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.
While Mister Sinister has played a role in the background of Jonathan Hickman's House of X/Powers of X event series, he recently made his official appearance in Powers of X #4, and not only was it a refreshingly perfect take on the mad geneticist, but the issue included a copy of the Red Diamond, a gossip sheet shared around Bar Sinister, his secret island full of Sinister clones.
The Red Diamond lists 10 Sinister Secrets that are written out very cryptically but offer a few clues about the X-Men's history, Sinister's potential role in HOX/POX, and the delightfully free information that Sinister's mutant gene came from John Proudstar/Thunderbird. So today we are going to take a closer look at Sinister's Secrets to try and determine what they mean for the past, and future, of the X-Men.
10 SINISTER SECRET #1 - RED SHOES
The first secret is incredibly vague which we initially thought might make it a red herring. The secret references a Sinister wearing red shoes, though going back through the comic itself shows nothing of the sort. Could the red shoes be referencing something less literal but more literary?
Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had ruby red slippers that allowed her to travel between the Land of Oz and Kansas, so could this imply that a Sinister is able to travel between realities/timelines? Moira's different realities/timelines, for instance?
9 SINISTER SECRET #2 - JUMBO CARNATION
The second clue is a bit more obvious for fans of the series, as it mentions fashion, a trendsetter, someone back from the dead, and a "flower that's the fullest." These descriptions clearly reference mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation, who appeared and died during Grant Morrison's New X-Men run.
The fact that Jumbo has returned to life and is on Krakoa could be implying that other formerly dead mutants have returned to life (possibly due to Sinister's DNA database?), or could also be teasing that Morrison's run might factor into what's coming from Hickman's run.
8 SINISTER SECRET #3 - MADELYNE PRYOR
The third Secret discusses more secrets, but the "deceased redheaded pretender" is an obvious reference to Sinister's creation, Madelyne Pryor, who was a clone of Jean Grey. The Secret implies that any secrets Madelyne took with her to the grave are actually known by Sinister, though that's not all this Secret implies.
The wording of this Secret could mean that Madelyne didn't actually go to her grave, which could also be teased again in a later Secret, but the phrase "she left behind a whole lot more than secrets" could reference a Phoenix Force sliver, leftover demons from Limbo, or the biggest possible revelation, another child from the Summers/Pryor bloodline like Nathan Summers/Cable.
7 SINISTER SECRET #4 - CAPTAIN MARVEL
This one's tricky. The Secret mention's the Sinisters dealing with current events and something that washed ashore unnoticed, and a seemingly important, yet ominous quote: "Don't embrace the revelry, or there won't be anything for you to celebrate."
Bar Sinister originally appeared as a part of Battleworld in Hickman's Secret Wars, and in that series, something did wash ashore - Captain Marvel. And during her time at Bar Sinister, Captain Marvel was corrupted by Sinister, though that plotline felt unresolved. Could this Secret be referencing a moment from Secret Wars that was largely forgotten in the craziness of the larger "party?"
6 SINISTER SECRET #5 - WOLVERINE
"The best there is at what he does" is an obvious reference to Wolverine, and this Secret implies that Logan is having an affair with a married woman with a kid on Krakoa, and the husband knows but is "up to much the same, and more."
Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey have always been in a bit of a love triangle, and Cyclops was involved with Emma Frost while he was with Jean Grey, so that seems like the obvious connection, except Jean doesn't have any natural children (that we know of) in the timeline. Could Wolverine have fathered a child with Madelyne Pryor? That could also tie into Sinister Secret #3...
5 SINISTER SECRET #6 - ERNST
The sixth secret is potentially the easiest to figure out provided X-fans read outside the usual X-titles and picked up the short-lived Spider-Man and the X-Men. The clue itself speaks about a "progerian mutant with secret sinister ties" which references the young mutant known as Ernst, who was at one point supposed to be x-villain Cassandra Nova.
In Spider-Man and the X-Men, Ernst delivers samples of the X-Men's DNA to Sinister in exchange for his help in creating a body for Martha Johansson/No-Girl, though those samples were destroyed in battle by Spider-Man. However, this Secret reveals that the "destroyed samples were switched out beforehand," unbeknownst to "the gifted ones."
4 SINISTER SECRET #7 - SUMMERS BROTHERS
The seventh Secret regards the Summers brothers, Scott, Alex, and Gabriel, whom Sinister has had an ongoing curiosity/obsession with, which resulted in his manipulations of Scott and Alex since they were children. A slip from Sinister years ago teased the possibility that a third Summers brother existed, which came true when Gabriel Summers/Vulcan returned in Deadly Genesis.
This Secret again plays with the idea that there are more Summers brothers out there, which could tie into the upcoming relaunch of X-Men from Hickman that features the entirety of the Summers clan (and Wolverine) working together. Those long-standing rumors that Gambit and Adam-X the X-Treme might be part of the Summers family could finally be realized.
3 SINISTER SECRET #8 - THE FIRST HORSEMEN
The eighth Secret is an obvious reference to Apocalypse and his Four Horseman, though it also calls back to the First horseman, which readers just learned about from Krakoa in Powers of X #4. According to the story that Krakoa tells Douglas Ramsey/Douglock, the First Horseman were locked away with the other part of Krakoa, which was revealed to be Arrako.
It's likely we are going to see the return of these First Horsemen, as well as the appearance of Krakoa's other half, Arrako, who all were used to seal an ancient enemy away that wielded the Twilight Sword, which was an Asgardian weapon last seen in the War of the Realms event.
2 SINISTER SECRET #9 - XAVIER & MOIRA
The penultimate Secret is a tough one that can lead in quite a few different directions, but the important parts here are the references to a "non-couple couple" that has been apart a long time, and that the universe might not be ready for the "fireworks" that are going to occur when they reunite.
The non-couple couple line may point towards the relationship that exists between Xavier and Moira in her latest timeline. Both mutants have a history with each other that they are aware of due to Xavier reading Moira's mind, though we haven't see Moira appear too much after she united Xavier and Magneto. Perhaps all is not well between Xavier and Moira in this timeline?
1 SINISTER SECRET #10 - CASSANDRA NOVA
The last secret ties into the events of this issue that saw the Sinister clone with the mutant gene take over Bar Sinister only to be almost immediately telepathically controlled by Professor Xavier into carrying on his DNA work, though forgetting he is doing the work until Xavier unlocks the memories.
Sinister's final Secret implies that the mutant Sinister who had been manipulated by Professor Xavier had also been replaced, meaning Sinister is working without Xavier's control. However, the Secret's reference to a "certain bald somebody" and other clues seem to keep pointing towards the character of Cassandra Nova, with some even questioning whether the Xavier seen on Krakoa is actually Nova and not Xavier.