WARNING: This article contains spoilers for House of X #2, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Pepe Larraz hit the ground running with House of X #1, establishing a dramatic new status quote for the X-Men and the Marvel Universe's mutants. That first issue also provided clarification about the long-established concept of Omega-level mutants through one of its charts, which explained just who and what one is. Up until then, Omega-level mutant was really just used to communicate some characters had immense power. However, House of X #2's shocking plot twist may complicate that understanding of power levels all over again.
House of X #2 revealed Moira MacTaggert, an ally of the X-Men long depicted as a human scientist, has actually been a mutant with the gift of reincarnation all along. Each time Moira dies, her consciousness travels back in time to inhabit her body while she is still in utero, essentially making her a time-traveler who can shape the world to her choosing. While the most powerful mutants have typically been reality manipulators like Franklin Richards or psychic powerhouses like Jean Grey, Moira proves real power may be in subtlety more than anything else.
Born with the knowledge of everything that will happen, Moira is empowered to be an active participant who makes or breaks history depending on her will. Virtually anything that anybody else could do Moira could always undo. House of X #2 even details (with Hickman providing yet another handy chart) several of the various timelines that Moira shaped in her previous lives, siding with Xavier in one, Magneto in another and Apocalypse in yet another still and each time enacting each man's philosophy in the world.
While this ability could easily make Moira the most powerful mutant Marvel has ever known, Hickman was quick to show that she is not necessarily unbeatable. In one of her earlier lives, Moira creates a cure for the mutant gene, attracting the attention of the Brotherhood. The precognitive mutant Destiny ties her to a chair and tells Moira she knows everything about her -- including how to stop her.
Because of her ability to see the future and the fact that she is older than Moira, Destiny promises to kill Moira in any of her future lives if she ever foresees the scientist stepping out of line. She also tells Moira that she only has 10 lives to live (or possibly 11) and that if she ever dies before her powers develop at 13, she will stay dead forever. Moira challenges Destiny's claim and accuses the precog of lying. Destiny points out, however, that the only way Moira could find out would be to test the theory, and if Moira was wrong she would never reincarnate again.
Regardless of whether or not Destiny is telling the truth, Hickman successfully complicates the idea of what constitutes the most powerful mutants. Like a monumental game of rock, paper, scissors there are certain powers that counter certain other powers, and it remains to be seen how Moira plans to meet Destiny's challenge. Still, Hickman might just have solidified Moira MacTaggert as one of the most powerful mutants in X-Men history.