Top 10 X-Men In Need of a ChangeA column article, Top Ten by: Robert Tacopina
Once upon a time keeping up with the X-Men characters was a fairly easy task considering there were only a handful of characters. However after decades of roster changes you now need an assistant or two to keep track of all the comings and goings of the mutants.
What compounds this problem is the reliance on writers to focus on a select few and leave the remaining members to the scraps of the reader's attention that usually correlates to a single line of dialogue or worse yet a background face. In all fairness there are plenty of characters that are worthy of some recognition on a constant basis and after all every character is someone's favorite so why not? Would it hurt to cut Wolverine's face time to one X-book so someone like Gambit can get some page time? Are certain characters so integral to the lore that stories simply can not be told without them?
One of the biggest problems with the X-Men titles are that there are too many characters not being used. Writers tend to stick with a core 8 or so and this leaves some great characters by the wayside. The cold fact is that the writers need to tell engaging stories and use the characters they feel most comfortable with.
A suggestion to repair this would be a consolidation of the line allowing a more cohesive universe. I wouldn't mind seeing a few of the titles merged into one and shipped weekly much like what was done onAmazing Spider-Man, but I digress. This Top 10 list will delve into some of these overlooked and why they deserve a bigger spotlight placed on them. It will also point out some of the overused characters and why a break from the X-Men may be the best thing that these characters could benefit from.
10. Kitty Pryde
I debated long and hard over Colossus or Kitty Pryde being the last selection and in the end I chose Kitty merely for the fact that she means more to them than Peter does. She is arguably the heart and soul of the X-Family and it would hurt the most. She hasn't done anything since being brought back so now would be the perfect time for her to take a leave. She needs to find a relationship other than with Peter and leave the proverbial nest that the X-Men represent to her. Possibly a move to England and consequently restarting Excalibur would be a proposition to consider since Marvel has been rumored to be contemplating starting them up again. You could practically field a very worthy Excalibur line-up with a majority of X-Men listed here. Maintaining her status with the X-Men is one of the key components that are holding her back. I do believe that Matt Fraction brought her back for a reason though, it just hasn't had the opportunity to pan out yet.
9. Jamie Madrox
Sure Jamie is the main selling point ofX-Factor but when is he going to take that next step and roll with the big boys? He is an interesting character with a great power set that could fill a variety of roles on any team but Madrox needs to branch out from X-Factor. He brings plenty of baggage with him and that would make for some drama which always has a home in the X-Men line. He has a tendency to question authority and a willingness to stubbornly play by his rules. Plus the guy is a one-man army and he is wasting that potential solving mysteries? He needs to be a part of the bigger scheme of things and a home in the X-Men sounds like an opportune situation for Jamie to continue to develop as a character.
When "Second Coming" has run its course will Cable still serve a purpose with the X-Men? As the protector of Hope he has done his duty and returned her safely to the X-Men but now what? Where does Nathan go from here? I think it is time for Cable to body slide into obscurity for a few years or make the ultimate sacrifice in giving his life to save Hope. It looks like he may be on that path as recent issues have depicted which is the most apparent course of action that would have the most lasting result. As a soldier he is no longer needed as the X-Men have plenty of military experience to a certain degree as they are more of a strike force now than they have ever been. Cable just seems as the odd man out of time, which he is.
Another fan favorite who has been left on the backburner. Granted we have seen some nice little developments as of late but for such a beloved character it just isn't enough. Maybe he should join Wolverine out the door and they can pal around together. Maybe Remy can go back to the Assassins Guild and do some work for hire with them. It's baffling because Rogue finally has control of her powers and all Gambit does is lurk around in the shadows. Shouldn't they be consummating their relationship? What happened to the Gambit who used his charm and wit constantly? Will his transformation at the hands of Apocalypse finally be fully addressed? I loved when Mike Carey used him back in the first couple of arcs in his X-Men tenure. What was loaded with potential showcasing a Robin Hood like Gambit with more sinister and selfish motives has turned into just another face in the crowd.
This guy does more flip-flopping than a beach bum. I'm good, I'm bad, I'm good. Now is the time to make the ultimate decision and choose a side. Of course these are just comics and they are in a constant state of fluctuation but a good few years of stability will pay off in dividends. At least let Mags skirt the line if he is to remain with the X-Men. He can be in continual disagreement with the other X-Men due to the fact that he constantly chases his own agenda often despite the team's best interests. He is much more interesting when he is portrayed as the self righteous hard-headed bastard that he really is. Besides, Would the X-Men honestly wholly feel at ease with allowing him in their ranks in light of all he has done to them?
Once Ororo was the backbone of the X-Men but lately editorial has allowed her to be placed into a never ending predicament of absurdity. Mainly the ill-timed marriage to the Black Panther is the culprit. Their relationship was out of the blue and never seemed genuine. Having said that, why is she still running with the X-Men on occasion? Shouldn't she be with him helping to deal with the problems over in Wakanda? The best thing they could do is have the marriage dissolved, but is it too late? Reading Storm in current books is tasking since she just doesn't seem to fit in with the team anymore considering she has always been such a constant component in the past. Yes Storm is one of the all time great X-Men and a strong woman character in general, but she needs a bit of house cleaning to tend to. Have Storm divorce T'Challa with political differences being a main factor and leave her in Africa for a bit, possibly reigning over an opponent to the Wakandan regime.
4. Professor X
What is his purpose? He sulks around in the background and is a non-factor. Scott distrusts him and rightfully so, and as leader of the X-Men has basically banned Charles from any say in anything. I personally think killing Charles would do the character justice. He is no longer needed to guide the younger characters as they have plenty of guidance. He should be put out of his misery and just killed off. Alas, killing off Chuck is a course of action that will probably not happen. However, they could simply send him to space with Alex and the rest of the space faring X-Men. Another idea would be to use him in the role of a mutant relations ambassador and place him in a government role. This would allow him to butt heads with the X-Men from time to time.
OK, I admit I LOVE Iceman and am extremely biased. As my all-time favorite character it pains me to see him relegated to a single panel of him cruising on an ice slide in the background. Bobby is ripe with potential to be taken advantage of by a willing writer. Scott Lobdell and Mike Carey are the two writers who immediately spring to mind for their willingness to try and develop Bobby further. He has a great power set that is seemingly never touched upon and a personality that makes him accessible to readers new and old. If he can't receive due face time with the X-Men I seriously think that a move to an Avengers team would be a good fit for Iceman. If not I propose a move with Kitty may be in order and suggest teaming them together on Excalibur. Seriously, Bobby needs an honest to goodness opportunity to grow and develop as all the tools for a great character are there and are ripe for the picking.
The most over exposed character in the mutant world and possibly Marvel Comics in general. Logan is everywhere at once; X-Men, Uncanny,X-Force, Avengers, New Avengers, Old Avengers, and Retirement Home Avengers...can't we get a break? Is Logan so important that there will be no stories without him? With the death of Nightcrawler hitting Logan hard now and a questioning of Cyke's leadership it would be a risky but brilliant way of writing him out of his giant white hat and replacing it with a gray one. Not a good guy or bad guy but somewhere in the middle; a vigilante of sorts that marches to the beat of his own drummer and to goals that are of meaning to him. Taking him out of the X-Men and Avengers for a year or two and letting him work his own agenda could be beneficial to the character and the reader. Plus it could also put him into conflict with the X-Men and Avengers which would make for some interesting stories.
I am going to take some heat for this one, especially since he has been written so wonderfully as of late, but hear me out. Scott has had to deal with so much over the past few years and that kind of pressure is going to make the man crack. Single-handedly tasked with securing the survival of the mutant race is kind of a big issue and every action has a reaction. Eventually Scott is going to need some time away from dealing with these non-stop threats head on. I think of all the X-Men, Cyclops is the one with the most to prove and lose. Ideally I could see Scott amongst the ranks of the Avengers which would allow him a new perspective and an opportunity to flourish alongside some of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe.
Extra Credit. Deadpool
I don't quite understand why Deadpool is so popular. Is he really in such high demand that he needs three plus titles to quench the thirst of Deadpoolers? I don't know but what I am sure of is that he doesn't belong with the X-Men in any capacity. I don't care if he exists outside of mutantdom I just don't want him socializing with any X related team. Tone down the wackiness a bit and Wade could actually be a quite enjoyable character. As it is he is just over jumped the shark way too much way to often.
Well those are my picks for Comic Bulletin's Top Ten X-Men In Need of a Change. I would have included Beast and Nightcrawler in the top 10 but it is evident that they have been taking out of the equation for the short term at least. As always let us know what you think. Agree or disagree we always love hearing from you!