“Dawn of X” is breaking on the horizon with Wednesday’s X-Men #1 marking the official start of a new era for Marvel’s merry mutants. With House of X and Powers of X now wrapped and a fresh status quo established, there’s a lot new with the X-Men.
Since there was a massive amount of information and story told in just the twelve issues of HoX/PoX – and the road to the new X-Men status quo is typically complex, though it ties nicely into X-Men history – we’re getting primed for X-Men #1 by running down everything you need to know about Moira X, Krakoa, the X-Men, the Five, and more going into “Dawn of X”.
Strap into your safety belts, the Blackbird is blasting off – Spoilers for House of X/Powers of X ahead.
Krakoa Is For Lovers
As part of a grand plan to secure the future of mutantkind, Professor X, Magneto, and Moira MacTaggart work together to devise a way to turn Krakoa the Living Island, an ancient mutant that takes the form of an actual island, into an actual homeland for mutants.
Through the combined powers of Cypher, Warlock, and several other mutants, Professor X and his team are able to use Krakoa’s unique mutant biology to create an island home, along with special flowers that can grow portals, habitats, and other tactically advantageous things.
Professor X entreats the United Nations to recognize Krakoa’s sovereignty in exchange for various medicines that can end human maladies and prolong human (along with a little psychic nudge from Emma Frost).
Though controversial, Krakoa is now a mutant nation state with its own simple laws, ruled by a “Quiet Council” of 13. Krakoa offers amnesty to all mutants – even those who have previously been villains, such as Magneto, Mister. Sinister, and even Apocalypse.
We Live in a Society
The Quiet Council of Krakoa is broken into several groups, organized thematically by “seasons.”
They are as follows:
Autumn: Professor X, Magneto, Apocalypse
Winter: Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique
Spring: Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Kate Pryde
Summer: Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler
Krakoa itself and Cypher round out the council, speaking for the interests of the land.
As their first act the council set the laws of Krakoa, which are as follows:
1. Make More Mutants
2. Murder No Man
3. Respect This Land
House of M
But there’s a lot more to Krakoa’s overall mission than just making a safe haven for mutantkind. Along with creating ways to synthesize mutant powers with Krakoa, Professor X, Moira, and Magneto figured out a way to fully resurrect any mutant using the powers of a group of X-Men known as “The Five” – Hope, Goldballs, Tempus, Elixir, and Proteus, along with the technology of Professor X and Mr. Sinister.
Goldballs generates a number of balls – actually genetic “eggs” – equal to the number of mutants to be resurrected. Proteus then uses his reality-altering powers to make them viable, while Elixir gives them life. The eggs are then injected with DNA from Mr. Sinister’s mutant codex, and Professor X’s secret psychic “backup” of every mutant mind (housed in Cerebro) to ensure that the mutant to be resurrected comes back exactly as they died (including things like adamantium skeletons, need for optic visors, etc. thanks to Proteus). Hope uses her power to empower and synergize everyone’s abilities, allowing the process to work seamlessly.
That’s not all though – with advancing mutant technology, Professor X and Magneto plan not just to resurrect X-Men who die in battle (as seen in House of X/Powers of X) – but every mutant who has died in genocide at the hands of humans, in the Decimation, the Genoshan genocide and beyond. In other words, eventually, they’ll bring back millions of dead mutants in a matter of years.
And yeah, this essentially means the X-Men can’t die permanently - there are even back-up plans for the deaths of the Five. But since when has death been permanent for the X-Men anyway?
Powers of Ten
So now that you know what Krakoa is and how it works, let’s go back to how the X-Men got here.
It all starts with Moira MacTaggart, Professor X’s one-time paramour and an expert on mutant genetics. And, unbeknownst until HoX/Pox, a mutant herself, who lives and dies over and over again with the knowledge of her previous existence intact – an experience that has led her to witness the extinction of mutantkind many times over, through many versions of reality.
Needless to say, this has given her opinions on how mutantkind is to be saved, and how they’ll thrive – ideas she’s brought to Magneto and Xavier, leading to the creation of Krakoa. It’s Moira’s continued (secret) influence that drives Xavier and Magneto’s ideology – unbeknownst to most other mutants.
The Many Lives of Moira X
How many lives has Moira lived? Well, we’re now on her tenth (and, according to mutant precog Destiny) final incarnation – her last shot to use all her knowledge to get it right and save mutantkind.
So what happened the previous nine times?
Some of her lives are spelled out in detail in HoX/PoX – in her early incarnations she actually tries to end mutantkind with scientific knowledge, eventually developing a “cure” – but Destiny finds her (she can uniquely sense Moira, thanks to the nature of their respective powers) and warns her to help mutantkind – or else.
Moira resurrects again, and tries numerous ways to save mutantkind, teaming up with Xavier, Magneto, both, and neither over and over again, all to no avail. Some of these timelines, seen only in passing, appear to resemble events that occurred in core X-Men titles, calling into question whether these are details that transcend a single timeline, or if previous X-Men adventures may exist in a gray area of Moira’s rebooted lives.
While that may be difficult to grasp (and its implications to the larger Marvel Universe have yet to be explored), it could explain the many disparate futures the X-Men have collectively experienced.
Days of Future Past
There are also two key timelines we’ve seen in detail – Moira’s ninth life, the “Apocalypse War”, in which Apocalypse ended mutantkind after fighting generational X-Men clones that combined multiple mutant power sets, and Moira’s sixth life, in which she lives all the way to the end of human evolution and witnesses the final fate of mutantkind.
In this scenario, mutants are overtaken by humans using science to replicate mutant powers – even perfecting them beyond normal mutant evolution - and making mutants obsolete.
By the end of human and post-human history, the Earth is to be subsumed by the Phalanx, with Moira sequestered away to prevent the timeline from resetting. But an equally ancient and surviving Wolverine kills Moira before it can happen, giving her the final pieces of the puzzle needed to bring Xavier and Magneto to her cause.
The Professor is X
But that also means the Xavier we see here may not be any Xavier we know at all. For one thing, it’s not exactly clear if this is the Xavier we previously saw inhabit Fantomex’s body, or if there’s more to it (he could have had the Five make him his own new body, for example).
One thing’s for certain, this Xavier doesn’t follow quite the same code as he used to. His dream of mutants and humans living together has evolved to something closer to Magneto’s beliefs, with mutantkind breaking off from but interacting with humanity as separate people.
And to that end, his X-Men seem to follow – acting unilaterally in HoX/PoX to bring down an orbital “Mother Mold” – a massive sentinel factory that will lead to the creation of Nimrod and a war between humans, mutants, and machines. Though this leads to their collective deaths (as we previously said, they got better), it also established their new protocols – to do whatever it takes to protect mutants.
To Me, My X-Men
As for who’s actually on the team, well, the core line-up hasn’t been revealed. We know characters like Storm, Professor X, Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, and more will be involved – but comments from writer Jonathan Hickman and editor Jordan D. White have established X-Men as a kind of hub for mutant stories, where a core cast will exist among dozens of other mutants on Krakoa.
The X-Men field leaders are called Great Captains, and the four of them are Cyclops, Bishop, Magik, and Gorgon.
But there are some other teams we know a little bit more about, specifically.
There’s Excalibur, comprised of leader Betsy Braddock/Captain Britain, Jubilee, Rogue, Rictor, Gambit, and shockingly Apocalypse, with a mission of exploring the magic side of mutantkind.
Then there’s Marauders, who take their name from mutant villains but who serve as mutant privateers – a pirate crew led by Captain Kate Pryde serving Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw’s Hellfire Trading Company. Comprised of Pryde, Iceman, Storm, Pyro, and Bishop, the Marauders ensure Krakoa’s safety from the high seas.
There’s X-Force, filling its role as a kind of mutant black ops team with a roster of Domino, Jean Grey, Beast, Colossus, Wolverine, Black Tom Cassidy, Sage, and Quentin Quire.
Then there’s Fallen Angels – a group of mutants on the hunt for vengeance led by Psylocke/Kwannon alongside X-23 and Cable.
And of course there’s the New Mutants, a younger team that incorporates classic New Mutants, members of Generation X, Young X-Men, and more.
All of these teams (and more still being announced) will be part of the “Dawn of X” relaunch, which begins this week with X-Men #1.
The Future is Unwritten
When it comes to what’s next, this week’s X-Men #1 will be the first step in answering that question.
There are still big things to be spoken for in this new X-Men status quo. For one thing, how do the rest of Marvel’s heroes feel about it? Their reaction hasn’t been explored – but given the potential implications of Moira X’s rebooted lives and the X-Men now essentially operating as the military arm of a nation state, there could be … complications.
One thing we have seen is a confrontation between Cyclops and the Fantastic Four over custody of Sabretooth, who went on a violent rampage while working on a mission for the X-Men and killed several humans.
Though Cyclops insisted on taking Sabretooth back to Krakoa, the FF refused, later necessitating a breakout. However, as Sabretooth had violated one of Krakoa’s laws (remember “Murder No Man”?) he was banished to live in stasis in the depths of Krakoa for all time.
There’s also been a teaser implying that Apocalypse may not exactly have altruistic intentions in his alliance with Krakoa and the X-Men, hinting that Professor X and Magneto may fall too close to his violent mutant supremacist ideology in the near future.
Time will tell in “Dawn of X,” which start this week in X-Men #1.