For as long as he was a member of the X-MenWolverine has often been seen as the strongest, or most “badass,” member of the team led by the Professor X. His wild outbursts and reckless, fearless attitude is enough to keep that reputation alive to this day. However, as far as Professor X’s judgment goes, there’s at least one X-Man he’s even tougher than Wolverine: Rogue.
Rogue is a mutant who has always had problems even in daily activities due to her ability to steal life energy by touch. With a single touch, Rogue is able to drain someone’s life force, along with her memories, personality traits, and temporarily in the case of Mutants, her powers. Often this ability gives her an edge in combat, notably her most famous fight in the comics, against Captain Marvel, the consequences of which will define both characters, but in everyday life, this skill is more of a curse than a gift.
This is why Professor X names Rogue “tougher” than Wolverine. Not necessarily stronger (although that argument can be made), but as far as Xavier is concerned, Rogue’s tenacity and strength comes from everything she is forced to endure on a daily basis. In Astonishing X-Men #1 (2017) by Charlie Soule And Jim CheungProfessor X praises how strong Wolverine is in a narrative, defining it “metal and stone. The world crashes against him”. However, moments later in the same sentence, Professor X defines Rogue “even stronger than Logan”. Again, not in terms of physical strength, but in this context, in terms of emotional and mental strength. “If he is stone, she is water”Xavier says. “He constantly changes with everyone he touches. It’s a confusing way to live.”
In the X-Men movies, Rogue was introduced immediately, already in 2000, interpreted by Anna Paquin, but her version was that of a young woman scared of her abilities, nothing like the fierce warrior and self-aware woman she later becomes in the comics. This approach has led to an incomplete and full exploitation of the character which, however, could have its redemption now that Disney has the task of restarting the franchise.