Uncanny X-Men #16: Rooting for Sinister

This affected, pompous and narcissistic bastard takes it to the Phoenix Five, and we want him to win. It feels weird.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Uncanny X-Men #16

Ever since the relaunch of Uncanny X-Men (a short time ago, so short that its impending re-relaunch with the Marvel NOW thing seems kind of silly), Kieron Gillen has been building us a new Mr. Sinister. Extrapolated from the old garish, nightmarish thing of shadows, he's now presented as somewhat of a prancing fop, having achieved a weird perfect evolution of his genetic obsession by creating an entire society of duplicates of himself in various forms, from peasants to livestock. It's taken a long time to get used to that, but by last issue, it had been accomplished. And now, in Uncanny X-Men #16, it's come so far that we're sort of actively rooting for him to beat the Phoenix Five.

Of course, it may be helped along by the fact that Avengers vs. X-Men #8 has just shown Namor destroying Wakanda, and thus Scotty Jive and the Phoenix Five are cast in a horribly bad light as a result. They're pompous, they're arrogant, they assume superiority even if they're trying to be benevolent. Where once they were heroes, now they are overlords. Sinister, of course, has never been anything but a monster, but his sheer inventiveness and unflinching confidence in the face of this limitless power that has imposed its will on the world makes us sorta like him.

The P5 have come to his Sinister London, buried beneath the surface of Alaska to taunt Scott Summers, the longtime target of torment from Sinister, in order to wipe it out completely. Sinister surprises them with a concussive blast cannon called the "ruby converger" using the focused optic blasts of several Cyclops clones, a giant clone of Krakoa The Living Island rising from the earth of the city, a horde of misbegotten Marauder mash-ups, a battalion of mindless Gambits used as living bombs, a squad of Goblin Queens, weaponized wheat fields and exploding cows.

Yes, I said exploding cows.

Daniel Acuña renders all of Gillen's crazy ideas with impressive skill, and it feels like the ultimate culmination of years of Sinister stories. He's always been obsessed with Cyclops, he's always been obsessed with Phoenix hosts, and a few years ago, we got that Colossus: Bloodline series that informed us he's always been obsessed with Rasputins, too. The latter is not likely to be remembered, sadly, but those of us who do recall it can let it inform this story, too. This is where Sinister should absolutely thrive, and he's doing it in spades, thanks to Gillen.

He's not going to be allowed to win, of course – the Avengers have to be the ones to beat them, and we already know this takes place before AvX #8. But Sinister is going to get something out of this, and I can't wait to see what that will be.

8.5