Warning: Contains spoilers for X-Men Annual #1 (2022)The X-Men go through a lot of traumatizing stuff, pretty much on a weekly basis, but their latest mission in X-Men Annual #1 might be their worst in a while, as the new team is forced to save Mojo from a team of zombified X-Babies!
The X-Babies have been around for years and years, first appearing in the 1980s as creations of Mojo – horrifyingly cruel and unstable ruler of the entertainment obsessed Mojoverse world – to bring in more viewers to his abusive television shows. While the original X-Babies were actually de-aged X-Men members, they were quickly replaced by biogenetically engineered baby versions of classic X-Men like Cyclops, Colossus, Storm, and Havok.
The X-Babies return to Marvel Comics has been hinted at for weeks now, starting with a Data Page cameo in X-Men Unlimited Infinity Comic #62 which showed that Charles Xavier and the Quiet Council were working with Mojo’s legal team for the safe rescue of the X-Babies from the villain’s clutches. However, in a preview for X-Men Annual #1 (2022) it seemed as though Mojo needed saving from the X-Babies, with Forge showing the gathered X-Men team a projection of Mojo apparently being assaulted by a toddler version of Cyclops’ brother, Havok. X-Men Annual #1 (2022) – written by Steve Foxe with art by Andrea Di Vito and color by Sebastian Cheng – centers on new Krakoan citizen Firestar, a contentious mutant who has a long and sordid history with mutantkind. Angelica is struggling to find her place on Krakoa, especially after it was revealed that Emma Frost manipulated the X-Men votes to get her on the team, in a misguided attempt to atone for her past sins against Firestar. The X-Men Annual has the team splitting up, with Cyclops and Firestar going to investigate a missing shipment of Krakoan medicine at a hospital and Jean Grey, Iceman, Havok, Forge, and Synch taking on a bunch of other pressing missions.
Mojo’s Idea of “Entertainment” Is Truly Beyond The Pale
One of those missions was the aforementioned call for help from Mojo, a classic X-Men villain who clearly was in desperate need of saving if he was relying on support from the mutants he has kidnaped and tortured time and time again. It turns out that the X-Babies version of Havok seen early was actually part of Mojo’s newest “reboot” of his own X-Men franchise, a team of Zombie X-Babies that he for some reason assumed he would be able to control, even though he has lost control of all non-Zombie X-Babies every time he has engineered them in the past. To be honest, the fact that the X-Men even went to Mojoverse to save Mojo is a bit shocking, but perhaps they hope this will win them some favors in future events involving the disturbed producer. Faced with a brain-eating group of Zombie babies, the X-Men are forced to team up with Mojo and his personal bodyguard Spiral to attack – and presumably “kill” – baby versions of themselves, with baby versions of Wolverine, Colossus, Gambit, Jean Grey, Havok, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Cyclops all seen on panel. While Alex Summers bemoans that the X-Babies were creepy when they weren’t zombies, Iceman claiming “This is so wrong,” and the battle-loving Magik exclaiming “This is so FUN,” clearly destroying Zombie versions of the X-Men as babies had a different impact on every member.
Now that the X-Men have saved Mojo from his disgustingly perverse Zombie X-Babies, the biggest question that remains is whether he is still holding the “regular” X-Babies captive, and if a future X-Men mission will see them return to the Mojoverse with the intention of bringing their baby selves back to Krakoa.
X-Men Annual #1 (2022) from Marvel Comics is available now in stores.