S.W.O.R.D. has a plan to save Marvel’s most important mutants, and it could push the X-Men towards a future like one seen in the Powers of X event.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for S.W.O.R.D. #4 by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, Marte Gracia & VC’s Ariana Maher, on sale now.
The events of King in Black forced plenty of heroes to reevaluate their motives and how they operate, and that most certainly extends to S.W.O.R.D., the space-based extension of the mutant nation Krakoa. However, the organization’s newest idea has some potentially dangerous implications for the X-Men’s future.
As revealed in S.W.O.R.D. #4, Abigail Brand has a plan to save the Five mutants who are central to Krakoa’s clone-based resurrection process. More specifically, she has a plan for them to create a backup for mutantkind, and she may be taking Krakoa to take a step closer to one of the disastrous timelines glimpsed by Moira MacTaggert in one of her previous lives from Jonathan Hickman and R.B. Silva’s Powers of X event.
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The coming of Knull to Earth left most of the planet’s defenders in a chaotic place. Some heroes fought amongst themselves while others have been corrupted by the dark cosmic god, but one of the few groups that seemed somewhat prepared to proactively respond to the alien incursion were the mutants working together as the new incarnation of S.W.O.R.D. Their attempts to stave off the attack largely failed, which resulted in a massive amount of symbiotes reaching Krakoa through the Knull-corrupted Cable. During all of this, SWORD Director Abigail Brand also secretly sent Mentallo and his Think-Tank to recover the Five and ensure their successful evacuation from Krakoa.
Highjacking Mentallo, Hope Summers confronts Brand and demands to know the full plan for this evacuation. Brand reveals her idea is to evacuate off the Five so that, if the Earth is indeed destroyed by Knull, the mutant race can survive elsewhere and keep some vestige of “Earthers” in the universe. Brand even reveals she’s made arrangements with the Shi’Ar Empire to allow this to happen, where the Five can use parts of Sinister’s cloning farms to produce a new hatchery and bring about the return of the mutant race. Hope resists these ideas, arguing that this would sacrifice the genuine mutants on Earth and that “choosing” only parts of the mutant genome to resurrect is cruel. However, Hope does note that the idea of a backup hatchery isn’t an implicitly bad idea.
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However, neither of them seems to be aware of the true implications of hatcheries in Shi’Ar controlled space. Powers of X revealed that Moira MacTaggert had lived multiple lives, thanks to her mutant ability to be resurrected and reborn in a restarted timeline. Her ninth such life saw Moira forge an alliance with Apocayplse instead of Xavier or Magneto, leading to a mutant/human war. Eventually, the mutants of this timeline were forced to approve of the Sinister Breeding Pits as a means of keeping up with their enemies. The breeding pits eventually produced Chimeras, who combined the DNA samples of multiple mutants into powerful new forms. But eventually, the fourth generation of these creations grew unstable, which led directly to the fall of this timeline’s Krakoa, the loss of much of mutantkind’s remaining leadership, and the mutant exodus to Shi’Ar space.
Krakoa even considering such a move should send shivers down Moira’s spine. This could be seen as elements of history repeating themselves, bringing about another potential end for mutant progress. By branching out into Shi’Ar space, establishing additional hatcheries and potentially relying on the possibly dangerous Sinister cloning farms to do so, S.W.O.R.D. could move the modern Marvel Universe one step closer to the events that defined the end of mutants on Earth in one of Moira’s previous lives.
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