Clave recently shared the top 7 teams that the X-men have fought. And team versus team is a great dynamic. But what about the villains that could take on the X-men all by themselves?
Here is a look at what I think are the top 7 villains in X-Men lore.
Arcade has had a recent resurgence in the minds of Marvel comic lovers as the mastermind behind the excellent Avengers Arena storyline, but before that he was an excellent villain against the X-Men in his own right.
Part of what I love about Arcade is that he has no powers really to back up his diabolical plans. A bankroll that won’t quit? It seems like. But superpowers to take down anyone himself? Not at all.
And yet, he devises tests, challenges and puts the X-men in some pretty harrowing circumstances in his evil amusement park aptly named “Murderworld.” Nothing could scream more 1980s than an arcade based bad guy. Despite that, the stories of Arcade’s battles with the X-Men still hold up and are compelling.
Between the lack of superpowers and the creation of a certain era, Arcade still makes my list.
2 Mister Sinister
Mister Sinister is perhaps the most diabolical character on this list. Created to be a new villain in the late 1980s by Chris Claremont and Marc Silvestri, the sheer audacity of the scope of Mister Sinister’s work is impressive.
From haunting Cyclop’s past to cloning Jean Grey so that Scott Summers (Cyclops) will marry her to unleashing the Marauders group in the classic Mutant Massacre storyline, Mister Sinister lives up to his name.
His later appearances lack some sense of his definition and purpose as a character to me, or he would likely be ranked higher. But still, one of the top 7 villains in X-Men lore.
Juggernaut can suffer a bit from being a pretty simple character: the mystically enhanced unstoppable angry step-brother of Charles Xavier. And in general I can agree with that assessment.
But in his earliest appearances, Juggernaut proved to be a formidable foe for the X-Men. His clashes with the team always head towards one basic strategy: remove his helmet that protects him from psychic attacks. It is an interesting twist and makes the raw power of the X-Men not enough to overcome him as a foe. Add in the rage the character has for being unfortunately attacked by Charles Xavier when his powers first manifested, and Juggernaut makes a compelling bad guy.
Mojo is a strange, strange foe and it is part of why I like him as one of the X-Men’s best bad guys.
Introduced originally in the great Longshot mini-series of the 1980s, the character quickly showed up in other books and became an important adversary. (And if you have never seen that mini-series, it is worth tracking down for the magnificent art of Art Adams.)
I like that Mojo’s twisted plans have given us some humorous results, like the X-babies but also some real lasting changes, such the storyline that moved Betsy Braddock from psychic British citizen to the asian psychic assassin Psylocke that we all know so well now.
I freely admit,
The concept of an Sentinel from the future with the ability to adapt and change, learning how to defeat his foes as his battles is an intriguing one. He comes from the alternate future of Rachel Summers and his heritage from that era plus some epic battles with the X-Men make him one of my favorite X-Men foes.
(Full disclosure, there are some gaps in my recent comics history and I am looking up some recently Nimrod related issues of Uncanny X-Force.)
Part of what makes a compelling comic character to me is the slow burn of development.
When many different creators get to add to the mythos over time, occasional greatness occurs. Apocalypse is one such character. Since his creation in an early issue of the original X-Factor series, Apocalypse has been one of the more developed and feared mutants in the universe.
His impact has been huge on some plots and storylines, especially the movement of wounded Angel (Warren Worthington) to the blue Archangel we saw for a couple decades of comics.
Additionally, his constant creation of the 4 Horsemen has always meant that a character like the Morlock Caliban or Wolverine could be shifted to become someone who is doing Apocalypse’s will. He has been in many storylines since, including the Age of Apocalypse storyline that may or may not be adapted for the upcoming Fox X-Men movie. (Sometimes titles are used with little attention paid to the plotline of said titles.)
Apocalypse is interesting, has had epic battles with the X-Men and made some deep impact, all of which makes him the second best X-Men villain.
I wanted to pick someone else, especially given how often Magneto has gone from friend to foe and back again. But the simple truth is that Magneto is the best X-Men villain.
Part of that comes from his long running history having battled the X-Men all the way back to the original cast. Part of it is the intriguing backstory of Magneto having been a young survivor of the Holocaust.
Without a doubt, Marvel Comics used Magneto and Professor X to serve as two sides of complicated issues; to be not subtle about it Magneto was mutantkind’s Malcolm X to Professor X’s Martin Luther King Jr. And that dynamic has made compelling story for decades, moving from the 60s into the apartheid era Genosha storyline and beyond.
His battles have been epic and have had lasting consequences, such as the removal of Adamantium from Wolverine’s skeleton and claws. While he may now be an ally to some of the X-Men, Magneto is most assuredly the X-Men’s number 1 villain.
So, who did I miss? Who would you move up or down the list?