Take 10

Take 10: Claremont's X-Men

The Secret Cabal counts down the top 10 X-Men to flourish under legendary writer Chris Claremont

Share:

Comments:

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 17 years, Chris Claremont shaped the destiny of Marvel's mutants as the writer of UNCANNY X-MEN. He has made several returns to the characters who he helped to define since then, but this week he takes a different kind of trip down memory lane with X-MEN FOREVER, a new ongoing series that picks up where Claremont left off in 1991 as if the last two decades had not occurred. What bold new directions will Claremont take the Children of the Atom in this time? You'll have to check out X-MEN FOREVER to find out, but today the Secret Cabal presents their list of the top 10 X-Men who thrived under Claremont's legendary pen. 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. GAMBIT First Appearance: UNCANNY X-MEN #266 (1990) Claremont Tenure: UNCANNY X-MEN #266 (1990)-X-MEN #3 (1991); UNCANNY X-MEN #381 (2000)-X-TREME X-MEN #19 (2002); X-TREME X-MEN #31 (2003)-X-TREME X-MEN #46 (2004) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "Gambit became an instant fan favorite upon his introduction in 1990 and has sustained his popularity for nearly two decades. While other writers and artists have helped to fill in the blank canvas of Remy LeBeau's past, Claremont established in only a few issues the distinct swagger and attitude that would come to define the Ragin' Cajun. When he came back to the X-Men for a second go-around in 2000, Claremont picked up with Gambit where he left of and continued to carve a memorable character." – Secret Cabal member Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: X-TREME X-MEN #8—Gambit enacts a stunning and silent escape through the streets of Sydney!

9. COLOSSUS First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #94 (1975)-UNCANNY X-MEN #250 (1989); UNCANNY X-MEN #279 (1991)-X-MEN #3 (1991); X-MEN #100 (2000)-X-MEN #109 (2001) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "With Colossus, Claremont demonstrated the affection for and master of paradox he has employed many times in his distinguished career. While traditional comic book strong men had personalities as rough as their hides, Claremont gave Peter Rasputin the soul of a poet. Colossus' gentle manner made him the 'little brother' of the team and led to his charming romance with Kitty Pryde in between slugfests with the Marauders and Freedom Force." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #183—A lovelorn Colossus goes one-on-one with the Juggernaut!

8. PSYLOCKE First Appearance: CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8 (1976) Claremont Tenure: UNCANNY X-MEN #213 (1987)-X-MEN #3 (1991); X-MEN #100 (2000)-X-TREME X-MEN #2 (2001); UNCANNY X-MEN #455 (2005)-UNCANNY X-MEN #474 (2006) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Everyone loves a purple-headed British mutant with psychic abilities whose powers manifest via psychic butterflies, right? Of course. But what do they like even better? A British mutant with psychic abilities whose consciousness and powers have been transported into the body of a super-sexy ninja, a switch which makes the power manifest as a psychic blade. Hell. Yes. Chris Claremont reminds us that ninjas are always awesome." – Secret Cabal member Agent_M Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #256—Psylocke is reborn as Lady Mandarin!

7. ROGUE First Appearance: AVENGERS ANNUAL #10 (1980) Claremont Tenure: UNCANNY X-MEN #171 (1983)-UNCANNY X-MEN #247 (1989); UNCANNY X-MEN #274 (1991)-X-MEN #3 (1991); X-MEN #100 (2000)-X-TREME X-MEN #19 (2002); X-TREME X-MEN #31 (2003)-X-TREME X-MEN #46 (2004) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Rogue's time under Claremont's guidance is one of my favorite things. She was the first 'reformed villain' brought into the X-Men's ranks, a motif that has since been repeated many times. She was wild, living up to her name in that she couldn't control her powers and reminding us that being a mutant comes with a curse often. She had so many ties to the darker side of mutantkind, but she managed to buck her former influences, win over her teammates, and become one of the most popular X-Women around!" – Secret Cabal member RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #182—Rogue's investigation into her past gets dangerous!

6. PROFESSOR X First Appearance: X-MEN #1 (1963) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #94 (1975)-UNCANNY X-MEN #200 (1985); UNCANNY X-MEN #275 (1991)-X-MEN #3 (1991); X-MEN #100 (2000)-X-MEN #109 (2001) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "During the X-Men's formative years, Charles Xavier was little more than the stern quasi-father figure responsible for handing his students their missions and imparting life lessons at the end of each issue. During Claremont's time with the X-Men, he brought Professor X fully into the mix of the team, building his links to other characters—from his fatherly bond with Cyclops to his romance with Lilandra—and fully explored his dream for peace, lending layers to his role as a civil rights leader. Claremont transformed Xavier from a plot device to perhaps the most vital part of the sprawling X-Men mythology." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: X-MEN #117 (1979)—Journey back to Professor X's first encounter with the Shadow King!

5. NIGHTCRAWLER First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #94 (1975)-UNCANNY X-MEN #213 (1987); X-MEN #100 (2000)-X-MEN #109 (2001); UNCANNY X-MEN #444 (2004)-UNCANNY X-MEN #474 (2006) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "With Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, Claremont took the ultimate outside and made him on of the family. Legendary artist Dave Cockrum was responsible for the blue fur and winning smile that gave Nightcrawler a unique and eye-grabbing look, but Claremont infused him with a swashbuckling sense of adventure and gentle spirit that endeared him to fandom. In his first decade as an X-Man, Kurt struggled with acceptance, but persevered, gaining friends for life and respect as a true hero." – Annihilator882 Spotlight Comic: EXCALIBUR #1 (1988)—Nightcrawler helps form England's equivalent of the X-Men!

4. WOLVERINE First Appearance: INCREDIBLE HULK #180 (1974) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #94 (1975)-X-MEN #3 (1991) Learn More About Him…here Why He Makes the List: "While Chris Claremont didn't create Wolverine, he certainly molded Logan's character, personality and attitude into what it is today. Wolverine played a crucial role in Claremont's early issues and gradually eased into becoming the team's figurehead and main attraction. From his samurai background to his trips to Madripoor to his role as a ruthless fighting machine and even his heart of gold, Wolverine is the Wolverine we love due to Claremont's touch." – Agent_M Spotlight Comic: X-MEN #133 (1980)—Wolverine tears through the Hellfire Club!

3. STORM First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #94 (1975)-X-MEN #3 (1991) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Storm rose to incredible heights under Claremont's pen, literally and figuratively. From street orphan to goddess, Storm had an incredible back story, but it was her journey from background shy character to the leader of the X-Men—while powerless, no less—over 100 issues that made her one of the best characters to watch develop. And having a Mohawk didn't hurt either!" – RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #147—Doctor Doom unleashes Storm's inner fury!

2. PHOENIX First Appearance: X-MEN #101 (1976) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #101 (1976)-X-MEN #137 (1980) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Poor, sweet, beloved Jean Grey. The heart of the X-Men prior to Chris Claremont's run, Jean ascended into near godhood, almost destroying the X-Men and the universe as the Phoenix before tragically sacrificing herself. While only around for a fraction of Claremont's landmark run, Phoenix—along with her death and rebirth—have become focal points for intense debate, fascination and excitement for fans of all ages." – Agent_M Spotlight Comic: X-MEN #105 (1977)—Phoenix pits her power against the cosmic might of Firelord!

1. KITTY PRYDE First Appearance: X-MEN #129 (1980) Claremont Tenure: X-MEN #139 (1980)-UNCANNY X-MEN #213 (1987); X-MEN #100 (2000)-X-MEN #109 (2001) Learn More About Her…here Why She Makes the List: "Co-created by Claremont to be our eyes into the X-Men world, Kitty Pryde grew up with many readers, experiencing life as they did, sometimes confused or scared, but always with a truly heroic spirit. We watched her first love, first heartbreak, first experience with death, and evolution from Sprite to co-founder of her own team in Excalibur. Aw, our little girl's all grown up. Sniff." – RunawayJ Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #143—Kitty Pryde saves Christmas! Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now! Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything X-Men! Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution" and "Wolverine and the X-Men" now on iTunes!

MORE IN Take 10 See All

MORE IN Comics See All

Comments

12 comments
newmutants45
newmutants45

Chris Claremont is arguably the best thing to ever happen to the X-men.

pymcoy
pymcoy

It really says a lot about him that characters like Magneto, Cyclops, Banshee, Rachel, Angel and others aren't included because he arguably wrote all of them better than any other writer.

rasx
rasx

I so agree with this list. Also I'd put Bishop at #11.

Rogue203
Rogue203

nightcrawler, gambit, and rogue are my faves. I mean, who doesn't love cajuns, southern belles, and cute fuzzy german dudes?

Mr._Astounding
Mr._Astounding

See? Now this is an X-Men writer! Chris Clairmont was pure brilliance on Uncanny X-Men; and the main reason I remain a fan of the team.

neling
neling

I knew Kurt was one of Mr. Claremont's favorites. He told me so at the convention when I pestered him for an autograph. :razz: I am embarrassed to admit it, but I thought "cute, spunky" Kitty was [i] really[/i] annoying. I liked her better in Excalibur, where she grew up a bit.

Bluetiger
Bluetiger

Nice list, but where's :cyclops: ?

Miles_Warren
Miles_Warren

Great list gang. I love each and every one of those characters and Claremont is the main reason why.

WTHIOTina
WTHIOTina

Marvel forgot to include that Claremont wrote Storm, Wolverine, and Shadowcat during his first 'return' to the X-Men (when the movie came out) and when they appeared in X-Treme X-Men.For one of the first times, I pretty much agree with the whole list! Great job!

KaiYves
KaiYves

Kitty and Jean are right where they belong- at the top!