At the end of this journey- what X-Men will be at the top of the list?

We’ve finally made it to the top of our list of the best 20 X-Men of the Modern era! By this point, you’ve probably seen a few surprises, but I think it’s going to be fairly obvious as to whom we placed in the top 5. You can check out 20-16 here. 15-11 here. And 10-6 here. Remember, this isn’t a “greatest 20 X-Men of all time” but the best using the following criteria;

  • Lore
  • Longevity
  • Appeal
  • Character Design
  • Usage

Without further ado, here are choices for the top 5 X-Men of the Modern Era!

5. Cable/ Kid Cable

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Real Name: Nathaniel Dayspring-Summers

1st Appearance: The New Mutants #87 (1990)

Powers

Cable, like his mother(s), is a psionic. If it weren’t for the techno-organic virus that threatens to ravage his body at every moment, Nathan would be one of the most powerful mutants on the face of the planet. Look to his virus-free clone, Stryfe, for evidence of that. Being techno-organic virus positive isn’t completely without its merit, however. Cable can tap into and hack almost any computer system and integrate technology (such as a time travel device) into his body.

Biggest Story

Cable’s been around the block a few times but the biggest impact he’s had has to be his role in protecting and raising his adopted-daughter, Hope Summers. When the first child to be born after M-Day was discovered, several factions wanted to lay claim to her including; The X-Men, Mister Sinister, a crazed, possessed Bishop, and the Purifiers. Cable, seeing her for what she was, a kid in a bad way, took it upon himself to escape with the girl into the timeline until she was old enough to take her rightful place as the savior of the mutant race.

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Strongest Aspect: Lore

Cable’s maintained either a solo book or been the leader of a team book (often both) almost since the day he returned from the future as an adult. Due to this, he’s got a lot of backstory and adventures under his belt. From battling his clone Stryfe, his son, Genesis, paling-around with Deadpool, or leading X-Force against the Mutant Liberation Front- he’s deeper than most in the category of lore.

4. Nightcrawler

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Real Name: Kurt Wagner

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

Powers

Nightcrawler has several abilities that come with his unique appearance. On top of being able to teleport by way of using a hell-dimension as a mid-way point, Kurt can cling to walls, has superhuman agility and can blend into shadows. His powers are not all thanks to the X-Gene, in a way. While his mother is the famous mutant terrorist Mystique, his father is Azazel, a member of an ancient race of mutants likened to mythical demons. He inherited the majority of his appearance and the nature of his powers from his father.

Biggest Story

During the follow-up to Messiah Complex, Second Coming, Kurt gave his life in protection of Hope, the would-be savior of the mutant race. Kurt, Rogue, and Hope found themselves alone against the uber sentinel, Bastion. With Rogue neutralized, Kurt’s only recourse was to use the superior mobility granted to him by his ability to teleport. However, Bastion would be one step ahead of him and place his hand in the path of one Kurt’s ports. When he rematerialized, Bastion’s hand was in his chest. Nightcrawler used his dying breath to teleport himself and Hope to safety on Utopia.

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Strongest Aspect: Longevity

Up until Second Coming, Nightcrawler was among the very few X-Men to not have died in their superheroing career. With that, he’s never spent very long out of the spotlight with dozens of day-saving efforts. It’s no coincidence that the X-Men split down the middle during his absence.

3. Rogue

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Real Name: Anna Marie Darkholme-Lebeau

1st Appearance: Avengers Annual #10 (1981)

Powers

Rogue has the mutant ability to absorb the life force, powers, and mental faculties of anyone or any living thing she touches with her bare skin. In the case of powers and the minds of her victims, the process is temporary. However, if she maintains contact long enough it can result in death and the permanent absorption of the subject’s abilities and memories as is the current case with Sunfire, Wonderman, and most famously, with Ms. Marvel in an earlier instance.

Biggest Story

Rogue’s most important story is her origin. Acting under the influence of her foster-mother, Mystique, Rogue attacked an unsuspecting Carol Danvers. In the process, she imprinted both Danver’s powers onto her DNA and her persona onto her mind. Carol was left comatose while Rogue was haunted, and occasionally taken control of, by Carol’s personality for years to come.

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Strongest Aspect: Appeal

Through a combination of being debuted through an Avenger’s title and her heavy usage throughout the years, Rogue is by far one of the most well-known and well-liked comic book characters in all of comics. Having found success throughout the 80s, her popularity sky-rocketed still with being made a vital piece of the 90s X-Men animated series and the two which followed it.

2. Storm

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Real Name: Ororo Monroe

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

Powers

Storm can psionically manipulate the weather for a large assortment of effects including the creation and halting of hurricanes and other systems. She can form tornadoes, projecting powerful gusts of wind, and summon all types of precipitation. She can call down lightning and harmlessly conduct electricity through her body. Storm is also capable of self-regulating her temperature which allows her to withstand extreme temperature changes, both hot and freezing.

Biggest Story

In 2006, after the events of Decimation, Storm would marry the king of Wakanda, T’Challa. The ill-timed move would later be criticized by the likes of Cyclops who thought she should have focused her attention upon what was left of the mutant race. The marriage would only last up until the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover. Not long after that, their union was annulled by the Black Panther himself. However, the two would remain close and Storm could still be seen from time to time visiting Wakanda.

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Strongest Aspect: Usage

Outside of the Roma resurrection, Storm has avoided death and thus managed to stay active throughout the X-Men franchise. She’s often tapped to function as the leader of a team, but also appeared in other books throughout the line, including her own solo.

1. Wolverine

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Real Name: James ‘Logan’ Howlett

1st Appearance: The Incredible Hulk #181 (1974)

Powers

Wolverine has the mutant ability to rapidly heal and regenerate his body from damage. He also has animal-like heightened senses and enhanced strength, as well as retractable bone claws. Due to being able to regenerate his cells at an accelerated rate, he also ages slower than normal humans. Which is why he’s still alive today, despite being born in the late 1800s. As awesome as his healing factor is, it could be even better. The adamantium bonded to his skeleton and claws is extremely toxic. His healing factor is the only thing keeping him from keeling over and dying a very painful death.

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Biggest Story

In the story that took place in the mini-series called Old Man Logan, we join the old chuckle-head in a dystopian future. After combining forces and slaying all the heroes, the United States divided into chunks and is ruled by the villains. Any remaining heroes are in hiding or retired, for the most part. Wolverine, a father, and husband, is the latter. The story and character were so successful, that that version of Wolverine crossed over into 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movie universe and would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Strongest Aspect: Usage

Wolverine is the most heavily utilized X-Men in history. Especially in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Traditionally, he’s always had a solo to go along with whatever team book he was part of. However, after Wolverine became an Avenger, he could often be included in up to three books per month! He’s also well supported in the appeal and lore categories due to this heavier than normal usage. Wolverine is quite possibly the most important and impactful X-Man that Marvel comics has in their stable.

Honorable Mentions

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X-Men mainstays that deserve some credit but weren’t able to crack the list with their credentials or recently have been less than virtuous (Emma).

And that’s all folks! Our top 20 X-Men of the Modern Era! Did you see all your favorites? Disagree with our selections? Let us know below!

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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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