Loki introduced the MCU’s multiverse and the idea of ‘nexus points’ – and now Marvel Comics is following suit, with a chaotic nexus in X-Men: Inferno.
This article contains spoilers for X-Men: Inferno #4.
Marvel Comics is copying the MCU‘s version of the multiverse. “The multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little,” Doctor Strange declared in Spider-Man: No Way Home. But he’s going to have to learn, and quickly, because the multiverse is clearly central to Marvel’s Phase 4 plans. Strange himself will be plunged into it in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and all the signs suggest the multiversal arc will continue after that.
Although the MCU ostensibly draws inspiration from the comics, it frequently charts its own course when it comes to the pseudoscience. That’s particularly the case with the multiverse; the origin of the multiverse was explained in Loki, which revealed there are moments that can create branching timelines – known as “nexus points” by the Time Variance Authority. A nexus isn’t necessarily associated with a major event, though; in a presentation in Loki episode 1, Miss Minutes suggested a branched timeline can be created simply by someone being late for the work. The idea is a smart one, a conceptual framework that helps to explain how alternate timelines are created.
Smart enough, it seems, that the MCU’s concept of the multiverse – and the nexus points associated with it – are making their way into the comics themselves. Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti and Stefano Caselli’s X-Men: Inferno miniseries has seen Mystique successfully resurrect Destiny, a mutant seer with the ability to explore the multiverse with her mind. In X-Men: Inferno #4, they confront Moira MacTaggert, a mutant with the power of reincarnation who has reshaped the timeline around them. Destiny is struck by the temporal significance of the conversation – and the language she uses is lifted straight from Loki. “This is a profound nexus point,” Destiny tells Mystique and the captive – and de-powered – Moira. “The most I’ve ever experienced. I honestly wasn’t expecting this moment to have this magnitude. With each word spoken… with each action taken… my vision doubles, blurs, it comes and goes… Possibilities of branching realities and potential tomorrows all fluctuate wildly.“
This, then, is how a mutant precog such as Destiny perceives the flow of time; they sense the branches of the timeline, exploring them with their minds, recognizing the precise actions that need to be taken to guide history down the right course. But there are moments that are too chaotic, nexus points too powerful because a single word can set history on a different path. Ironically, in this case the reason for the confusion was the fact the mutants had an eavesdropper, Doug Ramsey, and their words would dictate his actions; the power of the nexus point blinded Destiny to that fact.
This also explains an emerging contradiction; the fact teasers for Legion of X #1 have confirmed the X-Men are resurrecting another precog, a teenager named Blindfold. She committed suicide in 2019’s Uncanny X-Men #11, and clearly expected her death to last forever – even though it’s impossible to imagine Blindfold being unable to see the rise of Krakoa. But Blindfold wouldn’t have been able to see the reason precogs are unwelcome on Krakoa – because of Moira MacTaggert’s influence, for she is normally invisible to precogs and fears their divining her true agenda should they notice her. The chaotic nexus point in X-Men: Inferno #4 resolves itself in Moira’s being banished from Krakoa, her influence lost, and as a result precogs can be resurrected again. The complex temporal mechanics involved in this X-Men story neatly explain Blindfold’s return – because, at heart, all the best pseudoscience is really a neat explanation for a good character arc.
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