Originally a bland mercenary created by Rob Liefeld, Domino has slowly but surely been developed into a likable, sarcastic soldier-for-hire who has good intentions, but often causes more havoc than necessary. Her broad, ill-defined probability-altering abilities seem to have shifted into more an increased luck power, but it works for the character. Joining up with Wolverine’s X-Force has been a fantastic role for Domino, and she is one of the more entertaining characters currently running around the X-Books. She pauses from time to time to bang Wolverine, but I suppose we won’t hold that against her.
Added to X-Men continuity in one of the ballsiest retcons ever, Darwin actually was an X-Man before Storm, Colossus or Wolverine. What do you think of that? He was the surviving member of the lost team of X-Men that didn’t go psycho. And he has one of the most ridiculously convenient powers ever, much like Lifeguard but better written. He was pretty bland during the Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire epic, but really came into his own after joining X-Factor under the watchful care of writer Peter David. Now he’s awesome…and he’s seen M naked.
#48: Pete Wisdom
You want to piss off fanboys? Introduce a chain-smoking, smart-mouthed government agent and then have Kitty Pryde fall in love with him. Such was the case when Warren Ellis brought Pete Wisdom into the cast of Excalibur when he turned the title into must-read material for the first time in its entire run. Pete was about as far from the X-Men mission as you can get, but his story was how well he grew into the role and became liked amongst his teammates…and readers alike. Eventually cast off from the X-Books, he currently leads a team of MI-13 agents, but you didn’t buy his book so it got cancelled. Ass.
Forced into the Dark Phoenix Saga by a crossover agreement with a record company, Dazzler didn’t make too much of an impact with her debut, but eventually she joined the team after her solo title had been cancelled. It was there that she proved herself to the team despite her horrid selfishness. She learned how to use her powers and got into the whole teamwork thing quite well. It’s amazing that no one else really figured out how to use her, as she’s been on the outskirts of ‘limbo’ for well over a decade until finally being brought in to become a background character in Uncanny X-Men. Perhaps eventually they’ll decide on a definitive look for her.
X-Men, Exiles, X-Factor
Another odd choice to join the X-Men, Longshot was a mainstay of the team specifically because he was so damn likable. He was tossed from the team to go deal with his own story, but unfortunately Chris Claremont couldn’t be bothered to finish it within 30 issues, so it fell on the next team to wrap his story up, which knocked him out of the big picture. He was used and abused by several creative teams before landing in X-Factor, where a writer (Peter David again) finally got around to using him like he was meant to be used. And everything he does is pretty much hilarious.
Generation X, X-Men
Nothing says ‘tragic character’ quite like blowing half your face off the first time your mutant powers manifest. But such was the case of Chamber, who was brought into Generation X as the mopey character. His interactions with Husk were an excellent part of the book’s run, and he eventually was chosen to join the X-Men. There, he was voice of reason on the team, questioning the ‘business as usual’ tactics of his teammates. Unfortunately, he was tossed unceremoniously from the cast and misused constantly through Weapon X, Generation M and New Warriors. I think he looks like Apocalypse now.
Had Cypher not been brought back during Necrosha, he would not have ranked this high. Sure, he was the example that one didn’t need physical powers to pull their weight on a team, but Cypher was not the standout of the New Mutants class. He died after taking a bullet for Wolfsbane and stayed dead for a couple decades until finally being brought back with the potential of his powers realized. He could now translate everything from architecture to body language, and he single handedly defeated all of his former teammates after braining Magma. Oh, he rejoined the team after that.
New Mutants, X-Force, X-Factor
Originally the hot-headed member of the New Mutants/X-Force, Rictor was defined first by the chip on his shoulder, then by his friendship with Shatterstar (it’s exactly what you think it is). He lost his powers during M-Day, but still became an invaluable member of X-Factor, serving as a street-smart figure. His main point is his shaky (get it?) self image, first throwing himself at his old crush Wolfsbane before finally hooking up with his true love…Shatterstar. Odd point – no one ever seems to complain about the Rictor part of that hookup.
New X-Men, X-Force
I hated –HATED – X-23 when she re-debuted in Uncanny X-Men (she had originally showed up in the NYX debacle). But then she was returned to Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, who had originally created the character. She then went from a cheap Wolverine knock-off to a well-developed Wolverine knock-off. Her badass moments are constant, but when she tosses out the occasional wisecrack, they’re often priceless. She became a character I found myself caring about, especially when she was getting her arm lopped off as a means of torture. And she has a toe-claw, making her better than Wolverine, really.
When Armor was tossed from supporting character student to actual teammate alongside Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde and Colossus, it seemed to be a stretch…putting it lightly. But her innocence, interest in doing well and back-and-forth banter with Wolverine made Armor one of the brightest points of Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men – a title with no shortage of bright points. She is an example that any of the students, when used correctly, can quickly take their place amongst the core X-Men with little backlash from fans.
Check here for the entire list thus far!
Check back on Wednesday for numbers 31-40!