100 X-Men: How Do Spiral, Madelyne Pryor, Longshot, Warlock & Quentin Quire 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 celebrate two of the wickedest ladies ever to face the X-Men, one of whom went from enemy to ally, and the other from ally to enemy. We also take a look at two of the strangest and most naive X-Men of all time, and one of the most cynical!
Andrew: Spiral is fantastic. I love that dancing is her motif; I love her six arms; I love that, with her Body Shoppe, she’s a freaky horror creature that only superhero comics could dream up. I’m really torn about whether she should get a shot at redemption, but it may be where she has the most potential. As a villain, she’s a little too kooky for most writers to wrangle. 7/10.
Aaron: There’s something strangely hippie about Spiral. The trance-like dancing, is a highlight of course, but there’s also some serious screws loose on homegirl, and I love it! I love her beef with Psylocke, so part of me wants her to stay an X-villain. 8/10
Steve: I do enjoy her as a character! Not entirely sure I remember a time when she was part of the X-Men, though. Whatever next, people writing glowing recommendations for the stellar mutant career of J. Jonah Jameson? 5/10 (Editor’s note: She was in X-Force! She had a Kris Anka-designed costume with a big X on it! Legit!)
Elle: Spiral is interesting as a villain, but I don’t really feel like she belongs on a list of X-Men. Yes, she was in that Uncanny X-Force run, but as I remember it they hadn’t even become a formal team by the time the book ended. Oh comics. 6/10
Katie: I kind of agree with Elle and Steve here --- from what I know about Spiral she’s not really a part of the X-Men even if she shows up in a good amount of their books. She still seems like a cool, weird, weirdly cool character. 6/10
OUR SCORE: 32/50
Katie: I want Madelyne and Jean Grey to start a support group for women who have been dicked over by the plot (and possibly a second support group for the frustrated former partners of Scott Summers). But seriously, Madelyne has some really great moments before retroactively becoming a pawn in Mr. Sinister’s game all along (and getting just a terrible, terrible costume). Poor Maddy … 5/10.
Andrew: Maddy is not just a woman scorned, but a woman literally created to be screwed over, and all her anger and rage feels justified, and she may cross a lot of lines, but even there I have some sympathy for her. She could have done great things if the world hadn’t been built specifically to destroy her, and therein lies a parable. Plus, putting Havok in a matching outfit wins my respect for life. 7/10
Steve: Isn’t she wonderful? It’s like, great, Jean is about and she’s a bit bland oops now she’s dead. But we still need to hit that redheaded mom demographic, so here she returns! Maddie is a fun villain --- although I’m not a fan of Mr Sinister getting involved with her, I’d rather she retain her own drive rather than inherit one from that becloaked new wave science doof --- but she was also a terrific addition to the main X-Men team. She had a lot of self-worth as a character, and seeing that get stripped from her was really cruel. Seeing her then reapply a new, somewhat misguided sense of self worth as a response? Heartbreaking. 7/10
Elle: The thing about Maddie is that it’s hard to look back now and be sure at what points she had agency, and when she was just doing what Mister Sinister programmed her to do. But she stuck with the X-Men all the way through death and to the Outback, and that speaks well of her. 7/10
Aaron: I feel for Madelyne. There’s nothing more unfortunate than to see a character created for the purposes of being an emotional punching bag. On top of the incestuous Summers/Grey/Sinister menagerie, it’s clear she never had much of a chance. But she didn’t go down without a fight, and I loved that about her, as if she was fighting against her creators. 7/10
OUR SCORE: 33/50
Steve: Leave Dazzler alone you creep 1/10
Elle: Longshot’s awesome, his original miniseries was amazing, and to be honest I’m still not sure why he was ever an X-Man. 5/10
Aaron: Longshot’s the type of guy I’d grab a drink with. Hell I’d even pretend to like sports, for him. 7/10
Andrew: More mullet than mutant, but I’ve always liked Longshot, despite my general dislike for overly naive characters (see below). Somehow that wide-eyed wonder works on this kid, possibly because it’s hiding a lot of pain. Also, I love gymnasts. 7/10
Katie: I picked Longshot for my fantasy team, so I do have a soft spot for the guy. That’s not to say he’s always the best written (and his backstory means that writers could legitimately retcon any character growth he makes when they throw him in a story), but I like the guy, and as long as you abide by the rules of his powers while writing him, you have a pretty compelling character to bounce other X-Men off of. 7/10
OUR SCORE: 26/50
Steve: Warlock perhaps works best when you get to grow up with him. For me, he’s always felt like a distraction away from the comic I’m currently reading, although I can see just why he’s so loved and adored by people. I don’t care for Doug Ramsey at all, and Warlock is almost exclusively connected to the character --- I can’t really muster a huge interest for him, sadly. Maybe if Marvel got New Mutants back in print like they ruddy well should I’d feel differently? 5/10
Katie: I adore Warlock. He hits that same “fave character” spot for me that Broo does --- a good-natured alien kid who embraces friendship and kindness despite being from a species that craves destruction and killing. I love that! Yet he’s been sorely underused for so long and that’s a real shame, because there’s so much potential for his power set and for his naive but sweet personality. That’s why I put him on my fantasy X-Men team! 9/10.
Elle: I like Warlock as a member of an ensemble, but he’s never going to be my favorite out of the ensemble. “Quirky alien kid” honestly feels kind of overdone now, but he was one of the best. 7/10
Aaron: My introduction to Warlock was his appearance in episode 63 of the X-Men animated series. His cadence was inexplicably erratic much like his personality. He’s kinda the Jar Jar Binks of the New Mutants. 4/10
Andrew: I get frustrated by characters with weird distinctive speech patterns, and by overgrown kid characters, so Warlock has two big black marks against him. What he has in his favour, though, is a really cool design that can look amazing on the page, especially in the hands of someone like Bill Sienkiewicz. 5/10.
OUR SCORE: 30/50
KID OMEGA, QUENTIN QUIRE
Steve: I don’t agree much with Quentin Quire as modern-day social media folk hero, having skipped the abrasive and repressing personality he first brought to the X-Men with in favor of entirely stealing Hellion’s schtick. His story was over, and this return in the current age has been predictable, bland, and devoid of any edge at all. It’s like being punched with a sponge --- the blows don’t land. He’s one of many student characters who I find are being pushed down our throats, when the far fresher teenage characters are stood off in limbo. He’s returned because current writers idolize Morrison, rather than because anybody has anything tangible to say with him. 4/10
Katie: I pretty much only know Quentin Quire from Wolverine and the X-Men, aka the series where he had to sit down and learn how to have friends whether he wanted to or not. I have a soft spot in my heart for “you little sh--” teen characters who end up maturing just enough to reluctantly but genuinely care about other people, which is why Quentin in that series works for me. 7/10.
Elle: The way Quentin politicizes his mutanthood resonates with my own youth as a radical queer, which I don’t think is an accident (especially considering the pink mohawk). I actually think he’s evolved into a more interesting character the longer he’s been around, and I’m curious to see where and when he turns up next. 8/10
Aaron: Quentin’s come a long way since Morrison’s run. He’s one of those characters I wish I knew growing up, because I never exuded the amount of pride he does. And as Elle mentioned, there’s some allegorical context to who he is. Also, Quentin has the best sense of civilian fashion in the X-verse. 7/10
Andrew: Quentin is great, an example of refreshing the filter through which we view identity politics for a contemporary audience that’s very effective. He can go too far in both directions, both too severe and too meek, and maybe that’s a comment on radicalism as well. But he always stirs the pot. He’s always interesting. 7/10
OUR SCORE: 33/50
The ranking continues next week with more of the greatest (and least greatest) X-Men of all time.