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Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Force #10 (May 1992)
Created by Rob Liefeld
Fabian Nicieza
Mark Pacella
Notable members Absalom
Inherent abilities Varies

The Externals are a group of fictional characters. Considered a rare subspecies of mutants, most of them were X-Men antagonists. The original, unused name for the group was to be The Prophet$, as seen on the back of the Sunspot & Gideon trading card included with X-Force #1.


All of the Externals were originally portrayed as immortal and important, playing an extremely major role in the future and Apocalypse's rise to power (as expressed by Cable), but eventually most were killed off. Only Selene, a previously established character, was spared from the purge. Saul, Absalom, Gideon, Nicodemus, Burke, and Crule (to a lesser extent) formed the self-fashioned "High Lords", bent on playing power games and manipulating events behind the scenes. Crule was employed as an enforcer and assassin for the other High Lords, while Candra and Selene preferred to play their own schemes separately and didn't take any part on the High Lords gatherings.

At one point, X-Men regular and former New Mutant Cannonball was declared an External by Cable, although Selene denies this, suggesting it was just a ploy by Cable.

Each External was claimed to represent an intangible concept:[1]

  • Absalom - despair (believed to have been killed when Selene drained his life force)[2]
  • Burke - fortitude (mentioned to have been killed by the Legacy Virus[3], however his status as an immortal allowed him to survive only to be killed by a future version of Gideon).[4]
  • Candra - guile (thought to have been killed when the gem that housed her life-essence was destroyed by Cyclops, her psyche still lives on and was able to reconstitute her own body[5][6], she was later killed by a future version of Gideon).[7]
  • Cannonball - hope (He was recognized by all the other Externals, but both Selene and Cable had stated that Cannonball is not an External, nevertheless his status is still unclear)[8]
  • Crule - ferocity (believed to have been killed when his life force was drained by Selene[9], however his status as an immortal allowed him to survive).[10]
  • Gideon - opportunity (believed to have been killed when his life force was drained by Selene[11], however his status as an immortal allowed him to survive).
  • Nicodemus - wisdom (believed to have been killed by the Legacy Virus[12], however his status as an immortal allowed him to survive.)
  • Saul - patience (believed to have been killed when Selene drained his life force[13], however his status as an immortal allowed him to survive. He was later killed by a future version of Gideon.)
  • Selene - corruption (killed at the end of Necrosha when X-Force prevented her from attaining godhood,[14] later resurrected by Arkea)
  • Apocalypse - evolution (taken away by the Celestials, his status as an External is still unclear)

Later, Selene betrayed her fellow Externals[15] and despite the efforts of X-Force, she managed to absorbed their life forces.[16] Selene ultimately escaped, but not before summarily dismissing the assumption that Cannonball was an External, calling into question Cable's conclusion and the reasons for it.[17] Yet, more recently, Cannonball was shot three times through the chest by Reverend Stryker's Purifiers, and was back up and around in a matter of hours. When asked about it, Hank McCoy mentioned Cannonball’s status as an immortal again, though it’s not sure if he was joking or not.[18] Apocalypse has also been referred to as an External on several occasions; his longevity is believed by Selene to be mostly due to technological means, although Apocalypse was already many centuries old before his first encounter with the technology he would later integrate himself with. To note, Selene herself needs to maintain her supply of life force that she drains from human victims.

More recently however it was revealed that all Externals previously believed to have been killed by Selene or the Legacy Virus had in fact survived.[19] As it turns out, apparently the only way of killing an External is by removing their hearts[20] and only an External can kill an External.[21] Also to note that Selene assumptions about Cannonball and Apocalypse not being part of the Externals cannot be taken lightly as she mentions to be a total of seven Externals when there's actually eight.[22]

Other versions


In (Earth-4935), the Externals were all killed by Apocalypse who ascended to power and gained control of the entire planet up until the 39th century.

Age of Apocalypse

In the alternate reality created when the time traveling Legion killed his own father, it's unknown what happened with the Externals as only a few had made their presence known as soldiers of Apocalypse. Candra, Selene and Gideon were recruited as the first wave of Horsemen of Apocalypse, Cannonball was a member of Sinister's Elite Mutant Force and his status as an External may never been discovered, and there is some speculation that Crule was the mutant known in this reality as Wolverine. Absalom, Burke, Nicodemus and Saul did not make an appearance nor were mentioned, so it is possible that they were killed at some point during Apocalypse's ascension.

In other media

X-Men: The Animated Series

  • In the episode "Sanctuary Part 2", Saul and Gideon are seen watching Fabian Cortez announce his scheme to the Earth.
  • In the episode "Externally Yours", Gambit's past involvement with the respective guilds of Thieves and Assassins, as well as with the External Candra (depicted here as an African-American "spirit lady", as opposed to a Caucasian telekinetic, and merely known as "The External") are detailed.


  1. ^ X-Force (1st series) #36–37
  2. ^ X-Force (1st series) #54
  3. ^ X-Force (1st series) #37
  4. ^ Cable #152
  5. ^ X-Men (2nd series) #61
  6. ^ Scarlet-Spider #12
  7. ^ Cable #150
  8. ^ Cable #151
  9. ^ X-Force (1st series) #54
  10. ^ Cable #150
  11. ^ X-Force (1st series) #52
  12. ^ X-Force (1st series) #20
  13. ^ X-Force (1st series) #54
  14. ^ X-Force (3rd series) #25
  15. ^ X-Force #52
  16. ^ X-Force #53
  17. ^ X-Force #54
  18. ^ New X-Men (2nd series) #28
  19. ^ Cable #150
  20. ^ Cable #151
  21. ^ Cable #154
  22. ^ Cable #154
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