Powers of X: How a New Mutant Gave the X-Men Their Greatest Advantage

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Powers of X #4 by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.

Powers of X and House of X have reinvented the X-Men line of comics, bringing surprising attention to many oft overlooked characters, cementing their roles in the future of mutantkind. Characters like Moira MacTaggert and Mister Sinister were revealed to have more important and in-depth places in the Marvel Universe than it initially seemed.

One of the most surprising mutants to step into a major role in Powers of X comes directly from the New Mutants. Doug Ramsey, otherwise known as Cypher, is revealed in Powers of X #4 to be the one responsible for uniting the X-Men with Krakoa, fully unleashing the potential of the elemental force and giving the team their greatest bargaining chip with the rest of the world.

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Tree Talk

The issue reveals what Xavier has been doing while working to change the world for mutants. One such thing includes secretly taking Doug Ramsey to meet the newest form of Krakoa months ago. Bringing the New Mutant to one of the main islands that form Krakoa's prime being, Charles hopes that Doug might be the key to working with Krakoa. Whereas Charles Xavier is able to use his formidable telepathy to gauge the baseline emotions Krakoa feels, he isn't able to go much beyond that. However, Ramsey is specifically empowered for such an interaction, thanks to his ability to decipher and translate any language.

Xavier's plan is a success. Doug is able to communicate with the elemental, learning about its origins and how they tie into Apocalypse. Doug is impressed with the plans that Xavier has for Krakoa and the rest of mutantkind. He agrees to help, although he admits it will take some time for him to build a full language that the rest of the X-Men can use to communicate directly with Krakoa. This explains how, in the present day of House of X, the team is able to fully work with Krakoa, as it skips to the present day where Doug has completed his work.

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Mr. Ramsey

Doug Ramsey was introduced in New Mutants #13 and created by Chris Claremont and Sal Buscema. Though his abilities are impressive in their own right, Doug was quickly overshadowed by his teammates' flashier powers. Still, he became the tech expert for the team and even entered a close friendship with Kitty Pryde. However, the character was unpopular with both Marvel creators and fans. Doug was killed in New Mutants #50, jumping in front of a gunshot meant for his teammate Wolfsbane. Doug was mourned by his teammates, particularly the alien Warlock (who'd formed a tight bond with Doug.)

Doug was one of the few X-Men characters to stay dead for a good deal of time. Even when he seemingly came back as a fusion with Warlock named Douglock in Excalibur, it was eventually revealed that it was merely Warlock imbued with some of Doug's memories and personality. Doug himself would eventually be revived during the Necrosha storyline.

Resurrected by Selene, Doug was one of the only revived mutants who survived the event, freed from the External's influence and brought back into the X-fold. Doug eventually rejoined the New Mutants. As part of his revival, his powers were amplified to extend beyond just written and spoken languages. He could now decipher body language, alien codes and even ancient dialects, such as the mysterious language spoken by Krakoa.

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Thanks to Doug, the X-Men have been able to utilize the full extent of Krakoa's powers. By using the language Ramsey developed for them, four mutants will now play direct roles in running Krakoa. Sage oversees transit and monitoring, while Black Tom is in charge of defense and observation. Secondary and external systems are watched over by Trinary, while Beast provides data analysis. Thanks to Doug, the X-Men have the chance to utilize one of the most powerful natural resources in the Marvel Universe.

There's even a chance that Krakoa could eventually form an even closer relationship with Doug. This was teased in the previous issue of Powers of X, which revealed the final Horsemen of Moria's ninth life. The Famine of this alternate future was a version of Doug Ramsey that had fused with Krakoa, creating a new lifeform. The communication that's established in Powers of X #4 suggests this could be the future of the mainline Douglas as well. He's already partly fused with Warlock, so adding a Krakoa to his body would only increase his power and make him even more important down the line.

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