Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Worst to Best: The Uncanny X-Men

So here we are nearing the end of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, and we are still going strong. Today is the infamous X-Day, and that can mean only one thing. Well, it can mean several things, but right here, right now, it means The X-Men. And to put a twist on things, this is going to be an edition of the Worst to Best series. So here we go, every official member of The X-Men, from the worst to the best. And please remember, this is just going to be a list of official X-Men, so no unofficial allies (Carol Danvers, Stevie Hunter, Callisto, Caliban), no students (Quentin Quire, Gold Balls, Beak, Genesis, the Stepford Cuckoos), no girlfriends (Candy Southern, Lilandra), no alternate reality evil mutants (Dark Beast), no undercover teachers (Spider-Man), no weird hangers-on (Toad, Doop), and definitely no retconned X-members (that stupid Deadly Genesis mini-series that showed a made-up rescue team of mutants). And no, contrary to popular belief, neither Quicksilver nor Deadpool (two of my all-time favourite characters) have ever been official members of the X-Men, so they don't count either. Sorry guys. Anyhoo, now that we have all the boiler plate stuff over with, here we go. All 82 official X-Men team members, from the very worst to the very best.

82. Joseph - Really? A hippy-dippy clone of Magneto? This was your idea for an X-Man? Yeah, I suppose such a storyline (Magneto clone who may or may not be an amnesiac Magneto himself) could have been fun, but this was at a low point (in my opinion) in the comic, and just did not work. Nice hair though.

80. & 81. Mimic & Changeling - One blackmailed his way onto the team, while the other psychically manipulated his way in. Neither one stuck around all that long, though both would have their alternate reality doppelgangers (Changeling now being called Morph) become members of The Exiles. Still though, pretty lame X-Men, if ya ask me.

79. Lady Mastermind - Yeah, this bitch, daughter of the original Mastermind, was on the team for a hot minute before she betrayed the hell out of them. Notice though, even with this bitch's blatant betrayal, she still manages to make it higher on this list than Joseph, Mimic, and Changeling. Losers.

75. thru 78. Marrow, Maggott, Slipstream, & Lifeguard - Here are four short term X-Men that are about as forgettable as anyone out there. Yeah, Maggott has the gross, yet fascinating ability to spew disgusting creatures out of his body and reabsorb them for nutritional value, but even that doesn't get him remembered by anyone.

73. & 74. Cloak & Dagger - I never have particularly liked this Marvel duo. I just never got the appeal. Granted, they were not X-Men for very long, and did not make much of a mark on the team, but they are still higher up than Maggott and his pals.

65. thru 72. Frenzy, Sage, Dr. Cecelia Reyes, Ariel, Aurora, Armor, Omega Sentinal, & Thunderbird II - And then we have these eight forgettables. Yeah, we get Northstar's sister in here, and she was great in Alpha Flight, but she never really got a chance to do much here. Hell, one of these eight wasn't even cool enough to receive an actual codename, while another one just usurped a dead X-Man's name. Lame.

64. Revanche - This kick-ass former assassin, who temporarily switched bodies with Psylocke, would probably not deserve a spot all her own, rather joining the forgettable eight above, if not for the fact that the poor girl died from the Legacy Virus, Marvel's mutant answer to AIDS. For that alone, the poor girl gets a spot one above those other forgettables.

62. & 63. Pixie & Blink - One has wings and magic fairy dust powers, the other can teleport and may or may not be totally insane. Do I need say anymore? Probably, but I'm going to leave it at that. Oh, and both are pretty freakin' hot too. Now I need say no more.

61. Hepzibah - Once upon a time, this sexy skunk-esque alien warrior was a member of the infamous pirate crew, The Starjammers, and lover of pirate captain Corsair (Cyclops and Havok's dad), but for a short period of time, she was an X-Man. She never really made much of an impact, but did I mention she was a sexy skunk-like alien warrior? Yeah!

58. thru 60. X-23, Hope, and Nate Grey - And now here we are at the kids table. Granted, these so-called kids are three pretty kick-ass mutants, but every time they tried to step, they were yelled at by their "dads," Wolverine, Cable, and Cyclops. Still though, they kicked ass when they could. X-23 is still around and hanging with the time-displaced original X-Men.

57. Legion - And here is one more member of the kid's table, but this one deserves a spot all to himself. Why? Because he is the son of Charles Xavier, one of the most powerful mutants to have ever existed, and to save the world or whatever, he actually erased his own existence. Kick-ass. Oh, and the kid had great hair too.

56. Firestar - Actually, the lovely and taleneted Miss Angelica Jones, made her debut on the Saturday morning cartoon, Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, where she hung with Spidey and Iceman, before becoming a founding member of The New Warriors, and a member of The Hellions, The Avengers, and eventually The X-Men.

52. thru 55. Husk, Chamber, Warpath, & M - These four former members of Generation X have had their respective attempts at big-time X-Men status, and all four are pretty darn cool in their own right, but even so, that does not quite get them into the top 50 here. Granted, M has only been an X-Man (or X-Woman) for a few months or so now, but still we should wait and see.

51. Fantomex - Yet another product of the Weapon X program (like Wolverine, Deadpool, Lady Deathstrike, and others) Fantomex is a cut-throat thief and former lover of Betsy Braddock, aka Psylocke, who, like Xorn (coming up soon), was a creation of the great Grant Morrison during his run on The New X-Men. Morrison based his look on the book and movie, Danger: Diabolik. Oh, he also has split into three separate beings, one of them being female and his own lover. Wait, what?

50. Mystique - Normally, I would put a character like Mystique a lot higher on a list of great characters, but since this is a list of great X-Men, and this shape-shifting harpy did her damnedest to betray and manipulate the team while she was a member, we probably shouldn't put her all that high. Still though, she is pretty freakin' cool - and I am talking about the bad-ass comic book version, not that mamby-pamby Jennifer Lawrence portrayed creature.

43. thru 49. Moonstar, Sunspot, Karma, Cypher, Warlock, Magma, & Boom Boom - These seven former members of The New Mutants/X-Force, all had some time as full-fledged X-Men. Some of 'em are still around, others are off doing other things (like leading The Avengers in one case), and none have really made that big of a splash on the team. There is one other former New Mutant that became an X-Man, but he gets a spot all by himself a bit higher up on our list. Sorry guys.

42. Domino - Lady luck herself. On again off again lover of both Cable and Colossus, Domino is not only a bad-ass mutant killing machine, but she is a black and white beauty as well. seriously, the lady has black and white skin. She was not an actual team member for long, and is more known for her work with Cable and his X-Force team, but she deserves some recognition here as well.

40. & 41. Doctor Nemesis & Box - The former is the creator of the original Human Torch and a one-time  Nazi sympathizer (yeah, he's been around for a while) while the latter is a former member of Alpha Flight and one-time mutant death camp prisoner. Together they are the core of the scientifically-minded X-Club.

39. Warbird - This Shi'ar warrior has been a member of The Astonishing X-Men (Joss Whedon's often overdue, but quite wonderful X-title) and is now a teacher at the Jean Grey School. She has never gotten the attention her character deserves, but I find her, and her attempts at fitting into Earth society, quite fascinating, and so she makes the top 40.

37. & 38. Juggernaut & Sabretooth - Two of The X-Men's oldest and baddest foes, unlike Mystique and her manipulative ways, actually tried to turn their lives around by joining the team. Sure, at first they were more prisoner than team member, but both showed their worth as team members. Yeah, they both ended up going back to their bad ways, but they were valuable team members while that lasted.

36. Stacy X - Here is an intriguing, yet criminally underused character, She wasn't an X-Man for long (22 issues) but what a mark she made. Stacy is an ex-prostitute who can feed off of people's pheromones. The rest of the team was wary of her,a s she was quite sexually manipulative. Later she would change her name to Ripcord and become a member of The New Warriors.

35. Danger - And yet another intriguing, yet criminally underused character. Danger is kind of the human-esque embodiment of the X-Men's Danger Room computer and simulator, after it was upgraded with Shi'ar technology, and formed a consciousness. She has also had a somewhat weird Sam and Diane thing going with fellow techno-mutant, Warlock.

34. Xorn - Okay, so this guy, who everyone thought was Magneto for a bit, has a star for a brain. An actual star. Created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely for The New X-Men, Xorn was always meant to be Magneto in disguise, though after Morrison left the comic, things got changed. Still though, the guy has a star for a brain, and he has a twin who has a black hole for a brain. Oh yeah, and he killed Jean Grey, but then who hasn't.

33. Namor - Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner is one of the oldest characters in the Marvel universe, having been around since 1939, and has been a major part of the Fantastic Four mythos since the Silver Age of Comics, but it wasn't until 2009 that this oldest Marvel mutant became an official X-Man. And even then, he did not stick around all that long. Still though, he is the Sub-Mariner, so into the top 40 he goeth.

32. Sunfire - In 1975, after nearly a decade of reprints, The X-Men were rebooted in Giant-Size X-Men #1. A whole new team was born. This is the time the Uncanny X-Men went from obscure failed comic to the biggest and best thing going. Out of the seven new mutants joining the team in this groundbreaking issue, Sunfire is the lowest ranked. Sorry bud, but you are kind of a jerk. Granted, you are a powerful and loyal jerk, but still a jerk. And hey, you also quit after one lousy mission. Jerk.

31. Thunderbird - Here is another one of those seven new X-Men joining in Giant-Size #1. He only lasted a slight bit longer than Sunfire (one issue longer) but he wasn't a jerk. In fact he died trying to save his fellow new team members. The guy went out a hero. Sure, he never got pasta  few issues on the team, and therefore never got to do all the great things he might have done, but he went out a hero, and that's gotta count for something, dammit!!

30. Cannonball - Quite a bit lower on the list, I lumped all of Sam Guthrie's former New Mutant/X-Force buddies all together. But Sam is something different. A born leader, Cannonball was a major part of the X-Men team during the late 1990's, and was the first member of an affiliated X-team to graduate to full-fledged X-Men status. He even led his own X-Men team for a bit. These days he is an Anger. La-di-dah.

29. Lockheed - Dragons are cool. End of argument. Lockheed, Kitty Pryde's BFF, and an alien dragon from a far off planet, exiled to Earth, was made an official member of the team in Uncanny X-Men #168, just 30 issues after his buddy Kitty made the team. He was also an official member of Excalibur for a time. Did I mention that dragons are cool? Cause they are.

28. Bishop - This mutant revolutionary comes from an alternate future, where the X-Men are betrayed by one of their own. Bishop convinces (at least partially) the team that Gambit is that traitor, and one day the Ragin' Cajun will betray them all. Of course (spoiler alert!) it was Xavier, and not Gambit, who would eventually betray his X-Men. So Bishop may not have been the perfect X-Man (yeah, he regularly tried to murder a baby/toddler as well), but I kinda like the guy.

27. Jubilee - Jubilation Lee first came across the X-Men while she was a runaway teen, living in an LA mall. She wound up saving a trapped Wolverine from The Marauders, and became his new protege (gee, Logan does like his teenage girl proteges). Eventually, Jubilee would lose her mutant powers on M-Day (damn you Scarlet Witch!) but then she would be transformed into a vampire, so everything is still pretty cool.

26. Northstar - Originally, Jean-Paul Beaubier first came on the scene as a member of Canada's Alpha Flight. Northstar also became the first major comic book character to come out of the closet, and in more recent days, also became the first gay comic book character to get married. Oh, and the guy can run and fly really really really fast. He died once too, but not to worry, as he is all better now.

25. Longshot - Technically, Longshot is not a mutant so much as a genetically engineered organism, created by the media savvy evil mogul, Mojo, to be the star in his omnipresent show-of-shows mad universe. But the guy did finally escape from there and became an X-Man, and even managed to land Dazzler as a girlfriend. Longshot quit the team a while ago, but he still shows up every once and while.

23. & 24. Havok & Polaris - This old school mutant power couple were the first real recruits to the original team (Mimic and Changeling don't count) and they joined the team waaay back in the 1960's, long before anyone really cared about The X-Men. And for those not in the know (and ya'll really should be), Havok is actually Cyclops brother and Polaris is Magneto's daughter.

22. Rachel Summers - Rachel, sometimes known by the codenames Phoenix and/or Marvel Girl, is the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, from an alternate reality that may or may not actually come to be. This was a rather horrible future where Rachel was used as a guard dog of sorts for mutant hunters. Rachel is currently a teacher at the Jean Grey School, and gets kinda freaked out every time she encounters the time-displaced seventeen year old Jean Grey.

21. Forge - This master mutant mechanic first appeared as a character back in issue #184, but did not join the team until #255. And he didn't really stay all that long after that either. He did lead X-Factor for a while, and he did have a relatively long running affair with Ororo Monroe. As an X-Man, he was a rather important component of the team. Sure, he wasn't doing the heavy lifting of someone like Colossus or Rogue, nor was he blasting the baddies like Gambit or Storm or Cyclops, but his tinkering could create any damn machine necessary to take down the enemy, and save the proverbial day.

20. Magik - Illyana Rasputin, baby sister of Colossus, once fell down a hole when she was just a wee child, and came out a few seconds later as a full-fledged magic-wielding teenager. Ya see, while only mere seconds went by here, down in that hole, in a place called limbo, a decade or more had passed Magik by. Nowadays, Illyana is a major asset to Scott Summers Mutant Revolution team. Yeah, she's pretty much fucked up in the head, majorly (she was raised by a demon after all), but she is one kick-ass X-Man.

19. Banshee - This Irish mutant with his sonic scream powers, is another of the seven new mutants who joined up in Giant Size #1. Actually, Banshee had appeared as a villain years earlier. He stuck around a bit longer than Sunfire, but Banshee eventually did go into semi-retirement on Muir Island with girlfriend, Moira MacTaggert. Later on, Banshee would die a hero, and even more later on, he would be resurrected as one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse.

18. Dazzler - Alison Blaire first came to the X-Men's attention when she was a budding mutant pop star. Eventually she would join the team and form a relationship with lucky Longshot. Dazzler is still a pop star, but has a much darker edge ever since being manipulated by Mystique. Actually, Dazzler was meant to be a cross-promotional product placement of sorts between Casablanca Records and Marvel, but Casablanca backed out when Marvel would not make the changes they wanted made. Dazzler is now bigger than Casablanca Records. Take that!

17. Iceman - Ah, poor Iceman. He is the lowest ranked of the original X-Men. Actually, his time-displaced younger self (see All-New X-Men) is a more interesting character than the so-called real Iceman. He's at least able to come out of the closet. Actually, I think Iceman gets a kind of a bad rap. Yeah, he is easily the most boring, unheralded original X-Man (more the various writers fault than Bobby's himself), but he can pretty much freeze the planet to death if he were so inclined - which he almost did one time that he was so inclined. That power has gotta count for something.

16. Gambit - The Ragin' Cajun. If I were to put all my so-called cards on the table, I would tell you that the one and only time I ever dressed up as a superhero for a costume party was waaay back in the mid-1990's, when I dressed up like Gambit. Yeah, the guy gets a bad rap (maybe he's a bit too cool for school), but I like him just fine. Of course, I tend to like assholes, so it all works out. Just do not play poker with the guy. Or let your wife or girlfriend alone with him. Other than that, keep on rockin'.

15. Emma Frost - This long time foe of the X-Men (she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, after all, and did mind control Jean Grey for a bit) was a hard sell as a member, and co-leader and teacher, of the team. She was kind of an easy sell for Scott Summers though, at least when it came to getting him into bed. Supposedly Scott loved Emma for a while too (yeah, Jean loved that, either version) but that might just have been her messing with the guy's mind. I like to think the love was real. Anyhoo, Emma is still an important part of the X-Men roster. How does she keep that outfit on though?

14. Psylocke - The originally demure and proper twin sister of Captain Britain, Psylocke one day had a change in her life, as The Hand transformed her into an Asian assassin, with a lust for blood and revenge. One of the sultriest, sexiest mutant superheroes of all-time, Betsy Braddock, armed with her telekinetic katana and psychic knives, has long been a valuable member of the Uncanny X-Men. Oh yeah, she's been dead before too. Gee, it seems like these X-Men like to die and come back a lot.

13. Cable - Once upon a time, Scott and Jean had a child (well, technically it was Scott and Jean's demonic doppelganger, but you get the picture), and he grew up to be Nathan Summers, aka Cable, a freedom fighter from the future. Cable is one bad-ass mofo, and turned what was left of those mamby-pamby New Mutants into the strike team known as X-Force. Cable has been dead on numerous occasions (like mother, like son - well, like Jean, like son...well, you know what I mean) but he has also saved the world more times than that.

12. Angel - Warren Worthington III, was a founding member of the X-Men, and has always been kind of a n arrogant asshat. Born into great wealth (many times that wealth was used to finance the X-Men and X Factor) Warren was kind of predisposed to the arrogant asshat role, but his loyalty to his team and his friends (aka, his family) has never been in dispute. Well, there was that time, after his wings were amputated, that Apocalypse gave him razor wings and made him the personification of Death as one of his Horsemen, but he got over that. More recently, Angel died and was reborn as a whole new entity. Meanwhile, the time-displaced teenage version of Angel is doing just fine in the present day, and even dating 9or whatever you might call what they are doing) Wolverine's cloned daughter, Laura, aka X-23.

11. Nightcrawler - Kurt Wagner, a German-born one-time circus freak, is covered in blue-black fur, with a pre-hensile tail and an overall demonic appearance. Needless to say, unlike many of his fellow mutants, who can pass as human, this caused poor Kurt some trouble in his younger days. That is, until he was asked to join the X-Men in Giant-Size #1. Since then, Kurt has become an invaluable member of the team, and even a leader on occasion. He was even a Catholic priest for a bit. He, as happens to most X-Men, died a few years back, only to be resurrected. Fun stuff.

10. Kitty Pryde - Katherine Anne "Kitty" Pryde was my first legit comic book crush. Kitty came aboard in 1980, at the tender age of thirteen. Guess how old I was in 1980. Yup, thirteen years old. Finally, here was a mutant superhero my own age. A possible imaginary girlfriend. Yeah, now here I am at 47 and Kitty is supposed to be in her mid twenties (I'm guessing). Now I just look like a dirty old man. But we were the same age at one time. Damn you comic book timelines. Anyhoo, Kitty, who went by Shadowcat for most of her superheroing career, is one of the few major Jewish superheroes in the Marvel Universe (Magneto and Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, are the only other major ones). She also has a thing for guys named Peter. First Peter Rasputin (Colossus), then Pete Wisdom, and now Peter Quill, aka Star Lord. These days she is also a teacher and mentor for the time-displaced original X-Men. Oh, and she has a dragon with whom she can telepathically conversate. Pretty cool.

9. Rogue - Having been raised by Mystique, Rogue actually began her comic book career as a criminal, before becoming one of the most important members of The X-Men. Yeah, Rogue's powers of being able to absorb people's abilities and memories, make it a bit difficult to form an authentic love life (though she has tried over and over again with Gambit!), but the girl's got chutzpah. For a while, she had the abilities of Carol Danvers, and later Sunfire, and even more recently, Wonder Man. Yeah, the girl's got it  tough, but damn she is one great X-Man.

8. Magneto - Sure, for the longest time, Magneto was the arch-enemy of The X-Men. Ever since issue #1 actually.But he really isn't a bad guy. Allusions can be made to Magneto being Malcolm X to Xavier's Dr. King. They both want basically the same thing (Mutant rights) but just go about it a bit differently. Much of Magneto's anger stems from his growing up in a concentration camp. Understandable. For a while though, Xavier left Magneto in charge of his New Mutants, and team leader of The X-Men, and today, Magneto is an ally to Cyclops Mutant Revolution. Hey, when the Beyonder chose sides for his Secret Wars, he did place Magneto with the heroes. That';s gotta say something. Actually, as far as characters go, Magneto may be one of the most complex ever in comics.

7. Colossus - Russian farm boy Piotr Rasputin was brought onto the team in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Since then, he has become one of the most committed and enduring team members. He even sacrificed himself to cure the mutant population of the Legacy Virus. But even as fiercely loyal as he has always been, poor Colossus yearns for a peaceful life on the farm. Just tending his crops and painting in the countryside. Sadly, every time he attempts to create such a life for himself, he gets dragged back into the war that is being an X-Man. poor guy. He did date Kitty Pryde for a time though, so he has that going for him

6. Beast - One of the founding members of the team, Dr. Henry McCoy is probably one of the smartest beings on the planet. For a time, he was an Avenger and a Defender, but his heart has always been with his mutant brethren. Of course, with such great intelligence comes great arrogance, and Hank has done more than his share to truly fuck up the time-space continuum, and he's a member of the Illuminati, who are not a group to be trusted. Still though, Hank is one of the greatest and most important of all X-Men members.

5. Jean Grey - The youngest member of the original X-Men, as well as the love (secret or otherwise) of pretty much every other member of those original X-Men, Jean Grey, or Marvel Girl as she was once known, was once the most powerful, and most dangerous being in the universe. Yeah, the bitch was Phoenix, and that was bad news, especially for a bunch of people in the D'Bari Star System. But genocide aside, Jean is every mutant lover's dream girl a la gaga. Oh, and she has died and come back like fifteen times now. I guess that alone is enough to put her this high on the list. Right?

4. Professor X - I suppose if we are compiling a list of all The X-Men, from the worst to the best, then the guy who started the whole shebang should probably be pretty high on that list. So here he is. Sure, he's regularly used his mind control to manipulate his students and fellow X-Men to do what he wanted them to do (yeah, he really did do that, on multiple occasions), and he's betrayed them all and almost destroyed the world as Onslaught, and he's left and given the keys to the team's greatest enemy. The arrogant bastard! But yeah, he's a majorly important cog in the whole wheel that is The X-Men. So there.

3. Wolverine - Now we are talking about the old school Wolverine, before he got over-exposed and joined every superhero team in the Marvel Universe. Not that any of said over-exposure is Logan's fault (damn editors and their out-for-a-buck schemes!), but lo these past 20 years, it does seem as if the old man has been in every damn comic book printed. But back in the day (the 1970's & 80's Claremont era), Wolverine was the baddest dude in town. And even though he would never admit such a thing, he is one hell of a team leader as well.

2. Storm - Ororo Monroe, found by Xavier as an African orphan who could control the weather, was one of the all-new X-Men who joined in Giant-Size #1. She has been one of the longest running team members. Eventually, after beating Cyclops in battle (and while without her mutant powers at that), she became the team leader. She has since been one of the greatest leaders the team has ever seen. At one point she married The Black Panther and was temporarily the Queen of Wakanda. Nowadays, she is the head mistress of the Jean Grey School, and a regular pain in the ass to Scott Summers. And ya gotta love her in that mohawk.

1. Cyclops - Who else? Really! The first member brought onto the team by Professor X, and the first, and longest running team leader, Scott Summers is the only logical conclusion to a list such as this. Scott has always fought for the belief that mutants and humans can live together in harmony. Well, that is until recent days. Yeah, he ended up murdering his mentor and leading part of the team into a Mutant Revolution, siding with Magneto, and battled both S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers, but that just makes him an even strong voice for mutant kind.Be it in his wide-eyed, hopeful days, or in more recent troubled times, Scott Summers is the very epitome of what it means to be an X-Man, and deserves the top spot here.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now here's a fun Popeye-esque take on my favourite X-Men team roster. Enjoy. And yes, Magneto was right. Mutants unite!!




4 comments:

  1. Ahh the X-Men. I like Mystique and would have placed her higher up. My favourite is Night Crawler

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    1. Let me guess, your favourite colour is blue!

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  2. Man oh man, Magneto is number one in my book. Yea, I'm that guy.

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