X-Men: The Hellfire Gala – A major death, a big secret revealed, and more

X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1 (opens in new tab) holds all the event’s secrets in its pages, and now that the annual special is out, so are they – and some of what’s revealed packs quite a wallop. 

From the announcement of the new X-Men team, including the winner of the 2022 fan vote, to the results of Moira X’s machinations to enter and disrupt the event, there’s no shortage of hot gossip to go around coming out of the biggest mutant party of the year.

Spoilers ahead for X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1

X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Straight off the rip, X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1, from writer Gerry Duggan and artists Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, CF Villa, Matteo Lolli, Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla, and Matthew Wilson, both meets and defies expectations of one of its stunning developments by revealing that mutants have developed the secret power of resurrection to the world – although the secret is not revealed at the hands of an enemy.

Instead, it’s Cyclops himself who reveals that mutants can be resurrected from death to the world through an interview with Ben Urich, a storyline that’s been building in the core X-Men title for some time.

Though Cyclops doesn’t reveal exactly how mutants can be resurrected, the world knows that the power can only be used on mutants – no humans allowed. Cyclops explains to the rest of the X-Men and the Krakoan Quiet Council that he revealed the secret to prevent the anti-mutant organization Orchis from using it against them.

Nevertheless, this opening gives a major opportunity to one of the X-Men’s biggest new threats, their former ally Moira MacTaggart.

X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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As heavily foreshadowed by the X-Men Free Comic Book Day special and other titles, Moira MacTaggart/Moira X uses her techno-organic form to take control of Mary Jane Watson’s body, using MJ’s invite to the Hellfire Gala to sneak into the event.

X-Fans will recall that after Moira’s secret hand in founding Krakoa was exposed to Mystique and Destiny in the Inferno (opens in new tab) limited series, her mutant powers were neutralized, and she turned on mutantkind entirely by embracing a new techno-organic AI form and teaming up with Orchis.

With that TL:DR out of the way, we catch up to Moira-as-MJ at the Hellfire Gala. First, she bumps into Spider-Man, offering him a strangely cold reception thanks to her lack of knowledge that Spider-Man and MJ are on-again-off-again romantic partners. Later, she sets off his Spider-Sense, but he misinterprets his signal as MJ being under threat from the mutant Proteus.

X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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What’s actually happening is that Moira has revealed herself to her son, who is one of the Five (the mutants whose powers combine to resurrect dead mutants) in the hopes of getting him to betray the X-Men.

But her gamble is folly, as she insults and demeans Proteus as no more than an experiment, not even truly her “child.” He demurs her insults, stating that he’s found a family among the Five and that he will not allow her to harm mutants.

Figuring out what’s going on, Spider-Man helps the X-Men fight Moira, but she manages to escape from the island still in MJ’s body. Bishop, Captain Commander of Krakoa’s forces, orders her hunted down, saying he wants her “dead by dawn.”

As for Spidey, his encounter with Moira will apparently be followed up in his own title in Amazing Spider-Man #9, per an editorial note.

X-Men: The Hellfire Gala #1 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Nonetheless, Moira’s escape could prove significantly problematic to the X-Men, who are about to be the target of the Eternals for extermination as Druig, Eternal Prime, has dubbed mutants as “excess deviations,” related to the Eternals’ ancient enemies the Deviants.

Because Moira doesn’t return to Orchis, who have their own plans to exploit the revelation of mutant resurrection. Instead – after seemingly killing Mary Jane Watson, as she implies she’ll do when she’s done with the disguise, though entirely off-panel – she meets with none other than Druig of the Eternals, revealing the secret of the Five to the exact people who want to make mutants extinct.

Sounds bad, right?

That conflict will come to bear in the upcoming AXE: Judgment Day limited series and crossover event.

Keep track of everything coming up on Krakoa with our listing of all the new X-Men comics planned for release in 2022 and beyond.

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