Reign Files noting that he could have made a useful ally to counter the X-Men. However, due to the events of House of M and the subsequent decimation of the mutant race, Maximus Lobo and his allies were among the numerous mutants who were depowered across the globe. This put a kibosh on their plans to increase the influence of the wolf-like type of mutants, before they could have become a far more frightening force within the Marvel Universe.

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