While progress is being made in the other direction, there's little doubt that superhero comics remain a primarily male-dominated industry. Male characters most often fill leadership roles, take pivotal part in the plot, and receive more attention in the story overall. All of the meta-textual contributing toward that aside, sometimes the problem comes with the characters themselves being sexist, and that was demonstrated most recently in Powers of X #6 by Professor X and Magneto.
Toward the start of the series, and its companion mini House of X, fans were shocked to learn that oft-ignored side character Moira (MacTaggert) Kinross is actually a major mover and shaker in the history of the X-Men. Though she was long thought to be human, the big reveal was that she has actually been a mutant with the power of reincarnation. All the knowledge she has at the time of her death gets transferred to her at the time of her birth in a new timeline, and using that knowledge she is allowed to manipulate and change events toward her own ends.
While the reveal was a massive upheaval in terms of the history of X-Men comics, there was very little information given about Moira following up the reveal itself. It was not until the recent conclusion of Powers of X that readers were allowed further insight into her mind and piece of the story. And yet, even when she at last enjoyed the spotlight, two men stepped forward to take it right back.
Professor X and Magneto have been at the heart of X-Men stories since literally their very beginning. While there are hundreds of stories detailing the nuance of their ideological differences, their cooperation and partnership in recent years allowed them to sit center stage without being in opposition to each other. As major political leaders in their world, it only makes sense that for Moira to express her own influence, she needed to get them both on her side.
However, the two men very quickly decided it wasn't "her" side anymore -- it was theirs. After sharing with Xavier all of the knowledge she gained from several lives lived, each exploring different possibilities for how to save their mutant race from the looming threats ahead, it did not take long for Xavier and his friend, the Master of Magnetism, to take charge. She continues to try to warn them against their course of action, but they repeatedly brush her off.
Xavier informs Moira that they added Mystique as one of the political leaders on the Quiet Council by offering to bring back her lost lover, Destiny. Earlier in the arc Destiny made it very clear that her precognitive abilities allowed her to foil Moira's plans, so Moira is understandably apprehensive. Moira tells Charles and Magneto that they can't bring Destiny back. "We know," they say. She tells them there can't be any precogs on Krakoa. "We know," they say. Moira implores them further, pointing out precogs are the only ones that can ruin everything they've built.
"We know," Charles says yet again.
Throughout the whole conversation, Moira tries to impress upon the two men the importance of heeding her advice -- advice gained from decades and decades of lived experience. She is absolutely the expert in this situation, and yet they treat her advice very lightly and brush off her concerns. When Moira brings up the possibility that Destiny could tell everyone "the truth," the two men go one further: Not only do they reiterate that, yes, they know, but that they actually plan on everyone knowing "the truth" anyway.
"The truth," of course, is that the X-Men always lose, in every timeline, no matter what they do. Especially at a time of unprecedented unity among the mutants, Moira does not want that fact to spoil everything they're building, but Magneto and Charles have their own plans. "The truth is that until now we have always lost... but this time it's going to be different," Charles says. "For we are different," Magneto adds.
The arrogance of both men to assume they know better than Moira and to take charge of a situation she is clearly the best one to handle is... well... astonishing, frankly. But, it's not really out of character. Whether hero or villain, Xavier and Magneto have both always been extremely arrogant men known for their egos. Moira goes on to detail Xavier's persistent optimism in her journal entries that end the issue, and it's clear that in order to perform such massive feats, it's necessary for these men to have the appropriate sense of grandiosity. Perhaps that is why she decided to take herself out of the equation by faking her own death. Of course, that in itself is problematic from a storytelling perspective -- literally shoving the most capable woman and primary motivator of the story underground -- let alone the repeated "fridging" inherent in her power set.
That all notwithstanding, it would feel out of character for Magneto and Xavier to step aside and let Moira take charge of the situation. In order for comics to grow toward a point where the male characters do that, it is necessary for them to grow and accept the importance of listening when a woman speaks. The consequences of their ego will likely unfold during writer Jonathan Hickman's continuing X-Men stories, but we can rest assured that they are inevitable, whether they accept it or not.
Powers of X #6 released October 9 and is on sale now.
KEEP READING: X-Men: Powers of X Proves That Magneto Was Right