When it comes to superheroes, there are a lot of teams with a ton of members that have come and gone. Let's take the X-Men, for example; they have a large family and a giant roster of teammates, but they're also very selective of who they bring into their family. This isn't like the Avengers, where it seemed like almost everyone has been a member at some point.
With the #XMen, you wouldn't catch Hawkeye, Steve Rogers or Johnny Storm among their ranks unless it was a team-up. In fact, even X-Men Crossover events tend to stay among their books (Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, New X-Men, etc). This just makes it even more surprising that certain characters have found their way onto the team in the past. Here are three examples of some seriously surprising members of the X-Men.
As many fans will know, #Juggernaut spent most of his time as a supervillain tormenting his half-brother Professor Xavier and the X-Men. When he wasn't annoying them, he was fighting Spider-Man or gathering stolen money to help cure his best friend, Black Tom. Despite all of that, Juggernaut ended up on the X-Men for a time.
What started as a con to infiltrate the X-Men ended up with Juggernaut becoming a big brother to one of the younger students, Sammy Pare. Juggernaut ended up helping save the day on more than a few occasions, and he and Xavier even made amends for the way they treated each other over the years. He even helped them defeat Black Tom after he ended up killing Sammy.
Series to Check Out: Uncanny X-Men #416 and 421–422 and X-Men #157–164
This is where we really get to see more of the Juggernaut for more than just a destruction personified. We get a chance to see Cain Marko as a big brother to a young mutant with an abusive father just he had.
When you think of #Namor, you don't think of him as being a team player. However, Namor has been on a ton of teams, like the Invaders during World War II with Captain America, and the Avengers. His involvement with the Invaders and the Avengers made sense, since Steve Rogers is his oldest friend, but it's much more surprising to see Namor joining the X-Men.
Even though Namor is a mutant (and considered to be the first mutant, despite Apocalypse's age and claim) he never really associated himself with the X-Men until Norman Osborn's Dark Reign. If not for Namor's help, villains like Bastian and Norman would have succeeded in killing the X-Men.
Series to Check Out: X-Men Second Coming
Namor is NOT a follower, but he won't stand for the bullying of his own people. During Second Coming, Namor continued to go above and beyond to keep the X-Men and his fellow Atlantians safe by joining the team.
After the Axis series turned all of the switched personalities back to their normal selves, Sabretooth remained a kinder and gentler Victor Creed, possibly because there was a hole that needed to be filled after Wolverine died. Like Juggernaut, #Sabretooth made a much better hero than he does a villain.
Sabretooth is still relatively new to the whole "good guy" thing. What's funny is that this isn't even his first time as a member of an X-Men team. His first "real" run was with Rogue's team, where he was kept under a tight leash. He might be a part of the X-Men, but even "good guy" Sabretooth is still just as ruthless as the villainous Sabretooth we often think of. The major difference is that this one doesn't kill and eat people just for fun.
Series to Check Out: Uncanny X-Men (2016)
This is a brand new Victor Creed. It's one thing to be a solo guy with a new attitude, and another to be part of a team with people who can't look past what you used to be. Creed doesn't act like the old him didn't exist, but he does try to be a better person.
Layers Make Good Characters Great
Each of these characters became more well rounded after joining the X-Men because they were no longer just used as random villains to be beaten to overcome the odds. Instances like these prove that characters can be improved with a change in scenery and a different set of characters surrounding them. None of the above changed their core personalities — Namor was still a narcissist, Sabretooth was still ruthless and scary, and Juggernaut was still a destructive force of nature. Instead, they added more layers to who they are, and layers are what make good characters great.
Who's your favorite shocking X-Men member? Let me know in the comments below