SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Uncanny X-Men #3, by Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, Yildiray Cinar, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
After months of teases, the Horsemen of Salvation have finally made their official debut in Uncanny X-Men. Unsurprisingly, this unlikely group of X-Men and X-villains is only causing more trouble for an X-Men team that was already facing multiple crises.
Over the course of "X-Men: Disassembled," Marvel's premiere mutant team has had to deal with everything from rampaging dinosaurs and missing team members to the return of Legion, Professor X's ultra-powerful unstable son who controlled thousands of Multiple Man duplicates. Now, during an anti-mutant protest at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach in New York's Central Park, Legion and the X-Men are scuffling when the Horsemen of Salvation lands on their doorstep in Uncanny X-Men #3.
Apparently led by Magneto, the Horsemen of Salvation include the X-Men's Angel and two other X-villains, Blob and Omega Red. After Angel tells his former X-teammates that the Horsemen are there to save the world, Magneto identifies himself as the Horseman of Peace... and promptly blows up the X-Mansion to "put an end to those who create war."
While we don't know much about them yet, the Horsemen of Salvation appear to be an inversion of the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Where Apocalypse's team has Horsemen of Death, Famine, Pestilence and War, Magneto's team features Horsemen of Life, Bounty, Wellness and Peace. In the same way that Apocalypse's Horsemen are transformed into monstrous versions of themselves, the Horsemen of Salvation have had drastic redesigns involving flowing robes and facial markings since their last appearances.
After making a return to outright villainy, Magneto formed a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men Blue and freed several young mutants from captivity in X-Men Black: Magneto. While the Blob was also last seen as a villain in X-Men Blue, Omega Red joined Sabretooth's Weapon X-Force and has been acting like more of a hero recently. It's worth noting that Omega Red also has a clone, but he apparently just died in Return of Wolverine #2.
While those villains' transformations were largely unseen, it seems like Angel's transformation started a few weeks ago in Uncanny X-Men #1. While he was attending a political rally with the X-Men, Angel was summoned by some unseen force that compelled him to fly away from his teammates in the heat of battle. On a similar note, Magneto says that the Horseman of Salvation serve a "master," though he hasn't revealed who that master was.
While all of this is reminiscent of Angel's transformation into Archangel, Apocalypse's mind-controlled Horseman of Death, that's probably not what's happening here. And given the covers to the next several issues of Uncanny X-Men, the Horsemen's master is almost certainly to be revealed as X-Man, the "Age of Apocalypse" hero Nate Grey.
In the 1990s, X-Man was essentially a younger Cable in a dark Apocalypse-controlled alternate reality. Although he made his way to the main Marvel Universe and played a fairly large role for several years, the ultra-powerful Nate hasn't appeared much over the past decade. With the "Age of X-Man" crossover set to take over the X-Men's world in early 2019, however, Nate Grey is about to come back in a major way.
Although it's not clear what "Age of X-Man" will entail, it seems like the Horsemen of Salvation are well-positioned to play a big role in the lead-up to the event. As "X-Men Disassembled" continues in the weekly Uncanny X-Men, we'll discover just what, and who, else the Horsemen are willing to destroy in the name of peace.