The Aftermath of M-Day: Mutants Must Cope with the Decimation

Marvel Comics – M-Day

The heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe must cope with the consequences of M-Day. It was all the fault of one woman – Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch!

The event spawned several miniseries including Son of M featuring a depowered Quicksilver, Generation M, Sentinel Squad O*N*E and X-Men: Deadly Genesis.

Scarlet Witch

Mutants possess powerful, sometimes dangerous powers ranging from telekinesis to weather control to full-on reality manipulation. This has made them a target for baseline humans, who have hunted them almost to extinction. But it was one of their own who nearly destroyed them – Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch. In a fit of madness she weaved a reality-warping spell that stripped the majority of mutants of their powers, a fate known as M-Day or the Decimation.

Using her hexing abilities, the Scarlet Witch created an alternate universe where mutants were the dominant species – with Magneto becoming ruler of the human race, Quicksilver getting his sons back and Captain Marvel and Spider-Man both being celebrated heroes. But the Scarlet Witch soon grew tired of her manipulative father and the marginalized status of mutants in the real world, so she reverted the reality with a single word. In the process she de-powered millions of mutants and wiped their genetic codes from the world.

The Decimation

When the X-Men lost their powers on M-Day it was called The Decimation. This storyline was spread over a handful of different comics, with the one-shot Decimation: House of M and the 2005 miniseries Generation M, Sentinel Squad O*N*E, X-Men: Deadly Genesis, and X-Men: 198 being some of the main series that carried the title.

The name comes from the word decimate, which is used to describe a military punishment in ancient Rome, where a unit would be punished by killing one-tenth of its soldiers to scare the other nine-tenth into obedience. It has since strayed from its original meaning, but still retains the general sense of near-total destruction or loss of something in great numbers.

It also refers to the fact that most mutants were depowered after M-Day, with only a small number of powered mutants remaining. These mutants are known as the 198. A few unpowered mutants were able to get their powers back, including Hope Summers and Magneto’s daughter Lorna Dane/Polaris.

The New X-Men

Morrison’s run was a juggernaut that reworked almost everything about Marvel’s mutants. He introduced many ideas all at once, from a new evil twin sister for Professor Xavier to Hope Summers’ return to Messiah CompleX, while he also set up longer-threads like his take on Emma Frost as a diamond-skinned one-liner factory and the introduction of secondary mutations. Several of Morrison’s creations (including the Stepford Cuckoos, a five-pronged hive mind and Glob Herman) would recur for years afterward.

In the end, though, Morrison repositioned the X-Men’s crazy stakes, ratcheted back some of the action and softened up the team dynamics to give mutants some breathing room. And while his touches were sometimes a bit on the nose — his take on drug kick, for instance, is a little too ‘just say no to drugs, kids’ — it’s hard to argue that he wasn’t a worthy heir apparent to the X-Men legacy. [4/5]

The House of M

The Scarlet Witch’s reality-altering hex powers led to the creation of an alternate Marvel Universe where mutants were Earth’s dominant species and Magneto was king. Wolverine is one of the few people who remembers this other world, and he can use his mutant “healing factor” to help others regain their memories as well.

This miniseries recapped the fallout of House of M, including the formation of HAMMER, the new world security force which replaced SHIELD and the re-emergence of the Skrulls as a threat to Earth. It also featured the return of Moira MacTaggert, the geneticist who had worked with Charles Xavier and founded Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

These trade paperbacks collect all the books involved in the storyline. They include the main House of M miniseries, a one-shot called WandaVision, and the series Son of M which showed Quicksilver dealing with his loss of powers as well as Generation M, which focused on a group of mutants who were forced to live without their powers.

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