I’m power ranking all of the X-Men (and former X-Men) who are currently appearing in a comic book or have appeared in a comic since Messiah Complex ended. There are 75 total characters to rank (nearly all are mutants) beginning with the weakest and ending with the strongest.

So what are power rankings? Mostly used to rank sports teams on how well they are playing now, my power rankings are a list of X-Men based on what their power set is in current continuity (or most recent appearance). Other factors that determined a character’s ranking are: what their power potential is, what they’ve already proven they can do (so long as it is still relevant in current continuity), and their over all level of badassness. If you disagree with me that’s totally cool- please leave a civilized comment explaining why. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and while I believe this list to be very solid in it’s numbering, I want to hear your thoughts! Holy crapola- we break into the 20s today:

sunspot#32. Sunspot: After Messiah Complex Roberto da Costa left his position of Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club to help train the Young X-Men. When that team disbanded, Sunspot rejoined his old pals in the series New Mutants, which is only two issues into it’s run. I really wanted to rank him a little higher given how powerful he is, but his lack of activity in New Mutants (all he’s done is beat up a bunch of humans with Cannonball- big whoop) and the fact that Wolf Cub kicked his ass (making him bleed) forced my hand in bumping him out of the top 30.

Powers: As his name suggests, Sunspot has the ability of Solar Radiation Absorption which allows him to absorb solar energy and convert it into strength, giving him the power to lift up to 50 tons. He can channel this energy in different ways, such as flight via generating thermal updrafts at speeds up to 150 mph, emitting intense waves of light, and releasing damaging heat waves through thermokinesis. As his main offensive attack, Roberto projects dark plasma energy blasts with powerful concussive force. When he was younger he had to be in direct sunlight for his powers to work effectively, however nowadays he can use his powers when the moon is present- considering moon beams are alternate forms of sunlight. When his powers are in use, Roberto loses the ambient light in his skin, so he converts to darkness.

First Appearance: Marvel Graphic Novel #4, 1982.

warpath#31. Warpath: James Proudstar is one of the most bad ass mother f’ers currently on an X-team. He is a member of X-Force, assassinating threats to mutant kind and presently taking on the powerhouse villain, Stryfe.  During Messiah Complex he dropped a O*N*E Sentinel by himself armed only with his pair of vibranium knives, and has recently combated (and defeated) the Demon Bear alongside Ghost Rider. In the most recent issue of X-Force Warpath is captured by Stryfe but, through sheer force of will, manages to break free of his restraints and punches the Cable clone in the face. It was awesome, but we have yet to learn how it will all pan out. Apparently James is into bestiality as he is in a relationship with the alien-feline-humanoid, Hepzibah. If Warpath wasn’t so limited in his range of attack he’d be much higher on our list.

Powers: James possesses a multitude of super human attributes including, enhanced senses, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. He also has night vision, super strength (he can lift up to 25 tons), super speed up to 100 mph, and can fly by propelling himself into the air. Warpath is an expert hunter and tracker, and fights with two vibranium daggers that were given to him by Storm.

First Appearance: New Mutants #16, 1984.

pixie#30. Pixie: Megan Gwynn is a tricky mutant to rank because her powers are very unexplored yet she has shown great potential with them. In Messiah Complex the young Pixie defeated the X-Men turncoat, Omega Sentinel, by stabbing her with her soul dagger. Then in the events of Manifest Destiny she defeated Empath by stabbing him in the head, also with her soul dagger. During the first issue of the mini series X-Infernus, Pixie stabs Nightcrawler in the head with, you guessed it, a spatula… Nope! Just kidding, she did it with her soul dagger! So yeah, she’s going nuts with that thing. In X-Infernus, she and a team of X-Men go into Limbo to find Illyana and reclaim a piece of Megan’s soul. While the team is successful in finding Magik, Pixie never gets the piece of her soul back and actually ends up losing a second piece, which had a severe effect on her mentally. Upon returning to the X-Men HQ, Pixie heads to the Danger Room to let off steam and appears angrier and more skillful than ever.

Powers: Megan can release Pixie Dust which is a glitter-like substance that upon coming into contact with humans causes hallucinations. She has the ability to detect super natural creatures that are evil in nature, and can summon her Soul Dagger as a weapon. The dagger is a mystical item that disrupts magical constructs and essentially knocks people out, causing Megan’s personality to become darker when in use. Thanks to the mutant Magik, Pixie has learned some spells and is attuned to the forces of magic. One such spell allows her to teleport groups of people long distances and back and forth between Limbo, making her very useful to the team as a teleporter. Megan also has fairy wings that allow her to fly.

First Appearance: New X-Men (vol. 2) #12, 2005.

nightcrawler#29. Nightcrawler: Like the Gambit and Rogue fans ranked before him, I’m expecting Nightcrawler fans to not be happy with my placement of the furry blue demon. Well, the reason why he’s so low is because Kurt Wagner has been nothing but a whiny little bitch lately. He spent most of Messiah Complex in an infirmary, and during Manifest Destiny he was featured in a one-shot where he left the X-Men. Pixie’s ability to teleport more people at a time and farther distances than he made Kurt doubt himself, his powers, and his usefulness with the team so he headed back to Germany for some soul searching. Eventually Kurt returns to the team, but since then we haven’t seen him do much of anything (aside from helping to convince Magik to also rejoin the X-Men) so here he sits at number 29.

Powers: Nightcrawler has the ability of Teleportation. He teleports by displacing himself into the Brimstone Dimension, traveling through it, and then returning to our dimension at a different point from where he originally departed. He travels so quickly through the Brimstone Dimension that his mind is never able to register that he was ever there, and when he uses his ability, smoke that smells strongly of burnt brimstone is left behind. The longer the distance traveled by Kurt in this way the more tiring it is for him. He has been known to go as far as 3 miles in one jump, as his momentum is maintained throughout the teleportation process (meaning he reappears with as much as he left with), aiding him greatly in combat. When Nightcrawler teleports someone with him, the effect is usually exhausting for the passenger, which in a backwards way is beneficial during combat since multiple jumps usually knock the person out. Besides the limitations to distance, the other major weakness with Kurt’s ability is that he can only teleport to a place he can physically see. Well, he can jump blind, but he runs the risk of reappearing within a solid object which would most likely kill him. He has micro suction discs on his body that enable him to easily scale surfaces, as well as night vision, enhanced stamina and agility, and can blend in with shadows making him difficult to detect in low lighted areas. Kurt is also a highly trained swordsman, a pilot, and a devout Catholic.

First Appearance: Giant-Size X-Men #1, 1975.

northstar#28. Northstar: Jean-Paul Beaubier has recently re-emerged on the comic book scene, joining the Uncanny X-Men after being persuaded by Wolverine… get your mind out of the gutter, the persuasion was purely verbal. He’s proud, good looking, Canadian, very gay, and also very tough. He was spending his time away from the X-Men as a professional snow boarder (he even created his own line of equipment for the sport) and despite not doing much yet as part of the team (aside from getting Pixie shit-canned), he has beaming confidence and superior power potential which has earned him this spot in our rankings.

Powers: Northstar has a number of powers, such as Photokinesis which allows him to generate bright white light and emit powerful concussive blasts from his hands and body. His more prominent power is super human speed which gives him the ability to move at the speed of light. John-Paul has never hit that bench mark because if he did his body would be seriously damaged, if not downright destroyed, due to the intense strain at moving that quickly. He can also fly, has heightened reflexes, an accelerated metabolism that heals wounds quickly, enhanced durability (which is why he can withstand running at super human speeds that are less than the speed of light), and G-Force compensation where his body renders the effect null and void. Also, when in contact with his twin sister Auroa, the two posses Gestalt Photokinesis allowing them to project a light with the intensity of 1 million candles. Talk about blinding.

First Appearance: X-Men #120, 1979.

It has been awhile since I could say an issue of Uncanny X-Men was totally awesome. This issue blows the 500th anniversary issue out of the park and should not be missed by any X-Fan!

Brief plot synopsis:

After moving from Westchester, NY to San Francisco, CA only an issue ago, the X-Men are riding high and clearly enjoying the bright sunny weather and their new change of scene. Especially the young mutant Pixie, who is enjoying a night out on the town with her significant other. Things quickly go awry, however, as Pixie and her friend are lynched by a group of mutant hating, hockey mask wearing gang of men who call themselves The Hellfire Cult. After dealing with the Friends of Humanity on the East Coast, the X-Men must now face this adversity in their new environment and Cyclops isn’t happy…

Some thoughts on the issue:

-Both Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction do a stellar job on this issue. Where Uncanny X-Men #500 was flat and exposition filled, Uncanny X-Men #501 is the exact opposite. Both writers capture the fresh energy of the team as they adapt to their new location, and are able to create a West Coast feel, as it is more vibrant and lively than the East Coast. I especially enjoyed the scene where the X-Men are just hanging out at the new mansion. Moments like this are few and far between, and it is a breath of fresh air to see the X-Men kicking back, enjoying each others company, shooting the ‘stuff’.

-Artist Greg Land does great work setting the scene, as the X-Men come across as younger, hipper, and happier than they were on the East Coast. I highly commend Land for making Emma Frost look hot once again. Emma hasn’t looked this good in a long long time, and it’s nice to finally see her be the sexy vixen she’s supposed to be, especially when naked. That’s right: naked. Still, Land could use more variety as most of his women look similar, even though they’re always attractive!

-The cast is a good mix as it includes Cyclops, Emma Frost, Angel, Colossus, Beast, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Pixie. I wouldn’t be surprised if more mutants show up within the next few issues.

-It’s worth mentioning that Emma and Scott’s relationship has definitely evolved over the last few years, and it no longer seems like a forced convention. In this issue, the couple comes across as loving, committed, steamy, and sexy.

-I used to hate Cyclops, especially in the 90’s, but I’ve definitely done a 180 on the character as he’s turned into a total bad ass. It’s clear Scott is no longer Xavier’s golden boy as he isn’t afraid to make the hard decisions. Wolverine respects the guy, and that’s saying something.

-Some one liners:

“Warren Worthington. Angel. Flight. CEO Worthington Industries. Skajillionaire.” – Narration Bubble

“Am I imagining things, or are we all much more… squirrelly… since moving to San Francisco? Not just you and I– All of the X-Men seem much more sex-saturated…” – Emma Frost

“Whatever you say, Warren… Anything to make this awful morning commute go faster.” – Cyclops

“Besides, everybody on this bridge will spend the next day and [a] half telling everyone they know that the coolest thing they ever saw… was the Uncanny X-Men driving to work.” – Cyclops

**MINOR SPOILERS- SKIP TO ‘THE FINAL WORD’ BELOW IF YOU MUST**

I’ve never given spoilers before in my reviews, but I’m so pumped about this issue, I need to talk about a few things:

-Cyclops is setting up multiple bases in the mountains of Marin which are intended to be used as safe havens for all mutants, powers or not. This is very interesting as a move like this seems like something out of Magneto’s playbook as opposed to Xavier’s… remember Asteroid M?

-It was revealed in this issue that Beast is ‘devolving’ as his hands are now more dexterous than ever since his secondary mutation. Does this mean that he is losing his secondary mutation? If so, will others be losing theirs as well?

-The X-Men’s company name, Graymalkin Industries, was a funny touch.

**END SPOILERS**

The final word:

This book was my first ever 5 star rating and deservedly so as it was highly enjoyable. If you’ve been off the X-Wagon for awhile, and are looking for a convenient time to start reading again, this issue and the one that preceeded it are your perfect jumping on points. Make no mistake, Uncanny X-Men #501 is a must have for all X-Men fans and comic book readers alike!

5/5 stars

Uncanny X-Men #501