Though they didn’t realize it back then, 1975 was a momentous year for Marvel Comics. With the May premiere of Giant-Size X-Men #1, the company did several things. It launched the careers of several fine writers and artists. It also created a mutant revolution that has continued for nearly half a century.
In addition, this X-Men relaunch brought together a cavalcade of heroes that became fan favorites. Two of the most important debuts were Storm and Nightcrawler. For an example of why, here are five reasons why Nightcrawler was the important debut of the 70s and five why it was Storm.
10 Storm: First Black Superhero On A Marvel Team
Officially, Misty Knight was the first black superhero in Marvel comics. However, her appearance in May 1975’s Marvel Premiere #21 was a solo performance. Storm’s introduction two months later as a member of the new X-Men lineup was more important.
Not only was she the third female member of the team — Marvel Girl and Polaris were the first two — she was also the first one of color. Also, Storm already had the presence of leadership, being the first to speak to Professor X when the new recruits gathered in the mansion.
9 Nightcrawler: First X-Man With A Non-Human Look
Yes, Hank McCoy’s transformation to the furry blue Beast occurred in 1973, before Nightcrawler’s introduction. However, when it happened, Hank was on a leave of absence from the team. Furthermore, he would stay away for almost a decade.
This is why Nightcrawler’s appearance is important. He was the first X-Man that had a non-human look. In fact, he looked like a demon instead of a hero. Nevertheless, his appearance would allow for other non-human mutants to enroll in Xavier’s school and become members of the various X-teams.
8 Storm: Set The Stage For More Female Team Members
Prior to Giant-Size X-Men, super-teams lacked female members. At most, they had one or two at a time. For example, the Avengers had Wasp and Scarlet Witch. The Justice League had Wonder Woman and Black Canary.
For the most part, Storm was a full-time member of the team from the start. Her popularity allowed other creators to bring in additional female characters like Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Psylocke, and Emma Frost. Eventually, this population of X-Men was large enough to spawn an all-female team.
7 Nightcrawler: He Could Have Been A Legionnaire
Before his stint on Uncanny X-Men, artist Dave Cockrum made a name for himself by redesigning a majority of characters in DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes. On top of that, he had an idea for a new team book based in the 30th century called The Outsiders. Among its members was a familiar character named Nightcrawler.
Hence, Kurt’s non-human look. Initially, he was supposed to be an alien. If he wasn’t farmed out to the X-Men, their history might have been much different. Let alone as long-lived as it has been.
6 Storm: It Set Up A New Leadership Potential
It didn’t take long for Storm to reach the status of the team leader. Her presence and natural ability to resolve conflicts made her the right person over someone like Wolverine. It’s why she became the leader when a grieving Cyclops left to mourn Jean Grey after the Dark Phoenix Saga.
The change in leadership was a momentous one. Scott Summers was the de facto field leader of the X-Men since their creation. Passing the torch to Storm setup future leadership opportunities. For instance, she became head of the X-Men Gold group when the team restructured in the early 90s.
5 Nightcrawler: He Provided The Team With Light-Heartedness
For the most part, the X-Men are a pretty serious team. With the amount of death and destruction they normally face, it’s hard to crack a smile. That’s why they always need a light-hearted component.
With the Beast an Avenger at the time the new X-Men formed, Nightcrawler took on that role. It’s was a logical move. Many people are afraid of his demonic looks. By injecting humor into various scenarios, Nightcrawler can diffuse most tense situations.
4 Storm: She Became A Female Lead
The first generation X-Men were a team. Though they had their own personalities, they were shown within a collaborative environment. Characters like Jean Grey didn’t get a spotlight, let alone become a female lead.
Storm did this right from the start. Not only did she get a short profile in Giant-Size X-Men but she also became the comic’s female lead. At least until Jean returned and usurped all the attention with her Dark Phoenix act. After that, Storm returned to the lead and even helped mentor new female members.
3 Nightcrawler: Mystique Would Not Be As Important
When she was introduced in a 1978 issue of Ms. Marvel, Mystique was not considered a member of the larger mutant family. Even though the character was created by Dave Cockrum and taken by Chris Claremont.
She might have stayed this way if future creators hadn’t decided to reveal Mystique’s direct link to the X-Men. In 1994, it was revealed she was Kurt’s mother. She became more closely connected to the Merry Mutants’ universe after that revelation.
2 Storm: She Has A Rags To Riches Origin
Readers love rags-to-riches stories about their favorite characters. Storm is no exception. In truth, her’s is a riches-to-rags-to-riches story. Born as a princess within a Kenyan tribe, she becomes an orphan who ended up wandering the streets of Cairo.
Her persona led her to quickly gain prominence in the X-Men and eventually lead several teams. In the 21st century, Storm married Black Panther and became queen of Wakanda. For the most part, Storm’s story is a modern fairy tale. Except for all the anti-mutant groups that want her dead.
1 Nightcrawler: He’s The X-Men’s Mediator
Nightcrawler is the X-Men’s equivalent of Tom Hanks. Everyone likes him and considers him a friend. He may disagree with his fellow team members from time to time, but those are minor conflicts.
Hence, the reason he is always considered the mediator for many of the X-Men’s larger problems. When part of the team, he has always been there to work out both sides of the argument and try to come up with a solution. While he’s not always successful, the opposing sides rarely express bad feelings toward Nightcrawler. Thus, why he has been with the team’s various incarnations for decades.
Marvel's X-Men comic book series got revitalized in the 70s with the debut of mutant characters like Storm and Nightcrawler.