The X-Men have always gotten by with a little help from their friends, and never has an X-Team needed more help than the one assembled in the historic GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1.
Veteran X-Man Cyclops tried his hardest to get newbies like Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus on the same page with the laid back Banshee and the tough-as-nails loner known only as Wolverine, but the group’s inability to master teamwork in the same way that the original squad had allowed them to lose nearly as many battles as they won.
Luckily for the new team of mutants, creators Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne kept creating complex supporting characters for the X-Men to react to. The team struck up a number of friendships that would benefit them both immediately and later down the road.
You've no doubt already heard of characters like Wolverine, Storm, and Nightcrawler; now get to know the X-Men's uncanny supporting cast.
First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1
While she only appeared once during the '70’s in a cameo as the little sister that Colossus rescues from the path of a runaway tractor, Illyana Rasputin would go on to play a big part in the X-Men's lives. The youngster would age seven years in-between panels of UNCANNY X-MEN #160, transforming from a little snowflake to the dark sorceress called Magik. She currently serves as one of Cyclops' most trusted associates in UNCANNY X-MEN.
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #96
The X-Men first met Moira MacTaggert assuming her to merely be a housekeeper hired by Professor Xavier. Then, immediately after her arrival, Moira fearlessly grabbed a machine gun and helped fight off an attacking demon. This "housekeeper" revealed another big secret by telling the team about the Nobel Prize she received for her work in genetics. The X-Men first traveled to Moira's mutant research facility on Muir Island in UNCANNY X-MEN #104. They returned at the end of the decade in UNCANNY X-MEN #125 to fight Proteus, MacTaggert's out of control mutant son. She would go on to become the X-Men's premiere science expert, with Muir Island acting as headquarters to its own band of X-Men and, eventually, Excalibur.
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #97
After appearing disguised in a bug-like suit of alien armor in a number of Professor X's dreams, Shi'ar royal family member Lilandra Neramani finally arrived on Earth in UNCANNY X-MEN #105, seeking help fighting off her brother, the mad Emperor D'Ken. The X-Men joined her fight and helped prevent D'Ken from destroying the universe with the power of the M'Kraan crystal. Xavier and Lilandra also fell madly in love; the Professor took to the stars as the newly crowned Empress Lilandra's consort. Lilandra and Xavier's relationship would be tested throughout the years, most notably during "The Dark Phoenix Saga," and would end tragically and epically years later in NEW X-MEN #133.
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #98
No character demonstrates writer Chris Claremont's ability to play a long game better than Amanda Sefton. Her one panel appearance in UNCANNY X-MEN #98 establishes her name and hints at a romantic relationship with Nightcrawler. This came back into play in 1979's UNCANNY X-MEN #123 when the villainous Arcade kidnapped a group of X-Men along with their dates—Amanda included. Her history as a witch named Jimaine Szardos, including her history as one of Nightcrawler's dearest and closest childhood friends, did not get revealed until a year later in X-MEN ANNUAL #4. The couple called it quits in UNCANNY X-MEN #204, and Amanda went on to offer her sorcerous services to Muir Island's X-Men team. Sefton and her ex-boyfriend can currently be seen doing a bit of will they/won't they in the pages of NIGHTCRAWLER.
THE PHOENIX FORCE
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #101
While originally not intended to be an independent character, one can't really run through the X-Men's '70’s supporting cast without mentioning the Phoenix. This cosmic being posed as Jean Grey, complete with all of the original X-Man's memories, and gave the team a considerable power boost. Her off-the-charts telepathic and telekinetic abilities came in handy when the group went up against Proteus, but she encountered an even greater threat while on Scotland: Mastermind. The manipulative mutant began his long con in UNCANNY X-MEN #122, plans that would eventually bring about "The Dark Phoenix Saga."
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #104 & #107
Fans currently enjoying the ongoing CYCLOPS series would be greatly served by checking out '70’s UNCANNY X-MEN, specifically issue #104—which introduces Corsair, Ch'od, and Cr'reee—and #107—which rounds out the cast with Hepzibah, Sikorsky, and Raza. These space pirates arrived on the scene just in time to help the X-Men battle D'Ken and keep him from corrupting the all-powerful M'Kraan crystal. In the midst of battle, Phoenix discovered Corsair's secret relationship to Cyclops and made a promise to the lead Starjammer that she would not say anything. Still, Cyclops began to put the pieces together in UNCANNY X-MEN #114, when he noticed that his mustached face resembled Corsair's. The two would go on to be reunited as father and son in UNCANNY X-MEN #154, a dynamic currently playing out all over again in CYCLOPS.
THE IMPERIAL GUARD
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #107
Considering them neither friend nor foe, the X-Men only clash with the Shi'ar Imperial Guard when under extreme circumstance. Their first skirmish came while mad Emperor D'Ken held the throne, and the powerful alien assemblage proved to be more than a match for the ragtag mutant team. Mainstay Imperial Guard members like Gladiator, Oracle, Smasher, Starbolt, Tempest, and Astra all made their debut during the first Phoenix saga. The team would later return—with a vengeance—in 1980's UNCANNY X-MEN #137, and most recently appeared in INFINITY.
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #109 & #120
After James "Vindicator" Hudson made his debut in UNCANNY X-MEN #109 as a lone agent of the Canadian government sent to reclaim Wolverine, the rest of super team called Alpha Flight followed a few years later in #120. Northstar, Aurora, Shaman, Snowbird, and Sasquatch first tussled with the X-Men when Wolverine and his pals flew over Canadian airspace. The two teams seemed evenly matched, only calling a truce when Wolverine agreed to surrender and go back with his old teammates. Of course, Logan double-crossed Alpha Flight and immediately escaped. The Canadian team would go on to headline several ongoing series, and Northstar has since become a big time X-Man.
First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #118
On their epic journey back to New York following a battle with Magneto in Antarctica, the X-Men found themselves traveling through Japan when it came under attack from the terrorist called Moses Magnum. The X-Men teamed up with former colleague Sunfire to fight Magnum, but that's not the most memorable part of that story. While in Japan, Wolverine met Sunfire's cousin Mariko Yashida, the woman that would go on to be the love of his life. Wolverine immediately softened his gruff demeanor around Mariko, surprising her with his fluency in Japanese and by presenting her with white chrysanthemums. The star-crossed lovers' relationship came to an end because of Mastermind's meddling in UNCANNY X-MEN #173. Things just don't end well for supporting characters that fall in love with an X-Man.
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