X-Men is arguably the most popular team of superheroes ever. The likes of Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Prof. X have become household names, and the series has spawned 8 movies (9 if you count Deadpool), and there are at least 2 TV shows in the works. And those just star the most well known characters.
The X-Men have always been billed as the “Strangest Super-Heroes.” Heck that line is prominent on the first ever X-Men cover. Over the years there have been a ton of mutants shuffling in and out of the team, but not all of them were hits, most of them weren’t. There are numerous reasons as to why certain X-Men don’t work; some are too weird, some are too powerful, and some are just downright useless. Here are 15 X-Men characters Marvel hopes that you forgot about.
Skin’s power is that he has a lot of skin, about 6 feet of extra skin. He can stretch and bend this extra skin and uses that to fight crime with the X-Men. Basically he’s just a limited version of Mr. Fantastic. Skin first was introduced in 1994 as Angelo Espinosa, an ex-gang member from the “streets of LA” who was kidnapped by The Phalanx and experimented on. Because of his ridiculous amount of extra skin, Angelo is colored gray and has the appearance of a melted candle. He’s not so much a bad character as he has a rehashed power (there are at least 3 other X-Men with similar powers) and an uninteresting origin story.
There isn’t much to say about this one. Choir’s power stems from her multiple mouths on her neck. With these mouths she is able to confuse her foes with the best ventriloquism ever. Obviously she was pretty useless and only appeared in a few issues. At one point she was possessed and forced to attack her fellow X-Men, which she was successful at (almost taking down Beast and Wolverine), hinting she could be more skilled than writers let on. We think Wolverine was just scared that he’d kill her by punching her.
When you were little, did you ever sit around with your little buddies and talk about how cool it would be to fuse your favorite characters? Well X-Men writers apparently do that all the time. Slipstream is the obvious example of this as it looks like someone was like “what if we had Nightcrawler, put him on the Silver Surfer’s board, and made him look exactly like Aquaman?” Ta-da! You just created Slipstream. Apparently they felt that a mutant who could teleport anywhere would be too over powered so they decided that his powers needed to come from some weird surfboard he was carrying around. Even though he lost his powers in the M-Day story arc, it’s baffling that Silver Surfer never showed up and sued for copyright.
With Slipstream's sister, writers were desperately trying to keep the surfer trope alive. Her power is to make sure that no one dies. Seriously, it was like writers looked at their work and said, “Even comic book characters should die from being chained underwater. How can we keep that from happening?” Enter Lifeguard, whose power is to save lives. Even though she saves a ton of people, when she finds out that she’s more alien than mutant, her brother and friends reject her. She ends up sacrificing herself to save her alien nation, because Aliens are apparently more accepting than the X-Men.
Ink isn’t the first person to have powers stemming from their tattoos, but he may be the worst. To begin Ink has no powers. Like none. His powers stem from icons that have been tattooed on him by his buddy Leon, who has the mutant power of making these symbols. So Leon is the mutant, not Ink. Leon could give anyone these powers. Second, even though he has access to getting limitless powers, Ink opts for seven. That’s it, seven total tattoos. He could go to leon and get 100 different powers, but he was like “Nah, I’ll just take seven.” To be fair, Ink did put Leon into a coma after receiving his most recent one (giving him the power of the Phoenix Force), so maybe one day. Ink has since been killed off in the X-Men storyline and many fans hope to never see him or his dumb tattoos again.
Spyke is best known as Storm’s nephew from X-Men Evolution. He was a product of the early 2000s with his bleached blond hair, and misspelled name. He was a nice attempt at adding some diversity to the extremely white team of X-Men at the Xavier Institute, but his power just fell flat. Instead of creating something original (or semi-original), writers just took a look at the character Marrow and said, “Yea let’s do that.” While the character arc was relatable to many kids, and his power wasn’t dumb, the fact that he was a direct clone has made Spyke fade out of the X-Men universe, and there is little chance of him coming back.
Though Barnell Bohusk eventually became the somewhat cool Blackwing, his time as Beak is something Marvel wants you to never speak of. When he hit puberty, Barnell’s body went through some changes, but not the kinds you think of. First he grew talons, then wings, then a beak, and finally feathers. He became some weird human-bird hybrid. His power of flight was… not good as he was terrible at it, and the only other advantage he has in a fight is using his beak to peck at opponents. The redesign was warranted, and fans are best to forget the silly Beak, and instead look towards the much better Blackwing for their bird-mutant needs.
Regular people often maliciously attack The X-Men, so they do everything in their power to blend in. Time to time you get a mutant who just cannot (Nightcrawler, Beast) and some whose powers out them accidentally (Jean Grey, Cyclops). Then there’s Cypher, the mutant who can understand every language. That’s all he’s got. Instead of just using that power to it’s true advantage as a professor somewhere, Cypher joins the X-Men and proceeds to be a useless member for years. His overall story arc is his battle with depression because he feels so useless. This is the perfect example of a writer creating a character to solve one specific problem, and choosing to keep him around for no good reason. Cypher is best forgotten.
7 Eye Scream
Eye Scream may take the prize for worst mutant power. He has the ability to turn himself into any flavor of ice cream. That’s right any flavor. We don’t know why he had to clarify that, but he did. This guy tried to infiltrate the X-Men on Kitty Pryde’s birthday, but utterly fails, being melted in his ice cream state. The character was obviously meant to be a joke, but he was not funny. He may have managed to scare young readers away from ice cream for like a second, but then we all remembered that ice cream is delicious. At least he was a villain…
6 Martha Johansson
When Grant Morrison took over the X-Men in the early 2000, he created some of the weirdest, and most forgettable, characters in the comic’s history. The top spot may belong to Martha Johansson, aka No-Girl. She’s a telepath (because there just can’t be enough of them can there?) who was kidnapped and had her brain removed by the U-Men (basically the KKK). However her brain lives on in some weird floating fishbowl thing and she proceeds to attend Xavier’s Institute under Emma Frost’s tutelage. Even though she’s a powerful telepath, fans have not been able to get past that she is just a brain in a jar, because it’s just an overused and dumb concept.
5 Ugly John
Another character that Grant Morrison threw into the X-Men. Ugly John was only in a couple issues of the books, and for good reason. Besides the fact that mutants with friends who look like Nightcrawler, and have a whole crew of friends who are forced to live in the sewer because they are too hideous (The Morlocks), the team give poor Steve the code name Ugly John. Why? Because he has 3 faces. He doesn’t even have any powers, just the 3 faces. We get that the X-Men are some of the more beautiful people in comics, but this nickname is just… mean.
On the surface, Bling! has some pretty awesome powers. She’s a young girl who’s able to produce diamonds that can cover her body or be shot from her chest like bullets. The power may not be exactly original, but it is a cool design. The inherent flaw with Bling! came more from her persona as Roxy Washington. Her parents were big shots in the Hip-Hop music industry and were known to glamorize gang culture and violence, so Roxy turned her back on them. The portrayal of both her and her parents was extremely stereotypic of black culture and was deemed racist by… well any one who read it. It’s for this reason that Bling! has faded into obscurity. For a story line with such heavy handed anti-racist symbolism, it’s shocking that she got included at all.
Getting right to the point here, Zeitgeist’s mutant power is that he can vomit acid. Yea, like if he throws up on you he burns your face off. It doesn’t seem like the most useful power, and it certainly isn’t one fans enjoyed. However, someone looked at that character description and thought “he should lead the X-Force.” The X-Force is an offshoot of the X-Men that is normally led by someone like Cable or Wolverine, the most badass X-Men of all. Writers recognized their mistake and promptly killed off Zeitgeist, hoping fans would forget the vomit spewing mutant.
2 Stacy X
Look, the concept of using pheromones to control others to do what you want is actually a very interesting power. Poison Ivy is great at it, Killgrave perfected it, Stacy X is the worst with it. The snake-skinned X-Man was some weird attempt to make the books more “adult” by including a character who used her pheromones to control men’s bodily functions. She opts to use it to force men into having orgasms until they die. She eventually leaves the X-Men because Arch-Angel refuses her advancements citing her past as a prostitute. We’re all the better for her absence. Note to writers: if your X-Man has an X in their codename, they better be really awesome or we will hate them.
1 El Guapo
El Guapo was a Hispanic man who was in love with his sentient skateboard. Yep, and it gets worse. The skateboard was pretty emotionally abusive to its owner, constantly insulting and belittling the poor kid who just wanted to do good. Though he begins as a good kid, El Guapo is eventually seduced by the Hollywood lifestyle that he is forced into after joining the offshoot of the X-Men, the X-Statix, a job he only received because of his good looks. He proceeds to cheat on his long time girlfriend and attempts to kill a team member for being too popular. The whole X-Statix team was made up of a bunch of a-holes, but El Guapo may have been the worst.