Jonathan Hickman’s 2019 relaunch of the X-Men line at Marvel Comics completely altered the course of mutant history – and paved the way for a future where they’ll never permanently die.
In addition to positioning Krakoa as a mutant nation and a world power, Hickman also shook up several characters’ backstories and goals – including Dr. Moira MacTaggert.
Now known as Moira X, this character has perhaps seen the biggest change in the new line of X-Men comics. No longer just a human ally to the mutant cause, Moira is now a powerful villain with multiple iterations existing across timelines, and she’s a huge threat to everything the mutants have built.
Moira X’s villainous schemes make a huge impact on the 2022 Hellfire Gala event, in which Krakoa welcomes humans to the mutant nation for a kind of ‘mutant prom’ – a party which Moira crashed in an unexpected disguise.
Here’s everything you need to know about Moira X, including why she’s such a worrisome presence in the Marvel Universe and how her actions at the Hellfire Gala have put the future of mutantkind in terrible jeopardy during the lead-up to AXE: Judgment Day.
Who is Dr. Moira MacTaggert?
Dr. Moira MacTaggert was created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum in 1975’s Uncanny X-Men #96. She is a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist and mutant expert, and her involvement with the X-Men can be traced back to her days at Oxford University, where she and Charles Xavier became friends, then colleagues, and later even got engaged.
As a human ally to mutantkind, Moira was a silent partner in the founding of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and she even helped create Cerebro, a technological device used primarily by Professor X to detect mutants across the world. In general, she sought to help mutants and humans alike, even going so far as to keep a de-aged Magneto at her research facility to try to prevent him from once again becoming a villain.
Moira founded a Mutant Research Center on Muir Island, off the coast of her home country, Scotland, to help her Omega-level mutant son, Proteus, AKA Mutant X – one of the deadliest villains in mutant history. She sought to understand human and mutant genetics in order to stop his deadly behavior, but she was unsuccessful.
Proteus’ reality-warping and possession powers made him a danger to everyone and keeping him confined on Muir Island only made things worse. Thankfully, Moira’s later actions, complicated as they would become, would offer Proteus a new lease on life (we’ll explain in a moment).
Later, Moira was seemingly assassinated by the mutant villain Mystique after interfering with Mystique’s plans to infect humans with a version of the mutant-killing Legacy Virus. But Moira’s story doesn’t end with her apparent death.
In fact, both the idea of death and rebirth and her rivalry with Mystique is central to everything that comes next.
The many lives of Moira X
In the twin limited series House of X and Powers of X, Dr. Moira MacTaggert is reintroduced as Moira X, a mutant with the power of reincarnation. Each time she is killed, she begins a new life in the womb with full memories of her prior lives, allowing her to make new decisions each time – but also resetting the timeline associated with her previous life.
Moira’s current timeline lines up exactly with the continuity of the mainstream Marvel Universe, Earth-616 of the Multiverse. However, the ramifications of how her power to reset the timeline interacts with the Multiverse itself have not been defined.
Seeking out Charles Xavier in her 10th and potentially final life, she allows Xavier to read her mind when they first meet in this incarnation so he can understand everything she has seen and done. Moira’s revelations influence Xavier to join forces with his former enemy Magneto to found the mutant nation Krakoa – an idea she has come to after many of her previous lifetimes ended with the extinction of mutantkind.
So what happened in her previous nine lives?
In her first two lives, Moira X dies of normal causes and doesn’t even get the chance to embrace her mutant powers, though they do manifest. In the third, she identifies the X-gene and creates a ‘cure’ for mutants. In this incarnation, the precognitive mutant known as Destiny finds Moira and discovers the effects of Moira’s various incarnations on the timeline. She warns Moira that any timeline in which she doesn’t work for the betterment of mutantkind will result in a slow, painful death. (This encounter becomes even more important later on).
In lives four and five, Moira is killed by Sentinels and in a genocide following a Sentinel attack, respectively – indicating that Destiny’s vision of the future is correct. In life six, she attempts to stop humans from extending their lives until they can merge with their own technology and become a new species altogether. In life seven, she spends her time eliminating the Trask family bloodline after discovering they are responsible for creating the Sentinels. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, because Artificial Intelligence is self-emergent, and will always prevail. Moira is also killed by Sentinels in this timeline.
At this point, Moira decides against pursuing Xavier’s goal of peace between mutants and humans and instead teams up with Magneto from the jump, though this paints her as a target for every species, and she’s eventually killed in a failed prison escape.
Finally, in life nine – the last before she helps Xavier and Magneto form Krakoa in life 10 – Moira prematurely wakes Apocalypse from his slumber, and together, they destroy Xavier and Magneto. Then they rescue the first Horsemen and launch the Apocalypse War, which rages for hundreds of years as humans merge with machines, and the AI known as Nimrod – a virtually indestructible descendant of the Sentinels – comes online for the first time.
In life 10, Moira secretly helps Xavier and Magneto found Krakoa and create the so-called ‘Resurrection Protocols,’ a process through which mutants can be resurrected from death over and over again, and which are the key to Moira’s current status quo.
Moira X and the Resurrection Protocols
Thanks to the aforementioned ‘Resurrection Protocols,’ any and all mutants who have previously perished can be reincarnated through the combined powers of a group of mutants known as The Five – including Moira’s own formerly villainous son, Proteus. This theoretically makes all mutants immortal, with those who are long dead simply waiting their turn in the long line of dead mutants to be resurrected.
The Resurrection Protocols come with one secret, unspoken caveat enacted by Moira. Though any and all mutants are subject to resurrection, even those who have been dead for decades, Moira actively works to prevent any precognitive mutants who can predict the future from being resurrected.
The reasons for this are complicated but largely center on her encounter with Destiny, the precognitive wife of Mystique who once co-led Mystique’s iteration of the Brotherhood of Mutants, in Moira’s third incarnation. In that timeline, Moira works to actively end mutantkind by wiping out the X-Gene. However, her efforts are prevented by Mystique and Destiny, who destroy her work and burn Moira herself to ash – though not before Destiny offers a warning.
Destiny, who sees Moira’s future as a strange void and recognizes her powers of reincarnation, warns Moira that she should never again interfere with the future of mutantkind, or all of her lives will end in disaster. Later, before her own death, Destiny warns Mystique that if Xavier and Magneto ever create a mutant island nation – as in the nation of Krakoa – that Mystique should “burn it down” before it leads to the end of mutantkind.
Moira’s subsequent lives prove to her that not only is Destiny’s warning correct, but there’s nothing she can do to prevent mutantkind from losing their fight against extinction in every timeline.
Because of all of this, Moira not only works to prevent any precogs from being resurrected, but hides in a secret place within Krakoa to prevent anyone but Magneto and Xavier from knowing she’s alive, or that she helped them create the mutant nation. However, she’s eventually found out, and chaos follows.
Where is Moira X now?
Everything changes for Moira when her secret gets out in the limited series Inferno.
After Xavier and Magneto fail to prevent the anti-mutant group known as Orchis from bringing Nimrod online in the current timeline, Moira orders Xavier and Magneto to destroy Destiny’s stored DNA and any psionic records so that she can never be resurrected by the Five. She also demands that Mystique be removed from the Quiet Council, which would effectively remove her influence and power within Krakoa. But Moira discovers that, to her horror, Mystique has already managed to secretly resurrect Destiny without anyone figuring out her plan.
To try and secure their own machinations, Moira, Xavier, and Magneto bring Emma Frost into their secret, with Moira psychically showing her all her past incarnations, as she previously did with Xavier. However, this backfires, and Emma Frost rejects any alliance with them, leading to Moira fleeing Krakoa, only to be caught by Orchis.
Unfortunately for Moira X, Mystique and Destiny are the ones who track her down, intent on ending her ability to reset the timeline via reincarnation. Using a gun built by the mutant scientist Forge, they remove Moira’s mutant power of reincarnation.
But before they can kill her, Doug Ramsey and his techno-organic buddy Warlock step in, revealing they know her secrets. Since she’s no longer a mutant, they banish her from Krakoa – and Destiny and Mystique can’t technically kill her, as it’s against Krakoan law.
Disillusioned and believing mutants are destined to fail, Moira instead decides to embrace the AI lifeforms that have replaced and destroyed mutants in so many of her previous lives. In the limited series X Deaths of Wolverine, she activates a cybernetic backup of her own consciousness to become a fully techno-organic being capable of reuploading her mind into new forms over and over, becoming something like the X-Men’s version of the Avengers’ robotic-artificial intelligence arch-foe Ultron. She vows to destroy mutantkind once and for all, essentially becoming the same threat of mutant extinction she once worked to prevent.
In the lead-up to Krakoa’s second annual Hellfire Gala, in Free Comic Book Day: Avengers/X-Men #1, Moira breaks into Mary Jane Watson’s house and steals her face in order to infiltrate the event with the apparent goal of sowing dissent between the Avengers and X-Men. During the event, she seemingly kills MJ off-panel, potentially making an even bigger enemy of Spider-Man after he helps the X-Men fight her and she escapes the island.
This is all in the lead-up to AXE: Judgment Day, in which the Eternals will try to destroy mutantkind, believing them to be offshoots of the Eternals’ ancient enemies, the Deviants. And Moira gives them exactly what they need to act on their suspicions.
After Moira seemingly murders MJ during the 2022 Hellfire Gala, she meets with Druig of the Eternals and reveals the secret of the Five. That means Druig now knows about the resurrection protocols and how mutantkind has learned to conquer death, and the Eternals can now carry out their goal of destroying mutants for good – which is what Moira wants, as well.
Follow all the action of X-Men: The Hellfire Gala, AXE: Judgment Day, and more with our listing of all the new X-Men comics Marvel has planned for release in 2022 and beyond.