This page is for the original Mastermind, Jason Wyngarde.
For the second Mastermind, see Mastermind
For the third Mastermind, see Martinique Jason
For the Fourth Mastermind, see Lady Mastermind
Back when mutants were still unheard of by the general population of America, Jason Wyngarde had managed to grow with his mutant powers relatively unnoticed in the general public. However, the one man who recognized Wyngarde's powers of psychic illusion was Magneto. Wyngarde joined Magneto's new group, and thus became known as Mastermind; a founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Magneto's goals suited Wyngarde's, as he had previously only managed to secure employment as a mentalist; a trickster in carnivals. His thirst for power matched his desire for the Scarlet Witch, but despite trying to use his powers and arguments he was never able to separate her from her protective twin brother Quicksilver during their tenure as a group, with his tricks being ineffective on them.
Jason Wyngarde was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in The X-Men #4 (1964).
Chris Claremont and John Byrne later gave Mastermind the name of Jason Wyngarde, which is a blend of British actor, Peter Wyngarde and his most famous role, Jason King. Peter Wyngarde was also famous for playing the leader of a Hellfire Club in an infamous (for the time) episode of the British "Avengers" series.
Mayor Story Arcs
Against the X-Men
As a member of the Brotherhood Mastermind often came to battle the young group of mutant heroes known as the X-Men. However, his powers had not been developed to their fullest potential, and therefore he was only capable of casting minor visual illusions, like simulating the illusion of fire, or making it seem like Beast's legs had stopped working. The Brotherhood continually failed in their battles against the X-Men. Magneto attempted to make a pact with the enigmatic being known as the Stranger, However, instead of a new ally Magneto found a new foe, as the Stranger was not a mutant, which was what both Magneto and the X-Men assumed, but was actually a cosmic entity from the stars. During their confrontation Magneto was stranded on an alien planet, while Mastermind was turned into stone after attempting to double cross him.
The Stranger's spell wasn't permanent. After the effects of the spell wore off, it wasn't long before Mastermind found himself with a new group vying for mutant supremacy. Factor Three fought to make a mutant country that was the third major world power; after the US and the USSR. However, their extreme tactics were as questionable as those of the Brotherhood. They had forced Banshee to fight for their cause by placing a headset on him that was primed with explosives. At the time they believed their members were all mutants. It transpired that Ogre was a human genius who relied heavily on his technological creations to hide the fact that he wasn't actually a mutant himself, and their leader, the Mutant-Master, was in fact an alien in disguise. The Earth-born members of Factor three combined forces with the X-Men to defeat Mutant-Master and stop his plans for conquest.
Although Wyngarde had helped to save the Earth from alien domination, he was soon captured by the Sentinels. Unable to project any psionic illusions on the giant robotic servants, he had to rely on help from his enemies in the X-Men to save him. However, it wasn't long before Mastermind returned to his criminal ways.
The New The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants reformed. This time without Magneto's siblings, but with his former Factor Three allies; Blob & Unus the Untouchable. Mastermind attempted to persuade the Beast to join them. He was unsuccessful which resulted in a fight, which he was also unsuccessful in winning. Magneto soon returned to claim his title of leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and this time he literally created a new member for the team using alien technology. Alpha, the Ultimate Mutant, was a secret weapon in the Brotherhood's battle against the Defenders. Unfortunately for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Alpha turned against them after his hyper-evolved state judged them to be unworthy of his assistance. He used his powers to rapidly decrease their age, reducing them all to infancy. As children, they no longer had their mutant powers; the abilities that they had developed when they originally reached puberty. Therefore the team was defeated by one of their own members, with Alpha himself leaving Earth to find his purpose in deep space.
The Hellfire Club
Some point after Wyngarde returned to his true adult age, he joined the rich and influential members of society in the Hellfire Club. There he became a key member of Sebastian Shaw's Inner Circle, a highly secret and esoteric collection of powerful mutants and super beings who gave themselves rankings according to chess pieces (Black King, White Queen, etc). It had come to Shaw's attention that the X-Men's newest member, Phoenix, was potentially the most powerful and dangerous mutant in the world. He planned to have Phoenix as a member of his Inner Circle, and therefore required the use of Mastermind's illusionary powers. Mastermind himself had desired for more power within the Inner Circle, and obtaining Phoenix would be a key part in showcasing his worthiness to them as a member. He would stalk Jean for months on end, consistently meeting her as different people in different places: a priest on a airplane for one, or a young surfer on a beach. These experiences would allow Mastermind to slowly ease his way into her mind.
While the X-Men were searching a seedy night club for Dazzler, the latest new mutant that Cerebro had detected, Phoenix began to experience intensely realistic visions. In these flashbacks she was transported back to 18th Century Britain, and was courted by a man known only as Nikos. He had thick curly hair and a full beard, and dressed according to the period. Phoenix found that she was attracted to Nikos, and struggled to come to terms with what she believed were scenes from a past life and her feelings for her current lover, Cyclops, with reality consistently blurring between both of of them frequently. Eventually she would succumb to her 'past-life' experiences, and experienced her 'marriage' to Wyngarde as a Victorian aristocrat.
However, Phoenix' mind was being manipulated by two psionic-powered mutants. Mastermind's own illusionary powers were being amplified by Emma Frost's mind-tap machine; a mechanism which boosted her own powers and allowed Mastermind to project his illusions directly into Phoenix' mind from a long range, as he himself wasn't able to project his powers far enough to achieve the effect Together they manipulated Phoenix into becoming the new Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. They guided Phoenix and made her turn against her friends in the X-Men. Unknown to both Mastermind and the White Queen, Cyclops shared a deep telepathic rapport with Phoenix. Through this mental connection he attempted to battle Mastermind on the Astral Plane. Yet Cyclops was relatively inexperienced at psychic battles, having not been in one before, and Mastermind's own powers were amplified by Emma Frost's formidable telepathy. Mastermind 'killed' Cyclops in their telepathic battle, and the psionic backlash from the trauma snapped Phoenix free of his control. Although Cyclops had actually survived his battle with Mastermind, the Phoenix grew enraged.
Phoenix had enjoyed the seductive qualities of power that the Hellfire Club had shown her. Combined with her anger, she transformed from Black Queen into the Dark Phoenix. Her first malicious act of power was directed at Mastermind. She entered his mind and showed him the vast scale of the universe. By expanding his consciousness he became one with the universe, but his body remained in New York. Mastermind was crippled, with his mind flooded with the images of the universe and his unbearably small place within it. He would be later picked up by the cops and taken to a mental asylum due to his catatonic state: it can be assumed that they didn't recognise him due to appearing to them in his true, far older appearance, which was something he had used his powers to hide for years at that point.
Mastermind slowly regained consciousness. After years he became bitter and vengeful, vowing to have his revenge on those he blamed on what happened to him. Members of the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants suffered first. Rogue's mind was already fragile from the permanent absorption of the powers & psyche of Ms Marvel. In this state, it was easy for Mastermind to manipulate her into leaving the team she had once loved by manipulating her perceptions. Mystique, who was the leader of the Brotherhood at that time, was already suffering from nightmares induced by Mastermind. This was a foundation of torment for her as she then lost Rogue, her adopted daughter, and therefore left her family broken.
Mastermind attempted to have his revenge on Cyclops. He successfully convinced the X-Men that Cyclops' fiancé Madelyne Pryor was in fact the Dark Phoenix reborn: something that was easily accomplished as Madelyne had a strong physical resemblance to Jean Grey since she was her genetic clone, through no one at present knew that at the time. He used his powers of deception to turn the X-Men against Cyclops, but was ultimately defeated by the first X-Man despite even trying to trick him into thinking he had actually died. Although his attempts to ruin Cyclops' new relationship had failed, Mastermind did manage to destroy Wolverine's. This time Mastermind was more subtle in his approach, just as he had been with Rogue & Mystique. By slowly and gently using his powers to cast doubt in the mind of Mariko Yashida about Logan and his past. Ultimately he had convinced her to spurn Wolverine on their wedding day, thus achieving a twisted victory on the team that had shunned his best plans.
His last battle against Phoenix' family was against her genetic daughter, Rachel Summers. Rachel was the new (and fairly inexperienced) Phoenix, and Wyngarde sought to wield the power of the Phoenix Force for himself successfully this time. This led him to the battle with both Rachel, and her team Excalibur. Once more he was defeated after a close bout, but this time he had been cast under a powerful psychic illusion, trapped in the dream that he had achieved total cosmic awareness and destroyed all of his foes.
The Death of Mastermind
It was many years later when Wyngarde was heard from again. He had mysteriously contacted the X-Men and requested to see Phoenix once more. When the X-Men arrived on the island for their rendezvous, they were assaulted on all sides. They suspected that they had been led into a trap, but when Jean reached Mastermind she soon realized the truth. Although he had never been a physically strong man, Jason Wyngarde's body was withered and killing itself. He had contracted the rapidly degenerating Legacy Virus, and his powers were out of control. He had hoped to see Phoenix one last time to repent for his actions, but was unable to prevent his own powers from attacking the X-Men. After all these years, he still believed that Jean Grey was the Phoenix who he had psychically manipulated previously. Although their relationship had been as enemies, Phoenix remained the only woman he had truly loved. Therefore, when Jean Grey appeared before him after escaping his illusion world where all of her dreams were achieved, he begged her for her forgiveness. He was sorry for what he had done to 'her' (the Phoenix) back at the Hellfire Club, and wished to be forgiven for his actions. Jean was compassionate, and without revealing the truth about the Phoenix, she forgave Wyngarde. He was then able to die with his mind and soul put at ease.
Unlike other mutants, Mastermind has not been raised from the dead. However, his legacy still lives on. In a flashback, it was revealed that Mastermind was responsible for the creation of the Void; a murderous and insanely powerful being who was the polar opposite of the Sentry by using his powers to trigger Sentry's mind to spilt into two halves, making one half of him "the devil" and the other half his heroic persona. Both Jason Wyngarde's name and his powers live on in two of his daughters he had conceived during his days as a mentalist. The title of Mastermind has been passed on to Martinique Jason, while her half-sister Regan Wyngarde has adopted the code-name Lady Mastermind. It has since been revealed that another little girl inherited her father's powers; Mastermind had an intimate relationship with Mrs. Gwynn, who gave birth to & raised Pixie of the New X-Men, showing in her powers, which are partly illusion based.
Years later, Mastermind was resurrected on Krakoa, and became an adversary of the newest Hellions team.
Powers and Abilities
Mastermind has the mutant ability to telepathically create utterly convincing illusions. The illusions he creates are so realistic that even people who know that they are illusions still have much difficulty ignoring them (for instance, even if a person knows that the brick wall they see in front of them is an illusion, they would still have much difficulty getting themselves to walk through it, and many wouldn't be able to do such a thing anyway) Mastermind's illusions are also so convincing that he can cause people to die by giving them an illusion that they have been killed (for instance, he once killed someone by giving them the illusion that they had drowned in water. The illusion was so realistic that, even though there was no water, the victim ceased breathing and died). Through his powers were fairly weak in his early years, Mastermind honed his gifts to the point where he could convince the likes of Wolverine (whose extraordinary senses can detect falsehoods or illusions usually) and telepaths like Jean or Rachel Grey that his illusions were completely real, even trapping them in fake realities of his own creation.
Earth 1610: Ultimate Universe
His look, however, has changed drastically. While 616 Wyngarde used to be of average build, with cropped black hair and long sideburns, Ultimate Mastermind is lanky and white-haired, sports sunglasses and ponytail and looks like a beatnik. Here too he appeared as a member of Magneto's Brotherhood, here called the Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy. Currently he has taken Mystique's work to pose as Magneto in the S.H.I.E.L.D prison.
Him and the Brotherhood would later fight against the Ultimates in the Savage Land, with Mastermind trapping the Asgardian Valkyrie in his illusions. Before him and fellow member Pyro could assault her, Valkyrie would shatter the illusion he had created (this was implied to be Loki's doing) and kill him via decapitation.
Earth 295: Age of Apocalypse
Jason was one of the many victims of Apocalypse's tyranny in the dark age known as Age of Apocalypse (Earth 295). He was victim of experiments of Sugar Man, which left him mute, though he was rescued by a time-traveling X-Man, as well as Forge and Magneto. Years later, he joined Forge's Outcasts, a resistance cell of heroes disguised as traveling actors that attacked several Apocalypse´s facilities.Nate's uses his powers despite Forge´s orders to avoid it. As a result Apocalypse sent his most trusted group of assassins under the command of Domino. During the struggle, Mastermind used his power to evoke an illusion of Apocalypse attacking Domino, however she realized it was an illusion and attacked him with a plasma gun, killing him. This led to Nate used his telepathy to destroy Domino´s mind.
What If Wolverine led Alpha Flight
Wyngarde appeared in What If Wolverine led Alpha Flight as the Black King of the Hellfire Club. Mastermind had used his illusions to trick Jean Grey into falling in love with him, marrying him and making him the Black King. Jason captured several members of Alpha Flight, then lured the remaining team to the Hellfire Club in order to defeat them. Wolverine, who had never left Alpha Flight and was serving as the leader of the team, confronted and ultimately, at her request, killed Phoenix to save her from both the power of the Phoenix and Wyngarde's control. Mastermind was not seen after the death of Phoenix, it is unclear if he survived or not. The comic, published in 1994, had many striking similarities to the third X-Men movie.
Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends
Magneto formulated a plan to free his fellow mutants which were imprisoned. Mastermind was among those mutants that were freed.
X-Men: The Animated Series
He appears with "The Inner Circle" in the The Dark Phoenix Saga episodes. Wyngarde is also a member of the Mutant Resistance in the alternate reality seen in One Man's Worth. However, unlike his comic counterpart, this version's handsome appearance seems to be his real one.
Mastermind appears as an occasional lackey of Magneto. Despite often being bullied by Magneto, he seems to respect him to a point, and though he is hinted to be a shady character when left to his own devices, he is not particularly malicious. His most notable act was altering the memories of Magneto's daughter, Scarlet Witch. He differs from the comics as he is able to manipulate memories and has mild telepathy.