The X-Men have entered yet another era. Whether if it’s because of Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox or Marvel Comics’ new leadership has decided to make a change- the X-Men seem poised to reclaim their dominance over the publisher’s sales charts. However, during the last few years, new readers have only been exposed to a handful of characters across two or three books. There’s never been any shortage of X-Men and with the new crop of books on the horizon, that’s going to become more evident. With that, let’s give some attention to the best of the best. To determine the standouts, we are using what I like to refer to as the “Pratt Scale.” We took the following into account:

Lore – This quantifies a character’s backstory and the amount of development it has received since their debut. Having one or more solo on-goings or mini-series as well as an established rogue’s gallery separate from the greater X-Men mythos.

Longevity – This took into account how long the character has been in circulation. What they’ve accomplished and/or what they’ve been involved in as an X-Man.

Appeal – How popular a character is both among readers and greater pop-culture. Characters that have been featured in 90’s X-Men animated series, various games, and the movie franchises.

Character Design – We look heavily into the character’s appearance, powers, and overall creation. How recognizable are they to the general public at a glance?

Usage – The rate in which they are utilized on a monthly basis. Characters that are part of one or more monthly books will benefit from this the most. Basically, how often can you find the character out in the wild.

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

To be considered for the list, a character has to have been part of at least one ongoing during the last year. We’ll be excluding Professor-X, seeing as he’s technically dead. Here are the numbers 20-16 of Top 20 X-Men of today!

20. Jubilee

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Real Name: Jubilation Lee

1st Appearance: The Uncanny X-Men #244 (1989)

Powers

Jubilee is known to have the power to shoot fireworks by the way they were depicted in the animated series, it’s not the biggest mistake to make. In actuality, Jubilee creates and projects plasma globes. In large parts, her powers are closer to those of Havok than a Roman Candle.

Biggest Story

Though a former member of the X-Men Blue team and Generation-X, Jubilee’s most impactful story came after she lost her powers. While in San Francisco she was exposed to a Vampire virus bomb. She and many others in the area were transformed into creatures of the night. Luckily, she’s since been cured of her ailment and even had her powers restored.

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Strongest Aspect: Appeal

Jubilee is the first on this list that was part of the groundbreaking, company-saving X-Men: The Animated Series. Due to being the point of view character for the show, she was heavily featured. Because of that, she’s recognizable to hordes of fans, both readers and non-readers alike.

19. Magik

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Real Name: Illyana Rasputin

1st Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

Powers

Other than her mutant ability to create teleportation discs, Magik is one of the most powerful users of mystical arts across several dimensions and universes. Through the use of her sorcery, she is capable of just about anything. She also wields a sword created from a portion of her own soul which can disrupt and augment the magic of others.

Biggest Story

Magik has been utilized in many stories, but her most important has to be her origin. Or perhaps her second origin. In something out of a sci-fi horror flick, Magik was abducted to Limbo (a hell dimension) and tormented by demons. Upon her return to earth, she joined The New Mutants cast, but died after contracting the Legacy Virus. Years later she was resurrected by the demon Belasco but as the twisted “Darkchild” persona. Magik eventually regained control of herself and rejoined The New Mutants and later the X-Men proper.

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Strongest Aspect: Character Design

Illyana’s 1st appearance occurred in the mid-’70s which gives her about five to six years advantage on her New Mutant classmates. With that said, her current dominatress-like look is truly unique amongst comic readers. In a group of colorfully shaded X-Men, her skintight black leather halter-top with chest-window, spiked shoulder pads, thigh-high boots, and hot pants- she stands out. Even without her tiara.

18. Havok

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Real Name: Alexander Summers

1st Appearance: X-Men #54 (1969)

Powers

Like his older brother, Havok draws in celestial energy to power his ability to project blasts of highly destructive super-heated plasma. Possibly due to the source and nature of his powers, Cyclops’ optic blasts have little to no effect on him and vice versa.

Biggest Story

Following his journey through the Siege Perilous alongside the rest of the X-Men, Havok was placed on Genosha with no memory of his former life. He joined the ARMY and rose up the ranks. This led to the X-Men crossover, ‘X-Tinction Agenda‘. When Havok came into contact with the X-Men, most notably, his brother, Cyclops, his memory returned. He was instrumental in defeating Hodge and bringing the story to a conclusion.

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Strongest Aspect: Longevity

Havok debuted just a few short years after the original X-Men. He was part of the team that was defeated and captured by Krakoa. Since then, over the years he’s never been long out of the spotlight popping in and out of X-Men, X-Factor, and even the Avengers.

17. Shadowcat

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Real Name: Kitty Pryde

1st Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980)

Powers

Kitty can manipulate her molecular density which enables her the ability to move through solid matter. As a side-effect, she disrupts electronic devices and fields when she passes through them. She can also phase other objects with her, the size varies- clothes, food, other people. However, since having her powers augmented, she recently phased an entire building.

Biggest Story

Days of Future Past is without a doubt her most impactful story. In a dystopian future, the world is controlled by Sentinels. Mutants are either jailed and killed on sight. Humans aren’t much better off. Rachel Summers, the daughter of Cyclops and Jean, telepathically sent Kitty’s mind back in time to her younger body to help avert the hellish timeline.

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Strongest Aspect: Longevity

Kitty debuted in the 80s. Not nearly as long as some of the others but surviving almost 40 years in a medium that is notorious for rejecting new ideas says a lot. Kitty was the center of one of the most influential comic stories in Days of Future Past. She’d later go on to save the world from giant planet shattering bullet, and eventually even lead the X-Men.

16. Colossus

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Real Name: Piotr Rasputin

1st Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975)

Powers

On top of having massive amounts of strength, durability, and endurance, Colossus can encase his body in organic steel. Once armored, the effectiveness of these aspects is exponentially increased allowing him to lift over a 100-tons and withstand blows from the likes of the Juggernaut and the Hulk. He can also survive without food, water, or air for extended periods.

Biggest Story

Colossus once gave his life to save the entire mutant race. A cure to the legacy virus had been developed. But to activate it, someone would have to sacrifice their own life for it to be effective. Colossus had recently lost his brother, and to the virus itself, his younger sister. Stricken with grief, he chose to administer the cure and in the process died. He would later be found alive, having been resurrected by an alien race.

Top 20 Ranked X-Men of the Modern Era | 20-16

Strongest Aspect: Appeal

Thanks to his inclusion in four out of five of the X-Men animated series’ as well as being utilized in several video games, the movies X-Men, X2, X3, X-Men: Days of Future Past and both Deadpool features- Colossus is something of a household name having been exposed to three generations of fans.

That’s it for numbers 20 through 16! Stay tuned for part 2 when we get into so more of your favorite X-Men!

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About The Author

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Phillip is the first-generation American son of a Jamaican mother and a Bahamian father. His interest includes sports, cars, gaming and most things comic book related, the latter a passion of his since 1993.

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