Mister Sinister as drawn by Ron Frenz.
|First appearance||Uncanny X-Men #221 (Sept. 1987)|
|Alter ego||Nathaniel Essex|
|Notable aliases||Nathan Milbury, Robert Windsor|
Master manipulator and planner|
Superhuman strength and durability
Regenerative healing factor
Virtual immunity to injury
Energy projection via telekinesis
Teleportation via tesseract headquarters
Mister Sinister, or just Sinister, is a fictional supervillain who appears in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #221 (Sept. 1987) and was created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Marc Silvestri.
Mister Sinister has appeared in a number of X-Men titles including spin-offs and several limited series. The character has also featured in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, toys, trading cards, and video games.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Other versions
- 5 In other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Writer Chris Claremont conceived Sinister as a new villain for the X-Men, having felt "tired of just going back to Magneto and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the same old same old" Claremont recalled:
"Dave Cockrum and I went over ideas, and what we were coming towards was a mysterious young boy - apparently an 11-year-old - at the orphanage where Scott (Cyclops) was raised, who turned out to be the secret master of the place. In effect what we were setting up was a guy who was aging over a lifespan of roughly a thousand years. Even though he looked like an 11-year-old, he'd actually been alive since the mid-century at this point - he was actually about 50 [...] He had all the grown up urges. He's growing up in his mind but his body isn't capable of handling it, which makes him quite cranky. And, of course, looking like an 11-year-old, who'd take him seriously in the criminal community? [...] So he built himself an agent in a sense, which was Mister Sinister, that was, in effect, the rationale behind Sinister's rather - for want of a better word - childish or kid-like appearance. The costume... the look... the face... it's what would scare a child. Even when he was designed, he wasn't what you'd expect in a guy like that."
Mister Sinister debuted in the title Uncanny X-Men, briefly mentioned by Sabretooth during the Mutant Massacre crossover as the leader of the Marauders who had sent them to slaughter the Morlock population. In the following issue, the X-Men member Psylocke picks up a shadowy mental image of the Marauders' "Master" from Sabretooth's mind. Mister Sinister finally appeared on-panel in issue #221 (Sept. 1987). The character plays a major role in the Inferno crossover, where it is revealed that Sinister cloned Madelyne Pryor from Jean Grey for the purpose of having her conceive a child with Cyclops, their son Nathan; Sinister also reveals to have manipulated Cyclops' life since early childhood. After a battle with the X-Men and X-Factor, the villain is apparently destroyed by Cyclops' optic beam.
Classic X-Men #41–42 (Dec. 1989) details the role Mister Sinister played in Cyclops' life at the orphanage in Nebraska. The story features a boy named Nathan who is obsessively fixated on Cyclops — and whom Claremont intended to actually be Mister Sinister. However as Claremont left the X-Men comics, this origin was never revealed in-story.
Mister Sinister returns in the title X-Factor, leading the Nasty Boys and has allied himself with the mutant terrorist Stryfe. In the crossover storyline "X-Cutioner's Song", the character impersonates Apocalypse and uses his Four Horsemen to capture Cyclops and Jean Grey. Sinister hands them over to Stryfe in exchange for a canister containing his genetic material, but finds it empty, unknowingly unleashing the Legacy Virus in the process. Afterwards, Sinister confronts Cyclops to reveal that the canister contained the deadly Legacy Virus. It was during this conversation, that Sinister said, "I care enough to wish you and your brothers to be protected from this illness", but he corrected himself in saying that he meant "brother".
In 1996, Mister Sinister's origin story was told in the limited series, The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix. It established the character as Nathaniel Essex, a scientist from the 19th century obsessed with evolution who made a pact with the ancient mutant Apocalypse to become a virtually immortal being. It is furthermore established that Mister Sinister created Cyclops' son Nathan (who became the time-traveling soldier Cable) to destroy Apocalypse.
It was also revealed that Sinister had initiated the Morlock Massacre because he saw his signature in them (as many of them were experiments of Dark Beast, a student of Mr. Sinister from an alternate timeline known as the Age of Apocalypse), and he would not allow unauthorized use of his theories, so they were slaughtered. Though some of his Marauders did not survive the battle, many of them returned thanks to Sinister's genetics mastery and the fact that he had multiple clones of all of them. He also considered doing the same with the Genosha mutates, who were experiments of Sugar Man (another student of his Age of Apocalypse counterpart). Yet in the end he did not because the mutates were sterile and so in his opinion, they were not a tainting of his work.
Another running storyline for the character was his mysterious ties to the X-Man Gambit; these ties were first introduced in X-Men v2 #6 when Sabretooth encountered Gambit and the X-Men and implied that the two had a history working together. When Rogue briefly absorbed Gambit's memories, she realized the relationship between the two: that Gambit had been an agent of Mister Sinister, recruiting Sabretooth and several other villains, to serve as Sinister's Marauders. Furthermore, he had served as a guide for the group in the tunnels, before abandoning the villains upon discovering their plans on wiping out the Morlocks. His payment for these deeds would be Mister Sinister's services as a scientist, to correct a genetic defect regarding Gambit's powers that was causing him to slowly lose control over them.
Mister Sinister appears in the title Gambit; besides revealing the connection between the two characters, Mister Sinister would provide Gambit with a chemical compound designed to neutralize the genetic modification process that the Skrulls were using as part of their infiltration process of Earth, as the alien shapeshifters had formed an alliance with Apocalypse to conquer Earth. It was also revealed that Mister Sinister had genetically altered the villain "The Living Monolith", allowing him to access Havok's power, in order to serve as replacement for Havok in Apocalypse's plan to harvest the power of "The Twelve".[volume & issue needed] Following Apocalypse's defeat, Sinister attempts to use the High Evolutionary's space station to mutate the human population but is stopped by the X-Men.
Sinister's actions would have world wide repercussions: by helping High Evolutionary strip all of mutantkind of their powers, Sinister unknowingly wiped out a community of evolved mutants known as "The Neo". The surviving Neo began hunting Sinister down, forcing Sinister to go into hiding as the Neo known as Domino (whose daughter was one of the dead) kills over 17 Sinister doppelgangers left behind by Sinister as he goes into hiding.
Sinister would resurface in the pages of Weapon X, experimenting on mutants under the guise of Dr. Robert Windsor. It is revealed that the character worked alongside the Nazis during World War II and created a clone of Namor called N2, which was destroyed by Captain America. He would be accompanied by the Marauder Scalphunter in the series, with Scalphunter serving as his bodyguard.
Mister Sinister reappears in the "X-Men: Endangered Species" storyline, sending the Marauders and Acolytes out to murder all those who have knowledge of the future; In the "X-Men: Messiah Complex" storyline, Sinister, leading a mob of many of the remaining evil mutants, seeks out the first mutant child born since Decimation (also known as "M-Day", when the Scarlet Witch de-powered most of the world's mutant population). However, the character is apparently killed by Mystique, who presses his face onto an unconscious Rogue, whose powers had been amplified into an instantaneous death-touch.
The title X-Men: Legacy reveals that Mister Sinister had predicted his own death, putting events in motion that would lead to his resurrection. His consciousness and powers were transferred to a machine that would activate itself after his death. Sinister manages to take control of Professor Xavier's body to save him from a gunshot wound. However, the combined efforts of Sebastian Shaw and Gambit destroy the machine, enabling Xavier to successfully drive Sinister's consciousness from his mind and body. At the end, a female character appears called Miss Sinister. Her name is revealed to be Claudine Renko, and she possesses telepathy and a healing factor similar to Sinister, but not the memories or mind due to the fact that she was engineered to be Mister Sinister's heir.
Claudine later on approaches Gambit and X-23 (Laura Kinney), the latter having left the X-Men's base to strike out on her own, seemingly asking for the former's help. Claudine at this point seems to be suffering from injuries inflicted earlier by Wolverine's son Daken. A near fatal strike from X-23 reveals the nature of the injury as Claudine's body morphs into that of Mister Sinister.
X-23, flanked by Gambit, encounters a young girl named Alice and witnesses her being murdered, though the next day Alice appears to them somehow alive. Encouraging them to follow her to a peculiar desert laboratory, Alice introduces them to her employer/owner/adoptive mother, Claudine. Revealing herself openly to X-23, Claudine explains that Alice is also a clone, fourth of a series of five created by Essex as another experiment alongside several other children that live in the complex. She then expands upon her own origins, stating that the process of becoming what she is left her with vague, but invasive memories of Essex's life and that as a malignant presence within her mind, he is slowly killing her as a means of self-resurrection; he even manages to manifest briefly before being re-absorbed back into her. Claudine then incapacitates Gambit and straps X-23 to a peculiar chair, stating her aim to switch their bodies, thus inheriting Laura's healing factor, something she has wanted after her stabbing, and thereby free herself of Essex. The plan backfires when Essex controls Laura's body and uses her to mortally wound Claudine again. Laura manages to overcome Essex's presence in her mind, expelling it through force of will. Laura, Alice and Gambit manage to escape the laboratory as it collapses and arrange for the children to be given new homes before setting off on their journey again. However, in the wreckage left behind, Claudine is still alive, although just barely, and is being watched over by the fifth Alice clone, the new host of Essex.
Now dressed in Victorian era garb, Mister Sinister resurfaced in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #544. Using his knowledge gained from Apocalypse, he merges with the Dreaming Celestial and warps its head to match his own, using the power he gained as a result to turn San Francisco's residents into doppelgangers of himself resembling 19th century England, where he believes society was perfect. His plan is to disturb the Celestials so that they would come to Earth and eradicate all life, leaving only his perfection to rebuild the planet. However, Sinister is defeated and forced out from San Francisco.
During the "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline, Mister Sinister is discovered to have built his own city (based on Victorian-era London) in the Moloids' underground tunnels within Subterranea. The city is inhabited solely by clones of Mister Sinister and his various acquaintances, including Cyclops, Madelyne Pryor, Gambit, Mystique and Krakoa. Also populating the city are clones of the Phalanx, clones of Sabretooth called "Hounds", and clones of the Marauders, who function as Battalion Guards. After disposing of a rebel clone, he explains to one of his other clones that he has foreseen that the Phoenix Force would come after Hope Summers, and that the Avengers would try to stop it and clash against the X-Men, resulting in the Phoenix Five. He also knows that the Phoenix Five will soon come after him and intends to take the Phoenix energy away from them by using a group of Madelyne Pryor clones. During a meeting of the Extinction Team, the Phoenix Five reveal to Magneto, Storm, Psylocke and Danger (who is still controlled by UNIT) that Mister Sinister is the one who told Hope about the Phoenix Force, and ponder on the danger that his goals may represent to the world. The Phoenix Five leave their teammates behind and track Mister Sinister to Anchorage, Alaska (Cyclops's birthplace) finding out that he built his city in the underground tunnels beneath Anchorage. Mister Sinister has also formed his cloned army. He then orders his clones to enter into war against the Phoenix Five. One by one, the Phoenix Five members are taken down by Mister Sinister's cloned creatures (including a clone of Krakoa) until only Cyclops remains, and even he is eventually defeated by the Madelyne Pryor clones. Shortly after, Magneto, Storm, Psylocke and Danger arrive at Mister Sinister's city and find out that their teammates were captured. However, the Phoenix Five are able to escape and decide to kill each and every clone of Sinister, ending the threat he posed to mutantkind.
Yet in the aftermath of "Avengers vs. X-Men," it is revealed that the threat of Sinister still goes on as he appears alive and well when he engages in a tête-à-tête with an imprisoned Cyclops. Sinister tells Cyclops that he had actually thought he could indeed keep the Phoenix chained, yet as confident as he was it was always possible there were holes in his data set. And so, before all that, at some point he surprised Katie Kildare, Cyclops' PR agent, and killed her. He then created a para-personality of her, took Katie's position in Utopia and left a secondary Sinister in charge of his kingdom. Sinister also reveals that the para-personality he created of Katie would only dissolve once the Phoenix had gone and his own would reemerge. Sinister even provides a final dilemma for Cyclops to think about: Sinister may have lost his empire, his blessed creation engines, his backups, his Madelynes. He is on his own, but Cyclops just knows that no one else can stop him.
Fictional character biography
Born Nathaniel Essex in Victorian London, Sinister became a biologist in 1859. He was a contemporary of Charles Darwin and became obsessed with Darwin's theories. However, Essex believed his peers were shackled by too many moral constraints and that their research should be beyond morality. Essex believed that humanity was undergoing increasing mutation, due to what he called “Essex Factors” in the human genome. He dreamed of bringing the perfection of the evolution of the human race to the masses. After the loss of his young son due to birth defects, he delved deeper into his work. Essex's theories were mocked, making him bitter, and his revealing of an unorthodox experiment resulted in his ousting from the Royal Society. Angry, Essex stated that if becoming a monster was what was required for his work to progress, then he would become a monster.
Essex met with Cootie Tremble and the Marauders, the group he would eventually lead. The Marauders kidnapped homeless and neglected people off the streets of London and used them as test subjects for Essex's experiments. Essex ordered the Marauders to awaken the immortal Egyptian mutant En Sabah Nur, who would become known as Apocalypse. En Sabah Nur ordered the Marauders to take him to Essex. During this time, Essex's wife, Rebecca Essex, was pregnant with their unborn child and was shocked to find that Essex had dug up their first-born child to experiment on him. Nur met Essex and became interested in Essex's work. Nur offered an alliance with Essex in continuing his research. Left with the choice of continuing his work or his wife shunning him, Essex allied himself with Nur. Essex explained to Nur that Nur was the first born in what he believed would be a great mutation in the human race.
The time-travelers Cyclops and Phoenix confronted Nur, believing that they were to prevent Dr. Essex’s future transformation into Mr. Sinister, but unaware that Madame Sanctity of the Askani had sent them to the past to stop Nur from conquering England. Essex was necessary for the birth of Nathan Summers, also known as the mutant Cable, who Madame Sanctity worshiped. Nur defeated Cyclops and Phoenix and leaves them for Essex to experiment on. Phoenix explains to Essex that continuing his work with Nur would lead to the destruction of the world. Deciding to leave his life of unorthodox research and dedicate his life to his wife and unborn child, Essex returned home to learn that his wife had freed all of his captives, prematurely had the baby, and was dying of stress. Asking for forgiveness at her side, Rebecca denied him and stated, "To me, you are... utterly… and contemptibly… sinister!", with her dying words. Essex agreed to Nur's offer and was ordered to create a plague to destroy the weak of the world, as Nur's first prelate. Apocalypse painfully transformed Essex into an ageless being of extraordinary pallor, with telekinesis in his alien ship, asking him to shed his past name and choose another. With his new abilities and dispassionate outlook, Essex took the new name, "Sinister", Rebecca's last words to him.
Sinister has shown an obsession with Scott Summers, and the Summers genetic line. This led Sinister to create a clone of Jean Grey called Madelyne Pryor, with the sole purpose of breeding with Scott. The result of that successful quest resulted in the birth of Nathan Summers.
Powers and abilities
Mister Sinister is a genetically altered human with superhuman physical and mental abilities. The character is telepathic, able to manipulate the minds of others in various ways, and is capable of energy projection through telekinesis. Using genetic material from the mutant Courier, Mister Sinister gained complete control of his body at the cellular level, allowing him to shape-shift, regenerate, be virtually immune to injuries, and have a prolonged lifespan. The character has exhibited the ability to teleport, though Beast believes this is accomplished through his tesseract headquarters.
Mister Sinister is also a scientific genius, with expertise in the fields of biology, genetics, cloning, physics, and engineering. The character is a master manipulator and planner, with decades of genetic research at his command. He goes to great lengths to preserve his powers and personality through elaborate technological means such as conditioning certain children to be his 'hosts' in the event of his future death. However, Sebastian Shaw noted that the later discovery of cloning technology would make such a plan relatively pointless, reflecting that Sinister tends to continue pursuing old plans even when future technology offers more viable alternatives.[volume & issue needed]
Age of Apocalypse
In the fictional crossover event "Age of Apocalypse", Mister Sinister is one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen and the foster father of Cyclops and Havok. He infiltrates Forge's travelling show under the alias "Essex" in an attempt to capture Nate Grey, also known as X-Man.[volume & issue needed] To prevent X-Man from discovering his secret he murders Forge, who had figured out who he was.[volume & issue needed]
In the alternate universe world of Mutant X, it was revealed that Mr. Sinister had obtained the cocoon that held Jean Grey following her transformation into Phoenix. His attempts to mate Jean Grey with Professor X (who was Mr Sinister's prisoner as well and transformed into Onslaught) was foiled by Havok.[volume & issue needed]
X-Men: The End
Mr Sinister was one of the main villains of "X-Men: The End", blackmailing Gambit into kidnapping the children of Scott Summers and Emma Frost as well as his own children that he conceived with Rogue.[volume & issue needed] During the storyline, Mister Sinister reveals that Gambit is a clone of himself and that his powers are a variation of Cyclops's, as Mr. Sinister implanted some of Cyclops's DNA into Gambit in hopes of duplicating Cyclops's powers.[volume & issue needed] Mr Sinister shows himself to be capable of turning into an exact duplicate of Gambit,[volume & issue needed] a power he uses to kill Rogue when the X-Men seek to rescue the kids.[volume & issue needed] In the end, Mystique murders Mr. Sinister, avenging her adopted daughter's death.[volume & issue needed] Gambit ultimately then takes it upon himself to impersonate Mr. Sinister in order to find out the identity of his accomplice,[volume & issue needed] though he is quickly exposed.[volume & issue needed]
House of M
In the Ultimate X-Men series, Sinister/Nathaniel Essex is reimagined as a heavily tattooed street thug nicknamed after his tattoo. He is a former OsCorp scientist who experimented on himself and appears schizophrenic, hallucinating of a "Lord Apocalypse" who orders him to kill a number of mutants to complete his transformation. After committing suicide, Sinister returns to life, completes his mission and transforms into Apocalypse. However, the Phoenix Force appears and destroys Apocalypse's body, revealing Sinister inside. After the Ultimatum Wave, he reformed his body and got a job at Roxxon as part of their "brain trust", but once again appears talking to Apocalypse.
The character features in the alternative universe title What If? issues #46 - 47 (Feb. – Mar. 1993); #74 (June 1995) and #100 (Sept. 1997).
Mister Sinister appeared as the main antagonist in the four issue limited series "X-Men/Spider-Man". In the first issue, set in the 1960s comics, he hires Kraven the Hunter, who, along with the Blob, fight Spider-Man and the original X-Men. Kraven obtains blood samples of each of the X-Men and escapes while The Blob is frozen by Iceman. Kraven brings the blood samples to Sinister, who asks Kraven for his own DNA. In the second issue, taking place after the Kraven's Last Hunt storyline, Spider-Man, wearing the black costume, searches the now-dead Kraven's files and finds mention of Mister Sinister. He brings the files to the new X-Men, who, along with Spider-Man, fight the Marauders while investigating the location where Kraven and Sinister last met in search for further clues to their connection. At the end of the issue, Sinister is seen visiting Kraven the Hunter's grave. In the third issue, set during the time while Ben Reilly had taken up the mantle of Spider-Man, Sinister is first seen fighting the X-Men. Mister Sinister attempts to obtain some of Carnage's DNA, but both are interrupted by Spider-Man and the X-Men. Sinister escapes, and Carnage is returned to his prison cell. In the fourth and final issue, Mister Sinister creates a clone of Kraven, using the DNA of himself, Kraven, and the original X-Men. The clone calls itself Xraven. After fighting Spider-Man and the X-Men, only to be confronted by Spider-Man about his lack of honor compared to his template, Xraven battles Mister Sinister.
In the X-Men Forever series, Essex is still an immortal over a century old. However, he is stuck in the body of a ten-year-old child. Sinister is actually a combination of armored suit/hologram used by Essex to command the Maurauders, reasoning no one would follow his true appearance. He poses as a child at a science lab that uses young mutants and targets Scott Summer's son, Chris. The series ends with Chris being kidnapped on orders from Sinister.[volume & issue needed]
In other media
- Mister Sinister appears in X-Men: The Animated Series voiced by Christopher Britton. As in the comics, he is a scientist obsessed with Cyclops and Jean Grey's genetics, claiming to have watched them all their lives. He leads the Nasty Boys and the Savage Land Mutates. He sees little value in Xavier's dream for co-existence or Magneto's preparations for war, instead believing that the goal should be pushing mutants to the next stage of their mutations. He is responsible for reviving Morph and intended to use him to destroy the X-Men. The episode "Descent" reveals Mister Sinister's origin. Instead of being remade by Apocalypse, Essex's own experimentations during the Victorian era are what made him into Mister Sinister. In that time, he is shown to have known the ancestors of Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Xavier.
- Mister Sinister was set to appear in a Secret Wars episode of Spider-Man The Animated Series. His appearance was canceled due to the decision to pull the X-Men cast (save for Storm) from the story.
- Producer Boyd Kirkland of X-Men Evolution, suggested that had the show been renewed for a fifth season it was possible that Sinister could have appeared. Before being canceled, Sinister was set to appear in an issue of the X-Men Evolution comic book spin-off. The cover for issue #10 features Mister Sinister.
- Mister Sinister first appears in the Wolverine and the X-Men episode "eXcessive Force" voiced by Clancy Brown. This version of Sinister is described by Cyclops to be a mutant instead of a mutate. He has his Marauders collect Mutant DNA by force in his plot to create "the Ultimate Mutant". When Cyclops targets each Marauder in succession, based on the faint hope that Mister Sinister kidnapped Jean Grey, Sinister has Arclight fake a confession to lead Scott into a trap. During the confrontation, Mister Sinister states that he does not have Jean Grey. When the other X-Men arrive, Sinister escapes, leaving Multiple Man to deal with the X-Men. He later appears in the episode "Guardian Angel", where he turns Angel into Archangel after Angel's wings are injured in an encounter with the MRD and are ordered to be cut off by Angel's father. In the episode "Shades of Grey", he has Archangel capture Jean Grey and Cyclops, leading to a fight between the X-Men and the Marauders. In the final scene, it is revealed that he is working for Apocalypse. At the end of the episode "Foresight (Part 3)", he is shown with the "Age of Apocalypse" version of Cyclops in a future ruled by Apocalypse.
- In X2, Nathaniel Essex's name appears on the files when Mystique is browsing around on Lady Deathstrike's computer.
- Mister Sinister appears in X2: Wolverine's Revenge voiced by Christopher Corey Smith. He makes an appearance as a henchman to Apocalypse in one of the game's cutscenes. His backstory is also expanded upon slightly through in-game material.
- Mister Sinister appears in X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse voiced by Daniel Riordan. He is shown as a servant of Apocalypse and was experimenting on Genoshan prisoners. Mister Sinister has an AI Computer based on him at Apocalypse's Infinite Factory which creates holographic "Sinister" versions of Cyclops, Iceman, Storm, and Wolverine. He later uses specific drugs to turn Angel into Archangel. He later fights the X-Men alongside Dark Beast. When Apocalypse was defeated, it was shown at the end that Mister Sinister was the one who had sabotaged the machine. Mister Sinister has special dialogue with Nightcrawler (when encountered on Genosha) and Storm (before the fight with him and Dark Beast). During his dialogue with Nightcrawler, Mister Sinister mentioned how he had wanted to combine Nightcrawler's teleportation powers and Cyclops' optic energy beams to see what the resulting creation might turn out. Such creatures are indeed encountered later in the New York City levels.
- Nathaniel Essex is mentioned in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine video game adaptation. He is mentioned during one of the laptop podcasts that can be accessed during stage two of the game. It is claimed he was behind some of "the early Weapon X mutant testing programs".
- Mister Sinister appears as a boss in Marvel Heroes.
- Mister Sinister appears in the Deadpool video game, voiced by Keith Ferguson. Although Deadpool doesn't have a clue as to what Sinister is up to, what he's trying to accomplish is revealed in the details the player overhears. Sinister wishes to push the populace of Earth to genetic perfection; however, as Cable explains, this would cause destruction to the world. Sinister has an army of clones created from mutants, which he uses as his army. He also has clones of himself, and back ups of Vertigo, Blockbuster and Archlight. Two clones of himself are killed by Deadpool, who is ticked off by the joke repeating. After Deadpool destroys his facilities and prevents him from harvesting the genetics of dead mutants, Sinister confronts him, only to be smashed by a Sentinel foot flown by Deadpool's dog.
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