Introduced in The X-Men #1, Warren Worthington III is a mutant and a member of the original X-Men roster. He would play a substantial role in the comic books over the decades, with his characterization suffering multiple and, at times drastic, changes.
Angel would also appear, albeit sporadically, in many of the franchise’s shows and movies. Still, his absence from most major X-Men projects has kept him unknown to most mainstream audiences. Angel has an intriguing and complex comic book history that most casual fans don’t know about, cementing his place as one of the franchise’s best-kept secrets.
10 He Becomes A Superhero Of His Own Free Will
Warren Kenneth Worthington III is the only son of wealthy businessman Warren Worthington Jr. and his wife, Kathryn. Born in privilege, he grows up to be a somewhat spoiled playboy who still tries to do the right thing. While attending Phillips Academy in Exeter, a fire breaks out, and Warren, wearing an angel costume from the props department, saves his roommates’ lives.
The event makes Warren understand that he can use his abilities for good, and he becomes a superhero known as the “Avenging Angel.” His activities soon attract the interest of Charles Xavier, who invites him to join his X-Men.
9 He Has A Long Relationship With Candy Southern
Candace “Candy” Warren was a childhood friend of Warren’s. They reunite years later and begin dating, despite Warren’s feelings for Jean Grey. He eventually comes to love Candy and reveals his secret identity to her, even going so far as to introduce her to Xavier and the other X-Men.
Candy then becomes an occasional ally of the team. She remains by Warren’s side throughout multiple changes in his life, including his tenures with the Champions, the Defenders, and X-Factor. She breaks up with him after she mistakenly believes he’s having an affair with Jean. Candy then dies at the hands of Warren’s most prominent comic book villain, Cameron Hodge.
8 He Falls In Love With Jean Grey
Warren, now Angel, becomes a member of the X-Men’s original roster, along with Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Marvel Girl, AKA Jean Grey. Warren soon falls for Jean, and so does the team’s de-facto leader, Cyclops. A quasi-love triangle forms, but Jean never shows actual interest in Warren.
Over the years, Warren’s infatuation with Jean would continue. After she returns following the events of the Dark Phoenix Saga and finds Scott married to Madelyne Pryor, she seeks comfort in Warren. The two grow closer, and their proximity eventually ends his long-time relationship with Candy Southern.
7 He Dies In The Savage Lands
During one of the team’s early missions, they enter a conflict with the pterodactyl-like creature Sauron, one of the X-Men’s most ridiculous villains. Sauron puts Warren into a trance, turning him against the X-Men, but the hero breaks free. Waking up to find the X-Men gone to the Savage Lands in pursuit of Sauron, he follows despite his condition.
Arriving at the Savage Lands, Angel gets attacked by a band of pteranodons and falls to his death. Under the identity of The Creator, Magneto finds and revives him. The Creator also gives Warren the blue-and-white costume that he would wear under his Archangel persona.
6 His Uncle Kills His Parents
Because he is one of the wealthiest characters in the X-Men universe, Warren constantly deals with multiple threats aiming for his fortune. One of the most memorable is his uncle, Burtram Worthington, under the identity of the supervillain Dazzler.
Burtram succeeds in killing Warren Jr. and seemingly dies during his first encounter with Warren. Some time later, Candy finds out Burtram is alive and trying to steal the Worthington fortune again. Warren and the X-Men foil the plan but can’t save Warren’s mother, who dies after being poisoned.
5 He Is A Founding Member Of The Champions
Following the death of his parents, Warren leaves the X-Men with Bobby Drake. The two head for Los Angeles, where Warren begins college at UCLA. After an attack on campus, Warren and Bobby join Hercules, Ghost Rider, and the original Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, and form the Champions of Los Angeles.
Warren acts as the leader and banker for the team and even acquires an Angers-like Quinjet called “Champjet.” The team is very volatile and disbands after only a brief stint. Warren and Bobby then move to Colorado with their respective girlfriends, Candy and Terri Sue Bottoms.
4 Apocalypse Indeed Gives Him Metallic Wings
2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse featured Angel in a supporting role as one of Apocalypse’s horsemen. As it turns out, the plot comes directly from the comics. After his wings get destroyed by the Maurader Harpoon, Warren seemingly dies in a plane explosion orchestrated by Cameron Hodge. Rescued by Apocalypse, Warren becomes his servant.
Apocalypse gives Warren metallic wings, blue skin, and the title of Death. Warren then wreaks havoc, capturing X-Factor and seemingly killing Bobby. This last shock snaps him back to his former self, and he fights with the X-Men against Apocalypse. The movie only vaguely references this pivotal comic book plot; still, many fans believe that X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t that bad.
3 He Has His Own “Dark” Saga
Angel’s transformation into Archangel following Apocalypse’s intervention is a landmark moment for the character. He becomes more brooding and stoic, letting go of his carefree playboy days. Over the years, he would struggle with his killer personality, and at one point, he even believes his wings have a mind of their own.
Warren gets his own “Dark” saga in the form of The Age of Archangel. When Apocalypse dies, the part of him that lived in Warren began growing, essentially turning Warren into a new Apocalypse. During this time, he fights X-Factor and assumes control of the Clan Akkaba. Warren dies after his long-time love, Betsy Braddock, AKA Psylocke, stabs him with a Celestial Life Seed, but his body survives, albeit with no memories from the past.
2 He Believes Himself A Real Angel At One Point
The new Warren possesses a child-like mind and goes back to mutant school. Unable to understand his true nature, he begins to think that he is a literal angel from heaven, sent to Earth to perform miracles. Warren tries to mend Wolverine’s broken legs but fails. Undeterred, he attempts to fly back to Heaven but is unable to and finally realizes he is a mutant.
During this time, the company’s board deems him unfit to run Worthington Industries, and Warren loses control of his fortune. He also befriends a clone of Apocalypse named Evan.
1 He Finds (Relative) Peace In Krakoa
Over the following years, Warren recovers his memories. During a second encounter with Clan Akkaba, they successfully separate the Archangel being from him and use it to create more clones. Warren understands that the Archangel needs his humanity and merges with all the clones, forming a new entity.
This new being fights along X-Man and eventually finds his way to the mutant nation of Krakoa. Archangel joins Cyclops’ team and briefly dies in an explosion caused by Captain Mendel. He later gets resurrected and celebrates with his long-time friend Bobby the appointment of Krakoa as a sovereign nation. He isn’t a member of the Quiet Council of Krakoa but does attend the meetings.