Warning: This article contains major spoilers for X-Force #1, by Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, Dean White, VC's Joe Caramagna and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Death isn't quite what it used to be for the X-Men. While Marvel's mutants have always had a reputation for coming back from the dead in one way or another, House of X revealed that Charles Xavier developed a process to resurrect fallen mutants on Krakoa.
By combining their mutant abilities, a group of young mutants called the Five can bring any mutant back to life, almost exactly as they were when they died. After they successfully restore a dead mutant's body, Xavier uses his immense telepathic abilities, and his ever-present Cerebro helmet, to restore their mind from a back-up copy he regularly creates.
Although this process is fairly new, we've already seen it bring several major X-Men back from the dead; its results are also evident in the scores of long-dead mutants who've been walking around the background on Krakoa. After the events of X-Force #1, however, this resurrection machine will face its biggest test yet, because the first major attack on Krakoan soil results in the apparent death of Charles Xavier.
After a mysterious group of masked, anti-mutant villains discover an undercover Domino early in the issue, a commando-style strike force parachutes onto Krakoa, bypassing the island's considerable defenses. After shooting wildly and seemingly killing several mutants, including Caliban, one of the commandos shoots Xavier in the head at point-blank range before being vivisected by Wolverine.
While Xavier's demise is not explicitly shown, the issue ends with the haunting image of his Cerebro helmet shattered by an assassin's bullet next to his limp hand as several X-Men look on in horror.
Although Xavier's attackers are never named, the villains of this issue share several similarities with other famous mutant-hating groups. With black-and-white masks that totally conceal their facial features, the cabal that captures Domino at the start of the issue to the Right and the Sapien League.
Between their somewhat-revealing tactical outfits and hi-tech gear, the commandos who attack Krakoa bear a striking resemblance to the cybernetic soldiers of the Reavers. Because they're able to survive jumping out of a plane from 60,000 feet, with minimal protection and fool Krakoa's radar into identifying them as Domino, they also appear to have some level of superhuman augmentation, which could come from the white strips that cover their upper bodies.
As Benjamin Percy told CBR, Krakoa's X-Force is meant to be equal parts intelligence-gathering operation and a covert-action team, and this assassination makes the need for that team abundantly clear.
To revive their fallen leader, the mutants of Krakoa will have to go through their resurrection protocols, possibly for the first time without the help of Xavier. Even though he's not one of the Five who's essential to resurrection, Xavier still used Cerebro to restore the minds of Cyclops, Wolverine and some other revived X-Men in House of X #5.
While that showed how useful Xavier can be in the mutant resurrection process, it doesn't mean that he's an essential part of it. As Powers of X #5 revealed, Cerebro's mutant database includes Xavier's mind and is backed-up in multiple locations. If there's another Cererbo lying around Krakoa, another high-level telepath like Jean Grey should theoretically be able to use it to restore Xavier's mind in a cloned body.
While the cover for an upcoming issue of X-Force suggests that's a distinct possibility, this sudden, shocking attack has brought chaos and carnage into the X-Men's new home. In addition to reviving Xavier, the mutants still need to rebuild their defenses, find Domino, identify their attackers and launch a counter-offensive.
Even if reviving the dead is easy for the X-Men, figuring out how to build a future in a world that hates and fears them is still the X-Men's greatest challenge.