Marvel's big X-Men Universe relaunch continues, and in this week's chapter (House of X #5), writer Jonathan Hickman makes the bold move of totally redefining one of the oldest, true-blue elements of X-Men lore: Cerebro. Marvel Comics fans know all to well just how powerful Charles Xavier's telepathy-enhancing super computer is - or at least they did up until today. Thanks to Hickman, House of X reveals Cerebro's true function in the X-Men universe, and it's something that no fan theory has ever predicted!
WARNING: Marvel House of X #5 SPOILERS Follow!
In the latest chapter of House of X, the X-Men (and all of mutantkind) are revealed to have unlocked the keys to immortality. That process involves five random X-Men characters being re-purposed as a sort of resurrection squad, who are able to grow fully-powered clones of dead mutants. However, while "The Five" are able to grow replacement bodies for the X-Men, they can't recreate the souls of their dead comrades.
That's where Cerebro comes in.
House of X #5 explains that mutant location was just the "secondary function" of Cerebro. The first function has always been serving as a database, collecting imprints of every single mutant mind that Charles Xavier ever came into contact with. As Hickman explains in the issue:
"All this time, everyone has misunderstood what Cerebro really was. Yes, with it Charles could locate any mutant in the world... but that eventually became the secondary function of the machine. The first was copying the mind -- the essence, the anima -- of any mutant Xavier found. So he could one day put a soul back into its mutant shell."
So, to keep things updated: Prof. X's Cerebro is essentially a mutant soul collector, which gives Xavier the ability to act as a sort of god, able to restore life and soul to the dead. House of X #5 only dips into this process in its most straightforward use; it will be interesting to see what happens when Xavier gets a little more... creative with this new use for Cerebro. In one of his signature charts Hickman drops heavy foreshadow that a mutant "soul" may end up getting put into a different body at some point, while one very ominous scene in the book suggests that Xavier may have already used this resurrection process in some truly ungodly ways.
House of X 1 - 5 and Powers of X 1 - 4 are all now on sale.