Marvel's big X-Men re-launch continues with Powers of X #4 this week, and it was a most unexpected chapter of Jonathan Hickman's story. Instead of getting answers about the tragic (and fatal) mission the X-Men embarked on to stop the creation of Nimrod in House of X, Powers of X #4 pulls back to fill in some more backstory, and provide a hint as to where things are going.
WARNING - SPOILERS FOLLOW!
House of X #4 chronicles three main scenes:
- Charles Xavier and Magneto making a secret pact with Mr. Sinister, years before the X-Men started.
- Xavier first taking Cypher to meet Krakoa and develop a language to communicate with it.
- The future 1,000 years after House of X, where The Librarian and Earth's society elders explore a way to have biological lifeforms converted to machines form to be integrated into the Phalanx collective.
On the surface, these scenes each played relatively straightforward - and even had more lightness and humor than just about any other chapter of Hickman's "Dawn of X" event. However, when you go back over how Powers of X #4 fits into the story that has preceded it, it quickly becomes clear that the book is framing some of the more important reveals that fans have been searching for - and readers may not have even noticed that they were getting the answer they sought!
Here's what you need to know:
Pod People - Xavier and Magneto task Sinister with creating a massive library of mutant DNA, specifically, including their own. That idea was born in Moira X's 9th life, where that version of Sinister created mutant hybrids as warriors for Apocalypse's war with the Man-Machine Supremacy. However, in Moria's 10th life (House of X), that idea was seemingly re-purposed. House of X #1 opened on the mind-boggling scene of Xavier in a bio-organic garden, filled with cocoon-like pods. Out of those pods emerged figures that looked like X-Men clones.
With major X-Men characters (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Nightcrawler...) having died on their mission to end Nimrod, it seems clear that Xavier and Magneto's alliance with Sinister was a safety net that allows the dead X-Men to be "resurrected" whenever needed. The implications of that on the X-Men's past and future are quite massive.
The Ascendancy - For the first half of "Dawn of X," the Year 1,000 future of Powers of X was teased as being the timeline of the Man-Machine-Mutant war that Apocalypse's X-Men existed in. However, Powers of X #3 pulled the rug out by revealing that Apocalypse's X-Men existed in Moira's 9th life, which was ended by Wolverine when the Future X-Men laid down their lives to discover the secret of Nimrod's origin.
That reveal immediately realigned the story of "Dawn of X," leaving the massive question of when this Year 1,000 future of The Librarian, the Phalanx, and the "Ascendancy" agenda take place. However, Powers of X #4 pretty much takes all the clues Hickman dropped along the way to a new level, by connecting Sinister's mutant DNA library back to the very first scene of The Librarian in Powers of X #1. That scene was set in Nimrod's citadel, where The Librarian and a Nimrod drone lament that the mutant library is to degraded to fully restore the mutants catalogued in it. Hickman used some bait-and-switch with one character (Cylobel) to make readers believe that Year 1,000 is the far future after the events of the Man-Machine-Mutant war; now we know that's definitely not the case.0comments
During that first scene with the Librarian, Nimrod drone conspicuously mentions, the library has been around for a millennium. After Powers of X #4, it seems clear that the Librarian and Nimrod Drone are actually trying to repair the mutant DNA library that Sinister started, some 1,00 years after he met with Xavier and Magneto.
With those two plot points now all but spelled out for us, it's going to be interesting to see how "Dawn of X" brings all these subplots together for a cohesive and satisfying conclusion. What are your theories?
House of X 1 - 4 and Powers of X 1 - 4 are all now on sale.