X-Men, New Mutants, X-Force
While getting an auspicious start as a goon for Donald Pierce, Cannonball quickly joined the New Mutants and became one of the two leaders of the team. Unlike his teammates, Cannonball stuck with the group from beginning to end and became a founding member of X-Force. Under Cable’s guidance, he became a natural fit for team leader, protecting his friends and making excellent battlefield decisions. On top of all of that, he’s got a heart of gold.
Cannonball has struggled throughout his career with numerous setbacks. First it was that he couldn’t control his powers as well as the other New Mutants. After that was doubts about his leadership due to losses on the team. Then he had a semi-disastrous term as a proper X-Man, largely in part to bad writing a lack of confidence. But each time, he went back and fixed his issues and came back better than ever, now once again serving as leader of the original New Mutants. He also may or may not be immortal, so that’s pretty cool too.
When Cable debuted as the newfound leader of the New Mutants, it was doubtful that creators Louise Simonson or Rob Liefeld had any idea of what he was going to become. He was originally merely a veteran soldier. Over the years he became a ridiculously powerful psi who just happens to be the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor returned from the future. And he uses guns! Big, big guns!
But from his shaky beginnings of distrust from nearly everyone who wore the ‘X’, Cable has become a valued member of the X-Men family. He’s served as an X-Man, created a paradise island of his own, nearly sacrificed himself to preserve it, and finally has spent the last 16 years of his life in an apocalyptic future raising Hope, who may or may not be the only hope Mutantkind has in the present. Certainly a far cry from the overly muscled, half robot, shoulder pad wearing soldier he originally showed up as, huh?
X-Men, New Mutants (Headmaster)
Oh, come on! It’s fricking Magneto! Tell me he’s not awesome! So sure, he’s spent a large part of nearly 50 years trying to kill the X-Men, but that’s why he doesn’t break the top 10. Once a raving villain typical of the Silver Age, Magneto developed into the opposite side of Charles Xavier’s dream, also wanting peace for mutants but unconvinced that humans will ever accept them. Over time, he decided his means would never succeed and he joined up with his former arch-enemy Xavier, becoming headmaster of the school. But, since the New Mutants were a bunch of jerks, that didn’t last.
Magneto honestly believes what he has done was the best course for mutantkind, though he did go a little batty now and again in the process. He’s been both sinner and saint, often both at the same time, but has recently joined back up with the X-Men in the hopes of protecting what is left of mutantkind and hopefully being able to restore that which his daughter Scarlet Witch had taken away from them. He’s also made the bucket helmet and a purple/red color scheme look cool since 1963.
#12: Emma Frost
X-Men, Generation X, New X-Men (Hellions Advisor)
Who could have anticipated what Emma Frost would end up being – co-headmaster of the Xavier Institute as well as banger of Cyclops. Quite a long way she’s come since she was trying to kill the X-Men for the Hellfire Club. Serving as primary protagonist for the New Mutants, we saw the Emma wasn’t so much evil as she was willing to do whatever was needed to get ahead. As time went on, she became less ‘kill you and rule the world’ and more ‘step on you to achieve my goals’. Her redemption came when she spent a few years in a coma before popping back up and becoming the co-leader of Generation X.
She came to the X-Men after the destruction of Genosha complete with a new diamond form second mutation, which mirrored her ice cold demeanor. She took to Cyclops immediately and even managed to come between him and Jean Grey – a feat only even attempted once before (by Psylocke). Upon Jean’s death, Emma made her move and got Cyke in the sack and became actually quite proud of her role as a head of the school. She’s made some questionable decisions, but she really has shined in her role with the team, and not simply because her skin reflects the sunlight.
You really have to feel bad for this guy. Few people on this list have suffered like he has. Both of his parents were killed for no particular reason due to bad writing a government plot, his sister succumbed to the Legacy Virus, he joined the Acolytes because of a head trauma, he returned to his beloved Shadowcat only to find her snogging with nasty brit Pete Wisdom, and eventually he just went and killed himself to cure the disease that took his sister. That pretty much sucks.
But despite all of those hardships, Colossus is still with the X-Men, still believes in their goals, and still remains one of the more important members of the organization. Both he and his sister returned from the dead and he finally hooked up with Kitty (causing her to phase through her floor while…you know). Once the most doubtful of his place on the team, Colossus has become the cornerstone of the X-Men, and not simply because he’s the only one who can hold them all up for an extended amount of time.
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Check back Wednesday for #6-10! Almost there!