The X-Men are one of the most popular superhero teams in all of comics. They have endured for over 50 years in comics, have had several successful animated television series, and next year will have a total of ten movies in a 16 year continuous span. The themes of equality and peaceful co-habitation can appeal to just about any group that has ever been, or felt as though they were, an outcast. This includes racial groups, alternative sexuality groups as well as social outcasts like geeks and nerds. Almost anyone can identify with the struggle of the X-men, and that is most likely one reason why the team has endured for so long. Today we are going to look at some of the greatest mutants to ever join the fight for mutant freedom. While almost any mutant character in the Marvel Universe can be considered an X-Man, this article is only going to use characters who have been members of the actual core X-Men team, so this disqualifies members of other teams, like Cable or Deadpool, and villains (unless, of course, they were part of the core X-Men at some time). This also only counts members of the comics X-Men, not movies or cartoons. So without further ado, the top ten X-Men of all time. As with all of my lists, these are in no particular order.
This smooth talking Louisiana native, sometimes referred to as the Ragin' Cajun, was created by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee and made his first full appearance in Uncanny X-Men #266 (although he had a cameo appearance prior to this in Uncanny X-Men Annual #14). One of the most beloved of all X-Men, Gambit had a small part in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine but will be taking a star role when the film Gambit hits theaters in 2016 starring Channing Tatum as the card throwing mutant.
Rogue made her first appearance in Avengers Annual #10, created by Chris Claremont, Al Milgrom and Michael Golden. Originally slated to appear in an issue of Ms. Marvel, that book was cancelled before Rogue was ever able to make her first appearance. She's had an ongoing romantic relationship with Gambit and was one of the more popular character in the 90s animated series. Rogue was played by Anna Paquin in the movies.
While Warren Worthington III was one of the original 5 X-Men as Angel, he soared to popularity when he was used by Apocalypse to become Death, one of the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse. During the events leading up to the Apocalypse story, "Fall of the Mutants", Warren is shown to have his wings surgically removed only to be replaced with artificial metal wings, given him by Apocalypse. While the Angel version was used in X-Men: The Last Stand, played by Ben Foster, the Archangel version will makes his first appearance in the X-Men film universe, played by Ben Hardy, when X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters in 2016. Angel was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Another founding member, 4 of the 10 on our list are, Beast was also created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The character has gone through many incarnations throughout the years, but one thing has remained consistent- they were all really, really badass. Beast was played by Kelsey Grammer in X-Men: The Last Stand and by Nicholas Hoult in X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Hoult is signed on to reprise the role once again in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Bishop made his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #282 and was created by Whilce Portacio and Jim Lee. Bishop was a wildly popular character during the 1990s, mostly due to his frequent appearances on the animated series, although he was never actually a member of the team on that series. Movie fans got their first glimpse of Bishop in the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, played by Omar Sy, however, whether or not Bishop will be returning to the X-film franchise anytime soon is still up in the air.
My personal favorite X-Man, Nightcrawler made his first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1 and was created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. Nightcrawler is unique when compared to most comic book characters as he is devoutly religious. Nightcrawler is a Roman Catholic, and was at one point even studying to be a priest. Nightcrawler was featured in the film X2: X-Men United, played by Alan Cumming and will be seen again as a younger version of the character in X-Men: Apocalypse, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Another second wave X-Men character, Storm also made her first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1, created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. Storm originally grew up in Africa, having to learn how to steal as a child to survive. When her mutant abilities manifested, she set herself up as a tribal god. She has been one of the longest continuous members of the team, and has even been leader of the team several times. She was played by Halle Berry in the original films, as well as X-Men: Days of Future Past, and will be played as a new recruit to the team by Sophie Turner.
Another original X-Man created by Lee and Kirby, Jean Grey has had the most turbulent career with the team. She was once possessed by a cosmic entity called Phoenix, and even destroyed a planet while under its influence. She's also died no less than ten times. She is married to Scott Summers, also called Cyclops. Jean was played by Famke Janssen in the original films and will be seen as a new recruit, played by Alexandra Shipp, in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Another original member created by Lee and Kirby, Cyclops has been the long-time primary field leader of the X-Men. Once thought to have been above reproach, Cyclops was corrupted by the Phoenix during the events of Avengers vs X-Men and actually killed Professor Xavier. He has since joined up with Magneto and has become something of a tortured villain in the X-books. There is also a younger version of him and the other original X-Men running around in the present, trying to fight Magneto and the older Cyclops and continue the fight for co-existence. Cyclops was played by James Marsden in the original films and a younger version of him, played by Tye Sheridan, will be introduced in X-Men: Apocalypse.
And yes, you knew it was coming...
Easily the most popular X-Man of all time, I've always found Wolverine to be kind of over-rated. I mean, I like Wolverine, he's interesting, I've just never understood the greatest X-Man of all time thing. To be honest, most of the time he is very one-dimensional. Nevertheless, he is the most popular and everyone, myself included, just needs to deal with it. Wolverine was created by Len Wein, Roy Thomas, John Romita, Sr and the late Herb Trimpe and made his first full appearance in The Incredible Hulk #181 (although he had made a cameo appearance in the last page of the previous issue). Wolverine has been everything to the X-Men, including leader and most recently the headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters. Sadly, Wolverine met his fate (rather anticlimactically, I might add) in the 2014 miniseries The Death of Wolverine. Whether he will remain dead or not will remain to be seen. Wolverine continues to be played in all movies by Hugh Jackman, though Jackman is set to retire from the role after Wolverin3 (yes, that's what I'm calling it), which will mark the character's ninth appearance.
Who is your favorite X-Man? Let us know in the comments section below.