In keeping with a decades long tradition from the X-Men mythology, Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen will be introducing new costumes for the original class of X-Men in next week's 'All-New X-Men #9'. The tradition of X-Men earning new costumes once they have graduated from the initial class started with the original X-Men in the '60s, when the team graduated from the basic yellow and blue and were encouraged to create personalized costumes that more suited their character. Now that the original five are running around in Marvel NOW!, it makes perfect sense that they will once again be adopting new costumes to celebrate their graduation into the modern world of the X-Men.
In keeping with a decades long tradition from the X-Men mythology, Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen will be introducing new costumes for the original class of X-Men in next week’s ‘All-New X-Men #9′. The tradition of X-Men earning new costumes once they have graduated from the initial class started with the original X-Men in the ’60s, when the team graduated from the basic yellow and blue and were encouraged to create personalized costumes that more suited their character. Now that the original five are running around in Marvel NOW!, it makes perfect sense that they will once again be adopting new costumes to celebrate their graduation into the modern world of the X-Men.
While the tradition isn’t something that is strictly adhered to, it is a pretty good guarantee that if you are a member of the X-Men you will have numerous costume changes over your career. Today we will be looking at some of the best of these early costume changes, usually due to a member of the X-Men either graduating from their initial roll with the team, or adopting the ‘X’ into their uniform. Or in some cases, it’s about looking badass while kicking it.
Warren Worthington’s second costume was probably the worst X-costume ever printed on the page. It had suspenders, for one, and mismatched colors that did nothing for the character. So I like to think of his next costume as the graduation from the terrible second stage costume, and it is this costume that becomes the second most iconic of the original team of X-Men. With the sleek blue (sometimes red) and white lines dominated by the golden halo chestpiece, the costume helped define the character until he underwent his forced metamorphosis at the hands of Apocalypse. Even after he recovered from his time and had adopted the name Archangel, the classic blue and white costume once again became his main costume. Even the Warren of today wears a new variation of the costume, coming full circle after the many years of turmoil and costume changes.
Betsy Braddock has probably the most confusing yet awesome graduated costumes in the history of the X-Men. In the early stages of her time with the X-Men, British lass Betsy wore a couple of costumes, one of which was a pretty cool armor that protected her as she was pretty much the worst combatant known to man. But after she went through the Siege Perilous (a funky teleportation portal that kind of has a mind of its own) and was messed around with by the Hand and Spiral (long story), she ended up returning to the X-Men as an Asian ninja wearing a one piece and wielding swords. It’s no wonder this version of Psylocke became a favorite of fans, and this costume has held up pretty well over the years.
08) Emma Frost
Emma Frost has had quite a few looks over the years before this one, but most were from her times as the villain White Queen, or the headmistress of the Massachusetts Academy, which was home to the kids of Generation X. This costume earns it’s place on the list as being the first true costume that Emma wears as a member of the X-Men, and wear it she does. While the scantily clad appearance of the costume has changed over the years, mostly due to her position as a teacher of children. Defying gravity is only one of its stylistic attributes, and this costume will always be fondly remembered as part of Grant Morrison’s spectacular run on New X-Men.
This one should be pretty obvious. While his actual second costume was basically the exact same as the first class uniform with different colors, we won’t be counting that one. Because the look he followed that with would forever erase the previous costumes from memory. Transforming into the blue hairy Beast, Henry McCoy became the costume. While his new look technically happened after he left the X-Men, and he would join the Avengers before returning to the X-Men, I still count it on the list. Such a dramatic change in appearance that has continued to evolve over the years, all while the Beast remained a central character of both the X-Men and the Avengers deserves to be recognized He more recently underwent another transformation, but the familiar blue and hairy look to the character looks like it will never go out of style.
Wolverine’s classic yellow and blue costume is certainly more iconic and well known than his graduated costume, but the brown and gold has always been my favorite Wolvy costume. The costume was simple and raw and far more in tune with Logan, especially compared to his more flashy duds. He was at his best in this costume, especially during the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller mini-series that brought a new depth to the fan favorite character. The costume was brought back when Logan’s late son Daken impersonated him during Dark Reign, and he later modified the costume and wore the colors as Dark Wolverine. There have been a few occasions over the years when Logan has returned to this costume, but it is never for a long enough period of time.
While I have always been partial to her black and green costumes that dominated the ’8os, there is no doubt that her best X-Men costume was the green and yellow suit designed by Jim Lee. This is the costume that most fans think of when thinking of Rogue, and has been a key part of her look for years. Coupled with the short leather jacket and the belt that serves absolutely no purpose, this outfit didn’t make a whole lot of sense but didn’t really need to. Lately she has been wearing costumes that draw off of her original outfit mroe than the ’90s version, an they usually follow the green and white color scheme. Despite my love for her current style, no one who has been reading X-Men for years (or seen the animated series) are likely to argue over the greatness of this costume.
Kitty Pryde was the first of the next generation of X-Men to keep up the tradition of creating her own costume, and it turned out disastrous. It also resulted in Kitty remaining in the first class costume for a bit longer using the codename of Sprite. After a demonic possession and some hardcore ninja training at the hands of Wolverine, Kitty adopted the name Shadowcat and a new costume that reflected her ninja training. This costume would follow her as she moved on from the X-Men to the British super team Excalibur, where she continued to grow as a woman and as a great character at the hands of Chris Claremont. Eventually Kitty returned to a variation of the ‘trainee’ uniform, but for me, nothing beats the Shadowcat costume.
There is no doubt that Storm would be featured on an X-costume list of any kind. Ororo Munroe has always been a fashionable lady with numerous costumes that speak to her regal nature, and glamorous outfits that are truly worthy of a Goddess. We aren’t going to be talking about any of those costumes. Storm makes this list due to her iconic costume that most people refer to as Punk Storm, or Mohawk Storm. Yes, there was a time in the ’80s when Ororo adopted a more grungy look that has stolen a place in the hearts of fans. This Storm was a rougher version of the Goddess we had first been introduced too, and proved that even without powers (as she was for a time), she was one hell of a tough lady. The costume itself was casually simple, save for the extravagant mohawk that has now made its triumphant return in Uncanny X-Force.
Nightcrawler wasn’t exactly known for changing his costume all the time, and was one of the few Uncanny X-Men to retain his original outfit throughout most of his early career. It was only after Kurt had spent a lot of time with Excalibur and eventually became their leader that he finally added some personality to his fighting togs. This new costume more accurately represented his swashbuckler attitude, and his skill with a sword finally became a permanent part of his uniform. This version of Nightcrawler would have been played by Errol Flynn, and I would have loved every minute of it. Unfortunately the look didn’t last, and Nightcrawler has worn one variation or another of his original costume since.
01) Marvel Girl
Without a doubt, Jean Grey’s initial graduated costume is one of her best and most iconic, and the merest image of the costume can spring a rush of nostalgia. While the costume doesn’t have the energy of her later Phoenix costume, and it lacks the untouched pouches of her ’90s outfit, the simplistic elegance of her Marvel Girl costume trumps those any day of the week. And the mask adds such an air of mystique to a character that has been mask-less for the majority of her career. The costume received a modern facelift when her time displaced daughter Rachel Grey adopted the name Marvel Girl, but still doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Jean’s first design of her graduated costume was better than any of her original classmates, and this costume has earned its spot at the top of this list. Oh, sweet nostalgia.
While making this list I was impressed by the sheer amount of costumes the various members of the X-Men have gone through over the years, especially compared with other members of the Marvel Universe. Most non-X characters may only have a couple of temporary outfit changes for some extra publicity until the classic look comes back, but the design of the various X-Men seems to be in a constant state of flow. With Bendis and Immonen’s new costumes for the original five X-Men set to debut next week, I can’t wait to see if any of those costumes will eventually make their way onto this list.
Are there any costumes you think we should have included in this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Characters and Images: Marvel Comics