The X-Men are, without a doubt, my favorite superhero team. I grew up watching their cartoon in the ’90s, loving their movies in the ’00s, and finally getting into their comics as an adult. There have been countless team rosters over the years, and I’ve often thought, If I were to build my perfect X-Men team, who would it include? Obviously, there’s a temptation to just throw in endless characters, so I have to set limits–let’s say that only six characters are allowed. So, which six would I pick and why?
This one should be obvious. If you’re putting together an X-Men dream team, you’ve got to include the best leader the X-Men have ever had, and that’s Storm. Post-Dark Phoenix saga, Storm led the X-Men through some turbulent times–including major stories like the Mutant Massacre. She even beat Cyclops in a duel for leadership of the team… while she was depowered. That’s right, Storm doesn’t even need her mutation to kick ass! Of course, just because she doesn’t need her mutant ability doesn’t mean she won’t take full advantage of it, and weather manipulation is one of the most incredible powers the X-Men have ever had at their disposal.
On top of being an unstoppable badass, Ororo has always been wise, kind, and generous. She’s a fantastic leader and role model for other mutants; it’s no wonder she’s so frequently taken up the mantle of leader.
Also? One time, she got shot in the head in the middle of nowhere, survived the gunshot wound, and made her way back to civilization. Again, while without her powers. Oh! And let’s not forget that she also dueled Calypso for leadership of the Morlocks and won that, too. She’s just too awesome not to include.
Yeah, yeah, I know, this is a cliched pick. But let’s face facts: Wolverine is popular for a reason! He’s a cool, interesting, and complex character when written properly. Go back and read the Claremont stuff–he gets fantastic character development throughout it.
Besides, I’m not picking him for the reason you think. Do I want a frontline combatant with unbreakable claws and functional invincibility on my team? Sure, I’d be a fool not to take that into consideration. But the real reason I want him on this team is that Wolverine and Storm are an amazing mutant power couple. They complement each other excellently, having gone through parallel arcs back in the ’80s–Ororo’s leadership of the X-Men forced her to harden herself and make tough decisions, while the team’s influence softened and ennobled Wolverine; they both ended up in the same middle ground, and they both understand each other. Plus, I much prefer the two of them having a stable relationship to Wolverine mooning after Jean.
A newer addition to the X-Universe, Honey Badger is an utter delight. For those unfamiliar, she’s a clone of X-23 (who is a clone of Wolverine) introduced in Tom Taylor’s fantastic All-New Wolverine series a few years back. She’s become a little sister of sorts to Laura, and balances out X-23’s serious demeanor with a goofy, childish persona. To this point, she hasn’t had much interaction with Logan, but I’d love to see the two of them on a team together. Wolverine has a wonderful relationship with Laura, but the two of them are quite similar in terms of personality; I’d love to see how he handles the much wackier and more upbeat Honey Badger. I also think that Storm’s penchant for mentoring younger X-members would have a positive impact on Honey Badger; the three of them could form an adorable little family unit within the team!
Did I mention that she also has a pet wolverine named Jonathan? Because that’s another big reason to include her.
Nightcrawler is my favorite X-Man, so I was guaranteed to include him in my lineup. What’s not to love? He’s got a great character design, he’s funny and charming, his teleportation power is extremely useful, and he’s a skilled combatant. He’s an asset to any team! Plus, he’s Wolverine’s best friend, making him the Cool Uncle of the family unit I set up with my first three picks.
Also, he fought his way out of the afterlife to save his friends, which is impossibly cool. Even death can’t stop Nightcrawler from contributing to the team–that’s a guy you definitely want on your side!
Rogue rocks. I’m a sucker for a redemption story, and watching Rogue transform from a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into a full-fledged X-Man was one of my favorite parts of Chris Claremont’s legendary run. She’s got a spot on any X-Men team I’d ever make, that’s for sure. Besides, as the adoptive daughter of Mystique, she’s kind of Nightcrawler’s sister, which means I get to extend this whole familial metaphor even further! Yay!
Another reason she’s a great pick? Her power set is extremely useful. On top of the standard flight and super-strength, she can quickly siphon new skills and even memories from anyone else nearby; it’s not something she enjoys doing, but it’s a nice trump card to have if she ever needs it!
Lastly, it’s Magik rounding out the team. The arcane arts are an important part of the Marvel universe, so it’s best to include at least one team member who knows a bit about them. Plus, Magik has an interesting history with Storm that will allow the two of them to play off each other nicely (and, incidentally, could allow her to view Storm as a surrogate mother figure, cementing the entire crew as sort-of family members. Boom, made it work).
She’s also a wonderfully complex character in her own right, and might be one of the few X-Men who can beat Logan in the ‘tragic backstory’ department. Plus, I love the horror elements she brings to the table!
So, what are your thoughts? What X-Men would you pick for your dream team?