X-Force arrived in the ’90s and introduced a black ops mutant team into the X-Men’s world, and these are the heroes who started it all.
The X-Force is one of Marvel’s mightiest mutant teams. Unlike the X-Men, this team is more of a black ops unit that does things that superheroes are not supposed to do. They get their hands dirty so the heroes in the X-Men can maintain their image in the public eye. What is interesting is that this team started with the former students of Professor Xavier’s school — the New Mutants.
Created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza in 1991, X-Force was a direct spinoff series from the New Mutants, bringing the heroes into the new ’90s era of extreme and violent superhero comics. The original members were a mix of the New Mutants as well as other new characters who came into the storylines at the end of New Mutants’ original run.
When the New Mutants run as heroes concluded, Cable served as the team’s leader. He was the man who led these young mutants into wars and he felt that they had a higher purpose than just working alongside the peace-seeking mutant teams. He proposed that his team leave the Xavier Mansion and set out on their own.
Since that time, Cable was synonymous with X-Force. When he was around, he was always calling the shots. He even showed up in Deadpool 2 as the reason the team formed there. While this version of Cable is no longer around in the comics, his goal and desires are still the basis for X-Force’s mission statement as they operate from Krakoa.
The only original X-Force member who was also an original New Mutant was Sam Guthrie, Cannonball. He was the only original member of the team left when the team chose to rebrand into X-Force, and he mentioned this in New Mutants #100 to Boom Boom, saying they were the only actual New Mutants left on the team.
Cannonball was a leader for the New Mutants and he took control as a field leader for X-Force as well. While it seemed a little strange to see the wholesome Sam Guthrie on a black ops team, he gave the team its heart and kept them on a moral path, even when things got dark. He is no longer a member of any mutant team in 2021, as he settled down with his wife Smasher and their baby.
Boom-Boom was a New Mutant before X-Force formed. However, she started out as an X-Factor trainee and then joined the X-Terminators before joining up with the New Mutants. Along with Cannonball, she was the only real member of that earlier team when they morphed into X-Force.
Boom-Boom changed her name to Boomer in X-Force and stuck with Cannonball, who she was dating at the time. She also went by the name Meltdown, as she began to change and mature as she spent more time on her new mutant team.
Outside of Cable, no one is more known for their time in X-Force than Domino. She forged a close relationship with Cable and also shared his beliefs that the ends justified the means when it came to showing no mercy on the X-Force black ops missions.
However, while she remains the most identifiable X-Force member 30 years since the team debuted, this member was actually a shapeshifter known as Copycat in the beginning. It wasn’t until Cable found and rescued the real Domino in X-Force #15 that she eventually agreed to join the team.
Warpath had joined the New Mutants after his entire tribe was murdered and a Hellfire Club mask was left behind. This was in New Mutants #99 and the team changed to X-Force one issue later, making him mostly a founding member of X-Force rather than a former New Mutant.
James Proudstar has a strong connection to the X-Men as his brother John was Thunderbird, a mutant who joined the team and died on his first mission. He began as a villain but soon turned good, but still had the anger issues from his brother’s death to be more proactive, making him a perfect member of X-Force and remained connected with them through several versions of the team.
Shatterstar showed up for the first time in the last issue of New Mutants. He traveled from the future to find the X-Men to help him save his people. However, instead, he found the New Mutants and after a misunderstanding, joined the team when they changed to X-Force.
Shatterstar went through a tough time adjusting to living in a new world and ended up in and out of X-Force, while also serving in X-Factor with Rictor. Most recently X-Factor found Shatterstar held hostage in the strange Mojoworld, forced to fight in gladiator-styled games.
The final founding member of X-Force from the first issue was the former Morlock known as Feral. She sought out the New Mutants to try to find acceptance and escape her past and find a family she had before. X-Force took her in and she finally found somewhere to fit in.
It wouldn’t last. Feral killed her mother and step-father and hid that part of her past. Her anger issues resurfaced when she tried to kill mutant-hater Henry Peter Gyrich, and this led to the truth, where Cannonball forced her confession to her earlier murders and she went to prison.
The first new member to join arrived in X-Force #3 when Siryn and Spider-Man helped the team beat Black Tom and the Juggernaut, who attempted a terrorist bombing. Siryn remained on as a member of the team. This was Theresa Cassidy, whose father was Banshee, one of the X-Men’s first members.
Siryn was originally a villain who found her way to the side of good and X-Force was the first mutant team that she joined. Not only did she serve with X-Force for a long time, but she was also the Deputy Leader when Cannonball left the team. After her X-Force days, she worked for X-Corps and X-Factor.
Rictor was a young mutant who Stryfe targeted but X-Factor trained and took in as a trainee. This gave him a connection to X-Force member Boom-Boom, and he joined the New Mutants with her. He soon targeted Cable, believing he was Stryfe and not realizing Stryfe was a clone of the X-Force leader.
When he learned the truth, he joined the team in X-Force #10. Rictor was notable as one of the early LGBTQ+ characters in Marvel Comics, developing a relationship with fellow X-Force member Shatterstar. He was a long-time member who eventually left the team with Shatterstar to take care of personal business before returning as a part of X-Factor Investigations.
Sunspot was one of the original New Mutants and became best friends with Cannonball during their time on the team. However, Sunspot left the team before they changed over to X-Force and returned home to run his late father’s business. He was kidnapped and experimented on at that time, but in X-Force #16, the team saved him and he joined them.
While Cannonball left the team, Sunspot remained with them as a member for years. He finally had to leave X-Force when his student visa expired and the U.S. deported him back to Brazil. He never returned to X-Force, although he later joined X-Corp and helped found U.S.Avengers Unite when he purchased A.I.M.
NEXT: 10 Questions About New Mutants’ Sunspot, Answered
Shawn S. Lealos is a senior writer on ScreenRant who fell in love with movies in 1989 after going to the theater to see Tim Burton’s Batman as his first big screen experience.
Shawn received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma with a minor in Film Studies. He has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, first in the world of print journalism before moving to online media as the world changed. Shawn is a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists and current member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. He has work published in newspapers such as Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma Gazette and magazines such as Vox Magazine, Loud Magazine, and Inside Sports Magazine. His work on the Internet has been featured on websites like The Huffington Post, Yahoo Movies, Chud, Renegade Cinema, 411mania, and Sporting News.
Shawn is also a published author, with a non-fiction book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers and has begun work on a new fiction series as well. Visit Shawn Lealos’ website to learn more about his novel writing and follow him on Twitter @sslealos.