Once upon a time, Marvel had just a handful of X-related titles: Uncanny X-Men, Excalibur, X-Factor, and New Mutants. Of course that changed in the 90's when the floodgates opened with the adjective-less X-Men by legendary X-scribe Chris Clairemont and at the time up superstar-on-the-rise artist Jim Lee. X-Force (later X-Statix), X-Men (later New X-Men, then X-Men: Legacy) , Uncanny X-Men, a new X-Factor, Generation X, X-Corps, Astonishing X-Men, and X-Treme X-Men came soon after, and they had multiple team reshufflings along the way. With Marvel NOW! there was another great reshuffling and streamlining with X-Men, All New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men Legacy, Wolverine and the X-Men, Cable and X-Force, and Uncanny X-Force becoming the "only" X-team books thus far (er, not counting the hybrid team Uncanny Avengers, and the upcoming Amazing X-Men, that is). <p>Whew. And that's not counting the X-characters sprinkled in other teams such as the Avengers, so you can see this wasn't the easiest of tasks to come up with, but Newsarama has compiled a list of the Top Ten X-lineups ever. Be it Men, Force, Caliber, or Factor, these teams were the epitome of what the X-Men stood for with a compelling line up and great stories that we still talk about to this day. For the sake of simplification, we've eliminated the alternate reality groups from contention. And yeah, we could have easily made this 20. Even next year's <i>X-Men: Days of the Future Past</i> film takes past X-characters and sprinkles in new ones to make their debut for one giant-sized X-team. <p>X-celsior!
This book returned the team to its roots so to speak with it being centered on teenagers discovering and first learning how to utilize their powers. Founded by a Brood-possessed Prof. Xavier to be used as hosts for more Brood minions, but the X-Men struck like thunder and saved the day. The founding team stuck around to join Xavier's School to get a better grasp of their powers. Of course in X-team fashion it eventually grew. Five became eight, and the team went through more changes from there, the biggest one being the book actually being cancelled with issue #100 and renamed X-Force. <p>(Founding Members: Karma, Cannonball, Mirage, Wolfsbane, and Sunspot. Later joined by Magma, Magick, Warlock, and Cypher)
While the United States had its own X-teams, it was time the UK had some x-gene representation. <p>Formed back in 1987 by X-Men scribe Chris Claremont and artist Alan Davis which combined the already established Marvel UK characters, Captain Britain and Meggan with American X-Men characters Shadowcat with pet dragon Lockheed in tow, Nightcrawler, and Rachel Summers/Phoenix. This was considered to be more light-hearted adventure compared to the more grim X-Men books of the late 80's basically due to the fact that they were primarily adventurers that traveled through other dimensions, instead of dealing with more mutant-centric problems back in the states. Excalibur helped breathe new life into Captain Britain, and gave a couple of B and C listers the chance to shine to X-fans. <p>Founding Members: Captain Britain, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Phoenix (Rachel Summers).
This was the run that proved anything and everything could happen in an X-Men title. <p>Recently reformed Emma Frost joined the ranks and gave Cyclops a new lease on his love life when Jean Grey died yet again and added a whole new dynamic to the team. Beast's almost two-decade appearance gave way to his more feline appearance, adding to the whole team getting a make over in slick black uniforms that reflected the recent (well, 2000 recent) movie. Grant Morrison simplified things by keeping the roster small and close-knit so the development of the characters was spread evenly and throughly. Morrison even brought back more of the school elements that had been missing in recent years. <p>And of course, adding in the whole Xorn mystery elements (spoiler alert: Xorn was Magneto...the first time) and it was a well-received run that garnered heavy praise and considered by many fans to be the quintessential X-title of the new millennium. <p>Members: Cyclops, Phoenix (Jean Grey), Emma Frost, Beast, Wolverine, Xorn
The 80's were an odd time for the X-Men as Professor X decided to stay in space with his main squeeze, Lilandra, and left Magento in charge of the Xavier School. What seemed like a potentially bizarre idea turned out to be one of Uncanny's best runs. Think about all the cool stuff we got this with this: Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Colossus essentially became the mutant equivalent of the Fabulous Freebirds, newbies Shadowcat and Rogue getting some great development, and of course punk rock Storm fighting Cyclops for leadership. <p>While this line up is one of the shorter ones, Claremont evolved and pushed these characters and let them actually grow older and helped make way for the newer heroes that would soon join the X-ranks. Eventually, Magneto reverted back to villainy after he left the school as he blamed himself for Cypher's death, but also during this time we also were introduced to Magneto's Holocaust origin <p>Members: Magneto, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Rogue, and Psylocke
Government sponsored and approved, the all-new all-different X-Factor led by former X-Man and Summers brother, Havok, showed us what misfits and rejects were all about. Mainly formed by supporting characters, writer Peter David was allowed to flesh out these characters and with a healthy dose of humor and an almost Avengers-feel to the book. <p>Years later, most of the team had disbanded and was replaced by Forge, who ascended to leadership status, Polaris, Forge's sometimes girlfriend & X-villain Mystique, another former X-baddie turned X-Man Sabretooth, Shard, and ex-Alpha Flight member Wild Child. <p>Although it didn't sell as nearly as the other X-books, it still found a fanbase with David's use of pop culture references and the not always dynamic relationship between the team and the Pentagon. <p>Founding Members: Havok, Polaris, Wolfsbane, Strong Guy, Quicksilver, and Multiple Man. Later joined by Forge, Mystique, Sabretooth, Shard, and Wild Child.
Probably the shortest tenure of any team on this list, lasting a little over a year before giving way to the Blue/Gold teams, it was also probably the oddest assortment. With Marc Silvestri making a name for himself with this run and Chris Claremont again changing the ranks of the team, there was little to not love. Especially considering the fact that everybody thought the X-Men were dead. <p>This era also gave us the first of what would be many "x-overs" starting with Inferno. It also introduced the Reavers, Madelyne Pryor, and the reunion of X-Factor and the thought-dead X-Men, and of course, finally, Dazzler joining the X-Men after more than a 100 issues since her first appearance. <p>Members: Storm, Wolverine, Havok, Colossus, Rogue, Psylocke, Dazzler, and Longshot. Later joined by Jubliee
While most of these adventures have been retconned or ignored by modern day canon, the First Class line up set the stage for what was the come. It introduced Hank McCoy as a brilliant jock and a bit of a prankster, Scott Summers as the shy and almost hesitant leader, Bobby Drake as the class clown, Jean Grey as the new girl on campus, and Warren Worthington III, the brash playboy who wasn't shy to say what was on his mind. This line up was also the longest running without any major shake ups. Of course the fab five later formed X-Factor version 1. <p>Founding Members: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel, and Iceman
How many mutants are too many? Well, to solve that problem, it was rather simple: just make two X-Men teams. <p>Simply called X-Men, which spun off from the long running Uncanny X-Men, the new series helped define the look and feel of what an X-book should read and look like for a whole generation. Adding then rising-star artist Jim Lee for good measure and multiple covers helped make X-Men #1 the greatest selling comic of all time (and still holds that record). What this brand split also did was bring back Professor X in a mentor role and still allowed Storm to lead her own team, instead of bow out to Cyclops again. Though Claremont left after three issues, both titles continued to soar and were made even more popular by the debut of X-Men: The Animated Series. <p>Of course, you had some great moments along the way such as the beginning and end to Storm and Forge's relationship, Scott and Jean's wedding, and the budding quasi-father-daughter relationship of Wolverine and Jubilee. <p>Members (Blue): Cyclops, Beast, Wolverine, Rogue, Psylocke, and Gambit. Later joined by Jubliee <p>Members (Gold): Storm, Iceman, Archangel, Jean Grey, Colossus, and Bishop. Later joined by Forge
Some fans call his book simply "a love letter to Kitty Pryde" and while that's true to an extent, it is so much more. <p>After Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men, Joss Whedon took the reigns and simplified what Morrison had already trimmed even more. Keeping the roster to barely more than a handful, it gave the chance for each character to have their defining moment within this run. Whedon also brought back Colossus from the dead and KatSputin fans delighted with joy. While Wolverine was the scrapper of the team, Whedon didn't pour the spotlight on him, but still gave readers some of entertaining moments that gave Logan a fresh coat of paint without chipping away what had already been founded. <p>Probably the biggest thing this title attributed to was the return of the more colorful costumes and got rid of the more militaristic/"X-men the Movie" look to their uniforms. <p>Members: Cyclops, Beast, Wolverine, Colossus, Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost
This is the big one. <p>When one talks about defining moments in X-Men history, the events that took place in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 will more than likely be at the top of the list. Why? Given the nature of the pretty steady X-Men line-up over the past decade or so, this issue gave us some of the most recognizable and popular names all at once, but at the time? They were brand new. Artist Dave Cockrum had brought over his Nightcrawler character that was originally supposed to be a Legionnaire, but didn't make the cut. You had Storm, the first black super-heroine to play a major role in either Marvel or DC, make her stunning debut. And of course, Wolverine making his way into a title that would define his character to this day. <p>This was everything a team book could have been and what an X-Men book should be. The dynamics of the characters alongside high adventure gave way to even more defining moments that have become classic x-lore. And while Thunderbird didn't make it to his second mission and Sunfire quit soon after, the core six, and with Phoenix, made 7, contributed to some of the greatest comic stories ever told. <p>Members: Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Sunfire, Thunderbird, and Banshee. Later joined by Phoenix (Jean Grey)