What If... (Vol 2) #9: The New X-Men Had Died on Their Very First Mission?

The Watcher tells of an alternate reality where the new X-Men died on their first mission: rescuing the original X-Men on Krakoa.

In Scotland, Moira MacTaggert receives a telegram from Hank saying that Professor Xavier is ill. She packs a suitcase hurriedly and jets off to see Xavier, with little Rahne in tow.

Hank greets them at the door. He explains that he had called for Moira without Xavier’s knowledge because he was worried for the professor’s health. Some of their friends had died and this took a toil on Xavier. Hank left the Avengers in New York City to care for the professor but “realised he needed a kind of nurturing beyond [Hank’s] capabilities”.

Xavier is angry that Hank had secretly sent for Moira. He coldly invites Moira and Rahne to stay, but insists he is “not generally fit company” and will not be entertaining them during their visit. Rahne is suspicious of oddities such as Xavier speaking of being able to read minds, as well as Xavier’s machine that “hums” at her.

After Xavier excuses himself, Hank reveals to Moira and Rahne that he is now blue and hairy, and had been disguising himself as his former human identity with a mask. Moira has little knowledge of the X-Men and mutants. Hank explains he is a mutant, and a “charter member” of the X-Men. Xavier, a mutant himself, formed the X-Men to fight those “who hope to enslave normal humanity”, as well as work towards the acceptance of mutants into society.

Recently, the X-Men had been captured by Krakoa, “an ominous growth” that fed on their powers. Only Cyclops managed to escape and return to Xavier. With the help of Cerebro, Xavier enlisted the help of a group of mutants to carry out a rescue mission. TO defeat Krakoa, the X-Men launched the “living island” into space, but they failed to evacuate Krakoa in time and were launched into space as well. They perished.

For the next few weeks, Moira helps out with organising the household. One day, Rahne comes across a large screen and saw that it was transmitting a message from Count Nefaria, a foe of the X-Men. Nefaria demands a “ransom from each nation on earth” or else he will start a nuclear war. Hank volunteers to take on Nefaria but Xavier is against the idea, and calls on the Avengers and Fantastic Four instead. When neither of the superheroes can be reached, Moira suggests that Xavier band together more mutants to stop Nefaria. This infuriates Xavier, who refuses to send any more mutants to their deaths, even if it means the end of the world. Moira asks Hank if he is able to help. Hank tells her that Cerebro has a stored database of mutants other than those who died on Krakoa. With some strain, Hank contacts the Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Namorita (the Sub-Mariner’s cousin), Theresa (Banshee’s daughter), and James (Thunderbird’s brother). Cerebro overloads and explodes, but not before teleporting them to Colorado.

Unfortunately, Rahne is caught in the teleportation. Hank gets Rahne to stay safely hidden while the adults investigate an underground complex. But they walk into a trap. From afar, Xavier is unable to free them from a hypnotic hold. He comes up with a plan to prematurely manifest Rahne’s mutant abilities to save the others. Working together, they stop Nefaria, and restores hope in Xavier’s vision of the X-Men. The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver already have other commitments, but promise to help the X-Men if they needed assistance. Xavier’s new team now consists of Hank, Rahne, James, Theresa and Namorita.