Over the history of Marvel Comics, there have been many members of the X-Men, especially if you include all the iterations, permutations and spin-off teams. The X-Men, X-Force, New Mutants, X-Factor and more have resided in the X-family of teams and at this point might rival even The Avengers in how many characters they have allowed into their ranks as members. Former villains such as Magneto, Emma Frost and Rogue have become important members and even non-mutants like Juggernaut have worked with the team. Of course, with so many different members over the decades, fans have not all accepted every single one.
Whether the mutants and members of the X-Men have fallen out of favor due to arrogance, obnoxious behavior, or just a case of being completely lame, readers have turned on many characters who have tried to ingrain themselves into one of the most popular teams of all-time over the years. At the same time, there are members of the X-Men — both old and new — that fans have latched onto and turned into some of the most beloved characters in Marvel Comics. With so many faces to choose from, here is a look at the 10 most hated X-Men members of all-time, as well as 10 of the most beloved.
20. QUICKSILVER – HATED
For fans who saw Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past and fell in love with the character, understand that this is not the Quicksilver from the comic books. Instead of a guy who does really amazing stuff and seems kind of cool, Quicksilver in the comics is a completely arrogant jerk — someone who is impossible to really like. That makes sense as he is the son of Magneto, but at least the Master of Magnetism is likable some of the time. It also doesn’t help to know that the X-Men can’t trust him.
He has been a hero and villain so many times that it is hard to keep track of what side of the fence he is standing on at any given time.
The only person in the world that he has any loyalty to at all is his sister Wanda, and that love made him more than a little creepy when it came to their reinterpretation in the pages of Marvel’s Ultimates. As a member of the X-Men, Quicksilver was always out of place, written as a nuisance at best, and at worst a misguided traitor. It also doesn’t help that he never did anything as cool as he did in the movies in the pages of the comics.
19. NIGHTCRAWLER – BELOVED
Nightcrawler was one of the new X-Men when Marvel rebooted the team in Giant-Size X-Men #1. While he was never as popular as Wolverine or as powerful as Storm, Kurt Wagner ended up as one of the most beloved X-Men in history. A lot of what made him popular was his very conflicted history. Kurt was born looking like a demon and was raised in a circus as before being taken in by a church where he became a devout Catholic — a very interesting choice for someone who looks like he does.
The conflict of faith compared to his visual appearance has always tormented Kurt. However, after he joined the X-Men, he remained the one member that always had the kindest heart. He was beloved by all, from the toughest in Wolverine to the similarly kindhearted Colossus. Fans of Nightcrawler got an even bigger treat in 1985 when he became a swashbuckler in his own limited series. Even the movies did Nightcrawler right, first when Alan Cumming brought out his religious uncertainty in X2 and then when Kodi Smit-McPhee made him the awkward fuzzy elf in X-Men: Apocalypse. When Nightcrawler died in the pages of X-Force Vol. 3 #26, it was one of the most heartbreaking deaths in X-Men history. Thankfully, it didn’t last.
18. NATE GREY – HATED
When Cable appeared in the ’90s, he quickly became a fan favorite. He was very much a product of that era but he maintained a fan following since his introduction and was someone so unique and interesting that he singlehandedly led fans to hate another character that showed up later. The entire history of Cable is confusing but the history of Nate Grey is just mind-numbing. Nate is from an alternate reality and is basically that reality’s version of Cable.
So, at the end of the day, he is a more powerful, but much poorer duplicate of Cable.
While Cable is very powerful, Nate Grey — who went by the generic codename of X-Man — is overpowered to a ridiculous extent. In Dark X-Men #2, Norman Osborn said that Nate could go one-on-one with Sentry, who is the most powerful being on Earth. However, with that increased power level, he lacks a lot that of what made Cable great, possessing a boring personality that falls far short of the cool and dangerous Cable. Fans at the time just didn’t want to accept what was — at the end of the day — a Cable-ripoff that just wasn’t as interesting as the original.
17. PSYLOCKE – BELOVED
In the ’90s, Marvel Comics added some new and often risque members of the X-Men. Some of these characters remain popular — such as Cable — while others fell way short — like Joseph. One of the characters that came into her own in the ’90s that maintained her popularity with the fans was Psylocke. Of course, Psylocke was around for many years, introduced in the ’70s as the sister of Captain Britain before taking over that role in the ’80s. It was in 1987 that she took on the role of Psylocke but it was in 1990 that the X-Men underwent a transformation, and Psylocke took on the design and characteristics that made her a beloved favorite for years.
She had everything comic book readers could want — a love for fighting, ninja skills, and she could use her psychic abilities to create swords to aid her in battle. She was brash but not to the level of the arrogance of someone like Emma Frost, usually walking the line between impunity and likability. What is crazy is that Psylocke is one of the most beloved X-Men in the comics but was ignored in most cartoons and movies until finally showing up in X-Men: Apocalypse — as a villain.
16. CYPHER – HATED
While most of the hated X-Men are characters who have annoying traits or do something that makes fans hate them even more, in the case of Cypher, it was all about what he didn’t do. In his case, it is really more about what he can’t do — which was anything that could help his teammates win in a fight. When Cypher was introduced, he was just Douglas Ramsey — one of the earliest members of the New Mutants. His mutant abilities were important but not useful when fighting villains. Doug could understand any language — spoken or read, human or machine.
Along with Warlock, he was pretty much just a sidekick for the team and was not important at all.
However, fans started to grow tired of Doug because every time the New Mutants set out to fight someone, they had to tell him to go hide and protect himself. Along with Warlock, he was pretty much just a sidekick for the team and was not important at all. Writer Louise Simonson explained in an interview why he died in New Mutants #60. According to Simonson, a lot of letters came in from fans who hated him and wanted him dead, so Marvel obliged. The funny twist is that he died saving his teammates — a sacrifice only a true hero could make, and Simonson said that people started to write in letters saying they missed him.
15. BEAST – BELOVED
Hank McCoy has come a long way from his days as the muscular, athletic, and quite boring founding member of the X-Men. One thing that The Beast brought to the table for many years was his inability to accept the fact that he was a mutant and his desire to be a “real boy.” He started out as a normal looking guy but then purposefully used Mutant Growth Hormone on himself and ended up blue and furry, making himself even less normal than he was before (Amazing Adventures #11-14).
With that said, there is a lot to love about the big furry lug. He looks like a monster but is one of the eight smartest characters in the entire Marvel Universe. Despite his intelligence, he has never reached the level of arrogance of a Tony Stark or indifference to lesser beings, like Reed Richards. He is also a character that always looks for the good in people and tries to find peaceful solutions to dangerous problems. He remains one of the few X-Men who completely buys into Professor X’s original mission of creating a world where humans and mutants can live in peace, often acting in his capacity as both X-Man and Avenger, as well as an emissary between the human and mutant worlds.
14. JOSEPH – HATED
Much like other X-Men members on this list, one of the biggest problems with Joseph is that he is a clone of a much better, more important and interesting member of the team. When Joseph was first introduced, Marvel led readers to believe that he was a younger version of Magneto with memory loss. That turned out to be inaccurate as he was just a clone of the Master of Magnetism.
He was also a less interesting and lame version of Magneto.
Marvel really turned fans on Joseph quickly when he was able to get Rogue to leave Gambit for him, especially at a time where readers were still solidly behind that mutant super couple. Even when Joseph sacrificed himself to stop a returning Magneto, it wasn’t enough to bring the fans back to his side because he had grown to be such an unlikeable character. Marvel realized how much fans hated Joseph, so when creators brought him back in the comic book series Magneto: Not a Hero, it was as a mass-murderer and terrorist. Even in that state, Joseph was still a second-rate character when compared to the icon that he originally tried to replace in the pages of The X-Men.
13. COLOSSUS – BELOVED
Out of all the X-Men, the most humble and kind-hearted member of the team is arguably Colossus, which is interesting considering his entire mutant power is creating a body made of solid steel. Honestly, with Nightcrawler and Colossus, the All-New X-Men introduced two characters that showed pure goodness in a group of superheroes that the world feared. Unlike Nightcrawler, who had his purity tested by the fear people had of him and his tragic upbringing, Colossus was raised on a farm in Russia where he only wanted to care for his family.
When he came to the X-Men, he became their strongest member but that never killed the passion he felt for protecting people. He was the exact opposite of someone like Wolverine, but because Colossus was sincere in his beliefs, he even forged a close friendship with the Canadian mutant. Fans seemed to see the same thing in Colossus — a person who did the right thing but never carried the holier than thou attitude that a person like Cyclops did around with him. Outside of Nightcrawler, the death of Colossus was the most heartbreaking in X-Men history. Colossus is proof that good lives in everyone and the fans loved him more for it.
12. MAGIK – HATED
Magik is very powerful and has come a long way from the days when she was nothing more than Colossus’ bratty little sister. Illyana Rasputin started out as just his kid sister until she was kidnapped to force the X-Men into action. She was then brought to America to keep her safe only to have her kidnapped again, and this time sent to Limbo. It was while she was in Limbo that she started to really develop her magic powers, although that also caused her to lose part of her soul and gave her an immoral evil side that has caused a lot of problems over the years.
Illyana returned moments after she disappeared, but it was years later in her life, coming back as a teenager and developing a friendship with Kitty Pryde before joining the New Mutants. Her main power is in the art of black magic and she is possibly the most morally conflicted member of the X-Men family. In New Mutants Vol. 3, #3, the team was trying to stop Legion without hurting him due to his multiple personality disorder. Magik then went into his mind and started killing his personalities, knowing she was destroying his mind even more as she did. Magik is barely a hero and makes morally objectionable choices in order to achieve her goals.
11. X-23 – BELOVED
Even before her appearance in Logan last year, the character known as X-23 was a fan favorite from the pages of The X-Men. It was an impressive task to find love from fans since her origin was something that most X-Men fans have a great distaste for — clones and alternate versions of beloved characters. For X-23, it could have been disastrous since she is a clone of possibly the most popular X-Man member of all time: Wolverine.
Laura has a temper that made even Wolverine look tame in comparison… and the skills to match!
Logan did a great job in making her an instant favorite because she was just a little girl who didn’t ask for anything that happened to her and had a temper that made even Wolverine look tame in comparison. She was also an interesting case since — like Harley Quinn — she made her debut on a cartoon (X-Men: Evolution) before making her first comic book appearance in 2004. Some fans never really bought into her as the new Wolverine, but it certainly didn’t hurt her reputation as one of the most popular new additions to the X-Men family in recent years. To see the best work on her character, look no further than her appearances in X-Force, where she really started to come into her own.
10. JUBILEE – HATED
Jubilee is a product of her time but unlike another product of the ’90s in Cable, Jubilee did not age well in the comics. However, the biggest problem with Jubilee was that it seemed she was the ’90s version of Kitty Pryde — one of the X-Men’s most beloved characters — and she never came close to that character’s status in fans’ minds. Over the years, Marvel Comics tried to make her more than the valley-girl mallrat that she started out as, but thanks to the X-Men cartoons, that is the image that most fans still have of the character.
Possibly the best time to read X-Men comics concerning Jubilee was when she was working alongside Wolverine; that dynamic was critically acclaimed and still well-remembered today. But when you need a secondary character to make you interesting, there is something wrong with you. The worst thing that most fans can say about Jubilee is that they may not hate her, but they don’t have an opinion of her one way or the other, making her completely dispensable. It also doesn’t help that her mutant ability is creating fireworks, an ostensibly lame power set, though it was explained later in comics that her abilities were secretly extremely powerful. Some fans think she has gotten a little more interesting since becoming a vampire, but that just makes her another teen vampire in a world that has too many of those in fiction.
9. ROGUE – BELOVED
Rogue is an interesting case study when it comes to fan opinion. She had a rough start in the comic books, and not just because she was a bad guy first. It was the fact that she destroyed Carol Danvers when they fought and stole all her powers. It was almost irredeemable but then the comics worked on rehabilitating her, with most of the X-Men not happy with Professor X bringing her aboard. However, as time passed by, fans started to fall in love with Rogue and even bought into the entire Gambit romantic relationship — although it seems there are more Gambit haters than fans these days.
What also helps Rogue improve in the eyes of fans is that she was the focus of the first three X-Men movies.
Her relationship with Wolverine on-screen was a great one, although that third movie in the original trilogy really let a lot of her fans down, simply because of how she was presented. However, it is a mix of her sarcasm, fierce loyalty to her friends and teammates, and the tragedy of her powers that makes her such a beloved and iconic member of the X-Men — despite the annoying overuse of her accent in the pages of the comics.
8. KID OMEGA – HATED
Kid Omega has a face that people love to punch. When he started out, he was a punk who hated authority — and when the authority figure is someone as beloved as Wolverine, that makes it hard to really get behind someone like Kid Omega. The entire time he was getting his start, he showed a dislike of Wolverine and of the entire Xavier Institute, which made people start to wonder why he was there at all. He seemed better suited for a group like the Hellions than the X-Men. As a matter of fact, when Kid Omega started his own gang that attacked humans and mutants alike in the pages of New X-Men, he stepped over the line and went from hero to villain quickly.
Over time, Marvel Comics tried to bring the fans around on Kid Omega by trying to show that he wasn’t really a rebel and a jerk, but just acted like one and really loved being a member of the X-Men. It was too little, too late because by that time most fans had soured on his angry teen stereotype. The fact that his antagonistic ways were turned into the lame pretensions of later years made him even harder to like.
7. CABLE – BELOVED
If any X-Men member screams ’90s Marvel, it is Cable. From his giant guns and muscles, all with the technological wonders of a Terminator, Cable is what ’90s characters were all about, which makes sense as Marvel Comics had Rob Liefeld design the character. Cable is the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, sent into the future to save his life from a techno-organic virus. When he came back from the future to continue his battles with the evil Stryfe, he enlisted the New Mutants to help in his war and became the active battle-tested leader that Professor X was not.
That desire to fight was what made Cable a very different leader in the X-Men universe.
The fact that X-Force became so popular was a testament that fans wanted more of the action that Cable brought to the table. Between X-Force and his own solo title, Cable became one of Marvel’s hottest characters. Now appearing in the movies thanks to Deadpool 2, Cable received a different origin story but one that actually might make him even more popular thanks to the film’s portrayal of the character — straddling the line between his no-nonsense personality and a more sympathetic reason for his return.
6. MADELYNE PRYOR – HATED
Fans have proven, over the years, to hate clones and copycat characters. Names like Nate Grey and Joseph top the list of characters brought in to replace much better ones, only to have fans reject them outright. With that said, Madelyne Pryor was brought in to replace one of the most beloved X-Men members at the time: Jean Grey. Fans know that Jean sacrificed her life to stop The Dark Phoenix and save the X-Men in one of the most memorable deaths in comic book history. It was such a great moment that the constant revival and death of Grey has never diminished her original sacrifice.
Fans never took to Pryor at all, especially when Scott Summers decided to just move on from Jean Grey to the woman who looked just like her. The two had a child and she was so unimportant that when Jean came back from the dead the first time, Scott left her there alone with their child and never looked back. In an interview with Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson and editor Ann Nocenti, they all admitted to never liking the character, going so far as calling her a “shade” of the original Jean Grey. Simonson even said that she only liked Pryor when they tortured her in the comics.
5. STORM – BELOVED
When Storm was introduced into the world of The X-Men, she was a mutant with powers to control the weather, but someone who was raised to believe she was a goddess to the people she lived around. She was also one of the first major female African-American heroes in Marvel Comics and remains one of the most powerful X-Men members in both her mutant abilities and her individual toughness. If there was any doubt to how much fans loved Storm, look no further than DC vs. Marvel #3, where the fans voted on the winners of specific fights.
Fans actually chose Storm to beat Wonder Woman in their battle.
Part of what makes Storm popular is what she has gone through in her comic book career. She rose from her problematic childhood as a pickpocket and thief in Cairo into the true leader of the X-Men when she actually beat out Cyclops for that role. Her punk look with the Mohawk could have backfired, but it just made her more popular at the time. When she lost her powers but maintained leadership of The X-Men, she proved her worth over and over and remains one of the greatest X-Men in the history of the comics.
4. EMMA FROST – HATED
Emma Frost never fit into the X-Men no matter how hard Marvel tried. At the end of the day, she is a perfect villain and has always played a better antagonist than a protagonist, even working against many of the X-Men when she was supposed to be working with them. Honestly, the fact that she went from being the White Queen of the Hellfire Club and part of the reason Jean Grey died, to become a leader in the X-Men never seemed to feel right for many fans (or fellow members).
Her attitude also didn’t help things when she was a leader of the X-Men and when she started her own school, it seemed she was still teetering on the brink of super-villainy. When her power set slightly changed to allow her diamond-based secondary mutation, it also altered her attitude and she became even less trustworthy. Add in an ill-advised romantic love interest with Scott Summers after Jean Grey died (again), which never seemed right, and it turned fans against her even further. What is crazy is that even the fans that loved Emma Frost from the comics all turned on her character when introduced in X-Men: First Class, with January Jones’ portrayal as one of the most hated in the movie franchise.
3. WOLVERINE – BELOVED
When looking at the most popular X-Men member of all-time, it isn’t hard to pick out one person that sits at the top. That member is Wolverine, possibly the most overexposed mutant in all of existence. However, he doesn’t rank at the top of this list because he is also polarizing, with many fans turning on him over time due to the fact that he overshadows most of his possibly more-deserving teammates. He has been members of numerous teams and was even on the Avengers side when they battled The X-Men.
He is also the face of the entire movie franchise — the only person who has appeared in every single Fox movie in the X-Men universe in one manner or another.
The reason for the love was evident from the start as Wolverine was anti-authority but fiercely loyal to those he considered family. He was the perfect antithesis to Cyclops, who had taken the title as the most obnoxious member of the group. He also loves to fight, which is always something that attracts comic book fans. The perfection that Hugh Jackman portrayed in the role has made Wolverine the most recognizable and popular X-Men in history, although there is one mutant more beloved in the pages of the comics.
2. CYCLOPS – HATED
Most of the original X-Men hold a fond place in the hearts of Marvel Comics fans. Until she died entirely too many times, fans mostly loved Jean Grey. Ice-Man and The Beast are both fan favorites, as well, and while Angel was boring until Apocalypse got to him, he was tolerable for most fans. With that said, there is Cyclops — possibly the most disliked X-Men member in history. While Professor X considered him to be the ideal mutant to lead the team, his decision making always seemed wrong.
In the start, Cyclops came across as the teacher’s pet, the kid who thought he was the best in the class and let everyone else know it. While the other members seemed like cool kids, Cyclops was the one no one wanted to hang out with. When the New X-Men arrived, Cyclops was always at odds with the more popular members, whether it was always fighting the beloved Wolverine or challenging Storm. With decades of lameness holding him down, Cyclops then murdered Professor X and started a mutant revolution. The teacher’s pet lost his mind and superheroes in the Marvel Universe joined the readers in their hate… except, of course, for the “Cyclops Was Right” truthers out there!
1. KITTY PRYDE – BELOVED
There have been quite a few kids that have entered the Xavier Institute to learn how to use and control their powers. The New Mutants created an entire comic book series about these type of characters. However, the original kid — outside of the OG X-Men themselves — was Kitty Pryde, arguably the most beloved X-Man in team history. When Kitty first appeared, she was someone who the X-Men took into their care — one of the rare innocent recruits without a traumatic past.
Over time, Kitty developed into a strong team member and then eventually a teacher on her own.
Storm became a mentor, Wolverine became a fierce protector, and Colossus eventually became more than that. She was brought along slowly, and unlike Jubilee, who was bratty from the start, Kitty was respectful while developing her individualism as she grew up. Over time, Kitty developed into a strong team member and then eventually a teacher on her own. She grew up in front of X-Men fans and never gave anyone a reason to turn on her. At the end of the day, X-Men fans remain loyal to Kitty Pryde and Weezer even name-dropped her in their song “In the Garage.” She is creative, strong and loyal and one of the most endearing characters in Marvel Comics history.
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