MEA CULPA: This was intended to be posted before the ending date of the voting process. Unfortunately, life and other projects got in the way, and by the time I got back to finish writing it, I was a day late and a dollar short. However, even though the voting is over, we can still go look at the candidates.
During the events of X of Swords, Cyclops and Jean Grey decided that Krakoa needed a proper team of super-heroes for protection, and thus for the first time since the island’s founding, decided to make an official team of X-Men. The members of the initial team, in story, are going to be elected by the mutants of Krakoa. Since elections are always fun (in comics, at least), Marvel decided to get the fans involved and put out a ballot of ten candidates to join the team.
Of course, if you want to be cynical, you could point out that an unknown member of a book that’s probably already been plotted that could be one of ten possible candidates isn’t going to be getting a lot of spotlight in the book, and judging by the candidates, that’s a pretty good assumption. Still, they are, for the most part, decently popular X-Men characters and since I spend so much time covering all things X, I thought I’d take a moment to look at each candidate.
Banshee‘s been around since the Silver Age, and originally joined the X-Men alongside the likes of Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Colossus. He spent time as the co-headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy alongside Emma Frost and trained the team of young mutants known as Generation X. He spent some time dead, killed by Vulcan, then spent recent years as sort of a decayed corpse of a man once he was brought back to life. Since being resurrected properly on Krakoa, he’s largely been a background character.
Polaris is the daughter of Magneto, making her the “mistress of magnetism” (I love that moniker) as well as, more importantly, something of royalty among the mutant community. She’s joined the original X-Men team briefly before retiring and spending quite a while possessed by a villain. She was a mainstay of the US government-run X-Factor, and then went kind of batty after the destruction of Genosha. Over time she regained her sanity, learned that she was the true daughter of Magneto, and led a corporate sponsored version of X-Factor. Currently she’s one of the central characters of the current X-Factor, which makes her an odd choice to be on this ballot.
Forge was first introduced as a contracted weapons designer for the US government who developed a mutant power repressing gun that was accidentally used on Storm. Being constantly drawn into mutant issues, he briefly joined the X-Men, but left when he decided Storm would never give up the X-Men for a future with him. He spent time as the government liaison to X-Factor before sliding into the Q role of the X-Men whenever they needed a gadget. On Krakoa, he has been essential in the defense of the island, using the Krakoan biology to make new kinds of weapon and armor. Lately, he has been working with the cast of X-Force.
Boom-Boom was a runaway mutant brought in by the original X-Factor in their group of students. She went with her fellow students to join the New Mutants, and was the only one left when it became X-Force, which she stayed a member of through the entirety of its initial run. She spent some time with the renegade group Nextwave, which if you haven’t read yet you need to. Like RIGHT NOW. Nextwave is love. On Krakoa, she’s joined with her generation of mutants with bringing together other former students onto the island, though she is no longer in the cast of New Mutants with its new writer, post X of Swords.
Tempo is…an odd choice for this ballot. A founding member of the Mutant Liberation Front under Stryfe, she was a goon in a goon squad who often got their clocks cleaned by X-Force. She’s often used as a goon whenever a story requires a goon squad, having appeared with the MLF off and on as well as in a version of the Acolytes. She’s made an appearance here and there over on Krakoa, but has never really mattered much in the overall scope. Not a likely person to make the team.
Cannonball is a founding member and longtime leader of the New Mutants, as well as X-Force. He has spent several runs as a proper X-Man, as well as even making it onto the Avengers. He married a Shi’ar Imperial Super Guardian, Smasher, and the two had a daughter together. He is currently living on the Shi’ar throneworld of Chandilar with his family, with a Krakoan gate allowing him to come and go between home and the mutant island on Earth as he pleases.
Sunspot is another founding New Mutant and best friend of Cannonball. He spent time affiliated with X-Force and the Hellfire Club, and eventually joined the Avengers alongside Cannonball. During this time, he invested money from the company he inherited from his father to buy AIM, making it a think tank for good rather than evil, and bankrolled his own team of Avengers. He gathered the New Mutants to bring Cannonball back to Earth and Krakoa, but ended up himself settling on Chandilar and expanding his business into other worlds.
Strong Guy was a bodyguard for interstellar rock star Lila Cheney, then was recruited into the government-sponsored mutant team X-Factor, where he cheekily took his code-name. Staying close with those teammates, he joined Jaime Madrox’s X-Factor Investigations crew, but was killed during a mission and resurrected by Layla Miller, albeit without a soul. That took him down a dark path which eventually led to him being a master of Hell. He’s back now, apparently like he used to be.
Marrow was a mutant child in the Morlock tunnels when the Marauders unleashed the Mutant Massacre. She was saved by Gambit and stayed with the Morlock survivors, eventually being pulled into an alternate reality by Mikhail Rasputin, where she grew up under the care of Callisto. She returned to the normal world where less time had passed than on her world, and founded a terrorist cell called Gene Nation, hell-bent on avenging the deaths of the Morlocks. Callisto eventually convinced her to give up her anger and embrace the X-Men, and she joined the team for a while. She was depowered during M-Day and got enhancements to replicate them. It is presumed that she participated in the Crucible and is now back to her original form.
Armor was a student while Cyclops and Emma Frost were running the school, and was joined the X-Men when she was pulled into a series of unfortunate events. She is mostly associated with the New X-Men era students, though she has shown up several times as a proper X-Man. On Krakoa, she was one of the former students who were sent out to bring their former classmates to the island, notably bringing in Beak and Angel Salvatore alongside Boom-Boom and Glob Herman.
AND SO! Who is going to make the cut? I can say with great confidence that it’s definitely not going to be Tempo. In my opinion, Boom-Boom, Armor, Strong Guy, Sunspot, Forge and Marrow are the weaker contenders. So that leaves Banshee, Cannonball and Polaris. Polaris already is a main character in X-Factor. Cannonball, number one, has a family, and number two, works better alongside Sunspot. But since they are both candidates here, it means that both of them can’t be on the team. That leaves Banshee, who I voted for. I would like to see Banshee back in his proper form for the first time since he died in Deadly Genesis back in 2005.