Sabretooth has always been a favorite character of mine. I know it’s all the rage to say that the Joker is the most evil villain in comic books but it has to be the big burly guy named Victor Creed.
Thanks to having a mutation that has gifted him a healing factor (and other predatory animal abilities just like his longtime nemesis Wolverine), Sabretooth has been around forever. Unlike Wolverine, he has no qualms about using deadly force at any times.
This lack of humanity, deadly abilities and no moral compass whatsoever makes him extremely evil. Plus his physical augmentation from Weapon X and several other evil organizations has only made him more unstoppable.
I just love how he never has any redeemable qualities. The few times he has seemed like a halfway decent person were when he was held captive by the X-Men and befriended Boom Boom or was a member of X-Factor, but those were to further his own motives. I even loved his portrayal in Avengers: 1959 where Howard Chaykin took this further by showing how bloodthirsty he will be when there is money involved.
So yes, Sabretooth is a really evil spirited immoral killing machine. I think that’s what also makes the Age of Apocalypse version (the one that was heavily featured in Exiles) such a great contrasting character. That Sabretooth is a role model to the other mutants, even taking in Wild Child and Blink as his pseudo children. I just love the direction that they took him in and it’s great.
Next up is another character that I’ve always enjoyed. He is as sharp as a tack, well the signature double-bladed swords that he carries. I’m talking about the X-Forcer turned X-Factorer Shatterstar.
His debut was fairly straight forward. Shatterstar is a test-tube grown mutant from the Mojoworld of the future who traveled back in time to help the X-Men to help them defeat the alien Mojo who rules the dimension he calls home. His introduction was just like so many of the characters that first appeared in the early 1990s; he shows up, joins a group and starts kicking ass. For the most part, everyone did a good job writing him. He was a displaced warrior who would be much more comfortable fighting people. Needless to say, he jived perfectly with being in X-Force under Cable’s tutelage but not so much when it was the other young mutants running the show.
Eventually they gave him more of a character, with him at one point having acquired the memories of a deceased teenager. But the biggest character growth was under Jeph Loeb’s direction, with an allusion to Shatterstar having a secret relationship with his teammate Rictor. A decade later, Shatterstar and Rictor became public with their relationship and creating Marvel’s premier gay couple. It’s been handled very well, and Rictor and Shatterstar have an extra complexity going on. This is his first romantic relationship of any kind and he doesn’t want the exclusivity that Rictor is seeking. And to make things more confusing, Shatterstar finds himself attracted to both sexes. I like the direction that they’ve taken, making him a coming of age character who is pushing thirty.
Oh and one more really cool thing about Shatterstar…HE’S THE SON OF DAZZLER AND LONGSHOT!!!! Way back in 1992’s X-Men Annual #1, there’s a one-off comment between Dazzler and Longshot talking about naming a child Shatterstar and kicking off two decades worth of speculation. As part of Peter David’s conclusion for X-Factor, this is revisited and is FINALLY confirmed.
And one more thing…Toy Biz made some really cool Shatterstar figures back in the 1990s. I remember vividly picking up the figure on your right when I thought I was way too old to be stopping into a Kay Bee Toys and buying anything. I was a freshman in high school and would have been quite embarrassed if anyone saw me. But then again, I wasn’t invited to any of the cool kids’ parties any way.
So there I was proudly plopping down five bucks to get an awesome action figure which I still have to this day!
Colossus might be one of the strongest in the X-Men pantheon but he isn’t necessarily the most complex Don’t let his shiny silver exterior fool you: this Russian mutant has a heart of gold.
At his heart, Peter Rasputin is a fairly simple man. He is incredibly loyal to his family, willing to forgive his brother Mikhail for forcefully trying to take over the Morlocks or even going to painstaking lengths he went to try to find a cure for the Legacy Virus that was killing his sister Ilyanna. He extends this to his friends, whether it be standing up for Nightcrawler and Wolverine in a bar fight or even to his on-again, off-again girlfriend Kitty Pryde.
Sometimes his selflessness is a detriment, as he sacrificed himself to find a cure to the Legacy Virus which lead to his demise. But this is comics so he was eventually reincarnated. He sacrificed himself to become the Juggernaut in an attempt to save San Francisco.
Colossus is a great supporting character because he is so generous. He is extremely likable and just a nice guy. You can just tell that he would much rather be home in Russia farming and being with his family instead of being a super hero. That makes him cool in my book.
Gideon was a really cool concept for an X-Men villain that always had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, he had a really short life span before he was killed by the mutant vampire Selene. that said, he’s still cool in my book.
He was born in the fifteenth century and served as a crew member for Christopher Columbus’ New World voyage. After being left for dead, Gideon discovered that he was nearly immortal. Not only is he a mutant with the power to mimic the skills and abilities of the people around him, but he also belongs to the subspecies of Externals which have the gift of immortality. Gideon isn’t the type of villain in the Doctor Doom style, that wants world domination, nor is he like the Joker and wants to be an agent of chaos. Instead, Gideon spent his time lurking in the background manipulating the people around him for his own gain and amassed a fortune.
Gideon made himself publicly known around the same time as the original X-Force debuted, as he was interested in mentoring Sunspot whom was believed to be another External. In order to get closer to the younger mutant, Gideon had his father brutally murdered. It turned out that Sunspot wasn’t an External, and it was really Cannonball instead. Eventually the truth was revealed and this put him at odds with X-Force for the rest of his life. Although he never became a full on villain, he did have an odd respect of Sunspot, Cannonball and the rest of X-Force. Towards the end of his life when he feared Selene was going to murder him he reached out to him for assistance. Unfortunately, they got the message too late.
Gideon was an interesting character and the possibilities of what the could do were endless. It’s a shame he hasn’t been brought back to the land of the living.
For my next choice I pick two characters who are completely different from each other but together became one of the best super hero tandems ever. I’m talking about Cypher and Warlock from the New Mutants.
At first glance, they aren’t necessarily the most exciting characters. Cypher was a nerdy friend of Kitty Pryde’s and it was eventually revealed that he had a fairly non-threatening mutant power: the ability to comprehend, speak and interpret any form of communication. Warlock is a techno-organic mutant from a far off alien home world. Needless to say, the two wound up as students at the Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and eventually as members of the New Mutants team.
The two became inseparable and soon were best friends. Thanks to Cypher sharing his own life’s energy to save Warlock, they even share memories. Needles to say, Warlock had an extremely difficult time dealing with Cypher’s death. The alien robot wound up being killed by Cameron Hodge during the X-Tinction Agenda storyline.
Like they say, death in comics is only a relative condition and a hybrid Warlock/Dough Ramsey (Cypher’s civilian identity) showed up called Douglock. This reincarnated character looked like a techno-organic recreation of Cypher, but had both character’s memories. Eventually it was revealed that Douglock was really just Warlock having rebooted himself from Doug’s memories. Once Warlock was aware of that, he deactivated the copy of his fallen friend’s memories. Eventually Cypher was resurrected and Warlock (along with the rest of the now adult New Mutants) was able to break him from the evil Selene’s control.
Warlock and Cypher are just two great characters because of their friendship. The fact that we’ve been reading it about it for almost thirty years only adds to its awesomeness.
Caliban is one of those tragic characters who started out with a really sad depressing origin and constantly made poor life decisions. What makes him such a compelling character is that you constantly take pity on him.
He originally was introduced as a scrawny, sickly member of the Morlocks–a group of disfigured mutants that crested their own civilization under New York City’s subway system. Instead of being taken into their community with welcome arms, their leader Callisto not only used him in order to take advantage of his mutant tracking abilities but exploited his desire to have a friendship/relationship with X-Man Kitty Pryde.
Caliban eventually found a home with the original incarnation of X-Factor, but even that was short-lived. After the Morlocks were slaughtered by the mercenary Marauders, Caliban sought revenge against them but could not succeed due to his weak nature. To increase his physical capabilities, he wound up making a Faustian deal with Apocalypse that did make him more deadly.
Unfortunately it also left him prone to being under Apocalypse’s control. For the rest of his life he wound up being a member of X-Force until he met his demise twice. This is comics after all.
Fantomex is a X-Man that has really grown on me the last few years in Uncanny X-Force. What I like about him is the fact that he really doesn’t belong, yet somehow sticks around the X-Men. He was my favorite part of the Grant Morrison era due to the fact that him being so unique.
The character is a hybrid human/mutant/sentinel that was created by Weapon Plus program to hunt down mutants, but eventually becomes sentient and has allies himself with the X-Men. And thanks to his programming, he thinks that he’s French.
He is a mercenary by trade, and that is how he got caught up in with Wolverine and Archangel’s secret X-Force team. He reminds me a lot of Deadpool, but without the annoying parts and a more practical conscience. He gets under everyone’s skin and is constantly manipulating people. And that’s what makes an interesting character.
Jubilee is one of the X-Men characters that receives an unbelievable amount of hatred from fans, but I think she’s actually a decent character. There is much more to this character than her original dated costume and her lame super power.
Her back story is fairly unremarkable. Jubilee was just like any teenage girl in pop culture at the time; it was 1989 and meant that she would be spending all of her time at a shopping mall. After her affluent parents were murdered, she wound up on the streets and eventually found herself becoming involved with the X-Men once her powers surfaced.
It’s amazing really when you think about how brave a character she is. She pretty much threw herself into the X-Men, as that dangerous life style was instantly safer then being a mutant teenager on the run. I know she got some sort of inheritance from her parents, but that didn’t happen for a while (I wonder if that was ever resolved). And her power, which is pretty much to shoot off plasma fireworks around her isn’t necessarily the best thing to counteract someone in a fight. That said, Jubilee always gets herself involved in the action.
I also really like that over the last twenty years or so how Jubilee has grown as a character. She has matured and is much more than the bratty youngster palling around the X-Mansion. Some of her best scenes have been with Wolverine, who serves as a father figure to her. This sense of family is continued, as Jubilee has taken it upon herself to be a mentor to X-23, Wolverine’s teenaged female clone.
Her maturity has also been also shown in many different ways, including her leadership role in Generation X and how she has handled not only losing her powers as a result of M-Day but becoming a vampire.
Bet you didn’t think Jubilee was this cool? In closing, there’s one thing we can do…listen to this song that pays tribute to our favorite firework shooting X-Man. Take it away Katy!
Strong Guy is a very complex, overlooked and simple character all at the same time. How does that make any sense?
Strong Guy’s power is that he is able to transform the energy from a physical impact into muscle mass, turning his physique into something that a strong man participant could only dream of. That said, Strong Guy isn’t a strong man at heart. Instead, he’s just projecting a large wise cracking, musclebound image.
We learned in X-Factor #87 about his childhood, with him being a constantly bullied, nerdy weakling who covered up his insecurities with a lot of sarcasm. Once his mutant powers kicked in, he still never developed his confidence. He’s spent a fortune trying to impress people and is severely afraid of letting people know that his mutation causes him a lot of pain.
That said, Strong Guy makes a strong supporting character, whether he is a bodyguard for Lila Cheney or Dazzler or a member of the various X-Factor incarnations he has been part of. Strong Guy works so well in the X-Universe because of his dual nature. He loves putting out the image of a tough guy smart ass, like a WWE version of Denis Leary. But his true self, the one all his teammates and friends see, is a very kind and gregarious giant.