There are a lot of X-Men -- compared to other superhero teams, the X-Men are particularly difficult from a reader’s perspective because there are just so many of them. This seems to be the case for some X-Men writers as well, many of who tend to forget (whether accidentally or willfully) certain characters. These characters may have started out headlining a successful series but, through some unfortunate circumstance, just stopped appearing on the page. Other forgotten X-Men never even got the chance to shine, with a writer creating them solely to have a background character for a team-based series. After the series ends, so does the character.
With the X-Men, forgotten characters are bound to happen. Even X-Men legend Chris Claremont can’t write a series where every X-Men member gets quality panel-time. The best thing we can hope for is that the characters who do get the writer’s boot aren’t our favorite characters. Sometimes it’s sad to see a character disappear but sometimes it’s a welcome change. There are tons of forgotten X-Men who readers hope to never see again just as there are forgotten X-Men that readers want back. Deciding who should come back and who should stay in the stacks for this list was arbitrary, which means we chose these characters based off of our own preferences. If you disagree with one of our choices let us know in the comments! Comics are all about forming your own opinions on characters and storylines. Without further ado, let’s get on to the list.
20 BRING BACK: SIRYN
Theresa Cassidy, aka Siryn, is her father’s daughter: same hair, same accent, and the same superpowered sonic scream. They also share the uncanny ability to suddenly disappear from X-Men comics. Banshee passed away but Siryn took the more overdramatic route, transforming into the Celtic goddess Morrigan in the series X-Factor.
Armed with the powers of a goddess, she did the reasonable thing and vanished. Since X-Factor, Siryn’s been obsolete in X-Men comics. Some readers, who thought her too similar to Banshee, didn't mind seeing her go. Others thought her true potential as a character never found resolution in X-Factor. Considering how quick and random her deification was, we tend to agree with the second camp.
19 FORGET: BEAK
We never asked for Beak but in the 2001 New X-Men series, we got him. The mutant, who looks like a hybrid between a bird and a man, served a very specific purpose during his time in New X-Men. The provocative series showed the more unseemly side of mutations -- the kind of mutations that inhibit normal life but don’t give any crime-fighting tools in return.
Beak lost and then regained his “powers” in the last decade. Like a lot of characters from the early 2000s, his character has run its course. The idea of “ugly” mutants is common enough that Beak’s appearance isn’t startling. If he returned for an extended stay in comics, writers would have to get creative to make it entertaining.
18 BRING BACK: INDRA
The early 2000s saw an influx of new X-Men as Marvel writers attempted to broaden the world of mutants. The Xavier’s School actually seemed like a school for once, filled with students, teachers, and the occasional psychotic villain. Paras Gavaskar, a member of Emma Frost’s New X-Men team, was a part of this wave.
Paras, aka Indra, is an Indian mutant with the ability to create armor around himself. While he’s very powerful, he dislikes using his ability because he follows the pacifist religion Jainism. This contrast between being a hero and hating violence might’ve developed into something interesting had Indra remained an active character in X-Men comics. Instead, Marvel writers let him fade out for good.
17 FORGET: JOSEPH
In comics, everyone gets a clone. Wolverine, Magneto, and Emma Frost are just a few of the many heroes who acquired a clone. Some of these clones, like X-23, turned out better than the original. Most of them, however, turned out significantly worse than their DNA donors. The worst of them all has to be Magneto’s clone, Joseph.
Joseph became a prominent character in the mid '90s, back when comic writers could do anything they wanted. He was mostly just a way for writers to make a “good” Magneto without actually making the real Magneto good. In the miniseries, Magneto: Not a Hero, Joseph briefly returned, much to most fans’ ire. Magneto already gets a ton of panel-time, so why does his clone need any?
16 BRING BACK: DUST
Dust became a regular member of the X-Men student population in 2002 with the New X-Men series. As one of the few Muslim X-Men characters, readers appreciated the diversity she brought to the series. It seemed like Sooraya could become a staple in X-Men ranks. She had everything going for her except for one little thing: her age.
Comics have a hard time aging young characters into adult superheroes. Sooraya entered Xavier’s as a student and hasn’t changed since. With so many students, writers can’t include all of them, and since Dust isn’t exactly “new” anymore, she frequently doesn’t make it. If Dust could just age a few years and find a way onto the adult X-Men squad, she’d change the series for the better.
15 FORGET: LIFEGUARD
If you remember Heather Cameron from the early 2000s series X-Treme X-Men, you’re one of the few. After her short origin story arc, where she and her brother discovered they’re both mutants and aliens, she disappeared from comics.
Was her character just flat enough for Marvel executives to cut her from subsequent X-Men lineups? We can’t say for sure but we’re pretty sure the comics fan base would answer with a resounding “yes.” After all, Heather, aka Lifeguard, has earned herself a pretty terrible reputation since her disappearance. The cheesy codename, the lame power (think Darwin but slightly less cool), and her lack of personality got her on every “Worst X-Men” list on the internet.
14 BRING BACK: FIRESTAR
Firestar is the kind of character who’s never really seen the limelight. Since her first appearance on the TV show Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, she’s been a supporting character that fans typically like but have trouble remembering. Her solo series, Firestar, helped cement her origins in comic book lore, leading her to feature (but never star) on a variety of crime-fighting team series' over the years.
Currently, Firestar is little more than a ghost. She occasionally pops up in various X-Men titles for a panel or two. Other characters sometimes mention her. A character with as much potential as Firestar deserves more than that. We’d love to see her headline her own team (or another solo series) that showcases an all-grown-up version of Angelica.
13 FORGET: OYA
Post-M-Day X-Men were a mess. Xavier’s was in shambles, the various teams had lost most of their members, and everything was just generally really depressing. And then Hope showed up and everything changed. New mutants began popping up, including Idie Okonkwo, or Oya. The young African mutant had the power to manipulate temperature -- an ability that proved to be very useful.
Unfortunately, it also proved to be a little unoriginal. Fans pointed out that Idie’s character was a clear copy of Storm’s, from the tragic origin story to the elemental powers. In a bid to cover their tracks, X-Men writers faded Oya out. We liked Idie, but we have to agree with other readers: she was really just a miniature Storm.
12 BRING BACK: PENANCE/HOLLOW
Hollow (or Penance) is complicated. She has the lengthy backstory that makes people afraid to start reading comics and the mid-life name change that makes even the more dedicated readers a little confused. She first arrived on the comics scene in 1994 in the series Generation X. At first, her body housed the trapped consciousness of Monet St. Croix. An arc later, Monet’s twin sisters briefly took over before also abandoning the body. Without a true consciousness, the body somehow continued living and took on a new name: Hollow.
Since then, we’ve only seen glimpses of Hollow. She’s an undoubtedly bizarre character (which is probably why she got the boot) but we think she’s interesting enough to deserve a second look.
11 FORGET: FORGETMENOT
ForgetMeNot has one mutant power: to be forgotten. Although he’s been a regular member of the X-Men for years, no one (including the readers) remembers him. For a few years, various X-Men writers did remember him, adding him into various small storylines.
In recent comics, he’s been absent from both the minds of the X-Men and the minds of the writers. We suspect that, for some, a character as existential as ForgetMeNot might come across as too philosophical for a comic book. We don’t mind ForgetMeNot, but we don’t think he has much of a place in the X-Men at the moment. With the recent events in Uncanny X-Men, things are too tumultuous. Adding in a guy no one remembers would be a nightmare.
10 BRING BACK: MIMIC
Mimic’s name says it all: he’s a mutant who can mimic the skills, knowledge, and powers of the people in his near vicinity. He first arrived on the X-Men scene in 1966, in the nineteenth issue of the original X-Men series. This means that he’s much older than Rogue and Hope, both of whom have abilities similar to his.
Because Rogue and Hope became so popular in recent years, Mimic inevitably faded into the background where he stayed until the recent Extermination miniseries. So as not to have to kill more major characters than he had to, writer Ed Brisson chose to violently off the little-known Mimic. The end doesn’t mean much in comics, so we’re confident Mimic could come back.
9 FORGET: GOLDBALLS
Was Goldballs always a joke between creators Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo? Were readers actually supposed to take a character who shoots gold balls out of his body seriously? The short answer is no. The long answer is maybe. At the end of the day, the X-Men really didn’t need a temporary character like Goldballs, particularly after the harrowing events in Avengers vs. X-Men. We're fairly certain Bendis' intention was for Goldballs to be a joke... but if that's true, why isn't anyone laughing?
Oh, that’s right, because it isn’t actually funny. Goldballs was most likely a way for X-Men writers to poke fun at how ridiculous X-Gene mutations can be. The thing is, most X-Men readers already know that. Goldballs, symbolically, is redundant.
8 BRING BACK: SAGE
Most X-Men fans probably know the name Sage (or Tessa, depending on your favorite X-Men era). She isn’t half as obscure as the majority of the characters on this list and yet she’s rarely even in the comics we supposedly know her from. Armed with a computer-brain and a fierce determination, Sage could easily be a major player in modern comics.
But, instead, most X-Men writers seem content with leaving her in the pages of her most famous series, the 2001 comic X-Treme X-Men. Like us, you’re probably wondering why this is. After all, in today’s world, Sage’s computer brain could spurn some provocative conversations on technology. As per usual, it seems like some of our favorite Marvel writers are missing the obvious.
7 FORGET: GABRIEL SHEPHERD
Thanks to CBR lists counting down the most powerful Omega mutants, you’re probably familiar with Gabriel Shepherd. If this is your first time on the site, you might not be so lucky since, though very powerful, Gabriel isn’t exactly memorable. He starred in a short X-Men arc in 2012 that introduced his character but beyond that, he hasn’t been very popular.
This lack of popularity might stem from the fact that he’s a fancy “Proto-Mutant,” armed with an arsenal of mutant gifts including immortality, telepathy, and chronokinesis. Those kinds of characters sound great on paper but their “great power” becomes problematic in action. With Gabriel in every X-Men series, there’d be no need for the team to save the world because chances are, he’d have already done it.
6 BRING BACK: CHAMBER
From a mouthless man to an Apocalypse look alike, Jonothon Starsmore (Chamber) has seen a lot since his first issue way back in 1994. As a mutant composed solely of pure psionic energy, his first attempt at using his vast powers resulted in a serious injury that destroyed the lower part of his face, leaving him mute. Luckily for him, his minor telepathic prowess allowed him to communicate with his fellow Generation X teammates.
Chamber became popular in the ‘90s, with his appearances waning in the 2000s. While a lot of terrible things have happened to him in the last 20 years, we haven’t seen much of his internal character development. A 2019 solo-series would help with that.
5 FORGET: HELLION
Hellion is one of the few characters on the list who, at one time, was a writer and fan favorite. Everyone loved Julian Keller... right up until things started to get weird. During his time as an active member of the X-Men, Julian went through more challenges than most heroes see in much longer careers. He lost his hands, got a heavy dose of a pseudo-Legacy Virus, and dated Wolverine’s clone all in less than a decade.
When he stopped appearing in X-Men comics post the M-Pox breakout, it was surprising but not necessarily upsetting. Hellion had a lot to offer as a character. At the moment, we think he deserves a break.
4 BRING BACK: EVA BELL
If you picked up the first issue of All-New X-Men back when it came out in 2013, you’d have probably assumed that the new mutant Eva Bell would be an important character. Her ability to control time teased the “Omega” title and her large amount of panel-time hinted at an adventure-filled future for the girl. Of course, since she’s on this list, that didn’t end up happening.
Once her purpose in All-New X-Men came to pass, she became one in a crowd of other students. We understand that Xavier’s needs students to appear school-like and that all those students can’t get panel-time, but Eva is different. Her powers allow her to travel through time. Isn’t that enough to get her on a decent team?
3 FORGET: MARROW
The grunge culture of the '90s invaded X-Men comics in the form of the foul-mouthed Marrow. This forgotten mutant has accelerated bone growth, allowing her to forcibly pull bones out of her body and use them as weapons. A handy-dandy healing factor makes this seemingly impossible (not to mention disgusting) mutant power possible.
Her gross ability parallels her equally gross personality, which embodies the word “crude.” Throughout her career as a background X-Men member, she’s had to go through a lot, so we kind of understand why she has such a bad attitude. Still, that doesn’t mean we want to see more of her. The teenager with a temper is too simple a stereotype by this point.
2 BRING BACK: EMMA FROST
We know what you’re thinking: Emma Frost, forgotten? She just starred in an issue of X-Men Black back in October and was a recurring character in X-Men Blue. How can anyone forget her? Compared to other X-Men characters, you’re right: she isn’t technically “forgotten.” However, when you take into account how popular a character she was for all of the 2000s, her sudden disappearance becomes that much more noticeable.
She’s still in the occasional comic, but the frequency of her appearances is a fraction of what it used to be. For some, this is probably a relief, but for us, we’re a little disappointed. Emma offered just the right amount of dark humor to the X-Men that no other character can replicate.
1 FORGET: SLIPSTREAM
Lifeguard is a boring character but her bigoted brother, Slipstream, is somehow even worse. Starring in the same series as his sister, the two became equally hated by readers for their lackluster characters, but for us, Slipstream is just a little worse. When his sister transformed into a Shi’ar (thanks to their hidden Shi’ar blood), Slipstream disliked her alien appearance so much that he abandoned her in a fit of pure non-PC aggression.
Before, he had been a forgettable character. After that, he became unlikeable. Luckily for all X-Men readers, Slipstream hasn’t been seen much since his childish outburst. Hopefully, things will stay that way.