The Weekend Top 10: Favorite X-Men

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Top 10 X-Men…..not X-Characters, but everybody on my list has actually been on the X-Men at some time or another.

10. Nate Grey – A cheap pick if I ever did make one, since Nate was only an X-Man for about three issues back in 1999 in the three issue Astonishing X-Men mini-series, so really he’s just technically making the list. But I love the character, and now that he’s alive again there’s a good chance he’ll be joining up again on a more full time basis, which means that the telekinetic shaman of the 21st century is back. His presence should make for a great and original dynamic.

9. Beast – Hank McCoy has never had an easy path in life, from the big hands and feet that got him the nickname of beast, to the serum that turned him blue and beast like. He’s loved and lost, and unfortunately most of those losses have come from women who had issues with how he looked as opposed to who he was. He’s been an X-Man, an Avenger, worked for X-Factor, been a scientist, all kinds of things.He spent years trying to cure the Legacy Virus, and has spent every waking moment since M-Day trying to restart the mutant race. He’s admittedly MIA right now after a falling out with Scott Summers, but all that means is that he’s getting the job done elsewhere. I doubt he even remembers life as a man before the transformations, but I do know that Hank is never someone too hard on himself for his lot in life. Things don’t always go perfect, but that never breaks his optimism.

8. Emma Frost – Who would have thought that the infamous White Queen of the Hellfire Club would not only become an X-Man, but one of the most important and influential amongst them? And no, I don’t mean because she does things to Scott Summers that are better left not mentioned in decent company. I mean because she’s an alpha class telepath with diamond skin and an uber bitch personality, as well as an inability to take no for an answer. She gets results, even if the actions she takes to get them are questionable, she always gets results. There was a time I thought she was just going to be conflict for the Scott and Jean that would be over and done and forgotten in a few years. Now, however, I like her more then I ever liked Jean. Pretty cool, huh? Good writing does wonders.

7. Cable – I’m a Cable fan, go figure. The son of Scott Summers has been many things; a baby, an attempted sacrifice, an aged soldier from the future, the leader of X-Force, the killer of Apocalypse, a self appointed savior, and most recently, a father. Nathan Summers is what we call a good old soldier, in that he has his mission and he does everything he can to complete it. He understands what it is to have a cause, to fight for it, and to be willing to die for it. He also understands what it’s like to be a good ten years older then your father, and what it’s like to have a completely insane clone. I will say that I find him more interesting with powers then guns though.

6. Northstar – Jean Paul joining the X-Men is possibly the best thing Chuck Austen did during his run with the team. That said, he’s a unique and original character, he’s one of the original ‘gay superheroes’, having come out back during a time when the topic wasn’t often broached by mainstream material, and beyond that, he was never made into a token character because of it. They could have made him the stereotypical effeminate gay man, and instead they made him a strong willed and determined hero, a role model. And definitely one of the deeper characters to come out of the auxiliary X titles.

5. Havok – Younger brother syndrome rarely goes well in comics, doesn’t matter who the family line is. The younger brother always has issues measuring up in their head to the older bro. Alex Summers is no different, as his life has been riddled with issues from out of control powers, to being brainwashed by every bad guy he’s ever met, and he also spent more time then he probably cared to under Scott’s command on the X-Men, and when he wasn’t, he still kept finding himself in his shadow. Alex’s first big breakout role came in, of all places, an alternate dimension where he led a team called The Six, and Scott was a Starjammer. Kind of ironic as now Alex is currently leading the Starjammers, keeping him and his exploits galaxies away from Scott’s shadow.

4. Kitty Pryde – Kitty is one of the best point of view characters that comics has given us over the years. Seriously, X-Men readers have been growing up with her since the 80’s, and she’s pretty consistently been around since her inception minus her current ordeals. Joss Whedon came on to write X-Men just to write her because she’s one of his favorite characters. She’s Kitty Pryde, she walks through walls and Wolverine won’t fight her because she’ll go ninja on him. She was in the New Mutants, Excalibur, and was even an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.! She has a pet dragon! Oh, and she’s also one of the most down to Earth characters in franchise history, and she’s an archetype that has been repeatedly reattempted with little to no success because they literally broke the mold when they made her. Probably the best thing Chris Claremont ever did.

3. Iceman – Bobby has always been a favorite of mine, despite near criminal levels of under utilization over the years. He’s been the class clown, the baby of the team, a snowman, the heart of the team, and even one of the most powerful members. He comes from a family that had racial issues towards his mutantcy, and a life that has been anything but easy, but he still keeps his head help up high. To be honest, if there was ever a character in the X-Men that deserved a higher profile, it’s Bobby Drake.

2. Colossus – Piotr is a story that would go over well in either a romance or a trajedy, as he has lived no easy life. His brother, Mikhail, was presumed dead once the Soviet government discovered his abilities, and then later went completely batshit insane. His sister, Illyana, was abducted to limbo and came out a teenager ruling the place with all kinds of demon issues, only to wind up a child again and to die from the Legacy Virus. His parents were murdered by the government in an attempt to capture the child form of Illyana and reawaken her powers as a weapon for their use. He sacrificed his own life, literally dying, to cure the Legacy Virus, and even that was taken from him. Brought back from the dead, his blood used to synthesize a mutant cure, he found himself freed again, with his one true love Kitty Pryde, and no sooner were they finally together then she found herself permanantly phasing a giant space bullet. Sure, she’s on Earth again now, but she’s all ghosty. Piotr just doesn’t have it easy, and yet, the poetic soul, the ability to stand through everything, he’s been carefully crafted into one of the best characters in comics.

1. Cyclops – Scott is one of those characters that you never really liked as a kid because, while his power was flashy, he was always the straight laced prototypical good guy, and teaming with Wolverine accented that. He took orders, never screwed around, and bossed everyone around. Mix that with the knowledge that he got married, had a kid, then walked out to go date his ex again….Scott wasn’t horribly likable. Thankfully in the past few years he’s had a chance at a revitalization, to an extent it began during The Twelve when he merged with Apocalypse, but it wasn’t truly explored until Grant Morrison gave him a full psychological breakdown. Scott has been in sole control of the X-Men since the conclusion of New X-Men, and he’s the great uniter that neither Xavier nor Magneto could be. He’s become the general of an entire race, and one of the best fleshed out and developed characrters in comics.

A lifelong reader and self proclaimed continuity guru, Grey is the Editor in Chief of Comics Nexus. Known for his love of Booster Gold, Spider-Girl (the real one), Stephanie Brown, and The Boys. Don't miss The Gold Standard.