Marvel's new X-Men series has had a mysterious villain lurking in the wings of its story – and now, after issue #11 we know that villain, Dr. Stasis, has a game-changing connection to one of the X-Men's classic foes, who still remains a fan-favorite. If you haven't been following along, The X-Men's new mutant nation of Krakoa still needs a traditional superhero team out in the world making mutants look good, but the threat of humanity's anti-mutant science and tech group, ORCHIS has still been looming.
The new X-Men series introduced "Dr. Stasis" as a revolutionary geneticist who holds rank as the director of ORCHIS's Sixth Petal division, Human/Resources. Stasis and his genetically spliced animal humanoid creations have been messing with the mutant nation of Krakoa and the X-Men – most notably when Stasis was given the corpse of Cyclops (from the X-Men's suicide mission to stop ORCHIS's Master Mold from coming online), and cracked the secret that mutants had achieved true resurrection. Stasis leaked the info to reporter Ben Ulrich, which nearly put Krakoa's biggest secret into the public sphere. In X-Men #11, the team finally tracks down Dr. Stasis in his layer.
Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and VC's Clayton Cowles provide an action-packed issue with some stunning art, for a two part story of the X-Men finally handling business with various factions (earthly and cosmic) that have been gunning for them. The Dr. Stasis storyline sees Cyclops/Captain Krakoa and Synch battle the ORCHIS fiend in his sewer base; at the climax of that fight, Cyclops gets the best of Dr. Stasis by blasting him straight in the face, point-blank, with his Optic Blast. The attack shatters Stasis's helmet and reveals that the face beneath is that of Mister Sinister!
Or is it? The black club symbol on the forehead (instead of Sinister's Red Diamond) and lack of recognition of Cyclops suggests this may be "Sinister" in looks only...
Mr. Sinister's role has been one of the most confusing aspects of the new X-Men lore that Fantastic Four and Secret Wars writer Jonathan Hickman created in the House of X reboot. The traditional Sinister we know and love to hate is currently on Krakoa and is a scheming snake member of its ruling Quiet Council, playing a perilous game with Destiny (the character). At the same time, Sinister's stronghold on the island is filled with endless leagues of clones of the villain, who have swapped places for various missions and schemes (see: Hellions). House of X also introduced the notion of Sinister's experiments in alternate timelines, splicing and cloning mutants and giving rise to a whole new (awesome!) generation of mutant "chimera" beings, who possess mashups of various high-level mutant power sets.
ORCHIS is also playing an ambitious game to keep humanity (and man-machine hybrids) in step with mutants as both sides prepare for the inevitable war of genetic dominance. Stasis being in charge of Human/Resources could play a pivotal role in chess game of Moira Mactaggert's multiple life timelines, and may be the key to explaining how "Dr. Stasis" came to be.
X-Men #11 is on sale at Marvel Comics.