12. RUSTY COLLINS
Some mutants always seem to be destined for big things, having the x-factor from the moment they’re introduced. Sadly, with so many mutants in the Marvel universe, not every character can be a huge success. For every Wolverine or Gambit there’s a character like Rusty Collins. While most mutants have to contend with a difficult life, Rusty’s time in the spotlight was one continual series of unfortunate events and missed opportunities.
After his mutant power of fire generated, injuring a woman, he was taken in by X-Factor. He stayed with the team for a lengthy period of time, forming a romantic relationship with Skids. In many ways, the team became his surrogate family. If this sounds idyllic, it wasn’t to last. Rusty and Skids were forced to join the Mutant Liberation Front, where they were brainwashed by Stryfe. After Magneto cured their condition, they chose to join his followers on the floating space station of Avalon; it was this act of gratitude that led to Rusty’s death. When Holocaust, a survivor from the “Age of Apocalypse,” was found floating in space, he drained Rusty’s life-force to restore his energies, killing the unfortunate mutant.
Since “Generation X” ended its members have been treated terribly. Jubilee became a vampire, Husk went crazy, Chamber became a mini-Apocalypse and Penance vanished from sight. But these slights pale in comparison to the death of Angelo Espinosa (Skin). From the start, he was an oddity among a team of oddballs. He had to cope with six feet of extra graying skin and had a different temperament from his teammates, with a rough childhood in the gangs of Los Angeles at first making him put up a hard front. This soon changed and he struck up close bonds with his peers.
When “Generation X” ended with #75, Jubilee and Angelo intended to go travelling together. Some time later, their journey brought then back to the X-Mansion, but under tragic circumstances. The Church of Humanity crucified several mutants on the mansion’s front lawn, including Skin and Jubilee. While Jubilee and several others were saved, Skin died. To add insult to injury, Skin was not even visible in the depiction of this event, being referred to only by dialogue. Compounding the indignity, when Jubilee and Husk visited his grave in a later issue, the wrong name was used on his headstone.