The X-Men fight to protect a world that hates and fears them — and if they just so happen to fall in love along the way, that’s even better. The soap opera angle of the X-Men has been present from the very beginning of the franchise over 50 years ago, when Jean Grey first caught the attention of her male classmates, and it’s only gotten stronger as more and more mutants hooked up and/or fell in love in-between (or even during) missions to save Earth.
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“X-Men” has always been a character-driven franchise, and therefore fans have always been just as invested in the heroes’ love lives as anything else. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we present a list of the 15 greatest X-Men couples of all time.
15. BOOM BOOM & CANNONBALL
A relatively deep cut as far as X-couples go, Sam Guthrie and Tabitha Smith started out an odd couple and evolved into something deeper. The take-no-crap Boom Boom first kissed the shy farmboy Cannonball while the two were imprisoned together during one of the New Mutants’ final missions together. Despite their clashing personalities, the two kept finding themselves drawn to each other. By the time the New Mutants changed over to X-Force, the two had become the team’s power couple.
They grew together, with Cannonball becoming more assertive and Boom Boom becoming more open to having a real relationship. She met Sam’s parents and they confronted Sam’s sudden immortality by maturely talking about their feelings. Their relationship didn’t last, however, as Cannonball’s transfer to the X-Men put a strain on their relationship. The two called it quits after they grew distant from each other — and after Boom Boom hooked up with Cannonball’s best friend Sunspot.
14. WOLVERINE & JEAN GREY
Wolverine and Jean Grey are quite possibly the greatest almost-but-not-quite couple in X-Men history. These two have had a number of near misses and close encounters since Wolverine joined the X-Men back in 1975. He made his attraction to her clear from the get-go, and Jean Grey — perpetually romantically tied to Cyclops — made it clear that she wasn’t not interested. The two have even kissed on a few occasions, usually the result of an extreme circumstance (coming back from the dead, being imprisoned together, trying to shock each other, etc.). The two even had a romantic ending, as it was Wolverine that was by Jean’s side when she died back in 2004.
Then there’s the alternate reality where they were together: the Age of Apocalypse. That Jean Grey gave in to her wild side long ago and, having not hooked up with Cyclops, had no qualms about giving into her attraction to Logan. The 1995 “Weapon X” limited series is a good look at these two as a couple.
13. WOLVERINE & STORM
Like Mulder and Scully, sometimes you find love with the person you’ve been platonic partners with for years. That was the case with Wolverine and Storm, who turned their decades of fighting side-by-side into something much, much more, during Wolverine’s tenure as headmaster of the Jean Grey School. The relationship also started after Storm’s long break from the team, a break that saw Storm’s marriage to the Black Panther totally dissolve. After all that heartache, Ororo and Logan found a fresh start together.
In true X-Men fashion, this seemingly perfect pairing wasn’t meant to have a happy ending. In actual fact, it was well on its way to becoming the most stable one either had ever experienced until the impossible happened to Wolverine: he died. Storm has spent the time since his death holding the X-Men together and quietly grieving over Logan — a process that’s complicated by the fact that she’s on a team with his elderly alternate reality counterpart.
12. COLOSSUS & DOMINO
An X-Man’s social circle is limited to the people that they’re on a superhero team with. That’s what led to Colossus and Domino — an odd pairing considering they originally come from disparate parts of the X-universe — hooking up. The two worked together on one of Cable’s more recent X-Force units and they decided to blow off the stress of fighting in a counter-terrorism team led by a drill sergeant with precognitive powers by hopping into bed together.
Her compulsive attitude seemed to counteract his more subdued nature, and the two actually persevered as a couple for a while. As with many X-romances, though, their time together on X-Force came to an end and different teams came calling for both of them. Colossus is currently in “Extraordinary X-Men” and Domino’s over in “Deadpool and the Mercs for Money.” But like other X-Couples, they’re together in an alternate reality (the one depicted in the “Secret Wars” “Inferno” series).
11. STORM & FORGE
While Wolverine may have been a more stable relationship for Storm, she spent way more time with the X-Man/mutant inventor Forge. These two had a whirlwind romance right after Storm lost her mutant powers, but that whirlwind was halted once Storm realized Forge built the device that nullified her abilities. The two reconciled a while later, after they were stranded alone together for a year in a parallel reality by one of Forge’s mystical enemies. There, Forge crafted a device that gave Storm back her powers.
Their years of off-and-on relationships came to a screeching halt after Forge’s horribly executed marriage proposal. He asked her to marry him, then assumed she was going to say no — and then chewed her out, leaving her a crying mess. Many, many years have passed since then and these two have finally reconciled. They’re definitely not lovers, but at least they’re friends again.
10. MEGGAN & CAPTAIN BRITAIN
After initially battling with the great protector of Britain, Meggan quickly came to fight alongside Brian Braddock. Originally furry with pointed ears, Meggan’s metamorphic and empathic abilities slowly changed her look over time as she grew more enamored with Captain Britain. These two would eventually join up with a trio of X-Men expats — Nightcrawler, Shadowcat and Rachel “Phoenix” Summers — to form Excalibur.
This quintet put a few unique stressors on Brian and Meggan’s already lopsided relationship. First, serving with the team brought out Brian’s boastful and careless side, causing him to reevaluate how he acts. Second, Meggan and Nightcrawler developed a mutual, yet unrealized crush on each other. Still, Brian and Meggan pulled through as a couple, even as one or the other of them were lost in various dimensions or time-streams. The two were married in the final issue of “Excalibur” and are still together today, as they run the Braddock Academy for superheroes in training.
9. ARCHANGEL & PSYLOCKE
In some ways, Psylocke and Archangel don’t make sense as a couple. After all, she’s a ninja that prefers to slink around in the shadows and he’s a high-flying hero with a heavenly visage. The two really bonded, however, because their lives with the X-Men did a number on each of them. Warren Worthington’s wings and mind were warped by Apocalypse’s technology, and Betsy Braddock had her entire body switched out with a Japanese assassin. These two underwent two of the most drastic makeovers in X-Men history, and they suddenly gravitated towards each other in the mid ’90s.
They also bonded over their shared socialite history and quickly became the most glamorous X-couple ever, as they attended fancy parties together. They even retired from the X-Men together for a bit, but their ritzy lifestyle wasn’t meant to last. Apocalypse’s machinations eventually turned Archangel evil, causing Psylocke to fight against him in a battle that left his mind and soul completely rebooted.
8. DAZZLER & LONGSHOT
These two blond bombshells were a part of the ragtag group of X-Men that stood against the Adversary in Dallas, Texas — a mission that many onlookers perceived to be the X-Men’s last. Thought dead, the X-Men actually reemerged in Australia, where they hid out and chose to strike their enemies under the anonymity of death. During this time, Longshot — a good-natured rebel from the entertainment-obsessed Mojoworld — and Dazzler — an ex-disco queen with a stubborn streak — got together.
While these two might seem to be the most carefree of all the X-couples, their relationship quickly took a turn towards the intense. After their time with the X-Men, the two returned to Mojoworld to lead a rebellion against Mojo. The two even had a child (Shatterstar) during this time off-panel, although their memory of having him was erased by the adult Shatterstar, who then dropped himself hundreds of years into the future.
7. HAVOK & POLARIS
There probably isn’t another X-couple that more desperately wanted to get away from superheroing than Havok and Polaris. These two first met back in the ’60s at the tail-end of the initial Silver Age “X-Men” run, and have been romantically involved for almost all of the time since then. Their entire storyline from the ’60s to the ’90s involves them retiring to live happily ever after and then getting dragged back into the fight. Sometimes Havok got possessed (by the space pirate Eric the Red), sometimes Polaris got possessed (by the Marauder Malice) — these two consistently could not catch a break.
The two served together on two different incarnations of X-Factor, but their desire to be on different superhero teams eventually led to their breakup. When Havok left X-Factor to lead the Avengers Unity Squad, Polaris stayed behind and took control of the X-team. The two have yet to reconcile.
6. MYSTIQUE & DESTINY
Despite obviously being a couple, Mystique and Destiny weren’t allowed to be called such in the comics until well after Destiny’s death in the late ’80s. Before her death, writer Chris Claremont showed these two members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in domestic scenes, living together and raising their foster daughter Rogue. They were affectionate and caring towards each other, with Destiny being pretty much the only person that Mystique genuinely cared about without hesitation. Her death deeply rattled Mystique, although the less-progressive era meant the comics couldn’t address it.
That’s changed in recent years, so much so that much of the recent “Wolverines” series focused on Mystique’s last ditch effort to resurrect her one true love — at the cost of pretty much everyone that got in her way. It’s rare that you get to see super villains in love, and this relationship shows that even the X-Men’s adversaries have room in their hearts.
5. SHATTERSTAR & RICTOR
Like Mystique and Destiny, Rictor and Shatterstar’s relationship was left up to interpretation and almost entirely off-panel for a good chunk of the ’90s and early ’00s. While serving together in the original X-Force crew, Shatterstar (an initially emotionless warrior from the Mojoverse) found his first ever friend in Rictor (a quick-tempered macho man). When Rictor left the team after Cable said he wanted to work with them telepathically and get in their heads, Shatterstar was heartbroken — possibly for the first time ever. Eventually, Rictor returned to the team and he and Shatterstar departed together to have unseen adventures. When Rictor resurfaced in “X-Factor” years later, he was flying solo.
Then Shatterstar returned and, with one kiss, confirmed every fan theory that had bubbled up in the preceding decade. Rictor and Shatterstar then became “X-Factor’s” power couple, making them the most stable members of an otherwise unruly team. The pair haven’t been seen since “X-Factor” ended a few years ago, and one can only hope they’re enjoying their time off together.
4. COLOSSUS & KITTY PRYDE
While plenty of other X-Men relationships are fraught with drama and carry the weight of the world, this teenage romance went in a different direction. As the youngest X-Man, the teenage Kitty naturally had a crush on her next oldest teammate, Peter Rasputin. It didn’t hurt that he was a sensitive giant with the heart of an artist and a farmboy’s upbringing. After not-so-secretly swooning over him, Kitty made the first move and kicked off their romance. Their initial relationship was short-lived, as they were separated by a trip to another dimension where Colossus fell in love with someone else. Upon returning to Earth, Peter broke up with Kitty — after which Wolverine and Nightcrawler gave him a stern talking to (with the odd help of Juggernaut).
The two remained close, with Kitty being tasked to spread his ashes when the world thought Colossus had died. It was also she that found the not-dead Colossus during a mission with the X-Men, reuniting the two as adults. Joss Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” reignited their relationship — all the way up until it was Kitty’s turn to sacrifice herself. Nowadays the pair are close friends, but their romance is behind them.
3. ROGUE & GAMBIT
Unable to touch anyone skin-to-skin for fear of absorbing their memories and abilities, any relationship Rogue has is going to be very “will they or won’t they.” That’s just what happened in the early ’90s when Rogue first crossed paths with a Cajun charmer named Gambit. Despite her constantly reminding him that she wasn’t able to touch him, Gambit persisted and showed Rogue that they didn’t need to kiss to go on dates. Of course, that also didn’t stop him from wanting to test out how her powers worked, and the two finally kissed when it looked like the world was literally going to end.
Their first kiss proved to be a bad move, though, as Rogue became privy to many of Remy’s darkest secrets. The two would reunite for a short while, but ultimately their star-crossed romance grew into an unbreakable bond — one perhaps deeper than their love. When either of them is in trouble, they always turn to each other for help. Whereas other couples on this list have drifted apart, these two are still in each others’ lives, albeit in a nonromantic way.
2. EMMA FROST & CYCLOPS
The X-Men’s stalwart leader hooking up with the former supervillain and White Queen of the Hellfire Club may sound far-fetched, but their surprise relationship proved to be one of the most dynamic and long-lasting in X-history. The couple originally got together, mentally, while Cyclops was still married to Jean Grey. His wife’s final wish, however, was for him to move on and not be afraid to live — and that involved moving on to Emma Frost.
Their relationship caused both of them to grow in different ways. Cyclops became more daring while he was with Emma, an appropriate move considering the constant threat mutants were under while they were together. Emma also grew from being an aloof outsider with a dark streak to one of the mutants at the forefront of a movement. She became an inspiration. While their relationship became strained in recent years, Emma gave Cyclops a gift after he recently succumbed to the M-Pox virus. Instead of letting him die from disease, Emma turned him into a martyr by mentally projecting a simulacrum of the mutant leader on one final mission that struck a blow to the Inhumans and their toxic-to-mutants Terrigen cloud.
1. JEAN GREY & CYCLOPS
This is the love story that’s defined the X-Men almost since the very beginning. Cyclops and Jean Grey were among the original X-Men, meaning that their relationship goes back to the very foundation of the team. Their relationship has also encompassed all of the different types of drama we’ve already seen on this list. They’ve had “will they/won’t they” phases, and stretches of time where they were retired. Their relationship has been punctuated with clones and death and time travel. Their love has been at the heart of a number of the franchise’s biggest moments, like their last stand together on the moon in “The Dark Phoenix Saga.”
They’ve also become the couple most prominently featured in every adaptation of the franchise. The cartoons and films put these two together over and over again. The introverted leader and compassionate, inspirational hero come together time and time again. Even though Jean Grey’s been dead for over 10 years, the comics still brought her back in the form of a teenage Jean Grey (along with a teenage Cyclops). The X-Men comics almost can’t exist without some form of Cyclops and Jean Grey’s love and drama. After all, they were there at the start.
Which X-Men couple is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!