Take 10

Take 10: X-Force

Saluting the best of Marvel’s toughest mutant team!

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Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

The X-Men may be able to battle adversity and evil despite a world that hates and fears them, but there remain even lines they can't cross.

That's where X-Force comes in.

From Cable's initial revitalized New Mutants squadron to the just-disbanded black ops team organized by Cyclops, X-Force has been cleaning up the X-Men's nastiest messes for years now. On October 6, Wolverine and Archangel found perhaps the most dangerous incarnation of the team yet in UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 by Rick Remender and Jerome Opena.

As we await the kick-off to this latest twist in the X-Force saga, the Secret Cabal presents their list of the group's most pivotal operatives.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!

 

 
10. DOMINO
First Appearance: X-FORCE #8 (1992)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #30 (1994)-X-FORCE #115 (2001), X-FORCE #9 (2009)-X-MEN: SECOND COMING #2 (2010)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: The first woman to call themselves Domino as a member of X-Force wasn't the real deal, but in fact the shape shifter Copycat spying on Cable. Once the actual Domino came along, she stuck around, first with Cable's group and later as an addition to Wolverine's, developing romantic attachments to both men along the way. Dom's presence always seemed to have a way of making things fall into place for X-Force, but often only after she created the problems they needed to solve.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #9 (2008)-Domino joins the new X-Force!

 
9. MOONSTAR
First Appearance: MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4 (1982)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #67 (1997)-X-FORCE #101 (2000)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Original New Mutant Dani Moonstar initially encountered her old friend in X-Force as an antagonist, serving undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. in the terrorist Mutant Liberation Front group. When she eventually reunited with her longtime teammates, the former Mirage barely skipped a beat, quickly assuming a leadership position and adapting to X-Force's rebellious stance. Moonstar may not have been with X-Force long, but she certainly left an impression.
Spotlight Comic: NEW MUTANTS #3 (2009)-A powerless Dani Moonstar confronts Legion!

 
8. SUNSPOT
First Appearance: MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4 (1982)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #15 (1992)-X-FORCE #28 (1993), X-FORCE #44 (1995)-X-FORCE #98 (2000)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Roberto DaCosta was a benchmark of the New Mutants, yet, surprisingly, when X-Force formed, the most hotheaded of the second generation X-Men was nowhere to be seen. Sunspot would eventually join up following a disastrous apprenticeship under the manipulative Gideon, but his time with the group was hardly a bed of roses, with his unwilling transformation into the villainous Reignfire and near dissolution of his friendship with Cannonball following an affair with Meltdown. No, Sunspot probably doesn't have great memories of his X-Force days, but he certainly gave us some good stories.
Spotlight Comic: NEW MUTANTS #98-Sunspot meets Gideon!

 
7. X-23
First Appearance: NYX #3 (2004)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #1 (2008)-X-MEN: SECOND COMING #2 (2010)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: A killing machine in the body of an innocent-looking young girl, X-23 may have been perfect for X-Force, but Wolverine, the man she was cloned from, hardly seemed to feel X-Force was perfect for X-23 in far of making Laura a more well-rounded individual and granting her some of the choices he himself had been denied. Nonetheless, Cyclops insisted on her participation, and X-23 proved perhaps X-Force's MVP, always willing to make the tough calls without hesitation and coming through at the key moment more than once. Still, while he'll likely secretly miss her as a strategic asset, Wolverine shed no outward tears about cutting Laura free when X-Force publicly disbanded.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #17 (2009)-H.A.M.M.E.R. hunts X-23!

 
6. SHATTERSTAR
First Appearance: NEW MUTANTS #100 (1991)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #1 (1991)-X-FORCE #70 (1997)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: When he appeared in the New Mutants' Danger Room prior to that team's demise, Shatterstar was a blank slate; an extra-dimensional warrior for whom battle was all and everything. It took some time for his outer layers to fall away and reveal the man within-a lot of time-but the inquisitive and ultimately compassionate gladiator proved a quirky and compelling character. And hey, there's no denying those double-bladed swords were cool from day one.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE: SHATTERSTAR #1-On the streets of Madripoor, Shatterstar goes solo!

 
5. SIRYN
First Appearance: SPIDER-WOMAN #37 (1981)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #3 (1991)-X-FORCE #91 (1999)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: Lacking true direction, Banshee's daughter Theresa found a calling and a type of family upon becoming the first new recruit to Cable's X-Force. She would form a close bond with Warpath and even become team leader once Cannonball graduated to the X-Men. Her time as a key member of X-Force instilled Siryn with confidence and also allowed her to conquer her issues with alcoholism, making her the more self-assured and savvy woman currently serving as part of X-Factor Investigations.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #58-Siryn stands alone against a mysterious threat!

 
4. MELTDOWN
First Appearance: SECRET WARS II #5 (1985)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #1 (1991)-X-FORCE #115 (2001)
Learn More About Her...here
Why She Makes the List: When she first appeared in the Marvel Universe as the bratty companion of The Beyonder, Tabitha "Boom Boom" Smith seemed a very shallow young lady who simply liked to shop and cause mischief; while she's never totally dropped either of those interests, she's certainly matured-a bit. Following her time as a New Mutant, Tabitha found love with Cannonball and renewed competence as Boomer during X-Force's early days. Later trials would nearly crush the explosive mutant's spirit, but she emerged inspired, not shattered, as the take-no-prisoners Meltdown. To the end, Tabitha proved her value as part of X-Force.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #3 (2004)-Meltdown must pick sides when Cable takes on Cannonball!

 
3. WARPATH
First Appearance: NEW MUTANTS #16 (1984)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #1 (1991)-X-FORCE #115 (2001), X-FORCE #1 (2008)-X-FORCE #25 (2010)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: Nobody has been more of a mainstay when it comes to X-Force than James Proudstar, having served as a member of both teams' for nearly all of their existences. When he started out, Warpath was a one-dimensional muscle man with a chip on his shoulder; the original X-Force allowed him both to refine his abilities and also exorcise a great deal of his anger, learning to become a reliable friend and virtuous hero. As part of Wolverine's latest crew, James reversed from his original role, often serving as the team's grounding influence, and proved himself an impressive warrior in battles with the Demon Bear, Purifiers and others. Warpath's crowning moment came when he found the strength to end Selene's rain of terror and free the soul of his deceased brother.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #10 (2008)-Warpath and Ghost Rider face the Demon Bear!

 
2. CANNONBALL
First Appearance: MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4 (1982)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #1 (1991)-X-FORCE #44 (1995), X-FORCE #83 (1998)-X-FORCE #115 (2001)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: A founding and stalwart member of the New Mutants, Sam Guthrie didn't truly grow up and begin to embrace his full potential until he joined X-Force. At first, the country-bred and mild-mannered Cannonball seemed an awkward fit for Cable's paramilitary unit, but as he had done with Professor X and Magneto previously, Sam absorbed the teachings of his latest mentor and used it to become a composite of all three's best qualities. When Cable was forced to abandon the team, Sam stepped up and proved himself a capable, competent leader not afraid to make hard decisions. Cannonball's tenure with X-Force prepared him both for a run with the big league X-Men as well as his current role directing his fellow original New Mutants into a bold new era.
Spotlight Comic: X-FORCE #102-Cannonball gets a new outlook on life as the protégé of Pete Wisdom!

 
1. CABLE
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #201 (1986)
X-Force Tenure: X-FORCE #1 (1991)-X-FORCE #15 (1992), X-FORCE #25 (1993)-X-FORCE #70 (1997)
Learn More About Him...here
Why He Makes the List: While Cable may have spent long periods physically absent from X-Force and barely had any involvement with the latest incarnation, his spirit always resides in the mission statement of the team. The son of Cyclops was among the first to introduce the idea that Charles Xavier's dream of co-existence between mutants and humans could be fought for by more aggressive, pro-active means than the X-Men traditionally employed. He imparted his battle-hardened ideals on Xavier's second class, the New Mutants, transforming them into the original X-Force and forcing even their former mentors to re-evaluate the lines they were willing to cross. In his final act, Cable sacrificed his life to preserve Hope for the mutant race, but perhaps his more enduring legacy will be in the X-Men's willingness to embrace more intense methodology to achieve their goals, a mindset ironically spearheaded at the moment by his own father.
Spotlight Comic: CABLE: BLOOD AND METAL #1-A glimpse into Cable's war-torn past...in the future!

 

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Comments

8 comments
sharcque
sharcque

Nathan Summers wasn't in this list, Cable was. Nathan Summers was retconned after the fact to be Cable, and when Cable was created, that decision had not been made yet. And seriously, "UXM 201 is gonna be the one to go up?" "Gonna be?" When? It's not like we're talking about anything new. The books that will go up in price already have gone up in price, and CGC copies of NM 87 regularly sell for around $300 while UXM 201 CGC graded copies I've never seen go for more than $150.

ArchangelDRMRS
ArchangelDRMRS

you're still not getting it... Nathan Summers first app was UXM 201. as Cable it was NM 87. what about as Askani Son? What was his 1st appearance then? doesn't matter about the creative team. when it comes to sales and first appearances, it will be UXM 201 that goes up. but we're missing the point of this thread.. arvel doesn't got it wrong with 1st appearance. What most people disagree is the pick of their line-up as top 10.

sharcque
sharcque

Who is credited with creating Cable? Not the creative team of UXM 201, but yes, the creative team of New Mutants 87: Liefeld & Simonson. Now had baby Nathan been originally been created with the intent of him all along growing up to be Cable, then that would have been his first appearance.

ArchangelDRMRS
ArchangelDRMRS

@ sharcque... you have it all wrong... #1- Cable IS baby nathan and therefore UXM 201 was his first appearance seen, whether as a baby or an adult. #2 - Domino did not appear in NM 98.. That was a Copycat impersonating domino. it's been in all the handbooks too so it's not marvel who has it wrong...

bevedale
bevedale

I do not agree with this list at all, with the exception of Cable as #1.

sharcque
sharcque

This article is full of errors unless things have been retconned without telling anybody: 1 - Cable's 1st appearance was not UNCANNY X-MEN #201 (1986), it was new Mutants #87 (#86 if you count the subdued shadow, IIRC). Baby nathan appeared in Unc X-M 201, but that was in no way Cable's 1st appearance. 2 - Shatterstar 1st appearance is New Mutants #99, not #100 3 - Domino's 1st app. is New Mutants #98

spyderpunk828
spyderpunk828

Its to get readers who aren't familiar with the history of X-Force to get interested. I know I would make my top ten different too

ArchangelDRMRS
ArchangelDRMRS

wow, x-23 made the list but not wolverine? Especially since he is starting the Uncanny X-Force, you'd figure he'd be on here instead of x-23