Table of Contents 1. Introductory Comments and Ground Rules 2. The X-Men Fatality Timeline (3rd Draft) 3. Grand Totals for the Top-Scoring X-Men 1. Introductory Comments and Ground Rules People occasionally complain that death in the X-Men titles has become a bad joke. By occasionally, I mean such complaints can only be heard about 99.9% of the time. After all, every once in awhile the people who love to complain about this all have to stop for breath at the same time! I finally decided it was time to measure the exact size of the problem, by putting together a comprehensive list of X-Men Deaths (and Returns). As far as I know, no one else has ever tried to list them all at once, in the same document, complete with specific issue numbers. How to Qualify for My List 1. You have to be an X-Man for your death or later return from the dead to qualify for this Timeline. Just being a friend, family member, lover, longtime enemy, or clone of one or more of the X-Men doesnt get you in the door. In preparation for this Third Draft, I finally took the plunge and bought a copy of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: X-Men 2005. (Hereafter referred to as OHOTMU: X-Men 2005 for short.) At the back, it has a Roster of everyone whos ever been an X-Man. The main roster runs to 52 characters; as well as smaller listings of names of participants in seven groupings which it terms Ad Hoc X-Men Rosters. At the moment, I am inclined to believe that all 52 of the names on the main Roster are or have been X-Men, and probably most of the Ad Hoc groups as well. One place where I definitely disagree with OHOTMU: X-Men 2005 is the validity of what it calls The Muir Isle X-Men. I recently looked through UXM #254 and UXM #255 again to double-check my memory. And it still seems to me that when Amanda Sefton, Alysande Stuart, and various other characters were putting on gold-and-black X-Men suits to wear while fighting the Reavers, they never expressed any belief that they were thereby becoming any sort of X-Men themselves; not even on a temporary or honorary basis. The principal reason for dressing up that way appeared to be that several of the newest version of the suits were already right there on the island, and were conveniently bulletproof. If I were about to face an invasion of killer cyborgs, Id hastily don any bulletproof body armor that happened to be readily available, too! I wouldnt care if it looked like an X-Men uniform or not; Id only care about my chances of personal survival 2. If you died before you ever became an X-Man, I dont care about that. For instance, Emma Frost was supposed to have died during the Dark Phoenix Saga. At that time, she was not and never had been an X-Man. Therefore, this Timeline does not include a listing for her first reported death. 3. The death must have occurred in continuity, regarding someone who had actually been an X-Man in the regular continuity prior to the time of death. For instance, deaths that happen in the ongoing Exiles series generally wont count, because most of the characters who appear in that series are natives of alternate timelines, even if they strongly resemble their counterparts from 616. Likewise, deaths that occurred in the miniseries Marvel: The End (written by Jim Starlin) wont count, because I have confirmed that Tom Brevoort of Marvel has repeatedly said that this miniseries is not in canon, i.e. not part of what I would call the regular continuity. NOTE: After feedback from various readers of the First Draft, I am provisionally counting X-Men Annual #10 as the time when a bunch of the New Mutants "graduated," more or less, up to "X-Men" status. (Although they continued working separately and calling themselves "New Mutants" after that time.) This means that any member of the group, as it existed in that Annual, who later died, qualifies for this Timeline. (Until such time as someone persuades me otherwise, anyway.) Definition of Death Im taking a fairly liberal definition of death. 1. If the character was definitely, undeniably dead, with a recognizable corpse, then I count that. 2. If the character certainly seemed to have just died, but the corpse was in such lousy shape it couldnt be identified (or disintegrated, or something) then Ill count that. 3. If other X-Men sincerely believed the person was dead, and this belief lasted significantly longer than, say, five minutes, then Ill count that even if the alert reader knew, or had reason to suspect, that they were wrong. Someone reminded me of the time in the middle of the Dark Phoenix Saga when one issue ended with other X-Men looking at Cyclops, who had just collapsed on the floor after a mental duel with Mastermind, and Nightcrawler said in horror, Cyclops is dead! On the first page of the following issue, Nightcrawler changed his tune and said, Storm! Colossus! Look! Cyclops is alive! To me, this is a perfect example of the sort of thing I dont need to count on my Timeline. From the viewpoint of a fan buying the title as each issue first came out, that cliffhanger dragged out for a month between installments. But from the point of view of the X-Men, Nightcrawler simply leaped to the wrong conclusion (in order to create a cliffhanger) and, just a minute later, realized hed been dead wrong. (However, if Nightcrawler had actually checked for a pulse and failed to find one, that would strengthen the idea that he had good reason to think Scott was really dead, at least for a moment, and I would count it after all even if a little CPR had quickly brought Scott back to the land of the living. But just looking at a guy who fell down on the floor, and pronouncing him dead on the spur of the moment without even touching him, strikes me as too flimsy to be taken seriously.) 4. Im trying to report each case straight if readers were meant to think a character was dead at the time, and other X-Men shared that impression, then in the listing for that event, I generally just describe it as that person died. If there were later retcons, I usually deal with those separately, in listings for the issues in which we started to find out what had really happened such as an impostor dying instead of the character we had thought died at the time 5. At this time: If a persons mind, spirit, soul, or whatever ended up separated from its proper body for more than a couple of seconds, Im willing to count that as a death. Even if the mind simply got switched into someone elses body instead of becoming an intangible ghost. And now, lets move on the main event! NOTE: I generally abbreviate "Uncanny X-Men" as "UXM." 2. THE X-MEN FATALITY TIMELINE (THIRD DRAFT) 1968. X-Men #42. Written by Roy Thomas. Professor X dies fighting Grotesk. He is critically injured when Grotesks equipment explodes, and, going for the extra point, gasps out to his loyal X-Men that he had already known he was dying from an incurable disease, anyway! The text on the cover includes this stirring promise: Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary tale! This is for real! (It somehow fails to offer us a nice price on the Brooklyn Bridge.) 1970. X-Men #65. Written by Denny ONeil. Professor X returns. Which isnt too difficult, from his point of view, since he was never dead and buried to begin with! Someone else was in the coffin at the funeral! As a retcon, we are now told that it was actually Changeling (formerly a villain) who died. For some reason, Professor X had given Changeling telepathic powers and then told him to take Xaviers shape and fill his shoes with the X-Men, without bothering to bring the X-Men (except for Jean Grey?) up to speed on this clever plan. The Professor was going to be occupied with getting ready for a big showdown with an alien invasion when it showed up (as it did in this issue). 1973. The Incredible Hulk #161. Written by Steve Englehart. Calvin Rankin, Mimic, dies after absorbing a great deal of radiation from the Hulks body. He did this deliberately, in the end, because his power to suck energy out of other people was increasing in range and he might eventually end up killing people without even trying. (Reminiscent of Supermans enemy The Parasite.) 1974. Marvel Two-In-One #7. Written by Steve Gerber. Most of the Marvel Universe is wiped out when someone blows into a magic harmonica. We are told that the sole survivors, for the moment, are a mere five characters (none of them X-Men). Implicitly, this includes everyone who is or ever has been an X-Man up through this moment in Marvel continuity. I believe that would include the following (in alphabetical order): Angel, Beast, Changeling, Cyclops, Havok, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Mimic, Polaris, Professor X. Later in this issue: Everything gets restored when someone else blows into the magic harmonica! Naturally, this blanket restoration includes all the X-Men I listed in the previous paragraph. 1975. UXM #95. Written by Chris Claremont. Thunderbird I (John Proudstar) dies. 1975. Doctor Strange #12. Written by Steve Englehart. On the final page, the world is destroyed. Planet Earth is rent by one, then a series, of monumental blasts! It -- and all its children -- are cinders and dust in less than eight minutes! Make no mistake! This . . . was . . . the real Earth! Although we never specifically see any of them in this storyline, this would implicitly include anyone who, as of the very end of 1975, when this was published, was or ever had been an X-Man. So long, folks, it was nice knowing you! At this moment in time, the casualty list would logically include Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, Marvel Girl, Mimic, Changeling (except he was already dead and still is), Polaris, Havok, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Banshee, Storm, Sunfire, Colossus, and Thunderbird I (except he was probably already dead by this time as well, if I have the scheduling straight). 1976. Doctor Strange #13. Written by Steve Englehart. On the next-to-last page of the story, Eternity recreates the Earth from scratch, good as new, and watches everything evolve and change with the speed of thought until it ends up exactly the way it was right before it got devastated an issue earlier! Implicitly, all those X-Men who died last issue are now fit and fine with no knowledge that they were ever gone! (Or newly created exact replicas of the originals are fit and fine, anyway. Or something like that.) I wont type out the full list again; just glance back at the entry immediately above! NOTE: I believe dialogue in a later issue of Doctor Strange either stated or implied that all of the above had been smoke and mirrors and probably never really happened, but I could be wrong and I was not able to find the story Im thinking of in my collection just now. If I do find it, Ill be sure to include more details in a subsequent Draft of this Timeline. 1978. UXM #113. Written by Chris Claremont. When the X-Men break out of Magneto's underground lair in Antarctica, they are separated. As a result, for a long time after this story (twelve issues), the larger group thinks Phoenix (Jean Grey) and Beast must have died. Jean and Beast assume the same thing is true regarding the members of the other group: Banshee, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Storm. The reader knows that both groups survived, however. NOTE: In a later issue, Jean and Hank make it back to the X-Mansion and tell Professor X that the rest of the X-Men are absolutely, positively dead. As a result, he leaves Earth for awhile, now that so many of his students have gotten themselves killed and there's no longer an X-Men team that might need his continued guidance. 1979. UXM #125. Written by Chris Claremont. When the Beast enters the X-Mansion and meets the larger group that got separated from Jean and himself 12 issues earlier, everybody realizes everybody else has been alive all this time. (Actually, Jean and Havok on Muir Island apparently don't get the word until the next issue, but I won't bother giving that a separate entry.) 1980. UXM #137. Written by Chris Claremont. Jean Grey, AKA Marvel Girl, AKA Phoenix, AKA The Black Queen, AKA Dark Phoenix, dies in the concluding chapter of what later became known as the Dark Phoenix Saga. It looks as if she telekinetically triggered an alien energy weapon to blast herself before she could relapse into the insanity of the Dark Phoenix. Her funeral occurs in the following issue. 1980. Uncanny X-Men Annual #4. Written by Chris Claremont. During a surprise birthday party for Nightcrawler (he's 21 today), the other X-Men are horrified as he opens a mysterious gift which contains a crystal figure (of himself) which then shatters and emits a dark cloud into his face -- with the result that poor Kurt keels over. His friends rush him to the mansion's medical lab. No heartbeat, no respiration. Xavier and Storm examine him with whatever hi-tech doodads they have handy . . . and still come up with no signs of life. Xavier also checks telepathically and finds no trace of Kurt's mind lingering in his body. That boy is dead, dead, dead. Although none of the X-Men can figure out why. Then Dr. Strange comes knocking on the door and it turns out things aren't so hopeless after all. He quickly determines that the actual problem is that Kurt's soul has been stolen. If they can get the soul back, everything will be fine. It had been stolen by Margali Szardos, Kurt's foster mother. By the end of the story, the problem has been fixed. 1983. UXM #167. Written by Chris Claremont. Professor Xs body has been previously infected with a Brood egg, and his body now is transformed into a Brood Queen. So as far as his original body is concerned, the Professor has essentially died. Fortunately, Shiar technology is equal to the challenge of transferring his mind to a clone-body which does not suffer from the crippling injuries experienced by the original body many years earlier. 1984. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #11. Written by Jim Shooter. Doctor Doom, possessed of the power of the Beyonder, blasts at the assembled heroes on the war world of the Secret Wars. From comments made in #12, we gather that this should have involved killing all members of the X-Men who participated in that miniseries. In alphabetical order: Colossus, Cyclops, Lockheed, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine. 1985. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12. Written by Jim Shooter. Theyre back! Colossus, Cyclops, Lockheed, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Rogue, Storm, Wolverine! Good as new! Thank Doctor Dooms mood swings, the Beyonders manipulations, an alien healer girl named Zsaji who died, and the wonders of superduper futuristic technology. 1985. Fantastic Four #286. Written by John Byrne (or I think thats what the credits said Ive also seen an assertion that Chris Claremont was brought in to revise some of the dialogue at the last minute, uncredited, for some reason). Jean Grey, long presumed dead until this issue, emerges from a survival pod which had just recently been found over in Avengers #263. It turns out she is not the same Jean Grey who went nuts and wiped out a star, complete with billions of sentient residents of one of its planets, during the Dark Phoenix Saga. That Phoenix/Dark Phoenix character was actually a psychotic alien entity, a physical manifestation of the Phoenix Force which (for its own reasons) had tucked Jean away in suspended animation way back around UXM #101 and turned itself into a perfect duplicate of her, so that even Professor Xavier couldn't tell the difference. 1986. Uncanny X-Men #207. Written by Chris Claremont. Rachel Summers (Phoenix) is about to kill Selene, the current Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. Wolverine tells her to back off. She doesnt. Wolverine shoves his claws through her heart and lungs, apparently working on the theory that its better for him to kill a friend than it is for his friend to hunt down and kill an evil enemy after capturing her. (In the following issue, other X-Men seem very unhappy with Wolverines decision, but they dont actually do anything about it. Such as threatening to expel him from the group for instance.) We also will learn in the following issue that Rachel is still alive just barely thanks to the heavy use of telekinesis to hold things together so she doesnt bleed to death. However, if I have the timing right, she has not yet healed from her wounds the next time the X-Men see her, so a death in the near future remains a very strong possibility if anything goes wrong. Then she vanishes from their ken and ends up on Mojoworld for awhile. As far as they know, she could have quietly bled to death in a dark alley somewhere. Im counting this one as a death, in large part because of some dialogue in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn. (Which will have its own listing below.) 1987. X-Men Annual #11. Written by Chris Claremont. Wolverine gets his heart ripped out, which would normally mean that a character was dead, even when that character is Logan. However, one drop of his blood falls on an alien god-gem thingie, which conveniently goes into third gear and restores Wolverine, alive and well, from that single drop of blood. 1987. X-Factor #15. Written by Louise Simonson. Angel, unhappy after the amputation of his wings, gets in a plane and takes off. The plane explodes, leaving his friends to assume he committed suicide rather than live without his wings.