Powers of X #3 provides a much deeper look at the dark future of the "X-Men Year 100" timeline, where mutantkind has been driven off of Earth by the Man-Machine Supremacy. Up until now, that future of the Man-Machine-Mutant War was only given to readers in careful brushstrokes, but in Powers of X #3, writer Jonathan Hickman spends focused time dropping some big reveals about the X² timeline.
Of course, this being Hickman, Powers of X #3's reveals about the X-Men 100 Year timeline have only sparked new mysteries about the "X-Men Year 1,000" timeline that is the final epoch that Powers of X examines.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW!
The biggest reveal in Powers of X #3 is that early fan theories were indeed correct: The X-Men Year 100 timeline is revealed to actually be the ninth lifecyle of Moira Mactaggert. In her ninth life, Moira abandoned the hope that either Xavier or Magneto would save mutantkind, and instead threw her hopes behind Apocalypse. After waking the Mutant Eternal from his slumber early, Moira and Apocalypse slaughtered both Xavier and Magneto, and formed their own version of the X-Men. Apocalyse's "Survival of the Fittest mantra led to the "Apocalypse War," which then provoked a reaction from humanity in the form of the Man-Machine Supremacy.
During the Man-Machine-Mutant War, Moira (transformed into a being like Apocalypse), is injured before she and Apocalypse can take out Nimrod, and the X-Men put her into stasis. Should would remain in suspended animation for 16 years, until the Future X-Men's final mission retrieved the key piece of information that Moira and Apocalypse sought: the exact date and circumstances of Nimrod's creation. With the rest of the team dead, Wolverine enacts the final phase of the plan: killing Moira to reset her lifetime - this time with the knowledge of where and when to intervene, in order to stop Nimrod from ever being created.
While this is a key development for the accompanying House of X series and mutantkind's mission to stop Nimrod's origin, it also raises a major new mystery about Powers of X - namely, when is the X-Men Year 1,000 future with The Librarian, the Nimrod Drone, and the Phalanx ascendancy all taking place?
The Ascension Agenda
Initially, many "Dawn of X" readers figured the various eras of Powers of X were all of one timeline, with the X-Men's past leading into the modern day "House of X" story arc, while the Year 100 and Year 1,000 futures depicted the outcome of House of X's events, which would be revealed in full as the story went on. That all changed with House of X #2 and the reveal that Moira Mactaggert is the Omega mutant "Moira X" who has lived multiple lifetimes. Suddenly, theories were abound that the future eras of Powers of X were all part of Moira's ninth lifetime - theories that have now proven to be at least partially true.
Yes, the Year 100 timeline has now been revealed to be Moira's 9th life - but ending of Powers of X #3 makes it abundantly clear that there's no way the Year 1,000 future of The Librarian can in no way be part of Moira's 9th life - so when does it take place?
Right now, there are two glaring periods of omission in the story of Moira's many lifetimes: The future after House of X in her 10th life, and the events of Moira's 6th life, which have not been revealed at all.
The ending of Powers of X #2 reveals that the Librarian and Nimrod Drone have been busy in their future: They injected a thinking machine into the core of a frozen gas giant called Nibiru, which eventually grew into the sentient Worldmind entity called Nimbus. We learn that The Librarian created Nimbus as an audition of sorts, to prove to a technologically-superior race (in this case The Phalanx) that Earth had progressed beyond the petty conflicts of old to qualify for "Ascension," by being absorbed into the Phalanx.
Having seen the end result of the Librarian's plan, it's hard to place when these events could be happening. The easiest theory is that first guesses were partially right, and Year 1,000 is indeed the far future of Moira's 10th life. The other guess is that it is Moira's 6th life, but both of those theories present some big hurdles, given what occurs between the Librarian and the Phalanx.
More to the point: none of the current guesses could be right, as Hickman has managed circumvent expectation at just about every turn. What's your theory on "Dawn of X's" Librarian and Year 1,000 timeline? Let us know in the comments!
Powers of X 1, 2 & 3 and House of X 1 & 2 are all now on sale, with new issues of each book released in alternating weeks.