In 1963, UNCANNY X-MEN #1 assailed an unsuspecting populace, birthing the mutant race into the Marvel Universe and a phenomenon into pop culture.
50 years later and the X-Men have exploded across countless sagas, numerous incarnations and even various realities. What began as a roster of five teenagers has expanded to include goddesses, aliens, former foes and every manner of mutant imaginable.
In commemoration of the X-Men’s 50th anniversary, Marvel.com brought together a panel of experts, including fans and professionals alike, to select the 50 all-time greatest members of the team. This list will unfold in five parts and feature write-ups as well as information and digital comics links spotlighting each X-Man.
Please let us know what you think of our selections and share your own by tweeting @Marvel on Twitter and using the hashtag #XMen50Read part one!
Read part two!
First Appearance: MS. MARVEL (1977) #16
Joined the X-Men: X-MEN (1991) #174
Why She’s #30: “Although Mystique first made her impact on the X-Men as a villain, she now has an extensive history of battling on their side, albeit not without significant tensions. Shifting allegiances as quickly and with as much ease as she has shift her physical form, Mystique is a consummate operative. Just do not trust her to stay on your side for very long. However, while her means can hardly be defended, her ends—protecting her race and her family, including X-Men Nightcrawler and Rogue—have somewhat more merit.” – Tim Stevens
Digital Spotlight Comic: X-MEN (1991) #190
First Appearance: X-FORCE (1991) #11
Joined the X-Men: X-MEN (2010) #20
Why She’s #29: “While much remains a mystery about the mutant called Domino, her teammates know that she can fight her way out of any fracas thanks to her probability-altering powers and unparalleled combat training. Even though she's just as likely to run missions that suit her own agenda or that of her frequent collaborators in X-Force, Domino has been recruited into the X-Men on a number of occasions for tasks that need just a little bit of luck. Storm recently enlisted the mercenary into her own X-Men squad as they strayed from Cyclops' orders while tracking down a new strain of mutant.” – Brett White
Digital Spotlight Comic: X-MEN (2010) #38
First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN (1975) #1
Joined the X-Men: UNCANNY X-MEN (2011) #1
Why She’s #28: “The X-Men have always been a welcoming home for wayward souls in need of guidance, and they don't come much more wayward than Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik, aka the Darkchilde. Illyana's ability to teleport via the demonic dimension Limbo made her vulnerable to monstrous abuses that left her a damaged and dangerous young woman. She is one of the X-Men's most tragic heroes, an innocent lost to corrupting powers. As her power grows, her hopes of redemption grow ever less likely. Poor little snowflake…” – Andrew Wheeler
Digital Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN (2011) #8
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #184
Joined the X-Men: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #254
Why He’s #27: “From his outset, Forge has had the odds against him, attempting to use his mutant ability to build as a counter to the massive amounts of guilt he has racked up over the years. Whether trying to make up for the death of his military brothers, the X-Men sacrificing themselves to defeat a demon he unleashed or unwittingly robbing Storm of her powers, Forge strives to fix his mistakes as readily as he does machinery. Whether working to provide them with necessary technology or venturing into the field, ‘The Maker’ has been an asset to the X-Men.” – Ben Morse
Digital Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #227
First Appearance: LONGSHOT (1985) #1
Joined the X-Men: UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL (1970) #10
Why He’s #26: “Two hearts; eight fingers; hollow bones and one glowing eye. Longshot appears to have a lot of weird mutations, but he's not a true mutant—he's a genetically engineered creation of the extra-dimensional entertainment mogul Mojo. Even so, his innocence and charm, his powers of luck and his acrobatic prowess made him an asset to the X-Men during one of its darkest periods. Longshot's good luck only works when he's acting selflessly, which makes him the perfect happy-go-lucky hero, and a lot of fun to spend time with.” – Andrew Wheeler
Digital Spotlight Comic: X-FACTOR (1986) #39
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #28
Joined the X-Men: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN (1975) #1
Why He’s #25: “This Irish X-Man proved that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Having already retired from both the NYPD and Interpol by the time Professor X approached him to join the second generation of X-Men, Sean Cassidy added a mature head and much needed experience to the team when they most needed it. The sonic screamer would go on to instill his knowledge in a younger generation of mutants when he became the headmaster of the Massachusetts Academy. In the end, Banshee gave his life doing what he had become most known for: saving the lives of others.” – Brett White
Digital Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #102
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #120
Joined the X-Men: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #392
Why He’s #24: “The fight for acceptance for those who are different lies at the very heart of the X-Men's philosophy. It's fitting that Northstar, comics’ most famous gay super hero, has become a familiar face on the team, and now one of a number of LGBT characters to appear at the Westchester School. The Quebecois speedster made his first appearance in UNCANNY X-MEN, and more than 30 years later he and his partner Kyle Jinadu celebrated the first same-sex super hero marriage. Northstar shows us that progress can be made if we keep fighting the good fight.” – Andrew Wheeler
Digital Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #414
First Appearance: MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL #4
Joined the X-Men: X-FORCE (1991) #44
Why He’s #23: “Few X-Men have lived up to Professor Charles Xavier's dreams quite like Cannonball has. After leaving his large family in rural Kentucky to head up the team of heroes-in-training called the New Mutants, Samuel Guthrie gradually grew from wide-eyed country boy to a capable field commander, one able to make hard calls and pull off impossible victories with his X-Force teammates. Sam remains one of the few students to officially ‘graduate’ up to X-Man status, an accomplishment that he worked hard for and proved he deserved thanks to his skills as the best utility player the X-Men—and now the Avengers—have.” – Brett White
Digital Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #341
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #282
Joined the X-Men: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #287
Why He’s #22: “Even after spending recent years hunting a fellow time-traveler and the first new mutant child through the future with murder in his heart, Bishop still cracks the top 25 of our countdown of the 50 Greatest X-Men. It's a testament to the compelling storytelling that's guided Bishop over the years, from his time in the Shi'ar Empire alongside Deathbird to his recent mission to kill the ‘Mutant Messiah.’ Even when his goals are at odds with his fellow X-Men, Bishop's sheer force and presence keeps the reader along for the ride.” – Josh Wigler
Digital Spotlight Comic: ONSLAUGHT: X-MEN (1996) #1
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #54
Joined the X-Men: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #60
Why He’s #21: “Havok has the might of a star at his disposal, yet he's always been overshadowed by his stoic older brother Cyclops. He's the moody, scrappy alternative to the X-Men's traditionally more straight-laced Summers brother. Alex Summers is a powder keg of resentment and potential, plagued by doubt and always trying to find the place where he fits in, where he can help and not harm. Even now that Cyclops is the rebel and Havok is the company man, it's still Alex who suffers the most uncertainty and insecurity. That's what makes him a compelling character. His concentric white rings are also the best energy signature in comics!” – Andrew Wheeler
Digital Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #249
The countdown continues tomorrow right here on Marvel.com, but in the meantime, share your thoughts on Twitter with us @Marvel using the hashtag #XMen50!