Of the course of the nine movies in the X-Men universe to date, most of the classic X-Men villains have shown up. Magneto, Apocalypse, the Hellfire Club, and the Sentinels are the A-List when it comes to enemies of the X-Men. There is one name missing from this list, however, although he won’t be missing for long. It was recently revealed that Mr. Sinister will appear in Wolverine 3. Fans guessed this would happen after his existence was revealed during the post-credits sequence of X-Men: Apocalypse.
Mr. Sinister was one of the most popular recurring X-Men villains at the height of X-Men‘s popularity in the ’90s. He was a mainstay in the comics, video games, and X-Men animated series for over a decade. But what do we really know about Mr. Sinister? Despite doing some being a card-carrying villain, he would occasionally help out the X-Men (when it suited him), and possessed his own twisted sense of morality. Unlike a lot of comic book villains, Mr. Sinister has lots of depth and mystery surrounding his character.
We are here today to uncover the truth behind this mad scientific genius. Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Mr. Sinister.
15. The Real & Fictional Origin Of Mr. Sinister
Mr. Sinister was created in the late 1980s by longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont. Claremont had grown bored with the major recurring X-Men villains (like Magneto) and wanted to create someone new. It was revealed during the Mutant Massacre storyline that a shadowy figure was behind the whole thing. This figure was revealed in Uncanny X-Men #221 to be Mr. Sinister, an evil scientist who was obsessed with Scott Summers.
The next big X-Men crossover was Inferno, where it was revealed that Cyclops’ wife, Madelyne Pryor, was actually a clone of Jean Grey created by Mr. Sinister. Pryor would eventually gain demonic powers, becoming the Goblin Queen. The Inferno storyline involved an army of demons invading New York and it took an alliance of several Marvel teams to stop them
As more writers used Mr. Sinister in their stories, his character the form we are familiar with today. He is an evil scientist with a wide range of mutant abilities at his disposal, who has an obsession with the DNA of both Scott Summers and Jean Grey. He believes that there is something hidden within their genetic code that he desires for his own mysterious ends. What he exactly wants from the DNA tends to change from writer to writer.
14. The Origin Of His Silly Name
So here is the biggest question about Mr. Sinister – what’s the deal with his name?
According to Chris Claremont, Mr. Sinister was originally going to be the front for another supervillain. It was going to be revealed that the orphanage where Cyclops grew up was being controlled by an 11-year-old boy with mutant powers. The boy was actually an old man whose powers forced his body to stop growing. This boy would control a crime syndicate, but would have to act through agents due to his appearance.
Through the use of his powers, the boy would create a scary-looking supervillain to act as his representative to the outside world. This creation was Mr. Sinister, who was intentionally designed to look like he was designed by a child. This is why he has such a childish name – he was literally created by a kid. This backstory was abandoned before it could be revealed.
13. His Healing Ability Is Better Than Wolverine’s
Mr. Sinister officially holds the classification of “Alpha-Level mutant”. This is a designation given to the most powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe, and it extends to characters such as Magneto, Professor Xavier, and Storm. By being included in this group, Mr. Sinister is considered a force to be reckoned with.
The most impressive of Mr. Sinister’s abilities concerns his body. His control over his cellular structure is so complete, it not only makes him immortal, but makes him practically impossible to kill.
While Wolverine can heal from almost any wound with his healing factor, Mr. Sinister can regenerate from almost total annihilation. His regeneration ability is close to that of Cell from Dragon Ball Z – so long as even a small part of Mr. Sinister’s body survives, he can rebuild himself.
Mr. Sinister has also managed to cheat death by mixing his telepathic abilities with his knowledge of cloning. So long as Mr. Sinister has fresh clones of himself available, he can put his consciousness into one of them upon the destruction of his true body, allowing him to return as many times as he wants (which is a handy ability for a supervillain to possess.)
12. His One Weakness Is Cyclops
A villain who is indestructible would be very boring indeed. In order to make them interesting, a villain needs weaknesses for the good guys to exploit. Mr. Sinister is no exception to this, and he has one major weakness that his regeneration ability cannot counter – Cyclops’s optic blasts.
The one person who Mr. Sinister is obsessed with kidnapping is also the one person who can truly harm him. For some unexplained reason, Cyclops’s optic blasts can damage Mr. Sinister, to the point where his regeneration ability will not work (or at least, is nullified from working, making it possible for Cyclops to kill him once and for all.)
While the effects of Cyclops’s blasts on Mr. Sinister tend to differ depending on the writer, the one place where it was set in stone was in the classic ’90s X-Men animated series. In several episodes of the show, whenever Cyclops’ hit Mr. Sinister with an optic blast, we would see an open wound that would bleed green blood. It was a very gruesome sight, especially for a kids show.
11. He Had A Unique Way Of Defeating Professor Xavier
In the year 2000, Marvel released a new line of comics referred to as Ultimate Marvel (or the “Ultimate Universe” by fans). This new series was intended to act as a fresh reboot of all of the big Marvel series, whilst leaving the regular Marvel series untouched. Ultimate Marvel would be new takes on some of their biggest series like Spider-Man, The Avengers (referred to as The Ultimates), and X-Men.
The Ultimate version of Mr. Sinister was a human scientist who worked for Norman Osborn. He gained superpowers by performing experiments on himself. In exchange for his new abilities, however, he slowly lost his mind, and became obsessed with killing all mutants. After murdering several young mutants, the X-Men began a city-wide search of New York in order to track him down. Sinister was not hiding in New York City, however, as he was too busy breaking into the X-Men’s Mansion.
It was inside the X-Men’s home that Ultimate Mr. Sinister had his most famous scene. He was confronting Professor Xavier, the most powerful telepath on the planet, who could have lobotomized him with a thought. Sinister had other plans, however, and he used the same tactic that the Doctor has been dying to use on the Daleks for over fifty years.
He pushed his wheelchair down the stairs…
10. He Was Given His Powers By Apocalypse
When Mr. Sinister’s origin story was revealed, it turned out that he may not have originally been a mutant at all.
Mr. Sinister was originally Nathaniel Essex, a scientist working in 19th century London. After his firstborn child died due to numerous birth defects, Essex became obsessed with trying to discover the cause of human mutations. He worked with a gang known as the Marauders, who would bring him disfigured people in exchange for money. The Marauders eventually ran into Apocalypse, who had just awoken in Victorian times. While Apocalypse generally has no time for people who aren’t mutants, he was so impressed with Essex’s work that he offered him a chance at immortality.
Essex, surprisingly, did not accept his offer straight away. It took the death of both his second child and his wife to convince him to side with Apocalypse. While it is not clear if Essex was a mutant before (he never showed signs of possessing any mutant powers), he was transformed into one by Apocalypse. Through the use of Apocalypse’s technology, Essex became Mr. Sinister, one of the most powerful mutants alive.
9. He Was Secretly Betraying Apocalypse
In 1995, all of the X-Men comics series were dragged into a crossover known as The Age of Apocalypse. Professor Xavier’s son, David (better known as Legion), went back in time to try and kill Magneto before he could become a villain. He messes up and accidentally kills Charles Xavier instead, who passes on his dream of peace between humans and mutants to Magneto. This event created a new continuity, where Apocalypse has taken over most of the world, and a team of X-Men led by Magneto are fighting to stop him.
One of the big selling points of The Age of Apocalypse was how different a lot of the characters were. Former heroes like Beast were now performing horrific experiments on unwilling test subjects. Former villains like Sabretooth were now members of the X-Men, battling against Apocalypse.
In this reality, Mr. Sinister served as one of Apocalypse’s Four Horseman. What Apocalypse doesn’t realize is that he is being betrayed by Sinister. In this reality, Mr. Sinister is leaking vital information about Apocalypse’s plans to the X-Men and the Human Resistance in Europe. This Mr. Sinister had adopted Scott Summers, which finally gave him complete access to his DNA. With Apocalypse close to ending the world, Sinister needed to stop him before he could ruin his experiments.
8. He Creates Clones From Cyclops & Jean Grey DNA
If there is one thing that Mr. Sinister loves, it’s creating clones. After all, his whole gimmick is being a mad scientist obsessed with genetics. His two most famous clones are Madelyne Pryor and Nate Grey, or as they are more commonly known, the Goblin Queen and X-Man.
Madelyne Pryor was a woman who Cyclops fell in love with and married after Jean Grey’s. When Jean Grey returned (it turned out she wasn’t dead, but being kept in stasis by the Phoenix Force), Cyclops ditched his old wife and went back with Jean. It was revealed to Madelyne that she was a clone of Jean Grey, created by Mr. Sinister in order to seduce Cyclops. He believed that a child of both the Grey and Summers bloodline would create the ultimate mutant. With Jean Grey believed to have been killed during The Dark Phoenix Saga, Sinister was forced to create a clone of Jean Grey in order to accomplish his dream.
Nate Grey actually comes from the world of the Age of Apocalypse. Mr. Sinister created him by splicing Cyclops’s and Jean Grey’s DNA together. He had tremendous telepathic and telekinetic abilities (like his mother) which manifested from his eyes (like his father). During the final issue of Age of Apocalypse, Nate stabs Apocalypse’s son, Holocaust, with a shard of the M’Kraan Crystal. This attack has the unintended effect of sending them both to the main Marvel Universe, where they became part of the regular X-Men series.
7. He Once Transformed Into A Woman Called “Miss Sinister”
Gender-swapping characters is something that has exploded in popularity on the Internet in recent years. It is where you take an established character and reverse their gender in some sort of fan work (usually a drawing or cosplay). This is sometimes referred to as “Rule 63”, and is commonly done by famous cosplayers, who dress like female variants of popular male superheroes.
The reason this is so popular in comics is because this is the area of fiction where it happens the most. Some of the most famous characters have female equivalents who closely match them, like Superman and Supergirl, Batman and Batwoman, and the Hulk and She-Hulk, to name a few.
Mr. Sinister is a rare case of a character who ended up changing gender himself. During the Messiah Complex storyline, Mr. Sinister was killed. Due to his powerful telepathic & scientific abilities, he was reborn within the body of a woman named Claudine Renko. He then became Miss Sinister, whose mind & abilities were the same as Mr. Sinister, only now they were inside the body of a woman who dressed like a Gothic pinup model.
6. He Was The Mastermind Behind The Mutant Massacre
There existed a group of mutants that lived in the sewers beneath New York City called the Morlocks. Unlike the typically good looking X-Men, the Morlocks were hideously disfigured by their mutations. The Morlocks maintained their own society in the underground and wanted nothing to do with the outside world.
A supervillain team known the Marauders entered the Morlocks’ home and went on a murderous rampage. The Morlocks reached to the outside world for help, leading the X-Men and other superheroes to respond to the call. The series became known for its violent content – many Morlocks were massacred in horrific ways, whilst established characters like Angel and Nightcrawler were badly injured.
Whilst Mr. Sinister did not show up during the crossover, it was revealed by Psylocke after reading Sabretooth’s mind that the whole thing was planned by a shadowy figure. This figure was later revealed to be Mr. Sinister, who managed to involve another major character in his schemes…
5. He Was Gambit’s Dark Secret
It was hinted for a long time that Gambit, one of the most popular members of the X-Men, was harbouring a dark secret. This became a major storyline with the arrival of Bishop, a mutant from a future timeline where the X-Men were all killed. Before he travelled to the past, Bishop had seen a recording of the final words of Jean Grey. It was a desperate message for help that named a fellow member of the X-Men as a traitor responsible for the death of the team. The video cuts out when the traitor is named, so their identity is not revealed. After travelling to the past, Bishop believed that the traitor was Gambit.
During the Onslaught crossover event, it was revealed that the traitor was actually Professor Xavier (through some needlessly complex story twists). It seemed that Gambit was off the hook… until his true dark secret was revealed.
In the third Gambit miniseries, his past was fully revealed. His powers had been growing beyond his control, so he went to Mr. Sinister for help. Mr. Sinister removed part of his brain, which weakened Gambit but gave him more control over his powers. Mr. Sinister wanted a favour in return, however, and it was a big one.
Gambit was the one who formed the Marauders, and he personally led them into the tunnels where they would go on to kill the Morlocks. Gambit was unable to stop them once he realized what their plan entailed.
4. He Was Responsible For Releasing The Legacy Virus
In 1992, a new X-Men storyline called X-Cutioner’s Song began. A new villain from the future named Stryfe appears and almost kills Professor Xavier. Stryfe was assisted in his plans by Mr. Sinister, who arranged for the kidnapping of Cyclops and Jean Grey. In exchange for his help, Stryfe offered Mr. Sinister the DNA of every member of the Summers family throughout history. When Sinister opened the container that Stryfe gave him, it was empty… or so he thought.
The container Stryfe brought from the future actually contained a disease known as the Legacy Virus. The Legacy Virus only affected mutants, and it caused them to lose control over their powers until it eventually killed them. It was intended that, in the same way that being a mutant is an allegory for homosexuality, the Legacy Virus would be the same for HIV.
To his credit, Mr. Sinister actively worked on curing the Legacy Virus, even sharing all of his information on the disease with the X-Men. The Legacy Virus was finally stopped by the sacrifice of Colossus. Beast had discovered a cure for the disease, but it required the death of a mutant in order for it to work. Colossus had previously lost his sister to the disease, so he gave his life in order to complete the cure. It was a very touching scene and a fitting sendoff for the character (which was undone a few years later, because you know… comics).
3. He Was The End Boss Of The Silver Surfer Video Game
In 1990, the Nintendo Entertainment System saw a game based on one of Marvel’s most popular characters – the Silver Surfer. The game is a shoot-em-up, with side-on stages similar to R-Type and top-down stages similar to 1942. Silver Surfer gained notoriety in recent years after a review on the Angry Video Game Nerd show, which highlighted the game’s insane difficulty level and pointed out how unforgiving it was. Despite possessing the Power Cosmic, the video game version of Silver Surfer could only take one hit before dying.
So what does all of this have to do with Mr. Sinister? For some unexplained reason, he is the end boss of the game. All of the other bosses are previous enemies of the Silver Surfer from the comics (Mephisto, Fire Lord, Reptyl, Possessor, and Kylor). Oddly, the character art of the final boss is Mr. Sinister. It should be mentioned that Mr. Sinister was never an enemy of the Silver Surfer (especially in 1990), and usually kept his villainy directed at the X-Men.
If you happen to be amazing at video games, then you might be able to make it to the end boss and see what Mr. Sinister looks like in-game (or you can cheat and look on YouTube). For some reason, the end boss of the game is a giant purple rock-man holding a gun, who looks nothing like Mr. Sinister. But he still has Mr Sinister’s picture on the bottom of the screen when you fight him.
2. He Built A City And Filled It With Clones Of Himself
In the Marvel Universe, there exists a race of supremely powerful alien beings known as the Celestials. They were created by Jack Kirby in the Eternals series back in the 1970s. It was established that the Celestials may be responsible for creating many of Marvel’s superpowered beings, such as the Mutant race or the Hulk.
One of these Celestials, known as Tiamut: the Dreaming Celestial, appeared on Earth in the modern times. He showed up in San Francisco and stood near the Golden Gate Bridge, apparently sleeping.
Whilst Tiamut slept, Mr. Sinister managed to steal some of his godlike powers. So what did he do with this ultimate ability? He created a city and filled it with versions of himself.
Sinister London was a recreation of Victorian London created underground and populated entirely by clones of Mr. Sinister. Before the denizens of this new city could cause too much trouble, a group known as the Phoenix Five (consisting of Cyclops, Namor, Emma Frost, Magick, and Colossus, who had been empowered by the Phoenix Force), levelled the entire city with their enhanced powers.
1. He Spoiled One Of X-Men’s Biggest Secrets (Over A Decade Before It Happened)
For a long time in X-Men’s continuity, there were two Summers brothers – Scott Summers (better known as Cyclops, the leader of the X-Men) and Alex Summers (better known as Havok, the leader of X-Factor). The two of them were pushed out of a burning plane by their parents when they were children. Scott and Alex parachuted to the ground and were eventually adopted by separate families. Their parents were kidnapped by agents of the Shi’ar empire and taken to another galaxy.
Those were all of the established members of the Summers family until 2006, when it was revealed that a third Summers brother exists. During the X-Men: Deadly Genesis miniseries, it was discovered that Cyclops’s mother was pregnant when she was abducted. The child would later escape to Earth and be named Gabriel Summers, also known as Vulcan.
The reveal of Cyclops’s long-lost brother was actually spoiled by Mr. Sinister over a decade earlier. In X-Men #23, released back in 1993, Mr. Sinister encounters Cyclops. During a discussion where he reveals his part in releasing the Legacy Virus onto the world, Mr. Sinister also lets it slips that Cyclops has multiple brothers.
While Vulcan had not been created yet, the original candidate for the third Summers brother was going to be Adam X, a half-alien, half-human hybrid. It was going to be revealed that Emperor D-Ken impregnated Cyclops & Havok’s mother, but the writing team left before this could be revealed.