Sins of Sinister #1

Issue Date: 
March 2023
Story Title: 
Part 1: Everything is Sinister

Kieron Gillen (writer), Lucas Werneck (artist), Geoffrey Shaw, Marco Checcetto, Juan Jose Ryp, David Baldeon, Travel Foreman, Carlos Gomez, Federico Vicentini, David Lopez, Joshua Cassara and Stefano Caselli (special guest artists), Bryan Valenza (color), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller and Jay Bowen (design),Leinil Francis Yu (cover artist), Joshua Cassara, Marco Checcetto (variant covers), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laure Amaro (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

For his crimes, Mr. Sinister is put into the Pit. Nevertheless, Xavier, Emma, Exodus and Hope have been compromised by their resurrection and now, thanks to Hope, each resurrected mutant also lands under Sinister’s influence. At first, they seemingly do good. Xavier suggests they share resurrection with humanity and gets the whole council to agree. They offer an artificial mutant gene or as an alternative storing human psi-imprints. After turning Forge sinister, they lobotomize Krakoa, destroy the human psi-imprints and blame it on Orchis. The mutants team up with the Fantastic Four and Avengers to destroy Orchis and afterwords get several Avengers to take the X-gene as a statement of solidarity. Which allows the mutants later to have the Avengers act as villains and exterminate them. Different pretexts allow them to take out other superbeings, like the Eternals. The four originals free Mr. Sinister from the Pit who has been watching satisfied as they gain more and more influence over the world. After five years, Storm, who has been busy with Arakko, finally confronts the Quiet Council and demands to know what happened to Nightcrawler, as the one on the council is an impostor. Mr. Sinister reveals himself and the completely monstrous, original Nightcrawler. The Council so far couldn’t get their hands on Storm, because she isn’t in the resurrection queue, but the now are willing to attack her directly. However, Storm came prepared and manages to flee with Lactuca’s help. She ends up in Peru, where Destiny and Mystique are expecting her and tell her they need to wait before they strike. The Sinisters destroy Arakko. Hope warns of danger from space and suggest they act. Mr. Sinister is more interested in them working on earthbound science (his secret goal being becoming a Dominion). It turns out, the original four have tampered with the genes, preventing Sinister from controlling them and they decide against him. Sinister seems to grin and bear it but decides to destroy this timeline with his Moira engines, only to learn to his horror that his secret lab with his Moira engines has been stolen and he is stuck.

Full Summary: 

+ 10 years:
Arbor Magna, or a place much like it. A man patiently waits for the eggs to hatch. They do and several versions of Scott Summers crawl out of them. With a smile, Mr. Sinister announces: “To me, my me’s.”

+ null years, the present:
After being captured for his crimes, Mr. Sinister is dragged into the Pit, while he curses the Quiet Council.

When he is gone, Professor X announces that having that monster among them was a mistake. This has to be a new age for Krakoa. One that is distinctly less sinister!

Later, alone in his quarters, he takes off the Cerebro helmet to display the red diamond on his brow.

Emma Frost joins him and demands what on Earth he is doing? Admiring himself, Xavier replies. He was afraid of this, but it’s so beautiful. He feels free! It is intoxicating! It’s a shame to keep it hidden.

Well, if they are doing the nudist approach to genetic tampering, she’ll join him just this once. On her forehead, a red diamond also appears. But they must keep it oh so hush-hush, she warns.

Hope and Exodus, also with red diamonds on their brows, join them. Hope opines that any sign on your forehead is too easy a target. She sees it and just wants to put a great slug through it. They need to stay camouflaged until they pull the trigger. And then its head shots for the whole #%&% planet! One step at a time, my messiah, Exodus addresses her. First tomorrow, let’s put on a good show.

The next day at the Quiet Council, the four play their roles. Xavier announces that, with Sinister finally gone, they can review their program. It has gone deeply awry. Nightcrawler interjects that Mystique and Destiny have disappeared. With Sinister in the Pit, this Council is looking sparse, Xavier agrees. He suspects, with those two leaving, they have grasped the nature of the new age. There is no room for unreformed villains in this room. They will fill these gaps soon enough, but understand: they need a new Krakoa, a kinder one. They need to share more with the humans, including working towards total access to immortality.

Absolutely not! Emma shouts. They’ve been through this before. They must look after themselves first! The Genoshan dead are still in the soil! How can he think of diluting their effort?

Charles replies, they are creatures of forever now, and must play a longer game. They will bring back Genosha… but they need not rush. It is more important to ensure they have the time to bring them back. The bigger the stake humans have in Krakoan success, the better for all of them. The dream can be real now, as they have a treasure that can overcome even their worst hate. Shaw joins in, telling Emma she knows their business friends. One taste of this, and they’ll have them hook, line and sinker. Emma seems to consider their words, musing they couldn’t do it with their current methods, but perhaps if they explored other routes…

Predictably, Exodus protests. Those of faith would never compromise! Really? Hope asks, because she thinks, it’s a damn good idea. Exodus harumphes and states, let them see how the council feels.

For once, they all agree. Storm points out, though, she is worried about the practicalities. Can they do this? Kate agrees. They need to increase the resurrection rate and find a way to harvest everyone’s brain patterns. Is it an opt-in thing? Will someone make a spreadsheet or…

Xavier believes they can work out something more elegant. Forge, perhaps, has the skills to pick up where Sinister left off. Emma adds her Cuckoos can handle the load of taking human minds. Forge playing understudy for Sinister and the Cuckoos acting as glorified clerks? Kate snarks. Doesn’t sound like something they’d be interested in. Emma smiles, she is sure she and Charles can change their minds…

One year later:
A frazzled looking Ben Urich stands in the streets of Manhattan, seeing huge ads for the genetic treatment. He enters a building for a secret meeting with J. Jonah Jameson. Urich thanks Jameson for agreeing to this meeting and apologizes for his appearance. He has been working on this too much. Jameson shouts at him, asking if he has gotten confused. He reports on superheroes. He doesn’t fight them. He looks like he has done ten rounds with all of society’s menaces. Has he? Give him the exclusive and he will pay Ben top dollar!

Ben shushes him as he opens his bag. Inside, there is a gun with a hypodermic. He presses a small device and there is a buzzing sound. Jameson asks if this is one of those devices that scare away teenagers. Should he able to hear it? He always thought he had youthful ears. Ben replies it is an anti-surveillance device. He got it from… He breaks off, not wanting to name his contact. He takes out the hypodermic gun. Despite Jameson’s protest, he injects him to find out whether he can be trusted and hasn’t been compromised.

That hurt! Jonah bellows angrily and Ben is relieved he is still himself. Jonah puts his hand on Ben’s shoulder. He has him scared. What is going on? Ben replies, having this limited X-gene implanted to guarantee immortality… it’s got a Trojan Horse. He looks outside as he continues that there is some kind of a para-personality. If you have the gene, you can be taken over by it any time. Even if it doesn’t take over, it warps you, pushes your worst impulses. Now think of the number of politicians who have had it done already and think about what that means.

Jonah asks if he has evidence. This sounds more like the sort of opinion that emerges from underneath a tinfoil hat than a real journalist. Of course, he does! Ben replies. And even without the X-gene, they have their telepaths at work! They are taking over the world with a smile on their faces. They are offering humanity a velvet glove and it hides an iron gauntlet wrapped around humanity’s throat!

He is shocked, Jonah announces. Shocked that Ben believes the test would actually reveal the genetic tampering.

Ben turns around. Jameson displays the red diamond on his forehead, and a group of more people with red diamonds enters the room. While they grab Ben, Jonah (or rather the Sinister para-personality) explains they developed the test to lure out paranoid yet correct folks like Ben. But good work! Ben goes out with his head held high! He was correct. “A mutant gene for everyone and everyone for me!”

On Krakoa, Emma, Xavier, Hope and Exodus have joined Forge, who now also displays a red diamond. He is putting the finishing touches on an orbital cannon. What’s the deniability? Emma inquires. Can this be traced to them? What does he look like? Forge scoffs, an amateur like Mr. Sinister? When he makes it, it does what he says it does. Nothing less, and possibly a whole lot more! Pull the trigger and they’ll reduce Krakoa to a drooling vegetable!

And it was always such a smart vegetable, Emma snarks. What a shame. They’ll take the opportunity to take out little Doug. She sends Beast the telepathic signal.

Holding the button, Forge asks who wants to take out Krakoa. Hope immediately volunteers. What girl doesn’t want to head-shot an island from orbit? she asks and pushes the button with a grin and lobotomizes the island.

Cypher tries to communicate with Krakoa and even as he realizes what is going on, Wolverine impales him from behind.

A little later, Emma speaks to humanity with the grim message that Orchis has attacked them with an EMC attack. It killed their living island and wiped all psi-imprints. They have a mystical method to retrieve mutant ones, but all human ones are lost forever. They grieve alongside humanity for the loss of the ones they thought saved. They will be acting against Orchis immediately and hope humanity will join them.

And indeed, the Avengers and Fantastic Four join the large-scale attack. Moira shouts at Nimrod to save himself. Nimrod, who has just killed Namor, refuses. They are the future! The three tech geniuses Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Forge hit him with a virus that leaves him paralyzed long enough for Thor to destroy him. After finishing Orchis, Cap just wishes people had seen them sooner for what they are. Cyclops replies that Orchis’ propaganda confused a lot. Their elective X-gene is the safest way to ensure the minds are saved, but prejudice is hard to overcome. Maybe this disaster will encourage more to take the gene. Actually, he turns to Cap, after today, they are all honorary X-Men. What does he think about the gene that goes along with it? Captain America… mutant? Cap considers it: it would be a hell of a statement… He assures Cyclops they are in this together.

A little later, on Krakoa, watched by Xavier, Emma, Exodus and Hope, Forge frees Mr. Sinister from the Pit.

With a broad grin, he announces he is back… though it is like he’s never been away. Xavier informs him the plan has progressed. Krakoa is dead, Earth is compromised. None will know he has been released from the Pit. Excellent, now he can watch the show closer up. He tells them to keep up the good work, and teleports away to his secret lab hidden beneath Muir Isle.

There are, of course, technical reasons for hiding his Moira lab beneath her old stomping grounds but, mainly, it’s funny. He finds his now dead lab assistants and orders the machines to give him a new Cy-cat and Professor Plod. And let’s peruse the data, he decides. He sits down and goes through his masterplan. When he allowed Xavier and Magneto to use his gene library, of course he had manipulated the DNA. He added a copy of himself and some spice in every DNA sample so skillfully that none of the other scientists found out. Anybody brought back from the dead would be compromised! He grins broadly. Except it didn’t work! he sulks.

The plan was always to reach Dominion status before the AIs do. To that end, he compromised the DNA database allowing him to take over or warp the will of any Krakoan mutant…

The plan was to take over Earth, use the full creative power of mutantdom to find the quickest way to Dominion status. The most obvious method, mass psychic sacrifice of a huge population, is simply too slow. Instead explore novel powersets and the true potential of mutantkind, shorn of ethics. Reset the timeline to speed up the process, ascend this stinking reality to become something more than a god. Gloat.

It took a lot of Moira resets to work out the problem was Hope. Whatever her weird gift is, during resurrection she was fixing his meddling without even realizing it. He had to compromise her to compromise the whole thing. But killing just her was too suspicious. He needed a critical mass off the council, and himself as well to allow the plan to go into motion. He’s been beaten by the X-Men so many times: but now the X-Men are his. He is the X-Men. Now, popcorn, funtime, let’s see what he can discover. Commence his five-year-plan of /&*%$ around!

And many things happen in those years:

Increasingly suspicious of Krakoa, Dr. Doom tries to persuade Namor into an alliance, unaware that Namor has already been compromised after a boudoir murder by Emma Frost. Namor kills Doom, who is replaced by a clone who, despite spouting anti-Krakoa rhetoric, secretly works with the mutants. A sole Doombot is rumored to work with Orchis.

Prompted by fake rumors of another Eternal attack, Krakoa and Arakko go to war against the Eternals. The Arakkii release Uranos the Undying for an hour and he acts as a powerful vengeful ally. The Eternals are defeated, then stored peacefully in stasis engines positioned in deep space. Uranos sits alone forever in his cell, caked in the blood of his family. He smiles.

Reed Richards is considered too dangerous and, after previous tampering, probably immune to further tampering. Instead, Ben Grimm is compromised. A Mystique gene allows him to return to his human form. However, after the Sinister gene has done its work, he wants for the other FF to die as he has lived – as Things. A mission through cosmic rays is arranged. It is believed Grimm choked his dying once friend as they disappeared into the void.

Compromised by the Sinister gene, the Avengers are pushed into more dangerous, antisocial behavior, culminating in Captain America taking control of the US government after murdering the president. Thankfully, the X-Men are there to save the day. At the end of the Avengers / X-Men war, the X-Men are declared Earth’s mightiest heroes.

5 years later:
A Quiet Council meeting:
Namor, Beast and Magik have replaced the fallen or missing members.

Storm announces she has a matter she needs to broach. She has become increasingly disillusioned with their work. Xavier asks her to be more specific. She could, but they’d be here all day discussing questionable omens. She’s heard all the Spirits of Vengeance have left Earth. The Arakkii’s mystics say they are petrified. However, let’s concentrate on one thing she’s discovered. She points at the inanely smiling Nightcrawler and announces he is an impostor. Where is Kurt? she demands.

She wins, comes a voice from behind her. Here he is. It is Mr. Sinister, leading the real, by now completely monstrous and no longer intelligent, Kurt on a leash. He’s got something deeply wonky going on with his genes, Sinister states. He can’t quite fix the problem yet but, if she wants him on the Council instead of the nice, automated hand-raising furry sack he cooked up, it’s up to her.

Storm stammers then shouts this is an abomination! She’s got him there, he shrugs, or rather, she’s got them. All the Council members rise, all of them displaying their red diamonds. Sinister tuts that she has always made things hard. Erasing herself from the resurrection protocols meant they couldn’t just kill her and bring her aboard. Psychic meddling is risky, but she leaves them no other option. Emma and Xavier use their powers on her, as Xavier corrects, he prefers the term “teaching.”

Before the Council session, Storm talked to Lactuca. She told her she feared the worst and asked Lactuca to act, should they tamper with her mind. Lactuca replied she would sew the defense into a phrase. Speak it and Storm’s mind will be linked to Lactuca’s infinite one. The attacker will be pushed away. You cannot hold the ocean between your fingers.

Storm speaks “You make sure.”

A thunderstorm erupts, blowing them all to the ground, except for Sinister. Abominations! Storm pronounces and flies away. Said as if that’s a bad thing, Sinister mutters.

Storm lands in Peru. Very well, war, she announces. No, not yet, comes a voice. Destiny and Mystique are expecting her. Destiny warns, they will lose unless they are smarter. They will lose, unless… they must be on the same side.

Back at the Council, Sinister announces this accelerates their plans, but only slightly. And besides, he was bored of lurking in the shadows. This isn’t the 90ies. If her high and Martian mighty is gone, there is a free seat on the Council. Who thinks he should take it? Vote! All surviving members raise their hands.

Sebatian Shaw becomes emissary to the various hells. He is killed every time he is required to visit. To get a seat on the Infernal Parliament, he was required to own a hell. Suffice to say, the Waiting Room is no longer a paradise…

Thor had left the Avengers when they turned to evil. Shaw made a deal with Muspelheim to get the Twilight Sword. It and a kick from Magik are enough for Asgard to be propelled away from Midgard, eternally lost.

Scarlet Witch gets killed, just in case.

The former school is turned into Sinister’s lab, where he creates his first chimeras splicing two x-genes into one body. The pollution will soon be enough for life expectations across the seaboard to tumble.

Storm is believed to be hiding on Arakko. Attempts to get her fail.

An invasion of Arakko with stage two chimeras allows an insertion of a Legion clone in the planet’s core The planet is destroyed and the ensuing asteroid belt is immediately prioritized for exploitation. Storm’s fate remains unknown.

10 years later:
Mr. Sinister walks through what used to be Manhattan. Ads for X-gene insertion are everywhere. What’s wrong with you all? a man shouts. It is Foggy Nelson. He is standing in front of several Wanted posters of Storm. He shouts there is a lab in Westchester the size of a small city and it is poisoning them! The east coast is going to be uninhabitable. Another five years and they… The crowd boos and jeers at him and suddenly a Spider-Man / Nightcrawler chimera called Night Legion webs him up and takes him along.

Sinister speaks to himself that they are not mind-controlled. They are queuing up to get mind-controlled… and don’t care. He has a low opinion of humanity, but this is really something. How can he not think he is better than everyone?

The Grove:
Another meeting of the Quiet Council, which has agreed that their hold on the world is secure, so they need no longer hide the red diamond. Time to strut their new look, Emma announces. Diamonds are always in fashion.

Hope interrupts, there is another problem. Remains of Orchis are out there agitating. Hitting Mars didn’t get Storm. Last she heard from her dad is that space is all riled up. The grand empires of the galaxy will be coming for them sooner or later. Unless Krakoa goes for them. Sinister announces they shouldn’t worry about that. They should throw all their efforts into science. They’ve got a lot of work to be getting on with. Yes, he finally managed to get Kurt’s genes working, but he’d like to know how he actually managed to. They’ll work out what to do, if the aliens come for them.

Emma suggests a vote: who wants to prepare for a little space war? Sinister loses.

As the others leave, Xavier asks if Sinister is surprised. A little, he replies. He thought they had more loyalty. Does he? Emma retorts. Touché, Sinister admits. They’ve been meddling with his work, he accuses his four original victims, Xavier, Emma, Hope and Exodus. A little, Xavier admits. They should have more leeway than the masses. They are the Quiet Council of Sinisters and they should rule together. He still believes in the dream. If everyone thought like him, there would be no war. Assimilation to the dream is essential.

Emma announces, they must think of the children… and compared to them they are all toddlers, running around with runny noses and damp diapers.

Exodus announces that the stars in the firmament were once thought angels. They know that is not true… but they are still their property, and a crusade can reclaim them for mutantkind. Hope tells Sinister not to look glum, but he brought a messiah on the team. She is meant to save everybody. And if she saves everyone, she has to save them from themselves, right?

Xavier touches his shoulder: they have their differences, but as Sinisters they stand together. Everything is sinister doesn’t mean everything is the same. They can all work together… assuming they can all prove themselves useful. Sinister forces himself to smile and agrees. A toast to this new age!

Walking the pathway to the portal that leads to his secret lab, he announces that can go to hell. He needed their personalities, but he gave them too long a leash. He was hoping to get a nice, big blob of reach from the first Moira run before the planet got crushed by the inevitable pissed-off aliens. And perhaps hunted down those errant knock-off Essex clones… but he did get distracted. Oh well. Still, he leaned a lot. Much better than most first Moira runs. Let’s sweep the board clear and start again. A computer voice informs him that the teleporter is inoperative and he swears.

He finally reaches Muir Isle by conventional means and now uses an Avalanche system to get to the underground lab. He orders the system to activate the frequency to get through the Unus field that surrounds the lab, but instead he lands hard on the ground - no forcefield. No lab either.

Someone has stolen his lab. Someone has stolen his Moiras! He realizes he is trapped in this timeline…

Characters Involved: 

Mr. Sinister
Beast, Colossus, Emma Frost, Exodus, Hope Summers, Kate Pryde, Magik, Namor, Professor X, Sebastian Shaw (Quiet Council of Sinisters)

Cyclops, Forge, Rogue, Wolverine (X-Men)
Destiny, Nightcrawler, Storm
Lactuca the Knower

Fisher King, Khora of the Bruning Heart, Sobunar of the Depths, Sunspot, Wrongslide (Brotherhood of Arakko)

Ben Urich, J. Jonah Jameson
Foggy Nelson

Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor (Avengers)
Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr Fantastic, Thing (Fantastic Four)

Dr. Doom
Delphan Brothers, Druig, Ikaris, Kingo Sunen, Phastos, Uranos the Undying, Zuras (Eternals)

Wallcrawler and other chimeras

Story Notes: 

This is the beginning of the Sins of Sinister crossover. It directly follows events in Immortal X-Men #10.

For the duration of the crossover, Immortal X-Men, X-Men Red (2nd series) and Legion of X are replaced by Immoral X-Men, Storm and the Brotherhood and Nightcrawler respectively.

The next chapter is Storm and the Brotherhood #1

The scene at the beginning is a parody of the same scene in House of X #1/5, with Mr. Sinister taking Professor X’s role.

Nightcrawler’s devolution is a plotline in Legion of X. Why Mr. Sinister is suddenly able to work with his DNA is explained in Nightcrawlers #1.

Storm and Magneto bowed out of the Resurrection Protocols in X-Men Red (2nd series) #3 to be accepted by the great Ring of Arakko.

The Twilight Sword in Muspelheim is meant to destroy Asgard during Ragnarok.

Sinister worked mostly from the shadows in the 90ies’ X-books.

The fate of Mr. Sinister’s Moira lab is revealed in Storm and the Brotherhood #1.

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