Mystique and Destiny get their revenge on Moira X in Inferno #3

Writer Jonathan Hickman’s tenure as ‘Head of X’, the de facto lead writer of Marvel’s X-Men line continues to barrel towards its finale. His penultimate issue – December 8’s Inferno #3 (opens in new tab) with artists RB Silva, Stefano Caselli, Valerio Schiti, Adriano Di Benedetto, and David Curiel finally reveals a secret villain that has seemingly been pulling the strings behind the curtains of the entire Krakoa saga since it kicked off with 2019’s Powers of X and House of X

The reveal cleverly has a ‘Days of Future Past (opens in new tab)‘-style time-travel twist that pulls from some classic X-Men themes, and Inferno #3 also sets up what may be the final fate of Dr. Moira MacTaggert – these days better known as Moira X – and things aren’t looking good for the mysterious mutant.

Inferno #3 excerpt

Inferno #3 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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As Xavier and Magneto deal with the fallout (much to their chagrin) of Destiny being installed on the Quiet Council in November’s Inferno #2 (opens in new tab), one of their missteps comes back to bite them on their mutant butts. After refusing to be recruited into Xavier and Magneto’s plot against Destiney, Emma Frost tells her and her wife Mystique all of Moira X’s secrets, revealing the key events of Moira’s past lives – including the iteration where she was murdered by Mystique and Destiny themselves. 

Emma makes it plain that she does not plan to take a side in the conflict between Xavier & Magneto and Mystique & Destiny, prioritizing the safety of Krakoa and the young mutants in her care – however, her revelations to Mystique and Destiny are intended to level the playing field.

And similarly, Cypher reveals that he, Warlock, and Krakoa have entered a fully symbiotic relationship which allows them to observe everything that happens on Krakoa – including, unknown to Xavier, Magneto, and Moira X, everything they say and do in Moira’s secret chambers.

At the same time, anti-mutant extremist group Orchis prepares to reignite their orbital Master Mold facility to begin producing advanced Sentinels under the supervision of the now fully-activated Nimrod and the Omega Sentinel, Karima Shapandar.

Inferno #3 excerpt

Inferno #3 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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And this is where Inferno #3’s major revelations come in, as Omega Sentinel reveals that she is not the version of Karima Shapandar that once fought alongside the X-Men as their ally, but rather an incarnation of her from far in the distant future whose consciousness was sent back in time to prevent the outcome of the future from which she hails where mutants are the dominant species.

In other words, she’s on the same – but totally opposite – mission on which Kitty Pryde embarked in ‘Days of Future Past (opens in new tab)‘ to prevent a future where Sentinels had all but wiped out mutantkind. And lest you think we’re making a leap here, the story itself calls out the comparison.

Interestingly enough, Omega Sentinel’s tale of her timeline, in which the mutants of Krakoa and Arakko unite to defeat the Children of the Vault and destroy the Sentinels forever. Humankind eventually becomes extinct, thousands of years in the future, and Omega Sentinel is left as the final non-mutant at the end of time, with her consciousness traveling back in time to inhabit her present day body – again, just like Kitty Pryde/Katherine Pryde in ‘Days of Future Past.’ 

Could those untold stories represent a version of the X-Men’s future based on the events that may have taken place in the X-Men franchise had Jonathan Hickman not made the decision to depart as ‘Head of X’? They seem to relate back to story seeds laid as far back as House of X/Powers of X (opens in new tab), in ‘X of Swords (opens in new tab),’ and throughout Hickman’s run on the core X-Men (opens in new tab) title.

Inferno #3 excerpt

Inferno #3 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Whether or not that’s the case, the implication is that, should the tenth and current life of Moira X continue along its current trajectory without interruption – something that seems all but impossible at this point – mutantkind would have finally succeeded in securing their ongoing survival as a species in perpetuity. And that means that the further implication of Omega Sentinel’s mission to interrupt the current timeline may be that mutantkind and the nation of Krakoa could fail in their mission.

This is called even further into question in the issue’s finale, in which Mystique and Destiny use the information given to them by Emma Frost along with the intel about Orchis which Mystique stole in Inferno #2 to set up Moira X to be captured by Orchis, while gaining secret access to the cell where Orchis imprisons her.

As Mystique and Destiny torture Moira X, Xavier and Magneto rush to her rescue, only to discover that not only do Mystique and Destiny know all of their secrets, they’ve severed Moira’s arm, and have some kind of plan to dispatch her without allowing her to die and restart their timeline in accordance with her mutant power of resurrection into new lives.

But as Magneto and Xavier confront Mystique and Destiny over the fate of Moira X, things take an unexpected – and ominous – turn, as Nimrod and Omega Sentinel teleport into the room, likely not caring which of the mutants they’re presumably about to attempt to eliminate.

Hellions #18 excerpt

Hellions #18 excerpt (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Meanwhile, the fates of five of the most prominent X-Men are called into question in Hellions #18 (opens in new tab), the series finale, in which Mr. Sinister’s place on the Quiet Council – and on Krakoa itself – seems to be in jeopardy thanks to his manipulations of his team. 

Sensing the forces rallying against him, Sinister appears to be altering the DNA records of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine in his resurrection database as the page’s captions, spoken by Magneto, compare Sinister himself to a growing cancer – implying that he’s building a potentially deadly failsafe into the DNA of Xavier and Magneto’s top enforcers.

The story continues in January 5’s Inferno #4 (opens in new tab), the finale of the limited series.

After Inferno, the X-Men line enters the ‘Destiny of X’ era.

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