X-Man is a superhero from the “Age of Apocalypse” (Earth-295) reality who is an alternative counterpart of the ordinary Marvel Universe hero Cable. He is the biological son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey from his dimension, the result of Mr. Sinister’s genetic meddling. His first name is Nathaniel Essex, after his creator (Mr Sinister), and his last name is Jean Grey, after his genetic mother. Nate developed immense telepathic and telekinetic capabilities (like those that Cable would have had without the virus) and was one of the most powerful mutants in existence throughout his lifetime since he was not infected by a techno-organic virus as Cable was.
X-Man debuted as a miniseries in 1995, replacing Cable in the alternate reality narrative “Age of Apocalypse.” After the narrative concluded, however, Marvel returned Nate Grey to the Marvel shared reality. Nate grappled with becoming the most powerful person in a weird environment through the run of the show, which lasted until 2001. His ostensibly self-sacrificial death brought the series to a close.
Despite his moniker, X-Man was only a member of the X-Men for a short time in both the Age of Apocalypse and ordinary realities. In both the Age of Apocalypse and the main Marvel reality, the character was initially simply known by his given name. Nate began to be referred to as X-Man irregularly just before the Onslaught crossover event, with no explanation for the code name’s in-universe origin.
Mister Sinister, one of the elite Horsemen of the High Lord Apocalypse, constructed Nate (calling him Nathaniel Grey) using genetic material from Cyclops and Phoenix in the parallel world known as The Age of Apocalypse. Sinister envisioned Nate as the greatest mutant, intending to utilize him in his own power struggle with Apocalypse.
However, during one of his numerous subversive assaults on Sinister’s pens, Cyclops assisted Nate in escaping Sinister’s lair; neither Cyclops nor Nate were aware of their relationship. Nate was taught by Forge and a group of other mutant outcasts. Forge started the long process of teaching Nate how to handle his abilities and the advantages of being a “nice man.” Nate began to witness firsthand the atrocities of Apocalypse’s society and was determined to bring him down.
In order to track Nate’s progress, Sinister entered Forge’s gang as the wanderer Essex. Both Brute and Forge were finally slain by Sinister. To avenge Forge’s death, Nate fought Sinister. During the battle, Sinister enabled Nate to read his thoughts, revealing Nate’s origins as well as his ultimate goal of conquering Apocalypse. Nate departed to combat Apocalypse when Sinister was gravely injured in the combat. The parallel X-Men were in the midst of their ultimate gambit, using the M’Kraan Crystal to defeat this reality.
The X-strategy Men’s succeeded, and the Age of Apocalypse was wiped away, interrupting Nate’s confrontation with Apocalypse. In retaliation, Holocaust was pierced with a fragment of the M’Kraan Crystal by an enraged Nate, with unforeseen results: both vanished.
Nate and Holocaust were both brought to the true reality as it reasserted itself, and the ramifications of that deed were unanticipated and far-reaching. When Nate lands in Switzerland, he is met by Madelyne Pryor, who is quite alive but has lost her memory. Madelyne assists Nate in adjusting to this new reality, but Selene separates them soon after. Nate walks the Earth alone, encountering numerous people who either want to utilize his gift or really want to aid him, only to be sent away by Nate’s distrustful temperament. Nate detects Xavier’s astral form spying on him and brings him into the physical world during this time, unknowingly contributing to the ultimate creation of Onslaught. This achievement motivates Onslaught’s mental parts to develop a psychic body for himself, culminating in Onslaught creating an autonomous body.
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