The X-Men’s future is about to get way darker, a whole lot weirder, and absolutely fabulous.
The big news out of Marvel Comics’ Next Big Thing panel at New York Comic Con 2022 is the X-Men crossover event Sins of Sinister. Launching in January with a Sins of Sinister one-shot helmed by writer Kieron Gillen, the story will find the whole X-Men line subbed out for a twisted alternate universe, where the future of mutants has been rewritten in the image of Krakoa’s most scheming and least trustworthy evil geneticist, Mister Sinister.
Gillen has been building up Sinister’s plans in his flagship Immortal X-Men title, and in the new crossover the X-Men line’s ongoing books will be swapped for mirror image Sinister equivalents. X-Men: Red will become Storm & the Brotherhood of Mutants, the Nightcrawler-led Legion of X will become Nightcrawlers (about a team made entirely of evil Nightcrawlers, naturally), and the aforementioned Immortal X-Men becomes Immoral X-Men, a pun so good there is a non-zero chance it’s the reason Gillen and company came up with this idea in the first place.
It’s a venerable X-Men event model that started with the 1994 Age of Apocalypse crossover, which used time traveling shenanigans to replace the Marvel Universe with one ruled by, and built in the image of, the authoritarian rule of Apocalypse himself. Since then, bizarre alternate timelines have become something of a staple in the X-Men books. Age of Apocalypse was followed by 2011’s Age of X, which imagined a future where mutant persecution reigned supreme. Even more recently, the wild and bizarre Age of X-Man imagined a sex-free universe ruled by mutantkind courtesy of weirdo mutant Nate Summers.
Sinister’s great passion has always been genetic tinkering, so it wouldn’t be a leap to presume that the reality we get will be the result of some villainous genetic modification. Is it really a coincidence that Immoral is just Immortal “minus a T” — which happens to be one of the four letters in the human DNA code?
Sinister has been the diamond-headed Checkhov’s gun since the start of the Krakoa era: Way back in Powers of X, we saw a potential future in which Sinister was responsible for the fall of mutantkind itself. And at the start of Gillen’s Immortal series, we learned that he’s been secretly experimenting with clones of Moira MacTaggart. Since Moira formerly possessed the ability to reboot reality each time she died, that gives Sinister an easy mechanism to build the universe of his decadent dreams.
Of course, Marvel also promises that the event will prove Sinister might be his “own worst enemy.” And since it was Gillen who first introduced the idea that Sinister isn’t an individual but a system of fully autonomous and often competitive clones, that’s one promise that might be very literal indeed.