My grandma used to say “There are a lot of fish in the sea.” The sheer variety of tuna, tripe and coelacanths, however, pales in comparison with the sheer number of students and affiliates of Xavier’s School for Gifted Children.
Buckle up, Faithful Spoilerites. These X-Men stories get complicated… Welcome to Ten Things!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and ‘A World That Hates And Fears Us’, Presents:
TEN LESSER-KNOWN X-MEN (AND X-MEN AFFILIATES)!
I’m going to be honest here: He’s mostly on the list because of his fabulous costume, even if it does feature the sort-of cliché Rising Sun imagery a bit too prominently. In his initial appearance, he opposed the X-Men, and his origin was explicitly tied to the World War II bombing of Hiroshima, which I still find distasteful. Still, his pride didn’t keep him from joining the emergency efforts to save the original X-Men from the menace of Krakoa, The Living Island when ‘Giant-Size X-Men’ dawned, but it did have him quitting rather quickly, thanks to his confrontational nature and short-temper. One of the founding members of Big Hero 6 (a very different affair in the comics from what the kids are watching at the movies, I should mention), he was last seen as part of the Avengers Unity Squad, fighting against Apocalypse for whom he once worked as the Horseman, Famine.
Madison Jeffries, aside from having a perfectly adult-film star name, is a very useful guy, with the ability to reshape metal, glass and plastic using only his mind, making him sort of a blue-collar Tony Stark. As a long-term member of Alpha Flight, he often provided the team’s transport capabilities, and was excellent as both a defensive and offensive player, reshaping his robot form and anything else he could find in wild ways. Since all mutants are required by Marvel Universe law to serve a tour with the X-Men, he was recruited by The Beast to serve in the X-Club, a team of geniuses who assembled to address the devastation of mutants by the Scarlet Witch post-House Of M. (To answer the question you’re probably asking right now: His hero name is taken from Roger Bochs, the original inventor of the Box robot shell.)
Known to comic-book cognoscenti as “What If Pamela Anderson Were A Mutant?”, Heather Cameron’s powers are adaptive, allowing her to gain new ones to deal with any life-threatening situation. As a member of the X-Treme X-Men team, she didn’t get a whole lot of play, and like many of her adaptive ilk (Darwin, Rogue and The Mimic, notably), she has maintained some of her power-transformations permanently. Still, as a super-powered, gorgeous, winged, golden, statuesque beauty with a balcony you could do Shakespeare from, it’s kind of hard to feel terribly bad for her…
Originally a member of the euphoniously named ‘Alliance Of Evil’ (whose strongman was named, no joke, Tower), Joanna Cargill has been a villainous character for most of her career, taking a turn as one of Magneto’s weird, culty Acolytes. (They can’t hold a candle to the Undertaker’s Acolytes, Farooq and Bradshaw, though.) After M-Day wiped out most of the mutants who didn’t have ongoing series, Frenzy was amazingly left with her super-strength and joined the X-Men proper after suffering through an alternate timeline where she turned out to be married to Cyclops and realizing she could turn her life around. She is, to my knowledge, still kicking around the Xavier school and/or schools…
Ink is one of the very few X-Men (along with The Mimic and Longshot, both of whom were later retconned) to serve as an X-Man without actually being a mutant. Instead, he has tattoos that are EMPOWERED by the artist, who is himself a mutant, and each tattoo has a specific effect. Technically, Ink is a “Young X-Man”, rather than a member of the world’s largest mutant fighting team, and was left in a coma after getting a tattoo of the Phoenix on his face, which served a double-duty of “overcharging” his brain and making him unhireable at McDonalds. Ironically, after falling into an irretrievable coma, he has appeared in crowd scenes unharmed, proving that X-Men never die, they just end up being used for background detail.
5) AMANDA SEFTON (MAGIK II)
Amanda Sefton, aka Jimaine Szardos, is probably only familiar to most Spoilerites as the subject of any number of snarky internet comments about her romantic relationship with her semi-adoptive brother Nightcrawler. As far as I’m concerned, if the big-time hero of a CW television series (*coughBarryAllencough*) can be in love with his pseudo-stepsister, then Kurt and Jimaine’s love is hardly a big deal. As a comic-style super-witch, Jimaine’s powers aren’t mutation-derived, but she did serve with both Excalibur and Moira MacTaggart’s emergency Muir Island X-Men team, using code-names Daytripper and Magik (which together sound like an AMAZING E.L.O. song) and is one of something like nine people who have developed the ability to use a soul-sword, although I think she lost that power after being smacked around by Belasco, the ruler of weird Hell-Pocket dimension.
In the wake of ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men’, the world is suddenly seeing a proliferation of new mutants (not to be confused with The New Mutants), including our toothy friend here. A young Brazilian girl, Iara Dos Santos has the ability to shift into a shark-hybrid body and then a full-shark, sort of a marine version of Wolfsbane from the aforementioned New Mutants. As one of the new kids in the X-mansion, she’ll likely get depowered, blown-up, put into a coma (or all of the above) before joining Ink in background crowd shots for the rest of her days. Still, it could be worse: If she made it to the main roster, she’d have to become Dark Shark-Girl and murder a bunch of people before redeeming herself by kissing Wolverine or something…
3) RED LOTUS
An Australian mutant martial artist, Red Lotus worked with the X-Treme X-Men (it’s fun just to type that) and even helped them to repel an alien invasion with only his fighty-fighty skills. He seemed well on track to being an X-Man, taking that roguish bad boy spot that Wolverine and Gambit carried for so long, but got sidelined and forgotten during one of the periodic creator shakeups of the X-books. After most of the mutants got depowered on M-Day, no one has seen Red Lotus, but I like to think he’s sitting in a bar in Adelaide right now, tipsily reminding the bartender how he used to be somebody, how he was THIS CLOSE to being played by Hugh Jackman, so why should he have to pay for his whiskey sours, anyway?
2) FRED DUNCAN
Ahhh, Fred Duncan, that most puzzling of entries in the Official Handbook of The Marvel Universe. Originally Professor Xavier’s friend/handler in the FBI, he was actually a casualty of a change in tone, as the team of outcasts feared by a public that hates them wouldn’t be particularly likely to work hand-in-hand with the government that funded Sentinel technology. Still, Fred has appeared here and there since being phased out of the book, and was eventually killed (off-screen) by someone who used his stockpile of knowledge about mutants against Xavier’s children of the atom, turning a footnote into a plot point. Why he appeared as a member of the X-Men in the original Marvel Universe handbooks is still in question, though…
Originally a creation of Electro used to battle Spider-Man and his amazing friends (that’s Iceman and Firestar for you young’ns), Video-Man eventually somehow merged with a young arcade-goer named Francis Byte…
Sorry, had to gather my wits for this one. The pinnacle of technology (circa 1983), Video-Man assisted Spider-Man and his fire-and-ice mutant buddies against a villain called The Gamesman before accepting an invitation to join the X-Men. Most of you probably have two questions, the answer to the first of which is that he appeared in a single episode of “Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends”, which is why you’ve never heard of him. As for what happened to him? I have to assume the same thing that happens to dozens of kids at the Xavier School every year: a tragic Danger Room fatality. Let’s be honest, folks, you can’t have a high school gymnasium that fires flaming razor-edged projectiles without breaking a few eggs. Still with the resurgence of retro 8-bit technology as an ironic echo of video games past, can a full-on Video-Man return be far behind? (I hope not!)
As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, especially since there are literally HUNDREDS of X-Men, many of whom are merely ersatz versions of each other used when another was unavailable due to editor caveat. None of them will ever be as cool as Video-Man, though. Fortunately for us, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]