The past few years have been pretty rough on the X-Men, but they’ve been especially tough for the franchise’s supporting players. While once prominent characters were reduced to supporting roles, more minor characters seemed to vanish completely. Now, with former bit player Alchemy joining the X-Men for a prominent role in “Death of X,” one of those characters has finally gotten a chance to shine.
Since every X-Man deserves a moment in the sun, CBR has put together a list of some of the X-Men’s most forgettable members. For this list, we’re sticking to members who served on one of the main X-Men squads for any length of time, regardless of whether they joined through invitation or infiltration. Even if some of these characters are memorable, their time on the X-Men wasn’t. We’re also not including ancillary or student teams, since those tended to be destinations for minor characters.
Unlike the rest of the characters on this list, Mimic has the distinction of being co-created by Stan Lee at his creative peak in the 1960s. In 1966’s “X-Men” #19, with art by Werner Roth, Calvin Rankin gained the ability to copy the attributes and skills of those around him in a lab accident. Shortly after an initial confrontation with the X-Men, the arrogant young man became the team’s sixth member and served as their deputy leader. After a brief stint that ended in the temporary loss of his powers, Calvin quit the team and became an occasional ally and adversary to the X-Men.
When Mimic returned, he permanently retained the powers of the original five X-Men due to his prolonged exposure to them. Calvin eventually joined Norman Osborn’s Dark X-Men, where he befriended Weapon Omega. After that team disbanded, the pair was taken in by Wolverine’s team of X-Men at the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. Despite Mimic’s lengthy history, the character’s most prominent role came in “Exiles,” a long-running 2000s alternate reality series that starred an alternate-reality version of Mimic who was one of his world’s most iconic heroes.
14 Dark Beast
In the 1995 mega-crossover “Age of Apocalypse,” readers saw a twisted alternate reality where the villain Apocalypse reined supreme in the absence of Charles Xavier, who had been killed by his time-traveling son Legion. While that world was filled with dark permutations of familiar characters, the most disturbing change came with Dark Beast. While the real (Hank) McCoy was an easy-going scholar, the Dark Beast was a cruel mad scientist who conducted sadistic genetic experiments. As that world collapsed in on itself, Dark Beast escaped into the main Marvel Universe.
Eventually, Dark Beast trapped the main Beast behind a brick wall and took his place on the X-Men for a few months. After this short tenure, Dark Beast joined Onslaught, the psychic manifestation of Xavier and Magneto’s dark sides, who had secretly been concealing Dark Beast’s presence. After Onslaught’s defeat, Dark Beast appeared occasionally, eventually joining an incarnation of the splinter X-team Excalibur and Osborn’s Dark X-Men. After serving as a regular X-Men foe for much of the early 2010s, Dark Beast was killed in a conflict with Cyclops’ X-Men in 2014.
While the character has been called both Changeling and Morph over the years, the shape-shifting Kevin Sidney has been an important footnote in several iterations of the X-Men. As Changeling, Kevin briefly fought the original X-Men before telling Professor X that he was terminally ill and sought atonement for his crimes. While Xavier secretly prepared for an oncoming threat, Changeling agreed to impersonate the X-Men’s teacher. During that time, Kevin was mortally wounded and died unmourned with his true nature unrevealed until Xavier reappeared a few years later.
As Morph, the comedic shape-shifter met a similar fate in the seminal 1990s cartoon, “X-Men: The Animated Series.” After being killed in the show’s second episode, Morph returned occasionally as a villain and hero throughout the rest of the series, once again impersonating Professor X in the series finale. Thanks to that show’s popularity, Morph became a staple of alternate-reality X-Men teams, with different versions of the character having prominent roles in “Age of Apocalypse” and “Exiles” as that team’s longest-serving member.
The X-Men had more than their fair share of clones. With so many mad scientists and the franchise’s focus on genetics, it’s a fairly natural fit, but it’s led to some needlessly complicated stories over the years. Joseph made his debut in 1995 as an amnesiac with the powers and appearance of a young Magneto. After joining the X-Men during the “Onslaught” crossover, Joseph developed a close relationship to Rogue and temporarily posed as Magneto to disband his group the Acolytes. With the help of the Israeli mutant Sabra, Joseph discovered that he was a clone who had been created by the minor villain Astra.
After a surprisingly prominent role on the X-Men, Joseph died repairing the Earth’s electro-magnetic field in 1999’s slightly underrated “Magneto War.” In 2011, Astra resurrected Joseph and brainwashed him. After framing the now-redeemed Magneto for mass murder, he was defeated and imprisoned on the X-Men’s island Utopia, where he has remained ever since.
11 Sway and Petra
In 2005, the miniseries “X-Men: Deadly Genesis” rocked the X-Men world to its core. For the 30th anniversary of the debut of the original “All-New, All-Different” X-Men, Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine revealed that a second team of X-Men had been formed and killed in the effort to save the original team from the mutant island Krakoa. This team consisted of the previously unseen Darwin, Petra, Sway, and Vulcan, the third Summers’ brother.
After their respective families were killed, Petra, who could control earth, and Sway, who could manipulate time, were taken in by longtime X-Men ally Moira MacTaggert. Both characters joined the attempted rescue mission but were brutally killed, with Sway being severed in half. Thanks to a combination of the team’s powers, Vulcan and Darwin survived in a fused state for years. After resurfacing in 2005, Vulcan fought the X-Men and became the Emperor of the Shi’ar Empire before fighting Black Bolt and the Inhumans in the 2009 event “War of Kings.” Meanwhile, Darwin joined the most recent incarnation of X-Factor and had a minor role in the fifth X-Men movie, 2011’s “X-Men: First Class.”
10 The Wolverine Skrull
In a 1999 story that both predicted and pre-dated Marvel’s crossover event “Secret Invasion” by almost a decade, Wolverine was replaced by a shape-shifting Skrull, a member of one of Marvel’s most prominent alien races. As the X-Men were returning back to Earth from a world filled with Skrulls posing as Earth’s other heroes, the Skrulls kidnapped the real Wolverine and replaced him with a sleeper agent at the urging of Apocalypse. Unlike most Skrulls, this character, occasionally referred to as “Skrullverine" by fans, could not shape-shift into any other form and truly believed he was Wolverine.
While the Skrull served with the X-Men, Apocalypse restored the real Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton and brainwashed him into becoming his horsemen Death. When Death encountered a makeshift team of X-Men, he killed the Wolverine Skrull. Shortly after the X-Men began investigating and mourning Wolverine’s death, Death was revealed to be the real Wolverine and soon regained his memories. While this story is largely forgotten today, the Wolverine Skrull served on the X-Men and starred in Wolverine’s self-titled series for several months.
While Nate Grey, better known simply as X-Man, is moderately well-remembered, his time on the X-Men is an afterthought in the character’s peculiar history. X-Man essentially began life during 1995’s “Age of Apocalypse,” where he was ostensibly that world’s version of Cable, created from the genetic material of Cyclops and Jean Grey by Mr. Sinister. When that world ended, he also found his way to the main Marvel Universe, where he starred as a solo character for years before joining the same X-Men team that featured the Wolverine Skrull.
In “Astonishing X-Men,” X-Man found a kind of kinship with Cyclops and Jean Grey and joined their makeshift squad of X-Men. During “The Twelve” storyline, his adoptive father Cyclops sacrificed his life to keep Apocalypse from moving his consciousness into Nate’s body. Not long after this, Nate left the team and resumed his solo adventures, where he eventually became a ”mutant shaman” in a fascinating turn. After briefly losing his corporeal form, he fought with Norman Osborn’s Dark X-Men and joined the most recent incarnation of the New Mutants.
In 2001, Xorn was introduced near the start of Grant Morrison’s run on "New X-Men." With the power of a star contained in his head, the thoughtful Chinese mutant was revealed to be Magneto in disguise shortly before being killed in the run’s penultimate story. Everyone remembers that part, but the editorial mandates that followed pushed the true nature of Xorn past the breaking point of comprehension. After Magneto appeared alive and well, the real Xorn’s twin brother, Shen Xorn, came forward and claimed that his brother had acted as a duplicate of Magneto while under the influence of the evil sentient virus Sublime and possibly the unconscious reality-warping powers of the Scarlet Witch.
After the Scarlet Witch depowered a majority of the world’s mutants, Kuan-Yin Xorn, the original Xorn, reappeared as the guiding force behind the Collective, an abstract force made up of the depowered mutants energies. As the Collective, he repowered Magneto and Weapon Omega before coming into conflict with the New Avengers. While Shen Xorn has reappeared recently, the one-time X-Man Kuan-Yin Xorn presumably died after being thrown into the Sun.
7 Cloak and Dagger
While they’re hardly Marvel’s most prominent characters, Cloak and Dagger aren’t exactly unknowns. But even though their longest-running series was called “The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger,” the two teenage runaways were only part of the X-Men for a brief time. After being injected with a serum that was thought to activate their mutant powers, Cloak, who could teleport through access to the Dark Dimension, and Dagger, who could create light-daggers, became a vigilante duo that operated on the outskirts of the law. After several brief encounters with a few X-Men affiliate teams, they joined Norman Osborn’s Dark X-Men to clear their records.
After the Dark X-Men disbanded, Emma Frost invited them to join the real X-Men, where they helped Wolverine battle the villain Romulus. After Dr. Nemesis told the pair that they were mutates who had gained powers through a serum, instead of actual mutants, they left the team and resumed their activities as an independent duo. Recently, Marvel announced that “Cloak and Dagger” would become a live-action television series for Freeform, set to debut in 2017.
As a member of the Starjammers, Hepzibah was present during one of the biggest stories in X-Men history during the “Phoenix Saga.” While she aided the X-Men on several occasions over the years, the skunk-like alien was perhaps most noteworthy for her long romantic relationship with Corsair, Cyclops’ father. After Corsair was killed by his son, Vulcan, she helped a group of X-Men fight the previously unseen character. After she got trapped on Earth without a ship, her participation in that conflict came to an abrupt halt and she joined the X-Men in 2007.
While on the X-Men, she had a fairly prominent role as she started a relationship with Warpath and joined an incarnation of X-Force. As time went on, she was featured less and less and was ultimately reduced to a background character. More recently, Hepzibah was mysteriously reunited with the Starjammers, and helped the space-pirates bring Corsair back to life as a partially cybernetic being.
5 Lifeguard and Slipstream
In 2001, “X-Treme X-Men” tied up several long-running X-Men storylines as it set a precedent for a third primary X-Men title. With the franchise’s cast spread across so many titles, the series naturally introduced a few new members. Lifeguard and Slipstream began life as Australian siblings Heather and Davis Cameron. After encountering this new team of X-Men, Heather, a lifeguard, developed the intriguing ability to manifest whatever was necessary to help those around her. Meanwhile, her brother Davis, a surfer, soon developed the ability to teleport by riding a “warp-wave.”
After the pair briefly served with the team, Lifeguard developed a golden, almost avian-like appearance, similar to that of the Shi’ar alien race. This proved to be too disturbing for her brother Slipstream, who vanished soon afterwards. Lifeguard took a leave of absence to go search for her brother. After this, Lifeguard briefly joined the global mutant outreach group known as the X-Corporation before it shut down. Neither Lifeguard nor Slipstream have appeared in over a decade.
4 Thunderbird III
Shortly before the first “X-Men” movie premiered in 2000, Marvel relaunched the family of X-titles under the “Revolution” banner, where every book jumped ahead by six months. Although the relaunch was bolstered by writer Chris Claremont’s return to the franchise he largely defined, the effort was abandoned within a year, even before the time jump could be fully explained. The pyrokinetic Neal Shaara, the third Thunderbird, was the only new member to join the team during this time. After Bastion turned his brother and girlfriend (see below) into Prime Sentinels, Thunderbird’s powers manifested and he joined the X-Men.
During his brief tenure, Neal, the first Indian X-Man, had a relationship with Psylocke before joining the X-Treme X-Men. After Psylocke’s death, he began dating Lifeguard and left the team to help her search for her brother. Although he only served in the X-Men for roughly two years, the time-traveling Bishop told Thunderbird that he was remembered as one of the great X-Men in his future timeline. Since Thunderbird hasn’t made a significant appearance since 2002, this is another confirmation that Bishop’s timeline is very different from anything readers have been following.
3 Omega Sentinel
Karima Shapandar, the Omega Sentinel, has quietly had one of the most tragically repetitive arcs in all of the X-Men's complex continuity. She first appeared as the detective who started dating Thunderbird shortly before being turned into a Sentinel. After being purged of her Sentinel programming, she was abducted and disassembled. After a team of X-Men found her, she was rebuilt and invited to join the team. Shortly after this, she was possessed by Malice, an evil spirit who became a computer virus and forced her to join a new incarnation of the Marauders and become an adversary of the team.
After regaining control her herself, she rejoined the X-Men, but had to be put in a coma when her Sentinel programming reemerged. After this, the sentient bacteria Arkea possessed her body, which was being kept in storage. After this incident, Karima finally managed to purge the remaining Sentinel technology out of her system. She eventually left the X-Men to resume her career as a police officer, having attacked her friends against her will on four separate occasions.
While Marvel’s Ultimate imprint mainly remixed classic stories for a contemporary audience, a few original characters were created specifically for the long-running alternate universe. During a brief run on “Ultimate X-Men,” “Walking Dead” co-creator Robert Kirkman and artist Tom Raney created Magician. Elliot Boggs was a powerful reality-warping character, who tricked Professor X into giving him a spot on the X-Men by making him believe that Nick Fury had asked Xavier to take him in as a young mutant with uncontrollable powers.
After defeating several villains and raising the team’s public profile, the real Nick Fury appeared to ask Xavier if Magician could join the Ultimates. When this brought out inconsistencies in his story, Magician confessed to his duplicity before attacking the X-Men. After apparently dying at the hands of Wolverine, Elliot told Kitty Pryde that he was still alive and wanted to go somewhere "without any people." For the duration of the Ultimate Universe, he kept his word and like any good magician, he disappeared.
Any list of the most forgettable X-Men has to end with ForgetMeNot, the X-Man with the mutant power to be forgotten. Whenever he was not directly observed by someone, ForgetMeNot was totally imperceivable and unable to be remembered, which also created disturbances with electronic devices. After debuting in 2014’s “X-Men: Legacy” #300, the character was said to have been a member of the team for several years, although no one remembered that due to his mutant power. Despite the difficulties his power caused him, ForgetMeNot chose not to give up his power when he had the opportunity and remained dedicated to doing the right thing, even if no one noticed him.
After his introduction, he joined the most recent incarnation of X-Force, where he was a good fit for the mind-bending title. As the series progressed, he was able to be remembered by several of the team’s more psychically-advanced members, partially through the physical clues to his existence he left behind. Despite his retroactively lengthy tenure with the X-Men, he has not been seen since that series concluded. Curiously, this could potentially be the first real-world manifestation of an X-Man's powers, since the majority of creators and readers seem to have forgotten this character's very existence.
Have a favorite forgotten X-Man? Remember to let us know in the comments below!