The Dawn Of X Begins: What Series Could Wave 2 Hold?

by Tony Thornley

The Dawn of X era of Marvel’s mutants officially launched this week with X-Men #1, kicking off Jonathan Hickman’s vision of the franchise. In the next six weeks an additional five new ongoing series will launch, and both Hickman and line editor Jordan D White have confirmed a second wave of titles is on its way. So what could those unannounced titles be?

X-Men #1 Cover by Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho

We took a deep dive back into House of X and Powers of X, as well as solicitations for the series so far, trying to find hints and clues that could lead into new series. So far, editorial and Hickman himself have confirmed some titles and concepts are coming. That includes the already announced Wolverine coming in January by Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert, a series that will reveal more about the past of Moira X, series by writers Leah Williams and Vita Ayala, and, interestingly enough in the letter page for this past week’s issue of Captain Marvel, X-Corp in February drawn by Carmen Carnero.

So what did we see in our re-read beyond those? Well…

Mystique

Page from Powers of X #1 by RB Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, and Marte Gracia

The end of Powers of X set this up perfectly. Xavier and Magneto placed Raven Darkholme on the Quiet Council to keep your enemies closer, particularly when it comes to whether or not they keep their promise to resurrect her longtime love Irene Adler. However, Moira is very vocally opposed to the idea, as precogs could create issues for her plan. Raven is clearly going to start to question why the duo is putting off this particular resurrection, putting her at odds with them and unknowingly with Moira.

Mystique is one of the franchise’s richest characters anyways, and making her the lead of an ensemble book would be rife with drama. She’s also a great source of super-spy style action, which adds another reason why it would be a fun read. It’s only a matter of time before we get more with her. 

Sabretooth/Exiles

Page from House of X #6 by Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and David Curiel

Victor Creed was the first mutant to face punishment under the new laws of Krakoa, specifically to do no human harm. When time came for his punishment, the Quiet Council sentenced him to imprisonment in stasis- conscious and aware but unable to do anything but think about what he’s done. However, Xavier uses a very specific word when the sentence is carried out (as seen above), a loaded word with a lot of history in the X-Men- EXILED.

The Exiles were a team of cross-universe heroes, which actually included a version of Creed for a significant amount of its history. However, I think revisiting that concept is unlikely. What I think is likely is Victor Creed (who has led several teams in the past) leading a team of unsavory mutants who have broken the laws of Krakoa. Villain books are always fun, and the nature of Krakoa would create a fascinating twist on that classic trope.

The Five

Page from House of X #5 by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia

Introduced in House of X #5 the Five are the group of mutants who, when their powers are used in sync, would ensure the virtual immortality of mutantkind. Beyond that, however, the quintet are a fascinating batch of characters. All of them have received significant spotlight in the past, but their union as the Five is presented as something different from the norm. They’ve become a de facto family unit as a result and that’s a dynamic rife for storytelling.

Now, there’s definitely more significance to the number five as well. There were the original five X-Men and the Phoenix Five. Moira’s fifth life was a Utopian ideal for mutants until the Sentinels came, resulting in the life that radicalized Moira. It even popped up a few less significant times in HOX/POX such as the number of Cerebro backups Forge builds and even the number of birds Xavier was staring at immediately before he met Moira (seriously- go look at Powers of X #6). It’s clear the number 5 is significant, and the series could explore HOW.

Chimeras

Powers of X #3 cover by Silva and Gracia

While Moira X is the breakout star of House of X, there’s no denying that the breakout stars of sister series Powers of X were the Chimeras. A group of mutants created by Mister Sinister in Moira’s ninth life, the Chimeras are the foot soldiers in the X-Men’s war against Nimrod’s machine empire. Though we only see Rasputin and Cardinal in the series, we learn that there were many, many others.

The last we saw them in the event, both characters (along with the Omega Sentinel) were sucked into the black hole of Xorn’s head, specifically after calling out not knowing where a black hole goes. It definitely seems like a Chekov’s gun, and considering that Omega Sentinel’s design in House of X is identical to her design from that timeline, we may have already seen someone emerge from the black hole. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before they show back up…

Gorgon

Page from House of X #5 by Larraz and Gracia

Perhaps the most interesting teases in HOX/POX came from the data pages, such as the order of machine intelligence, or the chart of omega mutants. One of the last teases though came from the completed chart of the Quiet Council, which also included the military commanders- or Captains- of Krakoa. Of the four names, three of them were no surprise- Cyclops, Bishop and Magik- but the fourth was a shock. It wasn’t a past leader like Wolverine, Rogue, or Beast, but former Hydra and the Hand assassin Gorgon (seen to Exodus’s left in the middle panel above).

Gorgon’s inclusion makes sense when you think about it, as he is a competent leader, it reinforces that the amnesty granted to the mutant villains is for real, and off-panel he’s been used extensively by Hickman in his past Marvel work. However, with six teams launching from Dawn of X, Gorgon isn’t appearing in a single series. So why is he being held back? And for what?

Starjammers/Imperial Guard

New Mutants #4 cover by Rod Reis

Every Marvel franchise has a major alien star empire that falls under their umbrella, and for the X-Men, it’s the Shi’ar. The Shi’ar Empire had a small but significant callout in Powers of X- the Empire was the last refuge for mutantkind in the X^2/Moira XI timeline. However, even more significant is what’s been hinted to come and they’re hints that indicate that the Shi’ar Empire will play a major part in what’s to come, perhaps in the first ever series set in the Empire.

Christopher Summers and the Starjammers played a significant role in X-Men #1. The New Mutants are blasting into space with the Starjammers for their first arc. Longtime key X-Men member (and Hickman favorite) Cannonball is living in the Shi’ar Empire with his wife, Imperial Guard member Smasher (who is also a Hickman creation). Perhaps most interesting of all is a variant cover for Powers of X #6 called a “foreshadowing variant” showing Sunspot (yes, another Hickman favorite character) on the throne of Chandilar, with the Imperial Guard bowing to him.

X-Factor

X-Factor (1986) #1 Cover by Walt Simonson

Every other entry on this list is about a concept or character that was seeded in HOX/POX. However, this entry is simply calling out the fact that one of these unannounced series is almost definitely going to be using the X-Factor title. Of “classic” X-titles, X-Factor was the only one not represented in the wave one announcements (yes, you could argue Generation X and New X-Men as well, but both of those concepts appear to be wrapped into New Mutants).

However, if the trend continues, it’s unlikely that the original five, a government team, a group of private investigators or a corporate sponsored team will be the focus of a relaunched title. In fact, any of the concepts above could very easily be the new X-Factor. It’s a great example to use to say X-Men fans need to expect the unexpected over the next few years.

After all, isn’t that what this brave new world is all about?

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