HEAT VISION

Marvel's 'Powers of X' Ends With Surprising Revelation

The battle for survival isn't what it was believed to be.
Courtesy of R.B. Silva/Marvel Entertainment
The battle for survival isn't what it was believed to be.

[This story contains spoilers for the final issue of Marvel Entertainment’s Powers of X comic book series.]

With its final issue, Marvel Entertainment’s Powers of X revealed the truth behind the new status quo of the X-Men franchise — and, in the process, exposed the true nature of the seemingly utopian world in which mutantkind lives these days. After more than a decade of stories in which Marvel’s mutants were constantly on the brink of literal extinction — which themselves followed multiple decades of stories in which mutants were “merely” being discriminated against to the point of being literally hunted by authorities — writer Jonathan Hickman’s dual franchise relaunch series House of X and Powers of X introduced what seemed like the ultimate relief: Mutantkind uniting on the island of Krakoa, becoming a world power and nation in its own right.

Death was conquered, via an elaborate cloning technique, and everything looked as if things were finally turning around for Charles Xavier’s friends and foes.

And then Powers of X explicitly states that things will always turn out badly for mutants.

“It’s much worse than that. We always lose,” Moira MacTaggart tells Xavier midway through the series, and she should know; by this point in the narrative, she has lived and died nine different times, trying alternative ways to maintain the survival of the mutant race without success. (As the final issue of Powers of X reveals, Moira has lived for a thousand years in one timeline and it still ended with the mutantkind being outstripped by a humanity augmented by its own invention.

“Mutants are an evolutionary response to an environment. You are… naturally occurring. The next step in human evolution,” a character from 1,000 years in the future explains in the issue. “But what happens when humanity stops being beholden to its environment? When man controls the building blocks of biology and technology… Evolution is no match for genetic engineering. What good was one mutant adapting to its environment when we could make ten super men?”

Turning the franchise’s long-running theme on its head, the core conflict of the X-Men property isn’t homo superior (mutant) versus homo sapien (man), but homo superior versus homo novissima (post-human, or genetically engineered human) — a battle that, it’s suggested, mutantkind will lose no matter what.

Armed with this knowledge, Moira has manipulated events throughout the franchise — and certain people — to try and equip mutantkind as best she can in the upcoming conflict, leading to a united Xavier and Magneto announcing that she has honed them into “perfect tools for an imperfect age” that would change things moving forward.

The new era of X-Men comics, therefore, is one in which the majority of characters believe that they’re living in a golden age of mutantkind, but they’re actually part of the latest in a series of conflicts for survival that they are, perhaps, destined to lose. How this thread will continue through the multiple Dawn of X spinoff titles remains to be seen, but with Powers of X author Jonathan Hickman writing the ongoing X-Men series launching in the wake of this reveal, one thing is for certain: This isn’t an idea that is going to go away anytime soon.

Powers of X No. 6 is available now in comic book stores and digitally.

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