(House of X & Powers of X Spoiler Warning.)
So... we’ve got the original New Mutants, including this would assume... Danielle Moonstar. And this brings up a metaphysical question that I have to wonder if Hickman has had conversations about, re: We can back up mutant minds now, and then make the backed up person a new body and download them into it. I get that. I’m fine with it. The problem comes up when the aspect of the metaphysical ‘soul’ is considered. Which brings me RIGHT back to Dani.
Why’s this? Cos she was a straight up Valkyrie in the Norse religion. Chooser of the slain. Escorter of souls who died valiantly or in battle to the halls of Valhalla. And later still, an agent of Hela herself. She’s literally fought off Death in her time, and still has her deathsight. (Essentially, dear readers, she can see when someone’s about to die.)
This essentially, in the Marvel continuity confirms the existence of the Soul. Which was, of course, confirmed over multiple titles in different religions and magical traditions. So. Here’s a thought experiment for you. A norse pagan falls in the field on a mission for Krakoa. If Dani’s still a Valkyrie alongside folks like Jane Foster’s THE Valkyrie, then what’s her play? Does she choose that fallen mutant’s soul for Valhalla? (Whatever new Valhalla the Valkyrior must be making, I guess...) Or does she defy that duty in favor of that Mutant being resurrected by the Host and Xavier?
But wait... this gets trickier. Say she does choose that Mutant to go to Valhalla. Then the Resurrection crew does their thing. Has the person’s mind and/or soul been duplicated? If not, does the soul that went to Valhalla go RIGHT back to their new bod, sans memories between point of death and rez? Essentially do they disappear right out of Valhalla if that happens? How do the Valkyries feel about that? Would they take issue and come for them again? Or does that person’s soul keep on keeping on in whatever Norse afterlife they end up in while the restored mind simultaneously exists in Living Body 2.0? If the soul is in Valhalla or Hel, then is Resurrected Mutant 2.0 soulless? Are they not a genuine resurrection of the killed mutant?
And that’s the easy one to try to resolve. What happens when you get REAL soul shenanigans like with Illyana Rasputin? Whose soul has been piecemeal in several different iterations over the years. So much so that I haven’t been able to keep up, really. Lemme look something up a moment. *Looks* Okay... WOW is that convoluted, but still the question remains. So... say Illyana had met her doom once more. Right now she and Pixie have their whole honest to goodness souls back, not just pieces thereof. If her soul was lost to Mephisto, Witchfire, or Dormammu in some similarly convoluted way, would she just be running about all emotionless and darkchylde-ish again cos when Chuck and the Crew resurrected her cos for whatever plotty reason, her black-magically bound soul was suddenly back in the posession of some diabolical afterlife power? *Draws breath cos was THAT a mouthful to get out.*
I’ll let that rest a moment. Magik’s a brainbending kid, whose plot is similarly difficult to wrap your head around. Take all the time you need.
Now... this is not to say that I don’t like the idea of all the X-Men being functionally immortal. I can be down with this to some degree. There was a power in the old TSR Marvel Superheroes Ultimate Powers book called “SERIAL IMMORTALITY”. In effect, “When the character dies he is reborn either as baby, new complete body, premade clone, recently deceased other being or even a living being (psyche feat to resist).” Which makes what Moira X has something of a variant of this. (This is also the power that Ethan has in the Web Comic Strip: CTRL-ALT-DEL nowadays.) This also brings up an interesting question.
Moira X, when her body is destroyed, essentially reincarnates at the point in history she was originally born. Seeming to suggest that her power resides in her soul, and not her body. Or maybe it just exists in her body the entire time she’s alive in the timeline she’s just hopped back to her nativity in and yanks her soul back to its place of birth in the 1940's. What happens to her if she’s shot or killed in the current timeline? It would seem to have been suggested by Destiny that this is the last timeline her power will be capable of resurrecting her into. If her mind is backed up by Chuck and the Host and serial reincarnated (by outside artificial processes) into a brand new body... does that actually work?
Does her consciousness/soul for once NOT go back to the 1940's fully cognizant of her previous 12 to 13 lives, but continue here in the present as Moira-X 2.0? Does her soul/consciousness finally snuff itself out or go on to whatever afterlife she may or may not believe in and the resurrection fails? Or is it merely a doppelganger running on a restored backup of Moira X’s OS? Soulless? If the Shadow King were still in existence, there’s your perfect empty vessel to inhabit, given his presence on Muir Island in the current timeline’s past.
And that’s not even getting into the existence of psychic entities like Malice, who might still be looking for a new body to inhabit. Did Chuck and Mr. Sinister get her Genome before she become disembodied? How far does Malice go back? I confess, I don’t know Malice’s current status. And I’m not inclined to look it up cos it’s nearly my bedtime.
I have questions. And the New Mutants, who are my very favorite X-Characters, have been killed off and resurrected more than most. (See: What the Beyonder did to them in Secret Wars II.) So they have more than just a bit of familiarity with what happens to them beyond their mortal coil and how it feels when you’re brought back. I’d have to think the prospect of being resurrected over and over might trigger something of a species of existential horror in all of them, like they experienced during their PTSD time as Hellions between Issues 40 to 50 of their original run. How’s Rahne feel about that with her still raging case of Catholicism? Especially since she’d been killed by rapists just before Hickman’s run happened? That’s gonna have to be a whole thing.
I understand Hickman’s a fan of the New Mutants, which would of course explain why they’re finally getting a Volume 3, instead of yet another limited series. And I’m down with that too. But the New Mutants was always something of a more introspective book. Willing to deal a bit more with questions of the state of the mind, or the soul. Or any combination of the two. Especially with characters like Rahne, Illyana and Dani around. Hell, you could even add Amara Aquilla into that to some degree, since her arch nemesis and one-time black queen of Hellfire, Selene used to CONSUME people’s souls to live. Or so it was suggested. Maybe it was ‘life-force’ or something similarly not QUITE soul-like that Selene ate. Either way, with the return of The New Mutants (v3) we’re going to have questions that will occasionally ask to be answered regarding the new Krakoan paradigm regarding death and resurrection.
I hope the answers aren’t just hand-waved off or answered unsatisfactorily. I hope they’re equal to the HUGE scale changes Hickman is introducing into the MCU, whatever number it is now. (Is it still 616 after the events of the last Secret Wars? Is Betsy finally going to be Captain Britain 616? That’s where that number came from folks.)
Let’s hope it’s good. I’m just down for The New Mutants whenever they show up. Looking forward to it.