The Ninjabot

Top 10 Greatest X-Villains

Posted on October 8, 2012 at 2:14 am by Jeff Mueller

The Editor-in-Chief here at GeekLegacy challenged me to a nerd-off; dueling lists of the greatest villains to grace the pages of The Uncanny X-Men. While I am sure he will foist upon you an arrangement filled with the likes of Arcade and Toad, I on the other hand have prepared a scholarly and nerdtastic catalog for your reading enjoyment.

So let’s get started shall we?

10) Mastermind – Jason Wyngarde is our first entry; while his powers are rather frightening when you think about it, he definitely is not a threat to the world or universe like a lot of the other names on this list. So what gives him a slot all to himself? For one, his powerset and devious nature was enough to land him in not only one, but two of the super-villain teams on the list; a feat which is notable in and of itself. Then there is the sheer amount the emotional trauma he was able to inflict on members of the X-men, from destroying Wolverine’s wedding to the whole Madeline Pryor saga, this is a feat few other villains have been able to match. Most importantly though, this man is the catalyst for the emergence of Dark Phoenix! Not only did he systematically break Cyclops down (not a difficult feat to be honest, pretty sure ole Mr Summers wears that visor to cover his emo eyeliner) by stealing his woman away from him and turning her into a villain, he then unintentionally drove her insane and unleashed one of the greatest threats to the universe ever known.

9) Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – Every super-hero team needs a good super-villain team to do battle with, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants certainly fits the bill! What makes them such a compelling group of villains is in the political nature of the group, not necessarily the members themselves (the roster has changed drastically over the years). Essentially the anti-thesis of the X-men, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants’ goal has always either been subjugating the human race to the will of mutants or eradicating  humanity altogether.

It is the machinations of this Magneto led band of villains that have caused some of the greatest threats to the mutants of the Marvel universe – from the attempted assassination of Senator Kelly (which heavily influenced anti-mutant propaganda over the years) to becoming the first government sponsored mutant-team operating under the moniker “Freedom Force.” The Brotherhood has probably indirectly influenced the public’s view of mutants more than anyone else and for that fact alone they deserve a spot on this list. Even if one of their members is Toad.

8) Proteus – Kevin MacTaggert, also called Mutant X, is another Chris Claremont penned villain (you should notice a lot of Claremont on this list… he is still the king of the X-Universe after all these years imo). One of the strongest and deadliest mutants ever to appear in the X-books,  or the Marvel Universe at large, Proteus was also one of the more tragic entrants to this list. The son of Moira and Joseph MacTaggert, conceived through brutal rape in an unhappy and unwanted marriage, and raised never knowing his father (Moira finally left Joseph after the beating she took, never notifying him that she was with child.) When Kevin began manifesting his mutant abilities (telepathy, the ability to physically warp reality and to possess physical bodies) and became a danger to everyone around him, Moira confined him on Muir Island at her Mutant Research Center. Kevin remained in solitary confinement for many years, known only as Mutant X to hide his identity, until a battle between Magneto and the X-Men inadverently allowing him to escape by possessing a bystander. Without the special energy fields of his cell on Muir Island, Proteus would burn through his victims bodies forcing him to jump from person to person possessing them until they withered away and he had to make another jump. Finally finding his way to his father, Proteus made a last stand against the X-Men. Joseph MacTaggert’s body was destroyed and before Proteus could take another host, Colossus punched Proteus while still in his energy form. Luckily for the X-Men, his weakness to metal meant he was unable to maintain his form and his essence dispersed. Proteus has made a few returns over the years, always proving to be a formidable and dangerous opponent but it was the original Chris Claremont story of tragedy that gives him his spot on this list.

7) Apocalypse – Mega Villains, capable of taking on an entire team of heroes by themselves, are a staple of the modern comic book and Apocalypse is a worthy contender to fill that role (at least he was, his recent misuses have really dropped his stock in the Marvel universe). A mutant immortal, with a varied power-set augmented by alien technology, born in ancient times and determined in the modern era to cull the human race to make way for the mutant occupation of Earth. Notable for his ability to bend the will of his foes (an act which resulted in Angel becoming Archangel) and for infecting Nathan Summers with the techno-organic virus resulting in him becoming the hero known as Cable. Apocalypse has been a re-occuring foe for the assorted X-teams over the years and being an immortal who can regenerate from seemingly any wound you can expect him to cause strife on the pages of Marvel Universe books for years to come.

(Picture withheld due to him being one of the silliest looking villains on the list)

6) The Hellfire Club – An argument can be made that the X-Men’s greatest foe is mankind itself, hence why the Hellfire Club ranks so high on this list. The Hellfire Club membership consists of the wealthy and powerful from all over the world and as far as the general public and most of its members are concerned, it is a respectable upper class social organization devoted to giving spectacular parties. It is also known that it serves as a means for members of the political elite to meet unofficially to discuss matters of mutual interest and benefit. The Club’s highest ranking members belong to its Inner Circle and hold positions named after chess pieces. Led by the mutant Sebastian Shaw, the Black King, the Inner Circle members are engaged in a conspiracy to dominate the world through the accumulation of economic power and political influence. While mutants of varying power levels, whose roster changes as time goes on and schemes are hatched, it is the the Inner Circle’s command of enormous financial resources, highly advanced technology, and army of mercenaries which make them a threat greater than than most to the X-Men. Notably it is the Hellfire Club’s involvement in the funding of of the Sentinel Project and the introduction of Emma Frost, the White Queen, into the canon that makes them such an important part of the X-World.

5) Mystique – At different points during her career Mystique has been a loner, the leader of Brotherhood of Mutants and a sometimes “hero”. While her direct confrontations with the X-Men are rare, it is her use of her abilities to gather information and manipulate others to act in her best interest that makes her such a formidable foe. Being able to shape change at will has allowed Mystique to cause, and escape, more than her fair share of trouble for the X-Men over the years. Most notably it was under her direction that the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attacked Senator Kelly and she is also the Nightcrawler’s biological mother as well as the surrogate mother of Rogue; facts which she as used in the past to escape punishment for her crimes.  While probably the least powerful entry to this list in terms of her abilities, her skill-set and devious nature positions her to cause some of the most damage to the world around the X-Men.

4) Magneto – Now we get to the heavy hitters… I will say that I believe an argument can be made for any of the top four on this list to be shuffled around without too much arguing, but this is what I am going with – starting with Magneto here in the #4 slot (calm down Internet!) A fan favorite for many years, and one of the more complex and fleshed out villains around, Max Eisenhardt has been a constant throughout the X-Universe since his introduction. The perfect anti-thesis to Professor Xavier, Magneto believes that only through forcing humans to live in fear of mutants will he and the rest of mutantkind be able to live unbothered. While the strength of his abilities changes depending on who is writing him at the time (sometimes going as far as to grant him faux-immortality due to his ability to tap directly into the Earth’s geomagnetic field) essentially it is always the ability to manipulate magnetism to his will, much to the chagrin of the likes of Wolverine and Colossus. Magneto has run the gamut, from forming the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants all the way to serving as headmaster to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for a time. Regardless of where his political leanings happen to lie on any given story-arc his constant threat to humanity and the X-men land him firmly near the top of this list.

3) Dark Phoenix – It is a rarity when a super-hero goes truly villainous. It is even more rare when that hero-turned-villain develops an entirely new power-set capable of destroying the entire universe! Well that is what we had happen to Jean Grey while under the control of Mastermind (#10 on this list), when she transformed from Phoenix to Dark Phoenix and attempted to destroy not only the X-men but also the entire world. The original Dark Phoenix saga (Uncanny X-Men #129-138) is still, to this day, one of the greatest X-Men stories ever told and Dark Phoenix is still one of the most tragic foes to ever face off against the X-Men. After her brush with near insanity at the hands of the Hellfire Club, Phoenix emerged as Dark Phoenix and easily defeated her former teammates. Departing into space, she transported herself to a distant galaxy where she dove into the heart of the D’Bari star and devoured its energy, causing the star to go nova and killing billions of innocent aliens in the process (Billions dead. In one panel. At the time this was unheard of…)! She battled the combined forces of the Shi’ar, the Skree and the Krull and was deemed a larger threat to the universe than Galactus. This all came to a head with the Shi’ar and the X-Men battling over the fate of Jean Grey on the Blue Area of the Moon. After Professor Xavier had placed psychic blocks in her mind to keep the Dark Phoenix at bay, the Shi’ar gained the upper hand, leaving Cyclops and Phoenix alone to make a final stand against them. As fate would have it, the battle unleashed Phoenix’s powers once more. At this point, the future of the entire galaxy was in the balance as the Shi’ar prepared to destroy Earth’s solar sysytem in hopes of eliminating Dark Phoenix in the process. The X-Men frantically battled her until she regained control, but only long enough to activate a Kree weapon and commit suicide after an emotional good-bye to Cyclops. The hallmark of the X-Men is personal tragedy and this story give it to the reader’s in spades along with a villain who is capable of destroying everything as we know it in the blink of an eye!

2) Sentinels – The Terminators of the Marvel Universe; giant, self-learning, mutant hunting robots. The Sentinels have gone through many changes over the years as each version grew more and more sophisticated, but at the heart of the it all they are programmed to hunt down and eradicate all mutant threats to humanity. While oft-times controlled by someone with an agenda for their use, the Sentinels themselves are simple villains yet horrifying as they have no humanity or redeeming qualities whatsoever. They exist to kill, and they do so with no thought of remorse. A constant in X-books since issue #14, destroying them simply means the Master Mold creates more and unleashes them, making them a seemingly never-ending threat. While at first a throw away villain used more to illustrate the anti-mutant sentiment in the Marvel Universe they came frighteningly into their own during the classic X-Men tale “Days of Future Past” where it is revealed that in a version of the future they have killed off a large portion of the mutant population and enslaved the rest.

1) The Brood – Holy 8lb, 6oz newborn infant Jesus these things are frightening! A parasitic race of interstellar monsters, who use giant whale-like Acanti as living spaceships. The Brood virally infect them, using bionics to control them, while hollowing out part of the creatures (by eating them from the inside out!) and use the space created to live in. I repeat, they eat giant chunks out of space whales and then live there! The X-Men’s first brush with these “Alien” inspired creatures was during a Shi’ar political coup. The X-Men, Ms Marvel and some of the Shi’ar were served up to the Brood in exchange for their help overthrowing the current governing structure of the empire.

The Brood made use of them all, except for Ms Marvel (they kept her for experiments on her half-human/half-Kree genes), as hosts for their young. Operating under an illusion, the X-Men believed they were guests of the Shi’ar and didn’t realize they were being implanted and that the end was almost upon them. Luckily, Wolverine’s healing power destroyed his invading embryo, and helped them to escape. Once they realized what was happening, the X-Men returned to the Brood home-world to accomplish one last heroic act by helping the Acanti race break free of Brood rule. The Brood Queen and her minions battled the X-Men until they began to transform into Brood, the end was looming for the heroes and all seemed lost as Wolverine tried to mercy-kill his teammates. With no time left to spare, they were saved by Ms Marvel (now a star-powered being called Binary, a result of the Brood experiments on her) who arrived and released the Acanti Soulforce. As its cosmic power was released, it cured the X-Men and Lilandra, before causing the planet to explode. As the X-Men and their allies escaped so did some of the Brood, ensuring that the cosmic menace lived on. There is something truly terrifying about non-anthropomorphized aliens bent on the destruction of life as we know it, and it is that fact (and that they almost killed the X-Men by putting babies inside them!) that land them the top spot on this list.

So there you are, the obviously superior list of the top 10 X-Men villains to grace the pages of the comic. Thoughts? Fanboy cries of pain? Arguments? Get to commenting geeks!!!


    • Alright Editor-in-Chief, where is your list?!? #Breakdancefighting

      • Snackbar

        Its coming. You will LOVE it!!

        • thejerd

          Hah! I am curious what villains make both lists…

        • Still waiting. Quit stalling and put up your vastly inferior content! #YouJustGotServed

    • Wow, that's quite a list you have there. I thought for sure I would see Sinister in your top 10. As for Magneto at #4, I guess I'm a little shocked. I think he is part of the X-Men branding. He's the first villain I think of when someone says X-Men. The only comparison I can think of would be Batman and Joker. Sadly that doesn't work for you Mr. Jerd, because you ranked Scarecrow over the Joker. Haha, you're a funny guy. No one stirs the pot quite like you, Sir.

      • thejerd

        I thought about Sinister, but he is just not that compelling of a villain in my opinion. He is everything tha was wrong with comics in the late 90s rolled into one over-done package.

        I didn't intentionally push Magneto back down the list for controversy. As I mulled over the list though I realized that Magneto's constant flip-flopping and donning of a hero's mantle from time to time meant that thre were other super-villains out there that were more worthy of the #1 slot.

        I will say that out of all of them, Magneto is by far the most developed and interesting character of the lot (#2 would be the Hellfire Club).

        • I'm picking up what you're puttin' down. When I think of Top Villains in the X-Men Universe Magneto, Apocalypse, Sinister, Mystique, The HellFire Club, and even the stupid Dark Phoenix come to mind. In the end though if Magneto isn't #1, then perhaps humans should be. All the hate, violence, and fear they show towards mutants ranks them pretty high in my villain book.

          • I considered that. 😉

            I stand by the Brood as the most frightening and dangerous foe the X-Men have ever faced though.

    • Bruticus

      You and Snackbar are awesome. Two different but equally rad lists. Can't wait to see the next list. Top transformers maybe.

      • thejerd

        Thanks a bunch! Glad you enjoyed. =)

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