The Top Twenty X-Men of All Time

superlum sent me a link to "the top 25 xmen." number twenty five was "strong guy aka guido." the guy above him was "chamber." who? yeah, exactly. i was so incensed that i had to settle the matter myself. i had to make my own top xmen list. of course, after reading the article clearly, i realized they were picking "the best xmen" based not on power levels but more personality and embodiment of the xmen ideal. which is hilarious because most of these guys weren't even actual xmen -- for those of you not in the know, there are a number of different x-teams, like minor versus major league baseball. this ign list was made (like all lists) to provoke reaction. well, one week before the final xmen film, i've been provoked. and here's MY list.

will the real x-fans please stand up (the bandwagoners can go here to read about these x-people).

i'm going to do my list like bill simmons does his nba superstars list. basically the criteria are as follows:
(1) how powerful is the mutant in question?
(2) who would you pick to start your mutant team?
(3) in a fight, would mutant-a beat mutant-b?

  • i am disregarding most of this new stuff about "secondary mutations." that's bullshit. it's a comic industry gimmick to make every mutant more powerful and thus new and interesting.
  • i'm also disregarding all previously evil mutants (magneto, sabretooth, emma frost, juggernaut, mystique) or mutants not originally affiliated with the xmen (quicksilver, northstar, etc).
  • i'm also not counting anything past the generation x folk since most of the new characters since then have sucked.
  • i'm also not counting "x-man" since i don't really know what he's all about and it's retarded to name any character "x-man" when the whole thing is "x-men." worst name ever.
  • all the one trick pony xmen have been eliminated. some of them may be fan favorites but they are sorely underpowered. sorry jubilee, dazzler, boom boom, marrow, banshee, etc.
  • and if you died in the books and stayed dead, you certainly weren't up for consideration because if you sucked so much to die permanently, you aren't worth a x-men belt buckle anyway.

those are the rules. now moving onto the list.

Group D: Championship Role Players
- none of these xmen are going to lead you to victory but they have powers that can contribute in the right instances.

20. bishop - bishop is similar to one of the xmen he edged off this list, cable (who is just jean grey-lite, keep it real), in that he has no great discernible powers, but his big guns seem to make up the difference. bishop's power is to absorb any energy source directed at him and then in turn channel that into bio-blasts or enhance his strength, endurance, etc. however, no energy source equals no power. bishop is from the future though, so he could bet on sporting events with 100% accuracy.

19. colossus - colossus is one of my favorite xmen, however, when it comes right down to it, he's just a thug. a huge, fast-moving, organic metal, invulnerable thug to be sure but if you're not hulk-strong, you're just not the strongest guy around. colossus can take a pounding so he would wait until bishop ran out of energy reserves and then smack the shit out of him.

18. beast - taken at his most basic, beast is a less powerful, more agile, version of colossus. he's got superhuman strength, dexterity, and enhanced senses. oh if only the beast had regeneration, he could vault up to wolverine status. but what the beast lacks in mutant gifts (as extreme as they are), he more than makes up for in intelligence. of late, beast's biggest asset to the x-teams have been his brain, not his brawn. and that's why the beast gets the nod over a pure brute such as colossus. beast is like the jock who also maintains a 4.0 average. what else can colossus do? paint?

17. (arch)angel - at the height of his powers, warren worthington was one of apocalypse's four horseman. outfitted with biometallic wings that fired paralysis inducing wing fletchettes, archangel was kick ass. (of course, since then his wings have returned to their former feathery state, making him a whole lot less powerful. still, i'm assuming archangel has his metal wings.) angel's aerodynamic physiology also gives peak strength, speed, endurance, reflexes, eyesight and hearing. his bones are also hollow, allowing him to land on small branches and perch on high tension power lines. and ladies, angel has no body fat, like not even one percent. angel's weakness is that he's not exactly very useful in enclosed spaces and those wings make for nice big targets. on the other hand, angel is also a multi-millionaire, which is always useful. mutants need food and shelter too.

16. cannonball - a fine example of a young mutant making good and graduating to the big time. cannonball started off as a confused member of the "new mutants" without an idea of how to control his powers but since then he's been leader of x-force and eventually an accredited and effective x-man. plus he might be an "external" (a group of mutants imbued with immortality). cannonball would just fly circles around colossus and beast while using his impenetrable blast field and kinetic absorption powers to annihilate them. sorry guys. he would also smoke archangel on the ground or in the air.

15. forge - maybe a bit of a surprise to make the list since forge's only mutant power is to invent, design, and build tech objects. you know, like god but geekier. but brains count on this list and here's betting that forge could figure out some technological doohickey to disable most any mutant; provided he doesn't get his half-cybernetic ass kicked in the process. my reasoning here is that if tony starks, a drunkard, can become iron man, forge can be ten times better.

14. gambit - everyone's favorite cajun. gambit is stylish, efficient, charming, and able to charge objects with kinetic power; and then blow them up of course. in addition, he can manipulate his bio-energy to gain enhanced strength, agility, endurance, and most importantly, reflexes. quick and agile like spiderman, gambit is great at physical combat but his ability to blow things up gives him a little jeu de vivre. plus gambit has an underrated ability to influence people through his subtle hypnosis powers (works well on women too). how would he beat forge? i'd like to believe that a combination of gambit's powers would enable him to avoid forge's creations long enough to charge and blow up forge's cybernetic leg or something.

13. nightcrawler - while certainly not packing the sheer destructive power of some of his teammates, nightcrawler would have no trouble using his teleportation powers to defeat just about anyone(s). nightcrawler is amazingly agile, an excellent swordsman, and an expert hand-to-hand fighter. plus he's able to crawl and cling to any surface and blend into shadows (he's shy, and looks like a demon). sounds nice right? nightcrawler's most effective ability may be to use his teleportation skills to grab a target and then wear them out through a series of gut wrenching teleports. the old grab-n-go as it were.

Group C: All Stars - everyone needs a heavy, someone that the other side has to game plan for. these guys are it.

12. magma - despite not being a well known character (outside of the recent xmen legends game), magma packs quite the power set. magma's thermal powers allow her to summon molten rock, lava, or small volcanoes. in her energized form (which radiates heat and light), she can form and project magma blasts. sounds dangerous right? exactly. of course, magma is a bit immature and a poster child for bipolarism, but hey, with great power comes great problems. then again, her power is connected with her temper, so maybe a penchant for melodrama and a short fuse isn't a bad thing.

11. iceman - in most instances, fire should beat ice, but in this case, iceman's experience and savvy should allow him to handily defeat magma. plus bobby drake's quite the lothario so he might end up seducing her instead. over the years iceman has turned from a harmless walking snowball (as an original xman) into a true superhero capable of using his ice powers in a wide variety of ways; from creating ice shards to increasing his mass to enormous proportions. iceman has learned to use his powers to its fullest effect (with some help from emma frost) and that means he's finally become a valued member of the team.

10. havok - havok's power is simple. he absorbs cosmic energies (of which there is almost an infinite amount), stores it, and then can discharge them in the form of plasma charges. sounds basic. but it's the amount of power that havok can release that is scary. so scary that havok has often had to wear a containment suit just to tone down his powers. while havok is probably more powerful than his brother cyclops, he does lack something in the leadership department (despite having led various x-groups). havok is literally the little brother who can never quite burst out of his big brother's shadow. hot headed and unpredictable, havok possesses great power but can't always be counted on to be in full control.

9. sunfire - the protector of japan is only an on-again, off-again xman. however, in what was a very tough call, he jumps into the top ten ahead of havok. while sunfire may look like just an asian version of the human torch, he's actually much more than just flames and mirrors. sunfire ionizes matter and essentially turns into a human nuclear battery. he creates solar fire and can use his powers to fly on thermal updrafts or to fire pyrotechnic blasts. he's like hiroshima coming back for revenge. and he would beat havok because the latter's plasma bursts probably wouldn't do much to him. plus he can fly while havok cannot, the tie-breaker in all superhero contests.

8. psylocke - since the whole psylocke is not psylocke (revanche storyline), there's been some confusion about which is the real psylocke. i'm gonna go with the version we all know and love. the psylocke that is a ninja-trained master assasin and high level telepath (recently she's lost her telepathy but gained jean grey's telekinetic power, but we'll disregard that). telepathy is way underrated in this game. think about it, if you could read and control people's minds, you don't really need a whole lot else. on top of her telepathy psylocke also has the ability to make a psychic knife that can easily short circuit brain functions. combined with her assassin training, she is a deadly hand-to-hand fighter. ninja plus telepathy equals many ways to get beat. plus psylocke is arguably the hottest x-woman, which always helps to keep morale high.

7. wolverine - it was hard for me to figure out a reason to rank wolverine above many of his more super-powered teammates. sure we know he's bad ass but part of his bad-assness is due to his popularity (and he's canadian to boot!). in truth, i could think of about a billion ways for most superbeings to kick wolverine's ass. he may be the toughest and nastiest fighter ever, what with his adamantium claws, unbreakable skeleton, fighting experience and training, regeneration, willpower, and superhuman senses, but he's still basically just a scrapper. if he can't get to you, he can't hurt you.

but the thing that makes wolverine worthy of such lofty heights is this: he never seems to die. maybe his regeneration powers don't make him immortal but he still never goes away. he had his adamantium ripped out all at once and he still kept on ticking. like a horror flick villain, he may get beat up but he always comes back for more. it could be in five minutes, it could be in five years, either way, you can never be sure you got him.

and while his powers may be limited on paper, he always seems to be able to get you somehow. put it this way: if you were picking mutant teams, wouldn't you pick wolverine just so you can avoid facing him? even if you're sure you could wreck him, there's that small chance he'll get you. plus the fact that he's crazy. it's better to have crazy on your team than on their team (see: "artest, ron" and "rodman, dennis"). plus he's a cash cow. so wolverine deserves his ranking, all things considered.

6. polaris - i figure this: if magneto can be the xmen's greatest adversay wielding pretty much the exact same powers as polaris, wouldn't polaris be one of the most powerful xmen? this mistress of magnetism may not have her father's ruthlessness but she does have all of his powers. although i'm not sure why being a master of magnetism would be much more powerful than controlling fire, ice, plasma, nuclear power, or anything else. but magneto has whooped enough xmen ass to assure me that magnetism has more uses than just affixing photos to refrigerator doors. polaris' only weakness is her total emotional and mental unstability. she's like the ultimate crazy girlfriend. which can be a huge liability i guess.

Group B: Superstars

5. cyclops - based on pure power levels alone, cyclops should be nowhere near the top of this list. he's basically a normal human who can shoot (heatless) blasts of concussive force through his eyes. impressive, but not altogether amazing. plus cyclops needs frequent exposure to sunlight to make his powers work. and he has to wear that little visor to control his blasts. there's a reason cyclops always gets knocked out first in the xmen movies. he's kind of weak.

all that aside, cyclops still has to make the top five. why? tom brady. cyclops is the tom brady of the mutant world. his team always wins. he may be an uptight pansy but he supposedly is the best tactical commander of the xmen. just like captain america leads the avengers (again, way underpowered) cyclops leads the xmen. cyclops is a winner, and he just has to be in the top five. he may get his own butt kicked, but chances are, he's leading his team to victory while doing it.

4. storm - simply put, storm controls the weather. usually storm is just flying around whipping up winds and throwing down lightning bolts but beyond that, controlling the weather can be pretty damn versatile. she can raise or lower temperatures, she can make hurricanes, she can deliver mail in rain, snow, sleet, or hail. she's a pretty useful gal to have around. but why storm over someone like polaris? because storm is a battle hardened leader.

she was professor x's choice to lead the gold team (while cyclops led the blue) which means he thought she was pretty awesome. she's been revered as a goddess, she's had her powers stripped away, she's been a petty thief, she's pretty much done it all. she's also got a ruthless side to her, one that's willing to kill -- a trait that not all superheroes possess. storm is beautiful, powerful, and got her head screwed on straight. she's a positive black role model. oprah would love her.

3. rogue - here's my sleeper pick for the most powerful xman of all (well, except for the next two). rogue's power started off as a curse that made it impossible for her to touch anyone else. if she did, she would (temporarily) drain their powers (and their psyches, to be discussed later) and send them into shock. given enough contact exposure to a person, she could kill with her touch. nice but not that useful since her powers depended on other people with powers being around her.

then rogue started to use her powers (as a villain at the time) to acquire the superpowers of others. draining ms marvel gave rogue the ability to fly, superhuman strength, and damn near invincibility. she also gained a "seventh sense" that allowed her to subconsciously anticipate an opponent's moves. her double ms marvel/rogue psyche also made her resistant to telepathic attacks.

with just ms marvel's powers, rogue would have been a handful (recently, rogue also permanently absorbed the powers of sunfire; and we know how powerful sunfire is). but rogue can pretty much take anyone's powers and use them. along with power draining, she also absorbs previous training, combat skills, knowledge, etc. let rogue touch you and she becomes you. but better.

the downside of this is that rogue is the ultimate schizophrenic. she tends to take on other people's attitudes and emotions when she drains them, which can be either positive or negative, depending on the situation.

at one time, rogue was able to access, and control, any power that she had previously drained. in short, she was able to be cyclops, colossus, nightcrawler, wolverine, a whole laundry list of people any time she wanted. and she could use those powers in combination. sounds like a powerhouse doesn't it?

Group A: Franchise X-Men

2. professor x - you don't get to be the godfather of the xmen without having some super serious powers yourself. professor x is the most powerful telepath on the planet (maybe in the marvel universe?) and while he's physically crippled, the mind is far more important than the body. professor x can literally mind control you and tell you to kill yourself. or just skip that mind control part and just kill you outright. he can erase your memories and replace them with new ones if he wanted to be sadistic. 'nuff said. the potentail of his powers is almost limitless.

professor x is so powerful that the marvel writers always have to make up new ways to remove him from the stories. professor x hardly needs a team of superheroes to do his bidding. there's no doubt he can pretty much do anything himself. however, there would be no "x" in team with just one mutant doing all of the work. so in the comics, professor x is always gone on vacation or sabbatical, incapacitated, lecturing and trying to attain tenure or something. otherwise the x-books would be pretty boring with one panel of professor x just destroying people's minds and then roll credits.

1. phoenix aka jean grey - who could possibly trump professor x's mental powers? well, how about jean grey? her telepathic powers are a notch below the professor's but she's got some high level telekinesis at her command as well. even with just those two abilities, i'd argue that jean grey might be more powerful than the professor.

but the deal breaker here is "the phoenix force." see, jean grey died once (cue the end of xmen 2) and she was resurrected with part of the phoenix force imbued in her. what is the phoenix force you ask? just the sum and substance of all lives. it's a cosmic force that has been known to pretty much annihilate planets. it's off the charts powerful.

while jean grey doesn't have direct access to the phoenix force (her daughter, rachel summers does have access to some of it), there's always the suspicion that it's hiding out inside of her, waiting to be sprung. so who can fuck with an all powerful cosmic force? not any of the other xmen, that's for damn sure. jean grey aka the phoenix takes the cake as the best/greatest/most powerful xman of all.

  • i noticed that in compiling this list, all of the top x-women (phoenix, rogue, storm, polaris, psylocke) had distinctive hair. phoenix has her blazing red mane, rogue her skunk streak, storm her white tresses, and polaris and psylocke are identified by their green and purple hairs respectively. the lesson here is, if you want to be a top x-woman, you gotta have great hair.
  • some interesting but ultimately not powerful enough xmen: magik, longshot, cable, shadowcat, multiple man.
  • if you were just a weaker knock-off version of a real xmen, you got no consideration. sunfire vs sunspot. colossus vs any brute. psylocke vs karma. etc.
  • sorry jon g, not a single member of excaliber caught my eye.
  • and yes, i have a lot of free time.