Marvel Comics: 10 Best Mutant Teams (Who Aren't The X-Men) – Screen Rant

As their population has grown in the years since 1963’s X-Men #1 first introduced the world to mutants, other mutant teams have followed suit.
In their six decades of comics, there have been many different variations of Marvel’s original mutant team, The X-Men. With evolving rosters and varying objectives, no two incarnations of the X-Men are exactly alike, but many of Marvel’s most well-known mutants have claimed membership at some point in the team’s history.
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The X-Men aren’t Marvel’s only mutant team, however. As their population has grown in the years since 1963’s X-Men #1 first introduced the world to mutants, other mutant teams have followed suit. Some have been offshoots of the X-Men’s ever-expanding family. Others have banded together for less noble purposes, or simply as a means of survival.
Before assembling the first version of his Horsemen, the immortal mutant Apocalypse employed a mutant terrorist team called The Alliance Of Evil. After being defeated by the original X-Factor, The Alliance was abandoned by Apocalypse but continued to operate on their own. Unfortunately, they were equally unsuccessful without him. Members Tower, Stinger, and Timeshadow have each subsequently made a handful of fairly unimpressive appearances. The stand-out of the group, however, is Frenzy, who after a long road to redemption has become a valued member of the X-Men, as well as joining S.H.I.E.L.D.’s extraterrestrial response counterpart, S.W.O.R.D. as Earth’s mutant ambassador.
While the x’s in their name might imply that they were one of the X-Men’s many offshoots, X-Statix actually has no connection to the famous mutants, other than their attempt to cash in on that association. A fame-obsessed, media-savvy team of reality-tv show “heroes”, the X-Statix’s missions were only a means to sell merchandise and capitalize upon the popularity of mutants following the public reveal of the Xavier Institute.
With a shockingly high mortality rate, the team had a frequently rotating roster of members, including the acid-sweating Anarchist and the teleporting U-Go Girl. A satirical send-up of celebrity culture, X-Statix brought a fresh approach to Marvel’s mutant books while also lampooning many established superhero tropes before the series ended, appropriately, with the deaths of the entire team.
A group of mutants fanatically devoted to the teachings of Magneto, the most dedicated of The Acolytes all but worshipped the master of magnetism as a mutant messiah. Unbeknownst to Magneto, however, one of his original Acolytes, Fabian Cortez, had ulterior motives. Orchestrating the deaths of the rest of the group, along with the seeming demise of Magneto himself, Cortez then organized a second group, leading them in a campaign of mutant superiority while situating Magneto as a martyr. Magneto’s eventual return would divide the Acolytes into rival factions, but his persuasiveness as an alternative to the uphill mission of the X-Men would gradually lure some of Xavier’s students to his cause, including former New Mutants Skids and Rusty Collins, as well as long-time X-Man Colossus.
While their uncanny abilities have often led Marvel’s mutants to become adventurers or their adversaries, not all have been inclined to follow this route. For some, survival is their only objective. It was this determination that led to the formation of The Morlocks. An underground village of mutant outcasts, the Morlocks dedicatedly built a secret society of their own beneath the decommissioned subway tunnels of New York City. For years, the Morlocks lived below the bright lights of human society in peace. Their eventual discovery would prove detrimental when most of their population was later wiped out during an invasion by a group of mutant assassins in one of Marvel’s earliest crossovers, The Mutant Massacre.
Part X-Men, part Sliders, the Exiles are a team of dimension-hopping variants of Marvel’s mainstream mutants. Plucked from their respective worlds and tasked with fixing broken timelines, the Exiles’ mission has taken them to some of the most bizarre reaches of Marvel’s multiverse.
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Their adventures have brought them face-to-face with some of the deadliest versions of classic characters, and the Exiles have suffered a high mortality rate. However, each member killed in action is immediately replaced by a new variant seized from their original universe. Their ranks have included notable recruits such as Age Of Apocalypse fan-favorites Blink and Sabretooth, a heroic version of Mimic, and the mainstream versions of the X-Men Longshot and Psylocke.
There have been many different versions of X-Force, but all have had one thing indisputably in common: they are the most extreme of the X-Men’s teams. The original version was assembled by the time-traveling soldier Cable from the fragments of Xavier’s second class of students. Pursuing the Professor’s original dream with a more proactive approach, they were aggressive, uncompromising, and strapped full of pouches. Since this first version, each subsequent team has likewise acted as the X-Men’s militant arm, taking on mutant-kind’s most dangerous missions and walking a fine line between heroes and hit squad.
A vicious group of mutant mercenaries assembled by one of the X-Men’s greatest villains, the enigmatic Sinister, The Mauraders were assembled solely for the purpose of eliminating lineages that he deemed useless towards the trajectory of the mutant gene pool. When Sinister’s machinations put the Mauarders on a warpath through the home of the sewer-dwelling Morlocks, the X-Men intervened. The result was the slaughter of dozens of the reclusive mutants, as well as the maiming of many of the X-Men themselves. The most significant of their victims, Warren Worthington, the high-flying Angel lost his wings during this massacre, beginning the desperate path to regain his gift that eventually resulted in his transformation into the Horseman Of Apocalypse, Archangel.
Following his tenure as an agent of the US government’s officially sanctioned mutant team X-Factor, Jamie Madrox, The Multiple Man, repurposed the name to form his own team of private investigators, dedicated to solving mutant-centric mysteries. Recruiting many of his former teammates, along with a handful of other established Xavier Institute graduates, Madrox’s team of mutant sleuths has become the definitive incarnation of the name.
Under the helm of acclaimed writer Peter David, X-Factor vol. 3 lasted an impressive 114 issues. During this run, David contributed a list of new elements to the mutant mythos, while also cleaning up many dangling plot threads. Notable milestones included the long-awaited reveal of Longshot and Shatterstar’s true connection and the establishment of Rictor as one of Marvel’s first openly out gay heroes.
When the “All-New All-Different” X-Men joined the team in 1975’s relaunch of the then-struggling comic, many of the previous school elements were left behind in favor of a direction focused upon the mutant race’s larger role in the world at large. A few years later, however, Charles Xavier would recruit a new class of students in Marvel Graphic Novel #4 (1982). Dubbed “The New Mutants”, this team would go on to become the benchmark representative of the X-Line’s teen-centric “school for mutants” themes.
RELATED: 5 Ways The Comics New Mutants Were Changed For Film (And 5 Ways They Stayed The Same)
Compared to the adventures of the Original 5, The New Mutants enjoyed a lengthy run of angst, tragedy, and coming-of-age that still resonates with fans 40 years later. Their members have grown and gone on to become heroes in their own right, but the New Mutants maintain their status as the original X-Men spinoff, ushering in the expansion of an entire corner of the Marvel Universe that has become one of the publisher’s most distinctive franchises.
When Xavier established his first class of X-Men, his longtime friend-turned-rival, Magneto, retaliated, assembling his own team of gifted recruits. Originally adding the adjective “evil” to their name, their early goals were sympathetic towards Xavier’s mission of mutant acceptance but determined to reach results by force. Since Magneto’s first team, many others have been inspired to assemble Brotherhoods of their own. The most notable was led by the mutant terrorist Mystique, whose group initiated a daring assassination attempt against the outspoken anti-mutant presidential candidate Robert Kelly.
While this attempt ultimately failed, the potential success of their mission created the alternate “Days Of Future Past” timeline, which has become one of the most well-known alternate worlds of Marvel’s ever-expanding multiverse. While Xavier’s students fight for acceptance amongst the humans who hate and fear them, every incarnation of The Brotherhood has existed as the opposite side of that coin, determined to establish dominance over mankind as the most guaranteed route towards mutant-kind’s survival.
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Drew Beaty is a third-generation superhero fan who was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He began his collection with hand-me-down comic books from a used book store owned by his father and grandfather in the late 1980s. Today, Drew owns and has read over 50,000 individual comics. He was once ranked “Best In The World” in the Marvel Comics category of the mobile trivia game Quiz-Up and still has the screenshots to prove it. When he’s not reading or writing about masks and capes, Drew spends his time with his wife and cats, or rubbing elbows with Portland’s music scene, where he has performed in the hip hop group Bad Habitat since 2008.


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