- Forever vying for political and monetary control over the destiny of this planet. Each of us aware that to truly gain such complete control requires mastery over time itself. For what sense is there in gaining power over your own destiny?
- -- Saul
Origins and early years
"The Externals" is the name several mutants gave themselves when forming a loose-knit group of mutants who believed themselves to be immortal. The criteria for being an External remains indistinct, but in general all Externals appear to be of a sub-species that are able to recover from mortal wounds and even death itself. However, over time, several mutants thought to be Externals were deemed not, and perhaps the distinction is a capricious one.
The Externals apparently know of each other's existences on a telepathic level, although this telepathy remains vague and perhaps only manifests when an External first resurrects him or herself. It has also yet to be revealed how the Externals originally banded together. Nevertheless, by the time the Externals began making their activities public, their number included eight members: Absalom, Burke, Candra, Crule, Gideon, Nicodemus, Saul, and Selene. (At one point, it was suggested the mutant Apocalypse was an External as well, but this was never upheld by any of the actual Externals.)
In more recent years, the Externals were searching for their next member. Gideon long believed the next External was the hero Sunspot, and had positioned himself in Sunspot's life even before his heroic career. Later, when Sunspot's team, the New Mutants, was at a point of collapse, Gideon orchestrated the death of Sunspot's father in order to allow Sunspot to leave the team and join him. Unaware of Gideon's true purpose and actions, Sunspot agreed.
At the same point the time-travelling mutant Cable had taken leadership of the New Mutants and renamed them X-Force, as he believed, based on his travels in time, that the mutant Cannonball might be an External. When Cannonball was killed by the villain Sauron and later revived, the Externals sensed Cannonball to potentially be one of their own as well.
Gideon sent Crule to kill Cable, so that the Externals could easily capture Cannonball, but Crule was defeated. X-Force then confronted Gideon, revealing the truth and freeing Sunspot. Cannonball was made to promise not to interfere with Externals' affairs, although later Saul kidnapped three of X-Force's members in order to blackmail Cannonball into joining them. X-Force nevertheless defeated Saul and Gideon.
Months later, several Externals peaceably sought Cannonball to join them yet again. They hoped that Cannonball might hold a key to solving the Legacy Virus that killed their members Nicodemus and Burke, but Cannonball could not help them.
Murdered by Selene
Later still, Gideon sent a distress call to X-Force after being betrayed by the External Selene. For reasons of her own, Selene was suddenly killing the remaining members of the Externals, absorbing their life forces. Despite the efforts of X-Force, 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.
The Externals were later revealed to be alive and well once again, only now they are at the mercy of a mysterious new killer who was somehow connected to the timestream. To investigate this odd occurrence, Cable assembled a new team of mutants in hopes of discovering the killer's identity. Initial suspicions were directed towards Selene, given her complex history with both her own kind and the X-Men. While aware of the killer's presence, having sensed the death of fellow External Candra, she laughed aloud at Cable's assumption that Selene herself was the last of her kind. Nicodemus, Absalom, and Crule then revealed themselves to be alive.
- Whether or not Apocalypse and Cannonball are Externals remains a point of contention. En Sabah Nur is known to be extremely long-lived, while some of Sam Guthrie's future versions, including a conversation with Graymalkin where we learn that Cannonball lived well into the 24th century, were shown to survive into the future. Besides this the other Externals also sensed that Cannonball was one of them.
- The ambiguity of Cannonball's status as an External was used as a source of humor years later. After he rapidly recovered from a Purifier attack, one of the X-Men students asked Beast about it, and McCoy said Sam was immortal. The student admitted afterwards they didn't know if McCoy was joking or not. Answering Doop, Cable stated that Cannonball wasn't an External and that it was only a rumor.
The group prefers to be called Externals over the moniker of High-Lords.
- 9 Externals (Earth-616) Members
- 16 Appearances of Externals (Earth-616)
- Minor Appearances of Externals (Earth-616)
- 2 Media Externals (Earth-616) was Mentioned in
- 1 Images that include Externals (Earth-616)
- Team Gallery: Externals (Earth-616)