Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.
This week in UNCANNY X-MEN #515, a founding X-Man makes their departure from the team. While many mutants have left the ranks of Professor Xavier's dreamers over the years-including the Professor himself-some have made much more of an impact than others.
Check out the ten X-Men X-It's the Secret Cabal settled on.
For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic focusing on their service with the X-Men 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!
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #350 (1997)
What Went Down: Following Gambit's "trial," in which a disguised Magneto revealed the mutant thief's unwitting part in the slaughter of the Morlocks, Rogue chose to abandon her love in the arctic, exiling him from the X-Men in the process.
Why It Makes the List: Generally the X-Men tend to stand by their own and forgive past transgressions, but Gambit's role in the Mutant Massacre, on the darkest points in the team's history, proved too much to get over. That the woman he loved dumped him in the freezing snow only added to the sting of the Ragin' Cajun's dismissal.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #277 (1991)-Gambit strives to test his mettle against Wolverine!
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #318 (1994)
What Went Down: After helping Banshee, Emma Frost and other teenage mutants in driving off a Phalanx invasion of Earth, Jubilee transferred to the new Massachusetts Academy, leaving the X-Men behind.
Why It Makes the List: After Kitty Pryde left the team, Jubilee spent over half a decade as the X-Men's resident brash youngster, bringing a measure of innocence and humor to the oft-too serious squad of mutants. When she made the decision to join Generation X, the home team based out of Xavier's suddenly found themselves lacking a youthful viewpoint and were forced to find it from within, a goal they did not always succeed in.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #244 (1989)-Jubilee sneaks her way into the X-Men's lives!
8. NIGHTCRAWLER & KITTY PRYDE
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #227 (1988)
What Went Down: While the X-Men seemingly sacrificed their lives to defeat the Adversary, the injured Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde could only watch on television form Muir Island; months later, they helped to found Excalibur.
Why It Makes the List: This stands out as the only real "forced retirement" to make our list, as Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde did not choose to leave the X-Men but were forced out by circumstances beyond their control. As the duo had been a vital part of the team for years, their absence added to the growing sense that the old guard had been shed in the late 80's and a new era was on the horizon.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #150 (1981)-Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde go up against Magneto with their X-Men teammates!
When It Happened: WOLVERINE #75 (1993)
What Went Down: Barely surviving an attack by Magneto that stripped him of his adamantium skeleton, Wolverine determined he could not competently serve with the X-Men anymore until he rediscovered his body's limits and hit the road.
Why It Makes the List: By 1993, Wolverine had become the face of the X-Men not only in comics, but on television and in the eyes of fans around the world. An X-Men team without Wolverine as a member seemed unimaginable, but following Magneto's brutal assault, it did indeed happen, making for a vastly different mutant landscape-albeit temporarily.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #173 (1983)-With only Rogue at his side, Wolverine must save the X-Men from a mass poisoning!
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #201 (1986)
What Went Down: After losing a duel with the powerless Storm for leadership of the X-Men, Cyclops opted to leave the team and retire in Alaska with his wife, Madelyne, and their new son, Nathan.
Why It Makes the List: While Cyclops' sojourn into domestic bliss certainly ended up affecting his life in major ways that would reveal themselves in time, his resignation from the X-Men initially proved more of a game-changer for Storm, who had led the team for brief stints in the past, but with the specter of Scott Summers no longer hanging over her truly came into her own. Also, the departure of Cyclops so soon after Professor X vaulted the X-Men into being a far edgier, more pro-active unit.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #144 (1981)-Cyclops faces his inner demons courtesy of D'Spayre!
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #304 (1993)
What Went Down: Disillusioned from the deaths of his siblings and parents, Colossus chose to take Magneto up on his offer to join the pro-active Acolytes, turning his back on Xavier's dream for the time being.
Why It Makes the List: While X-Men had "graduated" and left the team in the past, none had ever fully embraced the path of a significant enemy like Magneto willingly, and certainly nobody suspected that kind, earnest Colossus would be the first. The defection of Peter Rasputin shook Xavier and his children to the core, causing them to bring their own beliefs into question, and certainly left fans with their jaws dropped.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #179 (1979)-When the X-Men fall, Colossus must stop Proteus by himself!
4. KITTY PRYDE
When It Happened: GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 (2008)
What Went Down: In order to save the Earth from destruction, Kitty Pryde merged with the giant "bullet" fired from the Breakworld, using her phasing abilities to pass it harmlessly through the planet but leaving herself stranded in the process.
Why It Makes the List: The X-Men with Kitty Pryde are a very different group than the X-Men without, and her latest departure from the team certainly left the biggest emotional impact and represented innocence lost in a major way. Kitty's sacrifice was a beautifully-crafted and hard-hitting story which ultimately made the X-Men a stronger team as they strive to live up to her deed.
Spotlight Comic: ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 (2004)-After years away, Kitty Pryde returns to Professor Xavier's School for the Gifted!
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #138
What Went Down: Following the apparent death of Phoenix, thought to be his lover Jean Grey, Cyclops took a leave of absence from the X-Men to mourn and come to terms with his loss.
Why It Makes the List: Cyclops had been Xavier's first student and remained the heart of the X-Men, choosing to remain on when his original teammates moved on, so his decision to leave the people he led into battle had a significant effect on every member of the team. In Cyclops' absence, Storm stepped up into a leadership role, Wolverine softened to become more of a mentor to his younger comrades, and Kitty Pryde joined the X-Men.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #137 (1980)-Cyclops battles for the love of his life!
2. PROFESSOR X
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #200 (1985)
What Went Down: Suffering massive injuries as a result of his cloned body being put through months of stress, X-Men founder Charles Xavier left for the stars to recuperate along his alien love, Lilandra, trusting his former foe Magneto with his team and school.
Why It Makes the List: Though other members had come and gone, Professor Charles Xavier remained the one constant when it came to the world of the X-Men, serving as mentor and guiding light to all who passed through the halls of his Westchester mansion. When the man who dared to dream of mutant and human harmony left the planet, the world he left behind became a lot darker-as evidenced by his choice to take his place-and paved the way for a bold new era of X-Men stories.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #117 (1979)-The origin of Professor X!
1. THE ORIGINAL X-MEN
When It Happened: UNCANNY X-MEN #94
What Went Down: After Cyclops led the "new" X-Men to save them from Krakoa, the other remaining members of Xavier's first class-Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl, Polaris and Havok-elected to turn things over to their successors and pursue normal lives.
Why It Makes the List: The first major shift in X-Men membership remains the biggest and most impactful in the team's history. Whereas the original five X-Men had a good run as Marvel's strangest teenagers, their departure paved the way for Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and friends to transform Charles Xavier's school into the flashpoint for one of comics' most popular and influential franchises.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #66 (1970)-In one of their last adventures together, the original X-Men take on the Hulk!
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