Where Have All the X-Foes Gone?

This blog entry was originally posted on the blog page of my web comic. View the original posting and the comic at http://www.cockroachman.com/

As Marvel draws their “Schism” to a close and begins their restructuring of the mutant books into “Team Cyclops” and “Team Wolverine” camps, a troubling trend seems to be continuing. Amongst those joining the ranks of Marvel’s Merry Mutants are three unexpected members: Sebastian Shaw, Quentin Quire, and Toad.

Shaw, appearing in Generation Hope, has been the long time leader and Black King of the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle, a secret organization based on gathering more power and influence for its members- most daringly attempting to control the Phoenix. Toad has been a leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but mostly a lackey. He’s primarily characterized by cowardice and sadism. Quentin Quire, also known as Kid Omega, is a hyper-intelligent psychic with a god complex who has attempted to start race wars and very recently manipulated world leaders for his own amusement.

But it’s not like this happens all the time, right? The X-Men’s rogue’s gallery should be plenty stocked with interesting and iconic villains, right? Right?

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch

The children of Magneto, the super fast Quicksilver and reality warping Scarlet Witch were founding members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. However, they were never really that into the group’s mutant supremacy agenda. In the biggest shake-up of the then young Marvel Universe, the Avengers changed from Marvel’s all star team to a book about Captain America trying to craft a group of c-list villains into heroes (a concept that would later be mirrored in Thunderbolts) and the Maximoff twins would find a home there.

Where are they now? Pietro is an instructor at the Avengers Academy and Wanda is currently the focus of “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade”

Over time, more foes would join the ranks of the X-men, including Banshee and Sunfire. However, these characters were tricked or coerced into villainous acts. It would be a while before we’d see a villain who had actually carried out some serious wrongdoing join the team.

Rogue

The adopted daughter of Mystique, Rogue was a Brotherhood member with the power to siphon the powers, memories, and life force of any person she touched. She fought the X-Men and Avengers several times, but the breaking point was when she drained Ms. Marvel, permanently taking her powers and memories, leaving the heroine an amnesiac mortal. Unable to deal with the personality of Carol Danvers fighting for control of her mind, Rogue sought help from Charles Xavier.

Where is she now? Rogue has been a mainstay of the X-Men since the eighties, now having control over her abilities and being the central character of X-men: Legacy.

Mystique

Leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mystique changes loyalties with the wind. Brotherhood to US Government, X-Factor, Brotherhood, Agent of Xavier, X-men, Marauders, Dark X-men… Wherever she feels she can benefit the most is where she casts her loyalty. She never truly reforms, but rather places herself in the most opportune position she can.

Where is she now? After being killed by Wolverine, Raven’s body was bought by the Hand and she was revived. She is now chained to the bed of a Hand financier, but it’s only a matter of time before she breaks free and starts causing trouble again.

Speaking of Mystique…

The Entire Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

When Mystique decided that the Brotherhood’s crusade wasn’t worth being hunted, she offered the team’s services to the government in exchange for full pardons. Temporarily taking on Spider-Woman and permanently taking on Spiral and a trio of WWII heroes named Crimson Commando, Super Sabre, and Stonewall, the team hunted mutants who were in violation of the Mutant Registration Act, as well as many other dubious government assignments.

Where are they now? Destiny and Stonewall died defending Muir Island from the Shadow King, Super Sabre was decapitated during a botched mission in Iraq, and Crimson Commando was wounded to the point of needing to become a cyborg. These days, Blob is a depowered weight loss guru in Japan, while Avalanche runs a bar in San Francisco. Pyro gave his life to save Senator Kelly, but was later resurrected by Selene. It is unclear if this resurrection stuck. Spiral is a member of the Sisterhood of Mutants.

Magneto

Yes, that Magneto. The X-Men’s oldest and deadliest foe. A Holocaust survivor who saw parallels between the treatment of Jewish people in Nazi-occupied Europe leading up to acts of unprecedented genocide and the treatment of mutants, Magneto sought to protect his people by subjugating their oppressors. After realizing that his extreme views made him no different from the Nazis, he attempted to give coexistence a chance, and joined the X-Men. He even led the New Mutants after Charles was forced to leave with Lilandra to recover from otherwise fatal wounds. His original, human hating feelings would eventually resurface, and he would be a foe of the X-Men again.

Where is he now? Back with the X-Men, as a member of Cyclops’ cabinet on Utopia.

But Magneto was an idealogical rival. It’s not like he was murdering psychopath, right?

Sabretooth

Oh. Crap.

Essentially an evil version of Wolverine, Sabretooth embraces the animal within and relishes killing. There is not a redeemable bone in his body, which makes it troubling that he served three times with X-Teams. His first tour of duty included lobotomy from Wolverine. He was able to serve the X-Men as a sane individual before his head wound finished healing and he attempted to escape, nearly killing Psylocke in the process. Not learning anything, the X-men pressed Sabretooth into service with X-Factor. From there, Sabretooth escaped and continued his villainous ways. Some time later, he was made an X-Man again. Once again, he escaped back to a life of murder.

Where is he now? In Hell. After being killed by Wolverine, he was last seen chained to the devil, as his pet.

Emma Frost

A senior ranking member of the Hellfire Club, the White Queen was instrumental in the plan to corrupt Phoenix. She also led the Hellions, a team of teenage mutants loyal to the Hellfire Club who constantly clashed with the X-Men’s trainees, the New Mutants. She was essentially the evil Professor X. After her students were killed by the time traveling serial killer Trevor Fitzroy, she changed allegiance to the X-Men, and was given leadership of Generation X.

Where is she now? A ranking leader of the X-Men, and girlfriend of Cyclops.

Marrow

A survivor of the Mutant Massacre, Marrow grew up in a time-shifted alternate dimension. She would eventually re-emerge, leading a mutant terrorist group known as Gene Nation. She would eventually join the X-men, before leaving the team. She would later appear working for Weapon X.

Where is she now? A member of X-Cell, a terrorist group of mutants who lost their powers during M-Day but not the changes their mutations made to their physical appearances.

Juggernaut

Perhaps the most controversial is Cain Marko, the Unstoppable Juggernaut. Professor X’s mystically empowered step brother, he spent his life attempting to destroy Xavier. He would eventually join the X-Men as a spy for the Brotherhood, but change his loyalties during his time spent there. He would join Excalibur, before realizing that good behavior caused his powers to fade and he returned to a life of crime. He would then be captured and placed on the Thunderbolts team.

Where is he now? During Fear Itself, Cain gained access to one of the hammers of the Serpent, and is now Kuurth, Breaker of Stone. He is a mystically empowered engine of destruction, drawing his powers from a different source.

and the trend continues onward. There are a great deal of X-men who started out on the road of villainy.

But perhaps its not as bad as it looks. After all, as long as creators keep coming up with interesting new villains, the X-men will always have foes to face and challenges to overcome.

OH COME ON! YOU WERE A VILLAIN FOR WHAT? THREE WEEKS?!?!

22 Comments
22 Comments
Posted by AgeofHurricane

I miss Sage, It'd be so much better if they replaced her for that broad in adjectivless. (Domino)

Posted by DarkChris

I believe the X-Men are the team with the most interesting villains. Magneto, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, Dark Phoenix, Cassandra Nova, Hellfire Club, Krakoa, Brotherhood, Purifiers etc. Now we see no Apocalypse, no Nova, no Brotherhood, no Purifiers. A bit Magneto and his family (as the good ones), Sinister in the upcoming UXM and Hellfire and Krakoa in the upcoming WaTXM.

Posted by sj_esposito

Sinister's re-emergence should be interesting to say the least. I think sooner rather than later we'll see Magneto turn back toward the dark side as well. My guess is that all this Schism and Regenesis stuff is part of a bigger scheme and that the last 'chapter' will have Xavier coming back to reunite Scott's and Logan's teams, most likely at some great, overwhelming threat -- probably Magneto. I hope so, anyway.. It's been a long time since we've seen 'classic' X-Men.

Posted by InnerVenom123

Why are you including Juggs on this list? He's still clearly a villain.

Posted by Rabbitearsblog

I miss all the classic villains too.  I hope that they all come back and play a major role in the events after Schism.
Posted by jorok_goldblade

@InnerVenom123 said:

Why are you including Juggs on this list? He's still clearly a villain.

I included several characters who have since gone back to their villainous ways. This was more a rundown of villains who spent a significant amount of time on the heroic side, whether they stayed there or not. Juggernaut has been flip-flopping a lot lately. He went from X-men (and ExCalibur) back to villainy and then became a Thunderbolt, and only in Fear Itself did he fully return again to villainy.

Posted by Timandm

@jorok_goldblade: This is EXCELLENT! Thank you!

It's practically a requirement for membership now... You have to have been an X-Men's Villain for at least three weeks... (Using Danger as a baseline)

How long before the X-Men look around and notice, "Hey! We're all villains. Let's just go back to being evil."

Posted by chiq

Great topic. They are all in Uncanny X-men.lol I'm loving the new uncanny line up though...

Edited by daak1212

@DarkChris: Are you high, Apoc is the main villain of Uncanny X-force

Edit: Did that really happen to Rogue? I thought that was just the cartoon story for her.

Posted by DarkChris

@daak1212: I totally forgot him! I haven't read UXF since #12.

Posted by MyraMyraMyra

Personally, I do think that the occasional change of alligiance is interesting and refreshing. Emma Frost clearly became more interesting a character when she joined the X-Men. On the other hand, I do think that some antagonists shouldn't be redeemed simply because they're more interesting as villains. Although I do think that having Magneto join the X-Men was an interesting move in itself, I have to admit that I liked him better when he was a tormented antagonist going for the extremes to preserve his people. Now he's just a smug old hippie.

I also think that having the heroes battle the same villain over and over again is tiring in the long run. Sabretooth, for instance, was a great villain, but I wasn't sad to see him offed because the war between him and Wolverine had gone on for so long that that it was no longer anything to be excited about. This is also why I'm hoping that Apocalypse goes away for good. I think he's the least interesting out of all the main villains.

Anyways, I don't think that the biggest problem is killing and redeeming villains. I think the main problem is that there haven't been many great new villains for a while. Most of the time, they seem to be reusing old villains and villanous concepts (like the Hellfire club and Sentinels), or turning heroes into villains (like Angel and Bishop). Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't, but either way I'm really hungry for entirely new villains with interesting motives and philosophies who have nothing to do with the classic old villains.

Posted by jorok_goldblade

@MyraMyraMyra: I've got some thoughts on the topic of Apocalypse that might make another blog post. As for the villains changing sides, I agree that some of them have made for great stories or even better versions of the characters. My main concern is that the villain pool is being drained faster than it can be properly filled. When your new ideas are "a new Brotherhood... but they're all girls!" and "a new Hellfire Club... but they're all nine!" it may be better to rely on the classics, at least until you can create a few more baddies on par with Cassandra Nova.

@daak1212: That's exactly what happened to her. The psychological strain was what caused her to quit the Brotherhood and join the X-men, and since Ms. Marvel spent a lot of time with the X-Men between losing her powers and memories and becoming Binary, the X-Men weren't exactly thrilled to take on Rogue.

Posted by someone042

i miss sage

Posted by CATPANEXE

kind of going for day one with most of that.

I somewhat summed up my thoughts in another thread regarding the unification of the mutant race brought an end to most X-villians, and I believe Schism is

a way to get them at odds again. Most of the X-Men's enemies have never been fully defined as villain's anyways, just an opposing view and/or force so they could

pull it off.

Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch = I never have been able to grasp them as full on villain's of the X, maybe because they were not only not kept that way for very long, but because they were defined as victims of their fathers crusade, sort of the anti-early X-students to Xavier relationship. Quicksilver is still quite the antagonist, just very crafty about it and he uses that superhero moniker well. This was very pointed out in Avengers Academy in his encounters with Finesse, her seeing him as a great villain to learn from, and the ways he's lied to and used everyone between Initiative and Academy. Wanda is considered an enemy by the X-Men in Crusade and they are trying to punish her for M-Day, so in a way that makes her their villain currently?

Mystique: A free agent, and Mystique is and always has been on Mystiques side. Part of her allure is toying with the trust of others and playing on their ethics.

That revival was recent and few between any lack of appearances shes had to the point I would declare that she never actually left at any point.

On a side note I would love to see Marvel spin out a new Freedom Force book. Her popularity especially given her live action fans would sell this I believe.

Brotherhood: Crimson Commando recently terrorized the X-Men and is still an active bad guy. Avalanche has been shown more recently than just bartending and like many mutants who moved to Utopia after being evicted from US soil, it should be understood that it in no way means him or anyone has turned over a new leaf and is trustworthy. Like many, he has nowhere and nowhere safer to be right now than with the X-Men and his former acquaintances. Pyro and Spiral are still out there and causing trouble, though Spirals a free agent and her appearances have always been spread apart with the exception of Mojoverse heavy arcs. Destiny was moved aside to make way for Blindfold much as Madame Web was for Julia Carpenter in Spider-Man. Stonewall...I respect any love you may have for that character but I can't say I really cared less, and less than Unus or Blockbuster, and I don't think many readers did in comparison to those that did. A character that doesn't sell moves aside for a fresher more popular idea rather than dragging away panel space needlessly. Notably even in their stints as Freedom Force (again old school, the Brotherhood saw the light of day many times in the years since then) they were never really good, and manipulated their position constantly when presented with

the opportunity. I saw no reform happen there. I still wouldn't mind seeing Sauron again speaking of, I think enough time has passed since his big show in New Avengers.

Magneto: He's always been back and forth. And still he remains Magneto and never to be fully trusted, and while he's on the side of right he adds a certain tension.

Though the way it's played out currently he seems really tamed. I think that was pointed out really well in Vengeance. He's clearly there because his character is uber popular and sells. Also, it really seems they are trying to retain the whole hated and feared by humanity thing, but that's lost a lot of it's logic with well established hero's so the probable course of action in the writing is to use established villains/antihero's to keep the readers partial justification of the fictional publics distrust for the X-Men afloat.

Sabretooth: A good villain, though moved out like others to make room for new characters similar to him. But, Wolverine brought that Devil in particular off his throne ,left the Soulcutter behind, and he walked out of that Hell followed by Puck. i think it was pretty easy to tell that Jason planted the seeds for Sabretooths comeback right there in Wolverine #5.

Emma Frost: see Magneto.

Marrow: She was a villain one time, and it was prior to even becoming Marrow. After that she was tossed into X-Men hood mainly to sell a female character that was a variant of Wolverine, and despite what appeared to be popularity, the character failed, and that void was later filled by X-23 who already proved to generate more interest without even being in a comic yet. Either way she was never a full on villain until X-Cell, and even then about as much of a villian run in her as 616 Blink had in Necrosha. Just not seeing this one.

Juggernaut: Another free agent, and always a persistent thorn in everyone's side he comes across. he never really left, maybe with the exception of whatever they tried to pull in New Excaliber. Too soon to say how the new Juggernaut plays out by my accounts.

Danger: Well exactly. Three weeks or so. So she wasn't really a villain so whats the point. Actually your exaggerating heavily of course. She was of course a problem all the way into Legacy from her original appearance. Likewise, see Magneto. Also, I think as an opponent she only had the future to become redundant and irrelevant, but that's just me.

Mr.Sinister is coming back, like now, and it seems pretty clear the Schism event is going to cause the bottom to fall out on mutant unity, and likely those who weren't to strong in belief of the cause will show their real colors and get a few on on the X-Men near them before going rogue. That's how I'm calling it anyways. I can concur that there has been an overall lack of classic X-villians for the majority of the time for awhile, rather we've been subjected to vampires, lizards, religious zealots, new characters, ect, though it really seems to me one of the larger purposes of Schism/Regenesis is going to be bringing the bad guys back to the bad roads they were on before the mutant race untied.

Good article and very relevant point to bring up.

Posted by xerox_kitty

It's just not the X-Men if you don't have any former villains knocking around, keeping the straight-and-narrow heroes on their toes ;)

Technically you could go so far as to say that Cannonball was once a former foe... even though he was more deceived when recruited by Donald Pierce ;)

Moderator
Posted by xerox_kitty

Do X-Men who turned villainous count? Such as Polaris when she was turned into the Horseman of Apocalypse, Pestilence? ;)

Moderator
Posted by lorex

I am looking forward to Sinister reemerging as a major threat. I hope the writers do not allow him to be defeated, only stopped on a specific objective. For me Sinister is at his best when he is the man in the shadows pulling the strings from affar with limited direct contact with the heroes. What can ruin villians in comics is when they are too easily defeated by the heroes but keep coming back again and again and become a joke or even a running gag within the title, kind of like Toad has become, though he was never a major threat.

Posted by chiq

@lorex said:

I am looking forward to Sinister reemerging as a major threat. I hope the writers do not allow him to be defeated, only stopped on a specific objective. For me Sinister is at his best when he is the man in the shadows pulling the strings from affar with limited direct contact with the heroes. What can ruin villians in comics is when they are too easily defeated by the heroes but keep coming back again and again and become a joke or even a running gag within the title, kind of like Toad has become, though he was never a major threat.

He just commandeered a Celestial...i'd say he is stepping his game up in a major way. (which he should, looking at the firepower of the uncanny brotherhood)

Posted by Soulstealer

@lorex said:

I am looking forward to Sinister reemerging as a major threat. I hope the writers do not allow him to be defeated, only stopped on a specific objective. For me Sinister is at his best when he is the man in the shadows pulling the strings from affar with limited direct contact with the heroes. What can ruin villians in comics is when they are too easily defeated by the heroes but keep coming back again and again and become a joke or even a running gag within the title, kind of like Toad has become, though he was never a major threat.

I think this was Sabertooth's main problem. He was a menacing and often times scary X-Villain in the beginning and as Wolverine became more popular they had to tone down how much he struggled for a victory against Creed. To the point that everyone is like "Oh, Sabertooth again. Hey Wolverine can you punch this guy once and we can all go home..."

Posted by jorok_goldblade

@Soulstealer said:

I think this was Sabertooth's main problem. He was a menacing and often times scary X-Villain in the beginning and as Wolverine became more popular they had to tone down how much he struggled for a victory against Creed. To the point that everyone is like "Oh, Sabertooth again. Hey Wolverine can you punch this guy once and we can all go home..."

The Wolverine/Sabretooth healing factor also got majorly out of hand, and there were no longer any stakes in their fights. I miss the days when a six times lethal for a bull elephant dose of poison would knock Wolverine out for a couple hours. Heck, I just read an old Claremont/Davis issue where Wolvie was drunk!

Posted by victoriancuckoo

Emma is one of my favourite antiheroes, I especially loved how Whedon used her past to suggest she's never all the way good...

Posted by Sixsoda

I'm reminded of the phrase "Us freaks have to stick together."