The X-Men have been targeted and plotted against ever since they first came onto the scene in the Marvel Universe. Despite all the good they’ve tried to do for humanity, the X-Men and their fellow mutants are still hated and feared. Their goodwill has been exploited, and they have been betrayed by those they thought they could trust.
However, the X-Men have made their fair share of missteps, and they’ve earned their fair share of retribution. Not every X-Men has been an angel, and not every plan has turned out as intended. There have even been times where they’ve wreaked a little havoc on purpose.
10 BETRAYED: Mutant Registration Act
Before there was a Superhuman Registration Act, there was the Mutant Registration Act. Frequent anti-mutant agitator Senator Robert Kelly pushed for the bill, and it was eventually passed into law by the United States government. Mutants had to register themselves as such for the government, and Mystique was chosen to helm the Freedom Force, which would arrest unregistered mutants.
The X-Men and their affiliate groups didn’t actively fight against the bill, but they didn’t register themselves either. The bill hasn’t ever been officially repealed, but it hasn’t been referenced in quite some time either.
9 DESERVED IT: Wolverine And The Jean Grey School
After Quentin Quire, aka Kid Omega, caused a stir by forcing world leaders to reveal their darkest secrets, the X-Men know things are going to get worse for mutants soon. Cyclops readies the X-Men for war and begins training their newest and youngest students as soldiers. Wolverine is against this, and it leads to the Schism event that splits apart the X-Men. Logan takes a portion of the residents of their then-island headquarters, Utopia, and moves back to New York to open the Jean Grey School.
For once, Scott Summers was being more of the brutal realist while Logan still wanted to treat the kids like kids, and it’s hard to blame Logan for it.
8 BETRAYED: Dark Phoenix Saga
One of their oldest and most powerful members turned on the X-Men in the famous Dark Phoenix Saga. The Hellfire Club and Mastermind work together to bend Jean Grey to their will. They try to make her their Black Queen, and they unlock something hidden within Jean.
At first, it seems to just be another personality, but it turns out to be the godlike cosmic being, the Phoenix. It pushes Jean to turn on the X-Men before wreaking havoc across the stars. In the end, Jean Grey destroys herself to stop the madness. Of course, this didn’t quite stick in the long run.
7 DESERVED IT: Havok And The Uncanny Avengers
After the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men, Captain America wanted to set up a new Avengers roster that brought mutants to the forefront. Havok, Rogue, Sunfire, and Wolverine joined up to make that happen, and they quickly found themselves at odds with Cyclops and his rogue group of X-Men, as well as Cable’s new X-Force team.
At this point, it’s hard to not sympathize with Havok’s position here. He wanted mutants to be accepted, so he joined with the Avengers to continue to fight for mutants as a hero. Meanwhile, Cyclops was coming off as increasingly unstable and violent.
6 BETRAYED: Genoshan Massacre
Magneto turned Genosha into a mutant nation after it fell to civil war. Though Erik had concerning plans for expansion, it was still the first mutant sovereign state to ever be established.
The anti-mutant bigot Cassandra Nova unleashed a wild army of Sentinels to destroy Genosha, and she succeeded. Almost every mutant living in the country was killed. This is perhaps the single largest mutant death event in Marvel history.
5 DESERVED IT: Magneto And S.H.I.E.L.D.
Magneto stuck with Cyclops after Avengers Vs. X-Men and aided Scott in his plans for revolution. However, S.H.I.E.L.D. continued to get better and better at responding to Cyclops’ activities, and there was a reason for this. Magneto had been in contact with Maria Hill and had been feeding her information.
Erik never forgave Scott for killing Professor X while under the influence of the Phoenix, and this was the best way for Magneto to get back at him for it. After a confrontation, Magneto left the team and began working on his own plans.
4 BETRAYED: AvX
For years, the world seemed to become more and more hostile towards mutants, no matter what the X-Men did to prove that mutants deserved their place in the world. All the while, the Avengers seemed to sit back and watch.
This came to a head when the Avengers came out in force to confront Cyclops on Utopia over his plan to use the Pheonix Force to save mutant-kind. Cyclops took this as an act of war and attacked Captain America, leading to the war between the Avengers and the X-Men.
3 DESERVED IT: AvX
That said, Cyclops had clearly become more aggressive and seemingly unstable over the recent years, and his plan to use the Phoenix Force to save mutants seemed incredibly dangerous.
The Phoenix had been responsible for the deaths of entire planets in the past and summoning the Phoenix clearly put Earth in danger. One couldn’t blame for Cap trying to confront Scott over this and being prepared in case it turned into a fight.
2 BETRAYED: “No More Mutants”
Even though the Genoshan massacre was the single largest mutant death event, M-Day and the Decimation possibly brought mutants far closer to extinction. After being manipulated by Quicksilver and feeling threatened by Magneto, Scarlet Witch struck back at them with her reality-bending powers and the words, “No more mutants.”
This removed the powers of almost all of mutant-kind, and it made it so that no more mutants would be born. Though this was a result of Wanda’s fraying sanity, this was still an undeserved near-fatal blow to all mutants.
1 DESERVED IT: New Tian
Perhaps the most questionable move of mutant-kind at large, Magneto met with Hydra-Captain America shortly before Hydra took over the United States. During this meeting, Erik and evil Steve agreed to leave a portion of the West Coast as a sovereign mutant nation. Magneto disappeared after this, but New Tian was still formed under the leadership of Xorn (secretly controlled by Emma Frost).
Many X-Men remained hostile towards the new Hydra nation, but they still worked to evacuate mutants to New Tian. This was all still drinking from a poisoned chalice though, and it’s disconcerting that Magneto, a Holocaust survivor, would make a deal with a group spawned from the Nazis.
The X-Men have been through more than most comic characters. Some of their heartbreaking betrayals were deserved but some weren't.