Onslaught (comics)

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Onslaught in X-Men vol. 2, #53 (June 1996). Art by Andy Kubert.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Man #15 (May 1996)
Created by Scott Lobdell
Mark Waid
Andy Kubert
In-story information
Alter ego Professor X, Magneto
Team affiliations Dark Descendants
Notable aliases Charles Xavier, Sir David the Great
Abilities Superhuman strength and durability
Magnetism manipulation
Reality warping

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. Onslaught was a sentient psionic entity created from the consciousness of two mutants: Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto. During a battle between the X-Men and Magneto's Acolytes, Professor Xavier used his telepathic powers to shut down Magneto's mind, rendering him catatonic, but the darkest aspect of Magneto's mind escaped into Xavier's subconscious, where it 'merged' with Xavier's own darker nature to eventually grow into a separate persona of its own.

The character of Onslaught has also been featured in video games and toy merchandise.

In 2008, Onslaught was ranked #10 at Marvel.com on their list of Top 10 X-Men villains.[1]

Publication history[edit]

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.[2] "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.[3] The character fully appears when it communicates with Jean Grey on the astral plane.[4] Onslaught then imprisons Juggernaut within the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak[5] and defeats the X-Men.[6]

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,[7] 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. After kidnapping Franklin Richards[8] and Nate Grey,[9] usurping their psionic powers to greatly increase his own, changing his physical form, Onslaught fights the Avengers, Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Doctor Doom, and the X-Men (Spider-Man attempted to get involved in the fight, but was occupied fighting Onslaught's Sentinel forces). However, upon seeing the truth from Nate Grey's memories of his Earth if mutants controlled the world, Onslaught decides neither humans nor mutants should rule, and intends to destroy both races.

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 (along with Doctor Doom) 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.[10]

Fictional character biography[edit]

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, Magneto used his powers to rip the adamantium from Wolverine's skeleton, causing such extensive injuries that his healing factor burned itself out. Xavier was so unhinged with anger over the brutality of Magneto's assault against Wolverine that he 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. Onslaught first manifested himself to the X-Men themselves when he challenged the teleporter Gateway to test Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine and Iceman, by kidnapping them and sending them to face off against his agent Post. 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. Onslaught also sought out Jean Grey, hoping to convince her to join his cause with the offer of power rivaling that of the Phoenix Force, while also revealing damaging information about Professor Xavier, such as a long forgotten attraction the Professor had to Jean during the X-Men's early days. Jean resisted Onslaught, but was defeated by him, and sent back to her physical body, with only a fleeting memory of what had happened as well as the name "Onslaught" telepathically branded on her forehead. 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, but Onslaught escaped, taking Xavier's body with him.[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 joined forces to challenge Onslaught. Their first confrontation with the entity and his minions resulted in the rescue of Xavier, reducing Onslaught to a mass of psionic energy contained within his armor - unfortunately, this also prevented Xavier from influencing the villain with his better nature. A second and final confrontation occurred at Onslaught's Central Park citadel where the heroes made a number of attempts to free Franklin and X-Man from Onslaught's armor. During their next assault, X-Man Jean Grey used her telepathy to suppress the part of the monstrous Hulk's mind that contained the rationality of his alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner. With his new, nearly-feral intelligence pushing his rage - and thus, his strength - to unbelievable levels, the Hulk 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]

In desperation, 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[edit]

Onslaught's second form

A five-issue miniseries was issued in late 2006 to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the "Onslaught" storyline, titled Onslaught Reborn, by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Rob Liefeld. Onslaught Reborn features the return of the villain and addresses unresolved plot threads;[11] this event is set after the "Decimation" and "Civil War" storylines.[12]

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, manifesting as a monstrous version of his previous form with a skull-like face. He first took control of both the Human Torch and Mr. Fantastic in an attempt to kill Franklin, but was soon interrupted by the Invisible Woman and the Thing, who saved Franklin. Franklin ran to Counter-Earth, but Onslaught followed.[13]

As Onslaught appeared in Counter-Earth he became larger, and regained 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 to carry it. 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 assessed 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.[13]

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.[13]

Onslaught Unleashed[edit]

Rikki Barnes, now known as Nomad, began having strange and vivid nightmares from deep in the jungles of South America. When her teammate Toro is kidnapped just like she dreamed, she begins to suspect that her nightmares are something more sinister than she first thought. 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 and reveals itself to be Onslaught.[14]

Possessing Rikki's body, Onslaught reveals that the real Rikki had, in fact, died in the Negative Zone; his current host 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 to prove he was wrong. Eventually, Rikki had Gravity kill her so that Onslaught could not return and destroy Earth.[15]

Despite Rikki's apparent death, 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.[16]

Red Onslaught[edit]

A clone of Red Skull stole the brain of the now deceased Professor X and grafted part of Xavier's brain to his own, giving him Professor X's powers.[17] Eventually, the merging of the brains leads to the rebirth of an Onslaught fused with the Red Skull, known as Red Onslaught, who leads a holocaust against the mutants.[18]

Powers and abilities[edit]

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 resistance 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 are at high levels of power. Even at his initial level he was able to punch the Juggernaut unconscious across North America, and even literally rip the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak out of the latter's body.

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, thanks to adding the full potential of Franklin Richards and Nate Grey combined, his powers were increased to 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). He could use his combined reality-warping and telekinetic abilities to boost his physical strength to the point that he was able to 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.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate version, Professor X returns from training in the future and is dressed very similarly to Onslaught.

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

Onslaught as drawn by Capcom artist CRMK for Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes


  • 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[edit]

  • 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.


  1. ^ http://www.marvel.com/news/comicstories.3139.Take_10~colon~_X-Men_Villains Marvel.com
  2. ^ X-Men: Prime #1
  3. ^ Uncanny X-Men #322
  4. ^ X-Men vol. 2 #53
  5. ^ X-Men vol. 2 #54
  6. ^ Onslaught: X-Men
  7. ^ X-Man #10
  8. ^ Fantastic Four #414
  9. ^ X-Man #19
  10. ^ Onslaught: Marvel Universe
  11. ^ "REFLECTIONS: Talking With Jeph Loeb". Comic Book Resources, October 25, 2006
  12. ^ George, Richard (2006-10-26). "Onslaught's Assault Begins". IGN. Retrieved 2006-10-26. 
  13. ^ a b c Onslaught Reborn
  14. ^ Onslaught Unleashed #1
  15. ^ Onslaught Unleashed #2-3
  16. ^ Onslaught Unleashed #4
  17. ^ Uncanny Avengers #2
  18. ^ Uncanny Avengers #11

External links[edit]