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House of X: An X-Man Betrays the Team at the Worst Possible Time

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for House of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.

In House of X, Charles Xavier has seemingly done the impossible by bringing together all of the X-Men, even a few recently dead ones, and marshaling them behind his bold, singular vision for the world. He even has the X-Men working alongside some of their most dangerous enemies.

While Xavier might've brought all of mutantkind together, not all X-Men are mutants. Over the years, the team has welcomed a handful of non-mutant members, including Karima Shapandar, an Indian detective who was unwillingly transformed into the Omega Sentinel.

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Although her time with the X-Men was more tragic than most, Karima left the team on fairly good terms, seemingly without any of her cybernetic abilities, in her most recent appearance.

However, Karima reappears in House of X as an operative of Orchis, a coalition of human agencies dedicated to dealing with what they see as the encroaching mutant threat.

House of X Omega Sentinel

After Xavier makes his demands for a mutant sanctuary known to Earth's human populace, the Orchis Protocol is activated. Using technology owned by Damage Control, agents from organizations as diverse as S.H.I.E.L.D., Alpha Flight, A.I.M. and Hydra come together on the Orchis Forge, a space station near the sun, to activate a doomsday protocol for humanity.

The Forge is constructed from the remains of the Hammer of Sol, a powerful Tony Stark-designed weapon from Hickman's New Avengers run that can harness the sun's energy, and wipe out a planet with a fraction of its power.

Karima is part of a team that arrived on the Forge with Orchis' chief science officer, Dr. Alia Gregor, to make sure it's still capable of supporting human life. After that's established, it's revealed tthe Forge is connected to the head of Master Mold, a giant Sentinel that can create more Sentinels.

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As her codename suggests, Karima was originally modified to be a mutant-hunting Sentinel. In 2000's X-Men Unlimited #27, by Chris Claremont, Joe Pruett and Brett Booth, she helped Neal Shaara to search for his brother. When Neal's fiery mutant powers activated, Karima discovered she was an Omega Prime Sentinel, an unwitting Sentinel sleeper agent. While Neal joined the X-Men as the third Thunderbird, Karima disappeared.

A few years later, Karima resurfaced during rebuilding efforts on Genosha, a decimated mutant haven, where Xavier restored her human mind. As a so-called "mutant Sentinel," Karima was welcomed onto the team for a brief period.

Despite her relatively short tenure as an active X-Man, Karima was forced to fight her teammates several times after being possessed by the malicious psychic entity Malice, her resurgent Sentinel programming and the malicious biological virus Arkea, respectively. After being disassembled or severely wounded multiple times, Karima seemingly lost many of her powers and left the team to return to police work.

Omega Sentinel

While it's not quite clear how Karima became involved with Orchis, she seems to be embracing her robotic roots more than she ever has before. When discussing the use of machines on the Forge, she referred to them as her brothers and sisters and appeared to have more of a connection with them than with any of her human companions.

Although she's clearly working against Xavier's goals, Omega Sentinel might not necessarily be a villain. In a promotional interview with Marvel, Hickman said that House of X would feature "about 92" X-Men and about 91 "villainous mutants." If Xavier's plans are more malicious than they appear and have turned the rest of the X-Men into those "villainous mutants," Karima could end up being the unlikely savior of humanity.

Even if that doesn't happen, Omega Sentinel still seems set to play a meaningful role in the X-Men's immediate future. As Marvel's October solicitations revealed, Marvel will be reissuing Omega Sentinel's first appearance through the "True Believers" reprint program, which reprints key back issues for $1. Although she's a fairly minor character in X-Men history, that issue is being billed as True Believers: X-Men; Karima Shapandar, Omega Sentinel #1, which suggests a dramatic, imminent rise in her profile.

Although the many mysteries of House of X are still just beginning to reveal themselves, Karima seems almost certain to play a role in their solutions.

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