Wolverine has been a very important part of the X Lives and X Deaths of Wolverine event — after all, he is Wolverine, and he’s in the title of both books — but the post-Inferno story explored in Deaths has explicitly not made him the focal character. Instead, that side of the duology has seen one of the most important characters of the Krakoan age fall… and rise as the greatest threat the X-Men have faced in this new era.
X Lives’ conclusion last week put an end to the threat of Omega Red and Russia’s attempts to thwart Krakoa’s very existence by messing with the past of Charles Xavier, but X Deaths #5, out this week (written by Ben Percy, featuring art from Frederico Vincentini and Dijjo Lima, and letters by Cory Petit) saw the birth of a far more deadly enemy that is much, much closer to home for Charles and mutantdom at large. Deaths has focused on the fallout of Moira MacTaggert’s exposure as the secretive true figure behind the forging of Krakoan society and Mystique and Destiny’s exorcism of her X-Gene, meaning the many-lived Moira now had just one last life to live.
Which she has. Moira X — the final life that Destiny herself foresaw lifetimes ago in House of X — is no more. After X Deaths previously gave us a vengeful Moira hellbent on as much chaos and destruction as possible as she slowly but surely succumbed to advanced cancer, the former saviour of mutantkind took a very gross trip to Krakoa in an attempt to wreak a final vengeance on the people that had cast her out. With the Phalanx-Wolverine in hot pursuit and, thanks to Moira’s own heinous actions, completely subsumed by the future machine intelligence, it seemed like Moira might get her revenge with the revival of the Machine-Mutant-Man conflict she’d spent several of her lives trying to avoid, in spite of the dark prophecy she shared with Professor X and Magneto that the Mutants, no matter what she does, no matter what timeline path they take, will always perish.
Instead, Moira is left to not see Logan — with the help of Daken, Laura, and Gabby for the mother of all Wolverine teamups — defeat the Phalanx threat, because, finally exhausted and running on nothing but her rage, she quietly passes on… perhaps.
Instead, it’s revealed that, in a cruel twist on her former mutant power of rebirth, Moira X gives way to a very different Moira XI. The final pages of X Deaths #5 see Moira — in a truly incredible flair for the dramatic worthy of the X-Men’s greatest new villain — rise from her own grave, not in her flesh-and-blood body as she had risen nine times before, but in an entirely artificial android body, her memory uploaded upon death after she had worked with the technologist Arnab Chakladar to create a body that is more than a little Omega Sentinel:
In losing her powers of rebirth — which also reset the timeline of the world, so that Moira could live her life all over again with the knowledge of her past selves — this artificial revival as Moira XI now holds a significant advantage that could doom the X-Men forever: she doesn’t have to wait. Moira no longer needs to fear death, because she is now this ruthless machine-self, who can be re-uploaded as necessary, and get right back into what his now her singular purpose; the extinction of Mutantkind.
And we already know that this might work. after all, the Phalanx-Wolverine came from a timeline where a similarly mechanised Moira had betrayed Krakoa and helped manufacture the extinction of every Mutant in existence save for Wolverine. Somewhere, out there, in the eddies of time itself, is a dark future of days yet to pass, where Krakoa succumbs to a machine threat born from its closest ally.
And now, in this new moment — as the X-Men stand ready to face their destiny in a new line-wide reshuffle — Moira XI is hellbent on making sure that cursed prophecy comes to pass.
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