We have some very familiar faces in the top 10; I promise you, we didn’t set it up this way!

We’ve made it to the Top 10 of the X-Men of the modern era! From this point on it’s the crème de la crème of Marvel’s Merry Mutants! If you haven’t been following along with us, this is the 3rd leg of our rankings. Catch up on 15- 11 here, and 20-16 here. Just a reminder, we used the following criteria to rank our X-Men;

  • Lore
  • Longevity
  • Appeal
  • Character Design
  • Usage

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Still with us? Great, let’s get down to what we’ve been waiting for!

10. Jean Grey

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Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Real Name: Jean Grey…

1st Appearance: The X-Men #1 (1963)

Powers

Jean is a psionic with the ability to use both telekinesis and telepathy. Having been trained in her powers by Professor X himself, Jean is capable of a vast array of skills including casting elaborate illusions over multiple targets, forming shields, levitating large objects, projecting her thoughts into the minds of others over vast distances, reading minds, and many other abilities.

Biggest Story

Of course, her biggest story was the Phoenix and Dark Phoenix sagas, though the latter is put on a pedestal more often. In it, Jean’s body was inhabited by the cosmic embodiment of rebirth and change. Alongside the X-Men, she saved the galaxy from certain destruction. However, she fell to corruption and went on an epic rampage before she sacrificed herself. In the end, it turned out not to be Jean at all but the cosmic firebird using her form. Jean was safely deposited at the bottom of the Hudson in a cocoon.

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Strongest Aspect: Appeal

Jean is both an original member of the X-Men and she’s benefited from being part of most X-Men animated series’ and movies. Her design is simple, and rarely if ever deviates from the mold. In fact, she’s so highly appreciated that in the books, even while she was dead there were no less than three derivative characters based on her (Hope, Teen Jean, and Rachel Grey-Summers).

9. Beast

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Real Name: Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy

1st Appearance: The X-Men #1 (1963)

Powers

Beast was originally gifted with superhuman strength, agility, durability, stamina, and dexterity in his feet, which were more like large hand in many ways like that of a primate. While attempting to cure himself of his more distinct features he mistakenly advanced his mutation. The act increased his physical gifts. He also sprouted fangs, claws and a full coat of blue fur over his body.

Biggest Story

Hank hasn’t been the focus of many story arcs, but he was instrumental in bringing the Original 5 X-Men from the past, into the present. He did it to hopefully stop Cyclops from becoming what he had going into Avengers Vs. X-Men. At the same time, Hank was dying due to complications with his own mutation. His younger self assisted him in developing a treatment that saved his life.

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Strongest Aspect: Longevity

Beast is an original creation of Stan Lee, created alongside the other X-Men which debuted in 1963. While he’s never been the center of a large story, he’s been a staple among the X-Men and the Avengers for more than 50-years.

8. Iceman

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Real Name: Robert Drake

1st Appearance: The X-Men #1 (1963)

Powers

Iceman possesses the mutant ability to manipulate temperatures around him. He can drop them well below zero and use the moisture in the air to create super dense, bio-ice. This comes with a wide array of effects including; the projection of freezing blasts of cold, creation of ice constructs, and forming autonomous golems to do his bidding. Later in his development, he learned to ultimately convert his body into living ice. In this form, he doesn’t need to breathe or eat and can repair just about any amount of damage to his body.

Biggest Story

During Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3, Iceman found himself infected by the Age of Apocalypse’s Celestial Death Seed. The dark force influenced Iceman to attempt to throw the planet into a second Ice Age and subconsciously go in search of all his past failed loves, including Mystique. Before the incident was resolved, he grew to the size of a skyscraper and went toe-to-toe with Thor.

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Strongest Aspect: Character Design

While I doubt anyone would be able to recognize Bobby Drake, Iceman’s “iced-up” form is well-known. Originally, he looked more like a snowman, he’d eventually replace it with his slicker, more ice-cube look. It’s done so well, it’s probably easy to guess his name without knowing much about him. Over the years, there have been many imitators of his look and powers, but Iceman is the innovator.

7. Cyclops

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Real Name: Scott Summers

1st Appearance: The X-Men #1 (1963)

Powers

After absorbing an adequate amount of solar energy, Cyclops can project intense streams of concussive energy from his eyes. This is done by opening portals a microscopic distance from them which lead to an alternate dimension filled to the prime with power. The portals act as relief valves and thus the energy spews out of the openings with tremendous force.

Biggest Story

In the Avengers Vs. X-Men, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik, and Namor all absorb equal pieces of the Phoenix Force. One by one, each of them fell to corruption and lost their share of the power. In the end, only Cyclops remained. Driven mad by the power, Cyclops became the Dark Phoenix and battled not only the X-Men but the Avengers. Professor-X was the only person capable of standing up to Cyclops but unfortunately, his bravery was rewarded with death as he died at the hand of his star pupil.

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Strongest Aspect: Appeal

Cyclops is the cornerstone of the X-Men. If there is a version of the team out there that he is not leading, it just doesn’t feel right. Because of this, Cyclops has been featured as their point man since the very beginning. This put him front and center of basically everything X-Men related.

6. Gambit

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Real Name: Remy Etienne Lebeau

1st Appearance: X-Men Annual #14

Powers

Gambit has the mutant power to release an object’s kinetic potential. He can do this in several ways with several results, most famously, having the object explode. Gambit can make an object moving at normal speeds hold the impact of something moving at great speeds. In other words, he can make a basketball hit a building like a wrecking ball.

Biggest Story

In Uncanny X-Men #350, the secret that Gambit had been hiding for so long was uncovered during what is commonly referred to as the Trial of Gambit. It turned out that in his youth, Gambit did a job for Mister Sinister. In return for a performed procedure, Gambit gathered the Marauders and led them into the Morlock tunnels. Unbeknownst to him, they were sent there to wipe out the underground society (The Mutant Massacre). He attempted to intervene but nearly died in the process.

Top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era | 10-06

Strongest Aspect: Lore

Due to having several mini-series, duo-series, and solos, Gambit has amassed an impressive catalog of backstory. He has his own rogue’s gallery and a rich history that spans several continents, only rivaled by one, maybe two, other X-Men.

Now, if this was a “greatest X-Men of all time” Cyclops would most likely be in the top 5, perhaps even top 3. What hurts Cyclops, Jean, Iceman, and Beast is their lack of overall lore and usage. Iceman has only had two short-lived solos, both within the last year. Cyclops, one, which wasn’t even based on him, but his teenaged-self. The same instance with Jean. None are usually seen in more than one place at a time. Next time, we move onto the last bit of our list!

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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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