Comics
Published January 25, 2023

'Sins of Sinister' #1 Easter Eggs, References, & Callbacks

Here's your guide to all the biggest Easter eggs, references, and callbacks in 'Sins of Sinister' #1!

Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck’s SINS OF SINISTER #1 is officially here, and the shocking first issue saw Nathaniel Essex carry out his plan to bend the future of mutantkind to his will. Along the way, SINS OF SINISTER #1 looked back at events from the Krakoan Age and throughout the X-Men’s lengthy history. But if you're feeling a little lost, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with a breakdown of all the biggest Easter eggs, references, and callbacks in this mega-sized issue. 

Sins of Sinister Opens with a House of X Reference

The very first page of SINS OF SINISTER #1 shows the titular villain standing in Krakoa’s resurrection chamber as mutants crawl out from inside the eggs in which they’re grown. This was a callback to HOUSE OF X (2019) #1 by Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz, which featured a nearly identical scene, but with Charles Xavier in place of Sinister. There’s even a riff on Professor X’s iconic “To my, my X-Men” line, which Xavier said in the original panel.

Emma Frost Remembers the Genoshan Dead

Early in SINS OF SINISTER #1, Emma Frost and Xavier argue about giving more humans access to Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocols. Emma objects, citing the fact that many of those who died in Genosha are still dead. The mass murder of Genosha’s mutants was the subject of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s “E Is for Extinction” storyline in NEW X-MEN (2001) #114-#116. HOUSE OF X (2019) #4 identified 16.5 million people as having died during the Sentinel/Trask/Mummudrai Genocide in Genosha, which significantly reduced the number of mutants in the world at the time. Limitations on the Resurrection Protocols have slowed the process of bringing back those who died in this attack.

Everything Truly Is Sinister

The title of SINS OF SINISTER #1 is “Everything Is Sinister,” a phrase repeated several times in the issue. After Sinister gets out of the Pit and his victory is pretty much assured, he claims, “Everything is Sinister, forever.” Xavier also says that line later in the comic. 

The “Everything Is Sinister!” arc in UNCANNY X-MEN (2011) #1-#4 by Gillen, Carlos Pacheco, Jorge Molina, Rodney Buchemi, and Brandon Peterson saw the X-Men face off against Essex and his various clones, as well as some Celestials. In that arc, Sinister explained his belief that, with his clones, he could create a perfect world. He also uttered the line “Everything is Sinister” in that story as well.

The X-Men Prevent Another Major Thanos Event

Paving the way for Sinister’s domination of the world required taking out various Super Hero teams and heavy hitters. Drawn by several guest artists, those splash pages contain several key references and nods. The first of them shows the X-Men stopping “another Thanos genocide event.” While not a specific reference, the basic idea is a callback to Thanos’ penchant for deadly attacks and schemes—including, but not limited to THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991), in which he wiped out half of life in the universe using the Infinity Gauntlet.

The X-Men Call in Uranos Against the Eternals

The third splash page in that set shows Marvel’s mutants unleashing Uranos to defeat and permanently imprison the Eternals. During A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY (2022) by Gillen and Valerio Schiti, the Eternals used Uranos against Arakko and killed many of the planet’s residents in the process. After the end of the war between the Eternals and X-Men, the former group promised to give the latter use of Uranos for one hour at some point in the future as an act of contrition.

Nightcrawler’s Dark Fate Is Revealed

During LEGION OF X (2022), Kurt Wagner, AKA Nightcrawler, developed abnormal mutations and sprouted horns. Even resurrection, which should fix the problem, was unable to help him. In SINS OF SINISTER #1, Ororo Munroe, AKA Storm, correctly identifies the Nightcrawler on the Quiet Council as an imposter. Essex then reveals just how far Kurt’s problem has progressed, as the hero has become more beast than man. Essex also notes that he’s been unable to fix the uncontrolled mutation.

Storm Removes Herself from the Resurrection Protocols

During the above scene with Nightcrawler, Sinister mentions that Storm has removed herself from Krakoa’s Resurrection Protocols, meaning he cannot brainwash her in the same way as he did with the others. In X-MEN RED (2022) #4 by Al Ewing, Juann Cabal, Andrés Genolet, and Michael Sta. Maria, Magneto and Storm destroyed their Cerebro backups to prove their loyalty to Arakko, rendering themselves ineligible for resurrection.

This Really Isn’t the 1990s

After his confrontation with Storm, Sinister remarks to the Quiet Council, “I was bored of lurking in the shadows. This isn’t the 1990s.” Essex was first mentioned in UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #212 by Chris Claremont and Rick Leonardi, but he didn’t appear in full until UNCANNY X-MEN (1963) #221, when it was revealed that he was behind recent attacks on Marvel’s merry mutants. Throughout the '90s, Sinister often worked in the shadows, manipulating events to his advantage from behind the scenes.

Destiny Repeats a Key Line From IMMORTAL X-MEN

After Storm tangles with Sinister, Destiny and Mystique—who fled Krakoa in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #10—return and tell her to hold off on declaring war against the villain for now. They use Destiny's precognitive abilities to reveal that Storm would lose, so they conspire to fight smarter. “We must be on the same side,” Destiny tells Storm. That line has been repeated throughout IMMORTAL X-MEN, with Destiny telling Sinister a version of that as far back as the first scene of the first issue.

Sebastian Shaw Finally Gets His Wish

Following the sequence with Storm, SINS OF SINISTER #1 again shows a series of splash pages. The first reveals that Sebastian Shaw becomes “Krakoa’s emissary to the various Hells” and now owns one of those realms himself. This is a reference to Shaw’s general Satanism, as well as his membership in the Hellfire Club. IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #6, though, specifically saw Shaw reveling in the fact that he would eventually burn in Hell.

Magik Absolutely Wrecks Asgard

To complete his domination of the Marvel Universe, Sinister sends Illyana Rasputin, AKA Magik, to destroy Asgard and kick it away from Midgard entirely. The attack is buoyed by Magik's access to a special sword, which was granted through a deal with Muspelheim. While not explicitly identified, Muspelheim is associated with Surtur’s Twilight Sword, which is itself tied to the destruction of Asgard. As such, the Twilight Sword was likely the weapon Magik used. 

House of M Comes For Wanda

In HOUSE OF M (2005), Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch, depowered many of Earth’s mutants during a mental breakdown caused by the loss of her children. As she did so, she said, “No more mutants.” The act itself made Scarlet Witch hated among mutants, and even one of Krakoa’s laws—“Make more mutants”—is a play on that phrase. In SINS OF SINISTER #1, the narration reads “No more Wanda” in the wake of Scarlet Witch's death.

The Dream Is Still the Dream

Towards the end of SINS OF SINISTER #1, Xavier says, “I still believe in the dream.” Professor X has long dreamed of creating a world in which mutants and humans are able to live together in harmony. However, the dream has itself morphed in major ways during the Krakoan Era and now focuses more on making things better for mutants specifically.

SINS OF SINISTER #1 is on sale now! The next installment in the event, STORM & THE BROTHERHOOD OF MUTANTS #1, hits shelves on February 8.

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