Who Is the X-MEN ’97 Villain, the X-Cutioner?

While X-Men ’97 on Disney+ is bringing back many well-known and beloved characters from back in the day, it is also incorporating one X-Men character from the ’90s many have forgotten about. This character has not appeared in a significant capacity in a Marvel comic in years. He did not even show up on the ’90s cartoon. That character is the mysterious villain the X-Cutioner, whom Marvel Animation has confirmed will play a big role in the Disney+ series, and already has an action figure in the new Hasbro X-Men ’97 line. Here’s the lowdown on this often-forgotten villain.

The 1993 First Appearance of the X-Cutioner

Cover art for 1993's Uncanny X-Men Annual #17, drawn by Jason Pearson.
Marvel Comics

Created by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Jason Pearson, the X-Cutioner first appeared in Uncanny X-Men Annual #17 in 1993. In the story “The Gift Goodbye,” the mysterious figure in the executioner’s hood first appeared. He’s a human slaying mutants, but only “mutants who have killed first.” He gets on the X-Men’s radar in a bad way, and they discover he’s using a collection of advanced weapons from various villains they’ve faced. Some included Sentinel tech, but most others include alien races like the Shi’ar and the Z’noxx. After that first encounter, X-Cutioner fakes his death, but Storm suspects he teleported away instead. She was correct.

The X-Cutioner Fights Cyclops, Cable, Rogue, and X-Man

Cover art for 1993's Uncanny X-Men #310, showing Cyclops and Cable fighting X-Cutioner. Art by John Romita Jr.
Marvel Comics

The X-Cutioner next appeared later that same year in Uncanny X-Men #301, also written by Scott Lobdell. He attacks the X-Mansion and tries to murder the comatose Emma Frost. Supposedly this was a judgement for her crimes as White Queen of the Hellfire Club. Cyclops and Cable find a way to stop him. However, the mystery of who he really is under that mask remains. It’s not until 1995’s X-Man #11 that we learn the truth about this hooded figure, and why he targets mutants. It’s a secret that ties into the X-Men’s earliest days under Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

The X-Cutioner’s Origin Revealed in X-Man

Early appearances by the X-Cutioner in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, X-Man.
Marvel Comics

In the early X-Men comics, Professor Xavier had a contact in the FBI named Fred Duncan. He was sympathetic to the mutant cause, and he helped Xavier on many occasions. He faded into obscurity over time. Decades later, when Marvel revealed the X-Cutioner’s origin, we learned that a mutant murdered Duncan, and his FBI partner Carl Denti vowed revenge. Duncan confiscated alien materials from the X-Men’s adventures which Denti now had access to. He donned the guise of the X-Cutioner and used the alien gadgets to kill mutants he saw as dangerous. Denti believed himself to not be a bigot, saying he didn’t hate mutants, only those that caused harm to others. He attacked Rogue, Nate Grey, and Gambit. After assisting the Punisher on a case, he disappeared for years. The X-Cutioner returned after nearly two decades, in the X-Men’s Krakoan era, when he attacked the Marauders.

The Powers and Weapons of the X-Cutioner

The X-Cutioner attacks the young X-Men team, Generation X.
Marvel Comics

The X-Cutioner has highly advanced technological weaponry, mostly of an extraterrestrial origin. These weapons came from the government storehouses of his old FBI partner Fred Duncan, who once worked with Charles Xavier. The armor he wears is possibly the same armor used by Shi’ar operative Eric the Red, who once fought the X-Men. The armor gives Denti enhanced strength and durability. It can also analyze DNA, distinguishing mutant from human, possibly extracted from Sentinel tech. The X-Cutioner wields a staff that has some sort of powerful plasma discharge. He also has a teleportation device, almost certainly also of alien origin.

The X-Cutioner in X-Men ’97

The Hasbro Marvel Legends X-Men '97 X-Cutioner action figure.

It remains a mystery just what kind of role the X-Cutioner will play in X-Men ’97. The fact that he has an action figure suggests he will be much more than a cameo. It’s quite possible this X-Cutioner is not Carl Denti at all, but someone already hinted at in the original X-Men: The Animated Series. He’s a relatively obscure and minor villain, so the man behind the mask might be someone else entirely on the show. Fred Duncan was never in the classic show, so it makes little sense for him to get a reference in the new series. We’ll find out what role the X-Cutioner plays in X-Men ’97 when the show rolls out this spring.

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