Marvel's X-Men are in the spotlight on Twitter today. Comics writer David Gallaher posed a challenge to fans: create an X-Men roster that doesn't use some of the group's most famous members. Those include Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Beast, Wolverine, Professor X, Gambit, Rogue, and Jubilee -- the team from X-Men: The Animated Series. Plenty of fans on twitter accepted the challenge, and so did ComicBook.com.
The X-Men may have the deepest character bench of any superhero team. The boom in the 1990s saw the X-Men line come to rival the rest of Marvel's output combined. As a result, there are dozens of characters that are favorites to certain fans but never seem to get enough time on the page.
Here, ComicBook.com set out to form our ultimate roster of underrated X-Men. We've also tried to avoid some other mutants who weren't in X-Men: The Animated Series but have long been marquee mutants in the comics. Yes, Colossus and Nightcrawler are awesome, but calling them underrated might be a stretch.
Make an X-Men roster without Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Beast, Wolverine, Prof X, Gambit, Jubilee or Rogue.February 6, 2020
Keep reading to see our ultimate underrated X-Men roster. We've also included some of the reactions from fans on Twitter responding to Gallaher's tweet.
Every X-Men team needs a field leader. That job most often falls to Cyclops, but one underrated mutant leaders is Sam Guthrie, aka Cannonball. Sam is one of the founding members of the New Mutants and has proved his capabilities as a leader. The X-Men have called him up to the main roster in the past. He has the same knack for Strategy as Cyclops but is even more empathetic to his teammates.
As far as mutant powers go, Cannonball can release stored energy through his skin. This most often manifests as turning his entire bottom half into a rocket, propelling him through the air. His power also generates a forcefield around his body that, as he would say, makes him "nigh-invulnerable when he's blasting." It's a power that makes for some explosive entrances into battles.
Rachel Summers is the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey from Earth-811, the "Days of Future Past" timeline. Like her mother, Rachel has gone through a series of codenames from Phoenix to Marvel Girl and, most recently, Prestige. She grew up in a dark future and has a dark past, having hunted mutants as one of Ahab's "hounds." The result is a character that exhibits the best traits of both of her parents but with an edge all her own.
Rachel is a powerful telepath. She's also the only person in the Marvel Universe who's been able to harness and control the power of the Phoenix Force for an extended period of time. That's something that everyone (including Marvel's writers) seems to forget. There's always room for a powerful telepath/telekinetic on an X-Men squad, and Rachel is top tier.
Jamie Madrox has been hanging around the X-Men for longer than most people realize. He was assisting Moira MacTaggert at her Muir Island lab decades ago. He went from bit background character to comic relief in the early 1990s X-Factor run. Then he gained new depth when he reformed the team as a private detective agency in the early 2000s X-Factor run.
As Multiple Man, Jamie has been able to send out his dupes to live different lives. When he reabsorbs them, he gains their memories and experiences. That means Jamie can see things from a lot of different angles, sometimes to the point of causing decision paralysis. He's also a lot of fun to have around, with his self-deprecating and wry sense of humor. His powers are also great for all kinds of shenanigans on and off the battlefield.
The X-Men often need a go-to science guy, and Doctor Nemesis fills that role. Nemesis is long-lived, having been alive during World War II. The Third Reich lured him to work for them on a secret project to distract the Invaders, but then left him for dead when the Invaders foiled the Nazis' plans. Nemesis survived and returned home to the United States. Realizes his previous moral failing, he's dedicated his life to fighting Nazis ever since.
Nemesis's mutant gene gives him "self-involved intellect." That means he's intelligent as a matter of intuition. He's a genius curmudgeon on a level that would put Rick Sanchez to shame. That makes him a lot of fun for creators to write and for readers to watch work. He was also involved with the X-Men's now-defunct science team, the X-Club.
Logan isn't the only Wolverine in the Marvel Universe. When Wolverine died a few years back, his clone daughter Laura Kinney, aka X-23, took over the role. She proved to be more than up to taking the mantle, and some fans still think she should have the Wolverine name for good.
Laura has displayed Logan's capability in combat, as well as his penchant for understated empathy. She's ready for the top-tier spotlight and is an obvious inclusion on any list of underrated X-Men. Not to mention that having Laura on the team likely means you'll have Gabby around as a bonus.
The exception to our rule about avoiding characters who have marquee X-Men in the comics is Kitty Pryde. The X-Men often need a mentor-like leader, which is the role Professor X most often fills. Kitty should be the one to fill that role.
Kitty Pryde was the first new student to enroll as the Xavier Institute after the formation of of the "All-New All-Different X-Men." She's also taken time away from the X-Men to try to live as a civilian. That gives her a unique point-of-view on the X-Men role in the world. She's taught at the school, mentoring the time-displaced original X-Men for a while. She's also known for her strong ethical and political stances. Here response to Havok's infamous "M-word speech" being one of her shining moments.
Gambit has long been the premiere rakish charmer of the X-Men, but Fantomex could give him a run for his money. Fantomex is another product of the Weapon Plus program, the same program that created Wolverine. Wolverine's experiences left him a directionless ball of animal rage. Fantomex channeled his experience into becoming a rogue thief.
His mutant ability to create illusions for misdirection enhances his natural smoothness. He's also a deadly fighter and marksman even without his mutant gifts. To top it all off, he likes to annoy others with his fake French accent (a nod to the French comic character Fantomas that inspired his creation).
The X-Men have a long tradition of keeping a younger character on the squad to learn and grow with the group, from Kitty Pryde to Jubilee and others. Armor began to fill that role in the mid-2000s Astonishing X-Men series but has never fulfilled the potential a lot of fans saw in her.
Armor has a fascinating mutant power. She can form a psionic exoskeleton powered by the energy of her ancestors. It's like a psychic version of Colossus's powers, but more malleable. The armor increases and decreases in size and power depending on Armor's mental state. On top of that, Wolverine and Kitty Pryde trained her to fight and she wants nothing more than to be a full-fledge X-Man. Give her the job.
Rogue isn't the only female powerhouse on the X-Men's roster. Monet St. Croix, alias M, is a mutant with superhuman strength and durability, the ability to fly, and telepathic and telekinetic powers to boot. In theory, she should be one of the most powerful fighters the X-Men have at their disposal.
She has attitude too, giving Emma Frost a run for her money when it comes to upper-class arrogance. Her history a convoluted mess. It involves siblings that may or may not be real and a psychic vampire that wants to take over her body. But in the right creators' hands these can boon rather than a burden.
That's our roster! Here are some from fans on Twitter:
Kitty, LONGSHOT!, Rachel, Nightcrawler, colossus, psilocke, cable, Deadpool (fer laughs), Apocalypse (fer laughs), & warlock. (Represent!) https://t.co/7DjxkkKEUM— Andy beagle (@Andybeagle1) February 7, 2020
Bold of You
Bold of you to assume I would have wanted Jubilee anyway.
Emma Frost, Shadowcat, Colossus, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Negasonic, Ice Man, Domino, Yukio. https://t.co/NQP2lxK0nN— Emily Slingwine (@EmilySlingwine) February 7, 2020
Emma Frost, Dazzler, Iceman, Polaris, Nightcrawler, Magik, Mystique, Kymera https://t.co/U3NumNjtA1— 🖌𝓡𝓲𝓵𝓵 𝓑𝓸𝓲𝓼𝓶𝓸𝓻𝓽𝓲𝓮𝓻🎨 (@RillAssShit) February 7, 2020
Emma Frost, Banshee, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Colossus, Angel, Iceman, Psylocke, Dazzler and Husk. https://t.co/vrFQ8lXrlr— 💘Goleon💘 (@Shiori_Sohma) February 7, 2020
Nightcrawler, Colossus, Kitty Pride, Armor, Emma Frost— Nick (@lilbluebot) February 7, 2020
Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Quentin, Iceman and X-23. https://t.co/j7pWsg5lSy— Jimmy Khasriya, CFA (@JimmyKhasriya) February 7, 2020
Nightcrawler, Colossus, Psylocke, Cannonball, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Dani Moonstar, X-23, Archangel https://t.co/M86DoNzP3K— Brandyn 🐅 (@AwYeahMrB) February 7, 2020
Cable, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Bishop, Pixie, Sunfire, Havok and Polaris https://t.co/EtufObyHts— Bill Gatevackes (@gates71) February 7, 2020
Easy peasy. https://t.co/ewnLAIw8JE— Teh Byleth Main (@AKOD) February 7, 2020