Best Unknown X-men

Earl Hamilton
• Friday, 04 December, 2020
• 9 min read

And did I mention that Jubilee learned how to fight while in Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall? Masonic Teenage Warhead is the perfect moniker for an angst goth Pecos who was allowed to name herself.

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This typically takes the form of explosive playing cards, but he can charge larger objects too, with even more devastating results. Angeles Warren Kenneth Worthington III, aka Angel, was first added to the X-Men stable, the rich, powerful, and handsome lady-killer was a total Mary Sue.

But she’s done a lot of living and maturing since then: Kitty single-handedly beat down N’GARAF, absorbed a lifetime’s worth of training in martial arts, and gained the power to wield the Soul sword. First off, we’re jealous of Jamie “Multiple Man” Maddox’s power to create duplicates of himself since birth, each with an own independent mind.

This has given Maddox the ability to experience different timelines simultaneously, and has caused him to gain thousands of years’ worth of skills and information learned by his many dupes. Maddox can even create a duplicate inside another human being, causing his victim to … uh … explode gruesomely.

Iceman may only play second fiddle in the X-Men movies, but his ability to create unbreakable ice from the water vapor present in air is surprisingly powerful. He can create virtually any kind of physical structure almost instantaneously; use ice to repair damage to his body; freeze the water molecules inside another living person; and even convert himself into vapor.

Villain Law found out how dangerous Dazzler could be firsthand, when she converted his sonic power into light, disintegrating his body and mind. The daughter of Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch from a different timeline, Nocturne is the X-Men’s version of Quantum Leap’s Dr. Samuel Beckett.

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Like Nightcrawler, Nocturne is covered in blue fur; has three fingers per hand; and styles a prehensile tail. She’s incredibly agile, can walk on walls, fires hex bolts of energy, and can possess other peoples’ bodies for hours at a time.

She’s a human police officer infused with Sentinel nanotech, programmed to kill mutants. Charles Xavier and Magneto are able to deprogram Karima, while still allowing her the use of the nanite tech inside her.

As a result, she has super human agility and strength; can quickly recover from damage; and can fire powerful energy blasts. In his black form, meanwhile, Elixir can cause painful boils, cancerous tumors, or simply kill a man by touching him.

They now refer to themselves as the Three-in-One, combining their power to control minds and create psionic blasts at a level vastly greater than three telepaths acting individually. One of the older X-Men, both in terms of his age and when he was introduced to the comic, Irish mutant Banshee has the ability to fly and unleash punishing sonic screams that can disable his enemies’ hearing.

One of the few positively portrayed Muslim characters in the comic book world, Soraya Nadir (aka Dust) is a young Afghan woman with the mutant power to turn into sand. Once a member of the Streamers team of space pirates (led by Cyclops’ father Corsair), Hepzibah has since been stranded on Earth, where she joined up with the X-Men.

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Of course, in practice, he limits himself to Mach 10 to prevent causing irreversible damage to the world (and his own body). Madeline “Maddie” Pryor has some pretty epic mutant abilities, especially when enhanced by demonic magic.

A few years later, Maddie was reconned into a Mr. Sinister-created Jean Grey clone just to make Scott Summers look less like a jerk. Megan’s ability to empathize allows her to change physical form into a dragon, werewolf, or whatever best matches her own emotions and those of the surrounding people.

But when he and his friends are threatened, Gentle can exponentially increase his muscle mass, giving him enough power to lift a house. She gets huge bonus points due to the fact that her current form, a golden angel with claws, looks so badass.

Dazzler survived the death of disco, the X-Men's dangerous stay in Australia, a civil war in the Converse and numerous threats as she jumped through dimensions. Marrow's one example of an extremely '90s mutant: she's got a gross power involving excessive bone growths, serious rage issues, and she also wears a ridiculously colored costume.

But once the dust kicked up by his arrival had settled, Shatter star's journey towards self-discovery made him the Data of X-Force -- albeit one that's way more ripped than Brent Spider's “Star Trek” character. Shatter star's development continued during his tenure with X-Factor in the 2000s, when writer Peter David confirmed that the character is both bisexual and polyamorous.

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But during his mid-'90s heyday, writers flirted with giving him depth; he was almost made Cyclops and Havoc's long-lost brother, but that storyline was scrapped after a few somewhat poignant hints. Jubilee's major claim to fame is being the entry point character in the '90s X-Men cartoon, so there's a bit of a generational bias when it comes to this firecracker.

Viewers that grew up in the early '90s may relate to this self-proclaimed “mall babe with a major 'tube,” but her appeal may be lost on those that came before or after that era. Recently, writers have boosted Cypher's skills to make him understand body language -- which includes mimicking martial arts moves with ease.

But what makes Cypher great is his personality; with his empathetic nature and genuine sincerity, he becomes the heart of every team he's on. But Joe allowed writers to explore the classic nature vs. nurture theory as applied to the X-Men's most morally gray adversary.

Hints of his inner Magneto's ruthlessness would appear occasionally, which made it feel like the X-Men had a ticking mutant bomb on their roster. Joseph also gave Rogue the best Christmas gift ever: a piece of alien hardware that canceled out her mutant abilities, allowing her to touch people without hurting them.

Meeting his end by sacrificing his life to stop a newly returned Magneto from wrecking the Earth, Joseph's origin is definitely convoluted, but his heroism is clear. With an external digestive system composed of two metallic slugs, Maggot easily has one of the grossest mutant powers out there.

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Sure, consuming matter gives him super strength and turns his skin blue, but not having a stomach is a weird price to pay for powers. A lifelong obsession with comics led him to Wizard Magazine in 2008 and then to writing gigs for The Robot's Voice, Marvel.com, and MTV's Splash Page where he served as managing editor.

Brett served as a writer and Assistant Editor for CBR from 2011 to 2017, where he wrote a lot about the X-Men, Foggy Nelson, and plenty of gay stuff. Part of the appeal of the merry mutants, however, is just how many of them dash, fly, teleport and hop across the Marvel Universe, rising and falling in popularity with the whims of each new creator.

The 15 mutants below (plus one dishonorable mention) may not steal the spotlight in Red, Gold, Blue or any other hued X-book at the moment, but they’re brimming with untapped potential and should be on any upcoming X-scribe’s radar. A recurring theme throughout this list is that creators love to make their mark on the X-Men franchise by introducing new young mutants, few of whom ever get the chance to graduate to full-fledged team status.

Dr. Cecilia Reyes has always occupied an unusual spot in the franchise, initially resisting the offer to join the X-Men and never actually getting around to choosing a code name or costume beyond the standard blue-and-gold. Christina Strain, Hamilcar Penna and a host of guest artists carefully resuscitated the old-school Gen X cast while assembling a new offbeat teen mutant crew in the recently concluded Generation X series, and Jonathan Stars more, better known as Chamber, quietly got one of the best arcs in the book.

Like too many teen mutants, Chamber never managed to “graduate” to a main team, although he has become a school mainstay, helping students who struggle with traumatic powers. In Strain’s Generation X run, Chamber is confident and authoritative (with strong dad appeal, given his burgeoning relationship with adoptive mother Jubilee), hinting at the untapped potential should he ever land a spot on a major X-squad.

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Poor Douglas Ramsey has been perpetually mocked since his debut in 1984, largely thanks to his non-offensive mutant ability to understand any written or spoken language. In his last major appearance, Cypher ended up physically involved with the sentient manifestation of the X-Men’s Danger Room, making them a contender for strangest X-Men romantic entanglement (a tough category, considering the franchise).

While commanding the weather or phasing through walls is great, we’d love to see creators try harder to utilize Doug’s adaptable power set. First introduced in X-Men : Deadly Genesis as part of a controversial, retroactive second team of X-Men, Darwin has the power of “adaptive evolution,” meaning that his body responds to danger to protect him: drop him in water, he’ll grow gills, throw him in a fire, his skin will harden, and so on.

It’s not uncommon for X-Men to transition to other superhero teams: Beast, Sunspot, Cannonball and Wolverine are all established Avengers; Angel and Iceman ran with the Defenders; and young Scott Summers brought his stick-in-the-mud shtick to the teen Champions. Fire star is notable not just as a seasoned hero, but as a cancer survivor and graduate student, proving yet again that mutant characters can have full lives outside time-travel shenanigans.

Fire star recently, briefly appeared in X-Men Blue, but with that many team memberships under her belt, Angelica Jones deserves a longer shot at establishing herself among Marvel’s mutant heroes. When the Terri gen clouds blanketed the planet, poisoning many mutants, Frenzy allied herself with the Inhuman hero Crystal, forgoing the burgeoning Inhuman/mutant divide to save lives in need.

Marrow displays a fractured persona throughout the run, which is eventually revealed to be a result of losing her pregnancy in return for regaining some semblance of her powers. North star deserves more than a publicity-hungry appearance every few years, and we hope to see him regain mutant prominence before Marvel starts hyping up the first gay divorce in mainstream comics.

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Discovered in Nigeria, Die initially serves as a cracked-mirror Storm: a young African girl with powers over the elements who are shamed, not worshiped, for her might. Thanks to her time with Wolverine and his Jean Grey School, Die grew into a much more confident young mutant, even rejecting the advances of infamous X-brat Quentin Quire.

For all that Peter David’s epic run on X-Factor helped boost mutants like M, Shatter star, Victor, Wolfs bane, Maddox and others, its conclusion left Theresa “Siren” Cassidy in a weird spot. Except Danielle Moon star’s role as a Norse Valkyrie, mutants and magic rarely mix, and Siren’s transformation into a Celtic goddess known as the Mórrígan was so unwieldy and unwelcome that no one has really approached the character in the six years since.

Siren’s father Banshee has been similarly sidelined since returning as a Horseman of Death, leaving a sonically powered gap in Marvel’s merry mutant franchise. While we’d love to see Banshee shake off his blue skin and desire for Armageddon, his daughter Siren edges him out in deserving a comeback from her current weird goth phase.

Shirt Yeshiva is perhaps the original underrated, underused X-Man, briefly appearing on the team in its early days before being relegated to a guest role any time a Marvel hero traveled to Japan. He briefly seemed to come into his own as leader of Japan’s Big Hero 6, but the delightful Disney movie adaptation exists outside of Marvel continuity, and has resulted in the comic version of the team quietly disappearing.

Had Maggot been created just a few years later by Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly, he might be loved as a weird fan-favorite, but unfortunately he qualifies only as a dis honorable mention on this list since he has so few stories justifying his character in the first place.

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