Warning: SPOILERS for House of X #5
The X-Men relaunch stars a version of Charles Xavier unlike any seen before, which has us wondering... could he really be Moira MacTaggert? Superstar comic book writer Jonathan Hickman is relaunching, or perhaps in part rebooting, the entire X-Men franchise. And to do it, he's introduced a mysterious, ambiguous version of Xavier who has established a new mutant nation on the living island of living mutant island of Krakoa.
Hickman is a meticulous planner, and as a result it's safe to say some major twists are in the works. House of X #5 played an important role in the story, finally revealing that the mutants are using clones to resurrect the dead. When a clone is fully matured, Xavier uses psychic records to place a copy of the mutant's consciousness inside its new host body. It's a stunning twist, raising the disturbing possibility that Xavier has more influence than he might admit to. For instance, the door is left wide open to choosing old records, rather than the most up-to-date versions, thereby censoring any memories he wishes.
Could this explain why Jean Grey has resumed calling herself Marvel Girl, and why she's back to wearing a green miniskirt? It's possible Jean Grey isn't the only one who's been subjected to this cloning technology. After all, Xavier has seemed out of character, basically pushing against everything the X-Men have ever believed in. So is it possible this isn't really Xavier at all?
Xavier Himself Has Already Been Cloned
Oddly enough, Charles Xavier was only resurrected himself a couple of years back. The X-Men's founder had been murdered by Cyclops when he was under the influence of the Phoenix Force, but his psyche had survived on the Astral Plane. There he spent several years trapped, playing mind-games against his old adversary the Shadow King. Fortunately, the Professor hit upon a winning strategy, and struck a deal with the mutant clone Fantomex. Fantomex allowed Xavier to return to the land of the living by possessing his own body.
But here's the catch: this new body is very different to Xavier's old form. It's spry, athletic, and it has hair. In contrast, Jonathan Hickman's X-Men reboot has already confirmed that Xavier is back in a version of his old body; one flashback scene to six months previous strongly suggested that Xavier is even bald again. The clear implication is that this Xavier is not his Fantomex body, but a clone. On the face of it, knowing the twists that have been revealed thus far, it's possible the Professor decided to experiment upon himself before he subjected other mutants to the process.
But Is This Really Xavier At All?
The fundamental problem, however, is that there's no real way to know which consciousness inhabits the clone body in the first place. House of X #5 includes a note that "there has been no experimentation regarding what happens when you combine a mutant mind with a husk that is not their own." It's supposed to be taken from a Krakoan document, with no tinge of suspicion... except the very same page states that Proteus, a mutant pivotal to the resurrection/cloning procedure must always have a back-up "created from the genetic base of Charles Xavier."
It's entirely possible that the Xavier body presumed to be Charles is being possessed by another mutant's mind. It's important to remember that the Professor's powers, like all other mutants, are genetic. That means any consciousness that inhabits an Xavier body will gain access to his abilities. Furthermore, note that the new Xavier doesn't seem to ever take off his Cerebro helmet. Cerebro amplifies Xavier's own innate psychic powers, but it could also serve to ensure other psychics couldn't enter his head and realize that something is not quite right with this version of Xavier (and in hindsight, it seems odd to make a note of something that has NOT been experimented on).
Xavier Could Secretly Be Moira MacTaggert
The most likely mind to be residing in Charles Xavier's body is that of Moira MacTaggert. Moira is a classic X-Men character, traditionally viewed as a human geneticist, but Hickman has retconned Moira as a secret mutant with the power of reincarnation-time-looping. Every time she dies, Moira returns to the moment of her birth to live out her life with all the knowledge she accumulated in her past lives. She's been attempting to navigate the many House of X time loops and create a timeline in which the mutant race survives, and seems to have been becoming increasingly radicalized, moving from Xavier's Dream to Magneto's--even to Apocalypse's. In the House of X timeline, she approached Xavier while he was at college, and opened her mind to him. Beginning their seemingly united attempt to find the decades-long work that saves the future.
Hickman has revealed that Moira is still alive in this timeline, but she remains curiously absent from his X-Men run. That raises the possibility that she's hiding in plain sight; that she's inhabiting Charles Xavier's body. Ordinarily, Charles being rendered in more feminine style, unusually tactile, even stroking a resurrected Cyclops' face in a manner out of character could seem like an artistic choice. But it's also reminiscent of several scenes where Moira's wilder side was unlocked during the Muir Isle Saga in the 1980s. Perhaps Moira isn't as absent as it seems?
Of course, this in turn raises the question: what's happened to the real Charles Xavier? Presumably he was party to this plan, given he would have been needed to implant Moira's mind within the clone body in the first place. After that, though, it's entirely possible that he's been removed from the equation altogether. It has to be remembered that Moira is ruthless, and in one timeline even participated in attempted genocide of the human race. She would be willing to go to any lengths in order to achieve her goals, and her past lives demonstrate that beyond a doubt.
How Will Moira's Mutant Plan Fall Apart?
If this theory is correct, then Moira MacTaggert is secretly manipulating the entire mutant race, using the powers of Charles Xavier to attempt to create a final timeline in which the war between mutants, humans, and Sentinels is successfully averted. Unfortunately, nothing ever goes smoothly in superhero comics, and this plan is predicated upon a base deception.
The problem facing Moira is that one of the X-Men is a telepath whose abilities operate on a power level beyond even those of Charles Xavier. Jean Grey is an Omega level mutant, and in House of X #1 she seemed to sense that something was wrong. Jean was always Charles Xavier's closest friend among the X-Men - when the Professor faked his death, she was the only one he told the truth to - and it makes sense she'd begin to sense something was wrong. Moira reassured Jean - perhaps psychically as well - but there's no reason to assume that will hold. And once Moira's deceit is exposed, it's possible all her utopian plans will fall apart.
House of X #5 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.