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Feb 13

X-Men #6 annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Mystique in action.

PAGE 2. Flashback. Destiny starts to tell Mystique about something she’s foreseen.

Mystique and Destiny. Mystique shouldn’t need any introduction. She’s been a major character in the Hickman run, and she’s a member of the Quiet Council.

Destiny was Mystique’s long-time teammate in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, later re-named Freedom Force. She died in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #255 (1989). Chris Claremont very, very strongly implied that Destiny and Mystique were a couple, but this doesn’t seem to have been spelled out on the page until History of the Marvel Universe #2, which is absolutely unambiguous.

Though Destiny is long dead, we’ve seen her before in House of X #2, in one of the earlier lives of Moira X. Destiny is unable to see Moira directly, but can detect her influence on the timeline. Destiny and Mystique killed Moira and demanded that she use her next life to help mutants, also maintaining that the Destiny of that timeline would already know to look out for her. (We still don’t exactly know how much of that was bluff.)

Powers of X #6 establishes that Magneto and Professor X recruited Mystique to the Krakoan cause by promising to resurrect Destiny back. However, it also establishes that they promised to Moira that they wouldn’t bring Destiny back, because Moira doesn’t want any precognitive mutants on the island. More precisely, they told Moira that they would put Mystique off for as long as they could.

Destiny was blind, but it made no difference in practice because she could “see” using her precognitive powers. Hence the two black opening panels, and Destiny’s signature blank mask.

“I’ve seen more sunsets than you can imagine, Raven. The collapse of all things and the end of days.” Destiny seems to be saying here that her power of precognition extends right to the end of time. Traditionally, though, Destiny’s powers became less reliable the further into the future she tried to look – or at least less useful, as the number of possible timelines became overwhelming. Perhaps she can indeed see all the way to the end, but with no real specifics. Or perhaps she’s anticipating a “collapse of all things” and an “end of days” in the rather nearer future, such as the erasure of the timeline upon Moira’s death.

“They why are we—“ Mystique’s question is cut off, but Destiny seems to have brought her to this (unidentified) coast for some specific reason. Part of it, of course, is to brief Mystique on the plot.

PAGE 3-4. The Orchis Forge is back online.

The Orchis Forge. This is the space station that the X-Men (including Mystique) raided in House of X #3-4, on a “suicide” mission in which they destroyed the Sentinel-making Mother Mold just as it came online, by dumping it into the sun. The X-Men from that mission were “killed”, and promptly resurrected back on Krakoa in the next issue. (Or shift the quote marks to “resurrected”, depending on your perspective.)

I think Mr Sand and Captain Craine, seen here, are both new. Craine has presumably taken over the position of Captain Erasmus Mendel, who sacrificed himself to try and stop the X-Men in House of X #3.

Despite the destruction of the Mother Mold, the Orchis Forge is looking in good shape again. There are installations on Mercury and Venus (paralleling the X-Men’s outpost on Mars). There’s also a Sentinel City being constructed, apparently on Mercury. Nonetheless, Sand still calls the station a “motherless orphan”, referring to the loss of the Mother Mold (which would have been located in the ring shown in the same panel). How much of a problem that poses for Orchis isn’t wholly clear.

PAGES 5-6. Killian Devo finishes building a device for Alia Gregor.

Killian Devo is the director of Orchis, last seen in issue #1. Given how keen Hickman is on the parallels between Orchis and the mutants, it’s worth noting that Devo is blind, and relies on his cyborg components to see. It’s not clear in this scene what he’s actually building.

Omega. This is former X-Man Karima Shapandar, who was allied with Orchis starting in House of X #1. How she became involved with them remains unclear. Curiously, Devo describes her as “self-aware, evolving … a work of art”, as if she was a particularly advanced AI. But Karima is a human who was turned into a cyborg against her will, and who seems to be becoming less human in her behaviour.

The courier who takes the device to Gregor’s lab is a disguised Mystique, as we discover later in the issue.

PAGE 7. The device is brought to Alia Gregor.

Alia Gregor is an Orchis scientist and the wife of the late Captain Mendel. When we last saw her, in issue #1, she was working on a project to resurrect him from the dead, apparently using a crystal which was implied to be some sort of back-up of his personality. Presumably this is what she thinks she’s working on in this scene. Again, there’s an obvious parallel with Mystique’s attempts to resurrect Destiny.

PAGES 8-9. Recap and credits. The story is “The Oracle” by Jonathan Hickman, Matteo Buffagni and Sunny Gho.

PAGES 10-11. Flashback. Professor X and Magneto assign Mystique to plant a Krakoan seed on the Orchis Forge during the X-Men’s assault.

This is an expansion of a scene in Powers of X #1, in which Mystique hands over the data that she stole in House of X #1 while reiterating her “demands” – which, with hindsight, were obviously to do with the return of Destiny. The original scene cuts off with the words “everyone who would live in it owes something.”

In this version, we’re now told that Mystique was instructed to plant a seed on the Orchis Forge. We’ll see later in the issue that it’s a gateway seed. This fits with House of X #4, which did indeed imply that Mystique was running slightly late (from Cyclops’s point of view) because she was doing something else off panel.

Note also that in House of X #3, Cyclops specifically told the rest of the assault team that they weren’t going to take any seeds that could grow an escape portal back to Krakoa, supposedly because it was far too dangerous to risk having a Krakoan seed fall into Orchis hands. This was never a very convincing reason, given the number of Krakoan doors dotted around the world that Orchis could have tried to get a sample from – and it now seems clear that it was a lie. They surely can’t be expecting an entire gate to go unnoticed for very long.

“Winter harvest”. This slightly odd choice of words feels like it ought to have something to do with the seasonal theme of the Quiet Council. The “winter” members are Mystique, Mr Sinister and Exodus.

PAGES 12-14. Flashback. Mystique plants the Krakoan flower on the Orchis Forge.

Mystique does what was asked of her, and the scene then plays out as seen in House of X #4.

PAGE 15. Flashback. Mystique is resurrected.

This is an excerpt of a scene from House of X #5, replayed from Mystique’s perspective. The line about “your sacrifice was not in vain”, although a reply to Scott, is staged here so as to stress Mystique’s sacrifice in particular. It’s intentionally repeated in the next scene, directly addressed to Mystique.

PAGES 16-17. Professor X and Magneto send Mystique through the gate that she grew.

“You save us all, and for that we are grateful.” Call back to the previous scene.

“But you need more.” Calling back to pages 10-11.

“The Mother Mold is gone, yes, but as to the other…” Magneto and Professor X seem to have had some other target in mind all along. Since their stated reason for going after the Orchis Forge was the fear that it might result in the creation of Nimrod (the ultimate Sentinel), that would be the obvious thing for them to have in mind.

PAGE 18. Mystique was the Orchis courier!

Repeats of panels from earlier in the issue, with the formerly-anonymous Mystique highlighted.

PAGE 19. Mystique considers killing Gregor, but decides against it.

Gregor’s project is much more advanced here than it was earlier in the issue, so either she works quickly or Mystique spends quite some time hiding on the station. The resemblance to Nimrod is much more pronounced. It’s not clear whether Mystique knows that Gregor is trying to bring back her dead husband, and recognises the parallel with her own situation, but it might well explain her decision not to intervene. Or she may just be keeping her options open while Professor X is still stringing her along.

PAGES 20-23. Mystique reports back, and Professor X and Magneto want her to kill Gregor.

“We have laws.” Mystique is referring to the often-stressed “murder no man” rule. Magneto simply brushes it aside as not applying to Orchis (well, he says “them”, but presumably he means Orchis). Xavier doesn’t seem to disagree.

“I want my wife back!” This is the first time Destiny and Mystique have been referred to as married. Given the Marvel Universe’s sliding timeline, there’s no reason not to take this literally. Even Silver Age stories are now presumably set after the first countries introduced same sex marriage (beginning with the Netherlands in 2001).

PAGES 24-26. In her “Oracle”, Mystique remembers Destiny’s advice, and raises a glass to her.

The Oracle. The title of the story refers directly to Mystique’s underground home (presumably the staircase closes up once she’s inside, or else it’s going to be very uncomfortable in the rain). Obviously, it also refers to Destiny’s powers. Inside, Mystique appears to have Destiny’s mask, with some sort of energy behind it, hovering over a big crystal. This feels like it’s meant to be something more than just a shrine to a loved one – though Mystique doesn’t seem to think that it actually is Destiny, since she’s recalling more of the conversation that we saw in flashback at the start of the issue.

“An island – not the first, but the last.” Destiny is obviously predicting Krakoa. Like other more cynical characters, she recognises that it’s a repeat of Genosha and Utopia. Destiny does not outright say that Krakoa is a fraud, though. Rather, she says that it will “sound too good to be true to your [Mystique’s] cynical ears” and that it will “seem to be hope for our kind” – strongly implying that it’s all appearances, but stopping short of making that claim. She seems to have some uncertainty about the place, perhaps because of Moira’s interfering effect on her powers. But she clearly directs Mystique to try and bring her back from the dead, and to destroy Krakoa if that cannot be done.

Bring on the comments

  1. Dave White says:

    Isn’t the name Alia Gregor-Mendel a bit on the nose for a scientist in a story about evolution?

  2. Si says:

    Dave, these are Marvel Comics. She should be called Dalia Darwin or Janet Icode.

  3. Ben says:

    This really felt like it could have been boiled down to like 6 pages.

  4. K says:

    Yeah, still pretty sure that all signs point to Omega Sentinel being not Karima at all but Omega from Moira’s 9th life.

  5. Alan L says:

    Doesn’t one of the X-men call her Karima at the Orchis station during the battle from HoX? I thought that somebody called her by her name and she didn’t deny it.

    I get that Xavier and Magneto are doing it to gain leverage in dealing with Mystique, but I don’t enjoy all the misogyny dumped on Mystique in this issue. She’s implied to be such an ultimate 2-faced betrayer of mutantkind. What has she done that, say, Gambit and Mr. Sinister haven’t done with the Morlock Massacre? Am I missing some sort of ultimate betrayal by Mystique? In one of Moira’s other lives, does she ruin everything herself?

    I much preferred the Mike Carey take on Mystique––showing how even though she betrayed people, seduced and abandoned them––as her powers so easily lent it to her to do––she always had personal reasons that made sense to her to do it––reasons that had their own nobility (in the Carey era, she wanted to save he adopted daughter, so she betrayed the X-men). The central betrayed character might make something big of the double–cross, but the other X-men weren’t generally screaming at Mystique “How could you?” and clutching at their pearls––nor were they sneering “just like a two-faced woman,” or something similar. And to be fair, they aren’t quite going that far here. But the dialogue in this issue is full of condescension towards Mystique (“you’ll go and do this,” “You owe it to us”), and especially Xavier saying “It’s bigger than me…and it’s CERTAINLY bigger than you.” “Certainly” is a word that just didn’t have to be there, and it shades everything a little uncomfortably. It just leaves an especially bad taste, at least, for me. Seems a weird trope to be engaging in “just because,” with the 21st century X-men. It’s like along with holding resurrecting Irene over her head, Xavier and Magneto motivate Mystique to work for them mostly by negging her. Hickman seems to be positioning Mystique as a helpless betrayer, implying that, but for this carrot the Krakoans have to keep her in line, Mystique would be busy betraying them, working against mutants, because she does it all the time (from that perspective, so do all the villains, don’t they?). I did not enjoy it.

  6. Moo says:

    @Paul – It looks like you accidentally omitted the example that you were going to reference…

    “Chris Claremont very, very strongly implied that Destiny and Mystique were a couple – see, for example, , but…”

  7. CJ says:

    @Alan L
    Yes, Nightcrawler called her Karima in HoX #3

    Loved this one. It felt like House of X #7.

    I learned very little that was new. 30% of it was recycled from previous HoX issues. And yet I enjoyed it. I like the long game Destiny and Moira are playing.

  8. K says:

    Well, if you were from the future and trying to influence the present without letting anyone know, you might hide your identity too…

    For me the signs that Omega has taken Karima’s place are:
    – Tiny visual design similarities between completely different artists (compare one panel of PoX #1 and one panel of X-Men #1)
    – Constantly predicting the future (HoX #3, X-Men #1, X-Men #6)
    – Weirdly calling the shots instead of being subordinate in all appearances, especially around Nimrod
    – Seems to be influencing the characters who are currently building Nimrod again without realizing it

  9. Taibak says:

    Okay… even accounting for comic book physics, how the heck did they manage to build a permanent structure on Venus?

  10. MasterMahan says:

    Dave, these are Marvel Comics. She should be called Dalia Darwin or Janet Icode.

    Her DC counterpart would be Eva Lou Shawn or Natalie C. Lection.

  11. Paul says:

    I’ve fixed the stray bit in the opening paras – thanks.

  12. Dazzler says:

    This is such a weird attempt at drama to me. So the island is creepy and shady from the start, with some glaringly obvious ways it could (and will eventually) collapse. And that’s before they invited the villains– for, uh, reasons– and installed a predominantly villainous ruling council. And generally behaving like a completely amoral operation.

    So it’s supposed to be, like, super dramatic and compelling that one of the villains will bring the island down for reasons that have been telegraphed loudly from a million miles away? Guys, I really think this is a great example of bad writing. Are we sure the emperor isn’t as naked as a freshly hatched clone?

    Also, I know this isn’t the Marauders thread, but there’s another ridiculous example of a bad attempt at drama and stakes. I like you guys and I’m seriously not trying to take a dump on something you enjoy, but I don’t see how these plot points can be taken seriously.

    (And before anyone else says it: “You can’t be taken seriously, Dazzler!” How original.)

    Maybe we don’t know exactly how all of this is going to come crashing down, but it won’t be a surprise and it won’t be interesting. And I hold this work to a higher standard given how drastic and overbearing this whole status quo is and how seriously it takes itself when it generally feels pretty schlocky.

  13. Salomé Honório says:

    I enjoyed this issue a lot, and probably the most of any of this individual series so far. It reads absurdly in context, given how the previous issue closed on a cliffhanger that by definition could not quite function as one (because we already know the issues are discontinuous).

    But I thought as a bit of bare, slow-burning drama – with the usual high-conceptual pretension dialled down a notch – it worked really, really well.

    It felt a lot like reading an issue that’s part of the Hox/PoX format, as someone has commented. If not in format, then in terms of plot, style and tone. It felt purposeful, in a way I think few others have. Actually, it made me think of Whedon’s “Astonishing X-Men” for some reason that I can’t quite grasp. Maybe the decompressed dramatics surrounding Emma and Scott around a specific moment in the series?

    @ Alan L.

    Cool reading your thoughts on Mystique, as a big fan on the Carey run. I felt much the same way while reading the issue. A very rigid moralistic framework enabling Xavier and Magneto to demand of Mystique whatever they might well please while negating her claims to an equal standing: an impossible contract, where the fact of her evils renders her will moot.

    But I think that’s precisely one of the major plot points here, even if the execution could have done with a lot more subtlety and emotional intelligence. We are no longer to take Magneto and Xavier seriously, to any extent whatsoever, as equitable and responsible leaders. They don’t work as ethical referents, and they don’t work as characters. They speak to an overwhelming ethno-nationalist spirit, which they nonetheless consider themselves the arbiters of.

    It’s a strong issue for Mystique, because it focuses on one of her unwavering motivators (her love for Irene) and hints at Irene’s own perception of their relationship. I also appreciated how the scene of their encounter felt like a bit of a soft quote (Cyclops and Jean, watching a sunset, except he can only see reds).

    Problem: literally nothing makes us root for Krakoa/the ethno-nationalist dream at this point. It’s like this horrid moralistic lens is embedded: “if happy, heroes are the worst of villains”. In that, the fact Hickman isn’t thinking through character relations works against his ambitions.

  14. Chris V says:

    Mystique and Destiny have been shown to seriously care about the mutant cause in the past.

    I think we can read Destiny’s comments to be wider reaching.
    I don’t think she’s saying, “If you can’t have me, Mystique, destroy all the pretty things!”.
    I think it’s a warning to Mystique, that if they refuse to bring Destiny back, then something else is going on with Krakoa than it seems on the surface.
    She even implies as much with her vague comments about Krakoa not really being what it seems.

    I think this all goes back to the fact that Moira only changed her line of thinking after the threats and murder from Mystique and Destiny.
    Moira thought that mutants were a cancer in need of a cure.
    Mystique and Destiny tortured her to death and said that they would continue to hunt down Moira and kill her in every life, unless she took up the mutant cause.
    Then, we suddenly see Moira wanting to work with Xavier for the good of mutants.

    Now, we know that Moira doesn’t want Destiny brought back to life….but, why?
    A precog would come in very handy.
    Nimrod is still about to come online. Well, Destiny would have greatly helped with that problem.

    Moira knows she only has ten or eleven lives thanks to Destiny, and she’s now on life ten.
    I think this is all pointing to the fact that Moira’s plan is nothing like it seems to be, and that Destiny must be kept dead because only Destiny (or so she feels) can reveal her true plans and stop them.

    That is why Destiny told Mystique to destroy Krakoa, if they refuse to bring her back from the dead.
    Because Destiny knows that if Krakoa refuses to resurrect her, it’s because Krakoa is not what it seems.
    Destiny is telling Mystique that she needs to stop Moira’s plan.
    Which tells me that Krakoa has nothing to do with “mutant nationalism”.
    Mutant nationalism, or something similar, is exactly what Mystique and Destiny wanted Moira to accomplish.

  15. Chris V says:

    Alan L-I think you’re reading too much in to the treatment of Mystique.
    I think this extra attention (mistreatment) being paid to Mystique in this issue is because she is the one character that Xavier and Magneto realize they can’t grant her wish.

    It seems to me that Krakoa is all about bribery.
    They are bribing the humans to accept Krakoa as a nation by offering them life-enhancing drugs.
    They are bribing certain characters by offering them spots on the ruling council.
    They are bribing many characters with the promise of immortality, so long as they stay on the island.
    Mystique was given a spot on the ruling council, but it wasn’t enough for her. She wanted one more thing, and it happens to be the one thing that they cannot give her.

    Sinister is on the opposite side of the fence. They don’t trust Sinister, but Sinister has something that they need, not vice-versa.
    So, they have to play Sinister’s game to get what they want from him.

  16. Chris V says:

    This once again points to the fact that I’ve been seeing for a while now.
    For some reason, it is very important to have every mutant living on Krakoa. That seems to be an important part of Moira’s plan.
    Krakoa doesn’t need Mystique. It was important that she join Krakoa though.

    I mean, Xavier could have said, “Look, the offer is you get a spot on the ruling council. If that isn’t good enough for you, screw you! Everyone will live on a mutant paradise, except you. Good luck!”.

    It’s not as if Mystique, on her own, was any sort of threat to Krakoa.

  17. Chris V says:

    Dazzler-You must have hated Jurassic Park, eh?
    Did you stop reading it at page 50 and say, “This is horrible! Crichton even has this Malcolm guy pointing out all the red flags!”.
    Yet, based on what I can recollect, Jurassic Park became a massive pop culture hit, even though everyone reading the novel or watching the movie knew that the theme park was a disaster waiting to happen.

    People are still reading because there are still a lot of mysteries involved.
    No one has any idea what Moira’s plan is yet.
    Do you see the draw?

    It’s the same as Onslaught or Gambit’s terrible secret back in the 1990s.
    It was all very horrible, but people were drawn to the mystery, “Who is Onslaught?”/
    “What did Gambit do that was so damning?”.
    Now, the question becomes will this all be as much of a waste of time and money as the Onslaught/Gambit debacle, or will Hickman’s reveal be worth it?
    If this is another Onslaught/Gambit, I’ll be the first to admit that you were right all along.

  18. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Chris V
    At a risk of derailing the conversation – I haven’t been following the books in the 90s, on account of being a small child for most of the 90s (and the books mostly not being published in Poland and the internet not being much of a thing and… etc). And since I started following the books, I haven’t read everything that came before. Just highlights, selected arcs and lots of internet summaries.

    So the Onslaught/Gambit thing is something I only read parts of, and mostly just read about, years later. More like an amateur archeologist than engrossed reader. And while the Onslaught thing is a poorly executed (and barely conceived) debacle, was the Gambit mystery seen as a comparable waste of time – at the time? I always thought it rather works – it’s not an earth-shattering secret, but makes sense as something that stains the character but doesn’t break him forever (as much as any character can be rendered unredeemable in ongoing, everlasting comics).

  19. Dazzler says:

    Chris, Malcolm was this kooky guy and a skeptic pointing out what could go wrong. I think that’s much, much different from this situation, where the very first panel was creepy as shit and it still feels like an alternate universe.

    The bigger problem with your comparison is that we only need to feel as attached to Jurassic Park’s main characters as we want to be for, what, 2 hours. The sense of attachment to the characters and the feel for them, I think, is probably the biggest reason X-Men was ever the #1 franchise.

    If all of the main characters died at the end of Jurassic Park, there would be a dark sense of just desserts. Same goes for the X-Men. Only it’s a fine way to end a movie (I’d like it more, probably) if that’s what you’re going for, but I don’t think you can have a workable franchise where all of the main characters in unison set themselves up for obvious miserable failure and then they fail and they’re clearly idiots. What kind of long-form story is that? Certainly one full of loathing for the characters.

    Also the motives at least made sense and were a scientific achievement in Jurassic Park. There isn’t anything even slightly compelling about the Krakoa concept to me. Very clearly the interest has worn down from the spike of HOXPOX, and I guess we’ll see how that trends. I don’t think you can sustain a franchise with this little heart.

    I mean, Mystique is the character I’m rooting for by default now, and she’s the only one who seems to be behaving like a real person. I consider that a problem when nobody, not even the readers apparently, is willing to admit that anything “X-Men” is truly absent here.

  20. Chris V says:

    Krzysiek-I think the Gambit reveal is something that you had to be there for to understand.
    I think the real problem is exactly how long it was dragged out.

    The hints of the dark secret of Gambit were first brought up before Onslaught, and we were still waiting for the big reveal after Onslaught.
    Everything about Onslaught was a mess, but it was only dragged on for about a year, I think, before we found out it was all so badly planned.

    They kept the Gambit’s secret thing going for years.
    Then, the issue that finally revealed his secret was a mess.
    Scott Lodbell was supposed to write the story and he suddenly quit Marvel, and they had to quickly bring Seagle in to write the issue. I think those were the details, if I’m remembering correctly.

    Then, Magneto showed up in the issue disguised as Erik the Red to reveal the secret, which was all about Sinister.
    So, all of that made no sense.

    You could tell that they were making up the secret as they went along too, just like all the other big mysteries from the 1990s.
    The only thing consistent about the reveal was that it involved Sinister.
    The revelation didn’t fit with the established continuity set up by Claremont.
    Claremont showed that the Marauders followed one of the Morlocks to the tunnels, and that’s how they knew to find the Morlocks.
    There was no need for Sinsiter to get Gambit to lead the Marauders to the Morlock tunnels.

    It did lead to a really well-written Gambit on-going series. So, it wasn’t all bad.

  21. Chris V says:

    Dazzler-We don’t know if we should be supporting Mystique or not.
    We don’t know what she is fighting against.
    Because we don’t even know Moira’s plan.

    From what I gather, it’s not what it seems to be, and what it seems to be is embracing mutantkind as an ethno-nationalist ideology.
    That’s not something I want to support, so if Moira’s plan is something other than what it seems, perhaps Mystique wanting to work against the plan isn’t positive.

    You have to remember that the X-Men are a very lucrative corporate property, with Disney ready to bring them back as a film franchise in the near-future.
    Marvel Comics is not going to allow Hickman to turn mutants in to villains, so that they’re not something that Disney can monetize going forward.

  22. Mark Coale says:

    “For some reason, it is very important to have every mutant living on Krakoa. That seems to be an important part of Moira’s plan.”

    If that’s true, is Moira trying to get Kitty allowed?

  23. Chris V says:

    Unless the reveal is that Kitty is one of the Neo, as per Claremont.

    I’m not sure of the details either anymore.
    Wasn’t Kitty shown on Krakoa now? She is a member of the ruling council.
    They seem to be saying that Kitty can’t access the gates, but that she can visit Krakoa.
    I don’t think that was what was originally stated, but I think that’s what is being shown currently, unless I completely misunderstood a scene in one of the comics.
    Was it in X-Men & Fantastic Four #1?

  24. Andrew says:

    The other problem with the Gambit plot was that it was strung out for years and they’d basically drop in on the plot with a scene or two once a year and none of it made any sense.

    And finally they bring out his secret and it still made very little sense. And it ultimately had very little impact because he was back in the book 11 months later.

  25. Dimitri says:

    @Krzysiek Ceran

    Regarding the Gambit reveal in the ’90s, I remember at the time that the conversation among fans, once everything was revealed in Uncanny #350, was less about Gambit having helped the Marauders and more about the X-Men just leaving him to die shirtless in Antarctica.

    I recall more than a few readers equating it with murder and being really mad about it. Keep in mind that was just a year or two after the X-Men had taken in Sabretooth, a guy who actually participated in the Morlock massacre and didn’t feel an once of remorse about it, so for them to condemn Gambit to this slow and painful death must have seemed particularly over the top.

    The Gambit reveal pretty much took a back seat to that controversy, I think. At least, that’s the impression I got at the time regarding fan reaction.

  26. Andrew says:

    Paul once fabulously described Uncanny X-men 350 as “Not so much a story as a monument to the chaos that the X-Men office was in at the time, unfortunately.” which is spot on.

  27. Chris V says:

    Yes, they definitely strung the Gambit reveal out, as X-Men #45 was marketed as featuring major revelations about Gambit’s secret.
    Then, the issue didn’t reveal any new information.
    There was something about the secret involving Seattle, I think.
    Obviously, the creators had no idea what the secret was going to be, except that it involved Sinister.
    Seattle played no actual role in Gambit’s dark secret.

    Perhaps the original plan was that Gambit was involved in a failed Grunge band (With Sinister as their manager? The band was called The Sinister Gambit?), but by the time they got around to the reveal, Grunge was dead, so they had to scramble to come up with something new.

    Such was the ’90s.

  28. Andrew says:

    Another issue with the mid-90s period is that there’s a solid period from 1994-1996 where the main X-books were in a state of near constant crossover and between stuff like Phalanx Covenant/Legion Quest/AOA/the Onslaught prelude/Onslaught there’s only a handful of actual normal issues that progress the storyline in any kind of way, and even these were often just incrementally moving things forward.

  29. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Thanks, everybody, that does bring some clarity!

    As for Shadowcat, she can’t access the gates, but she can set foot on Krakoa – both things are established in Marauders #1.

  30. neutrino says:

    @Chris V House of X #2 explained Moira’s conversion to the mutant cause well enough. She studied the human-mutant dilemma, expanded her perspective on evolution, and gave Charles Xavier a second look, seeing beyond his arrogance. She devoted herself to the mutant cause in the rest of her lives.

    Even if Kitty is a Neo, they’re still mutants.

  31. neutrino says:

    Consider the implications of this issue. The mission went south when Mystique delayed her part to plant the flower. Destroying Mother Mold was a diversion or at most a secondary objective. Was it planned all along to have them die, then be resurrected to bring all the mutants together? That would explain why the team had members like Angel, Monet and Husk instead of powerhouses like Colossus, Polaris, and Rogue.

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