The X-Men’s Take on their own Suicide Squad was cool but… it could have been better.
Jonathan Hickman’s latest offering for House of X (HoX) was equally intriguing as it was slightly traumatizing- but only if you buy that any of these events that occurred are permanent. If you read issues #3 and #4 of HoX, then you know that Professor X and Magneto sent a strike team in to 86 a Mother Mold. The biggest hurdle was the location of the op – that being in low orbit of the sun. (Related: The 10 Best X-Men Covers Showcasing Individual Characters)
The team they chose wasn’t half bad. Wolverine, Jean, Husk, Monet, Archangel, Nightcrawler, and Mystique with Cyclops as mission leader. Good. But it could have been better. Husk is too green. What’s Archangel going to do in a space station? And we saw how useful Mystique ultimately was… With a couple of tweaks, maybe someone would have survived this ordeal. Here are ten X-Men options they could have used.
Do you know what helps when fighting in a vacuum? Not needing to breathe air. There are only a couple X-Men that can survive without air, Mercury is one of them. She’s young and barely trained, but how I see it, if they can send Husk and M on a suicide mission, then the next generation is fair game. Mercury’s usefulness goes beyond her ability to survive. Her non-toxic liquidy body could have easily infiltrated the station and probably gone undetected during the whole sortie. (Related: 10 Most Promiscuous X-Men in Franchise History)
There is no mission where a weapons expert that can absorb and redirect energy is not useful. Over the years, because of Bishop’s ability and experience he’s been fairly effective against Sentinels. To be fair, the only Sentinel that really had any effect on the mission was the primary target – the Mother Mold. What the X-Men did face were soldiers using firearms. Weapons which Bishop’s powers would pretty much render useless. Next to Wolverine, himself, there aren’t many better options to send for anti-personnel. This mission also required a certain level of selflessness. I’d put Bishop’s resolve up against anyone’s. (Related: The 10 Best X-Men for Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe)
If you’re not familiar with the original run of Chris Claremont’s X-Treme X-Men, then you’ve probably never heard of Lifeguard. Since the book ended, she’s barely been used. By barely, I mean, almost not at all. If you read X-Men: The End, then you might remember catching a glimpse of her as she loaded Aaliyah (the daughter of X-Man Bishop and Shi’Ar warlord Deathbird) into an escape pod before dying. She’s more than a finely sculpted, golden, Australian body.
Turns out her mother was a member of the Shi’Ar royal family. Which means she’s already tougher than the average human. Her mutant powers are similar to those of Darwin. Her body automatically adapts to her situation. Through a metamorphic process, it transforms to suit her needs at the given time, including the need to breathe water, fly, and even toughen her skin to act as armor. Flexibility in space is a must. There’s no telling what she could have been to the mission, given the chance.
Unlike everyone else on this list, Trinary played a part in the mission. Mind you, from the safety of mission control on Earth. I understand not taking someone as inexperienced as she on what could be a one-way trip… but Jean did it, multiple times in X-Men Red. In space, there’s nothing more important than the machines keeping everyone alive. Once in range of the station, Trinary’s mutant ability to manipulate and disrupt computer systems could have made her the proverbial gremlin in their machine. She could have possibly achieved the whole mission remotely and she’s been known to hijack a Sentinel when necessary. But yeah, this did call for the presence of professionals, and she’s far from that.
After seeing what that explosion did to the team, something tells me that characters with high durability may have been of better use. When Colossus has his organic skin up, he’s nigh-invulnerable and doesn’t need sustenance, or air. Like Mercury above, that’s a huge advantage when journeying into the most hostile environment imaginable. He can also withstand extreme changes in temperature. Matter of fact, I only know of two occasions where his armor was pierced. Both times by teammates, funny enough (Pete Wisdom and again by Gambit in Age of Apocalypse). Had Colossus been on the mission, he would have walked away from the explosion unscathed and ready to complete the mission, or at least serve as cavalry for his comrades.
Another X-Man that doesn’t need air while in use of their powers. It’s like Hickman wanted as many reasons as possible to see his mission boast a high mortality rate. Though their proximity to the sun may have put Bobby at a disadvantage outside of the space station, inside, he would have been absolutely deadly. Whatever alloy the station is made of was constructed to dissipate heat, which means it’s probably more vulnerable to temperatures on the lower half of the thermostat.
Bobby’s usefulness would have been in how hard he is to kill. His powers are flexible and adaptable. Again, he may have been a liability being so close to a giant star, but he could wreak havoc from within by causing the structure to fail, or at least make it inhospitable for its inhabitants, namely, people with guns trying to kill his friends.
4. Kitty Pryde
Similar to how Trinary could have been useful, the team could have also benefited from Kitty Pryde’s inclusion. Due to her ability to phase through solid objects, she could have easily infiltrated the facility and gained access to one of the locks. Fun fact; while Kitty is phased, she doesn’t need to breathe, eat, or drink. As long as she can maintain her density or lack thereof, she’s essentially a ghost!
She demonstrated as much while being trapped in a giant bullet hurling through our solar system for weeks. How is this anything like Trinary? Well, Kitty’s powers naturally disrupt computer and electrical systems as she passes through them. Had she been deployed somewhere near, let’s say, life support, the station’s crew may have been sufficiently distracted while the X-Men saw to their mission.
Speed and self-propulsion are most certainly as useful as being tough when doing anything in the vacuum of space. Cannonball is about as durable as any normal human. That is until he’s using his kinetic blast field. While his field is up, and he’s moving at break-neck speeds, Sam is nearly invulnerable. So much so, he’s been able to shrug-off full strength punches from Gladiator, a character that’s said to be among the strongest in the Marvel Universe. Had he been equipped with an air supply; Cannonball could have acted as a great back-up plan to rid the Mother Mold of its arms. Or just used to punch holes in the station’s hull for any number of reasons.
Rogue definitely can’t survive without breathing on her own, but if she had access to anyone on her team that could, then the sky’s the limit in how much damage she could have done. In the past, I may have questioned her usefulness on a mission such as this, from the standpoint of having the proper mindset. However, during the last half-decade or so, she’s grown into quite the leader.
She’s not afraid to make the hard call or sacrifice herself and even her team for the greater good. Other than her ability to take on the powers of others, and having a great resolve – Rogue is also physically as powerful as Wonder Man and can fly to boot. If we take into account her more recent developments, Rogue doesn’t even need to touch people to sap their strength, powers, or minds. Anyone within a given radius will immediately fall prey to her.
Magneto would have probably been one of the best candidates to send into space to take out an installation. There’s absolutely no way that the station, or the Sentinels its utilizing, were constructed using plastics. That means the Master of Magnetism would have a field day up there. Not to mention his ability to possibly manipulate the sun (he can control all electromagnetic fields, not just on Earth). The man could have created a solar flare and wiped out everything for a million miles. However, I get not sending one of your leaders on a suicide mission.
From the militaristic standpoint, it’s counter-intuitive. But they did have the next best thing. His daughter, Polaris. She’s almost as powerful as her father and has the bonus of being expendable from a narrative standpoint. Also, I think we would have been hit more in the feels had we saw her go down instead of Husk. Sorry Husk fans. Other than screwing with the sun or rag dolling some Sentinels (or soldiers), Polaris could have easily made a large portion of the station look like a ball of tinfoil. Perhaps even ripped away the arms holding the Mother Mold in place, all by herself. Hindsight is 20/20, though.
Had they replaced any of the weaker links that took the journey to the Sun with any of these picks, I think they may have had a better return on their investment. At least, perhaps gone out with a bit more fervor than they did. These are our picks, what are yours? Let us know below!