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Sep 26

Powers of X #5 annotations

Posted on Thursday, September 26, 2019 by Paul in HoXPoX, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers refer to the digital edition.

COVER (PAGE 1): Mister Sinister stands over some of the eggs from which cloned mutants are hatching. Once again, this is an odd choice of cover, since it has nothing to do with the issue (in which Sinister doesn’t appear).

PAGE 2: The epigraph is a very on-the-nose quote from Professor X saying that the real plan is something else entirely. Without context, it’s not clear who Xavier is referring to when he says that “they” will get it wrong, but Hickman’s run has been full of hints that all is not what it seems here. You’d expect Xavier to be referring to humans, but it could as easily be mutants…

PAGE 3: The credits. The title of this issue is “For The Children”, and Xavier has treated the X-Men – and mutants generally – in a very paternalistic way throughout Hickman’s run. But here, it’s a line of dialogue from Emma later on, when she decides to join Xavier’s plan. The small print reads “Once more I need three.” This might refer to the three back-up units that Xavier mentions in the next scene.

PAGES 4-7: The “Year One” scene shows Professor X visiting Forge to enlist his help in upgrading Cerebro to prepare a database of back-up copies of the minds of every mutant on the planet.

It goes without saying that this is all massively creepy and invasive, and plays into the interpretation of Professor X as a very ends-justify-the-means character. Xavier rather implies that he tried discussing this idea with Beast, who was quite emphatic about shooting it down – he describes that discussion in terms of technical feasibility, but it’s hard to avoid a vibe that Beast had serious ethical problems. Forge, in contrast, only seems to care about the technical challenge.

Timeframe: Once again, the timeframe here is rather obscure, but let’s assume that “Year One” means somewhere roughly in the region of the X-Men’s founding. There are a number of conflicting signals, though…

  • Xavier has been discussing Cerebro with the Beast. Beast was the last of the boys to join the X-Men (in the late-sixties “Origins of the X-Men” back-up strips), so the X-Men team must exist by this point.
  • Forge is wearing what’s effectively an X-Men uniform, but with a blank circle instead of the X-Men logo on the belt. The lighting in this scene makes it hard to tell whether the lighter parts are yellow (like the X-Men’s) or white. It looks more like the late 80s/early 90s uniforms than a Silver Age uniform – for what it may be worth, the design of those uniforms was credited to Moira (in Uncanny #262). At any rate, his costume is a bit weird.
  • Xavier knows about the Shi’ar. This is odd, since Xavier didn’t meet Lilandra and make contact with the Shi’ar until X-Men #105 (1977). If he already knows about them at the start of the Silver Age, that seems to be a retcon.

Forge. A mutant inventor and ally of the X-Men who debuted in Uncanny X-Men #184 (1984) as a supporting character, before graduating to become a member right at the end of the Claremont era. He was Storm’s romantic interest for a long time, but more recently has gone through a string of breakdown stories. He seemed back to normal in Dead Man Logan recently. The idea that Forge had a formal arrangement with Xavier this early on is new – when he first appeared, he was a freelance inventor making weapons for the government. He’s not an established ally at this point in his career, though his interest in technical challenge over moral concerns is fairly in character.

“Dallas, Texas.” This is presumably Forge’s established base in Eagle Plaza, Dallas.

Generations of Cerebro. Xavier says there have been four generations of Cerebro, “counting the initial prototype.” This seems to be a reference to the “Origins of the X-Men” backup strip in X-Men #40 (1968), where a prototype version of Cerebro was named “Cyberno” – hence the numbering confusion.

“I would prefer five.” Xavier asks for five storage units: “One main unit, three backups and an additional one for… unforeseen complications.” That’s just a roundabout way of saying “four backups”, so it sounds as if Xavier has something more specific in mind. Xavier seems rather keen on the number five for some reason, given that we’ve just had The Five in House of X, and there were five members of the original X-Men team.

The Shi’ar. Xavier plans to use a “cloaked antimatter engine of imperial design currently in Earth’s orbit” as a power source, and “Shi’ar logic diamonds” as a storage medium. We’ve seen in previous issues that the Shi’ar apparently provided a home for mutants in the Year 100 timeframe. I’m not clear what the antimatter engine is, if it’s a reference to anything previously mentioned.

PAGE 8: A data page on Cerebro. This is a rather scattershot collection of data, some of which relates to Cerebro, some not. For the most part, the description of Cerebro just expands on what we’ve already heard. He’s making backups of every mutant mind – apparently without consent – to multiple “cradles” on a weekly basis.

The cradles: There are five locations listed. One is Moira’s No-Place (see below); one is the House of X on Krakoa itself; and one is Island M, Magneto’s former island base. The other two are “Summer House” and “The Pointe”, neither of which means anything to me – though “Summer House” might be something to do with the Summers family, traditionally cited as a major mutant bloodline.

“Moira’s No-Place”: One of the five cradles is “Moira’s No-Place”, Krakoa also has a “No-Place vent” which serves as a power source. No-Place was identified in House of X #1 as a flower which produces “a habitat that exists outside the collective consciousness of Krakoa”, unknown to Krakoa itself. (Incidentally, that data page contains two references to Krakoa as a collective consciousness, which is interesting with hindsight.)

Body/mind mismatches: Somewhat unrelated to the rest of the page, we’re reminded again of the possibility of putting the wrong mind in the cloned body. This is likely to be harmful… unless a mutant has the powers to overcome it. So clearly that’s happening at some point.

Professor X: Xavier has twice restored his own mind from backup – in practical terms, erasing his own memories. So either there’s something he can’t live with or something he doesn’t want to know. Again, it’s clearly setting up a plot.

PAGES 9-13: The first part of the Year 10 (present day) sequence. Professor X and Magneto approach Emma Frost and enlist her to help sell Krakoa’s mutant pharmaceuticals and join their government. Emma’s initial reaction – unlike most characters we’ve seen so far – is to point out all the rational objections to this whole plan. In particular, she’s the first character to actually point out the obvious parallel with Genosha (even though Hickman has repeatedly referenced Genosha in other contexts). While she’s fairly easily won over, part of the point of this scene is to make clear that Hickman is well aware of these objections.

The statues: The one seen on panel is the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a Greek statue from the 2nd century BC. Emma also mentions seeing “the Canova”, which would be Antonio Canova’s Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss – but she says that she thought this statue was “a more appropriate place to meet”, perhaps because it’s sort of mutanty (it’s got wings), and it’s in ruins.

Hellfire Corporation: Emma regained control of the Hellfire Club and its associated enterprises in X-Men Black: Emma Frost (2018); this all reflects her pre-House of X status quo as shown in Uncanny X-Men.

PAGES 14-17: The second part of the Year 10 sequence, as Magneto and Professor X bring Emma to Krakoa, and she agrees to join their scheme. This is where Emma gives her “for the children” speech quoted in the epigraph. She’s long been written as having a genuine interest in the next generation of mutants; it’s entirely in character for that to be her motivation in terms of joining a grand scheme of this sort. The other main purposes of this scene are to reveal some details of the Krakoan government (typically uncomfortable) and to set up the premise for Marauders.

The Hellfire Trading Company: The Hellfire Corporation is going to “become the East India trading company of mutantdom” – and indeed the solicitations for Marauders #1 refer to Emma running something called the Hellfire Trading Company. The East India Company was a British company founded in 1600, originally with the intention of trading with India, but which developed over time to become the vehicle through which large chunks of Asia wound up in the British Empire. Which bodes well for any humans planning to trade with Emma’s company, doesn’t it?

Sebastian Shaw: Shaw was the Black King of the original Hellfire Club Inner Circle (original in terms of the first-published stories, that is), alongside Emma as White Queen. Xavier and Magneto want Sebastian Shaw to run the Hellfire Club’s dealings with adversarial nations (those listed in House of X #5, presumably). As Emma says, she “just got rid of him” in X-Men Black: Emma Frost – which, in fact, very strongly implied that she had killed him. Her reaction here, though, suggests that Hickman is taking advantage of that issue’s very, very limited wiggle room and declaring that he wasn’t quite dead after all.

PAGES 18-19: Data pages about “The Quiet Council of Krakoa”, Krakoa’s interim ruling body which… may or may not be all that interim. The government of Krakoa is decidedly lacking in transparency. It’s not democratic, it has no discernible accountability, and even the identities of its members appear to be secret. The reference here to “some debate” about reforming it is the closest we’ve seen so far to a suggestion of actual dissent over anything on Krakoa. We’re not told why it’s called the “Quiet Council”, but given some of the members, I’d guess that they hold their meetings telepathically.

There are 12 members of the council, divided into four groups, each named after a season. Most of the names are redacted; Professor X and Magneto are on the autumn list, while Black King and White Queen are on spring. The third “spring” member is presumably going to be whoever Emma insisted upon at the end of the previous scene, and we’ll learn about that in due course. All the “winter” and “summer” names are blacked out, but one of the winter names is in fact legible if you zoom in (which seems to be deliberate) – it’s Mystique. Cypher and Krakoa are also listed as attending, but not as part of the 12. Cypher’s presence is presumably at least in part to serve as an interpreter for Krakoa.

PAGES 20-22: The third part of the Year 10 sequence, as Xavier sends a telepathic message to mutants worldwide, inviting them to Krakoa – then goes to speak to Namor about it. Interestingly, even though Xavier’s speech is all about putting our differences aside and realising that mutants are all one people, we only see him approaching the villains – many of the same ones who were shown in House of X #5 arriving at Krakoa only long after the island was up and running. Something’s up here. Where are the X-Men?

Specifically, the characters shown listening to Xavier are:

  • Exodus and the Acolytes. Followers of Magneto – Exodus in particular tends to be quasi-religious about it – which makes it all the odder that they need to be approached this way at all. The individual Acolytes aren’t always easy to identify given their very similar costumes, but there doesn’t seem to be much significance in the particular ones chosen here.
  • Mr Sinister, apparently just finishing off on a particularly murderous experiment with some of his own clones. Again, it seems odd that Xavier is approaching him in this way, when he’s central to a big part of Xavier’s plan. As noted in relation to previous issues, he’s also not technically a mutant.
  • The Omega Clan – Omega White, Omega Red and Omega Black, from Uncanny X-Force #25 (2012). Confusingly, all three are clones (sort of) of the original Omega Red. Red and Black also both died later in the Uncanny X-Force run, though Red was among the dead characters revived as a zombie by Persephone in Return of Wolverine (2018).
  • Gorgon, the high-ranking Hand member (who hasn’t previously shown much interest in mutant politics or identity).

Namor. Unlike the characters above, he gets a personal (telepathic) visit from Xavier, perhaps because he’s the ruler of Atlantis. Namor wasn’t originally a mutant – he predates the X-Men by decades – but was rather hamfistedly retconned into being a mutant during the 80s, on the logic that his power of flight couldn’t logically be attributed to his Atlantean heritage. He occasionally shows up as an X-Man in more recent years, but most recently he’s been used mainly as an erratic antagonist in Invaders – I’m only reading that series on Unlimited, so I’m way behind on his status quo. Continuing a theme for this issue, Namor is the first mutant we’ve seen refuse to play ball with Xavier’s grand ideas.

Namor doesn’t believe Xavier’s stated reasons for Krakoa. While it’s not very clearly worded (to put it mildly), Namor seems to be saying that he thinks Xavier is putting on an act of mutant nationalism, and should come back when he really means it.

Namor’s throne – a giant shell design with a Lovecraftian monster behind it – is strikingly similar to the one from Moira’s eighth life in House of X #2, where Magneto was using it as his throne on Island M. They’re not identical, but the differences are within the bounds of artistic licence. This is obviously leading somewhere.

PAGE 23: The Stan Lee page.

PAGES 24-27: The Year 1000 sequence, as the Phalanx declare the “copy your mind to a computer” approach to be an acceptable way for mutants to be absorbed into the collective. And then they’re going to kill everything on Earth to absorb it for energy. There’s an obvious parallel here with Professor X using Cerebro to restore dead mutants from back-up in House of X and insisting that this definitely does amount to recovering their soul. This is the inverse: since the mutants will all survive as electronic copies, what difference does it make the originals are all killed? Underlying all this is the question of authenticity, and whether – if you can make an absolutely accurate copy of someone – there is any meaningful difference between the two. We might instinctively object that the clones don’t have souls, but characters like Rasputin are also lab-grown and we don’t have the same instinctive objection to them. Why can’t the cloned X-Men have their own souls which simply happen to be identical to the originals’…?

“Primordial kirbons” Not a thing. Probably a Jack Kirby reference.

Titan society. The Librarian recounts a theory that every black hole is the result of a society so advanced that it collapsed in on itself, and contains “a super-massive machine brain” containing that society’s “collective intelligence.” This is apparently “an argument for independent Titan societies”, of which we learn more on the following data page. None of this seems to have any particular real-world basis.

Black holes. Nimrod posits that all black holes, being wormholes, could be connected – so instead of each one having a society at its centre, they might all be connected. The practical significance of all this lies in the Year 100 X-Men’s suicide mission in issue #3, where Rasputin and the future Omega disappeared into a black hole. In that scene, Omega said: “do you have any idea what lies at the heart of a real black hole? I’ll give you a hint – it’s where we’re headed… it’s where we’re all headed.” Perhaps she was predicting the eventual development of society (perhaps machine society) into something that would collapse into a black hole. At any rate, it all tends to confirm that we’ll be seeing Rasputin and Omega again at some point.

PAGES 28-29. Rounding off the issue, data pages about universal-scale societies, to continue from the planetary-scale societies listed in issue #2. As established in that issue, “SI” standards for “species intelligence”, and the whole scale is described in terms of machine copies of organic minds – humans (and mutants) don’t get a look-in. The previous scale took us up to the Phalanx at an SI of one million. This one – continuing the powers of ten motif – proceeds with Titans at 10 million, strongholds at 100 million (basically connected Titans), and “Dominions” which are curiously listed as “undefined”, when you might expect them to be 1,000,000,000.

The Kardashev Scale. This is real, and I covered it in the annotations for issue #2. The universal societies are claimed to be Type O on the Kardashev scale, but this doesn’t make a huge amount of sense – Kardashev’s scale only had types I, II and III, and while there have been various suggested extensions, I’m not aware of any of them including a Type O. (Type 0 – zero – is sometimes used, to denote societies like ours that don’t even qualify for Kardashev’s Type I.)

Strongholds. Oddly, having reached the second-highest level of societal advancement, the Strongholds are described as warring and expansionist. This is a rather bleak view of ascension, but then that’s kind of the point.

Dominions. Societies so advanced as to be literally godlike. One Dominion is said to control Earth’s area; presumably the reason we never hear from it is that we’re completely beneath its notice. Either that or it interacts with us more subtly. A god in the Marvel Universe usually means somebody like Thor, but Hickman seems to have something much more omnipotent in mind. The small print on the diagram page reads “galactic-universal” (next to the higher scale societies from issue #2) and “universal-abyss” (next to the universal societies from this issue). So that’s encouraging.

Cosmic entities. A note tells us that the only threats to the Dominions are Galactus, the Phoenix and “universal abstracts”. This is basically the stock Marvel cosmic pantheon – a lot of embodiments of abstract concepts like Eternity, Chaos and so forth, plus more idiosyncratic creations like Galactus and Phoenix. Precisely what Phoenix represents (if anything) has been vague and inconsistent over the years, but Hickman’s description of it is “the singular universal manifestation of life” is reasonably traditional – whatever it may mean in practice.

PAGE 30. The closing quote is Namor: “When you see me again, understand what that means.” Namor didn’t actually say this in his scene with Professor X, so perhaps this is from the rest of the conversation.

The small print at the bottom reads “Prince of all.”

PAGES 31-33. The reading order, and the trailers: “NEXT: I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHAT I DO” and “THEN: HOUSE OF X”. (Note that that last one is a trailer for Powers of X #6, not for House of X.)

Bring on the comments

  1. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    There is an in-universe explanation available outside of what Hickman has already put on the table. We’ve seen telepaths storing other people’s memories and then giving them back (Xavier with Scott’s memories in Deadly Genesis). We’ve also seen telepaths blocking memories until after a certain trigger unlocks them (Xavier to Beast in Hickman’s New Avengers, when passing his Illuminati membership and the Infinity Gem to him). We’ve even seen telepaths doing it to themselves (Teen Jean wiping the Original Five’s memories of their modern adventures until after their adult counterparts take part in the final pages of Extermination – Jean herself blocked her own memories along with those of the rest of the group).

    That last one especially was written by Brisson who’s collaborating with Hickman on New Mutants.

  2. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I shouldn’t have used the word ‘wiping’ in that last one – Teen Jean blocked those memories, so they came back to their adult selves in the final pages of Extermination. She didn’t delete them permanently.

  3. Nu-D says:

    Sure, it all just gets pretty fussy.

    Xavier learns about Moira at Oxford.
    But he doesn’t tell Erik until UXM #150
    So he had to forget and then remember again between there.

    Then, Xavier and Erik tell Sinister and Forge c. 1991, so they both remember around the. But there’s the “schism” and fatal attractions, which can’t be fairly read as part of the Krakoa plan, so they also have to have forgotten around then.

    It almost seems the memories may have to come and go, almost issue-by-issue in 1991-92.

  4. Chris V says:

    Yes, and there’s the fact that Moira’s plan would hinge on the survival of certain characters.
    It was fortuitous that Xavier didn’t actually die somewhere along the way, because then Moira surely would have been screwed.
    Moira can’t predict what’s going to happen in each of her lives, just how she’s going to try to guide things.
    There was nothing to say that Xavier and Magneto wouldn’t kill each other before getting to the point where she wanted things.

    Unless, things aren’t what they seem with Moira….
    Destiny could see the future.

  5. Nu-D says:

    And, of course, Xavier did die.
    And Magneto.
    And Apocalypse.
    And Doug.
    and Warlcok
    and Krakoa.

  6. Chris V says:

    As far as “lost decade”, yes, I think it’s partially meta-commentary, but I don’t think Hickman is simply putting information in that doesn’t apply to the fictional narrative.

    If I remember correctly, Hickman made a comment, either in one of the issues or in an interview where he defined the “lost decade” to mean a period where mutantkind had no leaders.
    That does correlate with the post-Morrison up to Krakoa time-period.
    Yes, it shows the “Phoenix Five” in the drawing, but wasn’t that sort of culmination of that period, when Xavier dies?


    As far as Moira, based on the fact that Hickman made sure to point out that her mutant powers were totally undetectable, I’m thinking that Hickman meant that Moira is the one person on Krakoa who is outside of the “plan”.
    I’m wondering if she can’t be downloaded to Cerebro or cloned.
    I think that was what Hickman was getting at when he made sure to point that out.

    It could be an explanation for why no one knew that Moira was a mutant before, sure. I think Hickman might have meant it to mean more.

    Although, it’s not said if Xavier can download any consciousness in to Cerebro, and just chose to do it exclusively with mutants.
    However, based on how Cerebro works, I’m guessing it can only be used with mutants.

  7. Chris V says:

    Nu-D-Xavier would be the biggest problem though, because he’s the one controlling Cerebro.
    The rest of them could be brought back as clones.

    Yes, Xavier has died though. Luckily, he keeps coming back!
    Unless, Sinister has been creating clones of Xavier too.

  8. Chris V says:

    I have to ask, did Hickman always intend for this to be a X-Men story?
    A lot of seems similar to the Eternals.

    Advanced beings judging whether the people of a planet are worthy of ascension or extinction….although the ultimate goals are different, this sounds like the Celestials.

    A collective consciousness as the next stage of evolution….The Unimind of the Eternals.

    The man/machine elements aren’t as apparent in the Eternals mythology, but it’d probably be easy to find a way to make it work with the Eternals.

    I mean, have mutants just been shoehorned in to the Eternals when editorial requested Hickman lead the X-Men relaunch instead.
    Hickman just adapted his project meant for the Eternals to be about mutants.

  9. YLu says:

    I don’t think there’s anything to necessarily preclude Xavier downloading his mind and reverting to that earlier version at points before his meeting with Forge this issue.

    My read is that the meeting’s largely about how to copy and store *so many* minds. It’s an issue of scale and storage space. Xavier could already have had the means to store just one or two.

    @Chris V
    “However, based on how Cerebro works, I’m guessing it can only be used with mutants.”

    If that’s the route they go, it has the advantage of nipping in the bud the question, “Why don’t they use it to benefit the rest of the world?” that would otherwise arise whenever some sympathetic human character dies.

  10. Brent says:

    When I’m trying to lay this all out in my head, piecing the back story we’re given here with the nearly 60 years of X-Men history, I just can’t help but feel like there was an easier, less-confusing way to do it.

    If we’re supposed to believe that Charles and Magneto were somewhat in on this plan for a majority of their history, even with a couple of mind-wipes, that’s a lot of re-configuring X-Men history. It’s nearly impossible to imagine where Fatal Attractions or Onslaught fit into that picture… or even the time Xavier and Magneto spent rebuilding Genosha (seems like a great waste of time when another island nation was in the works).

    For Hickman, if this was just about telling the Krakoa story and making mutants immortal, then it seems like he could have simply made all these scenes that supposedly happened decades ago, happen behind the scenes in the past few years. What part of the Krakoan system coudn’t have just been set up in the last year or so of continuity? (Possibly the resurrection of certain mutants already dead, but even then he could have had Cerebro accidentally backing up the mental impression of every mutant it ever read due to some Shiar mumbo jumbo). So to me this is a very convoluted way to tell that particular story. Which makes me think, that’s not the story that Hickman is telling.

    As critical as I am of Hickman’s writing, he’s not by any means a bad writer. So I’m not suggesting the story telling COULD be simpler, I’m suggesting there’s a bigger story than just whatever is going on with Krakoa. There’s more to this story then we know now (probably more than anyone is really able to guess at this point). So, I’m not getting all wrapped up in “when” all this stuff is happening because I don’t believe in the end it’s going to be woven in the way it looks like now. Whether this is done through some over-arching plot by Apocalypse and Moria in tandem, or simply Moria dying at some point resetting us to the status quo, I believe we’ve got something else going on that we COULDN’T put together yet.

    Basically, if it could be simpler, there’s probably a good reason it isn’t. If it doesn’t fit with past continuity, there’s probably a reason for that too. I could be wrong though.

  11. Chris V says:

    The bigger picture of what’s going on seems to be what’s going on with the Year 1,000.
    The immortality of mutantkind isn’t just that you can clone everyone.
    It seems to be true immortality is the goal.

    Moira’s death won’t set things back to the status quo either.
    That would have to mean that the current Marvel Universe is taking place with life eleven of Moira.

    That’s just cheap though.
    It’s basically saying, “Everything you read before this never happened. Now, back to your regularly scheduled Marvel Comics. Ha, ha, I fooled you!”.
    He might as well say, “Xavier woke up one day, and realized Krakoa was all a bad dream, then he went back to sleep.”

  12. Thom H. says:

    @Brent: I’m with you. The things we’ve seen so far aren’t what they seem because there are other things we haven’t seen yet. Mainly, where is Moira?

    If this is her big plan, and it necessitated her faking her death, then who knows she’s still alive? Xavier? Magneto? Apocalypse? Anyone? And if someone does know she’s still alive, then why haven’t we seen them talking to her behind the scenes? Certainly, Xavier would need to consult her every once in a while, right?

    My prediction is that she’s cooking up some big reveal in the background that will come to the surface by the end of these minis. The last issue is a red “big deal” issue, and it looks like present-Moira is on the cover.

  13. Chris V says:

    These covers don’t seem accurate for the contents. I don’t think we can go by covers.
    I noticed Moira on the cover of the final issue too, but Sinister was on this issue’s cover, and he didn’t figure in to the plot.

    My guess, based on Hickman’s last “big reveal” (which wasn’t really a surprise), is going to be the reveal that Moira is the Librarian.

  14. Thom H. says:

    @Chris V: Fair. But not having seen present-Moira *at all* during the course of the series and then suddenly on the final cover? That seems a little too random.

    Also, the covers tend to reflect major characters and revelations from the previous issue. So we might even see present-Moira in the penultimate issue next week.

    *Fingers crossed!*

  15. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Chris V:
    “It’s basically saying, “Everything you read before this never happened. Now, back to your regularly scheduled Marvel Comics. Ha, ha, I fooled you!”.”

    Well… when you boil it down, that’s basically the whole of Hickman’s Avengers run. Black Panther literally ends up back again in the scene where we first met him at the beginning of the whole story.

  16. K says:

    If Xavier has a secret agenda that’s not related to mutant sovereignty, it’s almost certainly to do with fighting or stopping the Phalanx when they arrive again in this timeline.

    Why has Krakoa been engineered to replace all machines with organics? Because the Phalanx can only assimilate machines and not organics, which might mean that’s the only way to fight them.

    Why so many copies of the mutant backups? Some of these are quite possibly destined to be assimilated into the Phalanx when the time comes.

    Why is this a problem for mutants at all if ascension just means immortality? Something will go terribly wrong in PoX #6 when ascension happens, possibly at as high as the Dominion level. Once again machines will show why they are always destined to wipe out mutants. Maybe we’ll even get the explanation.

    Why would the Phalanx/Dominion arrive? Because all this Phoenix/Galactus business going on with Earth has kept them away all this time. Why revert Jean to Marvel Girl? Why so much interest in Franklin? Maybe so that Phoenix and Galactus are definitely not around Earth when Xavier is ready to call the Phalanx over.

    Why would you call the Phalanx over? …

    There is presumably some reason why they have to fight the Phalanx/Dominion and they can only do it now. PoX #6 sets that up and sets a ticking clock to how long the X-Men have to get ready. That sense of urgency was the most successful and compelling aspect of Hickman’s New Avengers, after all.

  17. CJ says:

    Yep, I started re-reading them this morning. Couldn’t help it.

    I was overall disappointed with Foundation {‘s Edge | and Earth}. The constant bickering in the latter was tedious–and the unresolved cliffhanger, which reveals that a character has been manipulating the events of Foundation and much more for millennia–really came off as forced and out of nowhere, and I hope my analogy with the X-Men stops before we get that far.

    By the way, did you ever check out “Psychohistorical Crisis” by Donald Kingsbury?

    Back to X.
    @Chris V
    I’m not sure Moira IX can be the Librarian, if Year 1000 is the distant future of the Year 100 timeline where she dies. Cylobel still connects those two timelines–and let’s not forget that the “bath” she’s submerged in is supposed to figure out something at a most inconvenient time.

    Saying that a mutant mind can be backed-up is another example of mutant-machine fusion.

    Having only read Phalanx Covenant decades ago, was there ever given a reason why the Phalanx can’t assimilate / absorb mutants as opposed to humans?

  18. Adrian says:

    I do not think she is the librarian either. That would be messy because when she dies, the timeline seems to reset. She couldn’t die once and the timeline remain because of a copy. That wouldn’t make sense.

    Overall, this story now leaves me cold. While sci-fi can be part of an X-men concept, this is too much for me. Someone in this thread nailed where this is going I think. Probably Xavier and Moira are trying to create their own Dominion to find this Machine God and this is the end game. As someone else pointed out, this could easily be an Eternals story. I would think Hickman would pursue a human mutant alliance though. After all, humans are as intelligent as mutants so wouldn’t some of them be useful for a hive mind? Mutants do come from humans so some of their genetic code would be useful just to have some variety and avoid inbreeding.

    Also too many plot conveniences and mystery for mystery’s sake. Why are the council’s members blocked out. What is so suspenseful about that? And why do I need an infopage for this? Still no timeline for this Phalanx snoozefest. Why is this even a mystery still.

    Yet again Hickman fills this issue with a lot of repetition. Why did we need an entire Cerebro infopage plus 4 pages of forge and Xavier discussing hocus Pocus. None of this is logical so Hickman should just do the info page or briefly have a character mention it and move on. Much like his cloning, the more he goes on about it, the more contrived it appears. It is never going to make sense so stop explaining it. I could also do without so many pages of recruiting Emma. It seemed like overkill. Some of this could have been a flashback in the Marauders book. He writes a good Emma though.

    As an aside: Emma uses her powers to send all the humans out of the venue. Couldn’t she just meet Xavier somewhere quiet? It was unnecessary. No wonder humans cannot trust mutants. If you are going to use your powers so frivolously, then they should build Sentinels because who knows what you will do under more intense situations. And that scale of telepathic interference cannot go unnoticed and unreported. So. bad press from the woman who is to be the face of the Krakoan organization. Okey dokey.

  19. Chris V says:

    I still think that Year 1,000 is the future of her tenth life.
    There’s nothing that says Year 1,000 has to be part of the life nine time-line.
    It could also be the future of life six too, although I’m still thinking it’s the future of life ten.


    I was also thinking….What exactly does “breaking all the rules” mean?
    It seems pretty specific wording.
    Why not just say, “This time, I’m going to do whatever I want” or something similar?

    What rules exactly is she going to break?
    She met Xavier earlier than originally in one of her lives, she sided with Magneto and Apocalypse.
    What rules has she been following exactly?
    Not the “rules” of superheroics or whatever.

    I’m wondering if she means something like time and space by that comment.
    It might explain why Apocalypse is as old as the planet all of a sudden.

  20. Chris V says:

    The problem with putting too much emphasis on the Phalanx and Dominion, is that it pretty much makes everything with Moira pointless.

    We’ve seen her agenda is to help the mutant cause, to find some way to stop the cycle which always lead to mutants and humans decimating each other.
    So, if this is all to stop the Phalanx, it pretty much shoves Moira out of the way, and Hickman says, “That’s meaningless. Here’s the real story”.

  21. Chris V says:

    I mean, this is verging on the utterly stupid, if that’s where Hickman is going.

    Instead of calling together all of the superheroes in the Marvel Universe and saying, “There’s a threat coming, and it’s going to mean the end of all life, as we know it. Let’s think up a plan.”

    Then having the Marvel superheroes go forth and say, “Look, we know you hate mutants a lot, but there’s a greater threat coming. Let’s all work together now, and put hatred aside.”
    Because, you know, people actually seem to love the superheroes, unlike mutants.
    Which, you know, could only hope the X-Men’s cause of co-existence.

    Instead, mutants decide to act all creepy and conquer the world, and it was all just a ruse so that they could stop a coming menace.
    So that, when this is all over, everyone in the world is probably going to go, “That’s it. Mutants need to die.”

    Plus, the X-Men probably won’t have access to the life-extending plants from Krakoa anymore.
    So, the X-Men won’t be able to say, “Wait! Before you drop that atomic bomb on us, remember that we want to trade with you.”

    That’s going to end really well.
    That’ll probably be the point where I stop reading the X-books forever.

  22. Chris V says:

    By the way, I’m not saying that Xavier and Moira aren’t interested in the Dominion.

    The issue is when does that occur?
    If Moira dies when she does at the end of life nine, to bring back the information about Nimrod, then reality resets.
    Moira isn’t around for the Year 1,000.
    She wouldn’t learn all the details about “ascension”.

    If Year 1,000 is the future of the current Marvel Universe, then Moira hasn’t lived long enough to discover what happens when ascension is achieved.

    There’s no way for her to know that something goes wrong for mutants when they try to achieve true immortality.
    So, thinking that everything with Krakoa involves an elaborate plot to stop the Phalanx doesn’t work.
    Unless we just push Moira out of the plot and say, “Just ignore all that. It doesn’t matter anymore”.

  23. Jonny says:

    The use of the term HUSK again for bodies does make me really wonder about a connection to Paige, who’s also been in this series, for little reason…

  24. SanityOrMadness says:

    Surely x³ has to be the hitherto, stands-out-a-mile undescribed Moira VI? What else could it even possibly be that merits holding the description of that life back?

  25. Mordechai Buxner says:

    Think of every past life Moira’s had as a “What If…?” reality in Marvel’s multiverse.

    For a more comprehensive explanation of the logistics of this, see this instructional video:

  26. Dave says:

    I like Mordechai’s big theory, even though I’m hoping Year 1000 isn’t a continuation of Year 100, which ended.

    I don’t think people are allowing enough likelihood of big similarities between Moira’s lives, which is why so many think 100 has to carry on to 1000. Those similarities also mean Moira DOES have a degree of being able to predict the future – she’d have known that AvX / Phoenix Five was coming, as one example (and that was a result of Utopia era X-Men, following Messiah Complex, following M-Day and Decimation…so she’d have known all those were coming, too).

    I’m not seeing where Moira can be ‘left out’ of the Phalanx/ascension part of the story. It seems pretty clear SOME version of her has to be around when that happens, or we wouldn’t be seeing it in this story, and there’d be no way for the X-Men to learn anything from it.

    Xavier COULD have just been blocking his own memories a lot – kind of permanently, even, if he and Moira agreed he could just read her mind again when necessary.

  27. Chris V says:

    I still think Destiny is going to be part of the reveal.
    She can see the future.

    She played a huge role in Moira’s decision to take up the mutant cause.

    What else would Mystique want? Something related to Destiny.

  28. Chris V says:

    Mordechai-That is incorrect.
    What If? stories take place on alternate Earths.
    Moira’s lives are different.
    They all occur as part of Earth-616.
    She’s not leaping from alternate Earth to alternate Earth.
    Each life of hers gets erased as soon as she dies, and then restarts from the moment of her birth.

  29. Chris V says:

    Destiny also said that Moira had a total of ten lives, maybe eleven.
    We all think that she will get eleven lives, but if she achieves true immortality in this future, then it would explain why Destiny stated her prediction, “ten, maybe eleven”.
    We know she’s had ten total, so it’s not because she dies as a child before life eleven.

  30. Mordechai Buxner says:

    The Marvel Universe is very fuzzy on which futures are “the real ones” and which are alternate universes. At one point Days of Future Past was the 616’s future, then there was a divergence and writers said it wasn’t. You have something similar with Old Man Logan or Marvel 2099, where whether the present affects them or not depends on the writer. But regardless of the inconsistency of shared universes, there’s plenty of precedent for backwards-and-to-the-side time travel in Marvel comics.

  31. Mordechai Buxner says:

    Mind you, I’m not discounting what you’re suggesting about future characters existing in both life 6 and life 9. In this whole series so far, the single thing that’s been hardest for me to wrap my head around is that one page of life 4. If all that could conceivably happen exactly the same regardless of the major changes she was effecting, then why indeed couldn’t Cylobel and Nimrod the Lesser exist in two futures.

  32. Mordechai Buxner says:

    Sorry, I meant what Dave was suggesting about future characters.

  33. Col_Fury says:

    We don’t know that it was exactly the same in life 4, but it was definitely very similar. Maybe the X-Men never met leprechauns in life 4, right? 🙂

  34. Evilgus says:

    @ChrisV: “As far as Moira, based on the fact that Hickman made sure to point out that her mutant powers were totally undetectable, I’m thinking that Hickman meant that Moira is the one person on Krakoa who is outside of the “plan”.
    I’m wondering if she can’t be downloaded to Cerebro or cloned.
    I think that was what Hickman was getting at when he made sure to point that out.”

    That feels like a very valid plot point to me. And a real vulnerability for all of the plan… Hence why Moira is squirreled away in a Krakoan no place?

    And yes I think Mystique’s motivation is for Destiny to be resurrected. But do Destiny’s powers prevent this in some mangled way?

    Still so much to unpick! I hope the writers in the follow on series can do the concept justice.

  35. Chris V says:

    Moredchai, I realize Marvel is inconsistent on such.
    They intended the Age of Apocalypse to be Earth-616, completely changed by the actions of Legion, which effected the M’Kraan Crystal.
    Then, later writers changed it so that the AOA was just another alternate universe.

    However, Hickman explained how Moira’s powers work and made it explicit that Moira wasn’t living alternate lives, but that her powers made it so that each of her lives occur in Earth-616.
    Until a later writer comes along and shows that life nine is Earth-1990, or what-have-you, it stands that Hickman does not want us to read Moira’s powers as simply creating more alternate universes.

  36. YLu says:

    How would Moira even know if she’s creating alternate realities or re-writing the same reality? From her own perspective they’d be identical, and she’s not a physicist. There’s plenty of wiggle room, is what I’m saying.

  37. Chris V says:

    I guess, but there’re in-story reasons as to why Hickman would want us to know that Moira’s powers work a certain way, as opposed to leaping from alternate reality to alternate reality.

    When she died in life nine, it was so she could go back to the beginning and start over with the information of how to stop the Nimrod.
    If she just leaped in to another dimension, she’d have no idea that it was Earth-616.
    It could have been any random Earth in the Multiverse.

    Plus, if she showed Xavier how his dream had failed so badly multiple times before, Xavier could just say, “Yes, but those were alternate Earths. Why would you expect the same thing to happen on Earth-616? Things are different here. I don’t need to listen to you, Moira.”

    I’m sure Hickman has other reasons too.
    The fact that continuity isn’t exactly right (like Apocalypse’s origin), which has nothing to do with Moira.
    Readers will just think, “This isn’t the Earth-616 Marvel Universe. It can’t be. This is just Age of X-Man all over again.”

  38. Col_Fury says:

    Galactus is the survivor of the universe before this one, right? Maybe Moira’s life IX is the same universe that Galactus came from. And her life VIII is the universe before that, and etc.

  39. Mark coale says:

    Speaking of Galactus, there is still the franklin Richards card to play.

  40. YLu says:

    Al Ewing’s established that the Marvel universe as we know it is the eighth iteration of reality and Galactus’ was the seventh, so the numbering wouldn’t really line up there. And that’s not just some bit of trivia that another writer could easily ignore; it’s played — and continues to play — a huge part in a number of his stories, past and present.

  41. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    True, but then again it wouldn’t be the first important thing in the Marvel universe that only matters to one writer.

    (See: Dan Slott’s Reckoning War).

  42. Nu-D says:

    Moira’s reboots only go back to her gestation during the early 20th century. They have no impact on world history, let alone galactic or universal history, before about 1920-50.

  43. Chris V says:

    Based on the sliding Marvel time-scale, isn’t it likely that Moira was born sometime in the 1960s?
    Isn’t she only supposed to be in her early-50s?
    I’m sure that Marvel and Hickman, both, don’t want her powers impacting anything important in the formation of the Marvel Universe.

    That’d be how she figured out she was reliving her life over and over on Earth-616, because every event in history was the exact same every time her life recurred, until she makes a decision to influence something differently.

  44. Nu-D says:

    Sure, whatever. I guess if she was born in the 60’s, she met Charles at Oxford in the 80’s, and he fought in…uh…the Falkland Islands? Beirut? Where Cain became Juggernaut? Or something.

    Regardless, the point is that Moira’s reboots don’t effect Galactus’ origin story, or the history of Apocalypse, or even Mr. Sinister’ Victorian roots or Magneto’s life story.

  45. Loz says:

    I tend to think that this will boil down to a simple story, as with Avengers, told oddly. These two series read to me like they are setting up the various crisis points that the X-Men will have to deal with during Hickman’s run,

    1) The Mother-mold, her children and Nimrod,

    2) The Phalanx,

    3) The Dominions.

    Hickman will hopefully have the advantage here that he didn’t have with the Avengers of having to suddenly deal with a Captain America that was an old man or a Reed Richards going off on an interstellar jaunt with his family, so unless Marvel editorial suddenly lose faith and demand everything wraps up before he wanted to it’ll hopefully work out easier.

  46. SanityOrMadness says:

    > Isn’t she only supposed to be in her early-50s?

    From the timeline in HoX #2, she’s 52.

    > How would Moira even know if she’s creating alternate realities or re-writing the same reality? From her own perspective they’d be identical, and she’s not a physicist. There’s plenty of wiggle room, is what I’m saying.


  47. Karl_H says:

    What’s the evidence that the timelines go away after Moira dies?

    The more I think about it, the weirder it seems. If everything vanishes/resets when she dies, then in every single timeline, the moment Moira’s mutant powers activate, nothing matters any more. It’s all going to be erased. Logically she cannot ultimately accomplish anything with her life other than dying before puberty. Has she not followed this logic to this conclusion?

  48. Chris V says:

    It’s part of Hickman’s conceit for Moira’s mutant powers, that she’s experiencing recurrence, rather than creating alternate universes.
    If she’s just creating an alternate universe and leaping to another alternate universe when she dies, then the reality wouldn’t be erased when she died.

    Well, all of her lives have gone wrong up to this point.
    She didn’t mind the fact that she got to restart her life and do it over again.
    She’s trying to find a way to break cycles, it would seem.
    The cycle of machines always exterminating mutants. The cycle of mutants and humans always making thing worse. The cycle of her lives recurring.

    Thanks for Destiny, she knows that she only gets “ten, maybe eleven” lives though. She knows that this is her last chance, or she’s going to die forever in the next life, and she won’t be able to change anything.

    I think that might be why she’s so interested in trying to find the answer to true immortality, as well as insuring immortality for all mutants.
    That’s the victory she’s looking for, the chance to never have to die and restart her reality.

  49. Nu-D says:

    Hickman definitely wants us to read these books as though the characters think Moira’s death is a reboot. Otherwise, Apocalype’s sacrifice at the end of life 9 makes no sense.

    But divergent timelines could still result. It’s just that the in_universe characters can’t expect t.

  50. Karl_H says:

    “That’s the victory she’s looking for, the chance to never have to die and restart her reality.”

    That may be it. The only other solution I can see is to find the path to fixing everything, pass that along to Xavier in a life where her powers haven’t manifested yet, and then sacrifice herself.

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