I'm pretty much doing this one because theskooch requested it. He wanted an X heading in the Top Five Lists index. Dork. I resisted, but here it is. The first question is probably top five what? Top five favourite X-Men? Top five most influential X-Men? Top Five coolest X-Men? Best? Best powers? Pretty much all of those, with a focus on the most influential to the mythos of the X-Men. So powers, influence, popularity and everything is taken into consideration, with my personal bias influencing everything.
These are my qualifications for making such a list: I've been reading X-Men comics for something like 15 years. I started collecting them around 1988 and stopped around 2001 (there were a couple interrupted periods in between, which I filled in when resuming collecting). I've since bought back issues dating to 1981, giving me an uninterrupted run of The Uncanny X-Men lasting 20 years, from issues 154 to 395 (he says with equal measure of pride and shame), along with the concurrent run of X-Men/New X-Men from its creation in 1991 to issue 114. I also have a run of Classic X-Men that reprints the era of the All-New, All-Different X-Men from Giant Size X-Men #1 to The Uncanny X-Men #142. I am currently closing the gap between 142 and 154, as well as buying all X-Men appearances in other books (I know how silly this is, but everyone should have a hobby, right?). I recently started collecting The Astonishing X-Men series written by Joss Whedon, but have little intention of buying all the new comics I've missed since 2001. With this in mind, my tastes seem to slant towards 80's and early-to-mid 90's based X-Men, so keep that in mind.
NOTE: I've decided to exclude Professor X as an X-Man. There was a period where he regained the use of his legs and thus joined the X-Men on missions, but I've always thought of him as separate from the actual team, kind of like how a coach isn't truly a member of a sports team. Otherwise, he'd be number one by default. On to the list...
5. Shadowcat/ Kitty Pryde/ Ariel/ Sprite- number five is always the toughest, as it means you have to eliminate other worthy contenders from the list. I considered Rogue, Nightcrawler and Gambit for this spot, but chose Kitty because of the energy she brought to the book following the Dark Phoenix Saga. Also, I'm really getting into Joss Whedon's treatment of Kitty on The Astonishing X-Men so she has that advantage going for her. I hope she gets a bigger part in X3. If the Whedon rumours are true, than I'm confident she will.
4. Storm/ Ororo Monroe- the second-best leader in team history, Storm has been a constant presence in X-Men comics since her debut in Giant Size #1, leaving the team only temporarily when she lost her powers (but was still featured in the comic). She's never been one of my favourite characters, given her aloof nature, but her presence on the team and influence on the book in undeniable.
3. Jean Grey-Summers/ Phoenix/ Marvel Girl- since her debut as Marvel Girl in the first issue, Jean Grey has been the heart of the team. I'm including the character of Phoenix from the Claremont/Byrne run, even though it technically wasn't Jean Grey, but it was the Jean Grey characterization at the heart of the greatest X-Men story ever told- The Dark Phoenix Saga. As she got older, she died a few times (she's currently dead) and assumed kind of a mother-figure to the X-Men.
2. Cyclops/ Scott Summers- the first X-Man, the best leader in team history, and my favourite X-Man. He's always been my favourite, as I can relate to him in ways that I can't see how anyone can relate to the most popular X-Man of all-time (see below). He's been the centre of most of the biggest X-Men events including The Dark Phoenix Saga, The Executioner's Song, The Twelve, Inferno, etc. Plus, he's one of the most powerful X-Men.
1. Wolverine/ Logan- while he's never been my favourite, there's no way anyone else could be number one. Wolverine, more so than any other character, and perhaps more than any writer or artist, is the reason why the X-Men are comics' hottest property. People just love the crazy Canuck. At times, it seemed like Marvel would just throw this guy in any book that was struggling with sales. I think I read that he'll be part of the new Avengers team as well. Overexposed, much?
There you have it, the geekiest top five I've ever done. I encourage other comic geeks to join in with comic-related lists/reviews so I don't look so silly.