Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Sep 20, 2023

Things get downright evil as we delve into Nathaniel Essex, aka MISTER SINISTER! How messy does this diva get? Listen now to find out!

 Issue 181 - Mister Sinister

  • Intro
  • Background (2:17)
    • Mister Sinister (Nathaniel Essex) created by Chris Claremont in Uncanny X-Men #212 (Dec. 1986) - first seen in #221 (Sept. 1987) drawn by Marc Silvestri
    • Nathaniel Essex born in Victorian London, he is intrigued by Darwin’s theories of evolution and survival of the fittest, but believes that mankind can go further
    • After his 4-year-old son dies, he believes that science can perfect the human race - to that end, he hires a gang to kidnap homeless people to serve as test subjects - he allies with Apocalypse, as they share a common goal
    • His wife discovers his imprisoned test subjects, as well as their dead son that Essex had dug up to experiment on - she goes into premature birth, and dies from blood loss, calling him sinister - he takes on the name after En Sabah Nur transforms him with Celestial technology, giving him the powers of immortality and telekinesis
    • Sinister tries to kill Apocalypse, but fails - he commits himself to creating a mutant who can kill him, this leads to the eventual creation of Cable
    • Sinister collaborates with many villains & characters throughout the decades, including being responsible for setting up the High Evolutionary, and having his research be the basis for Weapon X project
    • He keys in on the Summers line, after secretly establishing an orphanage to keep track of children of his experiments - it is here he meets a young boy named Scott Summers, descendant of one of his earliest subjects - Sinister pretends to be Nate, another orphan, and tries to manipulate Scott to become an ally to Sinister until Scott is rescued by Xavier
    • Creates a clone of Jean Grey after determining that a child of Scott and Jean would be capable of killing Apocalypse - after the Phoenix Saga, Scott meets Madelyne Pryor at a Summers family reunion, leading to a whole bunch of messiness
    • Encounters the X-men for the first time during Mutant Massacre
    • Dies during Messiah Complex when he attempts to kidnap the newborn baby Hope - due to earlier experimentations, his consciousness transfers first to Xavier, before transferring to Claudine Renko, a former test subject - she calls herself Miss Sinister
    • Later is restored to a male form and creates an entire civilization of Sinister clones in San Francisco in an attempt to get Celestials to wipe out the planet so he can start anew - this is Kieron Gillen’s reboot of the character, and all subsequent stories work off this version
    • Creates five Madelyne clones in an effort to house the Phoenix Force during AvX, but the Phoenix Five destroy everything Sinister built
    • This Sinister is killed by another clone with an X-gene, making Sinister a mutant - it is this clone that works with Xavier and Magneto to compile a database of mutant DNA for the new Krakoan society, and he joins the Quiet Council
    • He also creates several clones of Moira MacTaggert, and exploits her timeline reset ability to his benefit, which leads to Sins of Sinister, where he successfully kills Xavier, Hope, Emma Frost, and Exodus, creating a dystopian future for mutants and mankind

  • Issues - Theme is “The show must go on, but when does it stop?” (12:10)
    • Constant experimentation on others and himself in pursuit of perfection
    • Presentation and theatricality often doom his efforts (17:06)
    • Wants everyone to underestimate him, but overestimates himself (22:14)

  • Break (28:10)
    • Plugs for Frigay the 13th, Hops Geek, and Chris Claremont

  • Treatment (30:20)
    • In-universe - The ultimate family meeting
    • Out of universe - Review making changes just for changes sake

  • Skit (42:40)
    • Hello Mr. Sinister, I’m Dr. Issues. - Hello…Doctor…you know, that doesn’t quite fit what we should be going for, here.
    • I don’t follow. -While I prefer my choice of moniker, I don’t want any mistake in how this works. I am also a doctor. But that’s not ALL I am, at this point. Do you catch my drift?
    • So we’re colleagues, and I have every intention of giving you the respect you deserve. -Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong. Colleague denotes equals, peers. There is no such thing with me.
    • Are you trying to intimidate me, or…-*interrupting* Oh my, no! If I wanted to have you cowering in fear, I would simply tear your mind asunder. Then replace it backwards. No, this is all trivial to me. But I’m bored, so let’s see where this goes now that I’ve established dominance.
    • I don’t think I’ve been so eloquently insulted in all of my life! -You're welcome.
    • *clearly angry, but not stupid enough to act* I don’t want to be rude back, but if you have no interest in changing anything about yourself, then this is going to be fruitless. -Nonsense, dear doctor. I am all about change for the better. That’s why I’m here. I sought you out. 
    • That’s refreshing…I guess? Then why demean me? -Is it demeaning to say that an insect is expendable, or a seed only has value once planted?
    • You sound like someone I met once -I know…I learned from the best.
    • So what do you want to change? -*truly evil smile* YOU, my dear Doctor Issues
    • *gulp* I’m always looking to improve…but…um…that’s not how therapy works. -Do you doubt that the transference and countertransference phenomenon that were known when I was a much younger lad are true? EVERY therapist changes the moment they speak with a patient. But that is too slow. I need to see my results in real time.
    • *fearful* A..aaaaa…as a doctor, you know that consent is a VERY important part of any changes that would be proposed, and I don’t give you that -*curt* This is NOT a review board or ethics panel. What I say, goes. Understand?!
    • Is it too late to say that you’re falling back on past patterns of aggression for the sake of comfort in a new environment? -If this were truly a new environment, then you wouldn’t be in such dire straits right now. Oh, the torment you may feel for a short while will be well worth my efforts. I will admit though *whispering* I’m not gentle.
    • I would like the anger back, please. Creepy is much worse. -Who said anything about creepy? I’m not hidden about my intentions. My name says enough.
    • Perhaps I could interest you in the meaning behind that also referring to left-handed orientation? -More stalling. *yawn* You are coming off as pathetic now.
    • So, you’re not trying to scare me, you’re not interested in what I have to say, and you want SOMETHING and I don’t know what. Are you trying to build anticipation? I’m confused. -Perhaps
    • ***awkward pause*** OK I’ve had it. Just do it. Kill me, or torture me, or whatever it is you plan to do because it takes a lot for me to lose my patience nowadays. Just know that each time I try to start a conversation that may be insightful…THERAPEUTIC even, you have ignored it, or mocked it, or intimidated me about it. You’re trying to play me like a fool, and I’m NOT having it. I can tell you’re cunning, but nobody’s really that catty about mental wellness treatment. -Well then, let’s see how well your sessions go without this oh so beautiful couch to sit on. *ripping sounds*
    • WHAT? Seriously? It’s in the name! Who messes up a couch? -You need someone like me to make this whole room over. Your office is in shambles. Have you never heard of feng shui? 
    • I don’t care -*interrupting* Obviously you don't. And your clothes…a button down shirt with stripes? How tacky are you?
    • Is this what you consider changing me for the better? A mastermind doesn’t waste their time focusing on minutiae to criticize! - You think this is beneath me? Forget about Lizzo, darling, I engineered my DNA to be 100% that bitch.
    • So then what are your plans for my DNA? -Oh you simple, simple man. You have to learn how to put a comb through your hair, get a decent suit, learn how to tie your shoes properly AND find a decent non-offensive cologne before I ever do gene-work on you! For once, I must focus on the outside instead of what’s inside. I’ll be here every week until you are worthy of being my next great experiment.
    • Then I’ll keep trying to be an example of a regular person who is willing to accept imperfections. I hope that sinks in. -Nonsense.  Until then, consider this my parting gift *laser sound*
    • Whoa…did you just…laser shave…um…but my clothes are still on…you know what? I don’t want to talk about it. That was without my consent. - You’re quite welcome. This time it was hair. Next time, it will be more than that if you’re not careful.

  • Ending (48:36)
    • Recommended reading: Immortal X-Men, Cerebro episode on Sinister
    • Next episodes: Ventriloquist, Bigby Wolf, Eobard Thawne
    • Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network


  • Chris Claremont interview - Anthony (5:45)
  • Gambit episode - Anthony (6:25)
  • Moira McTaggart episode - Anthony (9:15)
  • Cerebro podcast with Kieron Gillen - Anthony (11:23)


Apple Podcasts: here

Google Play: here

Stitcher: here

TuneIn: here

iHeartRadio: here