Who’s the most ruthless of them all?
The concept behind the mutant action team called X-Force has been centered around the idea of having a team of X-Men willing to do what most wouldn’t. Although it was initially formed out of The New Mutants team of Jr. X-Men, later iterations would see more lethal additions. Members that were more bloodthirsty, and in many ways, would push the boundaries. Not just in their ideology but their actions in the field. The X-Force brand became a dumping ground for characters that would perform tasks that would otherwise make them villains. This list takes into account the mindset and actions of the individual members while on the team, as well as their past deeds. Here are the all-time 10 most lethal members of X-Force.
I think it’s odd that the originator of the X-Force concept wouldn’t be considered its most lethal. Cable is by far one of the X-Men’s most adept fighters – he’s a soldier’s soldier. However, he’s never been without a moral compass or sense of honor. He’ll just about sacrifice anything to ensure the mission is successful. Just about. In the end, Cable wouldn’t leave a teammate behind or an innocent in harm’s way if he could help it, even if that meant strapping a baby to his chest for several years. His younger self accused him of going soft. In a lot of ways, that can’t be contested.
Speaking of a ‘sense of honor,’ we have the Ronin Warrior himself, Wolverine. Another headman and shot-caller of X-Force, Wolverine is by no means a pussycat. He’ll mow through hordes of evil-doing men to get to his target. He’ll take the life of a lover to save to world, or adversely, let it burn to protect them. There aren’t many excuses in existence that would stop him from doing what he believes to be the right thing. But what happens when protecting the greater good means that he must cross a line? During Uncanny X-Force, Wolverine’s team was faced with a difficult choice in their first mission. Wolverine’s morals and honor wouldn’t allow him to pull the proverbial trigger, which is why he lands so low on this list.
With Cable and Wolverine out of the way, we’re starting to get into those on this list lacking a strong moral center. Due either to insanity or having been mentally conditioned, everyone from here on out, even in the best of mindsets are liable to do just about anything. Enter Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool. Wade is both mentally unstable and a product of the best military training man has to offer. After being driven insane during the process of receiving his powers, Deadpool has murdered people simply over a joke. In many ways, he’s part-Deathstroke, part-Joker and there is no good to come from that. However, while his moral center may not be all that strong, he does have a conscious and strict rule about not harming children. Despite his failings, he does have the tendency to do the right thing in the end. Most of the time.
Laura ‘X-23’ Kinney has come a long way since her debut in the pages of NYX. Whether due to her popularity or just natural evolution, X-23 isn’t the killing machine she used to be. But she’s still really dangerous. If this list had been formed ten years ago, she’d probably be at the top. Rather than experiencing a normal childhood, X-23 was raised to be a world-class assassin. She’s been conditioned to respond to triggers such as scents which throw her into blind murderous frenzies. She even killed her own mother whilst in one. For a long time, possibly to this day, she could be easily classified as a grade-A sociopath. As a member of X-Force, she was so proficient at taking life that Wolverine, for her own good, removed X-23 from the team. Since then, she’s taken steps forward in embracing her humanity, but she is still more than capable of taking life with little to no hesitation. Or regret.
It’s crazy to think that even after having his personality inverted, Sabretooth is still among the most dangerous members of X-Force. A softer, gentler, and more introspective Sabretooth was still a cold-blooded killer. He just killed people that needed killing, instead of innocents. In possession of an active conscious, Creed effectively took on the role of Wolverine among the X-Men. But by no means had he gone soft. He was able to reign in other even less likely members and turned his X-Force into a savage wrecking ball of a hit squad that we’ve never seen before, and likely never will again. He led his team to hell and back and then returned to hell all over again! How scary is it to know that while being a ‘good guy,’ Creed’s claws were still wet with the blood of his foes?
5. Omega Red
A longtime foe of the X-Men, Omega Red became something of an adjunct member of Sabretooth’s version of X-Force. Omega Red is a mutant with control over a substance he produces called ‘Death Spores’ that kills or severely weakens everyone within a specific radius. What he’s known best for are his carbonadium tendrils; a product of a Russian super soldier program not unlike the Weapon-X or Weapon+ programs. They can drain the lifeforce from his victims and Red does so with sadistic glee. Mercy has no home with Omega Red. The only reason he cooperated with X-Force was due to a business transaction.
4. Lady Deathstrike
Lady Deathstrike holds a special place within Wolverine’s rogue gallery. She’s a ruthless killer happily willing to slash her way to her target. To say she’s untrustworthy would be a serious understatement. Unlike Omega Red, not even money can indefinitely sway her. Using an opposite take on honor than the one Wolverine subscribes to, she kills with little provocation. She’s probably the furthest thing from being a hero and it makes sense that only under the leadership of Sabretooth would someone as brutally vicious as she would be allowed to be part of X-Force.
Rahne Sinclair is the only New Mutant on this list for a good reason. Since her early days, the character has always fought to control her baser instincts. The Majority of the time, it hasn’t been much of an issue. An outburst here, or a jump scare there- but nothing to be too concerned about. That is until she was kidnapped by the Purifiers. Under the direction of her father, Rahne was brainwashed into a near-mindless beast.
So much so, it’s highly suggested that she ate her father when she mistook him for her target. During the same story, she also ripped the bio-mechanical wings from Archangel’s back. Following her programming, she delivered them to the Purifiers to be experimented with and implanted upon their troops. This was the condition Rahne was in while being a member of Cyclops’ secret X-Force. Little more than a raging beast at times, she was barely able to tell friend from foe during missions. At any moment, she could easily turn on her friends.
Warren Worthington III prior to being transformed by Apocalypse was, for the most part, harmless. However, when he received his set of bladed wings and a brand-new savage personality in which to use them, that all changed. After being attacked by a mind-controlled Rahne and having his wings ripped off, the Archangel persona began to reassert itself as his wings regenerated. This turned into a literal war for control of Warren’s body, not unlike Bruce Banner’s battle with his Hulk persona. Although, Archangel would reveal himself with the slightest provocation, instead of emotional extremes.
During an outburst, Archangel tracked down the Purifiers that Rahne delivered his former set of wings to, and savagely murdered every single one of them. Later, with the intention of taking his rightful place as the next Apocalypse, Archangel abandoned X-Force and recruited his own Horsemen. Archangel became as dangerous as Apocalypse himself and was on track to razing the entire planet. In the end, only Psylocke could get close enough to end the threat by plunging the Life Seed into his chest.
While the last two selections are as high as they are because they more often than not had no control over themselves, Fantomex doesn’t have the same excuse. This “X-Man,” completely sound of mind, flat-out murdered a child. Wolverine’s X-Force had discovered that Apocalypse’s followers had succeeded in creating a clone of the tyrant. Rightfully, X-Force made it their mission to take it out. However, what they discovered wasn’t a fully formed monster, but a child.
Wolverine, Psylocke, Deadpool, and even Archangel debated their next step, and ultimately decided to take the child with them – Fantomex decided to pull the trigger. He executed a young boy as he begged for his life, assuring the heroes that he wouldn’t grow up to be Apocalypse. Later, Fantomex would try to right the deed by cloning the child and reeducating him within a virtual world. This act doesn’t change the fact that he’s capable doing something that even the savage Archangel, the deplorable Deadpool or the berserker Wolverine wouldn’t. His utter lack of morality is what dropped him in the #1 spot amongst a list of killers.
In the end, it was less about ability and more about how far the character is willing to go. I believe being able to murder a child with tears in their eyes says a lot about what a person is capable of. So, do you agree with our list? What’s yours look like? Let us know below.