A throwback 90s X-Men villain has returned to the pages of X-Men. It’s part of a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the iconic mutants. Of course, comics fans know that Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel were Professor Charles Xavier’s first class of X-Men. In All-New X-Men, the present-day Beast brought the younger, original X-Men to the current day from the timestream. Now, in Original X-Men #1, the original five X-Men are brought back again to stop one of their villains from ruining the multiverse.
Original X-Men #1 is written by Christos Gage, with art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, and Frank D’Armata. The story follows a multiverse Phoenix recruiting the original X-Men to stop another Phoenix using its powers to manipulate its world. While they defeated Magneto, he killed Professor X. As a result, the X-Men implemented more resolute approaches to foster harmony between mutants and humans. They faced threats like Ultron and Annihilus, but Phoenix also started controlling her allies, including Tony Stark and sought ways to increase her powers.
After being zapped to Earth-696, the OG X-Men had a tiff with their older counterparts but managed to persuade them to help squash the Phoenix. However, when Phoenix offed her world’s Cyclops, the real baddie emerged… Onslaught. The wicked combo of Professor X and Magneto’s dark sides had been chillin’ inside Jean after she mind-wiped Magneto. It was disguised as the Phoenix. With Onslaught out of the way, the Phoenix teamed up with her X-Men to take down the big bad. Meanwhile, she sent the original X-Men back home.
Onslaught Ranks as One of the Most Bizarre of X-Men’s 90s Villains
Onslaught was the main villain during the “Heroes Reborn” storyline from the late 90s. “Heroes Reborn” is a 1996–97 crossover story arc in Marvel Comics. During this one-year, multi-title arc, Marvel temporarily outsourced production of some of its popular comic books to artists Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld, who had previously worked for Marvel before forming independent companies.
The villain’s origin is convoluted even by comic book standards. Onslaught emerged as a conscious psionic entity, born from the combined consciousness of Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto. In a pivotal clash between the X-Men and Magneto’s Acolytes, Professor Xavier immobilizes Magneto’s mind, leaving him catatonic. The Onslaught crossover series later revealed that Magneto’s darkest psyche merged with Xavier’s dormant shadows, evolving into a distinct persona.
Though “Heroes Reborn” is remembered as an ambitious 90s experiment, Onslaught doesn’t usually rank as a top X-Men villain. It remains to be seen just how long the character will stick around.
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