Warning: This article contains spoilers for Powers of X #3. By Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Outside of saving mutants from a hostile world and battling evil mutants, the X-Men spend most of their time trying to prevent dark futures from coming to pass. In the spirit of seminal stories like "Days of Future Past," that idea has been at the heart of Marvel's X-Men relaunch with House of X and Powers of X.
To save the mutant race from certain doom, Moira MacTaggert, the longtime X-Men ally now called Moira X, has used her recently revealed reincarnation powers to gather information to save mutantkind before she runs out of reincarnations. Although she will only be reincarnated 10 or 11 times, Moira remembers everything she learned during her previous lives. On her apparent advice, Charles Xavier has formed an isolationist mutant nation on the island Krakoa in the present-day Marvel Universe.
While House of X has focused on those two aspects of the story, Powers of X has centered around two future timelines. One of those timelines takes place roughly 100 years into the future, where a ragtag group of X-Men struggles against the Man-Machine Supremacy and Nimrod, the ultimate Sentinel. The other timeline takes place roughly 1,000 years into the future after that, where an evolved Nimrod and the mysterious Librarian prepare to encounter the alien Phalanx on an Earth devoid of humans.
In Powers of X #3, at least one of those futures is revealed to take place during Moira X's ninth life, in a timeline where Moira sided with Apocalypse instead of Charles Xavier.
Having exhausted the most likely paths to mutant survival in her other lives, Moira sided with Apocalypse in this life and stood by his side as he waged war against humanity, as the timeline in this issue reveals. Thanks to her plans and unspecified upgrades Apocalypse seemingly gave her, Moira lived longer in this world than she apparently did in any of her previous lifetimes, with the possible exception of her still-unacknowledged sixth life.
Even though she and Apocalypse successfully briefly took over Asia and established mutant colonies that stretched into space, the X-Men and the rest of Earth's mutants were eventually pushed to the brink by the Nimrod Sentinels of the Man-Machine Supremacy. The details of this particular timeline and how it works have been revealed through the data pages in the first three issues of Powers of X.
In order to defeat the Nimrods, Moira and Apocalypse formed a plan to steal information about when Nimrod went online to eliminate it before it becomes one of the X-Men's greatest enemies.
Several X-Men die while trying to steal this information from the Man-Machine Supremacy before Wolverine and Apocalypse successfully find it in an archive. Using Moira's techno-organic upgrades, Logan essentially uploads it directly into Moira's mind.
Now armed with the knowledge that she needs to defeat Nimrod, Moira orders Wolverine to kill her so she can move on to her next life.
Since Moira's powers essentially function like a checkpoint in a video game, Moira was reincarnated in a new timeline, the main Marvel Universe, where she can hand the X-Men the information that the X-Men of another world died to obtain.
While Moira seemingly told Xavier all of this before he formed the X-Men, Professor X and Magneto put Cyclops on a mission to stop the creation of Nimrod in Powers of X #2. Considering how much trouble a time-traveling Nimrod has caused the X-Men in the past, that was always a serious mission, but now it seems imperative to the future of mutantkind in a way that makes it one of the most important battles in X-Men history.
If the covers to the next few issues of House of X and Powers of X are any indication, those dramatic present day stakes will be the immediate focus of the story going forward.
However, that doesn't mean that we've necessarily seen the last of Moira's ninth life or the X-Men who existed in that timeline or the far future that seemingly followed it. One teaser for Powers of X also showed a modern day Moira and Apocalypse in a loving embrace, which suggests that the events of Moira's ninth life will continue to echo throughout the X-Men's world. Moira's sixth life also remains completely unexplored and could still hold any number of game-changing revelations.
Given how many times House of X and Powers of X have already upended expectations, there's no limit to what the X-Men's near, or distant, futures might hold.