The New Mutants were a new era for Professor X and the X-Men. Professor Xavier was ready to give up on his dream after he believed all of his X-Men had been killed, but Moira MacTaggert convinced Charles to take on a new team. They were the New Mutants, and Sunspot and Cannonball were two of the first members of this team.
Sunspot, aka Roberto da Costa, is able to absorb solar radiation and use it to fly, shoot fire, and give himself enhanced strength and durability. Cannonball, aka Sam Guthrie, is able to fly at incredible speeds and is virtually invulnerable while doing so. Who is the better New Mutant though?
10 CANNONBALL: Southern Charm
One of Cannonball’s greatest powers is his farmboy charm. Sam is a good old southern boy with a sense of humor and is easygoing. He tries to get along with everyone and is generally kind to his teammates. He’s not cocky, angry, or overbearing. He’s just a simple guy trying to do right by his teammates and mutantkind in general.
9 SUNSPOT: He Can Do More Than Just Fly
But at least Roberto da Costa can do more than just fly around and blast into things. Sunspot has a myriad of abilities linked to his absorption of solar radiation. He can use that radiation to give himself enhanced strength and durability, he can emit fire blasts, he can absorb and project heat and light, survive in space, absorb other forms of energy, and fly as well. Sunspot is a very strong mutant.
8 CANNONBALL: Smasher And Josiah
It’s hard to deny that Cannonball’s relationship with Smasher, whom he met in his tenure as an Avenger, is downright adorable. The two fell for one another in the heart of the Builders’ War and cultivated the relationship in the time afterward. They eventually married and have a mutant child of their own in Josiah Guthrie, who, even as an infant, has begun exhibiting superhuman abilities.
7 SUNSPOT: Cocky Charisma
While Sam has his southern charm, Roberto has the cocky and swaggering charm that one can only attain by being born into the lap of luxury. Like Tony Stark, Roberto has a tendency towards being an aggressive and arrogant man that you can’t help but like on some level. He has generally good intentions, so you know that there is a center of kindness underneath it all–and that gives you a reason to attach to him.
6 CANNONBALL: He Might Be An External
In addition to the invulnerability, he receives while using his flight powers, Cannonball may also be outright immortal. Cable has had reason to believe that Sam is a rare variety of mutants known as an “External.” This kind of mutant is immortal.
Apocalypse himself is an External, and there was evidence for Sam being one after he suffered a fatal wound from which he recovered without any medical attention. There has been evidence to the contrary in the time since, but it’s never been completely disproven.
5 SUNSPOT: He Bought Out A.I.M.
One of Sunspot’s more ambitious and impressive projects was buying out the criminal organization known as Advanced Idea Mechanics, or A.I.M. He acquired all of their research and put the resources within to good use. He used those resources to force Captain America‘s Avengers team and Illuminati to come to an agreement and seek a solution to the Final Incursion.
4 CANNONBALL: He Beat Gladiator On His Own
Gladiator is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe, and he has come into conflict with the X-Men on several occasions. He has a power set comparable to Superman, and it takes a lot to even cause him to flinch. That’s what makes it all the more impressive that Cannonball took him down in single combat. Cannonball’s flight ability may not be anything to scoff at after all.
3 SUNSPOT: New Avengers And U.S.Avengers
Something else that Sunspot did with the resources available to A.I.M.–found his own Avengers team. The first iteration took the New Avengers name, and he recruited Cannonball, Hawkeye, Songbird, Squirrel Girl, Hulkling, Power Man (Vic Alvarez), Wiccan, and White Tiger. Later, the team was refined and entered an agreement with the American government. They became known as the U.S.Avengers, and he recruited Toni Ho as Iron Patriot and General Maverick as the second Red Hulk.
2 CANNONBALL: He Led X-Force
Cannonball has led a team as well. After Cable left the first iteration of X-Force, and Pete Wisdom was seemingly killed, Cannonball took the lead. Considering how hard-bitten and dangerous X-Force and its enemies tended to be, this was no mean feat.
Despite this, Sam took the helm and led the team until it was forced to dissolve. He would later return to the team when young Cable reformed the classic team.
1 SUNSPOT: The Three X’s
In recent comics, particularly Marvel Comics #1000 and Incoming!, it’s been implied that the Three X’s has reformed. Blue Marvel, Night Thrasher, and Agents of Atlas leader Jimmy Woo have begun working together on something big in secret. However, Jimmy Woo is actually working on behalf of Sunspot who, at the time, wanted it to be believed that he was dead. The original Three X’s created the original Human Torch, Jim Hammond, and kicked off the Age of Marvels. The current Three X’s is investigating the Eternity Mask and its wearer, the Masked Raider. It is yet to be revealed to what all of this is building.
Sunspot is a pretty awesome New Mutant, but Cannonball has powers that rival even Sunspot. Who is the better Mutant?