Warning: This article contains massive spoilers for House of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Before House of X began, Marvel advertised the X-Men event as having the most important scene in the history of the franchise. While that might seem like an ambitious promise, House of X #2 delivers on it with a revelation that fundamentally changes the X-Men and the team's relationship to Charles Xavier.
So far, House of X has given Marvel's mutants a new status quo by having Xavier form a militant mutant nation based on the living island Krakoa. Its sister title, Powers of X, offered a brief overview of the X-Men's dark future that includes a war with Sentinels that could last centuries.
In this issue, House of X reveals Moira MacTaggert, the seemingly human researcher who helped the X-Men for years, is secretly a powerful mutant who’s lived through several lifetimes due to her reincarnation abilities. Using the knowledge she's gained through the course of all of her lives, she's been manipulating events from behind the scenes for years to save mutants from a doomed future.
Moira's powers essentially function like a checkpoint in a video game. After living each of her successive lives, Moira returns to her mother's womb with the complete memories of her previous lives. In the same way a checkpoint allows players to replay a level they failed with knowledge about the obstacles and challenges within that level, Moira goes through her lives with the knowledge of how certain scenarios might play out.
Like Tom Cruise's character in Edge of Tomorrow, Moira is reborn into the same world and the same set of circumstances, but her dramatically different responses and approaches to the world reshape it. For example, she formed the X-Men with Xavier in her fourth life. After that ended poorly, she and Xavier formed the doomed mutant nation Faraway instead at an earlier point in her fifth life.
As Moira learned from the precognitive X-Men foe Destiny, she only had 10 or 11 lives to live. Each of Moira's first nine lives effectively took place in a different alternate reality before her current 10th life, which is in the main Marvel Universe.
Faced with the prospect of her impending demise, Moira mentally revealed the full details of her previous lives to Xavier when they met as students at Oxford University.
While this understated moment appeared without as much context in last week's Powers of X #1, it takes on a devastating new importance in this issue.
With all of Moira's knowledge, Xavier knew exactly what could happen to the X-Men years before he formed the team.
He knew about the threats of Magneto and Apocalypse long before they emerged. Before he ever met a teenage Scott Summers, Xavier knew that Cyclops could become his best soldier before succumbing to the dark influence of the all-powerful Phoenix Force. Most important, he saw his dream's nightmarish end as humanity's inevitable hatred of mutants wiped out his people in multiple timelines.
Although Moira's memories don't mean that Xavier knew everything that would happen, it retroactively makes every decision he made feel far more calculated. Among other things, it explains why Xavier built the X-Men around powerful mutants like Cyclops, Iceman and Storm, who possess combat-friendly abilities.
While that doesn't mean Xavier didn't care about his students or his dream, it reinforces that Professor X always had a quietly pragmatic approach to achieving his goals, which was abundantly clear in House of X.
Near the end of the issue, a data page reveals Moira is still apparently alive in the Marvel Universe. Although she seemingly died in 2001's X-Men #108, this issue establishes that a Shi'ar golem impersonating Moira died in her place.
The future of Powers of X seems to indicate that Xavier's Krakoa plan is destined to fail, but the real Moira has been out of sight for years, and she could be the X-factor that saves, or dooms, Marvel's mutants once and for all.