SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Uncanny X-Men #1, by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Mahmud Asrar, Rachelle Rosenberg Mirko Colak, Ibraim Roberson, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Guru-eFX and Joe Caramagna, on sale now!
The X-Men have a lot of strange villains in their rogues gallery. But even in a world with bad guys like Sauron, a hypnotic pterodactyl vampire, and Krakoa, a sentient island, Sugar Man is pretty weird.
With four arms, a massive razor-sharp tongue and a face that takes up most of his torso, this mad scientist from another reality would look odd in almost any world. But after decades of performing twisted genetic experiments, Sugar Man met a nasty end during Matthew Rosenberg and Mirko Colak's back-up feature in Uncanny X-Men #1.
A few days before the issue's main story takes place, Bishop, a time-traveling X-Man and occasional detective, received a warning about an unspecified, imminent event that would have catastrophic consequences on the X-Men's timeline. While following-up on the lead at Sugar Man's lab, the X-Man had a quick confrontation with the frightened villain before getting knocked unconscious.
By the time Bishop woke up, Sugar Man was dead, his body split in two.
While it's not clear who killed Sugar Man, it seems like his death could be tied to the villain's origin. Sugar Man is from an alternate timeline called the Age of Apocalypse, a reality where Legion, Professor X's all-powerful son, inadvertently killed his father before the formation of the X-Men. Without Xavier, the ancient mutant Apocalypse twisted the world into a dark reflection of the Marvel Universe, where evil mutants like Sugar Man reigned supreme.
After debuting in Scott Lobdell and Chris Bachalo in 1995's Generation Next #2, Sugar Man executed a team of young mutants who were trying to break into his lab. While the Age of Apocalypse timeline was apparently crumbling, Sugar Man used his size-changing abilities to sneak into the main Marvel Universe, where he was a consistent thorn in the X-Men's side for years.
During his time in the Marvel Universe, Sugar Man also worked with another mad scientist from the Age of Apocalypse, Dark Beast. The twisted alternate reality version of the X-Men's Beast also fled to the main Marvel Universe after the Age of Apocalypse ended, where he's tormented the X-Men on an even more regular basis.
In Uncanny X-Men #1, Dark Beast seems to be on the run from someone, quite possibly the same person who killed Sugar Man. In the issue, Bishop watches him narrowly escape an explosion at his lab before fleeing into the sewers and parts unknown.
It's worth noting here that Bishop's presence in this story may not be by chance either. The time-traveling X-Man was a key player in the original "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, and he was one of the few characters who retained his memories from this dystopian world.
While it's not clear who’s hunting down the former Age of Apocalypse residents yet, the most likely candidate is probably Nate Grey, another Age of Apocalypse refugee who's about to be a big part of the X-Men's world. Also known as X-Man, this incredibly powerful telepath was essentially that world's version of Cable and was genetically engineered by Mister Sinister using the DNA of Cyclops of Jean Grey.
After the Age of Apocalypse, Nate also ended up in the Marvel Universe and starred in the solo series X-Man, where he formed loose ties with the X-Men before turning into a mutant shaman. After his series ended in 2001, X-Man didn't really have a regular role again until he briefly joined the now-adult New Mutants in 2011.
Although he hasn't appeared much over the last few years, Nate Grey seemingly appears on several covers to a few upcoming issues of the weekly Uncanny X-Men series and will take center stage in the upcoming event "Age of X-Man," which kicks off in January 2019.
Even though Sugar Man and Dark Beast have done plenty of horrendous things in both of the realities they've lived in, it's not clear why someone like Nate Grey might be hunting them down now. Given X-Man's imminent return, it almost certainly won't be long until we get some more definitive answers.