<i>by George Marston, Newsarama Contributor</i> <p>The X-Men have often blurred the line between hero and villain, with characters regularly switching sides, reforming, going rogue, being possessed, cloned, captured, rehabilitated you name it. Because of that, their villains have always been some of the most compelling and intriguing in comics. <p>On the other hand, some of them are the Sugar Man. While the ingredients that make up a great X-Men villain and a terrible one are often similar, it's usually about execution and style. Here are 10 of the least menacing X-villains in all of Marveldom. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>
Onslaught isn't necessarily a terrible character, he's just responsible for some of the worst comics ever put to paper. In the '90's, Marvel's flagship titles were rapidly diminishing in sales and quality. Enter Onslaught, a psychic being designed to (sort of) kill off most of Marvel's biggest heroes, and give them the X-Men treatment by handing them to the creators that had made the X-Men a success earlier that decade, with stories told in a separate "pocket universe." <p>Unfortunately, the worst happened, and someone forgot to tell them all the books were supposed to be good. In the end, the return of those characters to the Marvel Universe resulted in the boost the books needed to begin with, but for a good year, readers were treated to an <i>onslaught</i> (get it?) of titles that were infinitely worse than the previous iterations had ever been. Thanks for your help, Onslaught.
The cousin of gone-and-possibly-forgotten X-Man Banshee, Black Tom Cassidy is a mutant with the awe-inspiring power of being friends with the Juggernaut. Cloaked in the menacing vestiges of a disco warlock, Black Tom sulks about instigating trouble and siccing his partner in crime, Ol' Juggy, on those unlucky enough to mistake him for a regular, non-Juggernaut associated cosplayer. <p>After Juggernaut broke off their partnership by going sissy and joining the X-Men, Black Tom had to fall back on his own talents, like channeling energy through wood, and literally being turned into a tree. If you count the rings, you'll see all the times he disappointed his parents.
"Holy crap, run! It's the Sugar Man!" said no one ever, unless he was trying to sit next to them at a bar. Sugar Man is, for some reason, one of the only characters to make the jump from the Age of Apocalypse to mainstream continuity, living on from that timeline's end to menace good mutant children everywhere. <p>Effectively a sentient meatball with four arms and what one must assume to be the worst breath ever, Sugar Man also has the power to sweeten your coffee and melt in the rain. Sugar Man's greatest schemes include trying to eliminate the other survivors of the Age of Apocalypse, and menacing those most deadly foes, the X-Babies.
Recipe for Romulus: Take one Wolverine. Add a handful of hackneyed mythology, a pinch of the stupidest haircut ever drawn, an Italian accent (with just a hint of Japanese), and about 10 or 15 claws, and you've got the makings of an immortal dictator descended from wolves, and responsible for the worst Wolverine comics since he didn't have a nose. <p>Romulus is one of those catch-all villains who is somehow responsible for every bad thing that has ever happened to Wolverine, and somehow didn't manage to appear on the page until very recently, probably because he was embarrassed by his body hair + smell. Still, he's been made a central figure in Wolverine's mythology for better or worse (definitely worse).
Marvel Comics has used the X-Men to tackle any number of social issues and societal woes, but none so tactfully or earnestly as that of America's growing weight problem with the considerately named Blob. <p>Yeah, he's a "classic," and yeah, later on they tried to establish that his powers had something to do with artificial gravity, but the truth is, good ol' Fred Dukes's power is the same one that condemns some unfortunate souls to being lifted out of their bedrooms by cranes. He's just so damn fat that almost nothing can move him. The Blob's weaknesses include vegetables, moderate exercise and staircases.
There's not a whole lot to say about Peepers, except that he's proof that even someone like Jack Kirby can have an off day. As a member of a later incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants comprised of other name-power characters like "Burner," and "Lifter," Peepers had the uncanny power to... Uh... Well, to see real far, I guess. <p>No one is sure exactly why Peepers turned away from his promising career as a Marty Feldman look-alike for a life of crime, but we do know that he was initially an enemy of Captain America, and went on to fight the Defenders a lot. He later tried to change his name to "Occult," but I'm betting that most people still just called him Peepers. He went through a lot of nonsense with Beast and Wolverine, eventually landing a job as a bartender in a super-villain dive bar, and, because Scarlet Witch apparently has a sense of humor, he was one of the 198 remaining mutants after M-Day, though that number quickly dropped to 197, as Peepers was eaten by Predator X.
Well, here's a case of just plain old intuitive character design. Michael McCain, or "Forearm" to his friends, is a mutant with the startling power to have four arms and generate terrible puns. Forearm manages to stand out among his cohorts in the Mutant Liberation Front as being the worst character on a team full of awful characters. <p>Really, aside from the whole four arms thing, Forearm doesn't have much going for him, aside from being an X-Force punching bag so often that Warpath derisively referred to him as "the boy." Chalk this guy up to creating characters based on the thing you're looking at while you're drawing the comic in which they're appearing.
Man, how much better would Wolverine have been if he had been created in 1996 out of the collective imaginings of a million discarded slap bracelets and slasher film scripts? Much, much worse, that's how much better. Meet Richard Gill, aka Wildside, who basically has all the powers of Wolverine plus all the powers of some funny mushrooms, all wrapped in a bizarre hairstyle and a nice blue cape. <p>There might not be a more visually unappealing character in comics, and even fewer with the power of cosmic poor taste that Wildside has used to so ineffectively menace the X-Men for years and years, first as a member, and then as the leader of the Mutant Liberation Front, which is like grad school for poorly equipped mutant villains.
Mojo is the horrifically countenanced mastermind behind such nefarious schemes as turning the X-Men into babies, and appearing in bad comics. Visually based on a hunk of old cheese rolled in broken coffeemakers, Mojo is the ruler of an alternate dimension where entertainment is violent, and tied directly to political power. <p>Ever in search of higher ratings, Mojo is constantly trying to enslave the X-Men, either by forcing them to star in the popular "X-Babies," or by tricking them into letting Longshot join the team. Aside from being a used handkerchief on life support, Mojo's biggest crime is always subjecting readers to new horrors in the form of characters like Longshot and Shatterstar, who are only marginally better and worse than their porcine progenitor.
Stryfe is the physical embodiment of everything that has ever sucked about the X-Men; dense continuity, contrived dramatic twists, the '90's... But seriously folks, Stryfe is the clone of the son of a clone from an alternate future where he was raised by Apocalypse to do something bad, assumedly. <p>The garishly-costumed Stryfe is the founder of the Mutant Liberation Front, almost all of whom could have made this list. He's been alive for collectively something like 25,000,000 years and having accomplished less evil in that time than even the Boy Scouts, Stryfe is the worst of the worst.