While we can, and probably will, make lists for underused or underrated characters in other superhero and superhero team books, the X-Men have so many characters in its stable that it’s easy to make a list of them. Old uncle Geekly likes easy tasks, so here’s a list of X-Men villains who are underrated or underused in the comics. I’m sure Jim will spank me with a paddle if I’m wrong.
Children of the Vault (First appearance: September 2006)
You know you have a horrifying supervillain team when they turn Sabretooth’s fur white. Seriously, if you look closely in one of the panels, you can see if Sabretooth poops in the woods. He does by the way.
These superpowered villains don’t fall neatly into a human or mutant category. They’re beings that evolved from a baseline human genome over 6,000 years or so. Think of them as an off-shoot humanoid like a Neanderthal that developed over millennia with the help of the Weapon Plus Program that also produced Wolverine. That, and they want to end humans and mutants. They’re equal opportunity murderers with Spanish codenames like Sangre, Fuego, and Cadena.
Even though they’ve been around for over a decade, the Children of the Vault and their approximately 3,000 members (X-Men #193) haven’t been used enough and that’s why they make this list.
Graydon Creed (First Appearance: April 1993)
We go from a group trying to kill Sabretooth to Sabretooth’s estranged, human son.
Creed factors into so many X-Men characters backstories that I couldn’t possibly list them all here, but I will mention that he formed a group called the Friends of Humanity, and they’ve been a thorn in the X-Men’s side for a long time.
This entry may be a tad misleading. Creed was assassinated in 2010 by Mystique during his presidential campaign. He’s since been resurrected as a human-sentinel. In classic X-Men fashion, it’s more complicated than that, but classic Graydon Creed made a great foil for the X-Men. Plenty of X-Men the Animated Series may remember him fondly as well.
He hasn’t shown up that often since his transformation, but nothing says a trip back in time couldn’t return Creed to his original form. Make it happen, Marvel.
Mastermind (First Appearance: March 1964)
This is the guy who set the Dark Phoenix Saga in motion, and it often gets overlooked and viewed as an also ran. Sure, the original Mastermind perished in 1993, but he doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a pivotal member of the Hellfire Club.
Heck, the Hellfire Club asked him to turn Jean Grey as his initiation into their Inner Circle. When that turned into the Dark Phoenix Saga, his application was rejected, and he was forced out of the group.
But that didn’t stop Mastermind. He remained a thorn in the side of Cyclops and Wolverine—tearing apart future romances. He even went toe to toe with Rachel Summers, the second host of the Phoenix force. He may have died of the Legacy Virus, but he won’t be forgotten by this fan.
Mastermind is a classic X-Men villain who doesn’t get the same recognition as his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Hellfire Club teammates. It’s a shame.
Sugar Man (First Appearance: April 1995)
Sugar Man hasn’t made too many appearances because he’s tied to the Age of Apocalypse storyline, but that reality gave birth to Blink, and she’s made plenty of appearances since the 90s. Sugar Man must have the most unique look of any X-Men villain: four arms, a mouth full of razor teeth, a long strong tongue, and a head for a body.
He’s a cross between a troll and a mutant and he isn’t used enough in the X-Men universe. Give us some Sugar Man.
Vargas (First Appearance: July 2001)
Yeah, Vargas takes the humans hating mutants angle and adds a Captain America bend to it. He gave himself powers, so humans can compete with homo-superiors. He had a short but interesting run where Rogue may or may not have killed him. To be fair, it was revealed some years later that she spared his life and someone else took it.
While it makes sense that Vargas hasn’t made another appearance, you’d think more humans would take the Cap route to keep up with mutants. Maybe they have, and I missed it. If so, feel free to wag your finger at me.
I could’ve added more than these five, but your uncle Geekly wants to hear your thoughts. Are there any X-Men villains you’d like to see more of or who don’t get the due they deserve? I’ll accept picket signs with your answers on them, or you could take the easy route and comment. Your uncle Geekly won’t judge.