I’d wager that I know as much about Mister Sinister as anyone out there. He’s quite possibly my most beloved X-Men villain. Since I first encountered the fiend as an antagonist in X-Men: The Animated Series’ 2nd season, he’s been my dude. How could you not love a guy that says his name twice upon introducing himself, just to make sure you get it right? Yep, from that moment on, he became my favorite, baddie, especially because he was a foe of my favorite X-Man, Gambit. There wasn’t much about the good Doctor that I didn’t know. That is until uber-nerd Jonathan Hickman got his hands on him.
Nathaniel Essex, or Mister Sinister (not “Mr.”- M I S T E R), has always been one of the X-Men’s more eccentric villains. Like Apocalypse, he isn’t evil for the sake of it. He has no interest in money or love (anymore). He just wants to peacefully study and experiment. His subject of interest just happens to be people. More specifically, mutants, powerful ones at that. He’s also something of a soulless sociopath. Since his debut, he’s had a keen interest in the X-Men, especially the Summers family. That interest amplified when he discovered the possibilities of combining those genes with those of the Grey family (Jean).
******SPOILER ALERT FOR POWERS OF X #4******
It’s not all that odd for a geneticist to be attracted to cellular and genetic mutations, but his attention has always been closer to obsession than anything else. In Powers of X #4, we found out why- that, and a couple of other facts that even I, a Mister Sinister aficionado, didn’t quite know. In a previous issue (PoX#2), Professor X and Moira MacTaggert approached Magneto. This took place years before the formation of the X-Men. They provided the Master of Magneto with visions of Moira’s many experiences proving that she was both a mutant and worthy of being taken seriously. Later, though in the same Year 0 era, Professor X and Magneto paid a visit to Mister Sinister. Back in these days, it appears all the supervillains had their own private islands. (Related: House of X #4 – 10 X-Men Jonathan Hickman Should Have Chosen to Take Out Mother Mold)
Upon arrival, they are greeted by a particularly quippy guard which appears to be one of many clones of Sinister, under his service. After suffering through a very odd and out of character introduction to the court, the three men come to an understanding. It ends with Xavier psychically brainwashing Mister Sinister into obsessively cataloging the genes of the mutant race. Xavier also wiped the memory of their encounter from Sinister’s mind. Or so he thought. According to the book’s dossier pages, the Sinister that Xavier and Magneto made a deal with may not be Mister Sinister prime.
First off, I know this is considered a retcon, but at the same time, not so much. With Moira’s interference now in full swing, this isn’t Hickman changing the established past, but reconfiguring time itself. This isn’t the main 616 X-Men timeline we’re accustomed to anymore. It’s been changed and is probably what effectively sets up the Year 10 world we’re seeing in House of X. Of course, this would summarily torpedo my theory of Year 10 being Moira’s missing 6th life, but I’m cool with being wrong. (Related: House of X / Powers of X: Is Year 10 [SPOILER]?)
What the happenings in Powers of X #4 also uncovers about Mister Sinister which I wasn’t aware of was his mass cloning efforts. It’s something I assumed he didn’t get into until around the Avengers Vs. X-Men era, at least not on this massive scale. All of Bar Sinister was populated with people, and I can only assume, they were all various versions of himself. This could mean that anytime we saw Mister Sinister in the wild over the years, they could have possibly been a clone. It’d explain why he’s been so hard to kill over the years.
Another bomb that was dropped, however not as large as the rest, is that Sinister, while a human, implanted himself with the X-Gene of one John Proudstar. The first Thunderbird which debuted in 1975’s Giant-Sized X-Men #1. Again, it’s not earth-shattering news. No matter what another site makes it out to be. Something tells me some of these other “pundits” didn’t even know who he was before being mentioned in the book. If they did, they’d understand that Sinister is still the main topic here, not from whom he acquired his X-Gene. John ain’t that big a deal, folks. (Related: The 10 Best X-Men Covers Showcasing Individual Characters)
Out of everything that went down in this book, if there is only one new Mister Sinister factoid that you take away from it, it has to be this. Magneto inspired Mister Sinister’s famous segmented pimp cape.