If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that my two favorite things are Buffy the vampire Slayer and The X-Men. I already made a giant list of the best Buffy characters in response to a BuzzFeed article doing the same thing. Well, recently, two other websites did best X-Men lists and, because this is how us nerds work, I didn't quite agree with either of them and decided to write my own. This list is only for people who have been actual members (sorry, Wanda and every cool villain)...
The 50 Best:
50) Dr Cecilia Reyes
She’s the forever-underrated X-Man who never even wore an official costume during her run (on the covers she wore a basic yellow and blue costume while inside the only costume she wore was one Beast had borrowed from Wasp) and never even wanted to be an X-Man. She left the team sometime after helping them defeat Shadow King because she was busy being a doctor. She had a cool power (she had Armor’s powers before Armor was even born) but had the unfortunate timing of joining the team when Maggot and Marrow were the “cool” new recruits. I enjoy that she still pops up every now and then as the doctor helping out her former teammates.
All major Marvel characters die. Then they come back. Blink was introduced to us as a captured mutant during the Phalanx Covenant storyline. Blink (using her powers) then died saving everyone on the boat with her. Banshee tried to save her, he really did. It’s one of my favorite moments in that storyline (and like, also I get that Phalanx Covenant doesn’t hold up so well over time—but I still love that storyline). Anyway, some time passed and then Age of Apocalypse happened and we got Blink and now there’s a version of her that joined The New Mutants a little bit before the book was cancelled. And, let’s be real, she was one of the coolest characters in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
He has a metal leg and once was caught in a weird love triangle with Mystique and Storm. I feel like some of his most compelling scenes were in the 90s X-Men: The Animated Series when he was shown as the one who was sending Bishop back. But, he makes stuff so that’s cool.
Schism was one of my favorite recent X-Men storyline…mostly because it didn’t have to do with time travel and time traveled version of other characters being stuck in the regular 616 Marvel universe. But, then there was Avengers v X-Men happened —a year long story that was not that good and had way too many tie-ins and made Hope seem like more work than she was worth. After that, Cyclops , Magik, and Emma robbed a Hot Topic and everything hasn’t been the same since. But, Tempus here—she stuck out just from her intro of reading about Captain America being her hero…and then having to break up a fight between Cyclops and his Hot Topic X-Men and The Avengers…and doing so by freezing all The Avengers….all of that was enough to make me like her. I hope she leads a team of young mutants some day and gets a better costume.
The high point in his life was being the leader, along with Emma Frost, of my favorite team of angsty mutants, Generation X. His death was tragic and, so far, he’s stayed dead.
Isn’t it weird to think Toy Biz released a 5-inch figure of this dude before releasing one of Jean Grey, Psylocke, Emma Frost or any other important woman? Anyway, he’s a cool warrior guy and I was pretty happy with his portrayal in X-Men: Days of Future Past. I also have a soft spot for the early 90s era X-Force.
I want to love her more than I do. I just hated everything about Avengers v X-Men and I feel like a lot of that had to do with her. I also feel like since that storyline, they haven't known what to do with her.
He’s a dick and I love him but he’s a really weird fit within The X-Men. Like, if this list were a movie, I’d say Namor seems like he’s in a different movie than everyone else.
The first LGBTQ X-Man of the list! Sadly, she doesn’t get quite enough time on the page, even when she was in New Mutants. Although, she did lose her leg in during the really awesome Second Coming and it’s one of those battles wounds that doesn’t seem to be going away (even though “Beast does miracles” is said so often it almost seems insulting that he HASN’T somehow gotten her a new leg).
I want her to be an X-Man without whatever story-arc it is ending with “AH-HA! You thought you could trust Mystique this whole time because she’s well written as a unlikely hero but now she’s going to betray each and every one of you shitbags over and over again because you’re all dumb enough to fall for it.” So, yeah…I like her character a lot but, as a member of The X-Men, most of her storylines end with her betraying them, so.
Bishop was cooler as a side character in X-Men: The Animated Series in the 90s. He was sent back in time to stop whoever mysteriously betrayed the X-Men, he failed, and Heroes Reborn happened. Also, he and Cyclops have both killed Professor X in like, a 5 year time span. So.
In a perfect world, he and Cannonball would’ve been the former X-Force memberswho were secretly lovers instead of Rictor and Shatterstar. But, well, you can’t always get what you want.
Karma lost a leg in Second Coming while Hellion lost his freakin hands. These seem to be the only two injuries ever given to any member of the X-Men that has ever stuck. But, who knows, this could be reversed by next month. Hellion is a total brat and, of course, this makes him the mutant I have a crush on. He also had a really weird mismatched relationship with X-23—so, there’s that.
37) Rachel Summers
I really enjoy her, really. I think one of the first comics to make me cry was when she had to leave the current timeline to go back to her old one to save her teammate Captain Britain (who it pains me to have left off this list). I’d just really like if they could make her current costume look a little less like her mom took her shopping at Hot Topic. But, to be fair, I was a big fair of her retro Marvel Girl outfit...so what do I know.
She was great in Joss Whedon’s run of The Astonishing X-Men. She was introduced as a kid who didn’t take crap and could keep up with Wolverine and I loved her for it. She has been sadly underused since Joss ended his run.
A hot warrior from another dimension who enjoys sex with men and with woman? Sign me up! He would’ve never made this list if it weren’t for Peter David’s run on X-Factor.
She was the 2004 answer to Jubilee and Kitty Pryde. Which sounds like a formula for disaster—but she works. She’s one of my favorite new (ish) characters and one of the most consistently well-written new characters.
I think Domino is actually an incredibly underused X-Man. She deserves to be teaching at the Jean Grey Academy instead of still playing side-kick to Deadpool or Cable. Her 90s action figure was also one of my favorite females figures when I was a kid.
A gay teen mutant who isn’t just “a gay teen mutant.” Anole comes off as stubborn and strong and doesn’t care who knows he’s gay. I love him even if he does suffer from having one of the most unfortunate names in X-Men history.
Cannonball is a total babe who has had half his family end up at Xavier’s school. One brother died, the other sister dated Angel, and Cannonball has been the MVP of the Guthrie clan and my heart. Also, he recently got promoted to The Avengers.
His Archangel look was my favorite. But, boy, have they sure overdone it with him. I’m not even sure what’s going on with his character now-a-days. He’s an actual Angel? I don’t know.
She’s a younger, less blonde version of Emma Frost. Also, she seems to have a lot of powers that are sometimes just not addressed. I’m glad she’s on the current all female X-team because, full disclosure, I LOVED the Generation X comic book.
28) Jamie Madrox/Multiple Man
He was nothing but comic relief in the 90s X-Factor book—but then we got that reboot of X-Factor by Peter David (he really redeemed a lot of B-list X-Men) and he became a leader and so much more than comic relief. I love that a lot of his clones have completely different personas. Fun fact: if you google “Jamie Madrox” a lot of pictures of a dude from an Insane Clown Posse-ish band come up.
He’s a smart ass, and sometimes bad guy, who has major daddy issues. I loved his solo series in the 90s when he was married to Crystal of the Inhumans and dealing with everyone moving slower than him. And, I mean, how good was he in X-Men: Days of the Future Past?
She’s the gay icon of the X-Men. She’s one of those characters the writers seem to have no clue what to do with. But, I sure hope we see her in the next X-Men film. And, also, let’s not talk about her recent Hot Topic makeover. And yes, I realize I’ve now mentioned Hot Topic too many times on this list.
25) Quentin Quire
If he’d been around when I was a kid he might’ve been my favorite character. I love him being a sassy anti-hero who is constantly annoyed by all the X-Men.
Magneto is not a good father. All of his children are pretty nuts. Polaris is a good example of this. When she’s not busy crashing her ex’s wedding and trying to kill everyone, she’s a pretty great strong character.
He works best when he and Polaris are a duo. He’s a current leader of an Avengers team though, so like, good for him. He’s my Summers brother of choice though, in case you were wondering.
Everyone shut. Jubilee may not be a fan favorite but she means so much to me because when I started watching the old 90s cartoon her and I were the same age and I wanted to BE her so I could hangout with the X-Men. She was on the X-Men at a time when there weren’t really any other kids on the team. I have two different Jubilee T-shirts (and last comic con someone stopped me to TELL me she sucks while pointing at my shirt because sometimes being a nerd is the worst) and was so excited when she was brought back to the X-Men recently. But, I could really do without her being a vampire with an adopted child.
She-Hulk is a good example of a “female version” of a character that completely works. X-23 is one of the few others.
I kind of hope he stays on the X-Men for good this time. He’s lasted quite a long time. But, if he does turn against them, I hope we don’t find out he’s a clone or something stupid. Magneto is one of the few villains who works for me as also being a good guy.
Her origin is incredibly convoluted but, hey, she’s a badass ninja so like, so what who cares.
I prefer him as a side character. Once he becomes the main character I think he comes off a bit…annoying (see also: the Deadpool video game). But, he’s a great character and is at his funniest when paired with characters who tend to take themselves too seriously (Cable, Captain America, etc).
You know what’s a really depressing issue of The X-Men to read (especially as a kid)? The issue where she lays in a hospital bed and dies. The cover had Jean Grey crying, while holding a crying Jubilee. But, ever since returning she’s become one of the most interesting X-Men.
He is so 90s it hurts. But, he’s a pretty badass iconic character despite his 90s-ness.
15) Dani Moonstar
Go read Dan Abnett’s run on New Mutants. Dani Moonstar loses her powers and somehow becomes 8979 times more badass. She kills one of the villains using her God damned leg to fire her bow and arrow because her arm was broken (I mean, just look at that photo).
The gentle jock. He works best when paired with Kitty. Also, let’s try and forget his whole Juggernaut phase. Him returning in Whedon’s run was one of my favorite moments in, what I consider, one of the best-written runs of The X-Men.
A gay superhero isn’t as much of a crazy notion today as it was back when Northstar came out. But, he came out and it meant so much to me when I was a kid. He’s recently become a staple in the X-Men lineup and he works so well on the team.
Everyone has a crush on Gambit, right?
The X-Men's original class clown.
10) Professor Xavier
He is the surrogate father to all the X-Men. He formed the X-Men. Hell, his ideas are what keep the X-Men going. But, how many times can he die and come back? He’s kind of stealing Jean Grey’s thing. But, this time he’s dead for good because we saw him in heaven (or whatever) with Nightcrawler…and Nightcrawler is dead for good…ohwait. Regardless, I love him.
Kelsey Grammar has never been better cast than as Beast in X-Men: The Last Stand (but, let’s not talk about that abortion of a film). Beast is the resident scientist—something the Marvel Universe seems to have an over-abundance of…just like redheads. But, instead of looking like Reed Richards or some other boring dude—he looks like a cuddly teddy bear!
He’s the boring jock who has recently become a weird rebel and I can’t reconcile current Cyclops with former Cyclops. But, either way, he’s a key member of The X-Men and always will be.
7) Emma Frost
I loved her as a villain in absurd lingerie. I loved her as the sassy leader of Generation X. I loved her banter when her and Jean Grey were on the same team. I still love her. She’s the ultimate Mean Girl of the Marvel Universe and pretty damn powerful too.
Lots of X-men die. In fact, very few on this list haven’t died. But no death made me cry more than Nighcrawler’s. And, also, I cried when he recently came back and hugged Wolverine. He’s the heart of The X-Men.
Rogue has one of the most X-Men-iest backstories of all The X-Men. She kissed a boy, accidentally drained him of his life, turned to a life of crime, and then became one of the heavy hitters of the team. She’s also currently an Avenger, so that’s kind of cool.
4) Kitty Pryde
The Pryde of the X-Men. She’s become such an integral part of the team, it’s hard to believe she spent most of the 90s on Excalibur and not X-Men. Real talk: I hate the time traveled First Class X-Men team, but I love Kitty interacting with them.
3) Jean Grey
She is one of the most powerful mutants/superheroes in the Marvel Universe and has maybe died more times than any other hero. Her stories are some of the greatest ever told of any of The X-Men.
The best he is at what he does and the X-Men member everyone feels oversaturated with. But, to his credit, I think his oversaturation is due to the fact that he is such a great character. He’s been a mentor/father to characters like X-23, Jubilee and Kitty Pryde. He likes to drink. He’s kind of a dick—but he still believes in Xavier’s dream.
The best team leader the X-Men have ever had. She’s been worshipped as a goddess, she’s been married to the king of Wakanda, and she’s always been a leader to The X-Men. She’s one of the few mutants who has avoided a lot of the clichés many of the X-Men have fallen into at one time or another (constant resurrection, mental breakdown, turning evil, etc). I don’t hate Halle Berry’s performance as Storm as much as most fellow nerds do—but it’s a damn shame such a Strong Female Character was made into such a boring side character in the movies.
Characters It Hurt To Leave Off This List: Boom Boom/Boomer/Meltdown (she's the rip-off Jubilee I always had a soft spot for), Captain Britain, Siryn, The Stepford Cuckoos, Longshot (he's so handsome), Doop (the's like a cute version of Slimer from Ghostbusters), Chamber, Marrow (I kind of loved her when she was on the team), Firestar (why did it take her so long to join), Warlock, Broo (I think he's wonderful), Scarlet Witch (she's never ACTUALLY been on the team, so she doesn't count), Pete Wisdom, Nate Grey ( I know he's lame but I have a big crush on him), Mercury, Oya (the best member of Generation Hope), and Moira MacTaggert.
The 10 Worst:
He was a bad guy who eventually joined forces with X-Factor at some point in the 90s and he has a gun for an arm. He's one of the most 90s X-Men to ever 90s. But, I can't lie, I remember laughing out loud when Polaris kicked his ass in his first appearance.
Sage is one of the few X-Men that I actively cannot stand. She's a poor man's Emma Frost. For a minute there, i was afraid she'd never go away.
They made her a lot cooler in X-Men: First Class than she actually was in the comic. Just look at that fucking helmet.
Remember when I said Namor was the one on this list who seemed like he's in a different movie than everyone else? Well, so is Warbird and in the worst kind of way. She belongs in an Image comic in the early 90s, not The X-Men in 2014. Also, she refused to attend Northstar's wedding because the Shi'ar are apparently really big homophobes.
He and Dr Cecilia Reyes both joined The X-Men around the same time and he stayed on the team longer because someone was doing a lot of drugs at Marvel HQ.
He and Angel (the lady at number 8) fell in love and everything was terrible.
4) Stacy X
"You know how Marrow is a Morlock? Let's make her a prostitute instead!" Stacy X literally left a note on a table and, thankfully, said goodbye to The X-Men forever.
For every new awesome character like Tempus, there is a Goldballs...I guess.
There's gotta be a clone in every comic book, right?
It almost feels cheap to have him as number one because he was an X-Man for such a short time. But, he rides a surfboard so that automatically makes him the worst. AND SHUT UP I KNOW THE SILVER SURFER DOES TOO!
Characters Who Are Also Terrible But Not Quite As Terrible As The Above Ten: Lifeguard (her brother is the idiot surfer from above), Nocturne (it's not her fault she's a lame time-displaced version of Nightcrawler's daughter but COME ON), Omega Sentinel, Feral, Transonic (oh, that's not Mystique), Primal, and Kymera (WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT TIME-DISPLACED KIDS).