100 X-Men: How Do Rogue, Adam-X, Beast Jr., Cloak & Dagger, And Havok Rate As Great X-Men?
Who are the greatest X-Men of all time? Over the coming weeks, as we anticipate the coming of Apocalypse, we’re going to try to answer that question, pairing up your votes with the opinions of our own panel of highly opinionated X-Men fans.
Starting from a list of over 300 characters who served in a Marvel Universe X-Men team or have been strongly affiliated with the Xavier School, our panelists have whittled the selection down to just a hundred or so prime candidates. We now need to place that list in order to determine the 100 Greatest X-Men --- and to do that, we need your help.
Our panelists, Elle Collins, Steve Morris, Katie Schenkel, Aaron Reese, and Andrew Wheeler, will offer their assessment of various X-Men characters, selected five at a time in randomized order, and offer a total score out of 50. You can then vote on whether that character is The Greatest or not, and your score will be divided in half to provide a total score out of 100, which will determine the character's absolute and ultimate ranking in the final list.
In order to better get to know our panelists idiosynratic taste in mutants, check out their picks in our X-Men Fantasy Draft. Or you can read on to see how they rate the first five assigned mutants in our list!
Katie: Rogue is one of my favorites. She’s been written so differently by so many different people that it’s easy to see her character get muddled, but for me it’s always about her trying to be the best hero she can be while dealing with a past where she did horrible things (while also dealing with the ongoing consequences of her powers). That and her quippy dialogue make me really enjoy when she’s part of any one X-team. 9/10.
Elle: When Rogue’s at her best, she’s one of my favorite X-Men, but a lot of writers just have no idea what to do with her, and at times she can be pretty boring. But like Katie alludes to, that mix of guilt and the inability to touch anyone can lead to some great drama when it’s handled well. And she’s a powerhouse. 8/10
Andrew: Rogue used to be one of my favorite X-Men, but I’ve kind of lost interest in her. I think I like her angry and punky and screwing up her little Marc Silvestri nose. Maturity doesn’t sit as well on her as a bunch of mismatched belts. 7/10.
Steve: Moving to the Avengers has utterly ruined the character, in non-shocking news. But she can be recovered at any moment when she returns to the X-Men --- she’s a scrapper, and one of the most internally powerful heroes at Marvel. Her heart, guts and courage make her immensely likeable, with a Southern charm, wounded heart, and endless capacity for seeing the good in people. I absolutely adore the character, and clutch my well-read copy of Supernovas close to my heart at every opportunity. Marvel currently doesn’t seem to understand her, but that’s okay: she always stands up after being knocked down. 9/10
Aaron: I fell in love with the Jim Lee, '90s powerhouse Rogue, but like Andrew, I’ve lost interest in her. Its unfortunate, because Rogue has incredible potential, but she’s been written into the ground over the last decade. 7/10
OUR SCORE: 40/50
ADAM X, THE X-TREME
Steve: ADAM X IS THE X-TREME ANSWER TO ALL YOUR WORRIES, BRO. LET’S GO POUND SOME MOUNTAIN DEW AND PULL OFF SOME TOTALLY GNARLY OLLIES ON MY BOARD DUDE 6/10
Katie: When I first heard about Adam X being the epitome of the '90s superhero, I had some pretty specific things in mind. And while the stupid long blonde surfer hair, the over the top weapons, and his X-TREME attitude make sense… I was kind of expecting him to be smiling. I mean, Adam, come on man, you’re a creation of the 1990s, aka the decade when the economy was still good and The Simpsons were still in its prime and the Pizza Hut Book It program was still around. Stop being such a grizzly gus and smile, dang it! Enjoy the ridiculousness of your existence! 3/10.
Elle: Meh. He’s the punchline to a joke that’s getting a little old. The Poochie of the X-Men. 2/10
Andrew: I’m not going to defend Adam X, but… I still think he’s kind of hilarious. Sometimes desperate attempts to harness the zeitgeist can give you Dazzler, and sometimes you get Adam X, and that’s a useful lesson. 4/10
Aaron: Who wears a snapback hat with an X-costume?! 1/10
OUR SCORE: 16/50
BEAST JR, HANK McCOY (THE YOUNGER)
Elle: Brian Michael Bendis wrung a lot of drama out of the younger Cyclops fearing he’d grow up into the extremist Cyclops who everyone hated. But in the background, young Hank McCoy was dealing with the exact same issue, and a lot more calmly. That’s who Hank is --- the calm, thoughtful one. And now that he’s learned what not to do from his older, furrier self, he has more potential than ever. 8/10
Katie: Perspective is the word here. Young Hank has perspective that old (blue) Hank doesn’t. That and his general thoughtfulness add up. 7/10.
Steve: I think there’s hope for Lil’ Beast. He’s made the conscious decision to not be like his all-encompassingly terrible adult version, and that’s a noble beginning. I don’t know that he’s done a huge amount to distinguish himself, but the Dennis Hopeless-written All-New X-Men has certainly made him out to be a pretty likeable secret-leader. 6/10
Aaron: I found Beast sorta fading in the background. To be honest, I never really noticed him much. The great thing about it, is that he’s a blank slate, and he has a world of possibilities for character development. 6/10
Andrew: With all the duplicate X-Men I come back to the question; why do we need two of them, and which one do I want to keep? And I like my Beast like I like my cheese; mature and blue. 5/10
OUR SCORE: 32/50
CLOAK & DAGGER, TYRONE JOHNSON & TANDY BOWN
Andrew: OK, I love Cloak & Dagger; their design is amazing, and they occupy such an interesting corner of the Marvel Universe, and for all those reasons they made it onto our longlist of X-Men. If I was rating them just as superheroes, they’d get a huge score from me. But I feel like they don’t need the X-Men, and their mythology isn’t a good fit. In an X-Men context I have to downgrade them to 6/10.
Steve: I really like them too. They bounce off one another nicely, have a great look to them, and are two of those characters you just feel could really be something if only they got that magic creator x-factor sorted out. I think they only had one mission as X-Men though, and they spent most of it trying to work out if they were actually mutants or not? So I’ll give them a 4/10.
Katie: Okay, I’m glad Steve and Andrew are on the “they’re kind of not really even X-Men” front. That’s not to say they aren’t cool characters --- they are --- but they don’t really read as part of X-Men canon the way most of the characters we’re ranking do. 5/10.
Elle: I agree with everyone else. Great characters; amazing designs; not really X-Men. 5/10
Aaron: I truly love them as a duo, and I think there’s such an interesting mythos and commentary that comes attached with them. That being said, as X-Men they’re not an ideal fit. 7/10
OUR SCORE: 27/50
HAVOK, ALEX SUMMERS
Steve: He was great when he wore that shredded bondage gear as part of The Goblyn Queen’s enforced minion dress attire back in Inferno. He also did that awful ‘M-Word’ speech, though. When people think “Cyclops is the charismatic one,” you know you have an image problem. His best storyline was the one where he was catatonic for a whole bunch of issues. Ah, those were the days! 4/10.
Andrew: Even you can’t possibly think Cyclops is the charismatic one, Steve, and the ‘M-word’ speech is so at odds with all previous characterization that it literally had to be a Skrull. But I do agree with you about the shredded bondage gear. That was awesome. What makes Havok great, though, is that he holds incredible power inside a bruised little boy. Cyclops is all about mediocrity masquerading as importance; Havok is all about real potential hindered by anxiety. Havok is a closet-case, afraid his star-power will destroy him. I feel for the lad. It’s quintessentially X-Men. 10/10.
Katie: I feel for Havok too, simply because if I had superpowers that could easily murder people, and my brother was the leader of a group that was hunted by the government on a regular basis, I’d want to say “screw this” to hero work and get into academia, too. He just wants to finish grad school, you guys! 7/10.
Elle: I’m pretty neutral on Havok. I like Cyclops more, but when he’s not giving tone-deaf out-of-character speeches, Alex is okay too. Also I’ve always kind of liked those loops of ribbon on his original mask. 7/10
Aaron: I’m Team Cyke here. I’ve always found Havok to be bland. 4/10
OUR SCORE: 32/50
The ranking continues next week with more of the best --- and weirdest --- X-Men of all time, including grade A weirdoes Broo and Beak!