”Dawn of X” mastermind Jonathan Hickman foreshadowed dark times for the X-Men as House of X and its sister series Powers of X roll on – and it seems that tragedy has struck in this week’s House of X #4.
House of X #4, from Hickman and artists Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, seems to throw a massive wrench in the future of Marvel’s mutants – and raises big questions about what we think we already know about Hickman’s story.
Spoilers ahead for House of X #4.
House of X #4 picks up right where #3 left off – in the aftermath of Orchis’ security chief sacrificing himself to blow up the X-Men’s jet as they raid the Mother Mold space station.
The casualties of the explosion are immediately revealed – both Husk and Archangel are dead, with Nightcrawler and Wolverine both suffering massive injuries. As Professor X and other telepaths band together to contact Jean, a group of mutants including Nightcrawler, Mystique, Wolverine, and Cyclops enter the Orchis base while M and Jean remain behind.
Inside, Nightcrawler quickly disengages two of the beams holding the Mother Mold head in place – but the Orchis scientists open an airlock, preventing Mystique from reaching her target and jettisoning her into the vacuum of space.
With the Mother Mold coming online, Xavier instructs Cyclops to do “whatever it takes” to bring it down. Cyclops gives the order, and Nightcrawler teleports Wolverine out to the remaining locks. Nightcrawler is almost instantly atomized by the heat of the nearby sun, while Wolverine hangs on just long enough to break the last beam and fall into the sun with Mother Mold.
Jean and M – still on the X-Jet – prepare for incoming Orchis agents. M pushes Jean into an escape pod as Orchis agents rush in. She transforms to Penance and slaughters them – but she is apparently overwhelmed.
Cyclops is shot to death by the remaining Orchis scientists – while Jean’s escape pod is overtaken by Orchis drones.
On Krakoa, Xavier vows “No more,” as visions of the Genoshan Genocide and the Decimation (“No More Mutants!”) play out.
With all the X-Men dead, this raises some big questions – namely, how are they all going to make it back for “Dawn of X”, the X-Men line relaunch that will follow Hox and PoX. Cyclops is front and center on the first X-Men cover, and Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Jean, and basically all the other X-Men who perish here are present in art and solicitations we’ve seen.
It’s easy to now question those solicitations given Hickman and Marvel’s penchant for subterfuge and secrecy in the lead-up to the relaunch – but considering the full context of “Dawn of X”, that seems unlikely.
More likely, there’s a trick left up one of Moira X’s sleeves – another resurrection/reboot that could bring everyone back perhaps? And then there’s the question of her still supposedly unseen sixth incarnation, which could somehow play a role in resolving the apparent end of the X-Men.
The story continues in September 11's Powers of X #4.