Top 25 X-Men Members (Part One)
With the recent (ish) passing of Stan Lee, I like many comic book lovers have been reflecting on a man who along with the late Jack Kirby created and ushered in a wealth of superheros and villains into our lives, entertaining us for decades. The X-Men comics and the 90’s television show played a huge part in my childhood; playing with my Storm and Nightcrawler action figure while the amazing theme song kicked in was pure childhood bliss. When I got back into comics one of the first collected issues I picked up was the Dark Phoenix Saga, and was blown away when I read God Loves Man Kills. So I felt it would be appropriate that the next list I compiled would be ranking the best X-Men member’s through out its storied run since it’s first inception in September 1963.
Like all of my lists its more a matter of personal opinion/taste
Nostalgia plays a big factor for me, although I am fairly well versed in this particular subject matter and have been doing a decent amount of research for this list
Had to of been a member of the X-Men, fairly obvious
Did the character have an impact on the comic book world, even perhaps beyond the X-Men franchise.
Cool powers, interesting backstory, look and so on….
So without further adieu here is my top 25 best X-Men Members.
A desperate attempt at cross promotion, Dazzler was supposed to be a comic book character with a multi media presence in collaboration with Casablanca Records; where they would apparently find a real life singer while Marvel would produce a disco singing super hero. Of course that ambitious idea never panned out - they even had a movie tie in planned staring Bo Derek, but it never came to be.
Dazzler first graced the pages of the comic book world in February 1980 appearing in Uncanny X-Men #130. Real name Allison Blaire, Dazzler was an aspiring Disco singer, although music genres have changed over the years, she even becoming an actress instead of musician at one point. Her mutant powers allows her to convert sound into light, having the ability to create various forms of light. These light patterns of light can put foes in a trance, she can also use the light she omits to blind people, among other things. It’s a unique, versatile source of power, that has come in handy for her over the years.
Dazzler had somewhat of a long run with the X-men throughout the 1980’s, but was mostly absent from the 90’s, making a return with the British outfit New Excalibur in 2005, but after a breakup with Longshot she was back in the U.S.A and a part of the X-Men in San Francisco.
Most certainly not a X-Men mainstay nor a legend in the comic book world, however I find it charming that a terrible idea evolved into a decent, somewhat original comic book character.
First appearing in Uncanny X-Men #244, Jubilee was a Valley girl mall rat - as was the style at the time. Born to wealthy Chinese immigrants, but unfortunatly orphaned at a young age after her parents were murdered. Jubilee soon escaped the foster system and lived the life of a street smart kid, mostly hanging out at malls and getting into trouble. Her powers were discovered (as most mutant story lines) under duress. After being cornered by mall security Jubilee shot out an array of light and energy uncontrollably, escaping the mall cops. Jubilee soon found her way to the X mansion and under the guise of Mr. Xavier, she became the youngest member of the X-Men.
A mainstay in the 90’s X-Men comics and a staple of the legendary cartoon series, I always found Jubilee somewhat boring. None the less her long standing run with the X-Men and various off shoots puts her on the list alone. As well her story line relationship with Wolverine was usually good stuff, with the always gruff wolverine being a protective dad like figure to the young and naive Jubilee. Although Jubilee’s powers (the ability to create and harness energy/light) might seem lame at first, her ability to control and develop her powers over the years has made this mall rat kid a legit badass superhero. However shes kind of always been that slightly boring, not all that cool 90’s incarnation to me and my bias probably ranks her too low on this list.
Alexander Summers, Brother of Scott (Cyclops) was part of the second wave of X-men, joining the O.G crew in the late 60’s. Scott’s younger brother made his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #54 in March of 1969. Separated at birth from his two brothers after their parents were killed by the Shi’ar, Alex eventually reunited with his brother after being recruited into the mutant super team, due to his powerful ability to absorb energy and send out plasma blasts through his body. Much like cyclops young Havoks’ abilities were hard to control at times and his powers if untapped could have the potential to become paramount, even catastrophic.
Like most siblings, Alex and Scott don’t always see eye to eye, the younger Alex always finding it hard to live up to his big brother and at times resenting the peachy clean Johnny Unitas image of Cyclops. None the less the handsome Havok carved out a path for himself in the fictional Marvel Universe with stints in X-Factor, Mutant X, as well as revenging his parent’s death with his role in taking down the Vulcan and the Shi’ar Empire after being hand picked by Professor X to form a team that would later become the Starjammers.
Havok saw a return to the X-Men in King Breaker and War of Kings in May of 2009, and has been in the Josh Wheadon Astonishing X-Men series to this date. A long lasting comic book character who has appeared in several interesting story lines, Havok isn’t that high on my list because I guess I figure he’s always kind of been second fiddle to his older brother and not featured enough? Probably not fair I suppose…..
So this one is kinda sneaky of me (trust me Storm is on the list) and more a reason to talk briefly about Marvels long history of vampires throughout it’s universe/multiverse. Of course most of us know about Blade, a “daywalker” half breed Vampire who hunts the evil blood suckers in order to seek revenge for his mother. There are however many more instances of Vampires in Marvel comics. Take for instance Dracula himself who debuted in Tomb of Dracula #1 in 1972 (Blade debuted in #10). You also have Hellcow who graced the pages of Howard the Duck comics in the 1970’s - yes its a cow that was bitten by Dracula, as well as Jubilie becoming infected in 2010, but I digress.
Bloodstorm is of course a vampire version of Storm. Debuting in Mutant X, this multiverse (alternate universe/realities within the Marvel universe) this bloodsucking version of the X-Men was a breakout star among readers in 1998. I can see why, the name and look just suits suits the character. More importantly her backstory and character arch makes for some clever story telling. Her backstory basically goes like this: Storm was bitten by Dracula, she left the X-Men out of fear that she will harm her teammates on the account of her blood lust, as vampires do. What I found interesting about the Bloodstorm character was her powers and abilities “leveled up” not only retaining her ability to summon and harness the power of mother nature, but also was able to summon animals like bats, as well as turn to mist, and other vampire tropes. Bloodstorm also had Kitty Pryde and Forge to play the roles of blood donor, not killing them but taking a sufficient amount of plasma and allowing them to re generate, an interesting tactic that suits the character.
Although Bloodstorms’ actual run as an official X-men member was brief (X-Men Blue #17 in 2017 - X-Men Extermination #1 2018) this alternate version of a famous character never felt like a Poochie or Scrappy do. Bloodstorm is a great example of publishers listening to their audience and delivering on what they like, with a cool, bad ass version of an already established character.
To be honest my only real fond memory of Iceman as a child was the action figure I had. I thought he looked cool on his rolling ice board and was a tag team partner with silver surfer in my pro wrestling world, they paired up nicely. I didn’t even know he was an original member of the X-Men until I started to read X-Men Grand Design - if you have not read the series so far, I highly recommend you do, as I can’t gush over it enough, but i digress. Bobby Drake first graced the pages of Marvel in 1968, debuting in The X-Men #46, before Beast, Angel, and Jean Grey. The powers are obvious given his superhero name, the Iceman can turn himself into ice as well as controlling it, a reverse Human Torch essentially.
He was recrutied by Cyclops after an incident when the young Mr. Drake froze a bully that was harassing his girlfriend and attempting to physically take her away from him while on a date. When the towns people got wind of it, they tried to gang up on the teen out of fear of the newly discovered mutant. Thankfully the young Drake was rescued and wound up a founding member of the X-Men.
Throughout the decades to come Iceman grew with us readers, fighting alongside the X-men as well as alone, taking on Juggernaut, Apocalypse, even being captured by Loki and many other adventures. Not only an original member of the X-Men he also helped form the Champions and Defenders on the west coast while he was taking a sabbatical attending UCLA and was a founding member of X-Factor before returning to the X-Men. Another wrinkle in Iceman’s character occurred in 2012’s All New X-Men #40 when Drake announces he is a homosexual male who struggled with the notion of not only coming out but having to deal with being a mutant on top of everything, suppressing being his sexuality and delving into his work as a superhero to avoid it for all these years. Of course this is the comic book world and there is whole alternate time line Iceman story involved in this but at the end of he day he’s a proud openly gay superhero to this day.
The Iceman has been with us for decades and has been an important part of X-Men cannon and lure since it all kicked off and for that alone he deserves to be on the list.
Stay tuned for part 2 (of 4) in the coming weeks and as well more lists and reviews, cheers…..