I usually have no idea how to start these articles off without sounding foolish or ... foolish, so I'm just going to get that out of the way right now and tell you to expect this article to sound foolish. With that taken care of, my reasoning for doing this is my current obsession with countdowns. I don't know if it's just me, but I freaking ADORE countdowns. Unfortunately, they always leave me with this awkward need to make my own, so here I am.
In case you didn't notice before, this article is about my top 15 favorite X-men villains IN THE COMICS. I'm going to tell you right off the bat that this list may not be COMPLETELY accurate. What I mean by that is I'll usually get stuck between a few every now and again trying to place them, work on it for about an hour, and get frustrated just to set them into a random order, hoping it works out just right (even though there isn't usually much of a difference from #14 to #13 or #9 to #8 if you know what I mean).
Regardless of those few snags I'm sure to hit as I'm making this list (that's right, I'm writing the intro before I've written the damned list, but if it's any consolation, I'm also writing this one backwards starting at one), I hope you enjoy it.
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!!!
#15 - Senator Robert Kelly
In a world filled with mutant villains, a human villain makes me excited. It's not often a regular person can seem to get the better of the mutant race, but there have been a few examples of such. Senator Robert Kelly is probably one of these better known examples.
His anti-mutant crusades always made me want to gag, especially since the reasoning behind his crusade is so messed up. I mean, I understand him being mad at the death of his wife, but ordering more Sentinels to be created just because your wife happened to be killed in an accidental debris collapse during a fight involving the X-men is jumping the gun quite a bit.
Unfortunately for him, the Senator never really impressed me with his villainism other than how he could make a few remarks and have the humans begging for more mutant pain, so he'll stay at the bottom of my lists in the future.
#14 - En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse)
I don't believe there is a character in the history of all characters I could ever hate for existing as much as this one. I don't mean that I hate the character, not at all. In fact, I find the character himself interesting. I hate the fact that he exists. This character is practically invincible with his arsenal of super powers (pretty much everything a team of X-men has) and genius level intellect.
How does this character keep getting defeated?
I'm asking this question honestly because I just don't understand. If he wants to take over the world or whatever the hell his current goal is, why the hell doesn't he just use his superpowers to kill everyone that needs to be defeated? It would be so easy, but since they can't kill the title characters that often, Marvel makes his powers COMPLETELY inconsistent. Even Jubilee in X-men : TAS wasn't this inconsistent!
That is why he is so low on this list. Because, while a semi-iconic villain and his potential to be a good one is outstanding, his very existence is incomprehensible to me.
#13 - Victor Creed (Sabretooth)
Now, it depends on whether you are considering his biography or his chronology, but the X-men were not in fact his first enemies chronologically. Biographically, Wolverine was, which is to be expected considering their deep hatred of each other.
Sabretooth is on this list purely because of how much of a pain in the ass he is to everyone, especially Wolverine. He is an unhygienic, uncivilized monstrosity that seems to attract as much chaos as fleas. It's rather disgusting to think about, so I try not to. Anyway, the amount of chaos he creates is usually pretty gruesome (and entertaining), so it lands him at 13.
#12 - Emma Frost (White Queen)
Considering how much it has been revealed in recent years how "good" she is, I almost considered just leaving her off the list altogether and forgoing the shenanigans. However, I like her so much as a villain, I had to give her a slot.
I believe she makes a damn good villainess, and does so with a remarkable combination of class and lasciviousness. Not to mention that evil telepaths usually make for a nice battle here and there. Unfortunately, with her switch to the "good" side, and her continual entertaining clashes with the other X-men, she gets pushed down farther on this list. I hate to say it, but she can make a pretty fun hero too.
#11 - The Sentinels
I debated for as long as possible about putting them on this list at all, as they are not just one villain, but many...kind of like the demon Legion. Now, this does not include Master Mold or any specific Sentinel like villains with names. This is just your general Sentinels.
The reason they are on the list is because they are possibly one of the biggest pains the asses of the X-men other than public relations and hormones. They're robots, so they cannot be reasoned with and they are deadly. Extremely deadly. I put them so low because they are a GROUP and I really, REALLY didn't want any groups on this list which was meant for singular villains and how they stand out, but I felt like leaving them off would be villainous of itself.
#10 - Nathaniel Essex (Mister Sinister)
I have always said that Mister Sinister is my favorite X-men villain, but over the course of the last year, I did some major rethinking and found that wasn't quite the case. However, he is still and extremely interesting and intriguing character.
Now, I confess, most of the reasoning behind my interest in the character has to do with his past involving much of the Summers/Grey bloodlines. Without Sinister's existence, a few of the other villains on this list would not have been able to exist themselves. Not only that, but just imagine how much different the X-men would be without Sinister. Would Jean and Scott have gotten their happily ever after? ... Probably not, but it was a nice thought.
Not only that, but his own background is interesting and actually applies to the character, not just there to give the fans something they didn't really need. It was...interesting (God, I am overusing that word) to see how he chose his alias and his connection to Gambit and Remy's lack of power. In fact, most of his connections make him the character he is, which is magnificent.
#9 - Cameron Hodge
This man, oh, this man. This man's hatred of mutants makes Senator Kelly look like a school yard bully. I thoroughly hate this man.
Cameron Hodge was a normal non-mutant human who was also Warren Worthington III's college roommate and supposed friend, who was actually jealous of Warren in every way humanly possible. This turned to hatred and when it was discovered that he was a mutant, Cameron hated all mutants. He formed the anti-mutant group The Right, and pretended he was Warren's friend enough to form X-Factor with him and the rest of the original five.
What X-Factor didn't know was that Hodge had only created the group because he knew its creation would only fuel mutant hatred in the public. Also, and the first big reason I hate him, he is the reason Warren lost his wings. When Warren's wings were damaged beyond repair, he forged paperwork showing that they would need to be amputated and got a court order allowing it, despite Warren's protests. Just before the operation, he had Warren essentially give Hodge the Worthington fortune in the event of Warren's death. Because of this, when Warren took his private jet out to fly for one last time, Hodge had messed with the plane making it blow up, appearing to be suicide.
As most of us know, this wasn't the case, and Warren didn't die. He returned as Archangel, the horseman of Death for Apocalypse. The second big reason I hate Hodge was, not only did he take Warren's fortune and wings, but he also killed Candy Southern, Warren's longtime girlfriend. To me, she seemed like the Gwen Stacy of Warren's life.
#8 - Warren Worthington III (Archangel)
From the moment poor Warren's wings were chopped off, the man was doomed. Seriously, he had no hope in hell of being anything other than the crazy person he turned into. That is, crazy, hostile, and equip with a shiny and a more deadly set of wings. And blue. Every time I picked up a comic of my dad's with the angry, blue Archangel on the cover, I knew I was in for a treat. I loved every second of it.
Of course, I love sane Warren even more, pushing Archangel down on the list, but Warren being Archangel tore the X-men (and X-Factor) apart long enough for it to make a real impact and give us readers something to love. And those wings are just simply badass! Warren as Archangel was unexpected and has created a chaos that has followed Warren until the recent years. It has allowed for major character development and is probably one of the only reasons the character is still in print today.
#7 - Krakoa
Even though it is still disputed because of 2006's Deadly Genesis story arc as to whether or not Krakoa even existed, I'm going to pretend that it does, most definitely. Krakoa stuck out to me when I read Giant Sized X-men #1 because of how creative it was.
The creativity still threatens to blow my mind to this day. The thought of having mutants being trapped by an island which has been mutated, not by puberty's forced revelation of secret DNA strands, but by nuclear tests, has me pleasantly entertained. I'm not sure what form of childlike amusement makes me so astonished, but it doesn't look like it will deplete any time soon, whether fortunate or unfortunate.
The fact that it was the entire island which was attacking the X-men, both old and new, was amazing. Not only that, but that it was feeding off of the mutant energies of the original X-men, only letting Cyclops go long enough to bring more back, is genius. That genius has put Krakoa so far on this list.
#6 - Scott Summers (Cyclops)
I never, in all of my years of being an X-men fan, thought I would see the day I would be putting Scott freaking Summers on my list of favorite X-men villains. I wasn't going to for the simple sake of wanting to remember MY Cyke, the one I remember, the one I loved reading, but I couldn't. He just made such a good villain!
The recent Avengers vs. X-men story arc really allowed Cyclops to develop from the boy scout everyone knew him as into a manic leader. This was further intensified when the Phoenix Five was developed, when it was Emma vs. Scott, and most of all, when Scott murdered Charles. Not only that, but his lack of caring afterwards really showed the audience how far gone he has become since his possession by Apocalypse.
I don't actually mean that in a good way, because I never wanted to see that fate befall Cyclops, but looking back on it, I'm happy with what they did. Not only did it give another side to the still developing character, but it allowed that developing dark side to fully expand and plunge off the deep end. In my mind, that showed me he not only belongs on the hero's side, but he would make a formidable villain if he ever truly wanted to.
Unfortunately, he is now dead, so I can't really hope for much now.
#5 - Nathan Summers (Stryfe)
Honestly, I'm not sure why I like this villain so much. Possibly it's due to the fact that he had absolutely no say in whether or not he became a villain. He just was, due to that damned Apocalypse. I mean, did anyone ever love this being? No! So, therefore, can anyone truly blame him for being a bit angry at his genetic template?
Not only that, but his anger is so interesting in the ways in which he uses it. It's almost as if half of the time he doesn't want to be angry only wanting justice for his unfair treatment, but the other half, that's all he wants. He's an interesting contradiction and a ruthless villain, landing him at the bottom of the top 5.
#4 - Raven Darkholme (Mystique)
Before I get into her character, the reason I put her so low is simply because she was always sort of a slippery character. One moment she's kinda good, then kinda bad, then really bad, then kinda good, and it drove me crazy. Flip-flops are for beaches, not for characters.
I understand that many characters have flip-flopped, but hers drove me crazy because of the amount of simple potential this character had. Everyone loves Mystique. She's always near the top of a villain list, but the only reason she's this far up is because of the potential and her simple ability to get the job done.
Oh, and she does her job well. She is a badass with a wicked trigger finger and seductive nature. Having the ability to look like anyone could help too.
The reason she is not #3, 2, or 1 is because of what actually happened with her character. Everything she did seemed to fall flat since no one knew exactly where to go with it, and her back story is...pretty crappy. Does every character NEED to have an explained back story? I was perfectly fine not knowing Mystique's or Wolverine's or anyone else who is supposed to be a mysterious fellow. Not only that, but her back story is as flat as a three day old Mountain Dew and the ways in which they seem to use her character within the last decade or so aren't much better.
She's had her prime. I'm just not sure they can do anything useful with her anymore that they haven't already screwed up the chances to do.
#3 - Madelyne Pryor (Goblin/Red Queen)
It took a lot of thinking to put this list together and decide who ranked above who, and Madelyne just seemed like an obvious candidate for the list, not to mention being so far up. Don't get me wrong. I love Maddy, always have for some reason, and she has always been such a victim if people take the time to read the stories. Unfortunately, when she was victimized, she went crazy. That insanity brought on the Goblin Queen which brought on a hell of a lot of trouble for everyone. She wished to kill newly returned Jean Grey and her estranged husband Scott Summers, which I can completely understand if not somewhat endorse (I didn't say fully. They were still my favorite characters.).
What I really can't comprehend is how this woman decided she wanted to kill baby Nate. Not only was the child cute beyond words (I have a thing for babies), but it was HER damned baby! Did all of the maternal instincts and love she had previously shown fly completely out the window? All of her sanity? Obviously!
She cheats on her husband with his brother? Understandable since he was cheating on her with her genetic template. She wishes to kill the husband who betrayed her and stole her baby from her? Again, understandable. She wishes to kill the woman she was cloned from who ruined her life? Understandable, but getting rather deep. She wishes to kill her child? No. Not okay.
Then, after she is killed, she returns later with a crappy plot line and a bunch of random bullshit which further degrades her character. Low blow!
Dear whoever now writes for whatever title she's going to be brought back into (because she will eventually), Could you please do some actual justice to the character? She deserves that much! Until Cyclops' blasts are psychedelic colored and his visor spouts 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds', Make Mine Marvel. -XO26
#2 - Jean Grey (Dark Phoenix)
That villainess shall lead us to this one. I'm pretty sure I could have just put the Phoenix Force on this list and have been done with the whole thing considering how many people this thing has caused to go crazy, but I prefer to work with specifics. The specific in this case is referring obviously to the Dark Phoenix saga which brought an evil Jeannie back from the apparent grave. I might dissect that plot line in a later countdown, but for right now, I'm just going to focus on the character.
The character in and of itself concerning JeanPhoenix is pretty interesting, but it's even more interesting when the 'Dark' is thrown in. The character of Dark Phoenix is constantly at war with what the Phoenix Force wants, and what Jean knows is right. Not only does that make for some interesting philosophical discussions, but it opened the door to a shit storm of new characters and plot lines for the X-men franchise, making some of the other villains on this list possible, especially #3.
December 7th, 1941 may be a DATE which shall live in infamy, but Dark Phoenix is a character which shall live in infamy.
Now, which villainous character have I ranked as being above all of the others on this list?
#1 - Max Eisenhardt (Magneto)
I'm sure NO ONE saw this one coming (as I am currently rolling my eyes, hoping the sarcastic nature of this sentence gets through the internet). Honestly, isn't this guy at the top of nearly everyone's top X-men villains list? I thought about rebelling against that just to be that girl, but thought better of it. Why mess up my list just because Magneto is truly the #1 villain? He is also, obviously since that is the point of the list, my favorite villain.
I guess I better explain my reasoning, even though I'm sure everyone can guess why.
The first reason is that he was simply THE FIRST. Now, I'm sure that doesn't mean much to most people by itself, but when you can take into consideration that this guy has been a villain in all major X-men cartoons and in the X-men trilogy / First Class. Plus, whenever I ask anyone I know about X-men villains, Magneto is pretty much the first one they name (unless they know me very well or are otherwise interested). Now, this could be easily blamed on the movie's influence, but that influence would never have happened without the comic.
Speaking of the comic, can we just focus on how much sense this guy makes, despite my automatic nature to go against violence? Honestly, there have been more times reading the comics that I have wanted to slap Xavier across the face and join Magneto than with any other villain. That is because his story is so understandable and his hatred is relatable.
Also, other than the clusterfuck that is the Summers/Grey bloodlines, is there nearly any other mutant who is X-men related whom is related to so many others in one way or another? He's even got his own clone in there! Not only that, but his children have all had their serious battles with insanity, mainly his daughters, and that is interesting to me how it can all relate back to the father in some way. Yay genetics!
Despite that, he also has proved that he can try the heroes path, Xavier's path, and still choose the path of violence. Pure dedication, and that dedication to mutant supremacy and anti-X is what has landed him at the #1 spot on my list. Was Magneto right? Possibly.
I hope you enjoyed the read. To prove I was debating highly over who to put on the list (and I still have the list I made of X-men villains who stuck out to me), here are some of the ones who did NOT make my top 15 (NOT IN ANY SPECIFIC ORDER) :
Graydon Creed, Lady Deathstrike, Master Mold, Nimrod, Sebastian Shaw, Juggernaut, Onslaught, Legion, The Shadow King, Proteus, Mojo, Vulcan, Cassandra Nova
Please comment below who YOUR top 15 favorites(or better yet, make your own countdown) would be! Also, do you have any suggestions for another X-men related countdown (and PLEASE don't say 'favorite x-men' without giving me specifics to work with. There are just too damn many).