Who’s Your Favorite X-Men Character?

Someone asked me recently who my favorite X-Men character is. I’ve had a few over the years, Wolverine, Gambit, Cyclops, Rogue, Storm, Iceman…Professor X, himself. I even count some of the X-Villains, like the Brotherhood of Mutants, in my list (Magneto and Sabretooth at the top of the list). But having to narrow down a favorite? That’s hard.

Which Version?x-men-storms-costume-evolution

Just about every X-character has undergone changes over the decades-long history of the franchise. So a discussion on favorites almost needs to start with choosing an era. Or does it?

My favorite X-Men era is 1991 through 2000 (Jim Lee’s run before the “update” to black leather after the first movie released). But your era might be older, newer, or even *shudder* the black leather period (hopefully it was because you didn’t know they existed until the movie was released and those were the first comics you could find). In fact, my X-era includes several versions of both the X-verse (Age of Apocalypse happened during that time) and the characters (anyone remember bestial Wolverine?).

So let’s just not split hairs and say “who’s your favorite X-character from any era,” or “who’s your favorite, and which era/version.” How’s that?

Narrowing the Fieldx-men200pg00finch

I mean, there are so many X-Men characters (even my first paragraph listed over half a dozen), I’m not sure it can be done. For me, it’s like choosing a favorite best friend among brothers, because I grew up with these characters. But I can at least narrow my list down to three.

My three favorites all happen to be named in this picture.
My three favorites all happen to be named in this picture.

Wolverineessential-wolverine-2-paperback-l9780785164289_2610

Who’s list of favorite X-Men character is not going to have Wolvie in it somewhere? (Will the real outlier, please stand up?) I was one of the people who threw a fit that he was being played by an actor who was taller than Cyclops, but I eventually got over it (Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was better than their representation of Gambit).

James “Logan” Howlett (did they retcon that to make is middle name official yet?) is the barbarian class of the team and pretty much defined what that means in comics for everyone ever since. Before the Avengers movies, I think his rage was more famous than The Hulk’s.

Psylockeeb25fe0fffc42096198340b7332d0f0c

Psylocke is probably not going to make it on everyone’s favorite X-Man list (she’s an X-Woman, but still). She’s been through more retcons, personality changes, and even bodies than anyone else in the X-verse, par none. And with all of that, hers is the only costume the movies got practically perfect. Go figure.

But for a comic book loving martial artist who loves both Japanese and British culture, how is she not going to be on my list? She can make her own lightsaber (after a retcon to her powers). How cool is that?!

Gambitgambitsolo

Here’s one X-Man that people just love to hate, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. The ragin’ Cajun was one of my favorites since my introduction to the X-Men in the ’90s cartoon series. But the movie version in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, no thanks. They didn’t even bother to use his dark past of betrayal against mutant kind (which was incredibly well-told in the comics).

Gambit’s almost as agile as Spider-Man, has red eyes, can make anything explode(!), and is smooth with the ladies. What’s not to like?

What About You?

I cut a lot of X-Men to get down to my three favorites. Nate Grey, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Colossus…a lot of great heroes were left on the cutting room floor.

Can you do better?

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3 thoughts on “Who’s Your Favorite X-Men Character?

  1. Cyclops! He gets a bum rap because he was such a stuck-up goober in the cartoon, but his comics version is unbelievably capable and cool.

    He’s a very classic sort of hero leading a team of anti-heroes. The others rely on him to shoulder the team’s responsibilities, which he does without hesitation or complaint. He’s the easiest person to relate to in the Logan-Jean-Scott dynamic, the most soap-operatic relationship in the X-books. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really come to sympathize with many of the more “adult” crises that he’s had to muscle through.

    Plus, he’s crazy powerful and his look is both unique and iconic.

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  2. Professor X, barring the edgier interpretations, is my favorite X-Man because of the strength of his principles. I don’t think that can be said for all the X-Men, or even most of them. There’s no doubt that there are characters in the X-Men universe who have unbreakable conviction — Wolverine and Magneto and nuCyclops spring to mind — and will do anything necessary to accomplish their goals. When all else fails, those X-Men do not. Professor X is different. He is unwilling to compromise his principles in order to get what he wants. And that man could have anything and everything he wants.

    What are his principles? Empathy & understanding, freedom & free will, non-aggression & charity. These are at the core of his character and at the heart of the X-Men. He is the most powerful telepath in the world and how does he use his power? He creates a school whose mission is to find other mutants and help them. He seeks to explore mutant kind and humankind, he wants to learn from them and teach them. He creates the X-Men so that mutants who are persecuted or who don’t understand who they are can learn to defend themselves and control their gifts. And then he teaches them to use their gifts to help others when they can.

    In the animated series X-Men: Evolution, S3:E3, “Mainstream” (it’s on Hulu, check it out), the teenage X-Men are given the opportunity to state their case at a school meeting. The school board is trying to decide whether or not mutants should be able to attend public school with “normal” kids. They’re allowed to attend on the sole condition that they refrain from using their powers. When they agree, Mystique thinks she can prove a point by getting the humans to reject the mutants, so she gets the Brotherhood to attack the X-Men. And the Brotherhood has no qualms about using their gifts. Scott Summers (my 2nd favorite, by the way), tells his friends that they can take down the Brotherhood even without their powers. The brawl commences and Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Spyke, and Rogue fight Blob, Toad, Avalanche, Quicksilver and Duncan Masters (Scotts rival for Jean’s affections). The X-Men can hold their own and they don’t even mind getting their butts handed to them by their superpowered competition. But when the fight gets out of hand and parents, students, and teachers at the school start being put in harm’s way by the destructive Brotherhood, the teenage X-Men don’t hesitate to use their powers to help save those peoples’ lives. They took actions that harmed themselves in order to help others — Professor X taught them that altruism. They were willing to be defeated

    In the Fox Studios series of X-Men movies, Professor X is constantly displaying his desire to help people by using his powers and not using his powers. When Wolverine wants to unlock his memories, Professor X encourages and supports him by telling him that he must try to find the answers on his own. The mind is not something to be trifled with lightly. In First Class, Charles’ first encounter with Magneto demonstrates his desire for empathy and understanding when he leaps into the water to stop young Erik from drowning himself in pursuit of justice (and yes, I call it justice, not vengeance in this case). Charles says to him, “I know how much this means to you, Erik, but if you don’t stop you’ll die!” And in the same movie, when teaching Magneto to use his gifts to their fullest potential, they share a memory of Erik and his mother on his birthday. They are both moved to tears and Charles thanks Erik for sharing such a beautiful memory with him. And when Erik doubts that he has any beauty left inside him, Charles reminds him that he does and to unlock his gift fully he must accept himself for who he is… all the ugliness and all the beauty. I think that’s a message that all of us need to hear.

    In X-Men: Apocalypse, the villain seeks to parasitically absorb Charles Xavier’s power so that he can unite the world. He can speak with one voice and be heard. There will be no more wars, no more masters, no more slaves, no more division. There will be order and unity under one will, one mind. Apocalypse sends a message to the world, using Charles’ powers and voice and his message is to be: “This message is for one reason alone: to tell the strongest among you… Those with the greatest power, this earth will be yours!” And Professor X changes it: “Those with the greatest power… protect those without. That’s my message to the world!”

    It took everything I had not to stand up in the theater and applaud!

    That’s Professor X, my favorite X-Man.

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