Marvel Brings Back Classic X-Men Villain With Major Upgrade

One of the X-Men’s greatest foes has made his return yet again, but this time he has a major upgrade.

SPOILERS for Weapon X #23 by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Yildiray Cinar, and Frank D’Armata follow.

Sabretooth has recently taken control of what was once a new, mutant-led Weapon X squad. Victor Creed decided to take the group back to the mercenary ways most of its members were accustomed to. He rebranded the team as a new iteration of X-Force, or as it's come to be called, Weapon X-Force.

The team’s latest mission is personal for Creed. He’s determined to rescue Monet St. Croix, aka M, the mutant he had romantic feelings for when they were both on Magneto’s X-Men squad. M has somehow become a part of a well-funded cult.

X-Force’s rescue mission reveals that M and the other cult members are being controlled by Mentallo, a villain who is able to put other under his thrall. Unfortunately for them, Mentallo also paid a tidy sum to hire Deadpool.

The bulk of Weapon X #23 is made up of the Weapon X-Force vs. Deadpool fight. Eventually, things go badly for Mentallo when Sabretooth offers to pay Deadpool to switch sides. That’s when Mentallo decides to reveal the real power behind the cult.

It is none other than William Stryker, only this time he looks a bit different.

Weapon X William Stryker
(Photo: Yildray Cinar, Frank D'Armata, Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente, Marvel Entertainment)

Stryker now has a robot body, which makes him much more of a physical threat than he ever was before. To go a step further, Stryker actually makes a deal with the devil before the end of the issue to gain even more new power. That quite a twist coming from someone who previously proclaimed to be a man of God.

There’s a bit of a gag when Stryker first appears, with the Weapon X-Force crew noting that they only just defeated Stryker a few issues ago. Stryker was the one who resuscitated the Weapon X program, which is what got this band of mutants to join forces in the first place. It was then that Stryker’s transition into a more robotic state was first hinted at.

Stryker was originally introduced as a mutant-hating preacher with a large following who was recognizable through television appearances. Eventually, he founded the anti-mutant religious terrorist group called the Purifiers.

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Weapon X #23 is on sale now.