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Aug 8

House of X #2 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Paul in HoXPoX, x-axis

So this is the huge high-concept retcon.  Spoilers ahead, as if that wasn’t obvious.  (Again, I’m using the page numbers in the digital edition.)

COVER (PAGE 1): There’s quite a lot going on in this set of triangles..  There are six different versions of Moira in the centre, each presumably representing a different one of her lives, though some of the images would fit as well with more than one.  We’ll come to the big idea in detail later on, but the six Moira shown on the cover are (clockwise from top) Moira VII, the Trask hunter; Moira IX, the Apocalypse ally; Moira in a lab coat and glasses, which could be one of several incarnations; Moira X, the current version; Moira in the clothes we see her wearing in the Oxford pub in several of her lives; and a normally-dressed Moira who doesn’t seem to match any of the ones in the issue.  In the background, for some reason, there’s a picture of a fingerprint – perhaps just to emphasise that they’re all the same person.

Surrounding her are Magneto, in his current costume; Cyclops; Emma Frost, Professor X (classic version); Wolverine; and Marvel Girl.  Moira X is adjacent to Xavier, which seems to make sense, but the others seem more random, at least at this point.  In the outer spaces are the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Apocalypse, and what appears to be the face of one of his henchmen.  The two pictures in the top left are obscured by the House of X logo, but the solicitation art shows that it’s Nimrod and a Sentinel.

PAGE 2: A quote from Apocalypse.  This doesn’t come from the issue itself – in fact, Apocalypse only gets two pages in the issue, and no lines of dialogue.  It’s standard Apocalypse fare – he’s offering to reward someone with power for surviving, presumably Moira IX.

PAGE 3: This issue consists of an overview of nine of Moira’s ten lives (the sixth one is skipped over).  A timeline graphic at the end expands on them, so I’ll pick up those points as we go.  We begin with the entirely mundane life of Moira I.  We don’t see enough context to get much of her family background, but the cross on her bedroom wall suggests religion.  Traditionally, Moira is supposed to be the daughter of a nobleman and (ahem) a “clan chieftain”, but Hickman is downplaying that heavily here in favour of giving her a very ordinary life as a schoolteacher.

The timeline graphic confirms that her maiden name is still Kinross.  The present day is shown (in her current life) as year 52, so apparently Moira is born in the late sixties on the current timeline.  This Moira doesn’t go to Oxford, but still meets Xavier anyway at the age of 17.  The most significant point about this scene is that Moira is clearly happier in this timeline than in any of the ones that follow it, though admittedly lives 3, 4 and 5 go reasonably well for her up to the point where she dies.  Life 6 is a mystery at the moment, and lives 7 to 9 go really rather badly for her… and indeed for everyone else.

PAGES 4-9: The life of Moira II, interspersed with the credits (“The Uncanny Life of Moira X”) and two data pages that are really just direct narration to explain the plot.  Unlike the normal data pages, this uses bold and italics for emphasis in the same way as the dialogue scenes.  They’re also the only data pages in this issue apart from the closing timeline (though it’s huge)  The enormous retcon here is that Moira is a mutant, and her only power is that every time she dies, her life starts over again with a complete memory of what went before.  It’s Groundhog Life, basically.  It’s unclear at this stage whether every new life creates a fresh divergent timeline, or whether Moira simply keeps rewriting the same one again and again – the narrator talks about “the path of her life … diverg[ing]” when she chooses to change events that she remembers, but that’s not quite the same thing.

According to the timeline, Moira II enrols in the Edinburgh Academy at the age of eight (the marker seems at first sight to show Moira I as well, but the different colour when it crosses the line is apparently intended to show that it only relates to Moira II).  Given her traditional aristocratic background and the age, the implication seems to be that she was sent to boarding school in response to her childhood protege status.  The Edinburgh Academy is a (real) private school in Edinburgh, which doesn’t have a boarding house any more, but did back in the 70s.  Unfortunately, what it didn’t have until 2008 was girls (not at Moira’s age, anyway).  Oh well.  Interestingly, none of the later Moiras go to Edinburgh Academy, even the ones who stick on the path of going to Oxford.

There’s a suggestion here that Moira was steered towards academia because she was mistaken for a prodigy, but her extra lifetime alone wouldn’t make her a scientific genius, so I think we’re supposed to take it that the aptitude is still genuine.  This Moira is the first to go to Oxford University (an established part of her backstory), and there’s a passing mention of her meeting “some interesting people” there – apparently not including Charles Xavier, whom she only barely remembers later.  Moira is finally inspired to pay attention to mutant affairs when Xavier comes out as a mutant on TV – she immediately tries to join the plot, but dies in a plane crash before managing to do so.

Xavier’s televised announcement is a direct repeat of the equivalent scene in New X-Men #116, complete with the same dialogue (except for the opening words about shadows and angels).   That raises a couple of points.  First, in that issue, it’s actually Cassandra Nova in Xavier’s body, not the real Xavier.  Since the dialogue is word-for-word identical, that presumably applies here too.  Second, it seems that X-Men history has played out in a broadly recognisable fashion up to the start of the Grant Morrison run without Moira having to get involved at all.  Aside from making clear that Moira didn’t bring the X-Men into being – Xavier would have done it anyway – this also seems to fit with the theme that the more active a role Moira takes in a timeline, the worse things seem to go.

The timeline has this Moira founding the Muir Research Institute at the age of 31.  Considering how much we’ve heard about Muir over the years in connection with Moira, it gets remarkably little play in this issue.

PAGES 10-15: The life of Moira III.  Again, she goes to Oxford, but takes against Xavier.  Instead, she finds a cure for being a mutant… and promptly gets herself killed again, since the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants show up on her doorstep.  The team shown on panel are Mystique, Destiny, Pyro and Avalanche – they’d normally include Blob, but while he’s on the cover, he doesn’t seem to be in the scene.  For some reason Pyro calls Destiny “mother”, which isn’t usual for him.

This scene is used to carefully spell out some particularly tricky parts of the plot.  Destiny’s precognitive powers don’t quite work normally on Moira – she can’t see Moira directly, but she can see the ripple effects.  This is why Destiny can’t see Moira – she’s always physically blind, but normally it’s academic because her powers let her “see” a millisecond ahead.  Destiny’s powers apparently tell her that the whole cure thing won’t work out well, so she and Mystique want to force Moira onto a different path the next time round, ideally by terrorising her about the consequences if she gets things wrong.

Destiny was always a character prone to long-term and elliptical schemes, and there’s reason to think she has more in mind here than just stopping the cure.  Destiny claims that Moira can in fact be killed for good, as long as it happens in the first 13 years of her life, before her mutant powers activate.  (Her power, it seems, is the ability to send herself back in time at death – it’s the sending body that needs powers, not the receiving one.)  Presumably, then, Moira can also be killed for good if you turn her powers off.  And this Moira has just developed a cure to do exactly that, which it seems she might even be planning to take of her own accord.  So if Mystique and Destiny wanted to kill Moira for real, they could just… give her the cure.  Instead they seem to take a conscious decision to send her back for a do-over.

There are two other important plot points here.  First, even though Destiny can’t see Moira directly, she claims that she can see Moira’s future lives in some sense, and knows that there will only be ten – or “eleven if you make the right choice at the end.”  (Again, note that this implies that Moira can in fact die at the end of a life.)  Moira’s tenth life, of course, is the one we’re currently on.

Second, Destiny claims that now that she’s confronted Moira, all future versions of Moira’s life will include a version of Destiny who already knows to look out for her.  This is typically headache-inducing time travel stuff, but the idea seems to be that Destiny already exists, and already has powers, at the point where Moira is conceived.  Therefore Moira will be faced with a pre-existing version of Destiny who can see the future in its current form, i.e. including the scene we’re now watching.  It’s kind of head-spinning and paradoxy but you get the general idea.  But note the implications if Destiny is right.  Destiny herself died in Uncanny X-Men #255 way back in 1989 (and on Muir Isle, of all places).  But there was nothing to stop her leaving instructions for someone else – and the obvious candidate would be her life-long partner Mystique.  Not only has Mystique appeared in every issue of this series to date, she was also responsible for killing Moira in X-Men #108.

The infographic describes Moira III as dying in a laboratory fire, which seems an unduly coy way of saying “murdered by Pyro”.

PAGES 16-17.  The life of Moira IV.  This version also goes to Oxford, and becomes the first to fall in love with Charles Xavier.  In this timeline, she seems to be a straightforward ally of the X-Men, and lives through a basically recognisable version of X-Men history that duly end with everyone being wiped out by the Sentinels.  The Sentinels are, of course, a big deal over in Powers of X, not to mention being the traditional apocalyptic end point for the X-Men, so it’s hardly surprising that Moira keeps running into them from here on.  Moiras II and III die before getting a chance to meet the Sentinels, while Moira I lived to a happy old age, so if there were Sentinels in that timeline, they evidently didn’t bring about an apocalypse.

X-Men history is represented by three panels, which the narrator describes as “the gifted years” (the Silver Age), “the time of hate and fear” (an early Claremont line-up) and “the lost decade” (represented by Avengers vs X-Men).  That last term is curious – and note that the infographic on the present day timeline allows a curiously short two years for the entire period from New X-Men #114 to the present day.  Is something screwy here?

PAGE 18.  The life of Moira V.  She meets Xavier early (note her position in the opening panel mirrors the repeated Oxford pub sequence anyway), they build a radicalised mutant city (Faraway), and the Sentinels come anyway.

PAGE 19-20.  The life of Moira VII – not VI, who gets skipped.  Moira VI is also missing from the closing timeline graphic, so there’s clearly a plot there.  This Moira tries to avert the Sentinels by murdering everyone in the Trask family who might build them – only to find that the Sentinels just emerge spontaneously anyway when AI is discovered.  They even look the same.  So apparently we’re doing runaway AI and the singularity and all that.

Moira is shown killing four Trask family members.  Bolivar Trask created the Sentinels in their debut way way back in X-Men #14.  Donald Trask seems to be the bit-part character from New X-Men #114-115 who wasn’t even a villain; his DNA was just by Cassandra Nova in order to control the Wild Sentinels.  Simon Trask was Bolivar’s brother, and the founder of the mid-90s extremist sect Humanity’s Last Stand.  Gwyneth Trask appears to be new.  The timeline graphic calls the Sentinel nest a “wild Master Mold facility”, which seems to be calling back to the “Wild Sentinels” concept from New X-Men.

According to the timeline, Moira VII joined “the BAF”, presumably the British Armed Forces, and “disappeared” seven years before she started killing Trasks.

PAGES 21-22.  The life of Moira VIII, who decides to take her chances with supervillain-mode Magneto.  Telling Magneto about her past-life experiences just leads him to attempt a missile strike on the White House, and predictably he gets squashed by the 80s superheroes.  Magneto’s ornate island base seems to be modelled on the one he was living in circa Uncanny X-Men #150.

The timeline graphic vastly expands on what’s shown here.  It shows that Magneto conquered America and duly ran it for six years, before being killed in the “War of M”.  During his reign, Moira formed something called “the House of M”, which we’ll no doubt learn about in due course.  This Moira is captured in Magneto’s defeat, and dies trying to escape.

PAGES 23-24.  The life of Moira IX, who is desperate enough to try her luck with Apocalypse.  Her choices aren’t getting any better.  War ensues.  This version of Moira seems to be Apocalypse’s partner and wears a version of his costume, complete with blue skin – it seems likely that she’s been given powers.  Apocalypse has a couple of Egyptian-themed henchmen behind him, one of whom makes the front cover, so might be more important than he first appears.  The Egyptian imagery has been associated with Apocalypse for decades by this point.  Apocalypse and Moira are shown fighting together against Nimrod and the Sentinels, so we’re back to the same destination.

The timeline expands on this a lot.  Apocalypse kills both Xavier and Magneto in this timeline, and then he and Moira leave Earth to recruit their first Horseman off-world.  Apocalypse founds a version of the X-Men, presumably inspired by Moira.  Most important of all, Moira IX’s timeline has no defined end point, but stretches off indefinitely into the future.

PAGES 25-27.  The gestation of Moira X – the current Moira – and a repeat of the scene from Powers of X #1 where she meets Xavier.  Now we know what Xavier saw in her mind. The narrator says that Moira X “decided she and Charles Xavier would break all the rules”; Cypher said something rather similar in the previous issue in reference to the new Krakoa-based direction (“The Professor has changed all the old rules”).

The timeline has quite a lot on the life of Moira X.  It acknowledges her marriage to Joseph MacTaggert in year 25 – he was eventually killed by Proteus.  There’s a curious entry which says that Moira and Xavier recruited Magneto in year 43, with a schism in year 47.  This presumably has something to do with Magneto joining the X-Men during the Claremont run and going back to villainy in 1991 with X-Men #1, though it’s not obvious where Moira’s recruitment fits into that.

Jonathan Hickman has confirmed that the text for years 49 and 50 has been swapped by mistake.  Year 50, “Genocide at Genosha”, is clearly New X-Men #114 – as noted above, this allows only a vanishingly short time for everything since then, which surely has to mean something.  Year 49, “Moira fakes death (Shi’ar golem)”, refers to her death in X-Men #108.  Note that Hickman is clear here that we are not living in a reboot timeline following Moira’s death in that issue; we’re still in the established X-Men continuity.  This isn’t the first mention we’ve had of the Shi’ar, either, though they’ve been on the fringes thus far.

Going back over hundreds of issues for dialogue that doesn’t fit with Hickman’s retcon would be a tiresome exercise – though for what it’s worth, I don’t believe there are any stories out there where Moira and Destiny appear together.  Moira’s death in X-Men #108 is worth a look, though.  It was part of the “Dream’s End” crossover, which ran through Uncanny X-Men #388, Cable #87, Bishop: The Last X-Man #16 and X-Men #108.  Since it was one of the last storylines before the Morrison/Casey reboot, it doesn’t get much talked about; its main plot purpose was to set up the cure of the Legacy Virus as a deck-clearing exercise.

So far as Moira is concerned, “Dream’s End” involved Mystique inventing a variant Legacy Virus which only attacked humans.  The Brotherhood attack Muir Isle and blow up the Research Centre, presumably in order to stop Moira from revealing how to cure their Virus.  The X-Men find Moira dying in the wreckage, and she explains  that she’s worked out the cure to both versions of the Legacy Virus.  In an, er, interesting piece of plotting, the X-Men decide that the best way to deal with a dying genius with essential information is to fly her across the Atlantic to the X-Men Mansion, rather than (say) taking her to a Scottish hospital.  Even though Rogue is right there, and offers to use her powers to absorb the memories, Moira insists that Rogue’s powers are too unstable (this was indeed a subplot at the time).  Instead – and this is the bit that doesn’t seem to lend itself to the “golem” explanation – Xavier and Jean use Cerebro to make contact with Moira on the plane, Xavier retrieves the data about the cure, and he and Jean watch Moira’s astral form depart for the afterlife.  It’s… not an easy death scene to explain away.  We’ll see where Hickman is heading with that.

Incidentally, the Brotherhood members who attack Muir Isle in “Dream’s End” are the unusual trio of Mystique, Toad and Sabretooth – the same three who raided Damage Control in House of X #1.

PAGE 28.  Closing quote from “Moira X”, which could mean anything, really.

PAGES 29-31.  The timeline, but we’ve covered that.

PAGES 32-34: The trailer pages read: “NEXT – HELLO OLD FRIEND”, and “THEN – THIS IS WHAT YOU DO”.


Bring on the comments

  1. CJ says:

    Hmm–the tattoo on the Librarian’s cheek looks a bit like the timeline infographic at the end of the issue.

    I am totally gripped by this. Yes, it’s a massive retcon, yes, there’s a lot to explain still, yes, the power to not only live an iterative “Choose Your Own Adventure” life ALSO has an “invisible to mutants” power.

    And yet. I can’t wait for next week. I like meta-idea that the X-Men are trying to evolve around depressing apocalyptic story genres.

    I found some dark humor in Moira II’s death–“such a promising life ahead of her! Pity she died in a plane, oops.” Maybe that’s a comment about her original death scene in X-Men #108 being handled poorly.

  2. Martin Gray says:

    Thanks for this Paul, I’ve a better understanding of the issue now. I’m so intrigued by what went on with Moira VI… anyone have any ideas?

  3. SanityOrMadness says:

    I just looked back at X-Men #108. There are three possibilities I see:
    1) Xavier & Moira were working together to fake her death, she’s remote-piloting the golem (or similar) and the whole “going into the light” and Xavier having to be talked into not going is all a performance on his part for Jean & Cable’s benefits.
    2) Similar to (1), but Xavier is *not* in on it, and Moira is somehow doing fooling him along with Jean & Cable.
    3) The golem is independent, but doesn’t know it’s not Moira, and does indeed die exactly as presented.

    (3) is obviously the simplest. Her last dialogue is actually interesting in light of this issue (“I’m not afraid. Y’canna imagine the beauty here. An’ the peace!… I wish y’ well [Charles]–until we meet again.”) if she thinks she’s going back to her mother’s womb (which she describes here as incredibly peaceful) and going to relive meeting him all over again.

    (1) has the problem that we get enough Xavier thought balloons to suggest he absolutely *doesn’t* know this isn’t “real” – if Hickman’s intending to retcon that he did know, there’s no explaining that away except by completely ignoring it.

    (2)… well, obviously you need a powerful ally and/or technology for her to be able to fool three major telepaths like that.

  4. SanityOrMadness says:

    [Actually, spinning onto Uncanny #389 makes Xavier being in on it harder to believe, since it’s an issue narrated by him about how unfair her death is/etc]

  5. Nu-D says:

    As Paul said, it’s probably not a good idea to try too hard to reconcile this retcon with previously published stories.

  6. Nate S. says:

    Interesting bit of continuity as mentioned elsewhere online…wasn’t Moira the only human infected by the original legacy virus and it went unexplained as to why? It’d make sense why if she were actually a mutant.

  7. Evilgus says:

    Love love loving these issues. Haven’t properly picked up the main X-titles for years – glad listened to the hype on this 🙂 this reveal has been stellar.

    What a way to re-evaluate Moira. And it does, largely, fit with what we know about her. Only ‘human’ yet with the Legacy Virus? Well now that makes sense. The preoccupation by Destiny and latterly Mystique (given how Moira died in #108)? Also fits with what we know from our ‘main’ timeline. I loved how sinister that encounter was.

    Destiny has never been scarier, and I like how Irene has an involvement in most major X-Men events when you pause to consider. If I was a new reader though, I’d be utterly lost… This is a deep dive.

    I’ve not seen anyone pick up on similarities between this, and Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life after Life’ which I very much recommended. 20th century woman lives through the ways, reincarnates, tries to change thinks for better – not always successfully or unselfishly.

    Nonetheless. Can’t wait to see how this all pans out. Sad Moira doesn’t have her accent, though 😉 And I reckon the ultimate twist will be either our universe is one where Moira spent her last (tenth? eleventh?) life, or 616 is the sixth life. Hmm!

  8. CJ says:

    I took Moira X’s golem / fake death to be some way for her to escape being bound to Destiny, to “break the rules” that Moira III learned about.

    On the other hand: did Destiny actually foresee the death of the golem? Wouldn’t Destiny have known that she were going to use a golem?

    @SanityOrMadness I think #3 works pretty well.

  9. Carey says:

    “There’s a curious entry which says that Moira and Xavier recruited Magneto in year 43, with a schism in year 47. This presumably has something to do with Magneto joining the X-Men during the Claremont run and going back to villainy in 1991 with X-Men #1, though it’s not obvious where Moira’s recruitment fits into that.”

    Could this be a reference to Moira supposedly tampering with Magneto’s DNA after he was de-aged in the pages of the Defenders and then kept at Muir Island until he was re-aged by Eric the Red in Uncanny X-Men 104?

  10. CJ says:

    @Evilgus I could definitely see Moira X omitting Moira VI’s life if it were 616 as we know if she wants Charles to avoid that path. Also, it’s a nice escape route had HoX/PoX been received poorly!

    Larraz’s Destiny art in particular was wonderful. The mask has always been a little creepy, but I found it really unnerving this issue for some reason.

  11. Dave says:

    ‘Prodigy’ rather than protege, surely?

    Intersting point about Cassandra Nova’s words. When I read the issue, I wondered if this meant Xavier without Moira’s influence would have outed himself early on. I didn’t consider it meaning Cassandra appeared earlier.

    There’s the possibility at the moment that Xavier and/or Moira deliberately ‘forget’ about her lives until a particular point in time, so that the timeline plays out as it needs to before then.

  12. Col_Fury says:

    In Uncanny #253-255, Legion is starting to affect people on Muir Isle. Polaris is becoming aggressive, Moira is becoming sexy, etc. Destiny has a strange dream in #254, and dies on Muir Isle in #255. She purposefully goes off by herself and finds Legion (who kills her off-panel). When Destiny greets Legion she asks “Were you perhaps expecting to find two of us here to serve your pleasure… silly boy?” I’ve always thought she meant Mystique was supposed to be with her at the moment of dying but sent her away to save her. But now…

    Of course, Moira is walking out with Destiny’s corpse to tell Mystique that Destiny’s dead at the end of #255.

    So yeah, as far as I know, the only time Moira and Destiny appeared together is when Destiny died. Hm.

    The Shadow King takes over Legion a little later in Uncanny #259, but did we ever learn why Legion was changing everyone on Muir in the first place? Or was Shadow King influencing Legion before he took over his body and that just never occurred to me before?

  13. SanityOrMadness says:

    All this talk of Ms Adler brings up an obvious question – is she still dead? After all, a load of dead characters are either back [the two ex-dead Cuckoos are *very* prominent in HoX #1] or due to appear in the new series. What’s Hickman’s limit on characters being resurrected? [recreated?]

  14. Thom H. says:

    This setup rivals the first three issues of New X-Men in my mind. I’m very excited by this turn of events, and I’ve never even liked Moira.

    — LOVE Destiny as a hard-ass. LOVE the Brotherhood as a creepy little family (implied by Pyro’s “mother”).

    — Also, this has to be the most authentically queer representation of a mutant’s “coming out” story that I’ve ever read. Knowing you’re different but not having a name for it. Then recognizing the name for it when you hear it. Trying to get closer to other people like yourself. Realizing they’re flawed, too. In any case, it really mirrors my experience of coming out, so it felt eerily accurate.

    — Is it weird that we’re three issues in and haven’t heard a word from most of the usual X-Men? So far, Magneto, Mystique, Destiny, “Charles,” and Moira have the largest speaking roles. Oh, and creepy Scott. Really focusing on the baddies so far.

  15. Brent says:

    I commented on the “lost decade” on Paul’s Apocalypse and Xtracts review and a few people said it’s all just a meta reference at most and probably just speaking to mutants’overall wasted potential… but where’s that decade on the timeline?

    I’m just saying… those two years between Morrison and the House of X make me feel like Hickman’s about to wipe everything out that’s taken place since then. And only seeing anything after Morrison referenced only once in this comic (where it is clearly labeled “lost”) doesn’t hurt this theory either.

    And given her new powerset, rewriting history would be easy to do with Moria.

    It’s all just a theory, but I see several ways it could work out. I wouldn’t be too upset either way, as has been pointed out, the X-Men haven’t really done anything of note in years (though I do love Joss Whedon’s run).

    I am really enjoying this series so far… and the commentary here is really helping me digest it all and feel like I’m not losing anything in the dense narrative. So thanks for providing it Paul!

  16. K says:

    In the very first panel of this issue, Moira is on death’s door from a fever… at the age of 13.

    I have this dark feeling that her story in this book just ends on that exact same panel, except that it’s life 11 and she doesn’t make it.

  17. CJ says:

    @Brent, I was one of those guys who thought it was figurative, but I now admit it’s hard to square away “the lost decade” with the 2 years shown in the timeline.

    As much as I love that timeline diagram, assigning even approximate years over a sliding-scale timeline was going to be problematic.

    If we are supposed to assume Moira X’s life is what “we” have seen, then I’m further unable to interpret Year 47 (fallout between Xavier and Magneto): is that around Uncanny X-Men 281, from 1991? Did only 3 years happen between X-Men #1 and New X-Men #114?

    @K: I took her fever to be the activation of her powers (the diagram at the end says it happens at age 13), which hasn’t been fatal so far.

  18. PersonofCon says:

    @Evilgus: I *loved* Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life. And the sequel/companion piece too about her brother–A God in Ruins (excellent title), which is mostly much less fantastical, but has an ending that absolutely floored me.

    Bit of a nonsequitor, but I’m also a fan of videogames with this premise. The famous one is probably Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, but there’s also the recently released Elsinore, which casts you as Ophelia, trapped in the play Hamlet.

  19. Ben says:

    Personally didn’t like this at all.

    The retcon is whatever, I just don’t like the writing.

    It’s someone explaining an idea for a story to the audience and showing them graphs.

    But it’s not actually a narrative.

  20. Luis Dantas says:

    Regarding the questions on which cycle corresponds to Earth-616… if I understand the Marvel Multiverse correctly, Moira’s power does not create nor enables her to travel through divergent Earths. She is consistently in Earth-616, although she is a bit more influential in its timeline than most other people.

  21. wwk5d says:

    I can’t say I love what Hickman is doing so far (I’ve never drank from the Hickman Kool-aid), as it is still too early to tell what’s going on. I think I’ll wait till both series are over and see what status quo he is setting up. But I do appreciate that he seems to be trying to do things a little differently.

    The Moira retcon I feel is unnecessary, and only works if you don’t think too hard about it and the details of it all.

    “Destiny has a strange dream in #254, and dies on Muir Isle in #255. She purposefully goes off by herself and finds Legion (who kills her off-panel). When Destiny greets Legion she asks “Were you perhaps expecting to find two of us here to serve your pleasure… silly boy?” I’ve always thought she meant Mystique was supposed to be with her at the moment of dying but sent her away to save her. But now…”

    No, that is not how it happened. Forge was assigned to watch her, and he takes her away from the battlefield. They talk, and she convinces him to leave right before Legion shows up.

    “Of course, Moira is walking out with Destiny’s corpse to tell Mystique that Destiny’s dead at the end of #255.”

    Technically, Tom Corsi was the one walking out with Destiny’s corpse, Moira just happened to be walking by his side (with Sharon Friedlander on the other side)…hell, Moira doesn’t even say anything in that scene…

    The only other time I can think of with Destiny and Moira appearing in the same story is in Uncanny #142. Right after Mystique zaps Charles and Moira with the knockout gas, Destiny shows up, and of course, says nothing about Moira. Of course, Hickman’s retcon does make Moira’s comments about time travel right before they get knocked out interesting, in an after-the-fact kind of way.

    Is “Shi’ar golem” going to be Hickman’s X-universe specific version of SHIELD’s LMD?

  22. YLu says:

    One thing that’s curious is how the Moira and Xavier on the bench scene can be Year One to the present day’s Year Ten if, as the timeline at the end of this issue indicates, she met Xavier when she was 17 and she’s now 52.

  23. Col_Fury says:

    Re: wwk5d
    You’re right, but I deleted those details and generalized it when I thought the post was getting too long and my point was becoming lost in the minutia.

    I had forgotten about #142. I’m pulling it out to re-read it now! 🙂

  24. Paul says:

    Yes, it should be “prodigy”. I’ve changed that.

  25. Zeb says:

    I’m confused about the, well, confusion over the ‘lost decade’…

    Are people assuming that refers to the 616 timeline? Because that’s clearly Moira IV. In that version, which admittedly seems to have gone *very* similarly to “our” timeline, she and Xavier set up the Xavier School in year 35. They die in a sentinel attack in year 55. That’s 20 years.

    If we assume everything on that page takes place in those years, we can assume O5 in year 35; the “hated and feared” in year 40 (can’t be more than 5 years by any stretch); the “lost decade” (and we don’t know if that image represents its end or beginning) can be 43-53; leaving us with two years to get to their eventual deaths.

    Admittedly, I’m assuming much here because of how limited the entries on that timeline are, but I think it works, especially factoring in ‘Marvel’ time.

    Am I missing something? Genuinely curious since this is the one point in this issue that I see everyone weirded out by and I don’t…really get it

  26. Brian Caffrey says:

    I think a lot hinges on what happens in the as-yet undocumented Moira VI. One thing the series is focusing on is allowing you to make assumptions based on what it tells you, before recontextualising with updates later. Right now, the only timeline that matches what we know of standard continuity is that Moira X is ‘our’ Moira (who died of the Legacy virus).


    What if the Moira we knew is actually Moira VI and, when reincarnating into Moira VII is now aware of how flawed Xavier is, post-Deadly Genesis et al. This could also feed into her now being determined to work with other factions and becoming increasingly violent and destructive. Moira X – the one focused on breaking the rules – is now synthesizing the various experiences to create an ‘optimal’ iteration (the regular continuity, but adjusted for the stories to come). It’d also cover her knowing that she’d need to fake her death to preserve the continuity to a point (since certain events seem to be required, like the Phoenix 5).

  27. Bengt says:

    The issues says AI is inevitable, it also kind of implies that said AI will always hate mutants, which I found funny.

    I did assume from what the way Destiny said it that the relaunches after House/power will be Moira’s 11th life. So House/Power is really about Moira learning to groundhog it properly.

  28. Evilgus says:

    @PersonofCon – I’ll give God in Ruins a try! I enjoyed Life after Life so much, I didn’t want to dilute it with a sequel… But based on your recommendation will try 🙂

    @K – I like your morbid theory. That would be quite a satisfying closure though! I also have no doubt Mystique wouldn’t hesitate to kill a child to prevent something in the future coming to pass…

    Thinking more generally, at the end of Charles Soule’s run, it’s very specific that this isn’t Xavier any more.. it’s “X” who has a “new dream”. I’m just wondering how some of this plays into House of X, which we assume stands for Xavier, and not something else.

    Anyway, am looking forward to the journey – the overall ambiguity and how characters feel deliberately “off”. Spooky!

  29. SanityOrMadness says:

    The thing about any assumption that “our” Moira is Moira VI, or Moira XI, is that it immediately knocks either HoX/PoX or the upcoming titles out of the main continuity. And not in an Age of X-Man-esque “the mutants all went somewhere else” way, in an Ultimate X-Men-esque “the characters we know stay where they are (in the MU) and we start again with, essentially, some all-new guys; however superficially similar they are” way.

  30. FUBAR007 says:

    Nu-D: As Paul said, it’s probably not a good idea to try too hard to reconcile this retcon with previously published stories.

    Yeah, personally, I’m treating this as a soft reboot. Stuff still happened, just not in in the way or amount of time we originally read.

    X-Men continuity hasn’t made sense for years, anyway.

    Col_Fury: The Shadow King takes over Legion a little later in Uncanny #259, but did we ever learn why Legion was changing everyone on Muir in the first place? Or was Shadow King influencing Legion before he took over his body and that just never occurred to me before?

    IIRC, it started as Legion’s Jack Wayne personality being his evil, sadistic self. Farouk then used that as his way in to possess Legion.

    It’s been years since I read those stories, though.

  31. Adam Farrar says:

    “So if Mystique and Destiny wanted to kill Moira for real, they could just… give her the cure. Instead they seem to take a conscious decision to send her back for a do-over.”
    Since Destiny points out that the fact that the cure exists at all is a threat to all mutants. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, as she sees it, her only option is to restart time.

    “Second, Destiny claims that now that she’s confronted Moira, all future versions of Moira’s life will include a version of Destiny who already knows to look out for her.”
    That wasn’t my impression. I think it’s Destiny saying that if A Moira announces a mutant cure, that Moira’s Destiny will reach the same conclusion that this Destiny did and come to kill her.

  32. Piercey says:

    Loved the issue. After this, my gut feeling is that Destiny and Proteus are going to be big players in this.

    Destiny – I think that was what Mystique was referring to in terms of ‘demands’ in Powers of X #1 – i.e. using Krakoa pods in bringing Destiny back to life – and why there might be some resistance by Xavier if she causes a problem for Moira.

    Proteus – I think it was interesting that Moira didn’t have any children after her first life, and that only seems to have changed with Moira X (unless VI reveals otherwise) – after her transformation by Apocalypse. The quote from him at the front makes me feel he could be referring to some kind of reality shifting/eternal being and hence some part in the creation of Kevin/Proteus. Side thought – Kevin/Proteus was called Mutant X – maybe this was Mutant 10 – as Hickman seems fond of switching X/10 often – and the birth wasn’t as natural as we might have first thought? Lastly, Proteus is listed as a Omega Mutant aligned with Krakoa, so maybe the Charles Soule Astonishing X-Men storyline with Xavier/X and Proteus lead to this/Krakoa storyline.

    Destiny and Proteus are also connected during the Mike Carey Necrosha storyline in X-Men Legacy #231-233 where a resurrected Destiny was possessed by Proteus at Muir Isle. Hickman’s said he was a fan of Carey’s run so maybe there’s some link there?

    The other significant Destiny / Moira connection not mentioned above was after their “deaths” – In X-Men Chaos War, which saw a resurrected Moira (maybe this could be retconned as a previous Moira!), alongside Thunderbird, Banshee, Sophie and Esme Cuckoo and some Madroxes, look for a way to defeat the Chaos King – this lead to them finding one of Destiny’s diaries – and by touching it, Moira started to physically transform into Destiny. Moira seemed to know a lot about Destiny’s life as she recaps it for the other characters. Also – Interesting now with hindsight, Moira says about working with Charles “for what felt like a lifetime” 😉

  33. Paul says:

    “That wasn’t my impression. I think it’s Destiny saying that if A Moira announces a mutant cure, that Moira’s Destiny will reach the same conclusion that this Destiny did and come to kill her.”

    I think if that was the idea then Destiny would have put it much more simply: if I saw it coming this time round, then I’ll see it coming next time too.

    She goes further than that: “I am much older than you are. My powers will have manifested full of the knowledge of what we have done.” So Destiny is specifically claiming that when the next Moira is born, there will already be a Destiny, who already has her powers, and who already knows about this particular scene (and presumably will notice anything Moira does to change that history).

    Destiny appears to be claiming that because she’s a precognitive, anything that alters the future will alter her state of knowledge in the past, and thereby indirectly alter the past. She could, of course, be bluffing.

  34. Dave says:

    I like the idea that 616 is actually life 6, but as SOM says, that means HoXPoX is just another alternate future – though arguably a more canonical future that’s definitely set to happen after a few more Moira lives – and also means that 616 has a definite expiry date, only lasting as long as Moira lives.

    Zeb: It’s just because life 4 is presented as very similar to our continuity. If the gifted years were largely the same, and the time of hate and fear, AND the era where Phoenix 5 happens, then why would that last era be ‘lost’ in life 4, but not in life 10?

  35. CitizenX says:

    Why assume the lost decade takes place after Morrison’s run? The graphics show the lineup from Giant-Size X-Men #1, and then the Phoenix 5. Even on a sliding timeline, surely there’s a decade in there somewhere. I also wonder if it’s a coincidence that the main heroes shown in House of X #1 -Professor X, Scott, Jean, and Wolverine, have all just recently come back to life.

  36. Tim XP says:

    @Zeb: I think the confusion over the “lost decade” is a conflation of two different points. As you say, that part of the Moira IV timeline makes sense from what little information we’re given. But by seemingly acknowledging that that part of the X-Men’s history took up a decent chunk of (in-universe) time, it makes it even more obvious that two years for everything from New X-Men #114 onward is a tight squeeze in the Moira X/current timeline. It gets even more complicated if you factor in the multiple months-long time jumps that were part of that period, including Hickman’s own Time Runs Out/Secret Wars stories and the beginning of HoX #1. If we’re still meant to take those literally, everything from the fall of Genosha to ResurrXion would have to fit into one hectic summer holiday.

    @SanityOrMadness: I think for the “Timeline XI will be the new relaunch” theory to work, the change would have to be subtle enough that the rest of the Marvel Universe could just carry on as normal without having their past interactions with the X-Men significantly altered. So it would probably be identical to Timeline X up to whatever goes wrong on Krakoa, which would still allow *some* of HoX/PoX to stay in continuity.

  37. Chris V says:

    How much time, in Marvel time, has been meant to pass since 2001 to the present though?
    Surely not a decade.
    Peter Parker is about 30 years old right now. He was 16 years old when Amazing Spider Man started in 1962.
    I’m really not sure that more than two years has passed in the Marvel Universe since the Grant Morrison days.

  38. Dave says:

    The old non-rule would have said 2001-2019 would be around 4 years in-universe, plus there’s timeskips of nearly 2 years in that time, so you should be looking at at least 5 years. I can also remember just in Bendis’ run on Avengers he had a ‘2 years ago’ type flashback to something earlier in his own run, but it’s generally best to take no notice of Bendis in these things.

  39. Ben says:

    Trying to make sense of the passage of time in a superhero monthly is the definition of insanity.

  40. SanityOrMadness says:

    @Ben /

    (Paul used to be a director)

  41. Chris V says:

    Ben-It really is, considering that the Marvel Universe must have US presidential elections nearly every year.

    I know that different Marvel chronology projects say that references to American presidents are topical.
    However, many times the president plays a role in the story, and you can’t just swap out President A for President B.

    Since 2001, we’ve seen George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump used as president of the United States in the Marvel Universe too.
    With, at the very least, Obama and Trump it’s hard to just explain the president’s presence away as simply topical.

    Spider Man met Barack Obama in an issue of Amazing Spider Man.
    Donald Trump plays a large (although background) role in the current Captain America comic.
    It’s hard to just hand-wave that away and say it was really this or that president and not Nixon, Reagan, W. Bush, Obama, or Trump.

  42. Andrew says:

    Wild issue. It continues to be the most engaging the X-books have been in a long time.

    It’s got me curious about reading Dream’s End for the first time in about 18-19 years. I remember liking the arc at the time even though it, like Eve of Destruction that followed it, were designed entirely to clear the decks and get rid of the various barnacles.

  43. Col_Fury says:

    Re: FUBAR007
    Ah yes, Jack Wayne. I think you’re right. Thanks!

    As for those worried (or whatever) that this will result in a reboot of the X-Men or Marvel universe, don’t be. Remember when everyone was worried that Secret Wars would result in a new history and nothing will have mattered? Didn’t happen, and that was a line-wide crossover. Or One More Day? Or House of M? Or etc.? It won’t happen here either. Current Marvel editorial has been boasting for a while that they haven’t had to do a reboot in 80 years, and still have the same history/continuity. They’re not going to chuck that on the 80th anniversary while celebrating it.

    Just enjoy the ride and see where it takes us is my philosophy.

    As for how long has it been since Fantastic Four #1, the general rule is 15 years. Yes, that means FF #1 now happens after 9/11. Everything just continually gets compressed into about “15 years.” Does that mean there’s four Christmases and a US Presidential election every year? Yeah, but so what? Anything that doesn’t quite fit into that frame retroactively just gets a squinty-eye and is waved off as a topical reference. *shrug*

  44. Voord 99 says:

    I think there’s also a tacit winnowing process in which the past is boiled down to a set of iconic events that are active in collective memory, and the rest fades into the background and only exists on the rare occasions when it’s used. The reader is liable to object if a story is written as if the death of Gwen Stacy did not happen — not so much if the story contradicts what the Sub-Mariner did on page 7 of Super-Villain Team-Up #11.

    Basically, the past that effectively exists is much the same as the past that writers have to worry about is much the same as the past that it’s useful to reference in order to enhance the effectiveness of the story.

    That being said, it can be fun to imagine what it would be like if it all did happen in a short space of time. A discussion here about a year ago sent me down the rabbit hole of what It would look like if you tried to fit all of Matt Murdock’s legal career into the relatively few years between graduating with a JD and still being young enough to do extreme acrobatics with a normal human biology, and, well, it would be amusing to see the online reviews of someone whose professional life was that flaky and chaotic.

    But it also illustrates the point above. The most recent public outing of Matt’s identity as Daredevil is the third time that has happened to him. But Bendis wrote the story with explicit dialogue to indicate that it was the very first time, and while I’m sure that there were some diehard Daredevil completists who objected, I don’t think there was the kind of pushback that you’d have seen if the story hadn’t taken into account an iconic moment like Ben Urich finding out. (Which, obviously, Bendis is careful to acknowledge.)

  45. CJ says:

    Just as PoX #1 showed chimera mutants containing splices of earlier mutants’ powers, I wouldn’t be surprised if “our” timeline is in fact a chimera of timelines, at least IV and X.

    I wouldn’t put it past Hickman to have time itself evolving as a meta-theme here.

  46. wwk5d says:

    “As for how long has it been since Fantastic Four #1, the general rule is 15 years. Yes, that means FF #1 now happens after 9/11.”

    So that means Dr. Doom never cried his single tear of sadness?

    Thank God.

  47. Walter Lawson says:

    CJ’s point leads me to wonder what happens if someone splices Moira’s mutation into the chimeras. (Technically, genetically engineered hybrids, right? I think chimeras have different genomes in a single body.)

  48. Michael says:

    My theory regarding Life 6 is that it was the -best- possible outcome of all of the lives to date… and either it ended badly, or it ended perfectly, but when Moira reset after that one, she decided, as a scientist does, to experiment with other variables. “I’ve still got at least 3 or 4 more lives,” she thinks. “Let’s see what else happens. After I’ve done that, I can always go back to make sure #6 comes about and we lead our perfect lives.”

    The problem with 6 being “our” timeline is that it’s not shown to include Proteus, which is a unique factor to the 10 lives as documented, and it places Moira at Xavier’s side well into events she didn’t experience after she died.

    Of course, with Hickman’s tendency to play games with storytelling, it’s anyone’s guess what he really has going on.

  49. Voord 99 says:

    So that means Dr. Doom never cried his single tear of sadness?

    No, it still happened, but Doom was upset because Community was cancelled.

  50. CJ says:

    Moira would really fit in with the “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode.

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