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The X-Men’s Mr. Sinister is An Expert On Sorcery Too -BB

This article contains spoilers for Ruins of Ravencroft: Sabretooth #1.

It seems the classic X-Men villain Mr. Sinister is an expert on aspects of magic as well as mutation. Born Nathaniel Essex, Sinister was a contemporary of Charles Darwin who theorized that evolution didn’t always happen incrementally. He was shunned for his views, not to mention his unorthodox experiments, which horrified the British Royal Society.

An unfortunate encounter with Apocalypse left Nathaniel Essex transformed him into an ageless and immortal being. He traveled the globe, fascinated by humanity’s potential to develop and evolve. The X-Men comics have long hinted at the kind of unethical experiments he conducted on mutants; in fact, Sinister meddled with Charles Xavier’s own bloodline, foreseeing greatness in the genetic potential of the Xaviers.

Ruins of Ravencroft: Sabretooth #1 by Frank Tieri, Guillermo Sanna, Angel Unzueta, and Gerardo Sandoval reveals that Sinister’s earliest experiments weren’t upon mutants. In the early 1900s, he recognized the potential of the newly-opened Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane and moved to America in order to work there. While at Ravencroft, his focus was upon mystical beings rather than mutants; creatures like vampires and werewolves, Wendigos and hydras. Sinister experimented upon them all, dissecting them, learning everything he could about them. Some samples were deemed unwanted, and were cast into a sub-basement cavern – only to survive and almost escape in the present day.

Given all this, it’s reasonable to assume that Nathaniel Essex is just as knowledgeable on matters of mysticism as he is on mutation. This revelation comes at a time when the X-Men comics are being increasingly linked to the supernatural. Excalibur has retconned the history of anti-magic violence – from the Valais witch trials of the 15th century to French legends like the Beast of Gévaudan – was in part directed against mutants. Apocalypse, who has been a major character in these books, has been reinterpreted as a priest of Krakoa who is secretly fascinated by the mystical potential of Otherworld, a sorcerous realm linked to the British Isles. It’s really not hard to see the pattern here; the current X-Men relaunch is seeing the mutant race closely tied to the supernatural.

Of course, the irony is that the X-Men themselves don’t seem aware of this pattern. Apocalypse and Sinister are both keeping this secret from the rest of Krakoa’s Quiet Council, most likely pushing their own dark agendas. The interesting question is whether they coincide – or whether, instead, it’s only a matter of time before these two powerful and dangerous mutants find themselves operating at cross purposes.

Ruins of Ravencroft: Sabretooth #1 is on sale now in comic book stores.

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