Jonathan Hickman's reinvention of the X-Men universe continues with Powers of X #2, which further explores the various eras of X-Men history introduced in the first issue. Of the numerous big reveals we get in Powers of X #2, there's one that's going to be especially shocking for longtime fans: The X-Men have a new leader, and it's the last person you'd ever expect to hold that mantle.
WARNING - SPOILERS for Powers of X #2 follow!
The X2 timeline introduced in Power of X #1 takes place in a future that exists 100 years after the "House of X" was created. That future is a dystopian war zone, where the Man-Machine Supremacy (a union of humans and A.I. against mutants) is hunting mutants to the point that the majority of mutants have fled Earth for refuge on alien worlds. However, there is one last team of X-Men still living in Earth's vicinity, within the asteroid remains of Krakoa.
In Power of X #1, we saw this team of last-stand X-Men on a desperate mission that could end the Man-Machine-Mutant war; in this latest issue, the surviving X-Men from that mission bring some key intelligence back to the X-Men's leader - who is revealed to be none other than Apocalypse!
Future X-Men (and products of Sinister's "Chimera" class of mutant experiments) Rasputin and Cardinal make it back to Asteroid K with the intel stolen from Nimrod the Lesser, which they hand off to their boss, Apocalypse. Apocalypse has a plan to set in motion (which Hickman has yet to fully reveal), but it would essentially use the new reveals of the intel to locate some all-important other MacGuffin, which will somehow take mutants off of the machines' hit list.
The larger story arc of the Man-Machine-Mutant War is a mystery that definitely needs to be resolved, but the fact that Apocalypse is the X-Men's leader in this future will definitely need explaining, as well. Apocalypse is about as far away from Xavier's dream as the X-Men could go - and not even Magneto's way of advancing mutantkind has ever synced with Apocalypse's "Survival of the Fittest" mantra. Yet, in this dark future Magneto is one of Apocalypse's final 7 X-Men, and even Wolverine refers to the mutant despot as "boss." It could be argued that when facing extinction the X-Men united behind a leader that could help them survive, but without knowing the fates of Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert in this future, it's hard to fathom what turn of events shifted the X-Men into uniting under the leadership of one of their biggest villains.
...Such is the mystery of this House of X / Powers of X event.
Powers of X 1 & 2, and House of X 1 & 2 are all now on sale, with new issues of each book released in alternating weeks.
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