This is going to be a new feature of this bog starting in 1990 (reading through '90, not me writing in '90). Just for fun, I've been keeping track of my favorite characters, moments, and issues. I love to constantly add new entries and tweak the order. So here we have it, my favorites as of 1990!
Feel free to create your own version of this tier list and post your link in the comments: https://tiermaker.com/list/comics/x-men-universe-character-ranking-1990-1396763/1816583#TierMaker via @TierMaker
So here is the definitive list of my favorite X-Men characters as of publication in 1990. I'll be adding the image that I like best of each character as well. Crazy that coming into this X-Men journey, I said that Nightcrawler was my favorite and spoilers, he isn't even on this list! Although he is certainly moving up the list due to his portrayal in Excalibur.
#1 - Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat)
Was there ever any doubt!? Anyone who has read at least one of my previous blogs saw this coming a mile away. Hard to believe, but I wouldn't have put Kitty on my top ten list a year ago (before I started the X-Men journey). I had no idea that Kitty was introduced (and remained forever) as a young kid, at only 13.5 when we first meet her. I could be influenced by the fact that I have 3 daughters, but I think Claremont just blew her characterization out of the water.
She's young, but oh so wise. The amount of times when she put the adults in their place is off the charts. You can always count on her to be the moral compass of the team and not to hold back when someone veers off course. I love how she earned the respect of everyone, especially by Wolverine, by just being herself. She was so brave, and bold, and passionate that it's hard not to like her.
Her relationships are more engaging than any other team members. Whether it's Storm as her mother figure, Wolverine as her mentor, Colossus as her reluctant boyfriend, Nightcrawler as someone who scared her and grew into a great friend, or her besty relationship with Illyana, she always had me slowing down and absorbing every minute. I can talk about her for hours so I'll restrain myself and stop right here.
Also, her codename is Shadowcat, but she will always just be Kitty to me.
#2 - Storm
Storm! Another character who definitely would not have appeared in a top ten list a year ago. I didn't mind her in the animated series or movies, but I was never terribly interested in her. Goes to show how much those adaptations missed the mark.
I don't know if there is any character (across any medium) who had a better character arc than her. Storm started off as a gentle soul who despised the idea of killing, but as she was thrust into leadership (a position she rightly deserved), her morals were put at odds with her responsibilities to protect and lead the team. This resulted in a transformation that shone through both physically (Punk Storm aesthetic) and emotionally as she become colder and more vicious. I'm not a big fan of her losing her powers or her being de-aged, but both did keep her interesting.
#3: Illyana Rasputin (Magik)
I'm fascinated by Illyana. Her tragic story, her tortured soul. Once again, perhaps I'm influenced by having 3 daughters and the thought of a young girl being kidnapped and corrupted resonates stronger for me, but regardless I've been here for it. I will also say that even though I was wrecked when she died during Inferno (I know she was de-aged and returned to Russia, but in my mind she's dead because she was written out), I love how she had a complete arc. She struggled with her inner demons (literally) for years and then all of it came full circle at the end when she was able to sacrifice herself for those she loved. Proving in the end that she was a good person.
# 4 - Cable (Nathan Summers)
I'm JUST starting to get to know Cable during my current X-Men journey, but I read a lot of comics in the 90's so I know Cable very well. I don't know what it is about him that interests me so much, I just know that I love him. It could be the mystery of his past, or his obsession with big guns, or him being the opposite of Charles Xavier (who has been lame so far).
#5 - Philosopher Logan (Wolverine)
I know Wolverine is the most popular character, but I doubt many people like him for the reasons that I do. I love how wise he, hence the "Philosopher Logan" moniker I have assigned to him. He has no desire to be team leader, but he's constantly in the background giving speeches about doing the right thing and calling him teammates out directly when they mess up. I love it.
#6 - Dani (Danielle Moonstar, AKA Mirage)
I guess I like female characters. I just love this little rebel and am currently PISSED that she was written out of New Mutants. What were you thinking Leifeld!? She always had a good head on her shoulders and never hesitated to give sass to Professor X or Magneto. Just a fun read.
# 7 - Magneto
Magneto is fascinating to me. He has another one of the best character journeys in the X-Men world, following Storm. I love how Claremont took a one dimensional villain and gave him a backstory. Even going as far as to redeem him and have him become the leader of the New Mutants! I love how he was a terrible mentor to the New Mutants, but he tried really hard. He's currently appearing evil again and I'm looking forward to seeing how he's portrayed in the Jim Lee era.
Newly added to this list is Meggan from Excalibur. I'm not loving Excalibur, but I'm fascinated by Meggan. She's super powerful in battle but utterly ignorant about life. I love seeing her grow and learn about our world. I'm on team Nightcrawler, btw!
#9: Psylocke (Betsy Braddock)
She's not my favorite, but she's up there. I liked her as a sharp british lady and I'm liking her even more as a hot asian ninja. 12 year old me REALLY liked her.
#10 - Multiple Man (Jamie Madrox)
Dude, I don't have a clue why I like him so much. I barely know him! He's shown up in a few random X-Men issues, one Fantastic Four origin story, a little in Fallen Angels, and one appearance in the Wolverine/Kitty centric X-Men: First Class. I'm just fascinated by him and can't wait until he becomes a series regular in X-Factor. I think I'm like 6 issues away from that so can't wait! We'll see if he stays in the top ten after I get to know him better.
I'm adding both a "favorite moments" section as well as a "favorite issue" section because sometimes you have small moments that are great without the entire issue being great. Here are the moments that most hit me in the feels!
#1 - Storm stabbing Callisto in the heart (UXM # 170)
It's going to be REAL hard for this to be knocked out of my #1 spot. Not only was this moment awesome and shocking, it was also the culmination of a long gestating plot, showing Storm's transformation.
For most of the early Claremont era, Storm was depicted as a gentle goddess who refused to take a life. In fact, there were numerous issues (Garrok from the Savage Land being a prime example) where she went out of her way to not let villains die, leaving her distraught if she failed. As she became team leader, she had a responsibility to keep the team safe and she was struggling with this contradiction.
In the Morlock tunnels, Kitty was going to die if Storm didn't act. And act she did. She challenges Callisto, saving Nightcrawler or Colossus from needing to challenge themselves. She steps in the ring and catches the knife like a badass. Then after a little jarring, she stabs the knife deep into Callisto's heart without hesitation, then walks away, again like a bad ass. I remember audibly gasping when this happened. Did she really just kill someone!? Did she really just do it without hesitating? What a badass? What about her moral code? OMG. This also paid off her being like a mother figure to Kitty. Her daughter was in trouble, so she dropped all pretenses and did what she had to to save her. Amazing scene!
(FYI, Callisto didn't die. The Morlock, Healer, saved her.)
# 2 - Wolverine lecturing Colossus about Kitty (UXM # 183)
THIS is Philosopher Logan at his peak. Colossus breaks up with Kitty after "falling in love" with an alien during Secret Wars. First, Wolverine is like "Colossus. We're going out to the bar. You're coming, bitch.
Then he's like "Apologize to my Kitty, bitch!" "What you felt wasn't love, you moron! It was lust."
Then he goes out of his way to make sure Colossus knows what he did wasn't cool.
The Juggernaut ends up showing up at the bar, and Wolverine sits back and lets him take a beating without offering any help. This final quote is the cherry on top: "She's 14, Peter. But to save you, she agreed to marry Caliban and join the Morlocks. If she hadn't leased her from that vow, she'd be there today. You never even said "Thank You."
This is not the side most people think of when it comes to Wolverine, but it is the side I will never forget.
3 - Storm pulls Kitty into the sky to have a little chat. (UXM # 183)
To help set the scene, Storm had recently gone through her transformation (after stabbing Callisto), including changing into a punk outfit. Kitty, who had seen Storm as a mother figure, was really upset by this and was refusing to talk to her (typical 14 year old thing to do).
Storm decides it's time to force a chat by pulling Kitty into the air.
I'm letting the panels speak for themselves here. Anyone who thinks comics can't be deep should try reading about Kitty's relationship with Storm, Wolverine, or Colossus.
#4: Wolverine telling Kitty she's team leader (UXM # 195)
Storm had left the team for a while and Nightcrawler wasn't cutting it as a leader. This didn't last long, but in issue #195, Kitty was put in charge of the X-Men:
When this happened, I literally pumped my fist and "whooped" out loud. You all know I love Kitty, so to see the other team members being like "Yea you're only 14, but you're the best to lead us, so get on with it" was an amazing moment for me.
# 5 - Wolverine kissing Jean, signaling the first meeting of X-Factor and the X-Men (UXM # 242)
The scene was Inferno. Jean had been brought back to life and the original 5 X-Men had gotten back together to form X-Factor, but the two team's hadn't met yet. There had been a few teasers, like Wolverine smelling Jean and freaking out, but they hadn't seen each other face to face yet.
And what a way to meet! Wolverine grabs Jean and starts making out with her in front of Scott. I mean, that in itself was hilarious and awesome, but the fact that it kicked off this long awaited reunion between these two teams and friends, was certainly a moment to get excited about.
# 6 - Rachel talking to her parents for the first time. (XF Annual # 5, Days of Future Present)
I haven't actually covered this in my blog yet (it's 2 away), but this still leapt into my top ten. Rachel Summers is a time displaced daughter of Scott and Jean. She's been around forever, even meeting Scott a number of times, but she never revealed who she was. This moment takes place in the pages of an X-Factor Annual during the Days of Future Present event. Once again, this moment had a lot of weight because it had been teased for years before this finally happened. Jean had a hard time taking it after coming back to life, learning about Scott being married to Maddie, Maddie going nuts, killing Maddie, absorbing Maddie's consciousness, etc.
# 7 - Magneto collapsing over hurting Kitty (UXM # 150)
Magneto had his first crisis of conscience during UXM # 150. He was finishing with one of his his evil plans and had actually just sunk a Russian submarine, killing all on board. But when the X-Men tried to stop him and he accidentally hurt Kitty (he thought he killed her), he breaks down and abandons his plot. This sparked the beginning of a long redemption arc for the character, which only recently ended.
8 - Warpath's heel turn (UXM # 193)
James Proudstar (who I'm calling Warpath now even though he didn't go by that title yet), had set an entire plan in motion to capture and kill Xavier. He blamed Xavier for his brother (Thunderbird) dying (covered here).
As he goes to lay the final blow, he stops.
He breaks down and realizes he's not a murdered and this isn't right. It's also worth mentioning that earlier in this episode he could have let Kitty and Wolverine die, but he choose to drag them to safety.
I still haven't spent a lot of time with Warpath, but some respected comic book super fans love Warpath, and this was one of the first moments where I noticed why.
9 - Madelyn confronting Scott (X-Factor # 37)
I'm not going to show any panels because Madelyn lays into Scott for an entire issue, but this was great. Another example of me getting pissed off about Scott's behavior for years and then the two of them finally met back up and she rightfully eviscerates him with words. Even though Maddie was going evil, I loved this.
10 - A tie between Illyana's death (NM # 73) and Magik's birth (UXM # 160, Magik 1 - 4)
I know this is cheating, but basically I'm saying that Illyana's entire story is an ongoing moment that I love. Unlike other moments I highlighted as my favorite, Illyana's entire story has come and gone and I loved every second of the journey. I was VERY fascinated by her origin as the Limbo stories captivated me. I thought she was by far the most interesting New Mutant, and her death during Inferno was a perfect closing to her story. Well done, Claremont, well done.
# 1 - UXM # 170 (Storm vs. Callisto)
Yeah, I know. This is both my favorite issue and my favorite moment. Not only was the moment of Storm striking Callisto fantastic, but the entire issue was great setting up this scene (Angel's capture, Kitty getting sick, X-men getting defeated, etc) and everything that came after (like Storm becoming the new Morlock leader).
#2 - UXM # 242 (Inferno)
Yes, this was also the issue I described earlier with one of my favorite moments. It was just so exhilarating seeing Maddie confront Scott, X-Men meet X-Factor, Jean meet Maddie, everyone meet Mr. Sinister, etc. I know this is kind of cheating because I'm describing Inferno more than this single issue, but sue me! This is my blog.
# 3 - NM # 87 (Cable's First appearance)
The issue itself wasn't necessarily amazing, but I love Cable, I love X-Force, and I'm nostalgic about the Mutant Liberation Front. Put that all together and I was jumping out of my seat to read this issue!
# 4 - UXM 141 -142 (Days of Future Past)
Do I need to explain this one?
# 5 - Avengers Annual # 10 (Rogue's first appearance, Carol Danvers rape)
Wait, did I make a mistake? This isn't an X-comic. No Mistake. This issue is nuts and LOADED with X-Men moments. Most notably, Rogue makes her first appearance as a villain and gets right to work stealing all of Ms. Marvel's (Carol Danvers) powers and life force. Freedom Force gets their first run in with the Avengers. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) gets a spotlight and I actually really like that character.
But the thing I will never forget is Carol Danvers. I don't really even know all of the backstory, but in this issue the Avengers are laughing with her about time she spent away with the man she loves. She flat out tells them they are wrong and she hates them, because this guy actually brainwashed her, raped her, and impregnated her and Carol is disgusted that none of them stepped in to help her. It was so intense and visceral and I doubt I'll ever forget it. As the Avengers are flying away, Wanda is crying and reflecting on them all being terrible people. I'm gonna have to get around to reading this full story one of these days.
# 6 - UXM # 273 (3 team's together)
I actually just read this a few days ago (haven't blogged on it yet) and I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a comic. You have Jim Lee drawing just absolutely beautiful art. And then it's just the first time that X-Factor, X-Men, and New Mutants (soon to be X-force) are all chilling together talking about their future. I just love seeing all of these characters together interacting, and was even more awesome after an extended period of time with the X-Men broken up, X-Factor off planet, and the New Mutants floundering around leaderless.
# 7 - UXM # 272 (The X-Tinction Agenda)
This issue itself is awesome, but once again the entire X-Tinction agenda has been one of the best crossovers I've ever read. Still loving the Jim Lee art. The story is very good. And it's amazing seeing three different teams working together. Also marked the end of baby storm. Thank God that didn't last as long as punk Storm or powerless Storm. Another one I haven't gotten around to blogging on yet, but should later this week.
#8 - UXM # 162 (The Brood Saga)
While I thought the whole Brood Saga was pretty good, this issue in particular is fantastic. It shows Wolverine being infected by a Brood egg and being severely weakened as his mutant healing factor fights it off. All the while he's fighting off Brood and marching his way back to help his friends and still leaving time to give us flashbacks to how it all happened.
# 9 - UXM # 127 (Proteus)
A lot of the Claremont issues were bland when he first got started until we got into Proteus, directly followed by Dark Phoenix, directly followed by Days of Future Past. The Proteus arc was really unique and fascinating. As Proteus messed with Wolverine, you saw him get messed up (mentally) for the first time and there were some super strong emotional beats as Moira had to deal with her own son.
# 10 - X-Factor # 24 (Archangel)
There's so much to love in this issue. It's the first time we really get to see Apocalypse show his power and of course the Angel is transformed into Archangel. Simonson was dead on when she noticed that Angel was pretty boring and could benefit from a power up.
UXM # 180 (Storm and Kitty's chat in the sky
UXM # 129 (Kitty's first appearance)
UXM # 195 (The issue where Kitty gets to be leader)
UXM # 227 (The issue where Storm FINALLY gets her powers back.)
Ultimate X-Men Roster
As you've probably noticed, I assign an RPG role to each team graphic. For this exercise, I am going to choose 8 roles and assign the best possible character, in my opinion of course.
Leader - Storm, Cyclops, and Cable are all candidates here. You can make an argument for Professor X, Cannonball, Dani, Captain Britain, or Kurt but really it's just down to Storm, Cable or Cyclops. I'm going with Storm because she's my favorite character of the three, but also just a badass leader and the best, in my opinion.
Omega - Every roster has to have it's strongest member. This character isn't always an "Omega Level Mutant" but they often come close. Jean and Rachel are candidates since they both have Telepathy and Telekinesis. You can make an argument for Storm to be here, but she's already my Leader so I won't choose her here. Rogue and Havok are options as well. I've put Warlock and Magma in this slot sometimes for the New Mutants. You all know I hate Rachel. Storm is out. So I would say that Jean gets the slight nod over Rogue, Magma, Havok, and Warlock. You could maybe even put Iceman here but get real.
Tank - Every team needs a brute so when you fight super villains, someone is there to take on the Blog or the Juggernaut. Colossus is the ultimate tank. Warpath fits in here well too. Strong Guy is a contender as well even though he hasn't officially joined X-Factor yet. Captain Britain is definitely a tank too. Colossus should probably get the nod, but I'm going with Warpath because I find his characterization a bit better.
Bruiser - In an RPG, this is someone who not only takes damage, but also gives damage. There are some options here like Sunspot, Rogue, Wolfsbane, Beast, Captain Britain, and maybe even Cannonball. But it's going to be Wolverine so let's stop kidding ourselves.
Air Support - This needs to be a flier. Here's a bulleted list of candidates:
Storm (Out because she's leader)
Banshee (He's growing on me lately, but usually too boring)
Archangel (This is a legit possibility. His new design is awesome now)
Rogue (You can make an argument that she's a tank and Bruiser too)
Cannonball (Also a Bruiser and has leadership chops)
Warlock (He can fly...)
Rachel (She can fly but you know I'm not choosing her. She was either the Omega or nothin)
Captain Britain (Dude's dumb as a rock)
Meggan (She did make my top ten...)
After careful consideration, I'm going with Archangel. He's the prototypical flier (only one with legit wings) and his new design has been growing on me so much.
Mage - This is usually telepaths or magic users. Jean, Psylocke, Dani, Karma, Skids and Magik are the only real candidates here. You know I'm going Magik though so let's move on.
Stealth - Nightcrawler is often labeled Stealth because he can teleport behind enemy lines. You can make an argument for Wolfsbane because she can use her heightened senses in wolf form to help you sneak in somewhere. Longshot would probably slot in here as well. But Kitty can walk through walls and you knew Kitty would be on here so better luck next time.
Cyclops (Nah, still don't like him. He was either Leader or Bust)
Iceman (He's lame)
Dazzler (Too much drama)
Magma (Too minor)
Jubilee (Too new)
Banshee (Just no)
Rictor (Maybe, he's pretty powerful)
Forge (He needs guns, that doesn't really count)
Boom-Boom (She pretty much must be ranged, she can't do much else)
Rusty (Are we really considering Rusty?)
Man, this is tough. I guess I'll go with lame old Iceman.
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