The X-Men have battled many of Marvel’s greatest villains. From Magneto to Apocalypse, to lending their hand to threats like Thanos, Knull, and more, the mutant team is extraordinarily formidable and, most importantly, popular. Their biggest villains are more popular than many Marvel characters, with the most popular often being made into heroes.
Not every X-Men villain should be a huge part of things, but that hasn’t stopped Marvel from overexposing some of them. Various villains have worn out their welcome during numerous phases of the team’s history.
10/10 Dark Beast Was Just Kind Of Annoying
The Age Of Apocalypse is the best of the ’90s for Marvel. The forty-part story, spanning two bookends and nine miniseries, introduced an amazing alternate universe. The end of the story saw four characters escape to the 616 universe. Dark Beast was probably the best of the villains, but he got very annoying quickly.
The thing about Dark Beast is that if readers have experienced one Dark Beast story, they’ve read them all. He’s just a vivisectionist with a jovial attitude. He was fun for a little bit in the ’90s, but more recent appearances just got nostalgia pops from fans who wanted to remember their childhood reading the AoA.
9/10 Sugar Man Wasn’t Worth Bringing To The 616
Sugar Man was the head of the Core, the source of power for Apocalyse’s US in The Age of Apocalypse. Sugar Man was feared by everyone – the human inmates who worked the Core and the mutant guards and foremen. He was known for an extendible sharp tongue, four arms, a giant face, and the power to survive nearly anything.
He came to the 616 universe, but barely did anything. Arriving in the past, he set up a base in Genosha, eventually battling the only heroic AoA refugee, X-Man. However, he wore out his welcome almost immediately. He had a cool look, but no writer knew what to do with him.
8/10 Holocaust Was Good For The First Few Years, But That’s It
In The Age Of Apocalypse, Holocaust was Apocalypse’s son. First known as Nemesis, he killed Scarlet Witch. Eventually, the X-Men made him pay for that, nearly killing him. He was put into a containment suit, a skeleton surrounded by a burning cauldron of energy. He battled the X-Men as a Horseman of his father, and was shunted to the 616 universe during a battle with X-Man.
His first actions were to attack Magneto’s orbiting Avalon base. After that, he’d get new armor from Sebastian Shaw, battle X-Force and X-Man, and basically appear to be a big-name villain. However, he was barely a character, and fans realized it quickly.
7/10 Madelyne Pryor Shouldn’t Be Considered A Villain Anymore, But Marvel Needed An X-Men/Spider-Man Event
Many Marvel villains made big moves in 2022, with Madelyne Pryor gaining rule of Limbo from Magik. She was seemingly a changed woman. Then Marvel decided to take a character who promised never to do evil again and make her one of the co-villains, with another character who also shouldn’t be a villain, the Spider-Clone Ben Reilly, now known as Chasm, of an X-Men/Spider-Man event, Dark Web.
The thing about Madelyne is that she wore out her welcome as a villain, not as a character. She was a woman who was wronged by her husband and the X-Men, created to be a broodmare for Mister Sinister. She’s a character who shouldn’t be a villain anymore. She’s paid for her crimes, and keeping her a villain just seems like a way to make Cyclops and Mister Sinister’s sins against her less egregious.
6/10 The Avengers Should Just Make Amends And Leave The X-Men Alone
The X-Men have some terrible allies, but the Avengers take the cake. Over the years, the two teams have worked together because they’re heroes. However, more often than not, the Avengers are attacking the X-Men for some reason. The two teams have fought numerous times, from the Silver to the Modern Age.
Sometimes, Marvel has tried to make the Avengers seem like the good guys in these battles, but they’ve usually sought out the X-Men, started some mess, and then self-righteously decreed themselves the heroes of the fight. It’s pretty lame, all things told, and the Avengers owe the X-Men amends, not more violence.
5/10 Ahab Was Barely Interesting When He First Showed Up
The X-Men are known for changing their future. The team has seen all manner of dark futures, often when mutant-hating humans or machines come back in time to destroy. In the Days of Future Past timeline, Rachel Summers was an enslaved mutant Hound of Ahab, hunting mutants for the cybernetic human. When she fled to the present, he followed her.
Ahab was good for that one story, but after that, he was surplus to requirements. That hasn’t stopped creators from bringing him back multiple times. He’s basically just another mutant-hating villain from the future, and those are a dime a dozen.
4/10 Onslaught Keeps Coming Back For Mysterious Reasons
The X-Men battled deadly villains in the ’90s, but few had the sheer power level of Onslaught. The mid-’90s Onslaught crossover isn’t looked at fondly, although X-Men fans were pretty into it at the time. All things told, he worked very well for the story he was created for. He should have been left in the ’90s, but Marvel decided otherwise.
They divorced him from Xavier, making him into a powerful psionic parasite. Divorced from his original story, it feels quite strange to keep bringing him back. Sure, he’s powerful, but other than that, there’s no reason for him to strike other than his nebulous hatred and evil.
3/10 Stories About The Brood Are Always The Same
Looking back at Chris Claremont’s time on the X-Men, it was often easy to see what stories were inspiring him. For example, “Days Of Future Past” feels much like The Terminator. Brood stories give the impression that Claremont had watched and enjoyed Alien. The Brood are pretty much the Xenomorphs of that classic sci-fi horror franchise.
The Brood are mindless aliens that capture people and use them for procreation. Every story involving fighting them has the same stakes; they aren’t an exciting foe. Other than the recent creation of Broo, the Brood King, they’re always a force of ravening destruction. Their first story was cool, but each one after that is just more of the same.
2/10 Mojo Is Too Simple And One Note
X-Men history is multi-faceted, with the team facing all manner of threats throughout the team’s long existence. A unique villain the team battles is Mojo. He’s the ruler of the Mojoverse, a dimension ruled by whoever gets the highest ratings. He’s every stereotype of corrupt Hollywood producers, but that’s all there is to him.
Mojo can be fun when he shows up, but he’s another example of a villain who only has one story type. He’s always trying to keep his control of the Mojoverse by creating the best entertainment for the Spineless Ones. There’s a metaphor at his center, but other than that, the character isn’t the most interesting villain.
1/10 Stryfe Is A ’90s Stereotype
The ’90s were the decade of the X-Men. The team’s corner of the Marvel Universe expanded exponentially, with heroes and villains constantly being introduced. Stryfe was created to be the big bad of X-Force. He’s a ’90s kid’s dream villain, his shiny chromium armor full of spikes. It was later revealed that he was a clone of Cable, one without the techno-organic virus.
There’s really nothing more to him than an evil Apocalypse-trained Cable. Instead of using guns, he falls back on his unique psionic talents. His time was the ’90s, yet he’s been brought back multiple times. There’s nothing special about him, and he should have stayed dead.
NEXT: 10 Most Underrated X-Men Villains