Take 10

Take 10: X-Women

The Secret Cabal’s favorite ladies who light up the X-Men’s lives

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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. For a group that's sobriquet celebrates the masculine, the X-Men have certainly sponsored their share of fabulous females over the years. From the moment young Jean Grey walked into Xavier's Mansion and became Marvel Girl to Pixie's recent entrance into the Children of the Atom's A-team, the ladies have always shined on the X-Men, often even more than their male counterparts. As one of the most famous X-Women, longtime team leader Storm, receives her own limited series, X-MEN: WORLDS APART, beginning this week, the Secret Cabal has chosen to take a look at which members of the fairer sex have made the X-Men more than a boys club over the years. For each lady 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. JUBILEE First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #244 (1989) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "By the time the '90s came around, Kitty Pryde was a distant memory to readers of the core X-Men team and a new kid was needed on the block to serve as our window into the lives of our favorite mutants. Enter Jubilee: the sometimes obnoxious, always plucky mallrat and skate chick that embodied the attitude of a fresh generation of fans. From her bond with Wolverine to her willingness to place herself in danger regardless of the odds, Jubilee carved out her own place in X-Men history." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #275—Jubilee officially joins the X-Men as they attempt to save the Shi'ar Empire!

9. POLARIS First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #49 (1968) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "The X-Men have always been a group of characters struggling to define their place in the world and Lorna Dane is the epitome of that battle. Is she the daughter of Magneto? Is she sane? Does she really belong on a super hero team at all? These are the kinds of questions that have always followed Lorna around, allowing readers to get a glimpse into her fractured psyche, creating an interest in both her and her relationship with Havok. Her many falls from grace really set her apart from other X-Men, using her failings to demonstrate her strength in how she triumphs over them—and then struggles to stay on top." – Secret Cabal member OneManDynasty Spotlight Comic: X-MEN v1 #50—Lorna Dane enters the X-Men's world!

8. RACHEL GREY First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #141 (1981) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Rachel Grey epitomizes two cornerstone of the X-verse: she has that Grey/Summers heritage and also comes from an alternate future, a theme common to many great X-stories. Rachel, therefore, is made for greatness. The former Phoenix and current Marvel Girl has an impressive battery of powers, including telepathy, telekinesis and a connection to the Phoenix Force. You've gotta respect someone who can not only rearrange the atoms of her clothes to make a whole new ensemble, but also make you think you're seeing a different outfit altogether—even if she has the potential to some day destroy a planet." – Secret Cabal member LiterateNitz18 Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #466—Rachel must save her remaining family from the Shi'ar Death Commandos!

7. PSYLOCKE First Appearance: CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8 (1976) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Psylocke has the distinction of not only retaining her popularity, but actually becoming even more popular following massive changes to her character. As a prim and proper British telepath, Betsy Braddock quickly gained a foothold in the hearts of X-fans. However, when she got a hot new Asian bod and developed ninja skills to accompany her telekinetic and telepathic thunder, Psylocke's star really took off. Whatever form she's worn, the sister of Captain Britain has captivated readers with her wit and devil-may-care attitude." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #256—Psylocke is reinvented as the deadly Lady Mandarin!

6. DAZZLER First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #130 (1980) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Diva. Disco. Divine. Darn sexy. More than a singer, she's a fighter who has constantly made her own way in the world from the moment she initially turned down the X-Men's offer to join the team. She single-handedly faced the waves of hatred thrown at her when she was exposed as a mutant, relying on nobody else. She joined the X-Men not when she needed them, but when they needed her. And if you think nothing's cooler than that, she's stood toe-to-toe with Dr. Doom and Galactus!" – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: X-MEN v1 #130—Dazzler makes her dynamic debut!

5. EMMA FROST First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #129 (1980) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Is Emma Frost a diamond-skinned warrior woman who leads the X-Men into battle? Is she the White Queen, a manipulator of minds and men? Is she the big-hearted leader, lover and matriarch of the 21st century Children of the Atom? Emma Frost is, of course, all these things and more, a one-time surprising addition to the X-Men roster who's now become so enmeshed in all things X that it's hard to imagine Marvel's Merry Mutants without her." – Secret Cabal member Agent M Spotlight Comic: X-MEN: PHOENIX – WARSONG #1—Emma Frost faces the return of the Phoenix as well as secrets from her own past!

4. KITTY PRYDE First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #129 (1980) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "When Chris Claremont and John Byrne created Kitty Pryde, little did they suspect that their girl would one day grow up and phase a massive bullet through the entire Earth. For years Kitty provided the emotional core of the team, experiencing the X-Men's world through her fresh and ever-growing perspective. And who can forget that classic Paul Smith splash page featuring Kitty declaring, rather definitively, that 'Professor X is a jerk!' Sigh…come back to us soon, Shadowcat!" – Secret Cabal member SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comic: ASTONISHING X-MEN #1—Kitty Pryde returns to the X-Men just in time for them to face a deadly new foe!

3. STORM First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "The top three reasons why Storm is number three on this list. Reason one: She can whip up a hurricane with a twitch of her eyebrow. Reason two: She once ripped Marrow's heart out—literally—in a bare-knuckle, drag out fight-to-the-death. Reason three: She is now Queen of Wakanda, one of the most powerful, scientifically-advanced, wealthiest nations in the world. Need more? Check out just about any X-Men comic from 1975 forward, because Storm is front and center and kicking ass in just about all of them." – SparkleMotion515 Spotlight Comic: X-MEN ANNUAL #9—Storm becomes the Goddess of Thunder!

2. ROGUE First Appearance: AVENGERS ANNUAL #10 (1981) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Rogue has one of the coolest power sets of any hero out there, because she can have any power she wants. This villains-turned-hero can be a tough egg to crack, which makes sense, considering her upbringing by Mystique, tumultuous relationship with Gambit, frequent brushes with death and the pressure of having the psychic imprints of every person she has touched since her powers manifested. But deep down, Rogue's a sweet girl with a heap of southern charm. Even with all of her emotional baggage, Rogue has been a consistent member of the X-Men since she first joined, and after 'Messiah CompleX' she has a (mostly) clean slate and the opportunity to take herself in any direction she wants. Whichever way Rogue goes, X-fans will be along for the ride." – LiterateNitz18 Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #182—It's Rogue against the U.S. government!

1. JEAN GREY First Appearance: X-MEN v1 #1 (1963) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "She was among the First Class. She saved them all and then, in one of the greatest X-Men storylines ever, she became one of the most powerful and destructive forces in the universe. At the core of the Marvel Girl/Phoenix's character is the very human Jean Grey—the heart of the X-Men. Sorely missed by all, fans everywhere long for the day that she will once again rise from the ashes and slap the [expletive] out of Emma Frost, commit to Logan or go her own way. Regardless, she's by far the one X-character, male or female, that can't return fast enough." – RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS #1—Young Jean Grey receives some on the job training for the Fantastic Four's own Invisible Woman!
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