Of all the comics I’m reading or have read in my lifetime, X-Men is the one constant that I do not falter from. It has been a faithful friend since even before I was a teenager, and as I went through my puberty driven angst I happily related to the outcast feelings of the mutants, celebrated the camaraderie of the team and the students of the academy, and developed burning crushes on several fictional characters within the universe. I spent a lot of time on X-Men centric message board roleplaying websites, pretending I was a mutant with some strange power and working my way up in the ranks of player politics until I was a REAL member of the X-Men team.
At this point they are all like old friends, comfortable like your favorite pair of shoes – the ones that have holes in them but you still wear to go check the mailbox.
I have tried to keep up with X-Men through every run, through every bout of “I have no money”, and through every move (even when I lived in a small town where the only comic book shop closed and I had to drive two hours every Wednesday). Though recently due to a hectic life and lack of funds I haven’t been frolicking down the comics shop every week, I’m still picking up the trades and I’m still greeting those familiar faces again and again.
Due to my complete and obvious obsession with X-Men, I spend a lot of time fixating upon the characters I feel are underrated, oftentimes overlooked. These are the characters I feel deserve their own spinoffs, major appearances, and while I don’t expect non comics readers to recognize them the way they would recognize say, Batman, I become disappointed when fellow geeks give me a blank stare when I start prattling off obscure characters from the X-Men universe.
If you were a hipster, these X-Men would be the bands you would listen to before they get cool.
Upon first review, Marrow’s power is a little lame. Basically, she can grow her skeleton superfast and make stuff out of it. Like bone spurs that she yanks from her legs and throws at people, or boney knuckle guards. But if you think about it, her power is pretty hardcore. That has to HURT, and considering that at first she cannot control the growth of her bones (until Weapon X gets involved) she probably had a harder time growing up as a mutant than most others.
She has a bit of a convoluted past, being raised by the Morlocks in the New York City underground. Eventually she joins the X-men but she’s not really a team player and has a hard time getting along with most people. I love her fiery personality, weird mutation, and she has PINK HAIR which is an obvious bonus.
Maggott. Is. Awesome.
He made this list because he has by far the strangest mutation in X-men history and I LOVE strange.
Basically, his digestive system can turn into two giant slugs, exit his body, eat through anything in their path and then RE-ENTER his body… granting him EPIC POWER. Like something from a Marilyn Manson video, Maggott is a true eyebrow raiser, and a character I would like to see more of just for the pure “WTF” factor. Come on, there are so many hilarious one liners that could be directed towards him.
The Stepford Cuckoos
Crazy Emma Frost clones, anyone?
Why yes, I’ll take a helping of five, myself!
In a story arc that only Grant Morrison could create, the Stepford Cuckoos burst upon the scene as five identical quintuplets all attending the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. But they’re not just five hot blonde teenage girls, oh no – they’re psychically linked and are actually clones of Emma Frost, created from her ova that was harvested while she was in a coma. SCANDALOUS.
Now only three of the original five sisters remain (due to crazy dramatic deaths, whoa!), but they’re still weird and wild and wonderful and I’d love to see more of them.
So Nocturne is actually an alternate reality character, but that didn’t stop her from qualifying for my list. Because I like her. And she’s blue. Also, she just so happens to be the daughter of Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch.
Nocturne is pretty awesome in the fact that she has basically been a part of the X-men team her entire life as she is second generation, so she knows what she is doing. She fights some pretty epic battles and wins, and her relationship with her “aunt” Kitty Pryde is really adorable and well written.
Did I mention she’s blue?
There’s a bit of a tangled storyline with Penance, but the basics are this: Penance is actually a hollow body with sisters trapped inside. She’s made of red stone and is incredibly powerful, cannot really understand language, and can hardly speak. She is the result of some crazy dimensional mutation and she has housed a rotation of three sisters (sometimes one, sometimes two, depending on when you’re reading).
I really enjoy the more “feral” mutants and Penance does not disappoint. When she first appears at the academy they put her into the infirmary, and when she wakes she rips the entire place apart as she escapes.
Cannonball can go fast – REALLY fast. Like jet engine plane fast. With a forcefield!
While that’s cool, that’s not the reason I chose to add him to my list. He’s a very well written and unique character, offering colour and interest to the team. Hailing from a rural town in the deep south, he’s a bit of a redneck and comes from a HUGE family, of which most of his siblings are also mutants. He’s incredibly polite, “salt of the earth”, and a giant science fiction fan (which I especially like). He has the sort of unique characteristics and easy charm that allow him to fit in with the team well, and I really enjoy reading any scene he’s in.
An entitled upper class California kid, Hellion is a little snot nosed brat and naturally that makes him very entertaining. He’s telekenetic and cocky and has a superiority complex which leads him to be flirtatious and a bit of a ladykiller. One of my all time favourite scenes with Hellion is when he gets mad at another girl and ends up dating all three of the Stepford Cuckoos. All three sisters – now THAT’S an accomplishment.
Lifeguard’s mutation is pretty interesting, and one that did not manifest itself until later in her life. Basically she can adapt to survive in any situation, developing many different mutations and powers in quick succession in order to stay alive. For example, if she is thrown into water she will grow gills, or if bullets are flying at her teammates she can generate a forcefield.
I feel as if this mutation could be really overpowered, but if handled correctly with the right storyline I see Lifeguard having a lot of potential.
Madrox has gotten a little more love than most of the other characters on this list as he actually made it to one of the X-Men movies! Shock and awe etc. However I still think he needs to see more page time, especially since he has been on the outskirts of most major X-Men storylines since the late 80s.
Able to make multiple copies of himself, Madrox is notable for having one weird but awesome mutation. Add to that a rich and interesting character history and he has potential for some great storylines.
I operate under the belief that X-men should be all about Polaris, all the time. Maybe it’s because she has green hair or it’s because she’s a complete badass, but from the moment I first learned of Polaris’ existence I became incredibly attached. I will even confess as to writing this list mostly for her benefit so I can go on and on about what a wonderful and overlooked character she is.
As the daughter of Magneto (and therefore the half sister of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver!), Polaris possesses her father’s mutation to manipulate metals. Despite who her father is, Polaris has almost primarily been a good guy.
She also has a relationship with Havok that is like watching an episode of a reality TV show – it’s some sort of trainwreck that you can’t look away from. At one point he leaves her at the altar on their wedding day. CLASSY!
So there are my top ten picks for the Most Underrated X-Men. Agree? Disagree? Want to make babies with Polaris? Comment below!
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