Welcome back to the Top 162 X-Men Countdown! Since their creation in 1963, the X-Men have gone through many changes, incorporating new team members crucial, inconsequential, and all that grey area in between.
Today we are diving into a geographically diverse group of X-Men, taking a deeper look at a pair of Brits, an authentic (maybe?) Roman, a Western European, a Middle Easterner, two aliens, and a good old Bostonian!
Since their creation by the legendary Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1963, the X-Men have gone through many changes. From the expansion of the original team of five “gifted youngsters” to include new recruits, adjunct teams, and other schools, the X-Men mythos has, over the past almost 51 years, grown to include more mutants than you can shake a ’90s-era belt pouch at.
So, having been motivated by all the X-Buzz going around courtesy of the excellent X-Men: Days of Future Past movie, we here at The Weekly Haul (meaning two shlubs from Long Island with a collective 40+ years of reading X-comics) have undertaken the daunting task of methodically ranking the X-Men from worst to best.
With nearly a gabillion (realistic estimate) of characters to go through, how could be possibly decide who makes this list? After much thought, here’s our criteria for inclusion:
1. The character must have been (or currently is) a MEMBER of either a major X-Team or logically associated team, which for our purposes includes:
– X-Men (Uncanny, New, or Adjectiveless)
– X-Treme X-Men
– New Mutants
– Generation X
OR a student at one of the X-related schools including:
– Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters/Xavier Institute for Higher Learning
– Jean Grey School for Higher Learning
– New Charles Xavier School for Mutants
That seems pretty reasonable, no? Not too many surprises here, maybe except for the fact that we’re not counting long-standing X-Men wards Leech and Artie, X-Factor receptionist Pip the Troll, government “liaison” Val Cooper, and fake out Summers brother Adam the X-Treme. We are also not counting the Genosha-based comic “Excalibur” as a true team, taking out the Claremont-fandom loved (?) Wicked, Freakshow, and Shola Inkose. We are also not including X-Statix, who are X-related in name alone.
This also implies that we’re only including main Marvel 616 teams. If they’ve crossed over from an alternate universe and joined a team (i.e. X-Man, Nocturne), that’s okay. But no alternate world-only characters.
Here’s the clincher, though, which knocked out a bunch of characters from contention.
2. The character must have more than one storyline appearance as a team member/student.
The real purpose of this is to a) limit the numbers a bit and b) get rid of one-and-done story tools, like ForgetMeNot from X-Men Legacy #300.
No thank you. So, in one fell swoop, there goes 3/4s of the Deadly Genesis team, the Morph-inspiring Changeling, Mimic, Wiz Kid (I know you’re upset, 3 Wiz Kid fans, sorry), memory-wiped Sebastian Shaw, most (if not all?) of the non-other team X-Corporation members, and an OBSCENE number of students.
Sorry, fans of strange looking characters that exist because Morrison/DeFilippis/Aaron needed background characters to show just how CRAZY the school was/is (or needed cannon fodder) — they are not included here.
That gets us down to 162 X-characters!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll reveal who they are counting down from the “worst” to the “best”. In an effort to make this as unbiased as possible and as far away from a popularity contest as we can get (and to prevent JK from making this a Generation X love letter and Remy a Goldballs tribute), we’re going to be thinking about “best” as a combination of:
1. Importance/Significance to their team
2. Importance/Significance to the X-Universe as a whole
3. Place/Role in their “story” — “Without the actions of this character, would this story have the same weight and would the repercussions be different?”
4. And, of course, a general gestalt.
Many of these X-characters have done very famous things, good or bad, in other titles either prior to or after they were members of X-Men teams. For our purposes, we are ONLY considering their time while active members of the X-Men. To take an example — Juggernaut, while undoubtedly super-important to the X-Universe, has been a contributing X-Member (I love putting “X” in front of words but I know that instance was a bad decision) only during his time with the X-Men and the short lived New Excalibur team.
Well, that’s our reasoning for what you’re about to read. We’ve put at least some thought into this and we hope you agree with EVERY SINGLE THING WE WRITE, but at the least, we hope we don’t irritate you to the point you have to throw your computer out of the window. Let us know your opinions as we go — hope you survive the experience!
It’s been a very busy few weeks at home and at work, so my regular updates had to take a back seat for the past two comic book store trips. I’m not going to backtrack and talk about those weeks (boo hoo, I know) for the sake of time, but never fear! There’s this week’s floppy-covered wonders of joy to talk about!
All the activity at home has really stemmed from the continuing rearrangement of the house and who calls which room theirs. Jacob is finally in his brand new room upstairs (the old office) and, even though I hate the trips up and down the stairs to put him to bed, he’s really enjoying all the space.
The office (formerly The Boy’s bedroom) has now, under the gracious advisement of my beautiful and wonderful wife, has been transformed into a great place to showcase my overwhelming addiction that I need professional help for comic collection. Gone is the poop-colored brown that covered the lower half of the walls (what an accidentally dumb choice that was), replaced with a soothing grey (yes, spelled as in Jean — even my spelling has been influenced by comics). In all honesty, this too was an accident, although a fortunate one this time. The original plan was to paint the entire room, destroying all traces of a little boy who once slept there (cue: wife’s tears) — a light grey above the chair rail and a dark grey below. I started with the dark grey after spackling the nail holes in the upper part of the walls and found myself stumbling into a really nice, soothing color combination. Dark grey and blue-green it is!
Oh, a little tour, you say? I’m really exposing my comic-ness, here. Sure…
Again, I’m trying to keep the walls on the more open and airy side at the request of my wife. If I was left to my own devices, I tend to fill up most floor and wall space with stuff — open spaces are unnerving to me. But that’s why I live in New York, right?
I love this piece of furniture; it really ended up being a great way to have books out on display, plus a place to have out some fun stuff on top, which currently include some superhero Lego sets, Marvel/DC Matryoshka dolls, my Homestar Runner PVC figures, a bunch of X-Men metal figures/Kubriks, and my Jewish comic star Heroclix:
I’ve got a place for sci-fi and comic-related novels and such, plus the ever present and necessary medical bookshelves:
Of course, I’ve also got a place for all my single issues, which were last seen (in my last post) sitting in the middle of the living room. Now, most of the boxes are in the office closet, camouflaged behind my brand-new in house Michael Craft Store.
Yes, I know it’s almost 2 weeks after that date up there in the title. Call me terribly ashamed. Who knew fellowship would be busy?
As if starting fellowship wouldn’t be enough on my proverbial plate (I’ve now survived a month of service and my first week/weekend on call!), Dawn and I, in our infinite wisdom, decided that it would be a great time to go full force into our planned three-way room swap (not our planned three-way, though that would be interesting material for this blog, huh?).
Our lovely house (typed with a dash of sarcasm) has four bedrooms, two upstairs and two downstairs. We moved into this house the month before Jacob was born, because, again, we like to be frantically stressed. The two downstairs bedrooms easily became our master bedroom and his nursery/bedroom. The larger upstairs room was originally destined to be the office, but once my delusions that we needed an office dissipated, it became the 50% Crochet Castle and 50% Comic Book Room of Doom. The final room? Well, the “guest room” never became much of a room for guests. Sure, there was a nicely made bed in there, but it was buried with unopened boxes, old clothes, books, and a ton of odds and ends.
Now that there’s a second kid (I know because she rarely stops crying and screaming), the big plan is to make the two rooms upstairs into their bedrooms and bring the office into Jacob’s current room. Of course, this also means I’ve got to paint three rooms and recarpet two of them (read: the Home Depot guys have to recarpet two of them).
After a week of working after working, the two rooms upstairs are empty(ish) and Emma’s room is painted.
The trade off is that our living/dining room looks like an episode of Hoarders.
In order to move quickly onto last week’s books, I’m going to try to keep my blabbering short in what was ultimately a light week.
Now that I’ve started fellowship, my work days are lasting a bit longer and getting to the comic shop on Wednesday before they close isn’t always a sure deal. Ultimately, it’s not a problem for picking up new books; my LCS is fairly decent with ordering and things won’t typically sell out if I get there by the weekend. This past week, I got there on Thursday. And guess who I got to avoid while I picked out my books?
I Am More Knowledgeable Than You Nerd.
IAMKTYN is the bane of my existence at the shop. He’s in his early 20s or so. He doesn’t really work there, but he obviously likes to think that he’s vital to the operation. He’ll work the register happily (for no pay) when the desk guy needs to get some lunch, smoke a cigarette, or run home to “use the bathroom”. But, what his primary job is, outside of attempting to grow his pathetic depressing moustache, of course, is to bother the living crap out of me.
The typical conversation that he ambushes people with (and he really does come out of nowhere) goes somewhat like this:
“Uh, hey! So, you read [fill in title of book here]?”
Typically, the book in question is something completely random. Every now and again, he’ll take a look at the last thing I’ve picked up and find some loose thread to mention another book, but he doesn’t use that much thought process usually.
Okay, I’ll play along. Sure, I read that book, why not. Of course, I’ve tried the alternate answer too, but it doesn’t get me out of this conversation any quicker.
“Oh. Well, do you read [other title of other usually random book]?”
The “oh”, if you’ve mentally read that with a twinge of disappointment in your inner voice, you’re reading it right. So I’ve obviously disappointed him by reading something else. It’s funny, you’d think that the guy wants to talk about something fun or interesting in a title that we both read, a moment that we could share and discuss and debate. Nope. It’s a moment for him to find a discordant moment, a book that he knows about and that I’m not reading.
In your f-ing face, pube-stache.
This goes on for about 3-4 round robins, ultimately ending in me inching far enough away that IAMKTYN moves on to weaker prey. I’m not a proponent of nerd-on-nerd hatred (number two internet crime, for sure), but this guy just drives me freaking nuts.
Sooooo, obviously it’s been a bit busy the past 2 weeks and, like usual, I’ve again fallen behind in the wonderful world of comics. I hang my head in shame, as I know that all of yousome of you a miniscule number of you can’t get through a week without reading this shameful website.
Anyway, on the work front, last week was the end of the academic year for the residency program and, therefore, a very nice, structured, calm graduation for the residents, fellows, and myself and my co-chief residents. Oh, and also, a PARTY!
When I first started my residency, I thought that I would like to stay on and do a chief year. When I was approached about it during my second year, I was totally into the idea. When I first started my chief year, it was overwhelming,To be a bit mushy, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky and fortunate to have spent the last year with some amazing people. I’m happy that I get to stay at my “work home” for the next three years (at least) for fellowship, but I’m sad that my co-chiefs will be departing to other places to complete their training. It will be strange to be in a office without them, for sure.
Then, this past Saturday, Dawn had her dance studio’s recital. Thankfully, being 38 weeks pregnant at the time, she didn’t have to dance herself — not sure if there’s a real market out there for pregnant dancers — but Jacob and I went out to watch and support the kids. I don’t know if he will end up in a formal dance class, and I won’t fight if he wants to, but he REALLY likes to dance, be the center of attention, and flirt with girls, so it seems like a good fit for his needs.
And then the most recent reason for the lateness?
Yep, child numero dos (AKA Emma Rachel) has arrived! She was born on Sunday, June 24th at 8:58AM, about 12 days early (anxious to find out about the conclusion of AVX, though I told her that it will likely end in 2054). I’m not sure if my wife will be pleased with my publicizing the intricate details of the affair (nor will you want to read it if I wrote it … nor would I really want to write it in the first place), but Dawn’s labor went WAY fast this time.
Basically, she woke me up at 7AM with the very calmly phrased, yet no less frightening, “Can you please wake up? I think I’m going to need your help.” My first reaction as a loving, caring husband of 3 and a half years and a boyfriend for a decade more? “Can I shower first?” Aren’t I just the best?
Following my obviously life-alteringly important shower, we sped to the hospital, cutting my normal 30 minute commute to a hot 15 minutes (no thank you stop signs and red lights), just in time to leave The Boy with the unit receptionist and watch my daughter be born without the joy of an epidural. It was fast and crazed, but thankfully, everyone is doing great.
So far, Jacob is very sweet with her; he gives her hugs and kisses and wants to “teach her about his toys”.
Oh, and we got a fish too. Jacob named him Schkookie. Or Skookie. Depends on the moment. Not sure where he pulled that name from. This house is getting more and more crowded by the second…
Probably one of the best parts of this pseudo-vacation between chief year and starting fellowship, besides cramming as much endocrine into my brain as possible, is that I get to spend a whole lot of time with the boy. Now, to be quite honest, it does get a bit difficult for me at times because he has a tendency to perseverate on certain things and I have now seen every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic about 30 times. Plus, there’s only so long I can take coloring, even despite it’s in a Spider-Man coloring book.
This past weekend we went to another boy’s birthday party from Jacob’s nursery school, which seems to be the new staple of my weekends. I went out to Target to pick up a present for the birthday boy (ended up getting a pretty awesome Batman motorcycle) and, like I usually do when I’m around toys, I snaked through the rest of the aisles and found something that I thought we would both enjoy.
Pretty cool, huh? I’m certainly not the biggest Wolverine fan by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was younger I was a HUGE Lego fan. Lego released a bunch of Avengers sets to coincide with the movie release and for some strange reason, they also put out this X-Men set. Yes, I know that it’s a bit advanced for a two year old, but he really likes playing with his Duplo blocks and I figured that he’d at least have fun spinning the helicopter blades and making fake shooting “pshew pshew” sounds.
We took most of the morning to put it all together, but the fake battles with the helicopter and motorcycle were pretty freaking epic. He even said that Magneto (aka Batman) and Deadpool were “bad guys” and Wolverine was a “good guy” — is he a genius or what???
On an unrelated note, I still have yet to see The Avengers. As one of the few remaining members of the human race who have not seen this movie, I have severely spoiled myself online (that almost sounds 50% sexual and 50% gross). Yes, I know about the secret after-credits scene with Thanos (oops, spoilers). Yes, I know about the super-secret after-credits shawarma scene. But this scene from the movie is just odd…
I don’t have that much pluckiness to start off this past week’s books, obviously with much regret. I’m a bit behind in posting this installment; I was able to finish these books only today. The weekend, which is my typical time for playing catch up, was pretty busy with birthday celebrations. The boy, escorted by myself and the VERY pregnant wife, went to 2 kids parties and a dinner celebration for our sister-in-law’s birthday. All in all a fun weekend, but when I got home at night the only thing I wanted to do was pass out.
As it always happens, the week following a light week is VERY heavy. Of course, this past week was no exception to the rule. And, of course, now I’m a week behind again. Time to fix that!
If you’re following closely (why would you?), you’d notice that last week I didn’t talk about the HUGEST RELEASE IN THE HISTORY OF COMICS AND POSSIBLY EVEN THE WORLD — Avengers vs X-Men #1! (Or so Marvel would have you believe.) Well, I ended up getting the issue via a certain online auction site (that rhymes with Shmeebay) after I found out that my shop got in their issues late and then promptly sold out.
As for my thoughts? I think I’ve made my opinions clear on heroes versus heroes in the past; if not, my opinion is “not interesting bordering on complete fan service”. So, I approached this issue with a bit of a bias, obviously. And, in doing so, I’ve realized an interesting fact. There is something that I like less than heroes versus heroes. It’s a publishing company hyping up a heroes versus heroes big battle royale for the fate of the universe, only to spend an entire issue talking about it.
But, on a bright note, check out this variant cover by Skottie Young — How amazing is that? If you want to pick up one for me, I won’t complain.