With the Dawn of X ended with X of Swords, the Krakoan era of Marvel’s X-Men enters its second act with the Reign of X. To announce that era, Marvel released a teaser by Mahmud Asrar that’s just packed with detail. We’re going to dive into it to try to figure out what clues the image holds.
Emma Frost, Queen of the Hellfire Club
Emma Frost has been one of the central figures of the entire X-Men mythos for the last twenty years. We’ve been promised that her central role in the line would continue in upcoming issues of Marauders. This is likely a tease for the events of that series where Emma has been building a completely new Hellfire Club alongside Kate Pryde and Sebastian Shaw.
We’ve already seen Callisto, Christian Frost, Lucas Bishop, and Shinobi Shaw all join the new Royalty of the Hellfire Club. Who is Emma offering membership to here?
It’s unlikely the two figures on her right, but let’s look at these two. Over Emma’s right shoulder is ‘Mad’ Jim Jaspers, an old Captain Britain foe. Jaspers has hardly been seen for decades, but played a small yet important role in X of Swords as the administrator of The Crooked Market. It looks like his role isn’t complete yet.
And at Emma’s hip? This is a doozy- none other than David Haller, aka Legion, the son of Xavier. Legion is one of the most powerful mutants in existence, and hasn’t been seen since the conclusion of the Age of X-Man mini-event that immediately preceded HOX/POX. David was name dropped several times in those two series (in a very ‘Chekov’s gun’ manner) but his whereabouts thus far in this new era have been completely unknown.
One of most frustrating teases for fans was a series that apparently died quietly after it was teased- X-Corp. The series was mentioned in the letters’ page of Captain Marvel as artist Carmen Carnero left that series for the yet-unannounced new series.
Even though that series never materialized, we have seen X-Corp pop up elsewhere, most notably in the Empyre: X-Men mini-series, where Warren Worthington and Monet St. Croix were interrupted mid-deal by an alien invasion. Their appearance in the teaser clearly shows we’re going to get more of their corner of the world. Interesting enough, the tease of both characters’ dual natures- Warren as Archangel and Monet as Penance- is something we haven’t seen explored together. What it means will be interesting to dive into, without a doubt.
Also worth noting is that ominous figure behind them- Tarn of Arakko. The antagonistic character was introduced in the most recent issue of Hellions, as he and his minions tore apart that team, clearly setting up conflict for the future sooner or later. His appearance in the teaser sure seems to imply sooner.
Alpha & Omega
Poor Quentin Quire. Thanks to the events of X-Force and Wolverine, he’s probably had to use the resurrection protocols more than any other mutant on Krakoa. Well, it looks like that streak of bad luck might continue for the fan-favorite telepath.
Also worth pointing out there are six random playing cards directly between him and Storm in the image. This might have something to do with Gambit, though Remy Lebeau is nowhere to be seen in the image, as the popular mutant uses playing cards as his weapon of choice. Or they could be connected to the figure to Quire’s right…
Bring On The Bad Guys
Yes, it’s Arcade, the assassin who’s plagued the X-Men for decades. What his role is would be anyone’s guess, as his most recent appearance in the Marvel Universe was in the current Black Widow series, not an X-title. He’s grouped with two other popular antagonists as well…
Nimrod is the killer Sentinel who played a major role in Powers of X. It’s unclear if this is the classic version of the android, or the slightly more playful version seen battling Apocalypse’s X-Men in Powers of X. Regardless, his tease here is a bad omen for Krakoa.
And then there’s that Cheshire Cat-like grin in that top corner… That is none other than the Shadow King, one of the X-Men’s most evil and powerful enemies. The Shadow King’s human form- Amahl Farouk- appeared in the background of a crowd scene in Empyre: X-Men but otherwise has been absent from the Dawn of X. The demonic mutant has clashed with Xavier, Magneto, and Storm multiple times and would be a threat to everything mutantkind has built, so his ominous appearance here is just plain frightening.
Doug Ramsey’s arranged marriage to Bei the Blood Moon was one of the most unexpected delights of X of Swords and it was clear in XOS: Destruction that their story wasn’t over yet. The two mutants from very different worlds had an unexpected connection immediately, and a strange but electric chemistry. Clearly there’s a lot ahead of these two lovebirds that we can’t wait to see unfold.
To Me, My X-Men
One of the most exciting moments of X of Swords was Cyclops and Jean Grey reunited and led the X-Men into battle together. It looks like that wasn’t a one-off, as the duo aren’t just side by side here, but also apparently leading a small team.
It’s unclear who these shadowed figures behind the founding X-Men are. Is this a new Uncanny X-Men squad? Or are they the young stars of the upcoming Children of the Atom? Or something else entirely?
Gospels of X
At the end of X-Men #8, Kurt Wagner made a declaration to Scott Summers in the wake of the Crucible- the haunting ceremonial suicide by combat for depowered mutants. The most faithful mutant, clearly disturbed by what he’d seen, stated to his friend that he needed to create a faith for his fellow mutants. Looks like we’re getting that very soon.
Team X Reunited
Looks like it’s time for Wolverine to put back on the most effective disguise in comics since Clark Kent wore glasses, and head back to Madripoor. We already know Logan is teaming back up with his old comrade Maverick in Wolverine #8, out in December. What does this fight have in store for the Canucklehead? Who knows, but it’s going to be brutal, whatever it is.
Unlocking The Vault
Nearly a year ago, Wolverine, Synch and Darwin entered the Vault, an artificial environment where time flows faster than the outside world. They haven’t been heard from since. However, February’s X-Men #18 promises a follow-up to that story. Interestingly here, we only see Laura and Everett. Was that just because there wasn’t room to fit Darwin on the teaser, or is there worse fate in store for him?
Eagle-eyed fans would see the Peak directly behind them, home base of SWORD. We don’t know much about that new series quite yet outside of the team line-up, but we do know that there’s apparently going to be some interesting new flora in that space station.
A Mystery Wrapped In An Enigma
Last and certainly not least is the largest figure in the entire teaser- Ororo Munroe holding a mysterious crystal of some sort. Storm was given the Death tarot card in X of Swords which is an omen of change, not necessarily of actual death. So is this diamond-like crystal the beginning of that change?
And what is it exactly? Is it the mysterious object stolen from Orchis by Mystique back in X-Men #6? Is it the Weapon Plus facility The World- which has been shown to change size- last seen in Storm’s own spotlight in Giant-Size X-Men? Or is it something else entirely?
It looks like readers have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Answers to all these questions and teases, and likely even more questions with them, will come with the Reign of X starting in December’s X-Men books.