Proof that mutants exist beyond Graymalkin Lane
It was a rare thing, but prior to the 00’s the X-Men and the rest of the Marvel Comics Universe did play nice with each other. It wasn’t uncommon to see characters pop-up in each other’s books from time to time outside of world-changing crossover events. The X-Men, outside of Wolverine, didn’t do much of that for long periods of time, but when they did it was quite a bit of fun. Generally, anyway. Leaving the X-Men for other teams was often like going off to college for the characters. Other times its after tragedy. Like Danni becoming a Defender, even though she was powerless, or when Kitty Pryde took off into space with Star-Lord and the Guardians. Here are 10 more times we saw X-Men join other teams in the Marvel Universe.
1. Iceman – The New Defenders
After a short stint with the Champions, while pursuing higher learning at UCLA, Iceman, Bobby Drake, one of the founding five members of the X-Men joined the Defenders. However, he wouldn’t be alone. Both Beast and Angel joined the team with him. During their outer space X-Men stints, the three fought alongside other superheroes such as Valkyrie, Gargoyle, Lady Sif and Moon Dragon. With such a mystical and cosmically influenced squad, it’s no wonder that this team went up against the daughter of the embodiment of Oblivion! The team didn’t last long in this configuration. Iceman, Beast, and Angel would leave to rejoin their X-Men teammates Cyclops, and the newly ‘reborn’, Jean Grey to form the first iteration of X-Factor in 1986.
2. Rogue – Uncanny Avengers
Marvel is never without its irony. The first taste we got of Rogue was as an antagonist where we’d we saw her make short work of most of the Avengers after famously absorbing Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers). She’d later join the X-Men, the team she’s best known for. Years later, following Avengers Vs. X-Men, a new team of X-Men and Avengers was created in hopes of mending fences (or to siphon off X-Men readers to Avengers books…). Written by Rick Remender, the team was dubbed the “Unity Squad” and included Captain America, Rogue, Havok, Thor, Scarlet Witch, Wonderman, Wolverine, Sunfire, and the Wasp. Their main opposition came by way of the Apocalypse Twins, the children of Archangel from Remender’s run on Uncanny X-Force.
On the team, Rogue would be the one that rebelled against authority more often than not. In truth, her insubordination was a result of the pain she dealt with following the death of Xavier. Instead of blaming Cyclops (his unintentional murderer), she placed all her malice on the Scarlet Witch for creating the situation with her ‘no more mutants’ spell. So much so, with a little bit of Wolverine’s mindset absorbed, Rogue set out to, and was successful in, murdering Wanda in cold blood. In Rogue’s defense, she thought Wanda was about to cast another spell. Luckily for both characters, the feat was undone with time travel. Rogue would come to all but abandon everything X-Men related for the next few years and continue on with the Avengers. She even led her own team in following volumes of Uncanny Avengers. Later additions to the team included Deadpool, Cable, Brother Voodoo, Quicksilver, Falcon, Vision, Sabretooth, and the Human Torch.
3, Dazzler – A-Force
Dazzler has never been a true household name. We’ve always been aware of her but her place among the X-Men hasn’t necessarily been strong since the late 1980s. She’d pop in and out of continuity every so often, but didn’t come back into the fold until she led a team of X-Men in the universe hopping book, ‘Exiles‘.
Later, after being abducted and replaced by Mystique during Brian Michael Bendis’s Uncanny X-Men run, she quit the X-Men and ended up on the all-female team A-Force. Her teammates included She-Hulk, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers), the Inhuman Queen, Medusa, the enigmatic Singularity, Nico from the Runaways, and Thor (Jane Foster).
The book was a holdover from Secret Wars where female characters from dozens of alternate realities and continuities lived together in their little piece of God Doom’s Battleworld. In the main continuity, this team went up against both planetary and cosmic-level foes. Taking place in a post-Secret War world, the team was involved in the Civil War II crossover as well as dealing with the Terrigen Mist Cloud that terrorized mutant-kind and infected Dazzler.
4. Professor X – Illuminati
What if all the major players in the Marvel Universe secretly met to discuss and guide the world around them on a regular basis? A concept dreamt up by the god of destruction himself, Brian Michael Bendis, the Illuminati did just that in 2005 in his book ‘New Avengers‘. Professor-X, Iron Man, Black Bolt, Namor, Captain America, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther turned out to be pulling the strings of the Marvel Universe. Not in nefarious ways, but not always ethically either. When they crossed the line with the latter, Captain America voiced exception to some of their decisions and quit. Xavier then wiped Rogers’ mind of the group’s existence and their past deeds.
The group of self-appointed planetary watchmen would involve themselves in the affairs of the Skrull, confront the villainous organization from the Runaways, The Pride, and after Xavier’s death attempt to stop the destruction of the multiverse in the events leading up to Secret Wars in Time Runs Out. They (or Namor) famously made the desperate decision to destroy one world to save another as the multiverse was collapsing in upon itself. Even with that tough call, they still failed to save their reality and any other from destruction.
5. Beast – Avengers
Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy, one of the original five X-Men. The Beast joined the Avengers as a part-time member back in the 1970s. He spent so much time with them, he was often seen more as an Avenger than X-Man as he was absent from his mutant brethren for most of the 80s leading up to X-Factor. There he’d come to rejoin the original five and ultimately reclaim his full-time spot in time for the 90s X-Men popularity explosion. Though he played a major role in the X-Men, especially on the ‘Blue team’, he’d still occasionally make appearances in the Avengers.
In modern day, he and Cyclops would come to loggerheads leading Hank to side with the Avengers during the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover event. He’d be called out for this in later issues and accused of being a traitor by both characters in the books and readers alike. During his Avenging days, he and Wonder Man would come to be close friends. Beast was even present to administer a check up to Wonder Man and Rogue when the two were finally separated after Rogue semi-permanently absorbed him into her to help stop the boot of an Eternal from crushing the earth. Long, stupid story.
6. Jubilee – New Warriors
After Wanda cast her ‘no more mutants’ spell, many mutant heroes and villains called it quits to their day job. Jubilee tried to do the same, but in 2008 was called back into action when she joined up with the New Warriors. Using technology powered abilities of super strength via gravity manipulation, she went by the codename of Wondra. With a sterner personality that she showed in previous years, she functioned as the team’s co-leader. Her teammates included Stacey-X (former pseudo-X-Man), Night Thrasher, Blackwing, Phaser, Longstrike, Skybolt, Ripcord, Tempest, and Decibel. Yes. A room full of Ls. She’d leave the team in time to be infected with the Vampire virus that would plague her up until this very year when she was cured and had her original powers restored.
7. Teen Cyclops – The Champions
For most people, it seemed as if Beast had lost his mind after the Avengers Vs. X-Men crossover. Mostly because he saw some logic in bringing the original teenaged X-Men from the past into the present in hopes that it would deter his surviving teammates, mainly Cyclops, from becoming the people that they are. Didn’t work, but that’s how they got stuck in the present. The teenaged Cyclops found it exceptionally hard in the present. He not only had to live down his adult self’s mistake, but also live up to his past greatness.
With teen Jean stepping up into spotlight as the team’s leader and adult Cyclops being more influential than ever, even in death, he couldn’t do that as an X-Man. He never left the X-Men completely, but played double duty and joined a young group of heroes in the Champions. Cyclops’ new teammates included Spider-Man (Miles Morales), Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Nova (Sam Alexander), Viz, Wasp, Ironheart, Patriot, Gwenpool, and Brawn, amongst others that played smaller roles like Red Locust and Dust. It was/is basically an introductory team for lesser-known mantle characters. Cyclops and the original five X-Men were returned to their place in the past, thus he’s no longer part of this team young team of heroes.
8. X-23 – Young Avengers
Laura Kinney, also known as X-23 and for a while, Wolverine, is an interesting subject. Like Harley Quinn in DC, she debuted not in a comic book but first in a TV series. In the show, she was feral, violent and nearly mute. When she did finally make her way to the pages of Marvel Comics the character was all that and even more tragic. She survived by turning tricks on the streets and wasn’t opposed to killing her Johns if they got too handy. Even before that she was a ball of death and destruction. As she became an X-Men and began to reclaim her humanity she begrudgingly took every opportunity offered to her to make amends for her past deeds.
Under the pen of Christos Gage, she was made part of the Avengers in Avengers Academy in 2011. When she arrived she was the most experienced member in terms of combat, but maintained her near sociopathic view on life. She remained with the team throughout the book’s run and through Avengers Arena that saw Arcade pit the members against one another, not unlike the Hunger Games (well, exactly like the Hunger Games). Along with teachers like Captain America, Tigra, and Hawkeye; X-23 shared panel time with Striker, Mettle, Finesse, Reptil, Hazmat, Veil, Power Man, Turbo and a host of others- most of which you’ll never see again past being cannon fodder.
9. Sunspot – Avengers/ U.S. Avengers
With the success of the MCU, Marvel made strides in truly rivaling DCs JLA by upping their membership to like… everyone. That included X-Men in Sunspot and Cannonball. They even got their own emblems! Both characters became recurring characters within the franchise for years to come. Cannonball married and had a child with Avenger teammate Smasher (another X-Men franchise based character), but Sunspot is the one that really took to being part of the World’s Mightiest. In U.S. Avengers he used his fortune and connections to field his own team. Penned by sometimes awesome writer Al Ewing, Sunspot’s Avengers were the result of him purchasing A.I.M. and combining their resources with legitimate military backing. His team consisted of Squirrel Girl, Iron Patriot (Toni Ho), Enigma, Red Hulk, Citizen V, and his best buddy, Cannonball.
10. Wolverine – New Avengers
In 2005, Marvel was throwing this character named Wolverine at everything possible. One of those things was the Avengers. Writer Brian Michael Bendis, the destroyer of all that is good in the world, had by this time basically taken over everything Avengers. He’d grown so powerful he was able to pillage characters from other books that historically only had a passing familiarity with the Avengers. In his 2nd volume, he constructed a team of Spider-Man, Fantastic Four’s Thing, Hero for Hire, Luke Cage, and of course, The X-Men’s Wolverine.
These characters were paired with more established Avengers such as Mockingbird, Spider-Woman, Ms. Marvel, Ronin, The Sentry, and Captain America. Out of all the characters I listed, Wolverine was probably the least likely to function on this team. Yet, he remained for years, throughout Avengers Vs. X-Men and came to be part of the Uncanny Avengers, and the Savage Avengers. Why is he ill-fitted to be an Avenger? Same reasons as Moon Knight and Venom. A gushing red ledger with a long history of indiscriminate murder, both willingly and unintentional.