Given the current political climate, it's surprising that there aren't more religious groups coming out in support of mid-80s X-Books. Sure, there are those pesky messages about tolerance that might screw up the indoctrination, but the intelligent design crowd should love the fact that the era's most prominent face of evil is also a firm supporter of the theory of evolution.
A Victorian-era scientist obsessed with evolution in all its forms, Nathaniel Essex allowed the immortal warlord known as Apocalypse to augment his body and strip him of his humanity. Now, he is Mr. Sinister - a master manipulator and expert geneticist working to create the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen! A brilliant biologist and geneticist, Mr. Sinister is also an immortal - granting him a unique perspective on human evolution. Sinister can manipulate his molecular structure, thus altering his appearance and shape. Also, he possesses superhuman strength and an accelerated healing factor.
Mr. Sinister was easily the villain-of-choice in the '80s books, the way Apocalypse was in the '90s. He was the one lurking behind every shadowy corner, he was the one pulling the strings and, like Apocalypse, he never really had a very defined set of powers. Whatever suited the story, it seemed. He did finally get a real and concise origin, but even without it he was a menacing foe.
This is a surprisingly big figure, just over 7" tall (more if you count his cape), which puts him in between Thing and Apocalypse. He never seemed so towering in the comics, but since he's displayed some shape-shifting abilities, it might make sense. He moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, knees, shins, ankles and toes. While his wrists flex, they don't twist, which is really odd - you'd expect a peg joint on either side of those folded gloves, but there's nothing.
The sculpt is awesome. These figures get better with every wave, and Sinister isn't the one to break that trend. Yes, the banded metal of his chest, arms and legs is fine, and his boots are nicely wrinkled, but it's the smaller details that really impress. The random, overlapping circles on his belt and shoulders are etched in (probably a bottle cap pressed into the sculptor's clay), and there's a fine diamond pattern that runs on his hands, but beneath the pseudo-tendons on the backs of his gloves.
The face sculpt is a bit more cartoony than you might expect, with exaggerated cheekbones and jaw. Of course, the already-stretched features are just highlighted by Sinister's weird little Gen X beard thing: sideburns that curve lovingly into the hollows of his cheeks, an angular goatee and two strange little hair-orphans about a third of the way down his jaw. Man, even this guy's facial hair is creepy.
Mr. Sinister has one of the most ridiculous capes imaginable, with a huge collar that's almost twice as tall as his head. On top of that, the cape part isn't actually a cape, but long strips of material, making him look like he was standing too close to the secret headquarters' paper shredder. The first time Sinister had an action figure, the cape was one solid piece sculpted to look layered - this time, it's actual strips of cut vinyl, making it flow and fall as unnaturally as something this silly-looking should. There's a hole in his spine that allows him to connect to the included clear plastic stand. If you want your Sinister to stand out from the crowd, try flipping his cape upside down: it really changes his look while still staying true to the character.
Like ML9, the figures in ML10 don't come with a detailed display base - instead, they each have a piece of a Sentinel. Collect them all and you can build a massive mutant-hunting automaton. Mr. Sinister has the right leg, and it hints at how big the assembled beast will be. The piece is 8 3/4" from hip to heel, and moves at the knee and ankle.
The sculpt is astounding, and not just the big metal plates that make up the outer shell or the wire, tubes and pistons that are sculpted beneath them. What's really impressive are the various textures on the metal - some smooth, some stippled, some with a checkerboard... variety! The sole of his foot has an intricate triangle pattern around the rocket boosters. The paint is mainly blue and purple on the surface, with copper for the innards.
Mr. Sinister comes with a reprint of Uncanny X-Men 243, possibly the pinnacle of his career - at the tail end of the "Inferno" crossover, the X-Men scramble to find out the true relationship between Madelyne Pryor and Jean Grey. The issue gives a pretty good overview of what sort of guy Sinister is, so it's a nice choice for inclusion.
Chris Claremont's original plan for Mr. Sinister was nothing like the Victorian-era origin we got. The shapeshifting would have covered the fact that he was, at heart, an 8-year-old boy whose mutation wouldn't allow him to age. He was Scott Summers' bunkmate at the orphanage, which is why he was so intent on pestering Cyclops. Still, the origin we did get makes sense, and was written well enough to give the character some depth. The X-Men have a lack of suitable foes, but with this figure, they have at least one.
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