The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants & Factor Three
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. However, the one man who recognised 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. 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 illusions. 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. During their confrontation magneto was stranded on an alien planet, while Mastermind was turned into stone. 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 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, and their leader the Mutant-Master was in fact an alien. The Earth-born members of Factor three combined forces with the X-Men to defeat Mutant-Master. 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 and join the reformed Brotherhood. 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 resulting 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Eventually she 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. 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 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, and Mastermind's own powers were amplified by Emma Frost's own formidable telepathy. Mastermind 'killed' Cyclops in their telepathic battle, and the psionic backlash 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.
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 he had once loved. 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 convinced the X-Men that Cyclops' fiancé Madelyne Pryor , was in fact the Dark Phoenix. Something that was easily accomplished as Madelyne had a strong physical resemblance to Jean Grey since she was her genetic clone. He used his powers of deception to turn the X-Men against Cyclops, but was ultimately defeated by the first X-Man. 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. Ultimately he had convinced her to spurn Wolverine on their wedding day. His last battle against Phoenix' family was against her genetic daughter, Rachel Summers. Rachel was the new Phoenix, and Wyngarde sought to wield the power of the Phoenix Force for himself. This led him to the battle with both Rachel, and her team Excalibur. Once more he was defeated, but this time he had been cast under a powerful psychic illusion, trapped in the dream that he had achieved total cosmic awareness.
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 realised the truth. Although he had never been a physically strong man, Jason Wyngarde's body was withered and killing itself. He had contracted the Legacy Virus, and his powers were out of control. He had hoped to see Phoenix one last time, 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, 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. 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.
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. Both Jason Wyngarde's name and his powers live on in his two daughters. The title of Mastermind has been passed on to Martinique Wyngarde, while her half-sister Regan Wyngarde has adopted the code-name Lady Mastermind. In the second issue of X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back, Pixie's mother teleports herself to the Wyngarde Mansion, where Regan and Martinique are fighting one another. Pixie's mother claims Pixie is their sister, revealing Jason as her father.
Powers and Abilities
Illusion casting: Mastermind is a mutant with the power of illusion casting. He can psionically cause other people to see, hear, touch, smell, and/or taste things which to not actually exist. For example, he can seem to make a solid wall appear in an empty space. He can also cause people to see, hear, touch, smell, and/or taste real things in ways that they would not do naturally. For example, he can make himself look and sound like a different person, or look and feel like a wall, or even seem invisible. Since his power only affects the mind, his illusions cannot be recorded on film or tape or by other means. However, his power works so strongly on the mind that even if his victim or victims know they are being subjected to an illusion, they will still react to the illusion as if it were reality unless they can rid themselves of all suspicions that it is indeed reality. Hence, if Mastermind creates the illusion of a wall, most people, even if they know it is an illusion, will still be unable to walk through it. Invariably Mastermind's illusions are so realistic that most people are unable to help having the feeling, at least subconsciously, that they are not illusions but reality.
Special Limitations: Without artificial aids, Mastermind cannot cause only one person among many who are present to see his illusions. Everyone within the range of his power, which can extend over an entire city (as when he helped Magneto capture the Latin American nation of Santo Marco), will see his illusions.
Mind-tap mechanism created by Emma Frost, which boosted his illusion powers through simulated telepathy.
- Mastermind used an illusory alter-ego called Jason Wyngarde, that appeared to come from the 18th Century. Mastermind often uses his powers to give himself an illusory handsome appearance.
- The name "Jason Wyngarde" is a reference to the actor Peter Wyngarde, who was the leader of the Hellfire Club in an episode of The Avengers that inspired John Byrne, but is best known for playing Jason King. (The more-handsome version of Mastermind from the Hellfire Club stories is a dead ringer for Jason King).