They may have not made the big leagues, but the losers of the first mutant election get an intergalactic consolation prize in Secret X-Men #1.
As seen in this one-shot, sometimes losing can be the new winning—or at least open up new opportunities. In the aftermath of the X-Men election, we find Roberto “Sunspot” Da Costa enjoying a cosmic rager on the Shi’ar throneworld of Chandilar (as you do) when Deathbird approaches him with a tempting proposition: assemble a team of his own for a top-priority escort mission. Always enterprising and scheming, he’s already got one in mind, and it’s composed of his fellow losers: Armor, Banshee, Boom-Boom, Cannonball, Forge, Marrow, Strong Guy, and Tempo. But when the gig turns sideways before it even begins, Berto will have to think fast and save the day before it’s too late.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected additions to the post-Dawn of X line, Secret X-Men makes the most of its fun premise and gives shine to some of Krakoa’s more underserved characters. X-Men fans already love forming hypothetical teams as a thought experiment (which Cannonball alludes to in a line of dialogue), and this issue gives a textual excuse for Sunspot to do so. The actual plot of the thing is almost irrelevant; it’s all about bringing this motley crew of mutants together and allowing them to bounce off one another before returning to their usual lives.
There are a lot of ideas being thrown around by writer Tini Howard here that could make for fun developments elsewhere—a favorite of mine is Marrow forming a bone spacesuit to withstand the outer reaches. Will we ever see that again? Who knows! But it’s fun and cool! Artist Francesco Mobili more than meets the challenge of her script, delivering some great outer space action.
With another X-Men election due to announce its winner very soon, I wonder if this concept will be reused on an annual basis for whoever isn’t picked to succeed Polaris on the main squad. It wouldn’t even need to be this same exact setup—though the issue ends in a way where it could be—but I just think X-Men fans would get a kick out of it.