Onslaught in X-Men vol. 2, #53 (June 1996). Art by Andy Kubert
|First appearance||X-Man #15 (May 1996)|
|Created by||Scott Lobdell
|Team affiliations||Dark Descendants|
|Notable aliases||Charles Xavier, Sir David the Great|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength and durability
Onslaught is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in X-Man #15 (May 1996), and was co-created by writers Scott Lobdell, Mark Waid, and artist Andy Kubert.
Publication history 
The character is first alluded to when a shadowy figure with Onslaught's distinctive word-balloon coloring and design is seen speaking with a frightened Mystique. "Onslaught" is first mentioned when the Juggernaut crash lands in Hoboken, New Jersey, having been hit hard enough by Onslaught to send him across the country. The character fully appears when it communicates with Jean Grey on the astral plane. Onslaught then imprisons Juggernaut within the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak and defeats the X-Men.
Onslaught is a psionic entity, revealed to have been created from the soul of Professor X and Magneto, when the dark part of Magneto's soul leapt into its counterpart in Xavier's soul. This took place when Xavier wiped Magneto's mind at the conclusion of the Fatal Attractions storyline, after Magneto tore the adamantium out of Wolverine's body. Wolverine's healing factor was overloaded to the point where it shut down and it was unclear if he would survive, with Xavier's rage at this attack on his friend allowing his own inner darkness to surface during his attack on Magneto, this aspect of Xavier latching on to its counterpart in Magneto's mind as Xavier erased it. The essence that would become Onslaught was eventually able to manifest itself as an independent entity from Xavier after an encounter with Nate Grey resulted in Xavier's astral form being 'forced' into the real world, thus 'teaching' Onslaught how it could give itself its own body. The villain intends to pursue Magneto's goal of saving mutantkind and giving them control over the planet. However, upon seeing the truth from Dark Beast's memories of his Earth in what happens if mutants controlled the world, Onslaught decides neither humans nor mutants should rule, and intends to destroy both races. After kidnapping Franklin Richards and Nate Grey, usurping their psionic powers to greatly increase his own, changing his physical form, Onslaught fights the Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and the X-Men (Spider-Man attempted to get involved in the fight, but he was kept occupied by fighting Onslaught's Sentinel forces).
When the Hulk is able to destroy Onslaught's armor, however, the villain then exists as pure psionic energy. This results in many of the non-mutant superheroes sacrificing their lives by entering Onslaught's form, disrupting the villain from within and weakening it, enabling the X-Men to finally destroy Onslaught. In the aftermath of the battle, all the combatants are presumed dead except Franklin Richards, Nate Grey, Quicksilver, the Hulk (who was physically separated from his alter ego Bruce Banner during the fight), the Magneto clone known as Joseph, and the X-Men.
Fictional character biography 
Onslaught was a sentient psionic entity created from the consciousness of Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto. During a battle between the X-Men and Magneto's Acolytes, Xavier used his telepathic powers to shut down Magneto's mind, rendering him catatonic. During the psionic contact, Magneto's anger, grief and lust for vengeance entered Xavier's consciousness; commingling with every long-suppressed negative feeling Xavier had endured during the last 30 years. This aggregation resulted in the being known as Onslaught.
Onslaught remained dormant for some time. Gradually, Xavier's frustration with his dream of mutant-human harmony began to increase, exacerbated by the daily growth of anti-mutant hysteria, the deaths of dozens of mutants from the lethal Legacy Virus, and his own failed attempt to rehabilitate Sabretooth. Xavier reached his breaking point when anti-mutant humans killed a young mutant near the grounds of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, the secret base of the X-Men. It was at this point that Onslaught awakened within Xavier and began to manifest himself to others.[volume & issue needed]
Following an encounter with Juggernaut, Onslaught invaded a government-sanctioned Sentinel base. He downloaded the current specifications for the mutant-hunting androids and erased portions of the memories of the employees working in the clandestine factory. Soon after, while hiding in Xavier's mind, Onslaught encountered X-Man. He pulled the Professor's body from the astral plane. Through X-Man's actions, Onslaught was able to escape Xavier's mind and move independently. After taking full possession of the Professor's mind and body, Onslaught-as-Xavier called together the X-Men. When they resisted his plan to turn them into soldiers fighting a total war against humans, Onslaught revealed himself to the X-Men and attempted to destroy the outlaw adventurers. Bishop, remembering childhood stories of a traitor betraying and killing the X-Men, began to realize that the guilty party was Xavier as Onslaught. Bishop rescued his teammates. Taking Xavier's body with him, Onslaught escaped.[volume & issue needed]
Once free, Onslaught created a childlike psionic projection named Charles to gain the trust of Franklin Richards. Onslaught succeeded in capturing the child despite a rescue attempt by Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman. Now carrying Franklin and Xavier, Onslaught captured X-Man, intending to use his raw psionic power to fuel Onslaught’s plans to transform the human race into a collective consciousness. Onslaught returned to New York, reprogramming the Sentinel robots to obey his commands and form a protective circle around Manhattan, sealing off the island from the rest of the world.[volume & issue needed]
The X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, Earth's Heroes, challenged Onslaught. Their first confrontation with the entity and his minions resulted in the rescue of Xavier. Onslaught now existed as psionic energy contained within his armor. A second and final confrontation occurred at his Central Park citadel. After a number of attempts to free Franklin and X-Man from Onslaught's armor, the heroes regrouped. During their next assault, X-Man Jean Grey used her telepathy to turn off the part of the monstrous Hulk's mind that contained the rationality of his alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner. Hulk, possessed of a nearly animalistic intelligence and unbelievable strength, battled Onslaught and tore apart his armor. The resulting explosion of psionic energy separated Banner and the Hulk, and Onslaught was left as an energy being, immune to most physical harm. Onslaught then used Franklin's powers to create a second sun that would destroy the heroes and Manhattan.[volume & issue needed]
Thor flew into the energy being, disrupting Onslaught's form. Realizing that Thor's efforts alone were insufficient to destroy their adversary, the non-mutant members of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four entered the energy field. The X-Men were unable to do likewise, as it was theorized that if Onslaught, a being of mutant origin, came to possess a mutant host, he would become unstoppable. Onslaught dissolved, seemingly destroyed, along with the heroes who had thrown themselves into the rift. The remaining Sentinels were disabled, Franklin and X-Man were rescued, and Manhattan was returned to normal. Later, it was revealed that the Avengers and the Fantastic Four did not die, as had been surmised. Rather, the heroes were reborn in a pocket universe created by Franklin. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four returned to their rightful home months later, possessing only hazy memories of their time on Counter-Earth.[volume & issue needed]
Onslaught Reborn 
A five-issue miniseries was issued in late 2006 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Onslaught event, titled Onslaught Reborn, by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Rob Liefeld. Onslaught Reborn features the return of the villain and addresses unresolved plot threads; this event is set after "Decimation" and "Civil War".
After Scarlet Witch used her powers to de-power most of Earth's mutants, the powers of Charles Xavier and Magneto collided to reform Onslaught, whose consciousness lingered after his defeat. Onslaught swore revenge on the young Franklin Richards and any other hero that he despised. He appeared as a large, ugly monster with a skull face. He first took control of both the Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic in an attempt to kill Franklin. He was soon interrupted by the Invisible Woman and the Thing, who save Franklin. Franklin ran to Counter-Earth, but Onslaught followed.
As Onslaught appeared in Counter-Earth he became larger, and gained his Magneto-like mask. He soon encountered the Avengers and was presumed defeated after he fell into the ocean. Instead of worrying about Onslaught, the Avengers questioned Franklin's credibility, as Franklin claimed to be the son of both Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman. On Counter-Earth Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman were not married and did not have children. Shortly after this, Thor was assaulted by an Onslaught-possessed Hulk, who battled Thor to determine which of the two was more powerful. Onslaught switched between the bodies and possessed Thor, who struck the Hulk with lightning. As Thor was about to strike again, he dropped his hammer, as Onslaught was not worthy. Onslaught switched back to the Hulk, and punched Thor into the atmosphere. Onslaught was assaulted by the Avengers before he could pick up Thor's hammer. Captain America ordered the Human Torch and Iron Man to rescue Thor, telling them they had about sixty seconds for the rescue. They raced to save him, and Johnny took Thor back to the Baxter Building where Mr. Fantastic discovered that Franklin really was his son. In the battle, Captain America orders Hawkeye to find Onslaught, and confronts Hawkeye with the fact that Wolverine is hiding in Hawkeye's costume. The Avengers continued to battle the Hulk, while Captain America was thrown into a building. Iron Man, from the atmosphere, charges down at the Hulk at full speed, hoping that Bruce would forgive him someday. He punched the Hulk, knocking him out. He and Captain America assesed their next move until Onslaught possessed Iron Man and attacked Captain America. Back at Avengers Mansion, Rikki Barnes was babysitting Franklin when Loki, Executioner, Scarlet Witch, Enchantress, and Ultron V surprised them with an offer to help defeat Onslaught. On a balcony, an invisible Ant-Man and the Invisible Woman let themselves be known, as Sue refused to let the villains cause Franklin any harm.
After a brief skirmish, the heroes and villains decided to work together to defeat Onslaught. Rikki "Bucky" Barnes defeated Onslaught using a Fantasticar to send both Barnes and Onslaught through the Negative Zone barrier in the Fantastic Four's lab, trapping them. Franklin returned home, Bucky found herself on Earth 616, and Onslaught was last seen floating outside the Area 42 Prison in the Negative Zone.
Onslaught Unleashed 
Nomad began having strange and vivid nightmares from deep in the jungles of South America, the problem appears to be that they may not be nightmares at all when her teammate Toro is kidnapped just like she dreamed. Later while investigating Corporate Conglomerate Roxxon for illegal weapons systems, the Secret Avengers come across the plans for Project Power, a new and incredibly deadly power source being secretly developed in the Colombian rainforest. As the Secret Avengers investigate the facility, Beast and Ant-Man find the source of the mysterious energy source to be from the Negative Zone. As Rikki races inside the facility to locate Toro, she stumbles into the control room instead, where the sinister voice of her dreams beckons, clawing his way out of exile in the Negative Zone, the psychic beast known as Onslaught returns to the main universe.
Possessing Rikki's body, Onslaught reveals that the real Rikki had in fact died in the Negative Zone and she was just a construct made by Onslaught himself so he could use the energy he had stored in her as an anchor to pull himself back into the main Marvel Earth. The revelation that Rikki had been sent to the main Marvel Earth solely to serve as Onslaught's tether, forced Rikki to fight back only to prove he was wrong. Eventually, Rikki had Gravity kill her so that Onslaught could not return and destroy Earth.
Despite the fact that Rikki seemingly died, Steve Rogers began to have nightmares similar to the ones Rikki had before, suggesting that enough of Nomad's (and Onslaught's) energy may have survived to escape death and now seek a new way to return to the main Marvel reality.
A new version of Onslaught is later glimpsed in an alternate future seen in Uncanny Avengers, confronting Scarlet Witch, Sunfire and Havok. This version appears to be merged with the Red Skull and is shown in possession of Charles Xavier's mutilated corpse.
Powers and abilities 
Onslaught is a psionic entity with superior physical and mental power, possessing the combined abilities of Professor X, Magneto, Franklin Richards, and Nate Grey. At its prime, Onslaught is capable of telepathy, telekinesis, energy projection, sensing mutant presences, manipulating magnetic fields, and affecting reality itself. Onslaught can also enhance its physical size and strength.
Onslaught's powers were well over that of Omega Level. In his first form (when he was one with Xavier), Onslaught showed a wide variety of abilities including immeasurable strength, and incredible resistivity and endurance. Onslaught's psionic powers appeared limitless, appearing to surpass even that of Xavier in his right mind. He was especially powerful in the Astral Plane, where he appeared to have god-like abilities. Even Jean Grey's powers were completely useless against him. From what has been seen, he seems to have total mental control over anyone or anything he wishes, ranging from altering one's perception to believe they are someone or somewhere else (he demonstrated this by making Wolverine believe he was a wolf pup, and making Storm think she was a child), to most conceivable forms of telekinesis. Onslaught also possessed many forms of energy projection, all of which at high levels of power.
After fully evolving into his own, separate consciousness and having Professor X ripped from him in the Astral Plane, Onslaught evolved into a second form, less resembling Magneto and looking more like a cybernetic monster. In this form, his powers were increased to virtually godlike levels, including the ability to mass-manipulate (his complete takeover of all the Sentinels), create and reshape matter at will (shown when he created his citadel, and when he created a second sun to destroy Earth), and an apparent omniscience (as evidenced when he easily thwarted an attempt to sneak into his citadel). His physical strength was also shown to be at obscenely high levels; so much so he was able to literally rip the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak out of Juggernaut and throw him across North America and go toe-to-toe in a physical fight with the Hulk even after the Hulk's mind had been blanked and his strength and rage set to incredible levels thanks to Jean Grey 'shutting down' the subconscious influence that Bruce Banner normally exerted over the Hulk to stop him going too far.
For a time, Onslaught had these powers while still in his first form; the majority of these came from the absorption of Nate Grey and Franklin Richards. In the end, Onslaught's true body was revealed to be a mass of pure, psionic energy that was immune to all forms of physical attacks.
In other media 
Video games 
- Onslaught is a boss character and the main antagonist of Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes voiced by Maurice Dean Wint. In this game, he appears as the final boss, and he has two forms the player must defeat: the first form which is that of a normal-sized character, and the second and final form which is that of a floating giant. He is then revealed to be Xavier upon defeat.
- Onslaught appears as a villain character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.
- Toy Biz has released two action figures of the character, the first in the "X-Men Onslaught" series, which came with attachable armor to emulate his final transformation; the second was the Build-A-Figure in the 13th series of the "Marvel Legends" series, and bore more of a resemblance to his final form.
Miniature gaming 
- An Onslaught miniature is part of the Heroclix Giant-Size X-Men set. This miniature is randomly found in the newly created "Super Booster" which contains larger size figure.
- X-Men: Prime #1
- Uncanny X-Men #322
- X-Men vol. 2 #53
- X-Men vol. 2 #54
- Onslaught: X-Men
- X-Man #10
- Fantastic Four #414
- X-Man #19
- Onslaught: Marvel Universe
- REFLECTIONS: Talking With Jeph Loeb, Comic Book Resources, October 25, 2006
- George, Richard (2006-10-26). "Onslaught's Assault Begins". IGN. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- Onslaught Reborn
- Onslaught Unleashed #1
- Onslaught Unleashed #2-3
- Onslaught Unleashed #4
- Uncanny Avengers #4
- Onslaught at Marvel.com
- In-depth analysis on the creation of Onslaught
- Article on the Onslaught crossover