He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good because Marvel’s Santa Claus is a dark and vengeful mutant god. Well, he’s only dark and vengeful some of the time but the bits about him being a mutant and a god are immutable facts.
In Marvel Comics canon, Santa burst into being when nebulous spiritual energy combined with humanity’s unified belief in three separate figures. The first figure is Saint Nicholas, the second is Old Winter, and the third is Odin. Yes, you read that correctly: according to Marvel lore, Santa is one-third All-Father.
Along with whatever spiritual energy means, Odin’s inclusion explains why Santa is such a potent, magical entity. But there’s more to him than that.
During the 1991 “Marvel Holiday Special” comic run, Professor Charles Xavier used Cerebro to track someone that the psionic, mutant-locating device labeled as “the most powerful mutant ever,” who turned out to be jolly old Santa.
Untangling these different narrative implications can be a bit tricky because a lot of it is framed as “according to legend,” but here’s what we know: Santa is not only an Omega-level mutant — the highest ability ranking currently available in Marvel canon — but he’s the most powerful Omega-level mutant ever documented. He’s also technically the figurehead of the Norse pantheon, which is also very real in the world of Marvel.
Santa Claus can bend reality to his will
In the comics, Santa Claus’s primary skill set includes presumed immortality and the ability to warp reality. The first power is self-explanatory as he never seems to age and is, again, built upon a bedrock of combined belief. His second power, however, is harder to define because the framework of reality covers, well, everything. The simplest usage of this is that Santa’s gift bag, much like the TARDIS on “Doctor Who,” is bigger on the inside.
During the aforementioned “Marvel Holiday Special” comic, readers got a more action-based take on Santa’s god-like strength. He briefly transforms the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into inanimate toys, teleports the X-Men out of his way, and wipes everyone’s memory so that no one remembers their Christmas Eve encounter. On a more charming note, Santa also uses his reality-warping to appear as the same race as any who behold him.
Santa also becomes more powerful the closer time crawls toward Christmas, with the highest boost coming on Christmas Eve. Lastly, Santa radiates a gentle kindness that causes those around him to become nicer while in his proximity … which, now that it’s written out, feels more like a controlling deity than anything else.
It’s a good thing Santa doesn’t like fighting all that much, otherwise he really would be a dark and vengeful god. Either way, Marvel’s confusing lore makes its version of St. Nick not just one of its most powerful beings, but one of the best pop culture versions of Santa Claus.