First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #139
Members: Angel, Ariel/Sprite/Shadowcat, Cyclops, Colossus, Lockheed, Magneto, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rachel Summers, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine
With the death of Phoenix and Cyclops leaving, the X-Men were in a bit of turmoil. Professor X decided to make Storm the team leader in Cyclops’ absence, but they still needed some experience on the team. Fortunately, Angel chose to re-join the group after being involved in the Dark Phoenix Saga a few weeks before. He rejoined in #139, which marked a change in the name of the series, now becoming “Uncanny X-Men.” Also joining in the same issue was the X-Men’s youngest member to date, Kitty Pryde. Having debuted in #129, Kitty had been saved by the X-Men and impressed Xavier so much that he offered her a place at his school. She turned up at the end of #138 ready to enroll at the school. Angel only stuck around for a few issues, as he had serious misgivings about fighting alongside the violent and impulsive Wolverine. Realizing that the professor wasn’t going to kick Wolverine off the team, Angel left in X-Men (1st series) #148.
After going travelling to find some peace after Jean’s death, Cyclops ended up crossing paths with Magneto. The Master of Magnetism was once again threatening the world and, when the X-Men arrived to stop him, Cyclops rejoined his team again in #149. This team, consisting of Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Storm, Wolverine and Kitty (now calling herself Sprite), would go on to last for a few years. When the X-Men finally got a new member, it wasn’t exactly in the form they expected. Making his first appearance in #166, Lockheed seemed to be a semi-intelligent extraterrestrial species that resembled small dragons. Years later, Lockheed’s kind was revealed to be much more intelligent species called “the Flock.” Rescuing Sprite from a horde of Brood, Lockheed hitched a ride back to Earth with the X-Men and hid in the basement of the X-mansion for a few weeks. In issue #168, he was finally discovered by Sprite and was allowed to remain with the X-Men from then on. It was around this period that the X-Men also lost Kitty to the New Mutants, Xavier’s new class of young mutant students. After arriving back from space, Xavier declared that Kitty should move from the main X-Men team to the New Mutants, much to the fury of the young girl. Fortunately for Kitty, after proving herself against a horde of Sidri hunters in #168, she was allowed to remain on the X-Men.
After meeting up with his father, Corsair of the space pirates known as the Starjammers, Cyclops decided to take another leave of absence from the X-Men in #167. He went travelling to meet his grand-parents but, in #168, he was shocked to come across Madelyne Pryor, a woman who looked identical to Jean Grey. Still grieving for his former lover, Cyclops fell in to the arms of Madelyne and the two quickly started a relationship. Whilst he was not a part of the team at this point, Cyclops and Madelyne’s adventures were featured in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) for the next few years. The two were married at the X-mansion in #175 but left soon after to go on their honeymoon.
Another new recruit was soon to follow, only this one would cause a bit of controversy within the team. Debuting in the Avengers Annual (1st series) #10, Rogue was the adopted daughter of Mystique and was a part of her adoptive mother’s villainous Brotherhood of Evil Mutants team. During a fight with Ms. Marvel, Rogue accidentally used her temporary absorption powers to instead depower permanently the hero and place her in a coma. In the meantime, the X-Men fought Rogue in X-Men (1st series) #158 in retaliation and were thus surprised when she showed up on their doorstep in #171, begging for help to cope with both her now uncontrollable new powers, as well as the psyche of Ms. Marvel she now had in her head. Although she was allowed to join the X-Men with Professor X’s blessing, the rest of the team were not happy at having a known terrorist among them. Ms. Marvel was especially angry and parted ways with the X-Men in the same issue. It took some time, but Rogue managed to win over the trust of her fellow X-Men and she would become one of the mainstays on the team for years to come. Ms. Marvel too would go on to wake up and obtain the cosmic super powers of “Binary” and act as an ally to the X-Men whilst they had adventures in space.
The next new member of the team was another one with a checkered past. Having first appeared in the dystopian future of Days of Future Past depicted in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #141-142, Rachel Summers was the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey from this future, dystopian, alternate reality. Rachel first appeared in the main universe timeline in New Mutants (1st series) #18, and eventually met the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #184. She eventually joined the team in #188 but struggle to adjust to life in “the past” and the fact that her future father was married to another woman. She became even more unstable when she discovered that Madelyne was pregnant in #199. In the same issue, she adopted the codename Phoenix to honor her mother, unaware that she was also connected to the cosmic entity in her own way.
The number of X-Men had swelled considerably but, over the next few months, they would soon start to drop again. The first was Professor X, who was Paris to help defend Magneto in a trial, when he was attacked by the villainous twins Fenris. Severely injured during the battle, he believed himself to be dying and so made Magneto promise to become head of the school. Fortunately, his life was saved by his lover, Lilandra, who took him into space, so he could be healed by Shi’ar technology. Magneto’s appointment as headmaster caused quite a stir, with none of the X-Men happy that their former nemesis was now in charge of them.
Cyclops was especially angry and even the birth of his son in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #201 could not lift his spirits. The same issue featured the infamous battle between he and Storm for leadership of the X-Men, which he lost. At the same time, the real Jean Grey was found at the bottom of Jamaica Bay in Fantastic Four (1st series) #286. When Cyclops found out, he abandoned Madelyne and rushed to Jean’s side. Cutting all ties with the team and his wife, he started up a new group with the rest of the original X-Men in X-Factor (1st series) #1. Madelyne continued to feature in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) on and off, but she never officially joined the team.
Soon after, Rachel left the team after having had trouble adjusting to her life amongst them. Knowing the vampiric mutant Selene would be the cause of many deaths in the future, Rachel went after her with the intention to murder the woman. Remembering what happened when a “Phoenix” got the taste for killing, Wolverine vowed to stop Rachel and did so by stabbing her in the stomach, a wound she survived but only barely, thanks to her telekinesis. In Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #209, whilst the rest of the X-Men battled the Hellfire Club, Rachel was approached by Spiral, who made promises to heal her. Rachel was teleported away to Mojoworld, although her time there was never expanded upon again.
Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #210-211 saw one of the most tragic events the X-Men had faced at that point, one that resulted in a number of members leaving through injury. The vast majority of the Morlocks, a group of outcast mutants who lived in the sewers under New York, were brutally slain by a new group of assassins called the Marauders. Allies to the Morlocks, the X-Men did their best to stop the assassins but found themselves more than evenly matched. When Nightcrawler tried to ambush the Marauder named Riptide, he was severely injured by the assassin’s shurikens, which were projected from his body at high speeds. Kitty saved Rogue’s life by phasing her through one of Harpoon’s energy weapons, but she soon discovered she wasn’t able to become tangible again. Despite having survived the initial encounter with the Marauders, Colossus found he was unable to change back into his flesh form and remained paralyzed as well. All three were kept in the X-Men’s medical bay until they could be transported to Muir Island.
Post-Mutant Massacre team
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #212
Members: Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Longshot, Magneto, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine
With Shadowcat, Colossus and Nightcrawler injured and Rachel disappeared, the team was down a number of members. Whilst Magneto was technically in charge of the X-Men, he had very little with the team, instead opting to tutor the younger generation of student, the New Mutants. After the mutant massacre, Callisto, the leader of the Morlocks, chose to stay at the mansion for a while, though she never officially joined the team. At this point, it was only Storm, Wolverine and Rogue who were the active members of the team.
That soon changed when Psylocke was rescued from Mojoworld by the New Mutants and remained at the X-mansion afterwards. Psylocke had first appeared in the Marvel UK series Captain Britain (1st series) #8, only she didn’t have a codename at that point; she was simply Elizabeth Braddock, sister to Captain Britain. When that series ended, Psylocke was brought over to the US comics in New Mutants Annual #2, where she received her familiar codename, as well as a visual makeover. After assisting the team for a few issues, she was having trouble gaining their trust, until she went head-to-head with Sabretooth in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #213. In that issue, she risked her life defending the patients in the medical bay from the killer Marauder, earning the X-Men’s trust and, with it, an invitation to join the team.
Another new recruit came along the very next issue when the X-Men received word that their friend Dazzler was in trouble. Having made her first appearance in X-Men (1st series) #130, Dazzler had been invited to join the X-Men before but had declined, opting instead to pursue her music career. She had a solo series that ran for a few years, but it had recently been cancelled, leaving the character to be picked up in the X-Men. When the X-Men found her in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #214, Dazzler had been possessed by the psychic entity Malice. The X-Men freed Dazzler from her possession, but the singer’s reputation and career were now damaged by Malice’s actions. With nowhere else to turn, she chose to join the X-Men.
New team members were coming in thick and fast, as Uncanny X-Men Annual (1st series) #10 gave the X-Men another one in the form of Longshot. Having first appeared in a self-titled miniseries shortly before, he literally fell into the X-Men’s laps when he was teleported there from Mojoworld. Whilst not technically a mutant, Longshot was an anomaly amongst his race and the X-Men took him into their fold in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #215.
The final new member to the team was actually an old one, Havok. Having left the superhero world behind them, both he and Polaris had attempted to lead a normal life away from the drama of the X-Men. However, when Havok started having nightmares about the X-Men being in trouble, he couldn’t sit back and had to check things out for himself. He was right in his beliefs as the team (and their allies) were being hunted by the Marauders. Despite finding a very different line-up of X-Men in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #219 than when he was on the team, he reluctantly joined the group, as he felt he couldn’t hide from his responsibility anymore.
Madelyne Pryor came back into the X-Men’s lives in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #221 when she was one of the many targets of the Marauders. She was rescued from the clutches of Malice, now possessing Polaris, and took shelter with the X-Men. Having recovered from his paralysis (though not from his ability to return to human form), Colossus also found himself back amongst the X-Men in issue #226 thanks to the machinations of the other-worldly Roma. He was teleported to the team just in time to help turn the tide of battle against Freedom Force, a government-run team led by Mystique.
Tragedy was to strike once again, though, as the team faced an enemy they simply couldn’t defeat with strength alone. The Adversary, an ancient and malevolent magical entity, was looking to take over the world and the X-Men found that they could not stop him by themselves. In the end, it was a powerful spell cast by the mutant Forge that eventually put an end to the Adversary’s schemes. In a cruel twist, though, the spell required the sacrifice of nine lives for it to work and so the X-Men and Madelyne Pryor volunteered. To the outside world, Colossus, Dazzler, Havok, Longshot, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine and Madelyne all died, putting an end to the X-Men. They all died in #227, but were resurrected the very same issue by Roma, who was grateful for their sacrifice.