This week's Empyre: X-Men #1 kicks off with a grim callback to some of the darker moments of mutant history – with some potentially serious ramifications for the mission Xavier and Magneto set forth at the start of the current 'Dawn of X' era.
The story opens with Doctor Strange advising Scarlet Witch that she can never undo her past – specifically, she can't uncast the spell she once weaved that cost millions of mutants their powers. However, Strange advises, she may be able to cast a new spell that could help her atone for the terrible sins of her past.(opens in new tab)
Years ago, Wanda Maximoff/the Scarlet Witch's probability-altering mutant powers and her gift for chaos magick crossed wires, resulting in a psychotic break in which she killed numerous Avengers and ultimately cast a spell uttering a single phrase – "No more mutants" – that depowered almost every mutant on Earth (though some later got their powers back).
In her search for redemption now, Wanda turns to another previous mutant tragedy – the Genoshan mutant genocide, in which the millions of mutants who populated the island nation of Genosha were wiped out en masse by Sentinels. Wanda spends months researching specific powerful magic, finally casting a spell meant to resurrect the dead mutants of Genosha.
The spell works – to Wanda's horror. Though the Genoshan mutants do rise, they return from the grave not fully resurrected, but as zombies. (This isn't the first time this has happened, by the way – the mutant necromancer Selene once used a techno-organic virus to do kinda the same thing in the storyline 'Necrosha.' (opens in new tab))(opens in new tab)
Immediately understanding the gravity of her new spell, Wanda flees - presumably telling no one what transpired. Sometime later, the Cotati arrive on Genosha as part of their invasion of Earth (that whole Empyre part of the story), traveling to Genosha to stage part of their attack. However, they're not alone as expected – the come face-to-face with an island full of resurrected mutant zombies, powers intact.
Here's the thing – Xavier and Magneto already have a plan in place to resurrect the Genoshan mutants, as of the Powers of X limited series that helped launch the 'Dawn of X' era. Using the same synchronicity that allows the Krakoan mutants known as the Five to combine their abilities to fully resurrect individual dead mutants, Xavier and Magneto plan to eventually extrapolate this power into the full-on resurrection of every dead mutant ever.
How will Wanda's interference effect this goal, and will she face any consequences for her actions on Genosha? Well, it seems they'll have to get through the Cotati invasion first.
Empyre: X-Men #2 is due on August 5.