Marvel’s Worst Sinister Six Had Nothing to Do with Spider-Man

The words "Sinister Six" have long conjured up some very specific images in the minds of Marvel fans. From the Green Goblin and Electro to Mysterio and the Vulture, Spider-Man's greatest foes have come together to form this iconic supervillain team so frequently that it is now synonymous with the wall-crawler himself. Over the years there have been at least a dozen iterations of the Sinister Six, although the most striking of them all had nothing to do with Spider-Man whatsoever. Then again, holding grudges against a single superhero never got anyone very far in the Age of Apocalypse, and Sinister had far bigger plans for his version of the team than any before them.

The Age of Apocalypse has long been one of the most frightening visions of the Marvel Universe. Luckily, there was a time when its heroes proved capable of turning the tide of their world when Magneto finally took the life of Apocalypse himself. This momentous act was immediately followed by a global salvo of nuclear missiles. While the world would believe it had been Magneto who saved them from the attack, in actuality the planet was saved by none other than Jean Grey.

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As tremendous as that feat was, Jean nearly lost her life in the process in spite of hosting the Phoenix Force at the time. It would be Mister Sinister who rescued Jean before using that knowledge to blackmail Magneto into leaving him to his own devices. Through brainwashing, Sinister was able to bend the Phoenix to his own will. When Magneto revealed the truth of the matter to his X-Men, they launched an assault against Sinister in the hopes of recovering Jean. Of course, Sinister was well prepared for the heroes' arrival with his own Sinister Six as revealed in the pages of 2005's X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #5 by C. B. Cebulski under the pseudonym Akira Yoshida and Chris Bachalo.

Comprised of Sinister himself alongside Sauron, Blob, Sonique, Cloak and Dagger, this Sinister Six was a formidable force even before they unveiled the Phoenix as the secret seventh member of the team. Like Jean, several other members of Sinister's team had been brainwashed into helping the villain continue his experiments, all in a bid to unveil the original Mutant Alpha. Sinister's work would successfully uncover the first mutant's DNA within Jean's own, at least in part. This revelation might have brought Magneto around to Sinister's cause if it hadn't been made under such extreme circumstances. When it became clear that the X-Men would only stand in his way, the Sinister Six were unleashed upon the heroes, though that would ultimately be their own undoing.

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As the battle raged on in the following issue, both teams suffered numerous casualties. After Magneto witnessed Quicksilver die in action, the elder mutant stopped holding back and began taking lives of his own. The X-Men fought valiantly, but the might of the Phoenix Force was more than they could handle on their own. Thankfully, Logan was able to get through to Jean beyond the brainwashing, effectively ending the fight on the spot. In the end Sinister lost all of his team save for Sonique and the Blob to the X-Men before Jean reduced him to little more than a charred corpse.

The Sinister Six of the Age of Apocalypse may not be as well known as the primary Marvel Universe iterations of the team, but there is no question that they were more capable than any of Spider-Man's iconic villains. Even though Peter Parker has faced off against plenty of superpowered threats of his own, none of them have ever posed a threat anywhere near that of the Phoenix. Then again, the Age of Apocalypse has always been a far more frightening reality than the one Marvel fans know best, so it should come as no surprise that its Sinister Six were as well.

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John Dodge (1250 Articles Published)

John Dodge has been an avid consumer of comic books and nerd culture for as long as he can remember. An expert on competitive gaming and obscure kids shows from the 80's and 90's, John has far too many opinions about Beetleborgs for someone in their thirties. You can find him occasionally discussing them over on Twitter at @JohnJDodge.

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