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Alternate Takes 09.22.12: Greatest X-Men Villains
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 09.22.2012

Welcome to Week 221 of Alternate Takes, my name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.

I'll talk more about this next week, but what do you all think of Captain America winning the presidential election in the Ultimates universe by write-in votes - by a landslide. I want to know what you think of this from a storyline point of view and where this could lead that universe.

Two weeks ago a commenter mentioned that I should have put X-Men: First Class up against The Avengers because " It was a hundred times better than The Avenger's and just as good if not equal to The Dark Knight Rises." So, let's see what you all think.

My Take for the Week

10. Mystique

While Mystique has a great deal of influence in the history of the X-Men, I just can't look at her as more than just a henchman through much of her career. Raven is very, very old and related to a ton of important people. She claimed to be Nightcrawler's biological mother and was the caregiver to Rogue when she was a child. It was Mystique that led Rogue into becoming a villain and was responsible partially for Rogue sapping Mrs. Marvel of her powers, which caused Rogue mental duress for years. However, it was her leadership of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that really put her in the spotlight. Mystique has bounced between good and bad over the years, but remains an iconic villain.

9. Cassandra Nova

Sure, a lot of people will not like me putting Cassandra Nova above Mystique because of the hatred of the work Grant Morrison did on the X-Men title. I can live with that. The fact that Nova massacred almost every Mutant in Genosha other than Emma Frost makes her one legitimate villain for the X-Men. The original story was that she was Professor X's twin sister, killed in the womb, but somehow reincarnated and seeking vengeance. Turns out that Cassandra was an energy being called a Mimmudrai that created itself as a duplicate of Charles in the womb. As I said, she sent Sentinels to Genosha and massacred all the Mutants there until Emma Frost supposedly killed her. She actually switched minds with Charles and took over his body. She then ordered Beast be bludgeoned into a coma, outed Charles as a Mutant, used a disease to weaken all the X-Men and then convinced the Shi'ar to head to earth to destroy all Mutants. She deserves on this list.

8. Sentinels

I wanted to put someone from the government on the list, someone who hated the Mutants and wanted them dead, but I realized there have been a lot of them over the years, and just targeting one was a hard choice. So, instead, I present their weapons, the Sentinals. These are giant robots created to detect and kill Mutants. They are easily the most iconic anti-Mutant device ever created and one of the coolest villains in the entire X-Men universe. The fact that the movies never got them right still bothers me. Maybe if Pacific Rim works as well as I think it can, giant robots might be cool to use in a movie again. Then we can get Wolverine and Colossus to use the old fast ball special against a Sentinel on the big screen.

7. The Hellfire Club

When I was a kid (late 70s, early 80s), the Hellfire Club was just too damn cool. They were the antithesis of the X-Men. While Xavier trained his Mutants to fight for good and Magneto used his to fight for vengeance, the Hellfire Club used their powers to live the high life. This group was the most influential men in the world, in a private club where they could get anything they wanted, and worked together to manipulate governments, businesses and world decisions. What is interesting about the Hellfire Club is that one of its members was anti-Mutants and funded a project to kill all Mutants, not realizing that some of his most powerful brothers in the club were also Mutants, specifically Sebastian Shaw. Shaw killed his nemesis, took over the club as the Black King, brought in Emma Frost as the White Queen and they became one of the most powerful entities in the world. It was the Hellfire Club that ultimately forced Jean Grey to finally give over to the powers of the Dark Phoenix, making them one of the most important enemies the X-Men ever faced.

6. Juggernaut

The name Cain Marko has a Biblical annotation, as Cain was the jealous step brother of Charles Xavier, and sought to kill his brother in the name of that jealousy. While the brothers served in the military together, Cain deserted his unit and Charles went after him to try to talk him into returning. What he found was Cain in a cave where he discovered the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, which transformed him into the Juggernaut. He became a destructive, powerful criminal but eventually rehabilitated and became an X-Man. In the current Marvel timeline, Colossus is now Juggernaut instead of Cain.

5. Mister Sinister

Mister Sinister grew in popularity thanks in large part to the X-Men television cartoon series, but in the comics he has been around since the 80s, part of the Apocalypse storyline. Sinister is much like Cassandra Nova on this list, because he is the man directly responsible for massacring almost all the Morlocks with the unknowing assistance of Gambit. It was Sinister's actions that helped Gambit finally become a true hero. Sinister has spent his entire life trying to become perfect and has an unhealthy obsession with Scott Summers and his bloodline.

4. The Dark Phoenix

The Dark Phoenix is easily one of the most destructive forces in the history of the X-Men. It took over the body of Jean Grey and massacred billions of people, arguably the most heinous mass murdered of all time. Galactus, the world devourer, fears the Phoenix force. The death of Jean, led to Madelyn Pryor, also with a clear connection to the Dark Phoenix, and this led to the Summers brilliant bloodline, including Cable. Even today, three decades later, the Dark Phoenix is still destroying lives in the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, as Scott Summers takes on the force to kill Professor X and turn into a true villain himself. There are few individuals more deadly than the Dark Phoenix.

3. Onslaught

Onslaught was an interesting character, a pure mixture of Professor X and Magneto and proof that both men's dreams could fail. The creature was created when Magneto ripped out Wolverine's skeleton, causing an angry Xavier to shut down Magneto's mind. Before this happened, Magneto's anger entered Xavier's consciousness, releasing all the pent up anger that had built in the Professor's mind over the years. What resulted was Onslaught, a creature of psionic energy that combined both men's psyches and was almost unbeatable. The power of Onslaught was to pretty much absorb the powers of other characters, making him unstoppable. It took the aid of the earth's greatest Mutant, Franklin Richards, the Hulk and Scarlet Witch to finally stop the onslaught and save the planet.

2. Apocalypse

While he is no longer as universally feared, at one time Apocalypse was the greatest foe of the X-Men. He was a manipulator who used pawns to get what he wanted and effectively ruined the life of an original X-Men in Angel. Under the control of Apocalypse, Archangel became one of the most powerful of the Horsemen. It is interesting to see him always referred to as the "first Mutant" as well, his life starting in ancient Egypt. One of the best X-Men storylines of all-time is "Age of Apocalypse," where readers saw what the universe would look like if Apocalypse won. That was not a pleasant sight.

1. Magneto

This is just an easy and obvious choice. Sure, Magneto has been working with the X-Men for a few years now, but he will always be known as someone who believes the opposite of what Xavier has always taught. The best villain is one who believes he is right, and Magneto has proven time and time again that his fears of prejudiced hatred are well founded. People hate the X-Men because they are Mutants, despite them saving the world many times over. That makes Magneto's claims that the only way to get respect is to force people to respect him ring true. He has one of the best back stories in all of comics and is a villain you have to respect, despite him being a legitimate danger to your favorite heroes.

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