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Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceX-Force #10 (May 1992)
Created byRob Liefeld
Fabian Nicieza
Mark Pacella
Notable membersAbsalom
White Sword
Inherent abilitiesImmortality

The Externals are a group of fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Considered a rare subspecies of mutants, most of them were X-Men antagonists. The original, unused name for the group was to be The Prophets, as seen on the back of the Sunspot & Gideon trading card included with X-Force #1. The characters first appeared in X-Force #10 (May 1992).[1]


The Externals are all mutants with the additional gift of immortality and, as expressed by Cable, they play an important role in the future and Apocalypse's rise to power.[2] Their true origins are scattered throughout history, but it is known that they all share a psychic link[3] with each other that separates them from other immortals as it allows them to not only sense each other and their whereabouts, but allows them to summon each other at will from great distances and also allows them to sense when one rises from the dead and when one is killed. Saul, Absalom, Gideon, Nicodemus, Burke, Selene, Candra, 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 did not take any part in the High Lords' gatherings.

Each External was claimed to represent an intangible concept:[4]

At one point, X-Men regular and former New Mutant Cannonball was declared an External by Cable.[8] Later, Selene betrayed her fellow Externals[9] and despite the efforts of X-Force, she managed to slay them by absorbing their life forces.[10] 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.[11] 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 is not sure if he was joking or not.[12] Originally, Apocalypse was not considered to be External, though sometimes referred to as one. 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. 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.[13] The only way of effectively killing an External is by destroying their hearts, which consequently channels the life-force of the slain External into others, making them virtually all-powerful.[14][15] Selene reveals she did not accomplish this deed herself because she could not handle the accompanying stress. Selene's assumptions about Cannonball and Apocalypse's status as Externals also cannot be taken as fact, as she incorrectly describes a total of seven Externals, rather than eight.[16] Evidently, as long as there are at least two living Externals in a single timeframe, those who have died will simply be revived to life and health, as was the case with Burke, who was killed by the future version of Gideon only to be reborn as a baby with purple eyes because the present versions of Selene and Gideon were alive.[17] More recently, it was confirmed that Apocalypse is indeed an External, and participated in the creation of Candra's gem with Selene and the other High lords eons ago.

Following the creation of a mutant nation on Krakoa, Apocalypse rescued his first Horsemen. He summoned his fellow Externals to the Eternal Caldera on Krakoa, revealing his intentions to sacrifice some of their life energy to power the Arak Maw Gate. Selene, Gideon and Absolom are revealed to be a part of his plan and quickly turns on their fellow immortals. With the unexpected help of Rictor, the group wiped out four of the Externals and extracted their life energy to fuel the crystals that powered the gateway to Arakko.[18]

It is later revealed by Summoner, the grandson of Apocalypse through his daughter War, and Apocalypse's wife Genesis (Summoner's grandmother and War's mother) that the mutant known as the "White Sword" is also an External. White Sword is the Champion of Okkara (the living continent that was once the single mutant homeland on Earth) and an Omega-level healer, and leads an arm of One Hundred Champions, composed of warriors he has personally defeated and then resurrected.

Other versions

Askani World

On Earth-4935 (Askani World), the Externals were purged by Apocalypse, who ascended to power and took control of the planet up until the 39th century.

Age of Apocalypse

When the time-traveling Legion killed his own father and created an alternate reality, it is unknown what happened to 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.

In other media

X-Men: The Animated Series


  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  2. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 259. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  3. ^ "External Link". Retrieved 2023-12-18.
  4. ^ X-Force #36–37
  5. ^ X-Force #10
  6. ^ X-Force #54
  7. ^ Cable #151
  8. ^ X-Force #8
  9. ^ X-Force #52
  10. ^ X-Force #53
  11. ^ X-Force #54
  12. ^ New X-Men vol. 2 #28
  13. ^ Cable #150
  14. ^ Cable #154
  15. ^ Cable #151
  16. ^ Cable #154
  17. ^ Cable #154
  18. ^ Excalibur vol. 4 #12