The Original Astonishing X-Men Team
First Appearance: Astonishing X-Men (2nd series) #1
Members: Archangel, Cable, Cyclops, Jean Grey, X-Man
Infiltrator: Wolverine (Skrull)
After Xavier disbanded the X-Men, Jean, Cyclops and Wolverine decided to ignore their former mentor’s wishes and carried on the team with just the three of them. When Jean received word that there was a group of genetically engineered people called Mannites in need of help, she sent word to Archangel, Cable and X-Man for their assistance. Although he had ostensibly first appeared in New Mutants (1st series) #87 as an adult, Cable had retroactively first appeared in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #200 when it was later revealed that he was Nathan Christopher Charles Summers, the baby to whom Madelyne Pryor had given birth in that issue. Since his first (adult) appearance, Cable had led the New Mutants and X-Force teams but this was his first time working on a main X-Men team. X-Man was a refugee from the Age of Apocalypse timeline and, whilst many believed him to be an alternate version of Cable, there was a minor difference in their lineage. First appearing in X-Man #1, he was the son of Cyclops and Jean Grey from the AoA timeline, as opposed to Cable, whose mother is the clone of Jean Grey.
The team were unaware that Wolverine was a Skrull imposter at this point, but his double-identity was soon to be revealed. During their mission to protect the Mannites, the group encountered a new Horseman of Death, whose original identity remained a mystery. Wolverine went head to head with him and was killed, much to the shock of those around him. After the mission was over, the group took Wolverine’s body back to the mansion and assembled all his former teammates to mourn.
The Twelve Team
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #375
Members: Archangel, Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat, Storm, Wolverine
After “Wolverine’s” death, Jean Grey and Cyclops reconvened the X-Men and Xavier revealed his belief that there was an imposter in the group. His theory was confirmed when Wolverine’s body reverted to its Skrull form during the autopsy in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #375. The gathered X-Men consisted of Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Marrow, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat and Storm, and after the reveal they decided to reform the team under Xavier’s leadership. Some others such as Cable, Polaris, Jubilee and X-Man returned to the mansion to mourn Wolverine but left soon after to rejoin their own teams.
During the X-Men’s investigations into the real Wolverine’s whereabouts, it became apparent that the Skrulls had been working with Apocalypse and that they were aiding the ancient mutant in his latest scheme. Setting a trap, the X-Men managed to infiltrate a Skrull base on Earth and encountered Death again, only this time the unmasked the Horseman in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #376 to see that it was actually Wolverine. Thanks to an encounter with Psylocke and some other X-Men, Wolverine had his brainwashing reversed and he returned to the X-Men once more in Wolverine (2nd series) #146.
Apocalypse’s goal was soon revealed as a number of powerful mutants were kidnapped, including a number of the X-Men. The X-Men, along with the likes of X-Force and Generation X, confronted Apocalypse and stopped his latest rise to power during The Twelve crossover, this time at the cost of Cyclops’ life. Apocalypse was looking for a new host body and was going to use X-Man, until Cyclops intervened and sacrificed himself instead. In reality, however, Apocalypse merged with Cyclops, creating a new being in their place in X-Men (2nd series) #97.
Immediately afterwards, the X-titles went through the Ages of Apocalypse, a series of alternate realities created by the new Cyclops/Apocalypse hybrid. Eventually the villain was defeated in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #378 and the world was put back to the way it was, although Cyclops/Apocalypse had somehow escaped in the meantime. Angered by Cyclops’ apparent death, Jean quit the team in the same issue to go mourn. In #379, Xavier decided to leave the team as well, as the X-Men had saved a number of Skrulls from Apocalypse’s influence and this group needed a new home. Just after he left Earth, the X-Men were visited by the High Evolutionary, who declared that he was going to wipe out mutantkind. As if on cue, he activated a device that stripped every mutant on Earth of their powers, effectively making them human. After disbanding the team briefly in X-Men (2nd series) #99, the group got back together again to take on the High Evolutionary and their powers were restored in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #380.