The X-Men are no strangers to weirdness. Since the super team’s inception in 1963, the mutants of the Marvel Universe have taken on plenty of shapes and sizes, from the secret and stealthy Uncanny X-Force or villainous Uncanny X-Men, to the most recent Old Man Logan-led Astonishing X-Men and the school kids of Generation X. Amazing, Uncanny and All-New teams and leaders have come and go, from alternate realities and dead dimensions to mutant brotherhoods and too much Toad, and yet shakeups still manage to find the X-Men on a regular basis. Well, that and a creative team change more often than we’d like.
While individual members of the X-Men have seen iterations all over the board like Wolverine symbiotes, Magento-led squads or universes where they’re just plain dead, the team is no slouch as a whole, and it gets really, really weird sometimes. From X-Men teams full of zombies or serial killers, to elderly X-Men, Mr. Sinister-led teams and members turned into monkeys, there have been more than a handful of twisted X-Men rosters. Let’s break down 15 of the weirdest, off-the-handle and twisted X-Men teams in comic history, and see who proves to be there most out there.
The X-Men of Marville, a sect of Secret Wars’ Battleworld, reside in the X-Tree Mansion, a treehouse packed with everything the mutant squad could want. For those not in the know about Marville, it’s a world where the heroes of the Marvel Universe are all children, and the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Ultron and, of course, the X-Men, hash out their differences on the playground, playing dodgeball, skipping rocks and throwing down.
Typically depicted by Skottie Young, the kids of Marville are like caricatures of their main universe counterparts, with the stubborn Cyclops often getting his face punched in, and heavy hitters like Magik and Colossus looking way too tough to be children. It’s a silly, nuclear little world, but it will never not be weird to see the X-Men as chibi children.
14. X-MEN NOIR
The squad seen in X-Men Noir is twisted in a very simple way: the team is openly sociopathic, led by their mentor and disgraced psychiatrist Charles Xavier. His career basically involved babysitting delinquents, on of which was team member Jean Grey, who often used her mind control powers to scam people and partake in thievery.
The Noir story is one of murder and mystery, with Cyclops, Beast and Iceman on the run following Angel’s suicide and Xavier’s arrest. But these specific takes on some of these characters are kind of incredible and completely out there. There’s Magneto, who heads up the New York Police Department, Quicksilver, a former track athlete and Scarlet Witch, an extrovert embroiled in romantic controversy. There’s even a pulp bookend from one Bolivar Trask.
13. XAVIER GANG
The infamous Xavier Gang can be found in the pages of X-Treme X-Men, as the wards of Graymalkin, Ariz., a steampunk take on the western plains of the 1800s. The gang is made up of the usual suspects, including Colossus, Cyclops and Wolverine. But the crew came together for a different purpose — to fuel the revenge of Charles Xavier, who convinced them to join using his omega level mind control.
The team also included alternate versions of Sabretooth, Danger and Toad, rounding out a hero/villain split on this bonafide gang of thugs. The team ran the small town in Arizona until a group of multiverse-traversing X-Men came along and stopped his evil rampage, along with other Xaviers as part of an arc in X-Treme X-Men.
12. BIG M X-MEN
Big M’s X-Men team came straight from the panels of Exiles, in which an alternate reality Big M transforms his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants allies into the newest X-Men team on the block, all part of an alternate timeline where he, Calvin Rankin, becomes a really, really bad guy and ends up trying to find a way to improve his life by way of the X-Men after refusing Xavier’s assistance.
So who better to fill the team roster with than a bunch of bad guys? This squad included Blob, Mystique, Pyro, Destiny and Avalanche, all longtime X-Men baddies and rogues, each with their own twisted way of dealing out damage. These five along with Big M and his mimic abilities were surely a force to be reckoned with.
11. EARTH X
While the original X-Men team of Earth X contained the usual suspects (Iceman, Beast, Angel, etc.) the later team was made up of members of Daredevil’s traveling circus troupe who headed to New York City to be trained by none other than former X-Men leader Cyclops, though he was going by Mr. S at the time. After all, Cyclops needed a new team to help Captain America take down the evil known as the Skull.
The team was made up of Charmer, who has the ability to conjure energy snakes; Double-Header, who has two heads, each with a different personality; Mermaid, who can fly and also has a mermaid-like tail; Dogface, who is kind of like Beast except, you know, with dog physiology; and Tower, who is just really, really tall. Weird, right?
Born as a potential and planned successor to the highly-successful Marvel Zombies, Marvel Apes was a short-lived initiative set in an alternate universe where the heroes of the Marvel Universe were apes instead of, well, humans. There wasn’t much difference to this universe, other than the fact that these were literally all ape versions of the Avengers (or Ape-Vengers), Black Widow (or Black Wido-rangutan) and the Fantastic Four (including Invisible Simian and Simian Torch).
Of course, this also included the X-Men (or the X-Apes), led by Professor X. This ape-ified team included Angel, Beast, Cannonball, Colossus, Cyclops, Icemonk, Marvel Chimp, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Shadowcat, Warlock and, last but not least, Wolverine. Are y’all tired of the monkey puns yet? Yeah, us too. This idea is absolutely bananas.
9. AGE OF X
Much of the alternate reality “Age Of X” was made up of a mutant resistance force led by Magneto, in an attempt to fortify and fight back against Graydon Creed and his lackeys on the hunt for mutants. This group was made up of heroes and villains from all over the Marvel Universe, from mainstays like Iceman, Gambit, Rogue and Storm, to deeper pulls and tangential X-Men like Namor, Dazzler, Tempo and Mystique.
The story was gritty, grimy and extremely dark, pulling plenty of inspiration from Age Of Apocalypse” (Oh, we’ll get to that one). While taking place in an alternate dimension, the story did clash with the main Marvel Universe X-Men, and though the mutants eventually prevailed over Creed, it wasn’t without plenty of losses, mostly to the sad, alternate dimension.
8. DAYS OF FUTURE NOW
The X-Men of “Days of Future Now” are a twisted bunch, brought together by the common thread of Weapon X. Led by Wolverine, this team was tasked with taking revenge on the experimental program after Sentinels took out a number of the other Weapon X team members. While a far cry from the usual make up we’d come to expect from the X-Men comics, this team was vicious, extremely edgy and a bit much.
In addition to Wolverine, the team was rounded out by Cable, Juggernaut, Warbird, Puck, Toad and Lady Deathstrike, a solid combination of heavy hitters like Cable and Deathstrike to smaller baddies like Puck and Toad. Before this main team, Deadpool, Aurora, Sunfire and Mystique were also part of the bunch. Talk about overkill.
7. SINISTER’S SIX
Ah, the creepy and twisted X-Men team led by none other than Mr. Sinister. Sure, all of the members of this team were clones, but that didn’t make things any easier to look at, and despite the name homage to the killer Sinister Six from the Spider-Man comics, these clones were not nearly as sturdy as Green Goblin or Sandman.
The team’s clones included Beast, Firestar, Nightcrawler, Iceman, Wolverine and Storm (sort of), and despite their evil-by-nature antics, Spider-Man and his team of X-Men students (from Spider-Man & The X-Men) were able to take the group, and they later all died due to cellular degeneration. Now that we think about it, this isn’t the first time Spider-Man and cellular degeneration were in such close proximity to each other. Hmm.
The S-Men, while sporting of the worst villainous group names ever, were a team of X-Men led by Red Skull, who sought to do everything Xavier didn’t. Rather than teach his X-Men to enhance their abilities, he experimented on them, used cursed magic artifacts and really just wanted to destroy all of the mutants. Of course, the events of this would lead into “AXIS”, and we all know what happened there.
Anyway, this team included The Goat-Face Girl, Dancing Water, Insect, Living Wind, Mzee, Dangerous Jinn and Honest John, in addition to a mind-controlled Thor, Scarlet Witch and Avalanche. Let’s be real, if you can control Thor’s mind, you’ve got a good leg up on the competition. The team would eventually be felled, mostly by Magneto before the events of “AXIS”.
Following the events of “House of M”, the Shadow King (seen most recently in FX’s Legion) jumped to an alternate dimension and took control of his own team of original X-Men, aptly named Dark Beast, Dark Angel, Dark Iceman, Dark Cyclops, Dark Marvel Girl and Dark Professor X. Clever.
The team would eventually jump back to the main universe following Scarlet Witch’s Decimation Wave, but were later defeated by New Excalibur and the likes of Captain Britain, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler. The team would eventually set aside their evil ways to help fight Albion, but that would be the ultimate demise of the entire team. Of course, this wouldn’t be the end of the Shadow King, who has more recently appeared in the pages of Astonishing X-Men.
4. AGE OF APOCALYPSE
The X-Men of “Age Of Apocalypse” were formed out of a need for Magneto to complete Professor Xavier’s goal of a maintained peace between humans and mutants. Of course, this would give Apocalypse the time he needs to declare war on the world, leaving Earth without its usual defenders, The Avengers or the Fantastic Four. Enter Magneto’s X-Men, a banded-together group of mutant heavy hitters.
While there are truly too many members to list, usual suspects included Iceman, Jean Grey, Rogue, Wolverine and Nightcrawler, while more abstract members included Exodus, M.O.D.O.K., Wolfsbane, Sabretooth and Gateway. The world of “Age Of Apocalypse” would later be revisited as part of Battleworld of “Secret Wars” fame, set in an alternate within an alternate reality where Apocalypse won and the fight rages on.
3. DARK X-MEN
Much like his Dark Avengers, Norman Osborn formed a Dark X-Men team following his takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D and by extension the United States. Though these Dark X-Men still took on missions of importance such as fighting bigger-time criminals and putting a fairy big dent in the drug trade. This team, led by Emma Frost (as Black Queen) also included Cloak & Dagger, Namor, Dark Beast, Mimic, Omega, Jean Grey and Daken (as Wolverine).
While the group was never explicitly disbanded, only Daken followed Osborn into the events of “Siege” as part of his Dark Avengers, so it was assumed that the team stopped fighting together sometime before then. Like it or not, “Dark Reign” and “Siege” brought some pretty great, abstract teams and stories to the Marvel Universe.
There really isn’t much known about the Reichsmen, an alternate, Nazi Germany-inspired take on the X-Men, as they only appeared once in 1990 and never again, probably because it was a very, very bad idea. And this isn’t Hydra, mind you, like the recent “Secret Empire” debacle, but actual X-Men fighting for the Nazi cause, including alternate versions of Banshee, Storm, Havok, Psylocke and Rogue — all led by Herr Moira McTaggert.
The team showed up in the pages of Excalibur and never again, probably for good reason. Hailing from Earth-597, a world where, you guessed it, the Nazis won World War II. Thankfully we had the heroes of Excalibur to show them what for, and they can take their Nazi selves back to the infinite multiverse.
Here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The weirdest, most twisted X-Men team of all is the Rex-Dogs, a supergroup made up of mutant dogs from Earth-1002. Can you guess what’s different about that alternate reality? Yep, you guessed it, all of the people are dogs instead. Led by Professor Rex, this good boy crew is made up of dog versions of Colossus, Bishop, Storm, Jubilee, Wolverine and Gambit.
The team appeared once in 2000’s X-Men: Millennial Visions and haven’t been seen since, but pet heroes are no stranger to the Marvel Universe, and it’s been done much, much better than this. Sorry Rex-Dogs, but the Pet Avengers are the only animal-inspired super team we’re interested in, not to mention they’re not just all dogs.
Did we miss any weird versions of the X-Men? Let us know in the comments!
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