Unofficial Genoshan Assault Team
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #392
Members: Cyclops, Dazzler, Frenzy, Jean Grey, Northstar, Omerta, Professor X, Sunpyre, Wolverine, Wraith
When Storm took her team of X-Men to locate Destiny’s Diaries, the number of remaining X-Men was reduced significantly. Archangel and Cable had taken a leave of absence from the team, meaning that only Jean, Xavier, Wolverine and the newly restored Cyclops remained. Things took a turn for the worse when Magneto decided to wage war on humanity yet again from Genosha and he managed to kidnap Xavier whilst the X-Men’s attention was elsewhere. Wolverine and Cyclops decided to infiltrate Genosha to try to take Magneto down before he started World War III but Jean decided she needed to assemble another team to help out.
Putting out a call to former allies, she received little response. Nevertheless, Sunfire did send his sister Sunpyre in his place. Jean needed more help, so she sought out anyone she could, such as the retired Alpha Flight member Northstar. First appearing in X-Men (1st series) #120, Northstar had only worked alongside the X-Men on a few brief occasions. Jean tracked him down and convinced him to aid her on a temporary basis. After that, she recruited two brand new characters, Wraith and Paulie Provenzano, who would later go by the name Omerta. Needing some literal muscle on the team, Jean used her powers to brainwash the villain and former Acolyte Frenzy into joining the team. Just as she completed the line-up in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #392, Dazzler walked through the door looking for help. After leaving the team during the end of the Australian-era period, Dazzler had only briefly been seen living in Mojoworld alongside Longshot. She chose to help Jean and, along the way, explained that a villainous group of X-babies had laid waste to Mojoworld, seemingly killing Longshot in the process.
With her team assembled, Jean took them to Genosha but they were quickly detected by Magneto. With help from Wolverine and Cyclops, the rookie team managed to take on Magneto and save Xavier in X-Men (2nd series) #113. With Magneto having been killed by Wolverine during the assault, the mission was over and the hastily assembled team went their separate ways.
This team is often regarded as an unofficial team, much like the Muir Island X-Men. It was assembled out of necessity and the members left immediately after, some even declining the invitation to join the X-Men on a permanent basis.
Morrison’s New X-Men
First Appearance: New X-Men (1st series) #114
Members: Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Jean Grey, Professor X, Kuan-Yin Xorn, Wolverine
Infiltrator: Cassandra Nova
The main X-Men team went through a drastic re-design in 2001 to match up with the success of the first X-Men movie. The bright uniforms were gone, replaced instead with black leather to match the style of the film. X-Men (2nd series) also went through a change, becoming New X-Men (1st series) and acquiring the high-profile writer of Grant Morrison. For a number of years the two main X-Men titles had intertwined their stories and teams, but now each title had a distinct lineup and writer, helping differentiate them.
The X-Men themselves changed as well, as Xavier finally opened up the school to the public, allowing dozens of young mutants to study there. Many of the X-Men became staff there, teaching the likes of math and English, as well as combat techniques whilst not on duty. The initial team starting out in New X-Men (1st series) #114 was Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Xavier and Wolverine. Beast had moved back to the mansion following his severe injury on the X-Treme X-Men team. His wounds were so bad that Sage was forced to use her jumpstart power to trigger a further evolution change in him, giving him a more feline appearance.
The team’s first mission saw them going up against Cassandra Nova, the malevolent, telepathic sister of Charles Xavier. She showed the X-Men, and the world, that she meant business when she used a group of Sentinels to lay waste to the island nation of Genosha, killing 16 million mutants in the process. After the attack, the X-Men travelled to the devastated island in #116 and found Emma Frost among the few survivors.
Having survived due to the development of her new diamond-form, Emma joined the X-Men, as she had nowhere else to go. First appearing in X-Men (1st series) #129 two decades earlier, Emma had started out as a villain called the White Queen. Over the years, her more heroic side shone through and she became headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy in Generation X (1st series). During the events of New X-Men (1st series) #116, Cassandra Nova was seemingly killed by Emma, but what no-one knew at the time was that Nova had switched minds with Xavier and was now inhabiting his body. Beast discovered the switch in #117 but Nova telepathically forced a student to beat him until he was in a coma. Nova then contacted Empress Lilandra of the Shi’ar and asked for her to come pick “Charles” up. Nova/Xavier left the X-Men at the end of the issue to take her villainous schemes to an intergalactic level.
Beast eventually woke from his coma and alerted the other X-Men to Nova’s switch. Fortunately, the team had kept Nova’s original body in stasis, and it was revealed in #121 that Xavier’s mind was in it. Nova returned to Earth a few issues later, having used her telepathy to manipulate Lilandra and the Shi’ar to declare war on the X-Men. Eventually, Nova was tricked into leaving Xavier’s body and entering another, giving Xavier the opportunity to reclaim his own back in #126.
It was around this time that the team gained another new member, only this one would end up having one of the most convoluted memberships yet. First appearing in the New X-Men Annual 2001, Xorn was a Chinese citizen, whose head had turned into a miniature black hole when his powers manifested. He had been imprisoned by the military as the government saw his use as a future doomsday device. Years later, he was rescued by the X-Men and accepted an offer to join them, although he did not do so right away. He took some time out and went to a monastery, where he was found a few weeks later by Cyclops in New X-Men (1st series) #122, who was in desperate need of his assistance. Xorn joined the team and took up a teaching role at the school, focusing on the “problem” students in the school’s “special class.” Xorn showed his true colors in #146 and revealed himself to be Magneto in disguise. After manipulating the students of the special class into helping him wage war on humanity, Magneto was killed by Wolverine in #150.
This wasn’t the whole story, though, as both Xorn and Magneto proved to be too popular to be killed off. In X-Men (2nd series) #157, it was discovered that there really was a man called Shen Xorn, and he had a brother called Kuan-Yin Xorn. It had been Kuan-Yin who had infiltrated the X-Men under the guise of Magneto under the guise of “Xorn.” The real Magneto had no idea about Kuan-Yin’s plan when he showed up a few months later alive and well in Excalibur (3rd series).
Note: For a more in-depth look at this confusing situation please follow the link to our article on Xorn XPlained.
Since his merger with Apocalypse a few months before, Cyclops had been troubled and his relationship with Jean suffered. At an emotional low point, he had begun a psychic affair with Emma Frost but the secret was soon discovered and Emma became public enemy number one. In New X-Men (1st series) #139, Emma was found dead, with her diamond form shattered into a thousand pieces. Wanting to find out who killed Emma, Beast assembled all the pieces together but in doing so Jean realized that Emma’s consciousness was still there. Using the power of the Phoenix Force, Jean fused the diamond pieces together and brought Emma back to life in #141.
Tragedy would strike again when Xorn/Magneto revealed his true intentions. After taking the special class with him, Xorn unleashed a devastating attack on New York, killing thousands. In the final showdown, Xorn submitted Jean to a huge electromagnetic pulse, inducing a stroke in her brain. Wolverine killed Xorn, but no one was able to save Jean and she also died in #150.
Mourning the loss of Jean and feeling guilty over many of the recent events, Xavier left the team in Excalibur (3rd series) #1/Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #442.