The 100 Greatest X-Men, #25 – #21

25: Mamma Guthrie

Her age and appearance may vary wildly depending on the creative team, but Lucinda Guthrie almost always maintains the fiercely protective personality which has kept the majority of her children alive – even though they’re mutants. Considering she has about seven kids or something, the fact that only one has died thus far shows her strength as a matriarch. While Jean Grey’s family are almost entirely dead, and Cyclops’ family are dependent on alternate-reality members to maintain their strength as a group, the Guthries are working at almost full power. And this is despite a Decimation which depowered several of the kids.

Among others, Lucinda is the mother to Cannonball, Husk, Icarus, and a host of other minor characters. Some of whom are mutants, and some human. Mamma Guthrie’s importance to the X-Men cannot be underestimated – Cyclops’ army needs an inexhaustible supply of cannon fodder, and Lucinda’s womb is more than up to the task of providing him with them. She hasn’t appeared in a long time – not since she stopped Dark Beast from killing one of her sons – but she’s probably popped out a few more kids while in limbo. It’s amazing Xavier hasn’t put her on retainer.

24: Armor

There is a theory which suggests that student characters are unimportant and take up meaningless panel space which should be allotted only to older, more recognisable characters. This theory is mostly suggested by old people who are threatened with change. For every pathetic character like Hellion, there is a promising character like Armor. She may not have much development as a personality – a recent X-Men ‘origins’ anthology embarrassingly had barely anything to say about her – but she’s been deadly useful to the X-Men as of late. Hisako Ichiki was created by Joss Whedon during his underwhelming Astonishing X-Men series, and her power of creating a big bubbly forcefield around her body gives her an immediate visual impact in splash pages – in essence, making Colossus obsolete.

 Her first mission was a total failure, which also suggests she is being set up to take Rogue’s place once she grows up. Since then she’s failed to do anything of any import – either to save the X-Men or to register as anything more than a blip outside the ‘Astonishing’ series she appears in – and yet her reluctance to give in despite overwhelming levels of failure mark her as perhaps the truest example of Xavier’s dream.

23: Dani Moonstar

The Decimation was a good thing for some characters. Dani Moonstar’s powers were so utterly terrible that losing them after M-Day transformed the character overnight. Struggling to maintain even D-List status, losing her powers suddenly catapulted her back into relevancy. She was a Native American character who shot “fear arrows” at her opponents as part of the New Mutants team, and was maintained for years as Cannonball’s underling. Once the powers went, however, she was given a new purpose and rose above her former teammate in popularity – to the extent that she is now considered the New Mutants team leader and he’s ducked into obscurity. Moonstar has been involved in countless stories with the X-Men, such as the time she fought a bear or that other time she fought a bear.

Let’s be frank: most of the time she’s fighting a bear. But sometimes bears need to be fought, you guys. It’s a very powerful metaphor you need to think about. Interestingly, Moonstar is one of the few characters who was never given an S&M revamp by Claremont. While Storm, Psylocke, Rogue and many other women were overpowered and overdone, Moonstar’s always been sat there, unused, waiting. She’ll never make it into the A-List, but she’s finally been established as part of the B-List.

22: Hope Summers

The newest character to appear anywhere on our list. Hope Summers was the ‘messiah’ of the X-Men’s recent ‘Messiah Trilogy’, appearing in Messiah Complex as a baby and gradually growing up over the course of Duane Swierczynski’s ‘Cable’ series. After years of training with one of the best soldiers ever cloned, Hope’s journey led her to the X-Men, and into the overblown Second Coming event storyline. That story saw her father-figure get blown up, and ever since she’s had to deal with living alongside the incompetents who seem to think she is going to reverse M-Day. Hope’s personality recently took a bit of a nosedive – basically once Swierczynski left her – but she’s finally found a new writer who understands her, and with Kieron Gillen in charge she’s started to recover once more.

She’s popular enough that Marvel launched a series just for her, late last year, called ‘Generation Hope’, in which she sets out to explore the apparent return of mutants to the Marvel Universe. She now has five minions working for her, which sets her up as the new Professor Xavier. However, Xavier never smacked Cyclops in the face with a gun and called him a son of a bitch, which gives Hope a slight advantage. The best Hope stories are the ones where she has nothing but a knife and perhaps a few rags, and somehow manages to win the day. She’s one of the toughest X-Men around, and also she really winds up Jean Grey fans.

21: Rachel Grey/Logan

So let’s pacify them almost immediately by placing Jean’s daughter into the list. Rachel Grey/Logan is an alternate reality character, and perhaps the only one to ever really matter in the X-Men Universe. Well, I say alternate reality, but really she comes from deep into the X-Men’s future. At some point in time Jean Grey and Wolverine are going to conceive Rachel, at which point the ‘Days of Future Past’ storyline will move into motion and mutants will almost all be wiped out.

So before that could happen she decided to travel back in time, at which point Claremont did some totally inexplicable things to her backstory and made her impossible to understand. So let’s ignore that and focus on what’s important here. Rachel may have spent most of her time bickering and whining about her dead/undead/reborn Phoenix of a mother before being jettisoned off into space limbo by Ed Brubaker, but the character has lived an incredibly varied life. Jumping from team to team as is her wont, she developed a version of Jean’s Phoenix powers and flirted a lot with Nightcrawler. She also turned into a dinosaur once, and has been known to die and come back to life sometimes.

A lot of fans don’t like her, but that dislike at least shows that she’s got a personality to hate. There’s a lot of characters who don’t even merit that kind of interest. So, Rachel Grey makes the list. And it looks like she’s coming back soon, too! And written by Mike Carey!


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