Marvel's merry mutant community is creating a brand new X-Men superhero team, and Marvel Comics is letting X-Men fans and readers vote in a member.
Marvel is democratizing the addition of the last member of this brand new and first official 'X-Men' team in the Jonathan Hickman-Krakoan era. Marvel is holding an online vote that began Wednesday, January 27, and will continue until Tuesday, February 2.
For fans interested in learning about each candidate before casting a vote, here's a look at all ten, with a little about their history, their powers, and why they would make a good member of the new team.
Sean Cassidy/Banshee is one of the X-Men's oldest allies – though as with many of their longtime members, he started out as their enemy way back in 1967's X-Men #28. A former Interpol agent, Banshee first encountered the X-Men when he was forced to fight the team by a villainous mutant group. After teaming up with the X-Men to defeat the villains, Banshee eventually joined the team as one of the members of the All-New X-Men in Giant-Sized X-Men #1.
Banshee remained on the team for years, eventually becoming one of the instructors of the young Generation X team. A mutant family man, Banshee's daughter Siryn, who shares his powers (see below), eventually joined X-Force, while his cousin Black Tom Cassidy, a longtime villain, is now part of X-Force himself as a citizen of Krakoa.
In the years after his time with Generation X, Banshee died, and despite a term as Apocalypse's Horseman of Death, he was resurrected on Krakoa and is back in good standing with the X-Men.
Banshee's powerful sonic scream is his main ability, a power that lets him manipulate soundwaves to devastating effect for both offensive and defensive capabilities, and even allows him to fly. He was even once pitched as an X-Men team leader by writer/artist Declan Shalvey, meaning his X-Men prominence isn't lost behind the scenes either.
The daughter of Magneto himself, and a mistress of magnetism in her own right, Polaris's X-Men history goes all the way back to the team's earliest days in 1968's X-Men #49 when she faced off with Iceman under the mind control of the villainous Mesmero. After Mesmero's control, Polaris joined up with the X-Men, eventually forming a long on-again-off-again relationship with Havok, Cyclops's brother.
Though her team affiliation has wavered between X-Factor, the X-Men, and other teams over the years, Polaris has remained a steadfast mutant hero and ally of the X-Men – but her time has been marred by tragedy, once losing her powers, and then being turned into Apocalypse's Horseman of Pestilence.
In the Krakoa era, Polaris's powers have been restored, though the trauma she experienced has left her struggling with her mental health. Still, she's remained one of Cyclops's go-to allies for his missions, with her magnetic abilities, which rival that of even Magneto, proving to be one of the X-Men's most powerful and versatile weapons.
She's also an eternal fan-favorite character, with her aloof sense of humor, signature green hair, and unique position in mutant lore consistently winning her die-hard fans.
Like many of her mutant peers, Tabitha Smith has taken on many codenames over the years, debuting in 1985's Secret Wars II #5 before joining the New Mutants as Time Bomb. But in the hearts of her fans, and once again on the page, she remains Boom Boom, an acerbic, explosive X-Force enforcer with a heart of gold beneath her aloof demeanor.
As one of X-Force's longest-tenured members, Boom Boom (who's also gone by Meltdown, Boomer, and Firecracker) has often used her power to generate orbs of concussive plasma to take on mutantkind's dirty work.
For a while, she even graduated beyond the world of the X-Men, joining the team NextWave alongside Machine Man, Monica Rambeau, and others for a series of often bizarre adventures that cemented her place as a cult favorite in the Marvel Universe.
Boom Boom got her last big outing in the New Mutants: Dead Souls limited series, where her demons led her to drink heavily through one of the X-Men's most tragic periods. Now, with Krakoa rebuilding what Boom Boom and her friends lost, many fans would be perfectly justified hoping for some light at the end of the tunnel for Tabitha alongside the X-Men.
The mysterious mutant known only as Forge has had associations with the X-Men going back to 1984's Uncanny X-Men #184, where he debuted as a SHIELD scientist working on technology that could detect – and depower – superhumans, including mutants. When longtime Avengers adversary Henry Peter Gyrich tried to use the weapon against the mutant Rogue, Forge fell in with Storm of the X-Men to save her.
Unfortunately, it was Storm who lost her powers to the device (albeit temporarily), starting Forge's occasionally romantic relationship with Storm and his formal membership on the X-Men, where he uses his sometimes vague mutant power of inventing and understanding anything to perfect many aspects of mutant technology over the years.
Forge is also a member of the Native American Cheyenne nation (though which specific tribe of the Cheyenne has not been specified), and as such has mastered magic related to indigenous Cheyenne spirituality, which has also come into play in his time with the X-Men.
Most recently, Forge has been a part of X-Force, where he acts as the espionage team's quartermaster (kinda like James Bond's Q) working alongside Beast to outfit X-Force's field agents with new mutant tech as their missions require.
Unlike many of the former X-Men villains who later became heroes, Heather Tucker/Tempo has spent most of her time in the Marvel Universe as a villain – pretty much right up until the current Krakoa era.
First debuting as part of the villainous Stryfe's Mutant Liberation Front terrorist cell in 1990's New Mutants #86, Tempo remained on the team after the mysterious Reignfire took over in the X-Force era, and even operated as a villain on her own when the MLF disbanded.
And a fearsome foe she's been, even to Marvel heroes on the level of the Avengers, with her time manipulation powers. Though they're usually limited to manipulating time in her immediate vicinity, including speeding up and slowing down the speed of objects and even people, Tempo has also actually time-traveled a few times.
Over the years, the MLF has reformed time and time again, usually with Tempo in tow, and she's even been a part of Mister Sinister's murderous Marauders. Through all that, she's never actually been a part of the X-Men, though she has on seldom occasions aided the team (including in a few alt-realities where she was more hero than villain).
Part of the inaugural class of New Mutants who debuted in 1982's Marvel Graphic Novel #4, Sam Guthrie took the name Cannonball in honor of his explosive propulsion powers, which allow him to blast off with bursts of kinetic energy that harm his enemies while simultaneously protecting him.
Ever popular with both his fellow mutants and fans, Cannonball was also the first of the New Mutants/X-Force members to be called up to the X-Men proper after being the New Mutants field leader. But he's never stayed away from his friends/family in the younger generation of mutants for long, especially his best friend forever Sunspot (more on him in a moment).
True to form for his name and powers, Cannonball has always remained a trailblazer for mutantkind, even joining the Avengers alongside Sunspot while current X-Men writer Jonathan Hickman was writing the team, which led to his current marriage to Smasher of the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard.
Sam's also part of a mutant dynasty in the Guthrie family, with his siblings Husk and Icarus also joining X-teams over the years - though he remains the biggest mutant mainstay of all his brothers and sisters.
Like his BFF Cannonball, Sunspot made his debut in 1982's Marvel Graphic Novel #4 as one of the original New Mutants, before graduating on to the mutant paramilitary team X-Force with many of his classmates in the mid-'90s.
Alongside Cannonball, Sunspot became an Avenger during X-Men writer Jonathan Hickman's time writing Earth's Mightiest Heroes, eventually using his family's vast fortune to purchase the villainous science terrorist group AIM, temporarily turning it from Advanced Idea Mechanics to Avengers Idea Mechanics, and even leading an Avengers faction for a time under the codename and identity Citizen V.
Now back on Krakoa, Sunspot's tremendous powers, which have grown from channeling solar energy into super strength to harnessing the power of stars to create heat, light, and fire, and even fly through space, as well as his relationship with the Shi'Ar Empire (where he now lives alongside Cannonball) would make him a formidable addition to a formal X-Men team in need of a true powerhouse.
Guido Carosella made his debut in 1985's New Mutants #29 as the bodyguard of interstellar mutant musician Lila Cheney before taking a temporary spot on the X-Men under the somewhat tongue-in-cheek meta-codename 'Strong Guy' – essentially a hilariously blunt description of his role on the team – before joining X-Factor for many years.
But that sells Strong Guy's mutant powers short (pardon the pun on his 7' frame). As powerful as they are tragic, Guido's mutant abilities channel pain and kinetic force applied to his body into massive strength and accompanying size – with his permanently huge and strong body built in just seconds when his mutant powers manifested as he was hit by a car in his teenage years.
Though he previously died after absorbing and channeling more power than ever just prior to the Krakoa era, he's since been resurrected by the Five. Strong Guy hasn't had his time to shine on Krakoa just yet – but a spot on the X-Men might be just the ticket to the spotlight the cult favorite mutant deserves.
Marrow debuted in 1994’s Cable #14, as one of the Morlocks, subterranean sewer-dwelling mutants whose physical mutations made them retreat from human society. Despite occasionally clashing with the X-Men, the Morlocks were ultimately victims of many villainous mutants, culminating in Colossus and Magik's brother Mikhail Rasputin transporting many of them to an alt-reality where he raised Marrow as a brutal gladiator.
Though she fought Generation X and the X-Men using her sometimes uncontrollable mutant ability to generate and weaponize growths of bone through her skin, Marrow was eventually recruited to the X-Men under the mentorship of Wolverine who saw something of himself in her feral nature.
Marrow's time on the X-Men was short-lived, however, as she's often been recruited or manipulated as a pawn by the team's enemies, including SHIELD's anti-mutant task force and the Hellfire Club. Despite this, she's remained a fan-favorite for a certain generation of X-fans who believe she's never lived up to her character potential. And, now a citizen of Krakoa, Marrow will star in a story by writer/artist Sophie Campbell in the publisher's upcoming Women of Marvel anthology one-shot.
Hisako Ichiki/Armor made her debut as the Xavier School's newest recruit in 2004's Astonishing X-Men #4, which was a period of back-to-basics rebuilding for the team as superheroes and mutants.
Gifted with the power to summon spectral armor fueled by the spirits of her ancestors, Armor's simple abilities have grown over the years to the point where she can create massive, towering armor and synergize with other mutants to imbue her spectral form with extra properties.
Though Armor initially joined up as a student, she quickly mastered her powers when the X-Men's Danger Room training facility became sentient, forcing her to save the lives of multiple students and X-Men. From there, she journeyed with the team to Breakworld, where she was instrumental in defeating a vicious alien threat, earning her an official place on the X-Men.
Since becoming a citizen of Krakoa, Armor has become an ambassador to other mutants around the world, even tracking down and aiding her former classmates Beak and Angel Salvatore from anti-mutant extremists and bringing them to Krakoa to live in peace.
Needless to say, Marvel would like this new team to someday be regarded as one of the best X-Men teams of all time. Check out Newsarama’s rankings to see what they’ll be up against.