Jonathan Hickman's "Dawn of X" story composed of the two intertwining series House of X and Powers of X is only a third of the way through its run, but already it's introduced some major paradigm shifts that change the history of the X-Men in ways many fans never saw coming. It's quite possible that, even though the run is young, nothing will top the major reveal at the heart of last week's House of X #2, but this week's Powers of X #2 — from Hickman, artist R.B. Silva, colorist Marte Garcia, Letterer VC's Clayton Cowles, and designer Tom Muller — is still full of surprises, including the reveal of another major X-Men villain who's apparently working for the good guys now...or at least, working for the good guys eventually.
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Powers of X #2 below.**
In House of X #2 we learned a secret that shifts our understanding of all of X-Men history: Moira MacTaggert is a mutant with the ability to reincarnate while also retaining all memories of her past lives, and therefore she has seen the rise and fall of mutantdom several times and knows which pitfalls to avoid if the race is to survive. In her tenth life, after a lot of trial and error, she revealed all of these past lives and memories to Charles Xavier, who is now moving forward armed with the knowledge of what not to do. It is with this knowledge that, in Powers of X #2, Xavier and MacTaggert approach Magneto on Island M and propose an alliance.
We've known since House of X #1 that Magneto is working with Xavier in the sovereign nation of Krakoa, which is in place 10 years after what Hickman is calling "Year One" of the X-Men, and that he's so entrenched in the plan that he basically acts as Xavier's emissary and mouthpiece. What we didn't know until now was how that happened, and Powers of X #2 shows us. Armed with what Moira has shown him, Xavier explains that he and Magneto must put into place "the one thing I haven't tried yet — all of mutantdom as one" in order to assume their "rightful place." Magneto, intrigued, opens his mind to Xavier, who shows him all of Moira's past lives and all of their past failings as leaders of mutants. With the caveat that he will still check Xavier's "weakness" (because Magneto gonna Magneto no matter what), Magneto agrees to join forces.
In terms of what happens here, it's not a surprise. We knew Magneto was part of the plan already, and we've seen him shift over to Xavier's way of thinking many times in the past for any number of reasons, from suiting his own needs to actually agreeing with Charles to just being sympathetic to his old friend. What makes this so interesting is how it happens, particularly because of how Xavier phrases what he'd like Magneto to do. His talk of mutants "assuming our rightful place on Earth" sounds more like something we're used to Magneto saying than something that comes out Professor X's mouth, but that's because Xavier's mind has been altered by Moira's presence and experience. He's seen, through her memories, what hiding in the shadows, trying to live in peace, and being overtly warlike have all done to the mutant cause, and now he understands that sovereignty is actually the way forward. This plus Magneto's declaration to the human ambassadors in House of X #1 that humans have "new gods now" makes for a fascinating look at how the power dynamic between these two men has evolved in this story.
Then there's the other major X-villain who seems to have joined the cause, even if it may have taken him quite a bit of time to come around. Powers of X #2 continues its leap through various eras of mutant history through its "powers of 10" conceit, so after showing us Year One and Year 10 it leaps forward to Year 100 to reveal more of the mission that Cardinal and Rasputin just got back from. In Powers of X #1 we saw them battling, at great cost, to retrieve a piece of information from the machines under the command of Nimrod the Lesser so they could return it to someone called "the old man." Well, now we know who the old man is...
It's Apocalypse, and even if he's not leading all mutants at this point, he's at the very least a major part of the leadership which also still includes Magneto and Wolverine.
Yes, it seems even Apocalypse has come around to Xavier's "all of mutantdom as one" plan, in no small part because he's curious about his race's place in a world that's constantly trying to destroy them. What we don't yet know is how Apocalypse became part of the effort, at what point he joined, and how directly he's involved with Xavier himself. That's all information that will, it seems, have to wait for future reveals.
Oh, and if that wasn't enough, the issue also jumps to Year 1000 to reveal that Nimrod the Greater and The Librarian have a plan for the "ascension" of mutantkind that involves generating a "worldmind" to attract the attention of The Phalanx, the cybernetic alien species which has, in the future, developed into a massive cloud intelligence capable of controlling entire galaxies. We don't yet know why the Librarian and Nimrod have hatched this plan, or what "ascension" truly means, but Powers of X #2 has once again packed so many big ideas into its pages that we can't wait to see what's next.