Who are the greatest ever X-Men? We’re going to try to answer that question with your help, by putting the spotlight on different individual X-Men from across the franchise’s long history and pairing up your votes with the votes and opinions of our panel of highly opinionated X-Men fans. Your scores will be added to ours to determine the top 100 X-Men.

Today our randomizer has given us a selection of some notable (and less notable) female students from the long history of the Westchester school, including one of the New Mutants and the surviving three clones of Emma Frost. House of M mystery girl Layla Miller is also in the mix.

 

BLING, ROXY WASHINGTON

Steve: Hey! It’s Peter Milligan’s equivalent to Angel Salvadore! Bling is the sort of character who makes a mark in short sharp bursts, before vanishing for long stretches of time, during which the fanbase start attributing canon to her. I have no idea how half the details in her background came to get attached to the character, because I swear nothing’s ever mentioned on panel. But she’s got a good visual, a streak of energy in her, and is one of the most entertaining student characters. 6/10

Andrew: I think Bling’s look and backstory make her more interesting than Angel Salvadore, and I definitely agree about her energy. Maybe she’s the Dazzler of our era, in that she’s tied to a specific moment in musical history that’s going to quickly make her look passe, but I think, like Dazzler, she’s got potential to outlive the moment. 7/10

Elle: I agree that Bling hasn’t gotten nearly enough to do on-panel, but I think she’s just bursting with potential, and I desperately want somebody to find a spot for her and tell some great stories. She’s a young queer black woman, to start with, which we can’t have too many of in comics (and so far, we barely have any). She’s also the daughter of music industry royalty, which I think is a great hook for a super-teen. 9/10

Katie: Another one of those teen X-Men characters of recent years that got lost among the shuffle. Bling does have a great look, cool powers, and a backstory with tons of potential. Why Marvel doesn’t use her more (and the other really interesting teen mutants around that time) baffles me. 6/10

Aaron: Bling’s pretty solid, and I definitely found her more engaging than Morrison’s generation of X-teams, but to Elle’s point, she hasn’t been integral enough. Being a black queer character, there’s so much I could relate to if given the chance. There’s a lot of potential here. 7/10

OUR SCORE: 35/50

YOUR SCORE:

 

 

MAGMA, AMARA AQUILLA

Steve: I’ll jump in to bat for Magma, who is so thoroughly the definition of untapped promise that I believe her mutant power mainly derives from all the potential energy she’s never been allowed to ignite. It’d be wonderful if she were more than she is, but I don’t have much faith that any X-Men writer is ever going to give her a breakout role that she could definitely thrive within. However! I want to share (and popularize) my theory about her ability to fly, which makes no sense considering her ability is solely to control the ground. Unless…. she’s not actually flying every time she leaves the ground, but pushing the earth away? If that ever becomes canon, add four points to my score. 6/10

Katie: Untapped potential is right, Steve. There’s so much going on with her that never really gets explored. And she has one of the more extreme physical powers around, too --- you’d think the writers would let her make more of an impact. 6/10.

Aaron: I’m probably one of the few souls that’s intrigued with the Nova Roma mythos. Outside of that, I always felt Magma was assigned fairly generic teenage traits (which occasionally works, as seen in Sunspot) with the conviction of characters like Rahne and the mystic badassery of Magik, she couldn’t vye for fan affection. (Though I loved her in the old X-Men: Legends game.) 4/10

Elle: I would like to like Magma, but of all the classic New Mutants, she seems like the one that Claremont just never got a handle on. When he wrote her out of the book, it felt like he was giving up on her. And if her creator couldn’t figure her out, nobody else ever really stood a chance. 3/10

Andrew: Nova Roma is still retconned out of existence, right? It was never real? That’s a shame, as that was actually my favorite thing about Magma. Actually, that and her power-signature, which is not quite Havok-level awesome, but still pretty great. I think in the end she just struggled against the big personalities of her classmates. 5/10

OUR SCORE: 24/50

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SURGE, NORIKO ASHIDA

Andrew: Fun design and power signature, but she doesn’t stand out to me like some of her peers. There were a lot of those kids.. 5/10

Katie: Her powers are cool and I wish I could get my hair to look like hers. 5/10

Aaron: Lightning powers alone can run pretty bland, and with the Windrider around, Surge never did it for me. 3/10

Steve: Youth brings anger, and disrespect, and Noriko brought both qualities to the X-Men when she first showed up in their student body. But the sharpness to her anger is justified, which makes her a thrilling character. I see a whole load of potential in there, and Surge has more than most. She has fifty potential stories swelling around inside her, and any writer could easily tap into any one of them at any time. 7/10

OUR SCORE: 25/50

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STEPFORD CUCKOOS

Aaron: Plastics of the X-world. Did I mention I have a soft spot for the Mean Girls? 9/10

Katie: The Cuckoos’ time in the early/mid 2000s does feel very “of its moment” in pop culture history. Like Dazzler, I’d like to see them transform their look and their particular form of disdain with the time period --- how about giving them a “Taylor Swift in Blank Space” bob, Marvel? 6/10

Steve: One of my favorite pieces of X-Trivia is that the Cuckoos were meant to have first names that spelled out “SPICE”, but Chuck Austen named one of them “Mindee” for no goddamn reason during his run and killed the acronym. Until Matt Fraction saved it by renaming her “Irma”! Which also makes no goddamn sense, but fine, Portland, let’s all pretend Irma is a name again. I like the Cuckoos, although the whole “diamond hearts” thing went nowhere. 7/10

Andrew: Wiith two of them dead, I’d really like the last three to go further and further to distinguish themselves, until they’re no longer “the Stepford Cuckoos,” but three distinctive characters. Or kill two more of them so we just have one? But I suspect that’s not what most of their fans want. I may be alone here. And you’re never alone if you’re a cuckoo. 7/10

Elle: I love them. I love that they all have different hair colors now. I love that one of them became BFFs with Teen Bobby during the Bendis run. I love that they became sympathetic without becoming nice. I may or may not have a pitch in my back pocket for a Stepford Cuckoos miniseries. 10/10

OUR SCORE: 39/50

 

 

LAYLA MILLER

Steve: She’s so brilliant. Aging into adulthood ultimately dulled her somewhat, but Peter David managed to continually find new angles into the character which gave her bursts of fresh energy. If she never returns, I’m happy --- but if she does return, that creative team better do her right! 8/10

Andrew: Over-powered little kid characters always aggravate me, and romances that require one participant to be aged up to adulthood always skeeve me out, plus she’s the living embodiment of how events make promises that they can’t pay off (as a House of M mystery that resolved as a damp squib). Layla Miller infuriates me. 2/10

Aaron: Who doesn’t wanna know things? 7/10

Katie: The aging up thing bothers me too, Andrew, but I like the idea of her “knowing things,” and how she knows things. 5/10

Elle: I know things too. One of the things I know is that Layla Miller only ever mattered in one story a decade ago, and nobody even remembers that story fondly. 2/10

OUR SCORE: 24/50

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