“Dawn of X” has arrived at Marvel Comics, and the morning light has revealed the contours of a new world for the X-Men.
Here’s how it began: Back in July, superstar writer Jonathan Hickman launched two related, six-issue miniseries: “House of X,” and “Powers of X.” Despite starring the X-Men, both books were pronounced as if the “X” in each title was the Roman numeral 10.
The reason for this became clear fairly quickly. A human named Moria MacTaggert, who at one point was an inamorata of Professor Xavier, turned out to be a mutant. And her superpower was a wild one: She reincarnates as herself in the womb over and over again, essentially reliving her life in a new timeline where she tries to avoid the mistakes of the previous ones.
As it turns out, the current universe we are all living in is (or appears to be) Moira’s 10th life — hence, the Roman numeral 10.
Without changing a single word of what had gone before, Hickman had changed everything. Especially since Moira revealed herself to the mind-reading Professor Xavier — who discovered from Moira’s memories that in every one of her past lives, mutants were wiped out. Wiped. Out. No matter what steps Moira took.
Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, and Professor X and Moira X (10?) set to work. They recruited former X-enemies, including Magneto, the sentient island Krakoa and even Apocalypse, to change the future. Well, all the futures, I guess. And they created a new reality for mutants which was different from all of Moira’s past lives, one in which Krakoa became the home for all the world’s mutants.
Now comes “Dawn of X,” as Marvel has dubbed the relaunch, which includes the flagship “X-Men” plus some other titles with familiar names. While “HoX/PoX” was an exciting albeit bleak and terrifying exercise in world-building, the six new titles are pretty much done with that. They exist within the world Hickman has built, exploring different aspects of the new status quo.
• “X-Men” is the main title, which Marvel says will involve Cyclops selecting different teams to solve different problems as they arise. Cyclops lives on the Moon with his extended family, which includes Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey, still his wife; Alex “Havok” Summers, his brother; Gabriel “Vulcan” Summers, his other brother; Nathan “Cable” Summers, his son raised in the future; and Rachel “Prestige” Grey, his daughter from a defunct future timeline. Oh, and Wolverine. (Which, seriously, just skeeves me out.)
• “Excalibur” looks to be the most upbeat book, reprising the fun-loving book of the ’90s with a different cast.
• “Fallen Angels” is described as a book that involves characters uncomfortable with Krakoan life, but the first issue focused primarily on Kwannon, the new Psylocke. She was a Japanese assassin whose body Betsy Braddock possessed for years when the British girl was Psylocke. She’s back, and kinda angry.
• “Marauders” stars Kitty — excuse me — Kate Pryde as the captain of a ship that travels the world rescuing mutants who can’t make it to a Krakoan portal. Her crew will probably evolve, but the first issue involved Bishop, Emma Frost, Iceman, Lockheed the dragon, Nightcrawler, Pyro, Storm and Wolverine.
• “New Mutants” stars all of the originals, which is quite a treat. The first issue involves a lot of snappy dialogue and bad decisions (kids will be kids), which results in the team being stranded in outer space.
• “X-Force” has never been a favorite of mine, in any of its many iterations. That’s because it’s usually a sort of black ops book, where various lethal mutants (like Wolverine) sneak around the world murdering threats to mutantdom. That’s not terribly heroic. This book seems to be heading in that direction, and for the first time, I can buy into the premise. As a nation-state, Krakoa has a right to defend itself, up to and including a variation on the CIA, which X-Force is supposed to be.