X-Men Writer Jonathan Hickman Explains How One New Character Appears in Two Different Powers of X Timelines

Marvel's House of X event was a bold relaunch of the X-Men comic book franchise, which also happened to be a mind-bending story to try and follow. With the House of X and Powers of X books, writer Jonathan Hickman created a tale of Groundhog Day-style resurrection, in loop of not one but ten Marvel Universe reboots. Throughout those different versions of Marvel's X-Men continuity we got to see a wide variety of how the past, present, and future of the X-Men could take shape - but here was, admittedly, one big plot hole in the timelines that tripped up a lot of readers.

There are two main periods of focus in the future timelines that Powers of X laid out: the "Year 100" future where Apocalypse's X-Men battle Nimrod's Man-Machine Supremacy, and the "Year 1,000" future where the Post-Human race is trying to "ascend" by converting themselves into part of the Phalanx Collective. The early issues of Powers of X pulled the bait-and-switch move of making readers think the "Year 100" and "Year 1,000" futures were all on one timeline, when they were actually separate lifetimes that "Moira X" had lived.

The big trick was pulled off primarily by Hickman using one new character - a futuristic X-Men member named Cylobel - in two different scenes, set in Year 100 and Year 1,000 (respectively). In Year 100 Cylobel is captured by Nimrod and encased in a tube as part of the mutant-hunting Sentinel's massive library of mutant DNA; in Year 1,000, the post-human character "The Librarian" attempts to bring Cylobel back to life, but is unable to complete the process. As Jonathan Hickman himself explains in a recent interview with AIPT, these are definitely two very different versions of Cylobel:

"So, yes, there was going to be a thousand-year timeline in the back of Powers of X #6 explaining all the cool things that happened in that life. Included in that timeline was going to be the revelation that black brain telepaths are a Nimrod construct and on a long enough Nimrod timeline – where he is locked in a battle with mutantdom – Nimrod always oversees the ‘creation’ of black brain telepaths as a way to infiltrate the ranks of his mutant enemies.

And the kicker here is that they all look completely identical when they manifest (like Cylobel does) but before then they all look different and display different power sets. It’s only when they shed their external skin that a black brain telepath is revealed. So the matching shot in Powers of X #1–where they looked like the same person in a stasis tube but actually weren’t – was built to be deceptive."

As you can see, the bait and switch with Cylobel was going to get resolution, before a big change was made to the Powers of X storyline. That change was made, Hickman reveals, in order to leave story space in Moira's future lifetimes to be explored in the upcoming Moira X solo series that Marvel will be launching. In order to ensure room for those upcoming stories to be told, Hickman admits that, "the Cylobel bits went unresolved (for now) on the page."

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Since Cylobel and her fellow future X-Men (like Rasputin and Cardinal) have become fan-favorites since House of X / Powers of X, we indeed hope they return in some fun future stories.

Marvel's House of X is now done, and the X-Men line is being relaunched in the current "Dawn of X" event.