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Textless cover for New X-Men: Hellions #2 (Aug. 2005).
Art by Clayton Henry.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceNew X-Men #133 (Dec. 2002)
Created byGrant Morrison
Ethan Van Sciver
In-story information
Alter egoSooraya Qadir
SpeciesHuman mutant
Team affiliationsHellions training squad
New X-Men
Xavier Institute
Young X-Men
Jean Grey School Students
Notable aliasesCongregation
  • Sand transformation
    • Superhuman durability
    • Telepathic resistance
    • Magical resistance

Dust (Sooraya Qadir)[1] is a superheroine appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character usually appears in X-Men-related comic books. Sooraya is a mutant with the ability to transform her body into a pliable cloud of dust. The X-Men travel to Afghanistan to rescue Sooraya, whose abilities have made her the target of antagonists.

Publication history

Sooraya Qadir, alias Dust, was created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Ethan Van Sciver for the comic book series New X-Men #133 (December 2002). Dust has since appeared in various X-Men related comic book series, miniseries, and storylines.

Fictional character biography


Sooraya Qadir ,within the X-Men universe, is a Pashtun Muslim from Kandahar, Afghanistan, who possesses the mutant ability to transform into a sand-like substance. The character’s origin story depicts her kidnapping by slavers who attempt to remove her religious head covering, the niqab. This event triggers Sooraya's mutant power for the first time, incapacitating her attackers.[2] Rescued by Wolverine and Fantomex, Sooraya enrolls at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Leadership, a school dedicated to training mutants to control their powers and coexist with humanity.[3]


Sooraya Qadir's experiences at the Xavier Institute are documented across various X-Men comic book series. Notably, she features prominently in the aftermath of a major event within the Marvel Universe that significantly reduces the mutant population. This event, known as "Decimation," significantly impacts the dynamics at the Xavier Institute, forcing the school to restructure and leading to a reduced student body. Sooraya is among the 27 mutants who retain their powers after Decimation, placing her in a unique position within the institute.[4]

Early Struggles and Adaptation

Following her enrollment, Sooraya initially struggles to adapt to life at the Xavier Institute. Cultural and religious differences create challenges, particularly with her outspoken roommate Noriko. Despite these obstacles, Sooraya demonstrates unwavering faith in her Islamic beliefs, choosing to wear her religious attire instead of the standard training uniform.[3] Over time, Sooraya develops friendships with other students, including Icarus. However, her religious background occasionally leads to conflict with other characters, highlighting the complexities of integrating mutants from diverse backgrounds.[5] Sooraya's journey at the Xavier Institute is marked by various challenges that test her courage and resilience. Due to her religious beliefs, Sooraya becomes a target for anti-mutant factions within the Marvel Universe, leading to threats and capture.[6][7] However, Sooraya consistently demonstrates her bravery, using her unique sand-based powers to battle enemies like William Stryker and the villain Belasco.[8][6] Despite facing injuries and moments of self-doubt regarding leadership,[9][10] Sooraya continues to overcome adversity, even confronting powerful mutants like a nanotech-controlled Sentinel and Predator X.[11][12] Her resourcefulness and strategic use of her powers prove valuable in defeating formidable foes like the mutant Exodus.[13]

Return to Afghanistan and Beyond

Sooraya's story extends beyond the walls of the Xavier Institute. In later storylines, she returns to her home country, taking a protective stance over a small town. However, she becomes entangled in a complex situation and is manipulated into joining a team led by a character impersonating Cyclops.[14] This event leads to a life-threatening situation where parts of her body are temporarily transformed into glass.[15][16][14] Sooraya demonstrates remarkable resilience, eventually recovering and rejoining the X-Men in San Francisco.[14] Following a major schism within the X-Men, Sooraya initially sides with Wolverine's team but ultimately chooses to remain with Cyclops' faction.[17][18]

Personality and Relationships

Sooraya is depicted as a quiet and reserved individual, initially struggling to adapt to life at the Xavier Institute, particularly with her outspoken roommate Noriko. Despite these initial difficulties, Sooraya demonstrates unwavering faith in her religion, choosing to wear a hijab instead of the standard training uniform.[3] Throughout her time at the institute, Sooraya develops friendships with other students like Icarus, though her religious beliefs occasionally create conflict with other characters.[5]


In line with Sooraya's character as a traditional Muslim, she chooses to don a loose-fitting black dress, with a niqab covering her face. Sooraya explains to her mother that she dresses this way because of the modesty it affords her from men. Her mother is happy that she lives somewhere where she is able to make those choices[19]

Powers and abilities

Dust uses her powers

Dust is a transmorph, able to transform herself into an explosive cloud of sand-like silicon particles and maintain control of her sand form. She can reform her normal body at will or maintain an aerial based sand form in the shape of her human body. Her sandstorm form is resistant to most forms of injury. The form makes her hard to detect telepathically, according to Jean Grey and Professor X.[2] She is also resistant to magic.[20] She can use the form to attack, for instance, scouring the flesh from her enemies' bones like a sandstorm as well as enter people's lungs and scouring them from the inside.

Cultural Reception and Accolades

Critical reception

Peter Eckhardt of called Dust one of the "favorite characters with connections to the 616 AAPI community," writing, "Qadir's Sunni Muslim faith is a critical part of her character. She's depicted almost exclusively wearing traditional Muslim dress consisting of a niqab atop an abaya. Although her faith occasionally creates conflict with other characters, Qadir's faith remains strong and makes her one of the most positive representations of Muslim women in speculative fiction."[21] Marc Buxton of Den of Geek said, "We have the devout Muslim warrior Dust, one of the bravest X-Men to join Xavier’s team in the 21st century. When a slave trader forcibly tried to remove her niqab, Sooraya Qadir manifested her power to turn her body into sand and flayed him alive. Dust remains one of X-Men’s bravest, using her unwavering faith and powers to help other young mutants. For Dust, her eyes tell the whole story, of faith and pain, of belief and bravery."[22]


Other versions

Although Dust is a character in the main Marvel Universe continuity (also called "Earth-616,"), she has also been depicted in other fictional universes and alternate futures.

House of M

Sooraya appears as a member of the New Mutants in the House of M continuity. She appears to have formed a very close friendship with Jubilee and become Westernized, wearing revealing clothes and enjoying stereotypical 'mall rat' activities. Like the rest of the Hellions and New Mutants, she travels to Japan to fight against Emperor Sunfire in order to close down Project Genesis.

X-Men: The End

In the alternate time line depicted in X-Men: The End, Sooraya remains at the institute as the caretaker of Cyclops and Emma Frost's children. During the attack on the institute, Sooraya encounters Madelyne Pryor, asking if she is Jean Grey returning to the school. Madelyne lashes out and Sooraya defends herself, seemingly defeating Madelyne and escaping the institute before it explodes. It is later revealed that the "Dust" who escaped the encounter was really Madelyne, disguised in Sooraya's abaya. Upon revealing her true identity, Cyclops states that he already knew it was her and that the real Sooraya died back at the school.

Young X-Men "End of Days"

In a dystopic future depicted in the final two issues of "Young X-Men", Sooraya appears before the last remaining mutants on the once mutant safe-haven and independent state of "Xaviera". She easily kills Wolverine and kills Graymalkin and Emma Frost. Before killing him, Sooraya explains to Anole that she is doing this because mutants are a "plague" upon the world and that she has become its cure, "a storm that wipes clean the earth". She reaches a now decrepit Ink, who has a brief conversation with her regarding her revival in the past. They both discuss that his actions corrupted her, "killing" her soul and she reveals that she still harbors resentment over "mutants" allowing her to die in the first place. She states that she is sorry, as she knows his actions were good at heart, and kills him.[30]

In this future depiction, Sooraya no longer observes Islamic hijab, wearing a tight outfit exposing her face and her cleavage. Her eyes glow red and she has combustive powers in addition to her original abilities.[30]

In other media

See also


  1. ^ Grant Morrison (w), Ethan Van Sciver (p), Norm Rapmund (i). "Dust" New X-Men, no. 1 (Dec. 2002). Marvel Comics.
  2. ^ a b New X-Men #133
  3. ^ a b c New X-Men: Academy X #2
  4. ^ New X-Men vol. 2 #23
  5. ^ a b New X-Men: Academy X #14
  6. ^ a b New X-Men vol. 2 #27
  7. ^ New X-Men vol. 2 #25
  8. ^ New X-Men vol. 2 #22
  9. ^ New X-Men vol. 2 #44 (2008)
  10. ^ New X-Men vol. 2#42-43
  11. ^ X-Factor vol. 3 #27 (2008)
  12. ^ The Uncanny X-Men #493 (2008)
  13. ^ X-Men #207 (2008)
  14. ^ a b c Young X-Men #1-6
  15. ^ Young X-Men #8
  16. ^ Young X-Men #7
  17. ^ Champions #9 (2020). Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Champions #3 - 5 (2020). Marvel Comics.
  19. ^ New X-Men: Hellions #2
  20. ^ New X-Men Vol 2 #39
  21. ^ Eckhardt, Peter (2022-05-19). "10 Marvel Characters You Should Read For AAPI Month". CBR. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  22. ^ a b Buxton, Marc (2017-02-03). "40 X-Men Characters Who Haven't Appeared in the Movies But Should". Den of Geek. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  23. ^ Perpetua, Matthew. "95 X-Men Members Ranked From Worst To Best". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  24. ^ C. B. R. Staff (2017-02-03). "15 Muslim Characters In Comics You Should Know". CBR. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  25. ^ Stoye, Grant (2020-04-20). "X-Men: The 10 Most Powerful Members Of The Hellions, Ranked". CBR. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  26. ^ Tibbetts, John (2020-02-06). "Marvel Phase 4: 10 Mutants Who Should Be MCU X-Men". Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  27. ^ Lealos, Shawn S. (2021-09-19). "10 Most Powerful Members Of The Champions, Ranked". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  28. ^ Cunis, Peter (2022-07-19). "The 10 Best X-Men Mutants Who Haven't Been In A Movie Yet". CBR. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  29. ^ Lawrence, Casey (2022-02-27). "X-Men: 10 Heroes Who'd Be Perfect Assassins (Without Using Telepathy)". CBR. Retrieved 2022-11-11.
  30. ^ a b Young X-Men #12
  31. ^ Wolverine and the X-Men Ep. 1 - "Hindsight Pt. 1"