Warning: This article contains massive spoilers for Powers of X #5 by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
On a team with a weather goddess that creates continent-wide thunderstorms and a strategic genius with bazookas-strength eye beams, Cypher was always easy to write off. With the mutant ability to speak and understand any language, Doug Ramsey has often been described as the weak link in the unbreakable X-Men chain. But a blink-and-you-miss-it moment from Powers of X #4, revealed that he may be responsible for one of the greatest threats to mutantkind.
First introduced as the computer-savvy friend of Kitty Pryde who joined the X-Men-in-training team, the New Mutants, team shortly thereafter, Doug's powers always needed a little creative imagination in order to really make him something special.
Over the years, that's let him become an expert hacker, a combat specialist who reads body-language and even a spellcaster. But before Doug learned to fend for himself, he survived the New Mutants' various adventures with the assistance of his "self-friend" Warlock, a techno-organic Technarch alien.
Doug and Warlock's relationship sprouted out of Doug's proficiency with computers, and Warlock's own techno-organic alien background made the two a natural fit. Warlock joined the other New Mutants while fleeing his evil father Magus, a powerful member of the Technarchy race that sought to assimilate organisms by absorbing their life force through touch.
Doug and Warlock have bonded numerous times and to varying degrees over the years, and he current has bonded with the Technarch on one of his arms. And in Powers of X #4, Doug uses that arm to brush a leaf on the sentient island Krakoa, where the infection seemingly begins absorbing the island.
This moments occurs several months in the past, as Charles Xavier first shows Doug around the island that would become the independent mutant nation. While following Xavier, Doug reaches out and touches some of Krakoa's plants when Xavier isn't looking. The panel after Doug's touch shows the vein-like wiring reminiscent of the Technarchy's assimilation process. The moment gets very little attention in the ensuing pages and the issues that followed, but it connects perfectly to the larger story Powers of X and House of X tells.
Several issues of Powers of X have detailed the alien species the Phalanx, a Technarch-related alien race, and their arrival on Earth in the far future. As agents of the Singularity dedicated to finding and assimilating life, the Phalanx are a cosmic threat the heroes of Marvel dealt with before. Their past stories even detailed their connection to the Technarchy and how the two races are intrinsically tied together. The assimilation of Krakoa, quickly establishing itself as a major world power in Earth's political theater, could mean a foothold for the alien race that puts the fate of human and mutantkind alike at risk in the final issue of Powers of X.
The connections between Cypher, Krakoa and the Technarchy to Powers of X's larger story don't stop there, either. In Powers of X #2, a scene in an erased possible future saw a humanoid Krakoa explain that his body "once belonged to a mutant who could communicate with anything." Doug, Krakoa, and Warlock could all be merging into a single entity, and given their critical place in running the nation Xavier is trying to build it's hard to imagine how devastating that could be if they turned against their mutant inhabitants.
Both Doug and Krakoa have a seat at the table with the Quiet Council that rules the mutant nation, and the most recent issue of House of X made it clear that they stand first and foremost for the sanctity of Krakoa's personhood. Whether their intentions are pure and grounded in a legitimate concern for Krakoa or if this is all part of a grander and more menacing scheme remains to be seem. Either way, it's clear that the X-Men's most underestimated mutant might end up being the most important X-Man of all.