Nathaniel Essex was born in Victorian England during the 19th Century. He was obsessed with Charles Darwin's theory on evolution. He truly began his work in 1859 when he learned that humanity was steadily becoming mutant, thanks to what he classified as Essex factors. His work intensified when his four-year-old son died of various birth defects. He formed the Marauders when he couldn’t get backing for his research. This team kidnapped people from the streets to act as test subjects on mutation. Essex even exhumed his son as a test subject.
The Marauders accidently stumble upon Apocalypse and awake him from his slumber. He sees potential in Essex and grants him mutations that give him longer life, advanced strength, and a healing factor. Essex took on the name Sinister, an adjective his dying wife used to describe the man he was becoming.
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."
Mister Sinister made his debut a couple years past the Bronze Age and instantly made his impact in comics when he orchestrated the massacre of the underground mutants known as the Morlocks. Strictly seen as a villain who acts behind the scenes, it is later revealed that Mister Sinister shares an obsessive fixation with the X-man Scott Summers, also known as Cyclops.
Throughout the 90’s, Mister Sinister participated within several events that mostly involved Cyclops. Rarely seen in any confrontation, Mister Sinister is a powerful and formidable mutant when he is confronted or attacked.
After the year 2000, Mister Sinister was involved in the events of M-Day where he attempted to capture the first mutant born after Decimation. This would be Mister Sinister's final moment, as he was soon killed by Mystique.
Later, another mysterious Mister Sinister appeared in the form of a woman, claiming that she was Mister Sinister’s daughter. Sharing the exact same powers as Mister Sinister, she referred herself as Miss Sinister as she also displayed the same manipulative and deceiving tactics that her father once displayed as well.
Major Story Arcs
Mr. Sinister’s first job from Apocalypse is to create a virus to destroy the weakest, allowing the strong to truly survive. Sinister rebels against his master and instead creates a plague that only affects Apocalypse. Sinister is freed from Apocalypse’s grasp when the virus takes hold and Apocalypse retreats to his reanimation chamber.
In 1891, Sinister moves to the United States and becomes an obstetrician in New York. He is granted access to wide amounts of genetic material, including that of Daniel Summers and Amanda Mueller, the great-great grandparents of Cyclops, Vulcan, and Havok.
Around this time, Sinister runs into a time-travelling Gambit and Courier, both of whom are stuck in the past. Sinister uses Courier’s genetic make-up to grant himself shape-shifting powers. He also implants tissue in Gambit’s head to allow the men to travel back to the future.
Supposedly to get back at the Hellfire Club for refusing him grant money back in England, Sinister grants Jacob Shaw the ability to shape-shift in 1915. Jacob eventually kills his brother Esau and becomes the father to Sebastian Shaw.
Sometime in the 1920’s, Sinister meets Herbert Edgar Wyndham, a scientist intent on cracking the human DNA code. Sinister had already done so and the two work together on genetic manipulation.
After a move to California, Sinister falls in love with Faye Livingstone, a feeling he keeps to himself. Despite his feelings, he is forced to abduct her when she discovers his laboratory in which he conducts his experiments on kidnapped individuals. He is happy to find that her genes contain the x-factor that should enable her children to be mutants. He conducts experiments on her and then suddenly releases her one night without explanation. Her love for Sinister is so deep that she never marries and never has kids. She lives in the Carlylse Nursing Home in her later years and receives an annual visit from Sinister, though he never admits his feelings for her. She dies in his arms after a dance on the Astral Plane.
During World War II and under the alias of Nathan Essex, Sinister begins working with Nazi’s in concentration camps. He is nicknamed Nosferatu (“vampire” or “blood disease carrier”) because of his appearance and the fact that he takes blood from everyone. According to Magneto, Sinister would offer candy to children in exchange for blood samples.
While in Germany, Sinister attempts to clone the mutant Namor in his Experiment N2. N2 is defeated by Captain America and Sinister’s labs are raided at the end of WWII. His journals detailing all his experiments is found by Weapon Plus scientists.
In 1968, Sinister and Greycrow (whom Sinister had met in Germany) are in Vietnam. Rumor has it that they are the inspiration for tales of the White Devil, an entity that snatches soldiers that are in the forests or even villagers from their homes. Sabretooth is enlisted as a leader in Sinister's new group of Marauders.
Sinister soon locates the State Home for Foundlings in Omaha, Nebraska. He makes a laboratory in the basement and concocts several experiments on mutant kids from the orphanage upstairs. One of his victims was Scott Summers (Cyclops), a person Sinister would torment for many, many years. Another victim is Scott’s brother Alex (Havok). Sinister splices Alex’s mutant genes and bestows them upon Ahmet Abdol, later known as the Living Monolith.
Sinister has Greycrow locate Gambit. In exchange for a surgery that allowed Gambit to control his powers in the past, Sinister has Gambit work for him. Gambit's final job is to assemble and lead the newest Marauders into the Morlock Tunnels and destroy every mutant living there. Sinister initiates the Morlock Massacre because he sees a perverted similarity between his studies and those exhibited by the Morlocks. (The Morlocks were actually experiments by Dark Beast, a visitor from the Age of Apocalypse who had worked under that reality’s Mr. Sinister.) The attack a success, Sinister contemplates attacking the Genoshan Mutates, as they also seem to be perversions of his studies. (They had, in fact, been the results of the Sugar Man’s machinations. The Sugar Man was another student of the Age of Apocalypse Mr. Sinister.) Sinister spares the mutates since they are sterile and unable to perpetuate the perceived taint.
Cloning Jean Grey
Wanting to rid himself of Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister devises a plan that includes Cyclops and Jean Grey. Sinister believes the offspring of the two could be strong enough to destroy Apocalypse. Unfortunately, Jean goes missing and is presumed dead. Sinister clones Jean and calls the clone Madelyne Pryor. Madelyne, however, doesn’t seem to posses the powers of Jean and Sinister thinks he’s failed. Jean returns but supposedly dies before she and Cyclops are married and able to have a kid. The Phoenix Force, however, sees Jean’s clone and inhabits Madelyne’s body, giving her powers. Sinister sees her worth and puts Jean’s memories in her mind while putting her in a position to meet Cyclops. Cyclops sees so much of Jean in Madelyne that he marries her. Sinister mentally suggests that the two move to Alaska, a way for him to monitor the two and take possession of any child the two have.
Cyclops and Madelyne do have a child: Nathan Christopher Charles Summers. Sinister watches and then takes the child but later loses him to the Goblyn Queen, the now spurned and ex-wife of Cyclops. He is able to take the child back only to lose him again to Cyclops. As retribution, Cyclops reduces Sinister to a mere skeleton. (Sinister’s hope in using Cyclops’s offspring to overthrow Apocalypse eventually works, though not in the ways Sinister had planned. See Cable.)
For a time, Sinister is heavily involved with X-Factor. His new group, the Nasty Boys, join with an evil version of Madrox in hopes of killing the original Madrox, allowing the evil clone to live. This does not work.
Later, Sinister learns that Senator Steven Shaffran wants to discredit the mutant team to enhance his political career. Sinister alerts X-Factor. Shaffran retaliates by shooting Sinister. The bullet, however, bounces off Sinister’s chest and kills Shaffran.
After Malice defects from his Marauders, Sinister sends the Nasty Boys to capture her. She gets captured while trying to inhabit both Havok and Polaris. Sinister supposedly kills her for going rogue.
Sinister, having briefly worked with Stryfe, makes a pact to exchange the lives of Cyclops and Jean Grey to Stryfe for the DNA code of the Summers family. Sinister acts like Apocalypse to get the Four Horsemen to capture Cyclops and Jean Grey. He then makes a swap for a container. Upon opening the container, however, Sinister learns that Stryfe actually gave him a virus that is to ravage mutantkind for years to come. Due to his respect for the Summers family, Sinister offers to help protect Cyclops and his brothers. (This comment led many to believe that another brother [other than Havok] existed. It was much later that Vulcan was determined to be another brother.)
To study the Legacy Virus, Sinister recruits Threnody to search out dying mutants. His studies are trumped by Moira MacTaggert who discovers a cure. The X-Man Colossus sacrifices himself so that the cure can be released. Sinister is so grateful that he offers to clone Colossus. They refuse the offer.
Restoring His Body
Sinister joins the revamped Weapon X program as Dr. Robert Windsor. His plan was to free mutants from the concentration camp of the program, only to keep the freed mutants as his own to conduct further experiments.
With his powers failing, Sinister goes to Russia to manipulate the Rasputin line. His hopes are that by killing each Rasputin family member that Grigori Rasputin will be reincarnated in the body of the last Rasputin in the line. He would then use Grigori to stabilize his own powers, since he now can’t shapeshift or teleport. Colossus and Mikhail are able to shake free of Sinister’s influence and Colossus injures Sinister. The injury lingers, a testament to Sinister’s deteriorating body.
When Gambit and Sunfire escape to Japan to start new lives after serving as Horsemen of Apocalypse they are drafted into Sinister’s latest group of Marauders. He is intent is to kill all the pre-cogs in the world and take for himself the Destiny Diaries, documents that chronicled the future. The Marauders team up with the Acolytes but still lose to the X-Men. Sinister tries to take out his anger on Cannonball by emptying his mind, but Iceman steps in and saves the day. In the fray, Gambit destroys the Diaries and Sinister experiences a major setback to his plans.
Prepping for Death
With his powers sorely diminished, Sinister tries to acquire Hope, the new mutant baby born after M-Day. He fails.
He seals his own death warrant when he tells Mystique, his second in command, that he cannot save Rogue. Enraged, Mystique shoves Sinisters face onto Rogue’s. Sinister dies. This death triggers Sinister’s Cronus Machine, which activates his genetic code, which he had implanted in five people decades prior: Cain Marko, Amanda Mueller, Sebastian Shaw, Carter Ryking, and Charles Xavier. Sinister is able to be reborn until Gambit destroys the Cronus Machine.
Two days later after his defeat and subsequent death, a shadowy figure is shown meeting with Shaw and is revealed to be a woman calling herself Miss Sinister.
Mister Sinister returns in a new perfectly cloned body and, using his knowledge gained from Apocalypse, he taps into the Dreaming Celestial. In doing so, he takes control of the head and creates an army of "perfect" clones of himself resembling 19th century England, where he believes society was perfect. His plan is to disturb the Celetials so that they would come to Earth and eradicate all life, leaving only his perfection to rebuild the planet.
Scott Summers and Jean Grey were sent back in time once so that they would make sure Mr. Sinister defied Apocalypse. This was a success, yet it was only the beginning of Sinister's obsession with the Summers bloodline. He saw it as being the perfect bloodline, being the most "racially-supreme" as it has been bred naturally rather than forced (as Apocalypse would have it done). Sinister once used the identity of Mike Milbury when living in Alaska where he was a neighbor to Phillip & Deborah Summers (the grandparents of the Summers brothers). It was many years later that he came to realize that a child of Jean Grey and Scott Summer's genes would be a mutant with unimaginable power, capable of destroying Apocalypse, so that Sinister could finally be free. He even became an important figure at the orphanage where Scott Summers was raised, giving them a history. But it was the base of his experiments as beneath the orphanage was his laboratory.
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. Using genetic material from the mutant Courier, Mister Sinister gained complete control of his body at the cellular level, allowing him to shape-shift, regenerate and be virtually immune to injuries. The character has exhibited the ability to teleport, though Beast believes this is accomplished through his tesseract headquarters.
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 goes 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. Although Sebastian Shaw noted that the later discovery of cloning technology would make such a plan relatively pointless.
- Real Name: Dr. Nathaniel Essex
- Gender: Male
- Height: 6'5"
- Weight: 285 lbs
- Eyes: Red
- Hair: Black
- Skin: White
- Unusual Features: Shining eyes with no visible pupils and a red diamond upon forehead.
In the Age of Apocalypse, Sinister is once again a servant of Apocalypse but this time it was because of the fact that he was one of Apocalypse's Horsemen. As he was one of Apocalypse's mightiest Horsemen he was given a portion of North America to rule over and was left in charge of the Breeding Pens where he was supposed to make a race of better more powerful mutants. This was how he followed his master's mantra, "survival of the fittest", by creating the fittest. Sinister then created his own police force, the Elite Mutant Force, who were powerful mutants meant to keep his Breeding Pens under control. The head of the Elite Mutant Force was Sinister's apprentice, Dark Beast. And the teams included members: Cyclops and Havok (who in this reality were raised by Sinister), Aurora and Northstar, Amazon and Cannonball, and formerly Emplate and the M Twins. Ironically if you refused to join the Elite Mutant Force you would become an inhabitant of the Breeding Pens, the mutants that the EMF guarded. And because of all those at his disposable he used his genetics and their DNA to create the Madri, the Infinites, Apocalypse's army and the Brain Trust. He also created Nate Grey (with the genetic material of Cyclops and Jean Grey) whom he intended to have kill Apocalypse. Sinister betrayed Apocalypse in this reality as well, believing that Apocalypse would eventually wipe out all life on Earth if his plans went unchallenged. So it was that he gave some classified information to the Human High Council with the help of Jean Grey and Weapon X. He covered up all of this by destroying his personal lab (which was inside of the Statue of Apocalypse) and seemingly faded from existence. Under the guise of "Essex" Sinister then came across the runaway Nate Grey, killed some of his companions and then informed him of the reason he was created, only to be attacked by his creation. Sinister then understood that Grey was too powerful, and began to fear that he himself would die after the attacks he suffered through. Yet he eventually recovered and learned that Jean Grey's DNA is special in that it might allow her to tap into the power of Mutant Alpha, the "first mutant". So to get her body he blackmailed Magneto and then used her to create his team, the Sinister Six. He´s finally killed by Weapon X, Kirika, Magneto and Phoenix combination of powers.
This Sinister has a very different appearance from any other version in the fact that his skin is normally pigmented and heavily-tattooed. He is also seen as being well-muscled and more of a fighter than a thinker. He often acts psychotic and delusional, and frequently speaks with a heavy stutter. Mr. Sinister of the Ultimate universe had worked for Green Goblin and Oscorp developing experimental drugs. After taking the drugs himself he was granted powers including the ability to hypnotize and control others, as well as render himself invisible to artificial scanners and cameras. One of the most memorable moments being Sinister's infamous "Choke Yourself" command where he caused someone to do just that. A side effect of the drugs is that Sinister went insane, hallucinating that Ultimate Apocalypse ("Lord Apocalypse" as referred to by Sinister) wanted him to do his bidding.
This would include Sinister killing ten mutants in order to bring about the arrival of Apocalypse. Sinister went to Xavier Institute for Higher Learning's Mansion, intending to kill Professor X as well as nine other mutants. Sinister's hypnosis was powerful enough that Xavier was unable to stop him and was thrown down a flight of stairs. After going on a rampage killing mutants Sinister was subdued by Rogue and imprisoned in the Triskelion by the Ultimates. In prison Sinister was shown seeing another vision of "Lord Apocalypse" who was displeased with Sinister's incompetence. In an ironic punishment Lord Apocalypse told sinister "Choke Yourself." Sinister was put on suicide watch for weeks, and anything that could be used as a weapon was kept away from him. Despite efforts on the part of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sinister was discovered dead in his cell from suffocation with his shirt stuffed down his throat. Later it would turn out that Sinister had actually faked his own death (by what means is unknown), and escaped the S.H.I.E.L.D. morgue.
Now on the loose again, Sinister donned a belt and clothing resembling what he saw Apocalypse wearing. Hearing tales of the mutant Morlocks hiding out in the sewers of New York, Sinister made his way through the sewers until stumbling upon a small, green mutant (presumably Leech). He told Leech to lead him to the others, but Leech didn't trust him. Sinister hypnotized Leech to take him with him. Meanwhile, back at the Xavier Mansion, Jean Grey had used Cerebro to discover that Sinister was still alive, and to locate him. She and Cyclops contacted Bishop's X-Men to apprehend him before he could kill again. When Sinister arrived at the Morlocks' home he was greeted by Nightcrawler, who quickly recognized Sinister from the X-Men's first encounter with him. He teleported Leech to safety. Sinister made his way through, beginning to kill the remaining mutants. As he did he was greeted by Sunder who he hypnotized into bringing him easy targets to kill.
At this point the X-Men teleported in and tried to stop Sinister. He continued to kill until he was only one away from his quota. He was about to kill Dazzler, when Angel swooped in and grabbed him to save his girlfriend. Sinister told Angel that he would make a fine number ten and before the X-Men were able to stop him he shot Angel, killing him. Sinister's body fell to the ground, and then began to glow and rise up. He flew through the roof of the Morlock tunnels, and onto the streets above, changing as he went. By the time he stood up again he was no longer Sinister, but now stood tall as Apocalypse. As Apocalypse he telepathically put The X-Men, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man against each other. This was stopped when Xavier returned from the future and fought Apocalypse, though Apocalypse eventually won. Jean gave in to the Phoenix force and telekinetically tore at Apocalypse until he was Sinister once more.
While Sinister's drug induced enhancements include several powers, most of them are not offensive in nature. He can control the actions of others, and cannot be detected by any form of cameras, sensors, or anything but the naked eye. Sinister's preferred weapons are a set of pistols. Also unlike his 616 counterpart, Sinister's usual attire is street clothing including a white tank top and a knit cap. He also has tattoos (mostly tribal designs) on his left arm and the word "Sinister" tattooed on his right forearm. Sinister has a red gem in the middle of his forehead which glows when he activates his powers.
The Sinister of this reality, though established minimally was still quite significant in the House of M storyline. In that reality he is also a geneticist whose physiology has been altered but he differs in the fact that he is a gentle, friendly person. This kind personality was shown when he gave Wade Wilson, Samuel Guthrie and Theresa Cassidy a -drugged- barbecue dinner when they arrived at his secluded farm in Nebraska. Before this visit he had been rejected by society for his experimentation on mutants, something that had become illegal when Magneto came to power. Yet in this reality it was still Sinister who was responsible for the birth of Cable. In this reality however he was the infant Cable's caretaker as he believed that Cable would be the savior of his world.
In the Mutant X universe Sinister used Gambit, something he is remembered for doing in the Earth-616 universe. He had Gambit steal two children from a facility, a boy and a girl. The boy was made to become X-Man and Sinister planned to kill the girl. But Gambit protested and demonstrated his vampiric powers, so Sinister gave in and allowed Gambit to adopt the girl as his daughter, Raven. Sinister is a master geneticist in this universe as well and one can assume that it was he who created Madelyne Pryor, in his effort to have her and Havok birth a powerful child. Sinister later made an alliance with Xavier to take over the world, but he learned that Xavier was going to make it so he could no longer do his genetic manipulation of mutants. Sinister was utterly against this, so Xavier killed him with a blast.
X-Men: The End
In this reality Sinister wished to destroy Apocalypse, as he does in nearly every reality, and so he cloned his pre-mutated DNA. He did this because he needed a body unchanged by Apocalypse's alterations. This clone would one day become the man known as Gambit ... however Sinister also needed this clone to have superhuman abilities so he used a genetic sample of Cyclops on the clone, making it the "Third Summers Brother". But before Gambit could be used by Sinister he was taken by Apocalypse who had learned of the plan, and instead of being raised by Sinister he was raised by the Thieves Guild.
Though it is possible that it is merely a joke, Sinister is supposedly Colossus, who falls deeply in love with Jean Grey and so travels back in time to Victorian England.
X-Men: The Animated Series
On the animated adaption of the X-Men Mr. Sinister was voiced by Christopher Britton. His origins were similar to his comic counterpart in the fact that he too was a scientist from Victorian England. Except this time he wasn't genetically altered by Apocalypse, something stressed often in the comics. He was also interested in genetics like his comic book version and sought to gain organs for his tests through the efforts of his minion, Jack the Ripper. He then used the DNA collected to give himself superhuman attributes. Sinister's opponent during this time period was Dr. Xavier (who would later have a descendant often known as Professor X). Dr. Xavier tried to be a savior to the victims of Sinister's horrors. Sinister also allied himself with Apocalypse at one point in time so that they could harness the powers of time's axis so that they might rewrite reality. Sinister also had an obsession with Cyclops and Jean Grey in the series, as well as every other mutant of vast power. His servants included the Nasty Boys and Savage Land Mutates. In the series' version of Earth-295, Sinister was seen fighting alongside Magneto.
- This Sinister could blast energy from his hands but he was not as easily able to brush off Cyclops' optic blasts.
Canceled TV Appearances - Mr. Sinister was set to appear in The Spider-Man Animated Series as a part of the Secret Wars story however the X-Men were pulled from the story, and so he was as well. He was also meant to be a main villain in X-Men: Evolution but it was decided against since there were already so many formidable antagonists in the series. He was also set to appear in the comic book series however the story was never resolved as it was canceled before Sinister could appear.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Sinister appears with his Marauders who collected the DNA of some X-Men to create an ultimate mutant. He also fooled Cyclops that he have Jean Grey but actually, he doesn't have Jean. He ordered Multiple Man to take charge of the X-Men. He also converts Angel into Archangel.
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
In the video game he is the right-hand man of Apocalypse and is voiced by Daniel Riordan. He is first mentioned as one of the horsemen of Apocalypse, the one who was doing experiments on Genoshan mutates. Then he appears and have an special conversation with Nightcrawler (if he is in the roster), but when the team was about to fight with him Sinister trigger a mechanism to kill two experimental subjects so he escapes when the team rescue them. His primary outcome is to find the mutant with the harmonic DNA who resulted to be Polaris. If the player checks some computers of the lab a serial recordings of Sinister could be heard. He creates a super-computer based on his own mental patterns and later cloned four of the X-men to protect his laboratory.Then he reappears in a cinematic when he shows to Apocalypse the new Archangel. He messed up with one of Apocalypse's experiments which allowed him to gain the powers of four different mutants, so finally he is a traitor who has his own agenda. In the final scene of the game he stands atop of an Egyptian pyramid laughing.
X2: Wolverine's Revenge
In this video game he appeared in the final scene, however it was cut. In the scene Wolverine has beaten Deathstrike and is overjoyed, not knowing that Apocalypse and Sinister are watching him.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Mr. Sinister is mentioned by the Tinkerer as one of the possible masterminds behind the nanite supervillains going out of control.
X2: X-Men United
The name Dr. Nathaniel Essex could be seen on Lady Deathstrike's computer as Mystique was looking through it.