Melodramatic she may be, but Storm has spent a lot of time proving that she is as good as her overblown word. Whether stabbing people through the heart or entering a dubious gladiator battle for no particular reason, Storm’s love of fighting and maiming is matched only by her belief that she is a pacifist. While Jean Grey truly is restrained, however, Ororo Monroe is psychopathic in many regards. She seems to be attracted solely to people with poor moral fibre and a penchant for organising mass-murder, while leading many people to believe that she is an African Goddess – even though she herself knows that this is not the case; she is merely a mutant; and she was born in America anyway.
Christ, I have no idea what Cable’s backstory is. That’s probably because a good chunk of that story was written by Fabian Nicenza, and his stories usually whistle right over my head. So let’s boil this down to the simplest statement of fact: Cable is everything that an X-Man should aspire to be. He is not merely a soldier, but an aesthete who can appreciate art. He is not merely a loyal fighter for the cause – he is an independent thinker who can strike out on his own when necessary. Not just a militant, but a devoted father-figure to Hope Summers.
He’s got a bit of everything going on. It probably helps that he’s from the future and appears to know everything that’s going to happen, before it actually happens. Cable is an alt-reality son of Jean and Cyclops, as are roughly two thirds of all X-Men introduced post-1980. He carries a large gun around, is part robot, has grey hair and I swear this one time he had an earring in. I swear. Like Bishop, his main goal is to keep the X-Men cohesive so that they can one day form the World into a massive Utopian landscape, complete with parrots.
And yet Cable is far more enigmatic than Bishop, and also less keen on murdering children in order to make sure things go according to The Plan. Cable has a pretty strict moral compass – taken from his dad, before his dad went haywire – and is admirably unwilling to go against it. He will, however, get up to some bizarre things in order to service his needs. I refuse to rephrase that. Cable is infamous for the number of times he pulls off a long-con against his friends for absolutely no reason. He will spend five issues making their lives a living hell and making himself look like a villain before he suddenly reveals that he’s got a second agenda all along and everyone forgives him.
He may be dead at the moment, but he does own a time-travelling device and has some clones running around, so it can’t be long until he returns. He owns a country, too. Two of them, actually! Although one of them got destroyed by an alien parasite. That’s just how it goes.
2: Kitty Pryde
1: Oneg the Prober
ALL RISE IN SALUTE TO JACK KIRBY.
Oneg was the character who actually created mutation and made it live. If it weren’t for his influence there would be no X-Men, and no list. Humanity would have collapsed years ago due to stagnancy in the evolutionary chain, and the World would be run by hyper-intelligent parrots and dolphins. As one of the Celestials, Oneg owns the power to change Universes – and yet, instead of harnessing these powers to do whatever he wants, he chooses to sit back and allow free will. He could at any moment seize back the capacity for mutation and leave the World floating into a dead future, but instead he allows mankind the opportunity to better itself. More than Cable fights for mutant equality, more than Kitty attempts integration between mutants and humans, Oneg allows for quality to exist. He simply takes the onus from mutants and puts it onto humans. That’s a difficult type of morality to accept, but Oneg is just the kind of immortal hyperdeity to practise it. Oneg’s purpose was defined by Jack Kirby as “the need to experiment and implement”. He makes changes to society which better it, but he also allows the world to run itself. If the X-Men had all the control, then how long do you think it’d be before Storm tried to seize control, or Magneto started blowing up continents? The inbalance between mutants and humans is essential for the survival of the human race. And it also makes for great stories. Oneg’s presence as the creator of mutantkind makes him important and worthy of the list – the way he chose to deliver this to the characters, and to readers, is what makes him The Greatest X-Man of All Time.
….And it’ll also REALLY piss people off. Conspiracy! Investigation! Attack me in the comments section!