The Dead X-MEN Have Returned, Changing Marvel Forever

Warning: SPOILERS for House of X #5

Marvel shocked fans by killing off the X-Men in the middle of their own comic book relaunch, saving a future they would never live to see. But now that House of X #5 has revealed Charles Xavier’s secret plan–the one he was willing to watch his children die to achieve–readers are in for an even more surprising twist.

We should warn X-Men fans that not all of the answers offered will be ones they want to hear, since House of X and Powers of X have just been revealed to be based on some truly massive developments. The kind of changes that will forever redefine who and what the X-Men are, where mutants stand in opposition to humanity, and their entire role and status in the Marvel Comics Universe. Yes, the dead X-Men are brought back to life as Marvel readers knew they would be (and which Marvel accidentally spoiled themselves). But make no mistake: Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey and the other fallen heroes were absolutely killed… they just no longer need bodies to survive.

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We know about the library you’re building. Your attempt at cataloging the world’s DNA. What we’re suggesting is a slight deviation of focus. Continue with your broad indexing, if you want… but we need you to prioritize making a comprehensive database of all mutant DNA. Safe. Secure. Redundant… First, you need to begin the good work… And then, I need you to forget why you’re doing it and that we were ever here… until the day I tell you to remember.

These reveals will be best understood if readers give the previous issues a second pass, but we’ll do our best to point out the key scenes, all given new context now that Xavier and Magneto’s plan has been revealed. Now that the Powers of X future timeline has been explained, readers should focus on the role played by Mister Sinister in Marvel’s future. In that doomed future, Sinister’s program for harvesting and manipulating mutant DNA eventually led to catastrophe. But when Xavier and Magneto sought out Sinister in the last issue, Powers of X #4, they made an odd request.

Xavier used his psychic abilities to focus Sinister’s efforts on cataloging every mutant in the world, acquired with their cooperation and partnership. And most importantly, they made him forget that he was doing it because they told him to. Fast forward to the new issue ten years later, and the reasons make perfect sense. The leaders of Krakoa need samples of the X-Men’s DNA on hand… so they can be brought back after death. Seriously.

Separate, yes, they are great mutants–but only significant, not transcendent. Together, however… together, these five mutants have made us… whole.

Hickman and Larraz waste no time in addressing the death of the core X-Men, beginning the new issue with Magneto explaining their next step to his daughter, Polaris. Deep in the heart of the island Krakoa, a special collection of mutants–known collectively as the Five–gather to perform their sacred task. As Magneto reveals, the five mutants, together, are able to create life. First comes Fabio Medina (known as the X-Man Goldballs), who never realized the gold balls created and propelled from his chest were actually eggs. It’s a bit of a leap, but the rest of the story relies on it, even if the eggs are biologically sound but unviable for growth.

At that point Kevin MacTaggert (Proteus) steps in to warp reality and transform the unviable egg into a viable one. Then a sample of DNA from the desired mutant is injected, and Joshua Foley (Elixir) uses his life-giving gift to start cellular replication. Eva Bell (Tempus) warps time to age this husk to full maturation in a matter of hours. And Hope Summers is able to mimic the powers of other mutants nearby, which Xavier claims is what’s needed to unify and connect their powers for one purpose: produce a living, full-grown clone. And finally, the true purpose of Cerebro comes into play. Not only does Cerebro connect Charles Xavier to mutants across the Earth… it also scans and stores a copy of their brain, or consciousness–the very “essence” of them. Xavier transfers the consciousness of the mutant who perished, effectively making this new clone the living, breathing, resurrected mutant.

A great thing has happened today. A miracle made possible by mutant hands. The great work of the Five. By the power that is their birthright, the Five have returned these mutants thought lost to us… mutants all. And it was through their deaths that a great victory was won for our people… the first victory of many. See them for what they are… heroes of Krakoa.

The scene builds to its crescendo as Charles Xavier stands watch over the creation, growth, and hatching of his lost mutants. It’s possible that readers will forget that they watched this scene play out once already, considering how many revelations have come and gone in the meantime. In fact, the most pivotal panels–showing the X-Men clones hatching and crawling naked to Xavier’s feet–are the ones which opened House of X #1. Of course, readers had no idea they were witnessing the resurrection of the heroes after they gave their lives to save the future.

The point is driven home when Xavier “uploads” the record of Cyclops’s mind, who then asks Xavier, “Did… did it work?” It is then Xavier’s honor to inform Scott that the mission was a success. He doesn’t explain that they were all murdered, and have since been cloned and artificially implanted back into empty bodies to continue living as if nothing abnormal has taken place. It’s time to celebrate!

Later notes explain that Cerebro is now not only storing these records of mutants, but updating their accounts on a weekly basis. In the case of Cyclops it seems his mind was updated along with the rest of the X-Men prior to their suicide mission. In hindsight, making their collective decision to accept the mission an even greater sacrifice: they knew they weren’t coming home, and took the risk of never being reborn as planned.

But everything worked out exactly as hoped, with Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, Penance, Nightcrawler, Angel, Husk, and Mystique all reborn in their new bodies. The fact that their original forms and minds really were killed in sacrifice to mutantkind shouldn’t be forgotten. It certainly isn’t among the mutants already calling Krakoa home, who celebrate their return as some of the greatest heroes their people will ever know. So now that mutants have conquered death, and have gathered on Krakoa at alarming rates, is their fate sealed as the new leaders of Marvel’s Earth? We would say the story seems clear enough… but with this X-Men relaunch, it’s impossible to guess.

House of X #5 is available now at your local comic book shop, or direct from Marvel Comics. Expect even more surprises when Powers of X #5 arrives on September 25th.

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2019-09-18 04:09:22

Andrew Dyce

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