The 100 Greatest X-Men, #50 – #46

Let’s head into the top fifty X-Men of all time, guys. We’ve cleared the first half of the list with relative ease, and cast aside the substandard X-Men. Now it’s time to really get into the quality materia… wait, actually, these five aren’t particularly great either. There’s some good ones here, but… well, you’ll see as you read on. The list is going to kick into fifth gear soon, guys! Hold tight! We’re almost clear of the driftwood!

50: Cannonball

Oh! A second Guthrie makes it into the list. This is almost certainly the final Guthrie to appear, however. Sam G. has been responsible for the New Mutants in virtually all their iterations, until he finally realised they were kinda boring and escaped their dark thrall. And then he got pulled back in again, but let’s not talk about that nonsense. Cannonball has the mutant power to be invulnerable while he’s blastin’ – and if that doesn’t make sense to you, then obviously you need to spend more time on Wikipedia. Basically his legs are like jet engines or something, and it’s totally stupid but you’re just going to have to go with it, you guys. Cannonball’s legs explode and he can fly around by exploding his legs. Let’s put it this way: there’s a reason why nobody’s put him in an X-Men movie. Because his powers are stupid. But anyway, Cannonball was also the only member of the New Mutants team to graduate into the X-Men proper. While his team-mates languished in unread cult stories, he appeared in popular cult stories, such as X-Treme X-Men and Mike Carey’s run on adjectiveless X-Men. During this time, Cannonball developed into a strong soldier with a maverick edge – personality traits which completely evaporated recently when he was pushed back into New Mutants and subsequently ruined.

49: Fantomex

First introduced in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, Fantomex was designed to be a parody of ‘edgy’ characters such as Gambit or the entirety of the GI Joe cast. How fitting, then, that comic-book fans loved him unironically and didn’t realise that Morrison was making a joke at their expense. After Fantomex murdered his way into their harts, fans cheered as he shot people in the knees and had sex with Mystique. He wore bow ties long before Dr Who made them cool, and wears a ceramic pot on his head which apparently stops telepaths from reading his mind. He was eventually revealed to be another part of the ‘Weapon Plus’ programme which designed super-soldiers like Captain America, Wolverine, and, uh, Nuke. Fantomex’s real name is Charlie, and he was created in England after his mother was hideously raped by a robot. Seeking to disassociate himself from his past, Cahrlie developed a French accent and vomited out his own central nervous system: he decided to keep it as his pet and nicknamed it Eva. Eventually it developed into a sentient spaceship which he can fly around in, and he joined the cast of X-Force where he continues to murder his way into the hearts and minds of children everywhere.

48: Karma

Another member of the New Mutants. Karma is a Vietnamese lesbian and the legal guardian of her little brother and sister – she’s also a mutant. With one wave of a legal document she could cripple a welfare system. What’s interesting about Karma isn’t really her personality, which is more or less none-existent (that’s why she was put on the New Mutants, after all), but her powers. She’s a telepath, but not in the way that you might expect. She can’t really talk to people using her thoughts, or overhear thoughts. Instead, she can possess people for a short period of time, control their actions, and make them wander around for a bit. This has put her in contention with other characters who prefer possession – one memorable encounter with villain The Shadow King left her with 300lb added to her body. She worked it all off, thankfully, and became a socially-acceptable thin person once more. Karma is one of the seventeen characters currently in love with Kitty Pryde, and is a far better choice than Colossus. Stuck in the New Mutants team again, Karma also suffered the indignity of having her leg amputated and a replacement thrust into her by a patriarchal medical service. When will It Get Better for Karma?

47: Marrow

One of three X-Men who are usually lumped together by fans, Marrow quickly outgrew her compatriots Maggott and Cecelia Reyes. This is mostly because she has a genuinely brilliant backstory, which sees her retconned in as a young member of the Morlocks. Taken in by them as a child, she witnesses Callisto fight Storm, and saw Storm win. She thought Storm would save her, but soon realised that Ororo Monroe had other things to concern herself with. Marrow later narrowly escaped the events of the Mutant Massacre, saved by Gambit just before she could be killed by the Marauders. She fell under the command of several ill-natured mentors before Callisto eventually sent her to the X-Men, realising that Xavier’s bunch were the only people who could help Marrow come to terms with her past. After a few days with the X-Men she became a supermodel beauty and beat up Wolverine on a regular basis, but her immense rise was followed by an even more immediate fall. When her creator Scott Lobdell left the X-Men, Chris Claremont had little interest in using characters HE HAD NOT GIVEN LIFE. So she was booted out the X-Men, depowered during M-Day, and (the worst indignity of all) exiled to Peter David’s X-Factor, where she made a cameo this one time.

46: Nurse Annie

We all know somebody just like Nurse Annie. Who among us hasn’t got a friend who works as a nurse and allowed her mind-controlling son to manipulate her into a romance with a coma victim? That’s Nurse Annie’s story, as far as it goes. The coma victim was Havok, and Annie’s son Carter then woke Havok up, forced him to love Annie back, and watched as the ensuing car crash played out. Havok was already with Polaris, and Annie was a mutant-hater, and the forty-something issues where Annie appears are probably some of the most bizarre comics ever produced. Created by Chuck Austen, Annie became the resident Nurse for the X-Men – when she wasn’t squabbling with people like Husk, that is. Immediately unlikeable as a character, Annie was disliked by just about everyone. She was shrill, judgemental, and she was being forced into a continuity which didn’t want to support her. She was also blatantly a version of Chuck Austen’s wife, roughly thrust into the X-Men universe. Annie Ghazikhanian was a piece of work, alright. But she was a damn fine nurse.


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