As a child, Nathaniel Essex traveled to Greenwich Park, South of the Thames, in London, and was amazed with the endless number of clean people, walking, what he believed to be, preordained paths for them. Essex believed that the sanctity and purity of it was heaven on Earth. He gained a full scholarship to Oxford University. Essex later became a biologist in 1859 Victorian England. He developed advanced theories on human evolution and was obsessed with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, though he felt Darwin and his contemporaries were shackled by too many moral constraints and that science was beyond morality. Dr. Essex dreamed of bringing the perfection of the evolution of the human race to the masses. After Dr. Essex's son, Adam Essex's, death at the age of four from numerous birth defects, including crooked bones and haemophilia, Dr. Essex was driven deeper into his work. A member of London's Royal Society, Dr. Essex was regarded, by some, to be the greatest scientific mind of his generation, and, by others, as a dangerous man twisted by the obsession of his own research. An atheist, Dr. Essex believed in Darwin's theory of evolution and discovered that humanity was undergoing increasing mutation, due to what he called “Essex Factors” in the human genome. Dr. Essex also believed that, in the offspring of certain racially superior individuals, these parcels will, within a hundred years or so, mutate. Dr. Essex's theories were mocked, making him bitter, and his revealing of an unorthodox experiment resulted in his ousting from the Royal Society. Even Darwin himself suggested that Dr. Essex see a physician due to the trauma of losing his son. Angry, Dr. Essex stated to Darwin that if becoming a monster was what was required for science to progress, then he would become a monster.
After meeting Cootie Tremble, Dr. Essex was taken underground, where the Marauders were collecting freaks, fools, and all types of misshapen folk off the streets of London. Dr. Essex hired the thugs to continue their work, so he could perform experiments on the victims in the name of science. After awaking, the immortal mutant, En Sabah Nur, ordered the Marauders to take him to Dr. Essex.
Left with the choice of continuing his work or his wife shunning him, Dr. Essex allied himself with Nur. Dr. Essex explained to Nur that he was the first born in, what Dr. Essex believed, would be a great mutation in the human race. After taking Nur to the Hellfire Club, Nur demonstrated his power before the men and explained that Dr. Essex's theories of mutation were more near than he believed. Deciding to leave his life of unorthodox science and dedicate his life to his wife and unborn child, Dr. Essex returned home, to learn that his wife had freed all of his captives, prematurely had the baby, and was dying of stress. Asking for forgiveness at her side, Rebecca denied him and stated, "To me, you are... utterly… and contemptibly… sinister!", with her dying words. Dr. Essex agreed to Nur's offer and was ordered to create a plague to destroy the weak of the world, as Nur's first prelate. Apocalypse painfully transformed Dr. Essex into an ageless being of extraordinary pallor, with telekinesis, asking him to shed his past name and choose another. With his new abilities and dispassionate outlook, Dr. Essex took the new name, "Sinister", Rebecca's last words to him.
Emerging from Nur's machines, Mr. Sinister stated that he willingly allowed whatever humanity he had to be carved out of him, all for the sake of science. Returning to Nur's Ship, Nur demanded to know why the plague was not complete and Mr. Sinister stated that he manipulated the plague, so that it would affect only Nur himself, but his immune system quickly adapted to it. Nur asked why and Mr. Sinister replied that cruelty for no purpose was ignorance and ignorance was the greatest enemy of science. As Nur began to return to his hibernation, he stated that Sinister's defiance was a sign of his strength, but it would not be tolerated again. Nur warned Sinister to never forget who has the true power and, when he returns, it will be the dawn of the Age of Apocalypse and Sinister will be his servant.
In 1882, Sinister was present at Darwin's funeral, reveling in the irony that the man who was once vilified was being buried in Westminster Abbey, the highest church of England. As he walked away, Sinister wondered why he kept the small box which contained a picture of his wife, if he truly left Essex behind him, and threw it away as he remind himself that Essex, his wife his children are dead. Soon after, Sinister left for the United States.
Obsessed with the Summers' bloodline, Sinister operated an obstetrics clinic, Essex Clinic, in New York, in the late 19th century, and performed side research on society's deviants. Renamed Nathan Milbury (an alias based off the name of the manor of his former wife), Sinister had unrestricted access to an abundance of generational genetic material to study, including that of the adult Daniel Summers, the first Summers in America and a former victim of his experiments in London, and his wife, Amanda Mueller.
Search for the Perfect Mutant
Feeling threatened by the power of Nur, Sinister conducted numerous experiments in his time, searching for a powerful mutant to oppose his master and the means to improve himself. For a time, Sinister continued to advance his master plan to serve Nur (and his own ends), but in general preferred to let bloodlines breed naturally (rather than hastily transforming them), in order to produce the most racially-supreme beings.
In 1899 in England, Sinister helped awaken Apocalypse from his slumber. Apocalypse thanks him for his servitude over the years and says that out of all the servants, Sinister is the most loyal. Sinister secretly is biding his time for the right moment to stop Apocalypse himself. He decides this is not the time and says that he lives only to serve Apocalypse. Apocalypse even offers him a normal life again and Sinister says that his life is his science.
In 1907, Mr Sinister surfaced in Canada on the hunt of a clawed wild man “Logan”. He sent his Marauders to hunt him down to learn he is a mutant.
World War I
In 1915, Sinister went back to England and granted Jacob Shaw the ability to shape-shift, which he used to murder his brother, Esau Shaw. What Sinister hoped to obtain from aiding Jacob Shaw remains a mystery.
In the 1920s, Sinister encountered and influenced the work of a man named Herbert Edgar Wyndham, who dreamed of doing what Sinister had already accomplished—breaking the genetic code for human DNA. During a trip to an international conference on genetics in Geneva, Switzerland, Wyndham suddenly felt ill. Stumbling out into the street Wyndham met the hypnotic gaze of a man in a top hat and coat, shrouded in darkness. From this stranger, Wyndham was handed a gift that should not have existed in that time—a blueprint for breaking the genetic code. Whether Wyndham's benefactor was Sinister or not remained unrevealed.
In the 1930's, Sinister spent some time in California, gathering subjects for his experiments; while in Los Angeles, he met and became interested with radio comedienne, Faye Livingstone. Discovering his secret laboratory one night, Sinister confronted Faye with the truth, that she carried the x-factor in her genes and her offspring would produce special children, children that would be more than human. Horrified, Faye tried to leave, but Sinister kept her prisoner. Months passed, filled with degrading examinations, and affected pity gave way to foul contempt, until Sinister broke Faye in mind and spirit. Sinister made Faye (not let her) see behind the illusion that was Nathan Essex. Then, in the middle of a raging storm one night, Essex flung the door open and released her, without speaking or gesturing. In time, Faye was brought to the Carlysle Nursing Home in San Diego, California, with her mind and body failing to cancer. Due to her love for Essex, Livingstone had never married or had children. The offspring Sinister so eagerly anticipated never came to exist. Once a year, a "Mister Essex" would come and visit her, though he would never admit to anyone (not even himself) why.
World War II
In the 1940's, Sinister worked with the Nazis, earning the nickname “Nosferatu”, at the Auschwitz camp. Due both to his pale visage and his habit of taking blood from everyone, Sinister frightened even the Nazis, often giving children candy in exchange for their blood as a means of bribery. Young Erik Lehnsherr witnessed Nosferatu's actions.
In 1946, a Dr. Nathan Milbury was involved with Project: Black Womb, a secret government project headed by Amanda Mueller and aided by Dr. Alexander Ryking, Dr. Kurt Marko, and Irene Adler, which studied, but did not alter, thousands of children, mostly mutants, in post-natal holding tanks. Dr. Brian Xavier was a colleague of Dr. Ryking and Dr. Marko at the project, which was based in Alamogordo, New Mexico, but whether he was involved with Project: Black Womb remains unclear.
In 1968, Sinister was present in Vietnam, where he and the ever-loyal Scalphunter kidnapped both soldiers and villagers to perform experiments on, giving Sinister the alias White Devil. Victor Creed was hired to investigate the disappearances, but his employer was beheaded by Scalphunter, who gave Creed a large sum of money to buy him off and recruit him as one of Sinister's "enforcers".
State Home for Foundlings
For decades, Sinister secretly observed the development of mutant children, as they grew (many of which had been “earmarked” by Project: Black Womb) in the State Home for Foundlings in Omaha, Nebraska. Creating a cutting-edge laboratory underneath the Orphanage, which seemed to have some quasi-biological properties, Sinister cruelly manipulated the children's childhood developmental processes and even tried to control their adult lives, so they might become his minions. After years of perfecting his own body, studying the Summers' bloodline, and manipulating others, Sinister had become a megalomaniac, but still quietly feared the wrath of Apocalypse.
One evening, while in his laboratory, Sinister registered the same optic blast that Cyclops had fired a century ago and, learning that he was recently orphaned, began the process of studying the young Scott Summers. After surviving a plane crash, Scott and his younger brother, Alex Summers were hospitalised for injuries sustained during their landing. Scott and Alex, both, suffered traumatic amnesia regarding the plane incident. Alex left the hospital after two weeks, but Scott remained in the hospital for a year, where Sinister began experimentation on him for a year. At one time, Scott awoke from his injuries and destroyed the roof of the hospital, at which time, Sinister began creation of ruby-quartz lenses for the youth to function in society. Upon recovering, Scott was placed in the State Home for Foundlings and was subjected to batteries of tests and experiments by Sinister. Sinister, also, placed mental blocks on Scott and took-on the role of Nate, aka "Lefty", who was Scott's roommate and would bully him at the orphanage. Sinister arranged for Alex to be adopted, while keeping an eye on him, while Scott remained. After allowing Scott to be adopted, by Jack Winters, a mutant criminal known as the Jack O'Diamonds, Scott began to suffer from severe headaches and was sent to a specialist, Sinister, who provided him with lenses made of ruby-quartz.
Sinister lost control over Scott, after a display of Scott's power had attracted the attention of the mutant telepath, Professor Charles Xavier, who teamed up with FBI agent, Fred Duncan, in their mutual attempt to find Scott. Scott was rescued from Winters' clutches and was enlisted by Professor Xavier as the first member of the X-Men, a team of young mutants who trained to use their powers in Professor Xavier's dream for human/mutant equality, and second student to enlist in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, to become Cyclops. Sinister continued to monitor Scott, even becoming a long-time neighbor of his grandparents. At some point, Sinister spliced mutant genes from Alex, into Ahmet Abdol, who became the Living Monolith, able to absorb cosmic energies and use them to grow to enormous size.
At one point, learning through underworld contacts, Remy LeBeau approached Sinister for help in controlling his powers. Sinister removed some of Remy's brain tissue, to reduce his power levels and afford him a greater degree of control. As a result, Remy was now in the geneticist's debt.
The Perfect Mutant
Sinister eventually realized Scott and Jean Grey’s mingled genes would create a mutant of unparalleled power, to destroy Apocalypse and thus free him from the yoke of that ancient tyrant.
After learning of the existence of the Morlocks, Sinister orchestrated the massacre of all of them to prepare for Apocalypse's arrival. Sinister ordered Gambit to assemble a new group of Marauders with new members: Arclight, Azimuth, Blockbuster, Chimera, Harpoon, Malice, Riptide, Sabretooth, and Vertigo. Sinister also gained genetic samples from all of the members. Remy did not realize that Sinister would employ the Marauders to massacre the underground mutant community and, seeing the horrific results of his actions, Remy attempted to stop the massacre, but was almost killed by Sabretooth and fled. Gambit did this, and many other tasks, for Sinister to repay his debt.
Powers and Abilities
- Genetic Enhancements Using Mutant DNA: Following genetic alteration by Apocalypse, Sinister possesses a wide array of powers. Over the years, Sinister has used the genetic material of other mutants to grant himself a vast array of powers.
- He has been stated to be an Alpha-Level Mutant.
- Cellular Shape-Shifting: Mister Sinister possesses the ability to control every molecule of his body, allowing him to assume the form of any one he wishes. He once reduced himself into a semi-liquid state. He has total control of his body allowing him to control his muscles (and even his pain). He can also create weapons or clothing from his body, assume the forms and abilities of animals, and also divide himself in multiple forms. Enabled via Implanted X-gene taken from the bio-molecular meta-morph Courier.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Mister Sinister is able to rapidly regenerate damaged or destroyed tissue with much greater speed and efficiency than an ordinary human. Sinister can fully heal from injuries that result in massive tissue damage or loss such as multiple gunshot wounds, slashes, puncture wounds, broken bones, and severe burns within a matter of moments. It is unknown if he can regenerate missing limbs or organs, but his healing factor has been compared to that of Wolverine and his healing factor has allowed him to reconstruct his body from almost nothing so his feats suggest that he can.
- Superhuman Stamina: Mister Sinister's muscles produce considerably fewer fatigue toxins than the muscles of ordinary humans. He can exert himself at peak capacity several hours before fatigue begins to affect him.
- Superhuman Speed: Mister Sinister is capable of running at speeds far greater than those of the finest human athlete. His speed can be further enhanced by the use of his ability to fly.
- Superhuman Durability: Mister Sinister's muscles and tissues are far more durable than those of an ordinary man allowing him to resist gunshots, physical damage, shocks and energy blasts. His durability can be enhanced by his regeneration ability, telekinesis, and force fields.
- Superhuman Strength Mister Sinister possesses superhuman strength, which may be a product of his shape-shifting. Sinister is able to press lift within 2 to 10 ton range, perhaps more. He can also access his telekinesis to enhance his physical strength.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Sinister's reflexes and agility are enhanced to levels that are beyond the human body's natural limits.
- Telepathy: He can read minds and project his own thoughts into the minds of others within a radius of 250 miles (on Earth). With extreme effort he can greatly extend that radius. Mister Sinister is resistant to other's telepathic powers.
- Mental Paralysis: He has the ability to induce temporary mental or physical paralysis and project pain into the minds of others.
- Mind Control: He is capable of controlling the minds of others, but only one at a time and if the target is in his physical presence. He can also manipulate memories, creating new ones or erasing others, such as he as done with his clones and also alter perceptions and appearances.
- Dilate Power: He has the ability to mentally paralyze a foe he's touching and the ability to psionically "turn off" the superpowers of any mutant, creating a mental block. He can also create mental links with others and even to objects and locations like the bases he has used over the years.
- Telekinesis: He possesses telekinetic abilities enabling him to levitate and psionically manipulate living beings, inanimate objects, and to some extent energy. He can “lift” as much as 10 tons of weight and possibly even more and can achieve other effects.
- Concussive Blasts: Mister Sinister can fire blasts of concussive force from his hands, eyes or from the diamond-shaped scarlet mark on his forehead. These blasts are powerful enough to match Cyclops´s energy blasts at their full power for a considerable period of time and have a great destructive power.
- Force Fields: Mister Sinister can erect multiple force barriers to repel, reflect and defend against incoming onslaughts, they are potent enough to stand against Cyclops's optic blasts with ease. He normally uses them on a personal level but it is assumed he can not only increase and decrease the protection level but also enhance the size of the shield to englobe others and even entire areas.
- Flight: Sinister has shown he can use his telekinesis on himself to accommodate flight, his top speed is unknown.
- Teleportation: Mister Sinister has exhibited the ability to teleport over large distances, however Beast believes this is a function of his headquarters and this fact remains to be cleared.
- Technology Interface: Mister Sinister is able to directly interface with various technologies he has at his disposal.
- Immortality: Mister Sinister is functionally immortal in the sense that he is immune to aging and disease and he can rapidly regenerate almost any damaged bodily tissue. However, it was possible for him to be killed. He also doesn't require food, water, or even air to breathe and can survive indefinitely in a complete vacuum. This ability originated from his healing factor and from his exposure to Celestial technology from Apocalypse.
- Genius Intelligence: Mister Sinister is a genius with expertise in various fields of science, mainly genetics with years of his research at his command, mutations and their powers, human and alien biology, cloning, all levels of physics, engineering (including mechanical, genetic and electrical engineering) and more. His intellect has been said to match Reed Richards and Doctor Doom and he is one of the smartest people on Earth. Sinister, having lived for over 150 years has acquired vast knowledge over many known fields, being a formidable scientist and a talented inventor. Considered the most brilliant mind of his time, Dr. Essex was already a genius with a PhD and an M.D and other honors in biology and genetics and was a member of the British Royal Society. His intellect later grew to new levels after his time with Apocalypse and the advanced Celestial technology he had access to, mastering not only this and all technology from Earth (allowing him considerable expertise in cybernetics, robotics and computers) but also new sciences to aid him in his goals to create the perfect mutant.
- Genius-Level Geneticist: Mister Sinister is a genius and a geneticist of the highest order, able to predict genetic mutations and splice DNA. It is quite probable his powers are the result of self-experimentation. He can also produce large amounts of clones; he has done so with all his Marauders and he is an expert on the art of cloning and also on mutants, with vast knowledge of powers, genes and more due to the hundreds of samples of mutant DNA he has access to. He is normally described as the world's greatest geneticist and along with Professor X, is one of the leading authorities on mutants of the entire world.
- Master Surgeon: He is a master surgeon. Besides this area he is also a skilled doctor, one of the best from his time in England with honors in medicine and later in biology.
- Skilled Mechanical Engineer: having created devices that seem to have been taken from the tales of Jules Verne, his inventions include advance ships, devices that negate all mutant powers except for his own or transfer them, perform healing and almost resurrection, teleportation, genetics, project energy blasts and other attacks using mutant powers from many of the X-Men, aircraft and many more. Although his inventions are not as spectacular as those of Iron Man, he is a very talented inventor and engineer with a skill rivaling that of Iron Man among many others.
- Master Manipulator: He possesses a good deal of knowledge in psychology, and is a skilled manipulator, being able to conceive others with simple words and facial expressions. Mister Sinister is also a capable leader and a master strategist, capable of creating plans with ease and even outmatch brains like those of Professor X, Cyclops, Apocalypse, Storm and Magneto, being several steps ahead of his opponent.
- Trained Combatant: Mister Sinister trained himself in martial arts and unharmed combat, capable of defending himself from stronger opponents and even other trained combatants.
- Class 10; while the exact amount has never been revealed Sinister can lift within 2 to 10 ton range. He can further increase his strength by using his telekinesis.
- He at one time possessed tissue samples of thousands of people, dating possibly as far back as the 1860's, including several American Presidents.
- Many of his bases seem to have some quasi-biological properties, able to "grow" tentacles from a surface to hold a prisoner at Sinister's mental commands.
- Sinister augments much of his technology with clones of mutants.
Transportation: He was believed to possess the power of teleportation, but it was revealed this was not an innate ability, but a function of his tesseract headquarters.
Weapons: None known.
- Personality: Sinister is a ruthless man who has no compunctions about ruining the lives of others to get what he wants. He prefers to operate in the shadows, letting lackeys and unsuspecting dupes do his dirty work. He is arrogant, confident, and expects total obedience from his underlings. He is known to have collaborated with members of the Nazi party.
- Due to his involvement in mutant affairs, his use of mutant henchmen and his powers, it is often believed that Sinister is himself a mutant, and he is even listed as an Alpha-Level Mutant.
- The meaning of the term "sinister" in modern English is largely as a synonym for the terms "inauspicious", "ominous", "unlucky", "illegitimate" (deriving from the terms "bend sinister" and "bar sinister" which are associated with illegitimate children and lines of descent and bastards), "evil", or seemingly evil, dangerous or harmful. However, the term is a loanword from Latin (and its derivative languages), where "sinister" is a masculine adjective and means "left". The feminine form is "sinistra" and the neuter form is "sinistrum". For some reason, the left side of the visual spectrum (and the left hand) came to be associated with perversity, badness, adversity, and hostility.
- Due to "sinister" meaning "left", its Latin antonym is "dexter" which means "right". Just as "sinister" came to be associated with negative qualities, "dexter" came to be associated with positive ones. The secondary meanings of "dexter" include the terms "skillful", "fortunate", "favorable", "proper", and "fitting".
- Appearances of Nathaniel Essex (Earth-1010)
- Character Gallery: Nathaniel Essex (Earth-1010)
- Quotations by Nathaniel Essex (Earth-1010)
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