Wolverine. Cyclops. Jean Grey. These names have become synonymous with Marvel, as the mega-popular X-Men continue to serve as a cornerstone of its comics empire. Since debuting in 1963, the X-Men have grown exponentially, gaining new members, new villains, and plenty of spin-off groups. As fan demand for Marvel’s Merry Mutants grew, House Of Ideas introduced plenty of branch-off teams, chronicling the adventures of all manner of mutants. Many of these spin-off teams became bonafide hits in their own rights, with teams such as the New Mutants and X-Factor garnering hardcore fan followings. But having a team bear the “X” doesn’t mean the team is destined for greatness; in fact, there are plenty of X-Teams that Marvel would prefer you forget.
Whether it was a result of poor sales, poor writing, or just being plain old bad, there are numerous X-Teams that have slipped into obscurity over the years. Lucky teams earn themselves a cult following over the years, but some of these X-Teams simply languish in comic store long boxes around the world, all but forgotten by even the most hardcore of X-fans. Marvel has never been one to focus on its failures; as a result, it prefers to ignore these unsuccessful X-teams. But CBR is here to jog your memory on the worst teams to feature the “X” that have slipped into obscurity. Join us as we take a look back at the 15 worst X-Men teams Marvel wants you to forget!
15. NEW EXILES
When the reality-hopping Exiles debuted in 2001, the series immediately garnered a vocal fan following. The series ran for a whopping 100 issues, and fans mourned the loss of Blink, Morph, and the gang when the series finally ended. So when Marvel announced that the Exiles would be returning, fan excitement was high. Unfortunately, the new series failed to make an impact.
The new team, creatively referred to as the New Exiles by fans, was led by fan favorite Blink and featured an interesting cast, with alternate reality versions of Beast and Black Panther joining the team. While the New Exiles built upon the lore of the first volume of Exiles, all while embarking on brand new adventures, the series failed to gain traction, causing the series to get axed just five issues in. With Blink now appearing in The Gifted, Marvel doesn’t seem eager to revisit her failed stint in the New Exiles, causing this team to be swept under the rug.
The X-Men! Defenders of mutants everywhere! Fearless heroes! While Marvel’s Merry Mutants aren’t above the occasional weird adventure (looking at you, X-Babies), Marvel prefers the X-Men serious. And it doesn’t get less serious than the Marvel Apes iteration of the X-Men, creatively named the X-Apes.
With Marvel Zombies burning up the sales charts, Marvel decided to take a crack at another oddball spin on its heroes, leading to Marvel Apes. In this simian-centric universe, your favorite Marvel heroes got the monkey treatment, leading to character such as Thoranguatan and Spider-Monkey. The X-Apes clearly drew the “monkey pun name” short straw, as the best they could muster is “Icemonk” and “Marvel Chimp.” Still, having monkey versions of Wolverine and Rogue running around clashes with Marvel’s preference for dramatic and serious X-Men. As a result, the X-Apes remain an obscure X-Team, and Marvel would likely prefer it stay that way.
13. FORGE’S X-FACTOR
The beauty of the X-Men is that, thanks to an ample cast, fans can grow to know and love the smaller characters that populate the various X-teams. This allows even the most obscure X-heroes to cultivate legions of fans over the years. But while even smaller X-Men like Maggot and Marrow can lay claim to devoted fanboys, you would be hard pressed to find many diehard fans of the walking bore that is Forge.
Since debuting in 1984, Forge has served as the X-Men’s resident tech expert, using his mutant ability of understanding technology to assemble all sorts of gadgets and gizmos for the team. Despite his usefulness, the man isn’t exactly overflowing with charisma, thus making him an odd choice for team leader of X-Factor. Leading a team composed of a healthy mix of heroes and conscripted X-villains, Forge’s X-Factor served as an extension of the US Government, hunting down enemies of the state. Unfortunately, the Forge-led X-Factor failed to illicit fan interest, and the team was retooled in 1997. Marvel has yet to collect this run in a trade, indicating they would prefer this team remain forgotten.
12. X-NATION 2099
Sure, Spider-Man 2099 may be the stand-out star of Marvel’s bleak cyberpunk future, but the 2099 universe was populated with plenty of heroes, chief among them the X-Men 2099. Composed of mutant heroes such as Meanstreak and Bloodhawk, the 2099 iteration of the X-Men gained a cult following, leading to the team occasionally cropping up in modern Marvel books. But while X-Men 2099 has plenty of vocal fans, you’d be hard pressed to find too many X-Nation 2099 fanboys.
Launching towards the tail end of Marvel’s 2099 line, X-Nation 2099 introduced readers to a new team of young mutants assembled in hopes of finding the Mutant Messiah. Unfortunately, characters such as Uproar and December failed to garner interest in readers, and the series was canceled after six issues. Marvel has revisited the 2099 universe plenty of times over the years, but X-Nation 2099 remains suspiciously absent. Considering Marvel’s distaste for the team, this absence isn’t likely to change.
11. ALL-NEW EXILES
Long before the name “Exiles” became synonymous with reality-hopping shenanigans, there was the Malibu Comics’ Exiles. Initially created as a parody of the age-old “strangers caught in a mysterious power-granting event causing the strangers to become a crime fighting team” trope, the Exiles would die in a fiery explosion after just four issues, leaving the team name up for grabs. Once Malibu Comics was acquired by Marvel, the House of Ideas got to work on assembling its own Exiles.
Bringing together former X-Villains-turned-heroes (Juggernaut, Siena Blaze, and Reaper) with a selection of Malibu heroes, the All-New Exiles rubbed shoulders with the X-Men, but mostly embarked on adventures on Malibu’s “Ultraverse Earth.” Despite the marketing behind the book, fans responded to the series with a resounding shrug, leading to the All-New Exiles being canned after 11 issues. Like the rest of the Malibu Comics’ catalog, the All-New Exiles have been swept under the rug, never to be seen again.
10. HERE COMES TOMORROW X-MEN
Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men is widely regarded as some of the best work in the X-Men franchise. The series brought the X-Men firmly into the 21s story with interesting characters, controversial stories, and twists a-plenty. Morrison capped his run off with Here Comes Tomorrow, which introduced readers to the X-Men in a bleak possible future. While the storyline received ample praise, odds are Marvel would prefer people forget about this depressing X-team.
In Here Comes Tomorrow, the X-Men are functioning with a skeleton crew of Wolverine, the telepathic Cassandra Nova, the robotic E.V.A., Sentinel-controlling Tom Skylark, and baseball bat wielding bird man, Tito. The team must contend with evil foot soldiers cloned from Nightcrawler, all while dealing with an evil, drug addicted Beast dedicated to reviving the universe annihilating Phoenix. Here Comes Tomorrow remains a fan favorite, but the future X-Men it spawned are certainly bleak, leaving us to believe that Marvel would prefer fans forget about this team.
9. THE SIX
The X-Men are no strangers to war-torn alternate realities, having experienced their fair share of reality hopping over the years. But these visits to parallel realities are traditionally quick. For longtime X-Man Havok, however, a drastically different reality became his for quite some time. Set on an Earth drastically different from the Marvel Earth fans know and love, readers were introduced to the Havok-led team of The Six, composed of characters such as a vampiric Storm and an Ice-Man permanently stuck in his icey form.
Havok and his new team battled foes both old and new across 33 issues, gaining a cult fan following in the process, but Mutant X was eventually canned. Marvel has yet to reprint the series in trade paperback, giving fans the distinct impression that Marvel would rather everyone forget about The Six.
The X-Men have seen some oddball teams over the years, with plenty of strange characters populating the rosters. But you would be hard-pressed to find a team more odd (or crappy) than the Daydreamers. Less of a “team” and more of a “weird collective,” the Daydreamers were led by Franklin Richards, who assembles the group after being sent to Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters after the death of his parents at the hands of Onslaught.
Composed of mutants Artie and Leech, with Man-Thing, Howard the Duck, and the alien Tana Nile rounding out the roster, the Daydreamers embarked on throughly out-there adventures, visiting the Nexus Of All Realities and teaming with a transgender Dr. Strange. Fans didn’t take to the bizarre Daydreamers, and the series was yanked from shelves after only three issues. Unsurprisingly, Marvel is just fine never mentioning this failed X-team again.
7. GENERATION HOPE
Hope Summers came into the world with a lot expected from her. Dubbed the “Mutant Messiah,” the first mutant born post-Decimation found herself the center of attention in a war between various factions within the mutant community. While Hope performed admirably, fighting alongside plenty of X-Men and helping the mutant community recover from Decimation, this doesn’t mean she wasn’t above the occasional poor choice. Case in point: Generation Hope.
Led by Hope, with a roster composed of Oya, Velocidad, Transonic, and Primal, Generation Hope followed this team of new mutants as they battled X-villains and struggled with their newfound mutant abilities. While the series was met with strong fan interest, Generation Hope failed to hold onto readers, and the series was canceled after 17 issues. Considering that Hope moved on to other endeavors and the various members of Generation Hope have simply faded into the background, Marvel is in no rush to acknowledge this failed team.
6. 2013 X-MEN
Don’t let the “Men” in “X-Men” fool you; over the years, the X-Men have had members of all genders. But in 2013, a new X-Men team was assembled that was unlike any that had come before it: the team was composed entirely of women. The decision to create an all-female X-Men drew both praise and criticism, and X-Men #1 attracted plenty of attention. Led by Storm, with a roster comprised of Rogue, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde, Jubilee and Rachel Summers, this new X-Men team seemed poised for big things.
The team battled Lady Deathstrike and even traveled to space, but fan interest eventually dwindled, leading to the series being canceled at issue 27. The 2013 X-Men serve as an important chapter in the history of the team, but after this lackluster run, Marvel likely isn’t eager to revisit this concept any time soon.
5. X-TREME X-MEN
Hoo-boy, the X-treme X-Men. What can be said about the X-treme X-Men that can’t be gathered from the title? This horribly named team seemed destined for the dime bins from its inception, but lurking under the ridiculous name was an interesting concept. The Storm-lead X-Treme X-Men traveled the glove in search of the 13 missing diaries of the mutant clairvoyant known as Destiny, never knowing if the diaries would bring salvation or destruction.
Initially composed of fan favorite characters such as Beast, Rogue and Thunderbird, the team would change dramatically over time, picking up critically-derided characters such as Lifeguard and Slipstream while losing previous members almost every other issue. Ultimately, the series ran for a commendable 46 issues, before the series was canceled to allow writer Chris Claremont to return to the main X-Men series. Fan opinion on X-Treme X-Men has soured over the years, and Marvel seemingly has no interest in ever revisiting this controversial team.
4. CHUCK AUSTEN’S UNCANNY X-MEN
Over the years, there have been some great X-Men teams. There have been plenty of good X-Men teams, too. And there have definitely been a number of bad X-Men teams. But when it comes to terrible X-Men teams, one team reigns supreme: Chuck Austen’s Uncanny X-Men.
Beginning in 2002, writer Chuck Austen assumed creative control of the Uncanny X-Men. Over three years, Austen churned out stories generally considered within he X-Men fandom to be some of the worst X-stories of all time. With bizarre plots involving werewolves and evil popes, a team rounded out with Z-grade characters such as Stacy X, and generally divisive characterization and writing, Austen’s run on the title garnered plenty of criticism. Considering that Chuck Austen has yet to return to the X-Men after his disastrous run, Marvel would likely prefer fans stay far, far away from this X-team.
3. DEADLY GENESIS X-MEN
Comic books love to claim that after a particular story, “things will never be the same again!” Most of these times, these bombastic claims don’t exactly pan out; but in the case of Deadly Genesis, this claim was true. After all, the revelation that Professor X had assembled a doomed X-Men team before forming the team introduced in Giant Size X-Men #1 was truly a game changer. Problem was, after this bombshell story, all of the characters associated with the team just kind of… disappeared.
In Deadly Genesis, readers were introduced to the team of Sway, Petra, Darwin, and Vulcan, assembled to save the original X-Men from the living island Krakoa. While the team was assumed dead after their first mission, it was found that the adaptive Darwin and the energy-absorbing Vulcan had survived, later reemerging to haunt Professor X. From here, Darwin would briefly join X-Factor and Vulcan conquered the Shi’ar Empire, but both characters would later drop off the face of the Earth. The final fate of Darwin and Vulcan remain unknown, but it would appear Marvel is eager for fans to forget the Deadly Genesis team and the exploits of its members.
Marvel’s MC2 universe is known for many things: it gave the world Spider-Girl, it introduced readers to a whole new world of heroes and villains, and it gave birth to the worst named X-team ever, the X-People. In the MC2 universe, Marvel’s characters aged in real time, leading to fan favorite characters such as Spider-Man and Juggernaut growing old and starting families. A more mature Jubilee assembled the X-People as a means of taking on and training newer, less experienced mutants.
Composed of way-past-Z-grade heroes such as Angry Eagle and Simian, the team fought villains and rubbed shoulders with the likes of A-Next. Like most of the MC2 universe, the X-People didn’t exactly make a splash, and the team would eventually slip into obscurity when the MC2 line was canceled. Spider-Girl remains a fan favorite, but Marvel isn’t in any hurry to bring back the X-People.
1. LIGHTNING FORCE
Debate rages over the merits of the age old “your favorite heroes, but now they are Nazis” trope. While alternate universes can be fun and interesting ways to see characters we know and love be reinterpreted, there’s a certain level of discomfort when a fan favorite character is turned into a goose stepping Nazi. Case in point: the Lightning Force
Debuting in Excalibur #9, the Lightning Force hail from an alternate Earth in which the Nazis won the war and eventually conquered the glob. Excalibur encounters their twisted alternate universe selves when the Lightning Force comes to Earth-616 in search of Moira MacTaggert, now a high-ranking Nazi official, who has been kidnapped and must be returned to Hitler. Swastika-adorned versions of fan favorite X-Men Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde serve alongside Captain Britain and Gloriana, with “Herr Xavier” serving as team leader back in their native dimension. Seeing these beloved characters as Nazis is uncomfortable and shocking, and as a result, Marvel is all too eager to have fans forget about this unfortunate X-team.
Which other X-Teams do you think Marvel would rather us all forget? Let us know in the comments!
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