Comics
Published February 2, 2024

What You Need to Know for 'Dead X-Men'

Here's everything you need to know about 'Dead X-Men,' including the team's members, their critical mission, and the villain hot on their heels.

At one point or another, most of the X-Men have been dead. From trying to survive in a world that hates and fears mutants to taking on unfathomably powerful villains, the life of every X-Man is filled with lethal danger… but since the formation of the mutant state Krakoa, death hasn't been much of an issue. 

Thanks to a powerful group of five young mutants, Krakoa developed Resurrection Protocols that could effectively bring back any dead mutant in a new body. However, with one brutal attack, the mutant-hating group Orchis destroyed Krakoa, killed the new team of X-Men, and left the world's remaining mutants on the run.

Now, the X-Men who died in that attack are taking on a mission from beyond the grave in DEAD X-MEN (2024) #1 by Steve Foxe, Jonas Scharf, Bernard Chang, Vincenzo Carratu, Frank Martin, and VC's Cory Petit. As they jump into action from the afterlife, let's break down the team, their mission, and everything else you might need to know about the stakes.

WHO ARE THE DEAD X-MEN? 

The Dead X-Men are all veteran mutant heroes who have extensive history with the X-Men. The team includes the high-flying Cannonball, light-producing superstar Dazzler, plasma-blasting Jubilee, the super-strong Frenzy, and Prodigy, who can absorb the knowledge and skills of anyone near him. Along with Juggernaut, Synch, and an older version of Laura Kinney known as Talon, these mutants were elected to be members of Krakoa's official X-Men team by their fellow mutants in a sequence by Gerry Duggan and Russell Dauterman in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA 2023 (2023) #1

But just as they debuted as the new X-Men, these mutants were killed by Nimrod, an endlessly adaptable mutant-hunting Sentinel. Nimrod's attack was the start of an overwhelming Orchis assault that left Krakoa in ruins and most of the Earth's mutants missing. Meanwhile, the surviving X-Men went underground in order to salvage their operation. 

As part of Professor X's plans, the Dead X-Men were resurrected through the Resurrection Protocols at the request of Rachel Summers, the telepath currently known as Askani. Throughout his time on Krakoa, Professor X used Cerebro to create regularly updated backup copies of every mutant mind. When a mutant died, the young mutants of the Five would pool their powers together to create a perfect clone of the deceased mutant using some genetic samples as a partial base.

Just as that clone was given life, Xavier or another experienced telepath would upload the most recent mental backup into their new body, effectively resurrecting them as they were prior to their death. The Scarlet Witch later updated the process by creating the Waiting Room, a Limbo-esque dimension where fallen mutants could wait to be revived.

WHERE ARE THE X-MEN?

Since Orchis' attack on the Hellfire Gala, the X-Men and their allies have been scattered across three separate planes of existence. For instance, a handful of X-Men remain on Earth, where they operate secretly and continue to fight Orchis. 

However, most of Krakoa's other mutants were taken to the White Hot Room by Mother Righteous, a clone created by Mister Sinister who tried and failed to empower herself by sacrificing mutants. Sitting outside of the Multiverse, the White Hot Room is the home of the Phoenix Force, and it serves as an afterlife for the Phoenix's hosts. The resurrected Dead X-Men are currently operating from a piece of Krakoa that Mother RIghteous transported to the White Hot Room.

Along with a small group of mutants, Askani is hiding out in No Place X, a bubble dimension created by Krakoa. From this small perch outside of the Multiverse, Professor X is planning mutantkind's next moves away from the all-seeing eyes of their enemies. Since Askani is a former host of the Phoenix Force and an immensely powerful telepath, she can travel or send other people through time and alternate realities, which is a crucial part of the Dead X-Men's mission.

WHO ARE THE DEAD X-MEN FIGHTING?

While the earthbound mutants fight Orchis, the Dead X-Men are dealing with two other interconnected threats: their old ally, Moira MacTaggert, and the all-powerful entity that calls itself Enigma. Although Moira pretended to merely be a human ally of the X-Men for years, she was really a mutant with reincarnation abilities that allowed her to live through and remember multiple lifetimes, most of which saw mutantkind hunted to extinction. 

To seemingly stop that from happening again, Moira began working in secret with Professor X and Magneto to lay the foundation for Krakoa. When Krakoa's other leaders learned about Moira, Mystique depowered her and tried to kill her to preserve the current timeline. Terminally ill and feeling betrayed by mutantkind, Moira moved her mind into a cyborg body and joined Orchis' efforts to eradicate mutants. 

After the twisted mutant geneticist Mister Sinister learned about Moira's abilities, he created several clones of her so he could wield her power in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #1 by Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck. With this so-called "Moira Engine," Sinister used the clones as save points to investigate how effective his numerous plans would be across several timelines. 

Afraid that advanced technology would take over the world, Sinister aimed to become a Dominion, an omnipotent being who exists outside of time and reality. When Sinister tried to enact his plans, though, he found that another being, Enigma, had already become a Dominion in his place. 

Mister Sinister is a clone of the Victorian-era scientist Nathaniel Essex, who created several clones to search for ways to become a Dominion. After Sinister and the other Essex clones explored various ways to grow their power, an Essex artificial intelligence, Enigma, activated with all of their knowledge and quickly ascended to Dominion status in IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #18 by Gillen and Juan Jose Ryp. As a Dominion, Enigma wields godlike power, posing an existential threat to the Multiverse. 

THE DEAD X-MEN'S MISSION

Now, the Dead X-Men are trying to stop Engima from ever becoming a Dominion by traveling through the various timelines created by Sinister's Moira Engine. These X-Men are looking for a timeline where Moira is still alive in her original body so that Prodigy can copy all of her memories, as well as the other information in her mind. 

Professor X wants to use the information from Moira's mind to create a map of her various lives. With that map, he hopes to travel back to a time before Moira's power manifested in the current timeline to prevent Enigma from achieving Dominion status. 

As Askani states, she handpicked this specific group of mutants to be the Dead X-Men for a few reasons. For instance, while Moira has experience protecting herself from direct telepathic powers, Prodigy's powers are passive, which allows him to quietly copy minds without alerting his targets. 

Sending Omega-level powerhouse mutants into different timelines to complete this mission could draw Enigma's attention, so Askani selected Dazzler, Jubilee, Cannonball, and Frenzy for this group because of their power types and proven combat experience. Plus, as Askani told a questioning Xavier, these mutants are all duly elected members of Krakoa's last X-Men team.

THE NEW MOIRA

After hopping between several realities in various stages of total destruction, the Dead X-Men found one version of Moira in a timeline devastated by Orbis Stellaris, another clone of Nathaniel Essex. Where Mister Sinister focused his studies on mutants, Orbis Stellaris turned his attention to obtaining cosmic power. Orbis and his forces attacked Earth through a wormhole, wiping out most of Krakoa—as well as 92% of life on Earth. With Earth uninhabitable, Abigail Brand brought many of her timeline's last mutants together as the X-Men to fight Orbis Stellaris and the alien Phalanx. 

Despite all of that, Prodigy was still able to absorb Moira's knowledge and understand how to stop Enigma from becoming a Dominion. However, the Moira of this timeline has plans of her own. After losing an arm and an eye while watching her world burn, this timeline's Moira is also trying to return to her first life. But instead of trying to stop the Dominion or save mutantkind, she wants to make sure she wins in every timeline.

To accomplish that, Moira has assembled Weapon M, an axe built out of body parts from Omega Red, Wolverine, Shen Zorn, and Gentle, to create a black hole and cut a path through her past. Now, this Moira and the Dead X-Men are in a race to see who can rewrite history first.

Join the Dead X-Men's mission in DEAD X-MEN #1, now on sale!

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