Everything You Need To Know Before Marvel’s ‘Fall of X’ Arrives

Fall of X Promotional Art

It’s been four years since the beginning of the Krakoan era of the X-Men, and what started with the Dawn of X is quickly approaching the Fall of X.

Since 2019’s House of X / Powers of X, Marvel has been exploring a bold new era of X-Men stories. The once hated and feared mutants have struck out and established a nation-state of their own. Old enemies have become new allies, and new enemies have risen to take their place.

This era began with a title: Dawn of X. It was a period of generation and establishment, as a crop of writers and artists mapped out what this new status quo looked like for the X-Men. If you’re coming from the MCU, this would be akin to Phase 1 of the Krakoa storyline.

Over the years though, we’ve progressed; Dawn of X became Reign of X, which became Trials of X and most recently the Destiny of X. And now, as things become more and more dire for our mutant heroes, and the third annual Hellfire Gala looms, the Fall of X fast approaches.

What Is The “Fall of X”?

The Fall of X is the next, and potentially final, phase of Marvel Comics’ Krakoan era for the X-Men. It is a line-wide initiative that will see new series launched alongside other, continuing titles, all of which will feed into the wider story of the publishing line.

These series include long-standing fan favourites like X-Men, X-Force and Wolverine, supported by new books such as the Uncanny Avengers and Realm of X. What’s really interesting, and denotes just how widely the impacts of Fall of X will affect the Marvel universe at large, is that there are also non X-books included in the official breakdown for this phase. Invincible Iron Man and Alpha Flight are being considered as tie-ins to this initiative – a first for the Krakoan age.

Hellfire Gala 2023 - Fall of X
Phil Noto. Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

This new era officially begins in July with the release of the 2023 Hellfire Gala one-shot issue. As is always the case, Marvel’s promised some explosive events and revelations to unfold, kicking off this new wave of stories. If you managed to catch this year’s Free Comic Book Day issue, then you’ll already have seen a brief snippet of the type of action and drama that awaits readers in this year’s big event.

Specifically, the Fall of X looks to be markedly darker than the eras that preceded it. Whereas Dawn and Reign of X were largely concerned with generating new ideas and exploring the utopian possibilities of what a mutant nation-state might offer, Fall of X is shifting its focus towards all the festering grudges and ticking timebombs that the mutants have incurred throughout their ascension.

Whether this amounts to the collapse of Krakoa as a nation-state altogether, or whether the ‘X’ in Fall of X refers more to a certain psychic professor remains to be seen – but either way, large changes are coming.

Who Are The Main Characters In “Fall Of X”?

The Fall of X will involve countless characters from the X-Men, but based on early announcements there are a few that we know will be taking centre stage. Below is a list of the characters that are likely key to the storytelling initiative:

  • Professor X (Charles Xavier) – Perhaps the titular X of this era, Xavier is primed to be a major player in events to come. Not only is he reeling from the revelations in Sins of Sinister, hard-learned lessons in Sons of X, tragic losses in Judgement Day, and betrayals in Inferno, but it seems all eyes are now on him within the Quiet Council. Will Xavier protect Krakoa from the darkness that encroaches upon it, or will he find himself atoning for the role he’s played in its descent?
  • Marvel Girl (Jean Grey) – Leader of the X-Men, and seemingly on a trajectory to split from husband Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, Jean finds herself at the centre of events in this year’s Hellfire Gala. It may fall to her and her alone to inspire others to fight for another day.
  • The White Queen (Emma Frost) – Emma’s been finding more and more prominence since the Krakoan age began. Somehow one of the few big players who’ve put their ego to one side and kept their eyes on the ball, Emma will likely find herself facing challenges from all sides as she fights to protect the new home of the mutants.
  • Apocalypse (En Sabah Nur) – Last seen in X of Swords, Apocalypse shall be making his long-awaited return in the pages of X-Men Red this summer alongside his wife, Genesis, and their children, the Horsemen. And Apocalypse does not do anything without purpose…
  • Wolverine and Beast – The long-building feud between these two has started to reach its fever pitch in the pages of X-Force and Wolverine recently. Beast is taking more and more drastic measures to ensure the future of Krakoa, and few (if any) see eye to eye with him. Justice is coming for Hank McCoy in the form of some beyond furious adamantium claws.
  • Moira MacTaggert – Since the huge status quo shake-up of Inferno and X Lives & Deaths of Wolverine, Moira has been making some moves at the periphery of mutantkind’s vision. What exactly her endgame is, and how she’ll execute it, remains to be seen – but the time is fast approaching that we’ll find out what her plans with ORCHIS are.

What Series Are In The “Fall of X”?

The Fall of X compromises of multiple ongoing titles, some new and some pre-existing. Marvel unveiled the full list of titles at the start of April.

Fall of X Checklist
Courtesy of Marvel.

Continuing titles include: X-Men, X-Men Red, Immortal X-Men, X-Force, Wolverine and Invincible Iron Man. Other currently published titles, such as Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain and Bishop: War College are all set to end just before this wave commences.

All new titles listed here – Alpha Flight, Astonishing Iceman, Children of the Vault, Dark X-Men, Jean Grey, Realm of X, Uncanny Avengers, and Uncanny Spider-Man – are all confirmed to be limited series. This means that once the final issue of the series, listed above, have released then those series are over. All pre-existing series are assumed to continue being ongoing after this phase ends at this moment in time.

What Do I Need To Read Before “Fall of X”?

In theory, you can jump straight into the Fall of X with the Hellfire Gala 2023 issue. However, this era is something that the X-books have been building to since 2019, and as such it would pay dividends to go into events with some knowledge of what’s come before.

Outside of the tentpole storylines prior to this – House of X / Powers of X, X of Swords, Inferno – there are a handful of key titles that have been sewing narrative seeds for a while now. The following list covers the main books that will lead into Fall of X.

Immortal X-Men (& Sins of Sinister)

Arguably the most crucial entry on this list, Immortal X-Men has been the “main” title in the line for the past year. Written by Kieron Gillen, with art by Lucas Werneck, this series follows the Quiet Council – the governing body of Krakoa and the architects, however intentional or not, of the nation’s gradual descent into collapse.

Immortal X-Men sets itself apart from other titles in that it focuses almost exclusively on the inner politicking of the mutant nation, exploring all the contravening schemes and motivations that, once played out, can only really end in a mess of self-sabotage and disaster. It very directly lead into Judgement Day, an Avengers/Eternals/X-Men crossover with the fate of the world in the balance, and then subsequently set up Sins of Sinister.

This event in particular seems, outside of the Hellfire Gala, to be the spark that lights the fuse that is Fall of X. Without diving too heavily into spoilers, just know that Mr Sinister (current council member and longstanding antagonist of the X-Men) finally got everything that he wanted. And it was terrible. For everyone. Especially for himself.

Unfortunately, the cost of that lesson learned may well be the fate of Krakoa itself.

If you want to catch up on the events of one of the central pillars of the x-narrative, learning about all the moves and manipulations of characters like Professor X, Mr Sinister, Destiny and Mystique, then Immortal X-Men (capped off with Sins of Sinister) would serve as an excellent primer.

X-Force & Wolverine

Where Immortal X-Men might stand out as the obvious choice for required reading, the slow-burn narrative that Benjamin Percy has been unfurling since 2019 is finally coming to a fever pitch, revealing itself as a potentially unexpected but no less crucial chapter in the groundwork of Fall of X.

For those unaware, X-Force currently operates as the mutant CIA, tackling problems foreign and domestic that are, or could be, a threat to national security. It’s the dirty back alleys to Immortal’s shiny paved roads, with Wolverine doing the messy work out in the field and Beast heading up intelligence operations.

If Fall of X delivers on the promise of an era of fallen heroes, corrupted institutions and splintered set-ups, then consider the entire runs of X-Force and Wolverine required reading.

Not only does no-one do longform storytelling quite like Percy, but there are plot points we’re likely to see in Fall of X that trace back all the way to X-Force #1 from 2019. This includes the gradual but inevitable descent into amorality of Beast, Wolverine’s distrust of promised paradise and even the geo-political tensions between Krakoa and Russia.

Furthermore, these titles also serve not just to set-up important plot points, but they also convey the creeping sense of worry that makes a phase like Fall of X so exciting. After all, it’s one thing to watch how Krakoa burns. It’s another to see why it’s going to burn from miles away, unable to stop it as your favourite mutant heroes inch closer to it with every page, blissfully unaware.


First off, there are technically two series titled X-Men that have launched since House of X. The first, written by head architect Jonathan Hickman, served at the time as the central engine from which countless other stories were born. The second, helmed by new line-driver Gerry Duggan (author of this year’s and last’s Hellfire Gala), functions more as a straightforward superhero action romp.

At least, that’s how it started.

X-Men performs an important role within the line, as it is where numerous plotlines that seemingly were left dangling throughout the eras of X come screaming back into life. One such plotline, and of particular relevance to Fall of X, is that of the Children of the Vault.

Re-introduced in Hickman’s X-Men #1, the Children of the Vault are a hyper-evolved strain of humans that live inside a closed environment of accelerated time. What that means practically is that for every day in the real world, months can pass inside the Vault. This results in the Children rapidly progressing through their evolutionary cycles, and with that they’ve gained something of a superiority complex.

The kind of complex that would be threatened by another genetic offshoot of homo sapiens – homo superior, the mutants – asserting themselves as the dominant evolutionary power. You could say that when Magneto declared ‘You have new gods now,’ the Children of the Vault took that personally.

Not only do we know that this plotline is fast approaching an explosive resolution, we also know that the Children of the Vault will be getting their own limited series. Scripted by Deniz Camp (Bloodshot: Unleashed, 20th Century Men) and rendered by Luca Maresca (Monica Rambeau: Photon), the 4-issue mini-series promises to deliver big.

You could read the entire run of X-Men to get caught up – and I recommend it – but the specific issues relevant to the Children of the Vault plotline are as follows: X-Men (2019) #1, #5, #18-19 and X-Men (2021) #15-17.

Legion of X

At the opposite end of the genre spectrum from classically large-scale superhero action romps is Legion of X – a headier, more philosophical book centred on Nightcrawler and David Haller, a.k.a. Legion.

Nightcrawler is a devout servant of God, who took it upon himself to do the impossible in this impossible new age, and found a mutant religion. Legion is one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel universe. He has an infinite number of personalities in his head, each with their own set of superpowers, complimenting his own immeasurable intelligence and abilities. He’s also Charles Xavier’s neglected son. And he’s torn reality in half on more than one occasion.

Between them, they’ve created the Legionnaires – a force of peacekeepers and safeguarders, who exist to protect the original 3 mutant laws and explore the recently created 4th. That 4th law is “The Spark” – Nightcrawler’s answer to a mutants religion/culture/ideology. The Spark is about one thing: trying new things.

In that pursuit, Legion has created a safe, liminal space for mutants to explore all aspects of themselves within his own subconscious called the Altar. Nightcrawler, meanwhile, leads the Legionnaires as they seek to safeguard this new mutant way of life without becoming just another state-authorised instrument of enforcing whatever they deem to be “order”.

If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Legion of X is stuffed with ideas, and will leave you with lots to think about at the turn of every page.

But how does this fit into Fall of X? The answer is: in two key ways.

First, there’s a plot in here following arch enemy of the X-Men, Nimrod, and the designs he has upon another character named Warlock. To get too deeply into it would risk huge spoilers that impact multiple titles, but just know that if you read Inferno (2021) and were interested in where the Cypher/Warlock plotline would continue, or even the Dominion plotline way back in Powers of X, then this book is your answer.

Second is the events of Sons of X. The one-shot issue Sons of X serves as a capstone to Legion’s run much in the same way that The Onslaught Revelation did for Legion’s predecessor Way of X. Huge changes take place for Nightcrawler, sending him spinning off into the follow-up title Uncanny Spider-Man, due to release in Summer 2023.

If you want a full lead-in to Fall of X that gives you a bigger picture view of the threats that face Krakoa, while also exploring some deeply sociological themes, then Legion of X comes highly recommended. If, however, you’re more interested in just Nightcrawler’s situation, then Sons of X alone might suffice.

X-Men Red

If Legion of X examines ideas of creating a new culture on Krakoa, then X-Men Red is its sister series as it charts how the mutants we know and love come to learn about the pre-existing culture of Arrako.

Spinning directly out of the first Hellfire Gala, X-Men Red follows Storm – now Regent of the entire Sol System – as she, Sunspot, Cable and Magneto get acquainted with their new Martian neighbours. I hesitate to wheel out the tired “It’s like Game of Thrones but with the X-Men” routine, but in terms of being a constantly surprising, tightly constructed narrative about politics, culture and community, it’s apt.

While Fall of X seems more concerned with what’s happening on Earth, X-Men Red will likely still be important as the effects of events echo outwards. Plus, not only do ORCHIS likely have plans for Arrako/Mars, but this title is where Apocalypse will make his grand return.

X-Men Red is arguably not just the best book in the line, but one of the best x-books in decades. It’s an immensely intelligent read, built on an impeccable understanding of the decades of prior X-Men continuity and character histories. It routinely takes what other books have done and evolves it into something even more special. And, it’s consistently delivered some of the finest pieces of character development for the fan favourites mentioned above like its nothing.

Even if this series didn’t contain huge moments that will be key to understanding the wider narrative landscape going into Fall of X, it would still be an instant recommendation. Al Ewing, Stefano Caselli, Federico Blee and others have produced a spectacular read that every X-Men owes it to themselves to dive into.

Plus, as stated, it will be continuing into the Fall of X – so best to get caught up now!

Invincible Iron Man

Rounding out this list is a title that might be surprising – yes, Iron Man is an X-Men book now.

At least, that’s what the marketing says.

In reality, the current run (penned by X-Men and Hellfire Gala scribe Gerry Duggan) is still very much a familiar Iron Man story. Tony Stark finds himself battered, bruised and wracked with guilt over his previous adventures, and is going about trying to buy his way to moral redemption. The catch? His company, or moreover its technology, is being bought up by new X-Men villain Feilong. The same Feilong that’s teamed with anti-mutant terrorist group ORCHIS.

Quicker than Tony blink, Feilong has taken his old Starktech and has used it to build the latest iteration of those classic X-Men villains – the Sentinels.

This brings Iron Man directly into the orbit of Fall of X as he, more than most other Avengers, finds himself invested stopping whatever bad news is headed towards Krakoa.

While the opening arc is more Tony-centric than x-centric, Invincible Iron Man (2023) is an important building block on the road to Fall of X, written by one of its key architects. For those who want more context on Feilong, ORCHIS and Iron Man’s involvement, this book will be useful.

It’s likely to lead most directly into the end-of-year issues of X-Men and Uncanny Avengers specifically, if the 2023 FCBD issue is anything to go by.


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