100 X-Men: How Do Lockheed, Angel Salvadore, Beast, Magik & Artie 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.
Today we're voting on two of Kitty Pryde's very best friends, the dragon and the demon. We also want you to weigh in on one of the many Angels, the first of multiple Beasts, and the one and only... Artie Maddicks.
Andrew: That Kitty Pryde has a tiny dragon companion is one of those things that you just forget is weird. Like, they were never going to put him in the movies, were they? But you’ll notice I didn’t call him a pet. Lockheed is a very proud and independent dragon who, like all of us, just wants to hang out with Kitty Pryde. 7/10.
Katie: Lockheed represents the charm of how the Marvel universe blends so many different genres. Sure, the X-Men are a superhero team and therefore their books are in the superhero genre, but then sometimes they go to space and their teenage girl hero comes back with a loveable space dragon friend! And it makes perfect sense. But more than that, Lockheed is charming on his own. 7/10.
Aaron: Lockheed is a great indicator of how much fun the X-books were/are! As if Kitty Pryde needed another excuse to be awesome. 8/10
Steve: How good is Lockheed, exactly? So good that he’s managed to survive Joss Whedon’s mangled attempt to utterly ruin the character in Astonishing X-Men. Everybody loves a dragon! 7/10
Elle: Lockheed’s great. He’s a cute little dragon, but he’s also an angry little punk a lot of the time, especially if you mess with Kitty. The fact that Lockheed will never be in a movie kind of embodies what’s wrong with the X-Men movies: they have no interest in weaving the rich tapestry of weird little genre-bending touches that make X-Men comics so magical. 9/10
OUR SCORE: 38/50
Steve: Now here’s a hero. For all the talk of uniqueness, X-Men students tend to simmer down and go into a somewhat generic background mode, where they sit about pleasingly without a hint of the anger or edge that first got them into the books. Not Angel. Throughout her time in the X-Books (which is shamefully short! She’s the precursor to Miss America, and better than her too) she retained her short-fused dynamism, and elevated the books with her stubborn charm. Another case of Morrison writing sharp youth. 8/10
Aaron: Angel gets lost to me in the shuffle of young mutants. I find so many others more distinctive and interesting than her. 3/10
Elle: Ah yes, a promising Marvel heroine who faded into nothingness once she became a Mom. Sorry, Jessica Jones. Nice knowing you, Jessica Drew. At least you got to be in that one movie, Angel Salvadore. 4/10
Katie: I’m going to use this space to talk about the absolute BS that was the movie version of Angel getting killed off-screen (basically so the writers could make Mystique upset by seeing her dissected wings, no less) in between First Class and Days of Future Past. 6/10
Andrew: When Angel was introduced, I assumed she’d go on to be a bigger deal, but Grant Morrison never quite followed through on rounding out a lot of his new X-Men. She made some noise and she went away, and I find I never have a reason to think about her. Many more interesting characters have taken the stage since. 4/10
OUR SCORE: 25/50
BEAST, DR HANK MCCOY
Katie: Hank has taken on so many personalities over the years (some explained in story with “science,” some just because the particular writer chose to write him totally differently). I like the highly intellectual, but open to new experiences Hank that I sort of saw in the '90s cartoon growing up, but who I know was very strong in the comics. 8/10.
Aaron: Oh my stars & garters! When I think of “Classic” X-Men, I think of Hank. Like Katie, I like to reference the animated series. He was the perfect culmination of intelligence, compassion and wit. 8/10
Elle: The Beast is one of my all-time favorite comic book characters. As I’ve said before, I prefer him as an Avenger or a Defender, but he’s great in the X-Men (and X-Factor) too. I’m not wild about the almost-a-supervillain direction he’s taken lately, but as Katie says he’s been pulled in so many directions over the years, I have faith the pendulum will swing back eventually. 10/10
Andrew: Until Iceman came out, Hank was probably my favorite of the original five, though the original flavor version doesn’t hold a candle to the blue furred version. I’m not sure why “mad scientist” has become his role of late --- is he just filling the ethical lapse vacancy left by Xavier? --- because I think of him as more wayward than thoughtless. I will always be a fan, though I like him best when he’s teamed up with Wonder Man. 8/10
Steve: HE BELONGS IN PRISON 1/10
OUR SCORE: 35/50
MAGIK, ILLYANA RASPUTINA
Steve: Which Magik are we talking here? Are all Magiks one Magik, or do we have one Magik and all other Magiks are simply a mirage created by the readership as a result of a comics landscape that featured no Magik within in? That above sentence makes roughly as much sense as Magik’s background, which is why it’s really best to try and ignore the canon and focus instead on the best of the character: the wild unpredictable nature, the surprising stings in her tail, and her relationship with Kitty Pryde. There are no snowflakes in Hell! 8/10
Katie: Magik is one of those characters who has so many different versions of herself, both metatextually depending on who is writing her and textually depending on what part of canon we’re in. But I feel like she’s one of the tragic heroines in Marvel who at least gets to own her pain in a way many other female characters don’t --- she endures after trauma and is allowed to deal with the aftermath of that trauma over the course of many issues and books. She doesn’t always deal with it well, but she does make her own choices. When we’re talking about flawed female characters that are allowed by the writer and readers to choose poorly but for understandable reasons, Magik is a prime example. 8/10
Andrew: Amazing character design, in all her classic incarnations, from the New Mutants uniform with the armored arm, to the horned devil girl. She’s a fascinating and complex character, but I wish she wasn’t so coldly amoral these days. I think it makes Colossus cry. 8/10
Aaron: Chris Claremont’s Magik miniseries will always be one of my favorite X-narratives to date. She’s fiercely complex and I can’t help but marvel at how much of relentless bad ass she always is. And I second Andrew’s notion on the character design, Magic’s made me want bangs since the 8th grade. 8/10
Elle: Of all the gritty, conflicted, dark heroes that comics produced in the '80s and '90s, Magik is hands-down the best (and one of the least celebrated, but I’m pretty sure that’s because her pain is not manpain). Illyana’s not just amoral, there’s a real sense in which she’s evil, but she’s also loyal to her friends and family (especially her brother Piotr and the semi-unrequited love of her life, Kitty Pryde), so because they’re heroes, she’s a hero too. I don’t know why, but that speaks to me. 10/10
OUR SCORE: 42/50
Steve: Is this the green one or the pink one? 3/10
Elle: Artie’s fine, he’s cute, and everybody likes a child who doesn’t talk. He and Leech are the kids who don’t get to grow up, which limits his development as a character. 5/10
Andrew: I have a soft spot for all the Morlocks, but I do prefer the green one. 5/10
Aaron: But can we talk about his on-screen appearance in X-Men 2 as the random kid with the forked tongue?! 3/10
Katie: Artie’s … okay. It’s almost weird to me that we’re ranking Artie and Leech apart when it feels like we should be ranking the pink and green munchins together like we did Cloak and Dagger. But yeah, I’ve got nothing against our young Mr. Maddicks, just no real strong feelings, either. 4/10
OUR SCORE: 20/50
Check back all this week for more of the best X-Men of all time, as voted for by you.
Does Lockheed Make The Cut For Marvel's Best Pets & Animal Sidekicks?