I suspect, having just re-read the last issue of HoX/PoX, that I will need to re-read the entire series now that all of the paradigms have been shifted, and all the cards are on the table (at least, the ones for this round of the larger story Hickman seems set on telling). It’s been a gloriously baroque prologue, and with the final piece we at last understand the context for the various eras in which parts of Powers of X have been set. The extent of Moira’s commitment to her cause is significantly clearer, although there are still some mysteries to be uncovered. Given the complexity of the story, it’s only fair to go back and revisit it now that that last shoe has dropped.
In the mean time, there is this fifty page behemoth to consider. From the first issue, Powers of X has been primarily about exploring Moira’s perspective on the problem of mutant failure. We now know that the Year One Hundred and Year One Thousand eras were actually events in Moira’s two longest lives, key incidents that specifically shape her ideology and methodology going into the present era of the X-Men. In the Apocalypse future, Moira learned the importance of stalling the advent of Nimrod to give mutants a fighting chance; in the Ascension future, she learned what the apparently inevitable outcome of the arms race among humans, mutants, and machines is (it’s no wonder now that Moira’s seventh life was essentially an extended rage against the Trasks for inventing Sentinels in the first place). Moira’s seen nine different permutations on mutant ascension, which is not a very big data set given the scope of the multiverse, and her personal trauma has given her a breathtakingly dour perspective on what can happen. The issue’s midpoint gives us a glimpse at Moira’s private journal where she documents her progress with each of the major players she’s manipulating to enact her grand vision for mutant dominance, and it’s clear that she cannot fathom the optimism with which Xavier and Magneto go about their own machinations. They lack Moira’s vast life experience (over two thirds of which is contained in nearly a millennium of captivity), so she sees them as being foolhardy or headstrong when it seems to me that they are simply not caught up in the same extreme hypervigilance that has been instilled in Moira.
I think where the divide between Moira and her co-conspirators becomes most clear is in their decision not only to recruit Sinister to the cause, but also in their resolution to allow Destiny to eventually be revived (clearly Destiny’s return is going to be a big deal at some point in the future of Hickman’s run on the X-books). Xavier and Magneto have seen Moira’s memories at least once, so they’re aware of her experiences, but despite those they also seem committed to working towards full transparency in their methods of governance. At the very least, they make a strong showing of appearing to value not lying to all the other mutants about the knowledge they’re working with indefinitely. It seems like a clear point of tension that will spawn some interesting stories, particularly as the pragmatic backdrop for a de facto ban on precognitive mutants in Krakoa. I can’t tell at this point if the way Hickman draws attention to this specific demand of Moira’s is meant only to underline her adversarial relationship with Destiny, or if it’s also going to be used for more socially minded stories. Precogs aren’t extremely common within the X-Universe, but Destiny is by no means unique. I read “no precogs” and immediately wonder what that means for Ruth Aldine, who is essentially Destiny, Jr. but also very much not dead or depowered [Update: Oops, she is dead. I just haven’t read that story yet.]. Did Hickman just forget about her (seems unlikely), or will this turn into a really compelling seed for a story about inter-mutant discrimination? Either way, it has echoes of the earlier X-Men story “Age of X” where Legion made a pocket universe that was run by one of his personalities who manifested as Moira who banned the existence of telepaths specifically because they would have been able to seen through the illusion.
Thinking more broadly about the themes in play, there’s something especially interesting going on with Moira’s precog ban as a way of controlling access to the threads of fate. Other folks have noted that Moira’s name literally means Fate, and there’s a specific sense of rivalry with Destiny due to the problem of competing visions of the future. Destiny, being an actual precognitive with the ability to see the myriad potential timelines of the multiverse, is a serious threat to the hegemony that Moira has established for herself based on her perfect recall of her nine previous lives. Moira’s predictive abilities are based on knowing and processing all of the disparate data points she’s experienced, which are superior to everyone else’s except a powerful precognitive like Destiny. What if there are multiple potential pathways to mutant thriving that Moira simply hasn’t considered because she doesn’t have the available data? She can’t have it because she doesn’t see forward; she can only look backward and project based on patterns she recognizes. Destiny is a threat because she killed Moira that one time and predicted that she’d not live past her eleventh life; she’s also just a way better resource to the Krakoa project than Moira could ever be.