Who are the greatest ever X-Men? Over the coming weeks, we’re going to try to answer that question, selecting five X-Men at a time from across the franchise’s long history, and pairing up your votes with the opinions of our own panel of highly opinionated X-Men fans. Your scores will be added to ours to determine the top 100 X-Men.

This week, the greatest X-Man of all, the one-and-only (except not) Wolverine! Surely he'll get maximum points from our panel of judges? And in the other corner, one of the least loved X-Men of all time; Squid Boy. He probably won't score quite as highly.

 

WARPATH, JAMES PROUDSTAR

Andrew: I like to think of him as James, not Warpath, because Jimmy P was never more interesting to me than when he became a near-pacifist superhero (who just happens to be a huge guy in yellow chaps). I don’t quite follow how he then became an assassin who guts people with a knife in each hand, but I guess someone thought that was cool. Jimmy is one of my all-time favorite X-Men; Warpath is a drudge. Splitting the difference: 6/10

Steve: Absolutely! Didn’t he solve Necrosha by playing some mystical flutes and wielding a magic dagger, or something? Talk about a character’s center getting lost in a dark and gritty creative takeover. Remember the days of him on the road with the other young mutants, a handsome hero with a heart and calm sense of pride in who he was? He’s basically vanished now, as far as I’m aware, lost in the B-List Limbo cascade of 2012. 5/10

Elle: I struggle to think of one personality trait that I’m sure James has regardless of who’s writing him. He’s certainly shown potential at times, but his treatment, as Andrew and Steve has pointed out, has been far too inconsistent. 4/10

Aaron: Like Elle, I struggle to identify his definitive traits, other than anger. Though, I’ll never forget his fuschia Hellions onesie. Can we bring that back? 5/10

Katie: This is one of those X-Men characters where I’ve vaguely heard about him but have no real connection to. He’s angry, right? I feel like mostly I know him as being angry. Oh, and he was one of the many POCs in the Days of Future Past movie that were pushed to the background of the plot. So yeah … that’s a bummer. 4/10

OUR SCORE: 24/50

YOUR SCORE:

 

 

WOLVERINE, JAMES 'LOGAN' HOWLETT

Katie: It’s not a stretch to say Wolverine is the most overhyped and arguably overused mutant across nearly all media --- comics, movies, cartoons. When he’s used badly, it’s really, laughably badly. But when you get past the hype, there is a lasting quality to Logan (and not just because of his regeneration). At his best, he’s a flawed man who is trying to do the right thing and his mentor relationship with teen heroines (from Kitty to Jubilee to Laura to even Kamala) is where the character shines. If we’re going on that premise with Wolverine, he gets an 8/10

Steve: All credit to Wolverine. He’s used a lot, but he’s generally --- even nowadays --- still entertaining any time he appears. Of course, he’s dead now, but we’ll just have to get over it, the guy could use a rest. Read back any story you have from the X-Men’s past, and Wolverine’ll be in there somewhere. And chances are? He’ll be great in it. Like Katie says, he’s got staying power. 7/10

Aaron: It’s easy to give Wolverine a 40 minute long eyeroll. He’s everywhere, and as an X-fan it can be cumbersome to see Wolverine outshine so many other capable mutants. That being said, Wolverine’s great, despite his hype engine. Wolverine was definitely one of my teenage crushes. A gruff “Bad Boy” with a heart of gold? Yus! He’s reliable, and despite the ridiculous amount of power-sets he’s around, Logan can solve any issue with the help of six shiny friends. 7/10

Elle: Okay yes, I have written a lengthy editorial about how Logan should stay dead, but remember that part of my reasoning was that he’d had a fascinating character arc that I wouldn’t want to see undone. When I was a kid, I loved grizzled hard-bitten Logan. As an adult, I loved caring headmaster, buys-Jubilee-a-house Logan. For the future, I’d rather read new comics about Laura Kinney, but honestly Logan was pretty great. 8/10

Andrew: Like most longtime X-Men fans, Wolverine was one of my favorite characters at one point, and like most longtime X-Men fans, I got bored of him. But as Katie says, where Wolverine still shines is in his dynamics with other characters, especially teen heroes. I’ll always have more time for him when there’s some light to balance his shade. And when he’s deployed with restraint. 6/10

OUR SCORE: 36/50

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KARMA, XI'AN COY MANH

Steve: My secret favorite member of the New Mutants, even if Cannonball and Dani Moonstar are objectively the important ones. I really like that she stands a bit in the background, out the way, the rock of the team. There’s a fantastic cover by Dustin Weaver for Astonishing X-Men #52 which I think sums her up a little. She loses her leg during the Second Coming event (for no reason I think other than that was a Kyle/Yost joint and it’d been a few pages since anyone got maimed) and the cover shows her quietly repairing the metal leg she has put in as replacement. She’s unassuming, quiet, calmly working through this trauma that was thrust on her. And she’s wearing her X-Men jacket while she’s doing it! Through everything, she’s this core of strength which bolsters the X-Men around her. I love her. 9/10

Elle: I want to love Karma, and sometimes I do. But it’s hard to escape how many groups she’s been used to represent, and almost always clumsily. She’s been a political refugee, an abuse survivor, a fat person, a lesbian, and an amputee. I’m fine with her being all of those things, but I’m frankly almost never impressed with the portrayal of any of them. Still, every queer character gets automatic bonus points; I’m not going to pretend to be unbiased on that. 7/10

Aaron: There’s something powerful about Karma, who’s experienced so much adversity, yet has the ability of psychic possession. She’s fearless and strong, and I wished we could see that in more definitive ways.  6/10

Katie: I like Karma, but I’m with Elle on this --- it feels like a lot of different identities have been written into her character over the years and most of them aren’t written complexly enough to make a real impact. I do really like the few issues early in the original New Mutants run before she’s disappears --- her being an abuse survivor and a political refugee were interesting in their own right and I wish she would have stuck around at that time to explore those ideas more fully. But I’ll also give points for her being an in-canon lesbian, something surprisingly rare for a franchise that so often uses powers as a metaphor for queerness. 6/10

Andrew: I’m also with Elle here; I think Karma has suffered from being less well defined than many of her New Mutant peers. I also think her powers are difficult to use in a superhero story, but there’s still something very appealing about her. I just want to see her shine. 6/10

OUR SCORE 34/50

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SQUID BOY, SAMMY PARE

Steve: Sammy Pare is the only POV character for the X-Men I can think of who is a) male and b) actually one of the ‘mutated’ X-Men. Kitty, Jubilee, Armor etc are all just conventional human-looking characters, after all, so I think there is a little something Sammy has on them all. A little edge. He’s got a strange consistency for a Chuck Austen character, and I’d genuinely be happy to see him return to the X-Men again --- his death was way too horrible, protracted and nasty for it to be the end of his story, surely? 5/10

Katie: Learning about Sammy’s story makes me wish he wasn’t killed off the way he was. Like Steve said, his very visible mutation makes his story much different from those “passing” mutants that often end up being our POV, and I’d like to see him come back into the new Marvel continuity. 5/10

Andrew: I feel like time and again we get minor characters introduced to the X-Men who are meant to ‘prove’ how much it might suck to be a mutant, and Squid Boy is one of the least interesting examples of a tired trope. Yes, it sucks to be a mutant; that’s the core concept, guys. 2/10

Aaron: Sammy’s a perfect example of a non-passing mutant, but if we’re going to be introduced to a mutant with a prominent, physical mutation with a POV, he should be an engaging character. As Andrew mentioned, the plight of the mutant sucks, but there should be more to him than that. 4/10

Elle: I don’t know Squidboy that well; his heyday was during my break from X-Men comics (also known as Chuck Austen’s run. But I like teen P.O.V. characters and I like fish people. So he sounds okay to me; it’s a shame he’s dead. 5/10

OUR SCORE: 21/50

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LEGION, DAVID HALLER

Aaron: My first encounter with Legion came from reading my Age of Apocalypse omnibus. If you’ve read the Age of Apocalypse, then you know his involvement was integral to arc. Aside from Legion’s involvement, one of the most unique attributes of his character, is the manifestations of his personalities all having distinctly different abilities. Talk about badass. 8/10

Steve: I’ve read bits and pieces, firstly the Zeb Wells/Diogenes Neves New Mutants run that featured the character. Since then he’s been in Age of X, and X-Men Legacy, written by Si Spurrier with artists like Tan Eng Huat. So it’s been a really solid run for the character, as far as I’m concerned! Spurrier completely reinvented the character and then wiped him from existence, but in that sort of way where you know any moment he could return and it’ll genuinely be exciting. 7/10

Elle: I have never cared about David Haller. I even tried reading that X-Men Legacy book that everyone loved, and I couldn’t get into it. He just seems like outdated ideas about mental illness all rolled up into a character with hair that only Bull Nakano could pull off. I have room in my heart for exactly one character with multiple personalities who have different powers, and that space is occupied by Crazy Jane from Doom Patrol. 1/10

Andrew: I’m still bitter about Irene. Cool hair, though. 5/10

Katie: I dipped a bit into X-Men Legacy and I did find that book (and the character) more palpable than Elle did, though I admit that as an allegory for real life mental illness, Legion is not necessarily great. That being said, I don’t know if I do see his powerset as a direct allegory, so personally I can look past it. 6/10

OUR SCORE: 27/50

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