The title of this post implies far more disdain for the character Forge than I actually have.
Did it annoy me when he constantly said “Plasma coil charged” as my buddy Jordan and I played X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 in college? A bit. Despite Chris Claremont’s best efforts do I remain more or less unconvinced that his mutant power of being able to build cool stuff is of any use in actual combat situations? For the most part. Do I feel that fringed cowboy boots and a ponytail clash with the standard blue and gold X-Men uniform? Y’know what, jury’s out on that one.
But ultimately, I don’t have strong feelings towards Forge, and those I do have tend towards thinking he’s not a bad character with some good stories to his credit—he was awesome in Lifedeath and was actually quite a stud in my beloved Muir Island Saga—and untapped potential for somebody with a good idea.
However, simply observing objectively, he is the worst X-Man of all-time in terms of damage done to the team. Forge makes Dark Phoenix look like a drunk girl who knocked over a drink and then passed out as far as being a plague upon his own allies.
Let’s examine (and to be nice I’m even going to jump right over the part where his entire platoon died in Vietnam and his response was to go nuts, order a bombing of the area, and use a Cheyenne spell to unwittingly unleash The Adversary—I’m glossing over that):
After Tony Stark stopped making weapons for S.H.I.E.L.D. because he was a on a peace kick, Forge subbed in and designed some goodies including a power neutralizing thing meant to be used on Dire Wraiths but that Henry Peter Gyrich co-opted to de-power mutants with. To his credit, Forge wasn’t pleased with this decision—y’know, being a mutant and all—but his good intentions didn’t help Storm when she got zapped by the device trying to protect Rogue and lost her powers as a result. Forge actually attempted to romance the now former X-Man and did a decent job of it until she realized it was kinda his fault she lost her powers. Whoops.
Forge did a decent job making amends in the war with the Wraiths and even got Storm her powers back, but then that pesky Adversary, the Native American god of evil he had freed awhile back—said I wasn’t going to mention it, but just realized it’s kind of crucial—showed up to try and destroy the world. Fortunately Forge had a solution: He could reverse the spell and banish The Adversary, he just needed nine people to sacrifice their lives, and wouldn’t you know it, there were eight X-Men and Madelyne Pryor.
So yeah, Forge totally killed the X-Men. They got better, but it bears repeating: Of all the enemies the X-Men have faced over the years, only one has ever killed all of them and it was Forge.
Being the forgiving types, after they came back from the dead, the X-Men let Forge join the team, but since he wasn’t much good in a fight other than to get them killed or take away their powers, they smartly relegated him to “Mansion Support Staff”—the way you let the scrawny kid be the mascot—where he promptly blew his one responsibility and allowed Professor X and Moira MacTaggert to be captured by Magneto, who just wrenched the room they were in into space while our buddy was out for a stroll.
Years later, long after leaving the X-Men and getting dumped by Storm then Mystique then Mystique again, Forge popped back up as a mentor to some of Xavier’s younger students, like Surge, and the go-to tech guy for the team; it was honestly a great and useful role for him. Of course the poor bastard still couldn’t catch a break and was attacked by Nimrod, who revealed an alternate reality Forge had created him; the New X-Men saved our guy, but in the process he sent Nimrod back in time to menace the X-Men in the first place, creating one of their deadliest foes essentially twice (I think; it was a rad story, but truth be told I got confused at parts).
Somewhat understandably, Forge seemed to want to be left alone after this, probably realizing he was as much a danger to the X-Men as they were to him, but Bishop needed his time machine, so he gave him a concussion and took off with it. After this, our boy went a bit batty and locked himself in his house (literally).
Most recently, a completely unhinged Forge—at least partially round the bend because Storm married The Black Panther—came up with a plan to save the world from an other-dimensional invasion by sending the X-Men on a suicide mission; when they turned down that offer, he nearly blew up the planet by opening a portal, but fortunately Beast shot a big laser through it and ended the invasion threat. There was a big explosion afterward and Forge may or may not have died in what would have been possibly the ultimate mercy killing for both him and the X-Men.
In short: took away Storm’s powers, brought a ridiculously powerful bad guy to Earth, killed the X-Men, got Professor X kidnapped, created another ridiculously powerful bad guy, allowed Bishop to pursue Cable and the potential mutant messiah through time by not paying attention, tried to kill the X-Men again, then nearly destroyed the world before getting killed in an explosion.
Did I mention he killed the X-Men?
Forge: A snappy dresser, but seriously, the worst X-Man ever.