Warning: This article contains spoilers for House of X #4, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Each issue of Jonathan Hickman's House of X and Powers of X has delivered at least one emotional moment, but even the reveal that X-Men ally Moira MacTaggert has secretly been a mutant can compare to watching some of our favorite X-Men be mowed down in House of X #4. The mission to destroy the evil Orchis organization's Mother Mold robot in space results in the deaths of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Husk, Archangel, Monet and Mystique.
Their deaths are obviously heartbreaking, but it comes with the extra knowledge of just how much suffering Marvel's mutants have endured over the years. Before we get to the issue's art by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, we're greeted to a data page featuring two mutant extinction events: the Genosha genocide that left 16.5 million mutants dead, and Scarlet Witch's Decimation when she uttered the words, "No More Mutants," which left one million mutants depowered.
The fallout from the 2005 event series House of M left "The Pretender" Wanda Maximoff in an unstable state, causing her to use her reality-altering powers to depower the majority of mutants in the Marvel Universe. After Scarlet Witch was done, only 198 mutants remained in the world. And just as this data page kicks off the story in House of X #4, it made a return at the end to bookend the events. The deaths of his students become a seminal moment for Charles Xavier, leaving him no choice but to say, "No More." We then get a black and white collage of scenes from earlier in the issue, mixed with the number of mutants left dead and depowered. Curiously, "No More" appears over and over again before finally taking up a two-page spread.
Of course, this could be a way to add extra emphasis to Xavier's words, but when you factor in the callback to Decimation, we can't help but wonder whether the X-Men's form of payback against humans will lead to a similar event, but with mutants coming out on top.
Even with the development of Krakoa as a mutant sovereign nation and the creation of three super drugs from the island's flowers, mutants still find themselves as the underdogs. If there was some way for the X-Men to flip the tables in their favor, they can't be faulted for pursuing that as an option, no matter how bad a light it shines on them. All the X-Men have ever wanted is to coexist peacefully with humans, yet they are discriminated against for being different. Nothing about survival is going to be pretty or fair.
So the question now is how can the X-Men avenge their fallen brothers and sisters? We got a rundown of who qualifies as an Omega-level mutant in House of X #1, with a few candidates capable of altering reality. If characters like Jamie Braddock, Proteus and Franklin Richards -- the son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman -- were recruited to the X-Men's cause, they could help tip the scales. An even scarier proposition is if the X-Men coerced "The Pretender" Wanda Maximoff into creating another House of M.
Or it could be something as simple as another evolution of Krakoa. Maybe its flowers can be used on a grander scale than simply creating drugs, though that seems unlikely for now. Either way, Charles Xavier and the rest of the X-Men are saying "No More" to burying their friends, which spells bad news for anyone who gets in their way.