100 X-Men: How Do Goldballs, Domino, Iceman, Dani Moonstar & Strong Guy Rate As Great X-Men?
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, we rate one of the oldest X-Men, whose ice powers are totally normal, and one of the newest, whose gold ball powers are totally not. Plus, a lady with a gun, a fella who punches things, and perhaps the greatest New Mutant of them all.
GOLDBALLS, FABIO MEDINA
Andrew: Goldballs has “the ability to project golden balls from his skin”, and his name is Goldballs. Dear Brian Michael Bendis; if you didn’t want to write all these X-Men comics, you coulda just said something! 3/10
Katie: I’ll be honest, I’m still baffled that even a universe as immensely bizarre as Marvel’s has a person in it who willingly calls himself “Goldballs.” 3/10
Elle: I can’t believe you two are being so hard on Fabio! He’s a fun character, who has really silly powers and got stuck with a nickname to match. There is absolutely a place for characters like this in the Marvel Universe, and Goldballs is a good addition as far as I’m concerned. 7/10
Steve: I like that he opposed his own nickname, but he feels like a very panicky character, one who exists mainly so Bendis can go full-Mamet and fill up word balloon after word balloon with stammers and half-sentences. I think there’s likely a fun character in there, like you say Elle, and another writer may well coax that out at some point in future. But right now he feels like a lot of potential that’ll stand by in the background of crowdscenes forever more? 3/10
Aaron: I’m all for the quirky parts of the X-universe but Goldballs seems a bit contrived for my taste. 2/10
OUR SCORE: 18/50
DOMINO, NEENA THURMAN
Elle: There’s no shortage of female comics characters who wear tight black leather and doublefist handguns. But as far as those characters go, Domino is probably my favorite (it’s pretty close between her and Black Widow). She’s a good addition to any team that’s not rigidly moral, and thanks to Dennis Hopeless I ship her with Colossus now. She’s also the only X-Man I’ve ever dressed as for Halloween, so bonus points for that. 8/10
Andrew: I think Domino needs to establish her identity away from Cable to really achieve her full potential, because she tends to just be ‘Lady Cable’ in too many of her appearances; lots of guns, one funny eye, no ankles. But I do think the potential is there, and the luck powers are a cool schtick. 6/10
Steve: The X-Men don’t have many part-time members, and I like that it always feels like Domino is freelancing whenever she shows up. If she wants to, she can just walk off and head into her main career as… an assassin? Or whatever it is she does. The character really doesn’t need the X-Men, and I’m surprised we haven’t seen Marvel try to make more from her --- she could easily carry enough charisma for a one-shot, miniseries or ongoing. 7/10
Aaron: I’m a sucker for a femme fatale assassin, and Domino has always been a favorite. She’s got great wit and amazing banter with the X-Force team. Though I agree with Andrew that she need’s some breathing time from Cable. My ideal espionage book is a teamup between Domino and Mystique. Tell me that wouldn’t be all sorts of glorious! 8/10
Katie: I’ve managed to read a handful of things with Domino in it after hearing she’s a cool character, but nothing really sticks for me. She seems to get stuck in the “badass woman on the team with a gun who does things while the man has the main plots” and not all writers get that she could be more than that. But I like when she banters with other ladies, so maybe do more of that, X-Men writers. 5/10
OUR SCORE: 34/50
ICEMAN, BOBBY DRAKE
Andrew: The elder of the two Bobby Drakes is now the biggest queer superhero in comics, by dint of his pedigree and profile. (Come to think of it, is he the only gay character created by Jack Kirby?) So I’m pretty invested in seeing where his character goes from here, and I feel like the X-Men’s original class-clown and underachiever makes a whole lot of sense now in a way that he never did before. 8/10
Elle: I agree with Andrew that Iceman coming out makes a lot of sense for the character. There’s so much potential right now for good, character-driven Bobby Drake stories, and I really wish Marvel would hire someone to tell them. 9/10
Katie: What Elle and Andrew said --- the potential stories for Bobby would have me really excited, but Marvel has to put their best foot forward and do something with it, or else the revelation will end up being a footnote instead of a new era for the character. As far as the ranking, he’s one of the original five, and one that deals with the others’ melodrama up close and personal, which can’t be easy. 7/10
Steve: I liked when Marjorie Liu wrote him. The rest of his career in comics has been completely forgettable. What are his memorable stories? Or moments, even? His main function has been to ruin any female character romantically linked with him, and to be honest there are plenty of other X-Men who already serve that function. 5/10
Aaron: I struggle with Bobby. He’s charismatic, but not as charismatic as Nightcrawler or Gambit --- and the same goes for humor. He’s undoubtedly a staple among the team, but like Steve, I have a hard time tying him to major events and character arcs. Still, he’s fun, and a newly outed character! 7/10
OUR SCORE: 36/50
Katie: Dani is just so much fun. I mean yes, she has a lot of angst because of the dangerous potential of her powers, and then there’s her mourning for her (not so) dead parents and later dealing with the implications of her Valkyrie powers, but Dani Moonstar is also the one who takes risks, wears daring fashion because she can, and cracks good-natured jokes at her teammates. She also makes an excellent leader and is a very loyal friend. 9/10
Steve: "The Demon Bear Saga" remains one of the best and more powerful stories that any X-Man has starred in, and Dani Moonstar has continued to be a fierce, feisty part of the X-Men. She lost her powers, but remained front-and-centre as de facto leader of the New Mutants, meaning ideally she should be the one who steps up to replace Storm and Cyclops when the time comes. Nothing gets past her: she’s a great leader, sharp mind, and selfless risk-taker par excellence. 9/10
Andrew: The best New Mutant. I don’t understand why Dani isn’t forever a bigger deal. She’s so strong, so smart, and so danged cool. 9/10
Elle: Talk about an underused and mistreated character! Dani is one of the most heroic of the original New Mutants, and she should be a central member of the X-Men by now. Psychic illusion powers or Valkyrie powers, she remains one of the best. 9/10
Aaron: She’s powerful, formidable and relatable, and I want nothing more than to see her save the Marvel universe. One day… 9/10
OUR SCORE: 45/50
STRONG GUY, GUIDO CAROSELLA
Steve: Guido is another one of the characters who is absolutely fine, but never impressive. He’s got his moments during the X-Factor Investigations period, which is a book everybody’s forgotten had exceptional highs, but he’s almost always overshadowed by whatever other personality is in the panel with him. Neat glasses though. 5/10
Katie: Something about Strong Guy’s design creeps me out --- depending on who’s drawing him, his muscles can become almost grotesque, and I find it unnerving. But I appreciate the “of course that’s what he’s called” nature of his name, so that’s something. 4/10
Andrew: I used to love Guido, and his… uncontainable bigness. But he’s always been a bit of an a-hole, and in recent years that side of him seems to have come to the fore, which makes him not at all fun to be around. 4/10.
Elle: Guido is one of those character who was really great in one context (a certain version of X-Factor), and never that interesting outside of it. 4/10
Aaron: I never understood his appeal, and I’ve made my peace with that. 2/10
OUR SCORE: 19/50
The ranking continues next week with our assessment of two of the most deliciously dastardly ladies ever to be associated with an X-Men team.