I limited myself to seven X-Men, and picked characters who were both iconic and fulfilled a role or archetype on the team. In order for an X-Men team to be worth a damn, you have to have a couple people who can fly, a telepath, a super-strong guy, a martial artist, a scout, and somebody who can attack from a distance. Bonus points if you have a scientific genius.
Here you are, then. Heed my wisdom.
(The cute little pictures of the X-Men come from Ze Ball Breaker's Micro-Heroes Site. Merci, Ball Breaker!)
Cyclops - You have to have Cyclops along to fly the Blackbird and grit his teeth a lot. Plus, you need the long-range offensive capability of his optic blasts, which also come in handy if you’re out in the woods and need to kill and cook a bird or a squirrel. Somebody has to watch the plane. Cyclops, you're in.
Marvel Girl – No, we're not going to call her Jean Grey, she's Marvel Girl. All the X-Men get dumb names, and she should be no exception. We’re including Marvel Girl because she’s incredibly powerful and she keeps Cyclops under control. Every team needs a mind-reader and force-field maker. Still, her usefulness is offset by the fact that you have a 1 in 6 chance of her going apeshit crazy on any given mission.
Wolverine – There is an X-Men bylaw that says Wolverine must be included on every team. Our team needs a rebel, a bad-ass, a Lorenzo Lamas-type. Plus, Wolverine’s healing factor and unbreakable bones make him a great punching bag. Let the bad guys beat on Wolverine while Cyclops picks them off from 200 yards - that’s my strategy.
Colossus – Send Colossus in first. The big metal-skinned Russian was born to absorb punishment, and is handy when obstacles like buildings are in your way. His motto should be, “Behind me, comrades!”
Rogue – The super-powered spandex-clad Southern belle Rogue is almost as strong and tough as Colossus, and she can fly, too! You have to have flying people on the team to carry stuff. Plus, she has a cute accent and a pert, bulletproof bosom. Look, but don’t touch, sugah! I heart Rogue!
Nightcrawler – He is on the team because he is the fucking coolest ever, end of story. A stealthy wall-crawling martial artist teleporter with a prehensile tail and a German accent? Der Komissar’s in town, baby!
Storm – Her eyes kind of freak me out, but her mutant weather powers are so multi-faceted and powerful that she has to go on the team. You never have to worry about watering the plants or about your golf game getting ruined by thunderstorms if Storm is on the team.
So there you go, a fairly standard roster of X-Men. These are characters I would hope to see if I was reading a classic X-Men story. You could throw Beast in there and I'd be extra-happy.
But What If...? What if Marvel Comics hired Dave Campbell to write the X-Men next Thursday (my schedule is open, BTW, Marvel)?
I would have a completely different line-up. Because I am not a famous writer it stands to reason that I wouldn't get the first pick of characters to staff my new X-Men team. That's fine, I can handle it. But can YOU handle my Unexpected X-Men Line-Up?!?!
The Unexpected X-Men would be a team of wacky misfits led by the most unexpected X-Men of all –
Hell, yes. Doc. Samson. Not a lot of people know that Doc Samson is a mutant, but it’s true. Gamma radiation triggered latent mutant powers within Leonard Samson, The Hulk’s psychiatrist, turning him into a green-haired super-strong he-man. Anyway, Doc Samson leads my X-Men dream team. Stop laughing, Doc Samson in my hands would make you weep at the beauty of it all.
Forge – The mutant weaponsmith with the Steaven Seagal look, Forge would come in very handy on my team as a sort of portable Q Branch, supplying Doc Samson’s crew with all kinds of high-tech gear and sage yet cliche wisdom. Plus he could fly the Blackbird.
Warlock – Who doesn’t love Warlock, the shape-shifting techno-organic alien from the early days of The New Mutants? He’s cute and handy, too! Self likes selfriend Warlock!
Sunfire – Sometimes you need to burn some shit with the heat of the sun’s core, and that’s where Sunfire comes in. An X-Men for the briefest period of time, this Japanese mutant has a fabulous costume and can fly, too. He's like the Human Torch, but with dignity.
Darkstar – This Russian mutant controls the extra-dimensional Darkforce and can fly. I've always liked her costume. She’s hired.
Domino – The team’s resident martial artist ass-kicker, Domino has probability-altering powers (she’s really lucky) and a cute little black patch over her eye. Forge can supply her with all kinds of crazy weaponry and make playlists for her. Plus: leather.
The only thing my team is really missing is a telepath, but what they lack in psi-power they make up for in Doc Samson. And you don't need to read minds to know that Dave Campbell's Unexpected X-Men would kick ass, Wolverine or not! I mean, who would you take in a fight - Northstar or Wolverine? I think the answer is clear.