The Rasputin family tree has some notable members in it already, including famous X-Men Colossus and Magik, as well as X-villain Mikhail Rasputin. Marvel’s merry mutant family are also related to another famous figure: Grigori Rasputin.
2005’s Colossus: Bloodline by David Hine and Jorge Lucas tells the story of Piotr Rasputin learning about his famous family roots in Russia. Members of the Rasputin family are being murdered, causing Colossus’ cousin, Larisa, to call him for help. She informs him their great-grandfather was Grigori Rasputin, the mystic and self-proclaimed holy man of Russia.
Larisa informs Piotr his temper, Illyana’s temptation towards her darker nature and Mikhail’s insanity are all things the siblings inherited from Grigori’s genes. The two ponder if Rasputin was really a mutant after all.
Soon after this revelation, the cousins meet their Mad Uncle Vlad, a fellow descendent of Rasputin with a penchant for breaking out into Boney M and ABBA tunes. As the killer tracks down the remaining Rasputins, he reveals himself to be none other than Mister Sinister, joined by Colossus’ brother, Mikhail. Sinister reveals his long, complicated backstory with Grigori Rasputin — and why he needs the Rasputin bloodline to end.
In 1859, while still going by the name Nathaniel Essex, Sinister was deeply passionate about studying mutation. Essex wanted to prove his colleague Charles Darwin wrong and prove evolution didn’t need millenniums to occur. He discovered the secrets of hereditary mutation, known as The Essex Factor.
Upon meeting Apocalypse, Essex was killed and reborn as Mister Sinister, though his passion for genetics remained. He rebelled against Apocalypse, declaring his methods for discovering mutation “barbaric” and unworthy of the “pure” mutants Sinister wanted to create. Then, he met Grigori Rasputin.
Believing Rasputin to have The Essex Factor due to the great feats he was able to accomplish, Sinister teamed up with the holy man. He instructed him to mate with as many people as possible in order to spread The Essex Factor around. Rasputin began to impregnate his “celestial brides,” but it was in Sinister’s lab that the new race would actually be conceived. Taking blood samples from Rasputin, Elena (Colossus’ great grandmother) and Ivan (Elena’s brother), he was able to create an artificially enhanced Essex Factor. He then injected this serum into Grigori’s unborn children.
Growing tired of Rasputin’s antics, Ivan involved himself in the plot to kill Grigori Rasputin. However, Rasputin wouldn’t die and by the time his “brides” got a hold of him, they conducted a ritual. Rasputin declared that he passed his spirit into them, allowing him to preserve his bloodline — and when the world was ready for his return, he would return.
The smaller the bloodline is, the sooner Rasputin’s return. Sinister spent decades waiting, deciding ultimately to murder Grigori’s descendants until only the most powerful was left. The remaining Rasputin was then to be a vessel for Grigori’s return, a fate Mikhail wanted for himself. At this point in X-Men canon, it was believed that only Piotr, Mikhail, Vlad and Larisa remained.
Driven to madness, Vlad lit himself on fire — but not before admitting he actually hates Boney M and ABBA, but the piece of Grigori that lives inside him was their true fan. Larisa was murdered by Sinister, leaving just Piotr and Mikhail. The brothers duked it out, but at the last minute, Colossus was able to appeal to his sibling’s humanity.
Mikhail turned on Sinister and Piotr returned home, visibly shaken by the events though they’d never be referenced again in any other X-Men comic to date. Thus, a neat little bow was wrapped around the saga of Piotr Rasputin vs his great-grandfather, Grigori Rasputin. Although, Mister Sinister could still ask Charles for the resurrection of Grigori Rasputin.
A forgotten 2005 miniseries explored how the X-Man Colossus was related to actual historical figure Grigori Rasputin.