On September 10, 1963, the legendary creative team of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby made comic book history when the first issue of X-Men was published. Professor Charles Xavier founded the X-Men with efforts to promote peace and harmony between humankind and mutantkind. He transformed young men and women who were once frightened of their genetic gifts into role models for the world. For nearly 55 years, Professor Xavier’s protégés have protected humanity from religious zealots, murderous robots, mutant terrorists, and psychotic aliens. Several of them such as Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, and Colossus have become household names, part of the pop culture lexicon, and in numerous media productions.
Also, several X-Men have graduated and become members of several Marvel Universe teams such as the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, there has been a mix of heroes and villains who have called the Xavier Institute of Higher Learning home. While some of these characters’ time on the team varied, they made an impact on not just Marvel’s merry mutants, but also with the fan base. CBR has found the 15 characters that you did not know were a part of the X-Men family.
Angelica Jones’ fiery alter-ego, Firestar, made her debut on NBC’s Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. Firestar teamed with Spider-Man and Iceman to tackle threats such as Doctor Doom, the Green Goblin, and even Dracula. Firestar was so popular with fans that she made her debut in a self-titled 1986 mini-series that crossed over with Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #193. Throughout her career, Firestar glided through different superhero teams such as The New Warriors and the Avengers.
In 2013, Amazing X-Men, Vol.2 #1, Firestar officially joined the team. Her first mission with the X-Men, bring Nightcrawler back to the land of the living. Firestar also helped the team face numerous supernatural threats including an army of Wendigos and the recently repowered Juggernaut. Unfortunately, Firestar has not been seen with the X-Men since the end of Inhumans vs. X-Men.
For decades, Professor Xavier’s half-brother, Cain Marko, has been a thorn in the X-Men’s side. However, things began to change when Juggernaut’s longtime partner betrayed the colossal figure and Juggernaut had to team up with the X-Men to take him down. Against his students’ better judgment, Professor X welcomed Cain into the X-Men fold, and he began his long journey to redemption.
Despite some setbacks, Juggernaut became a valuable team member and an unlikely role model to several young mutants including Sammy Pare. Sadly, Sammy died during “Heroes and Villains,” when Black Tom reorganized the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and killed the X-Man in training. Enraged, Juggernaut turned on the team and chased them into an alternate dimension. Sadly, without Sammy Pare’s presence, Juggernaut returned to his villainous ways.
During Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #450, “The Cruelest Cut,” Storm and her team encountered a wild teenage girl who shared similarities with Logan. She was an excellent fighter, a strong sense of smell, and wary attitude. Her name was X-23 (who later adopted the name, Laura Kinney)! She proved herself worthy as X-23 helped the X-Men defeat both the Bacchae and the Hauk’ka.
Eventually, she became one of the team’s greatest leaders of her generation. As a part of Logan’s X-Force, X-23 was instrumental in assisting Logan and X-Force target deadly adversaries who threatened all of mutantkind especially Selene and her inner circle in “Necrosha X” and Bastion’s forces during “X-Men: Second Coming.” When Wolverine passed on, only Laura was able to wear the Wolverine mantle and to represent Logan’s legacy on numerous superhero teams.
Alpha Flight’s favorite speedster debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #120 as a part of the Canadian superhero team. Over the years, he persevered facing bigotry for being both a mutant and gay. Jean-Paul Beaubier became a temporary member of the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #392 when Phoenix recruited him to help stop Magneto from unleashing nuclear Armageddon during the four-part “Eve of Destruction” story arc.
After a break, Northstar returned on Professor X’s request to assist the team and mentor their new students. Despite being killed by HYDRA-brainwashed Wolverine and being resurrected by X-Men adversaries: Exodus and the Children of the Vault, Northstar still answers Emma Frost’s call to help the team deal with the Skrulls and Norman Osborn’s Dark X-Men. Recently, Northstar married his boyfriend, Kyle, and left the X-Men for Canada.
11 CLOAK & DAGGER
Fans can thank Norman Osborn for welcoming Cloak and Dagger into the X-Men fold. During the Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men crossover, “Utopia,” the former H.A.M.M.E.R. Director recruited the duo to join his government-sponsored team in exchange for their records to be exonerated. Single-handedly, Cloak and Dagger defeated a plethora of dominant mutants such as Avalanche, Hellion, and Sunspot, who protested Norman Osborn’s power.
When Emma Frost and Namor revealed their true colors and betrayed Osborn, Cloak and Dagger instantly took Emma Frost’s invitation to join the team. During their brief time with the X-Men, Cloak assisted Wolverine when Dagger was kidnapped by one of Logan’s deadly rivals, Romulus. Eventually, Cloak and Dagger left Utopia when Doctor Nemesis reveals that both of them are not mutants.
Between being “Amazing Friends” with Iceman and Firestar to facing off against the Original Class in the' 60s and Nightcrawler in the '70s, Spider-Man has been an ally or a rival to the team. However, it was his close friendship with Wolverine that made Marvel’s favorite wall-crawler part of the X-Men family.
When Wolverine was dying of Adamantium poisoning, his final wish for Spider-Man was to become the latest teacher of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning’s special class. Throughout the six-issue mini-series, Spider-Man & The X-Men, Professor Spider-Man taught his pupils the timeless lesson of “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility” while uncovering Mister Sinister’s mole and helping his students defeat the evil geneticist.
The only son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor has spent the past 27 years with the X-Men. Born in the late '80s, Nathaniel Summers was taken into the future and grew up rapidly. When the time-traveling soldier returned to the present, he mentored the New Mutants and transformed the group into the efficient X-Force. In addition to keeping Deadpool in line, he reconnected with his father and even took his place when Cyclops was absorbed into Apocalypse at the end of “Apocalypse: The Twelve.”
Eventually, Cable returned to the X-Men’s lives when Rogue asked him to be a part of her wild card team during “Supernovas.” However, he left the group at the end of “X-Men: Messiah Complex” to raise Hope Summers in the future. After a brief period with the Uncanny Avengers, Cable recently formed his team in his solo title.
Calvin Rankin entered the X-Men’s lives in Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #19. Due to his power set, he adopted the codename Mimic. He is permanently infused with the powers of the founding five X-Men. While Professor Xavier erased Mimic’s first encounter with the team, Mimic regained his memories and blackmailed himself to be a part of the team. Eventually, he earned his stripes with the team and sacrificed himself to save his teammates against the Super Adaptoid.
Over the past decades, Mimic balanced the line between good and evil. While he sided with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the Dark X-Men on several capers, Mimic eventually joined the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning and Rogue stated that he would be a good teacher. Unfortunately, Mimic has not been seen in the past few years.
Alison Blaire has been a part of the X-Men’s lives since she debuted in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #130. The X-Men initially approached Dazzler to join their team, but the disco diva decided to focus on her music career. Over time, she assisted both the Avengers and the X-Men on numerous occasions, before being dragged into “Mutant Massacre” after Malice possessed her.
Eventually, the X-Men rescued her and joined the team. Dazzler was with the team during “The Fall of the Mutants” and “Inferno” storylines and left the team in Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #251. Years later, Dazzler briefly assisted the team during “Eve of Destruction” and rejoined them in San Francisco during "Manifest Destiny." Recently, she was a part of A-Force and sided with the X-Men during “Inhumans vs. X-Men.”
Sam Guthrie has been a part of the X-Men franchise since his debut in 1982’s Marvel Graphic Novel: The New Mutants #4. Since day one, he led his team of young mutants through some of mutantkind’s darkest chapters and was mentored by Professor X, Magneto, and Cable. In X-Force, Vol.1 #44, Professor X offers Cannonball, a place on the team. Cannonball faces numerous powerful adversaries such as the Kingpin, Post, Onslaught, and even future Shi’ar Emperor Gladiator.
After the events of “Operation Zero Tolerance,” Cannonball leaves the team to rejoin X-Force. In the mid-2000s, Cannonball rejoined the X-Men family and assisted Rogue with her wild card team. After a fallout with Cyclops and Moonstar in “Schism,” Cannonball returned to the east coast and joined Wolverine’s squad and then the Avengers after Avengers vs. X-Men.
5 CAROL DANVERS
During the '80s, Captain Marvel served as a supporting cast member in Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1. Carol Danvers joined the X-Men after Rogue absorbed all of her powers at Mystique’s request in 1981’s Avengers Annual #10. To repay Professor Xavier and the X-Men for the work that they did for her, Carol goes into the Pentagon’s computer archives and erases the government files on both her and the X-Men.
Eventually, the Brood returned to Earth and kidnapped the X-Men. The alien race experimented on her and transformed Captain Danvers into Binary. As Binary, Ms. Danvers received cosmic powers and a new sense of self. She departed the team in Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #174 for new adventures with the intergalactic pirate team known as the Starjammers.
Nightcrawler’s birth mother and Rogue’s foster parent is one of the most unpredictable mutants in the Marvel Universe. For her first decades, Mystique targeted the X-Men as the leader of both the second incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the government-sponsored Freedom Force. Next, she was forced to join X-Factor until that team disbanded and was coerced into becoming Professor Xavier’s spy in her self-titled series.
Before the events of M-Day, Mystique begged the X-Men to become a member, and despite Rogue’s sharp objections, the team gives her a probationary status. Eventually, she officially joins the team during “The Blood of Apocalypse.” During “Blinded by the Light,” Mystique betrayed the group and joined forces with Sinister. Currently, Mystique is a part of the third incarnation of Astonishing X-Men.
Victor Creed is one of the most dangerous mutants alive. Between his fierce rivalry with Wolverine (Logan) to his sometimes partnership with evil mutants such as Exodus and Mister Sinister, Sabretooth remains one of the terrifying villains the X-Men ever encountered. Not even Professor Xavier or Dr. Valerie Cooper, the former liaison to X-Factor’s second incarnation could not keep Sabretooth's bloodlust in check.
In “Supernovas,” Sabretooth was targeted by the Children of the Vault. He briefly joined Rogue’s team and later leaves in X-Men, Vol. 2 #199 after a few missions. In recent years, Sabretooth was morally inverted in Avengers & X-Men: Axis and was a part of both the Uncanny Avengers’ second incarnation and Magneto’s X-Men team. Currently, he assists Old Man Logan in dismantling a new embodiment of the Weapon X program.
The X-Men first crossed paths with the Sub-Mariner when both Marvel’s merry mutants and Magneto failed to recruit the legendary Golden Age hero to join their organizations in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1 #6. Little did both the Master of Magnetism and the original class know that they would be working with Namor in the far future and thanks in part to Emma Frost.
It was revealed in 2009’s Uncanny X-Men Annual, Vol. 2 #2, “White Queen, Dark Reign” that the White Queen and Namor once had feelings for each other. Eventually, those feelings were rekindled when both of them joined Norman Osborn’s Cabal. Namor did a role in re-shaping the X-Men team in numerous events such as “Curse of the Mutants,” “Schism,” and “Avengers vs. X-Men.” He departed from the team after the remaining members of the Phoenix Five betrayed him.
Charles Xavier’s longtime frenemy has joined and exited the team numerous times throughout the franchise’s 55-year history. The first time that he joined the team happened in Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1, #200, where a then-dying Professor Xavier requested that Magneto looked after the school and The New Mutants. However, he ultimately returned to the dark side by the '90s and threatened the team until 2001 when he “died” during the opening chapter of “E is for Extinction.”
Eventually, when Cyclops rallied the entire mutant race to San Francisco, Magneto joined the team, but not everyone trusted him. Magneto won everyone over when he nearly killed him bringing Kitty Pryde’s rocket back to Earth at the end of “Nation X.” Since then, Magneto has been at the X-Men’s side during their battles with both the Avengers and the Inhumans..
Do you know of any other surprising X-Men members? Make sure to leave a comment!