An incident in the latest issue of “X-Men” brings the mutants closer to the future world depicted in 2019’s “Powers of X” series.

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for X-Men #17, by Jonathan Hickman, Brett Booth, Adelso Corona, Sunny Gho, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller, on sale now.

The X-Men and the alien Shi’ar Empire have a long and complicated history together. The mutant heroes have, for the most part, maintained a close friendship with the leaders of the space empire, so much so that Charles Xavier once married former Shi’ar empress Lilandra and left the X-Men to be with her.  ut the two groups have also sometimes found themselves at odds, such as during the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” and when Lilandra later fell under the mental control of Cassandra Nova.

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In X-Men #17, the mutants and Shi’ar are again on good terms, and the new empress, Xandra, makes a promise to Storm that could be the first step towards a possible future for mutant-kind featured in Hickman and R. B. Silva’s Powers of X series.

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Storm Shi'ar Offer

In X-Men #17, when the young Shi’ar empress, Xandra (the biological daughter of Xavier and Lilandra), is kidnapped, her advisor contacts the mutants of Krakoa for assistance. Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm arrive in Shi’ar space and work with the super guardian Smasher, who is also Cannonball’s wife, to locate Xandra. Jean detects a would-be assassin and by reading his mind is able to track down Urr, a zealous member of the Stygian race who feels they have been treated unfairly by the Shi’ar. Although the X-Men, and indeed even the Shi’ar leaders, are sympathetic to his ideas, the X-Men and Smasher stop Urr from killing Xandra, and Storm personally defeats him in combat.

After returning home, Xandra assures the X-Men that steps will be taken to help the Stygian people but Urr himself will be punished by being forced to serve as a diplomat. Her final statement is to Storm, who she calls “vanquisher of a rebellion and friend of the throne.” Xandra tells Storm, “To you, I owe a debt. And in the coming days, should you need anything of me, feel free to collect at any time.”

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Although intended as a simple gesture of gratitude, Xandra’s promise could be the start of a much closer union between mutants and the Shi’ar. Powers of X, one of the two limited series that launched the current era of X-Men comics, depicted the Shi’ar as being key to the survival of the mutant race. A data page in the first issue describes an alliance between the two peoples that exists in the far future.

One hundred years in the future, mutants are once again in danger of extinction with only 10,000 estimated to be alive, most of which have sought refuge outside of Earth’s solar system. The majority of the mutants live in one of two colonies in Shi’ar space. One of them is close to the border of Brood space, while the other is on the Shi’ar throne world Chandilar. Most of the mutants who live in the latter are said to be warriors for the Shi’ar Empire and it is said to be rumored that Xandra, who is still the Empress, plans to have them play a leading role in conquering Earth’s solar system, which mutants hope could lead to repopulation.

Powers of X feature

With all the problems Krakoa constantly faces, it seems unlikely that the mutants’ golden age will last indefinitely, which could very well lead to a bleak future like the one featured in Powers of X.

The maintenance of their relationship with the Shi’ar should be treated as a main priority by the mutants of Krakoa, considering that this alliance could be a very important key to preserving their future as a species. Thankfully, the X-Men leader may have just taken the first step toward leading her people to a safe haven in the coming days.

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