Mister Sinister

Mister Sinister
Mister Sinister
Mister Sinister as drawn by Ron Frenz.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #221 (Sept. 1987)
Created by Chris Claremont
Marc Silvestri
In-story information
Alter ego Nathaniel Essex
Species Human Mutate
Team affiliations Marauders
Nasty Boys
Partnerships Apocalypse
Notable aliases Nathan Milbury, Robert Windsor
Abilities Superhuman strength
durability and longevity
Molecular manipulation
Genius-level Intellect
Regenerative Healing Factor

Mister Sinister is a fictional character that appears in 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.

Debuting in the Modern Age of Comic Books, the character 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.

IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranked Mister Sinister as #29.[1]


Publication history


Writer Chris Claremont conceived Mister 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 were 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." [2]


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.[3] In the following issue, the X-Men member Psylocke picks up a shadowy mental image of the Marauders' "Master" from Sabretooth's mind.[4] Mister Sinister finally appeared on-panel in issue #221 (Sept. 1987). The character plays a major role in the Inferno crossover,[5] where it is revealed that Sinister cloned Madelyne Pryor from Jean Grey for the purpose of her to mate with Cyclops and produce a child, their son Nathan;[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]


Mister Sinister returns in the title X-Factor, leading the Nasty Boys [8] and has allied himself with the mutant terrorist Stryfe.[9] In the crossover X-Cutioner's Song, the character impersonates Apocalypse and uses his Four Horsemen to capture Cyclops and Jean Grey.[10] Sinister hands them over to Stryfe in exchange for a canister containing his genetic material,[11] but finds it empty, unknowingly unleashing the Legacy Virus in the process.[12] 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".[13]

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.[14] It is furthermore established that Mister Sinister created Cyclops' son Nathan (who became the time-traveling soldier Cable) to destroy Apocalypse.[15]

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 the Age of Apocalypse's Mr. Sinister) and he would not allow unauthorized use of his theories, so they were slaughtered.[16] 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.[17] 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.[16]


Mister Sinister appears in the title Gambit [18] and a connection between the character and the X-Men member Gambit is revealed. The character also attempts to use the High Evolutionary's space station to mutate the human population but is stopped by the X-Men.[19] The character also appears in the alternate universe title Mutant X.[20][21] In the comic book series Weapon X, Mister Sinister experiments on mutants under the guise of Dr. Robert Windsor and it is revealed that the character worked alongside the Nazis during World War II. The character appears as well in the non-canon miniseries, X-Men: The End and the limited series X-Men: Colossus - Bloodline.

Mister Sinister reappears in X-Men: Endangered Species crossover, sending the Marauders and Acolytes out to murder all those who have knowledge of the future;[22] In the X-Men: Messiah Complex crossover, 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 killed by Mystique who presses his face onto an unconscious Rogue, whose powers had been amplified into an instantaneous death-touch.[23]

Miss Sinister

Miss Sinister. Art by Scot Eaton.

The title X-Men: Legacy reveals that Mister Sinister had predicted his own death putting in motion events that would lead for his resurrection. His consciousness and powers were transferred to a machine that would activate itself after his death.[24] Sinister manages to take control of Professor Xavier's body to save him from a gunshot wound.[25] However, the combined efforts of Sebastian Shaw and Gambit destroys 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".[26] 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 a clone of Mister Sinister.[27]

Claudine later on approaches Gambit and X-23, 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 earlier inflicted 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. [28]


He returns, albeit in more regal attire in the final issue of Uncanny X-Men.[29]

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.[30] Using genetic material from the mutant Courier, Mister Sinister gained complete control of his body at the cellular level, allowing him to shape-shift,[31] regenerate [32] and be virtually immune to injuries.[32][33] The character has exhibited the ability to teleport, though Beast believes this is accomplished through his tesseract headquarters.[17]

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 can sometimes be out of date in his research, such as going 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 when the later discovery of cloning technology would make such a plan relatively pointless, as noted by Sebastian Shaw.[volume & issue needed]

Other versions

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.[34]

House of M

A version of Mister Sinister appears in the House of M storyline and fights a dimension-hopping Deadpool over an infant Cable.[35]

Sinister as depicted in Ultimate X-Men #46 (July 2004). Art by Brandon Peterson.

Earth X

In the alternate universe title Earth X, an older Colossus reveals himself to have been Mister Sinister; in love with Jean Grey, he traveled back in time to preserve her as a clone.[36]

Ultimate Marvel

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.[37] After committing suicide,[38] Sinister returns to life, completes his mission and transforms into Apocalypse.[39] However, the Phoenix Force appears and destroys Apocalypse's body, revealing Sinister inside.[40]

A young scientist also named "Nathaniel Essex" appears in Ultimate Comics: Mystery. He appears to be a normal, unmutated human.[41]

What If?

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.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45] It is unknown whether Sinister or Xraven won the battle.

X-Men Forever

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. (He is also shown to have known the ancestors of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Xavier.)
  • Producer Boyd Kirkland of X-Men Evolution, suggested that had the show been renewed for a 5th 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.[citation needed]
  • 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 doesn't have Jean Grey. When the other X-Men arrive, Sinister escapes, leaving Multiple Man to deal with the X-Men. He later appears in "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 "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 "Foresight (Part 3)", he is shown with Nate Grey in a future ruled by Apocalypse.


Video games

  • Mister Sinister appears in X2: Wolverine's Revenge voiced by Christopher Corey Smith. He appears as a prison warden for a mutant detention center known as The Void. He orders a cyborg-like female commander named May Deuce and her soldiers to track down Wolverine (who infiltrated The Void) and escaped mutants Juggernaut, Omega Red, and Magneto. He also is seen as a henchman to Apocalypse, who orders him to "make preparations for his horsemen" in the game's last cutscene.
  • 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.
  • 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".


  • Toy Biz; Diamond Select Toys and Bowen Designs have released mini-busts and statues of the character.


  1. ^ "Sinister is Number 29". Comics.ign.com. http://comics.ign.com/top-100-villains/29.html. Retrieved 2010-06-17. 
  2. ^ http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/showthread.php?p=1411447#post1411447
  3. ^ Uncanny X-Men #212 (Dec. 1986)
  4. ^ Uncanny X-Men #213 (Jan. 1987)
  5. ^ a b Uncanny X-Men #241 (Dec. 1988)
  6. ^ X-Factor #39 (April 1989)
  7. ^ http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2006/11/23/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-78/
  8. ^ X-Factor #74–75 (Jan. – Feb. 1992)
  9. ^ X-Factor #78 (May 1992)
  10. ^ X-Factor #84 (Nov. 1992)
  11. ^ X-Men #14 (Nov. 1992)
  12. ^ X-Force #18 (Jan. 1993)
  13. ^ X-Men #23 (Aug. 1993)
  14. ^ The Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #1–4 (June – Sept. 1996)
  15. ^ Cable Annual '99
  16. ^ a b Cable vol. 1 #28
  17. ^ a b X-Men vol. 2 #34
  18. ^ Gambit #14-23
  19. ^ X-Men #99
  20. ^ Mutant X Annual #2 (May, 2000)
  21. ^ Mutant X #17 (Feb. 2000) and #22-23 (Aug. - Sept. 2000)
  22. ^ X-Men vol. 2 #203
  23. ^ New X-Men vol. 2 #46
  24. ^ X-Men: Legacy #211
  25. ^ X-Men: Legacy #213
  26. ^ X-Men: Legacy #214
  27. ^ X-Men: Legacy #217
  28. ^ X-23 #5
  29. ^ Uncanny X-Men #544
  30. ^ X-Factor #39
  31. ^ Gambit #14
  32. ^ a b X-Men vol. 2 #23
  33. ^ X-Force #16
  34. ^ Tales from the Age of Apocolypse - Sinister Bloodlines
  35. ^ Cable & Deadpool #16
  36. ^ Paradise X #3
  37. ^ Ultimate X-Men #49 (2004)
  38. ^ Ultimate X-Men #81
  39. ^ Ultimate X-Men #90
  40. ^ Ultimate X-Men #93
  41. ^ Ultimate Mystery #3
  42. ^ X-Men/Spider-Man #1
  43. ^ X-Men/Spider-Man #2
  44. ^ X-Men/Spider-Man #3
  45. ^ X-Men/Spider-Man #4
  46. ^ Marvel Animation Age

External links

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