When the X-Men were reinvented by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum and featured in such legendary stories such as Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, Mutant Massacre, Proteus, Inferno, Fall of the Mutants, From the Ashes, Night Screams, Mutant Genesis, and God Loves, Man Kills under Chris Claremont (at times with artist John Byrne), the team grew into its own franchise leading to in time many several individual titles for its characters and new teams. The X-Men tended to face alien threats, evil mutants, and humans that hated mutants for being different. Some alien threats include Lucifer (who crippled Xavier and inspired Magneto’s appearance), the Brood, the Phalanx, the Shi’ar, Mojo, and the Phoenix and some human threats include Senator Robert Kelly (who founded the Mutant Control Act), Juggernaut, Bolivar Trask’s Sentinels (which led to Master Mold, Nimrod, and Bastion), Arcade, Graydon Creed’s Friends of Humanity, William Stryker, Donald Pierce’s Reavers, Danger (Xavier’s Danger Room gaining sentience), and Cameron Hodge’s the Right.
Predominantly, the X-Men have battled mutants that either use their abilities for personal gain at the expense of others or outright try to wipe out humanity. Some of these groups and individuals include Fabian Cortez and Exodus’ Acolytes, Selene’s Upstarts, Emma Frost’s Hellions, Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen and Dark Riders, Mr. Sinister’s Marauders and Nasty Boys, Stryfe’s Mutant Liberation Front, Azazel’s Neyaphem, Madeline Pryor, Shadow King, Cassandra Nova, Proteus, Legion, Omega Red, Holocaust, Dark Beast, and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Mr. Sinister, formerly brilliant biologist Nathaniel Essex before being transformed by Apocalypse, wanted to create the ultimate mutant and captured mutants in order to unlock the secrets of their x-factor (often at the price of their lives). Apocalypse, the Earth’s first mutant and likely its most powerful, believes in survival of the fittest and that only the strong should survive. Further, mutants are the next evolution of humanity and he has a desire to speed this process even quicker, wiping out humanity and weak mutants so that an even stronger race emerges. A group of mutants and humans, the Hellfire Club is history’s secret society that controls culture on a global level employing the wealthiest, most prestigious, and beings like cyborgs and mutants to gain more money and power. The group would try to subvert the Phoenix entity which brought the organization to the attention of the X-Men.
However, likely the greatest opponent to the X-Men (and sometimes member, or even leader) would be Magneto. With the oft-times villain compared to Malcolm X and Xavier to Martin Luther King Jr, the two close friends have had a rough relationship due to their differing opinions. Where Xavier pushes acceptance between mutants and humans, Magneto observes mutants as superior and should either live separate from humanity or rule it. To this end, Magneto has hatched numerous plots to this end, such as forming a group of mutants to counter Xavier’s X-Men and trying to develop a process to mutate humans (experimenting in the Savage Land and giving rise to the diabolical Sauron). These aims have made him one of the most notable villains on Earth, comparable to the likes of Dr. Doom and Red Skull.
Generally scientists who use their technology for personal gain, what makes Flash’s rogues so unique and so remarkably deadly is they form an almost fraternity or brotherhood. While many villains are entrenched in their own personal goals and almost unequivocally unwilling to share profit or glory, Flash’s enemies are allies, perhaps several even friends, and will work together as a team to obtain what they want. While just about all of them worked together, the closest allies are Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Trickster, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Captain Boomerang, Pied Piper, Top, and Abra Kadabra. Captain Cold, today, largely acts as the group’s leader thanks in no small part to his presence on Challenge of the Super Friends influencing a young Geoff Johns, he’s a stoic, calculating businessman of crime that keeps the Rogues in order and on mission.
Some of the Scarlet Speedster’s other rogues are less sociable, perhaps because they’re more ruthless. Mister Element was a frequent associate of the hero’s villains until he came into contact with the Philosopher’s Stone, becoming Doctor Alchemy and obsessed with unlocking the dangerous artifact’s secrets, the ability to rearrange reality itself. Gorilla Grodd was a resident of Gorilla City, a savage among a peaceful society of apes that sought to rule his people and turn them into a force to conquer Earth. The villain would become a major player on the world stage, frequently battling the Justice League of America. But the Flash’s greatest threat is Professor Zoom and his legacy. Zoom was a deranged fan of the Flash in the 25th Century that shortened his life in order to replicate the hero’s powers and had plastic surgery to look like him. Traveling to the past to meet him, his mind became unstable and ended up the hero’s greatest enemy, the Flash believed Zoom killed the love of his life Iris West only for her to reappear and Zoom tried again, only for the hero to murder his enemy instead.
The Flash’s predecessor, and Iris’ nephew, Wally West would get his own Zoom after taking up the Sultan of Speed’s mantle. FBI profiler Hunter Zolomon’s life was in shambles and he pleaded with his friend Wally West to go back in time to fix it for him, but when the hero refused Zolomon tried himself only to become unhinged and able to manipulate time. Appearing to have super-speed, Zolomon picked up Zoom’s mantle and tried to make Flash “better” by exposing him to tragedy (the belief it hardened someone to become stronger), murdering the hero’s unborn twins. Geoff Johns, who created Zolomon, created a new age of Rogues under Blacksmith with Girder, Magenta, Mirror Master II, Murmur, Plunder, and Trickster II (other new villains included Folded Man, Double Down, and Tar Pit).