First, Professor X revealed his new mutant nation, the sentient island of Krakoa. Then Powers of X revealed a new dark future for Krakoa and its citizens. Now, with House of X #2, Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz are rewriting the past of the X-Men with one huge secret twist.
One of the X-Men’s oldest human allies is actually a mutant — and they’ve known they were the entire time.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for House of X #2.]
House of X and Powers of X are dense books. On top of all the X-Men lore references in House of X and Powers of X, the twin miniseries contain tons of exposition in the form of very graphic designed dispatches from... somewhere. Some of those dispatches contain a new mutant alphabet, introduced in House of X #1, and at the end of every issue words in that alphabet give a little tease for the next one.
For House of X #2, that tease read “The Curious Case of Moira X,” presumably referring to Moira MacTaggert, the Scottish geneticist and old flame of Professor X, who’s been a vital part of the X-Men mythos since 1975. Introduced in the third issue of X-Men that Chris Claremont ever wrote, she’s been one of the most stalwart human allies the mutant super team has ever had, working up until the moment of her death to deliver the cure for the Legacy Virus.
Except, as House of X #2 reveals, she’s a mutant — and she faked her death.
Moira has the mutant power of reincarnation
There are any number of comic book characters who reincarnate. But usually they reincarnate into a new body after their death. Moira, as Hickman and Larraz show in House of X #2, reincarnates into her old body before her death.
That is, when she dies, her consciousness snaps back to her fetal form within her mother’s womb, with all memories of her past lives intact. She is then free to change the path of her life based on the experience of already having lived it.
In a nutshell: Moira’s life is a roguelike with no checkpoints.
Moira has lived 10 lives, and over those lives her attitude toward mutants as a whole has radically evolved. The nature of her powers are such that they mask her from ever being detected as a mutant, so she didn’t even realize she was one until her first reincarnation, which she interpreted as a cursed immortality. In her third life she developed a cure for mutations, but was killed by Mystique and the prophetic mutant Destiny, who gave her an ultimatum: Get over her self-hatred and start supporting the mutant cause, or they would find her and kill her in every one of her incarnations.
In her next life, after further study, she concluded that mutants were a force for good, fell in love with Charles Xavier, and followed the X-Men through their long history. Ultimately, she watched them as they were destroyed by mankind. It seems that Moira’s life ever since then has been in pursuit of the key to saving mutantkind.
In a continuity full of alternate timelines, Moira’s lives offer nearly a dozen more: one where she and Charles Xavier built a city of mutants, one in which she dedicated herself to assassinating the creators of Sentinels, ones where she allied herself to Magneto, and one where she woke Apocalypse. All of them ended in the destruction of mutants.
The timeline we’re currently observing in House of X and Powers of X — the one where she lives among the X-Men as a human — is implied to be Moira’s tenth, and potentially her last. Both House of X #2 and last week’s Powers of X #1 repeat a scene in which Moira introduces herself to a young Charles Xavier, and allows him to discover her past lives by reading her mind.
That scene seems to take place in the main X-Men timeline — but, if it does, how did Moira and Charles hide her mutant status for so long? And why did they hide it? How much of Charles Xavier’s new plan is Moira’s plan as well? And what is the secret of Moira’s sixth life, conspicuously left completely unmentioned in House of X #2?
Tune in next week for Powers of X #2, I guess!