By Eric Drumm
For the X-Men, the future has always been uncertain. They never know what tomorrow will bring, whether it be mutant registration, a Sentinel attack or a whacked-out Jean Grey trying to kill them. Destiny's diaries, tomes that could hold the key to learning about the future are now dust. With Sinister going back to square one with his plans to gain a leg up on tomorrow, the X-Men can now breathe a sigh of relief. Or can they?
The diaries may have been destroyed, but we shudder to think what Mr. Sinister would have done had he obtained them. One can only guess what his twisted, evil mind would use the diaries for. Fortunately for the X-Men, he'll never achieve his plan. However, let's hypothesize for a moment that the diaries were just a part of his plan, and that the real danger has yet to reveal itself.
"Sinister knows that something big is coming and he wants to makes sure he's the only one who knows," says X-MEN Assistant Editor Will Panzo. "It's crucial to his plan that he catch the X-Men flatfooted. The diaries themselves aren't the endgame, though. Something monumental is coming."
If something huge is coming, then the X-Men will have to rely on the one thing they always have in abundance—each other. Throughout the years, certain X-Men have clicked in ways that spoke to the very essence of teamwork, and partnerships were forged that became the team's ace in the hole during fights. Wolverine and Colossus, Gambit and Rogue, Jean Grey and Cyclops. All had their synergy down cold, but lately we've seen a duo that we may not be used to: Cannonball and Iceman. They managed to hold off Sinister and the Marauders all by themselves and lived to tell the tale. It could be that their veteran X-Men status gave them the skills to get the job done, but maybe they're just two dudes that work well together.
"Iceman and Cannonball are two great tastes that taste great together," says Panzo. "I don't know that they've ever been teamed together before, so there's some appeal to that. But moreover, both of these cats are consummate team players and have been for as long as we've known them. To see them on their own—on the run—while the rest of the X-Men are incapacitated, is thrilling. Also, on a purely aesthetic level, their fire and ice effects make for a great combined visual."
In the heat of that yin/yang-esque one-two punch, Destiny's diaries were destroyed. While Sinister can't use them for his own purposes, what does this mean for the X-Men?
"The diaries are gone but Sinister's plans aren't ruined per se," adds Panzo. "It's hard to count him out of anything. As for the X-Men, without the diaries, they've disconnected themselves from any precognitive glimpses of the future. Not wholly, of course. They still have a few links, but nothing as useful as what the diaries would have provided. So in a way, despite all the fighting, they're still left blinded."
The destruction of the diaries may have been accidental, but a closer look doesn't make it seem that way. It was a misdirected kinetically charged playing card thrown by former X-Man Gambit that burned up the diaries. While he claims that he just flat out missed, his moment of hesitation before tossing the card would make it seem that he may be having second thoughts about his Marauder status. Was he trying to save his former friends? Did he really just miss? Does he have some crazy plan we don't even know about?
"It's important to consider why Gambit is fighting alongside the Marauders at all," notes Panzo of the ragin' Cajun skirtchaser. "What's motivating him exactly? Certainly it's not a love of Sinister. Once that becomes clear, I think it will make most of Gambit's actions clear."
After Gambit's fumble or betrayal (depends on how you look at it), the Marauders turned tail and bailed, leaving Cannonball and Iceman with a team in shambles but the danger apparently passed. Its clear that Sinister still has something up his sleeve, and still has a crew of Marauders to back him up. Are they done messing with the X-Men or will they return to tear things up again?
"I can guarantee we haven't seen the last of the Marauders. They bloodied the X-Men in issue #200, so they've proved themselves to some degree. And with the addition of Mystique, Gambit and Sunfire, they've only become deadlier," warns Panzo.
It looks like they have a second to breathe, but things never stay peaceful when it comes to the X-Men, and with the "Messiah CompleX" event just around the corner, you can bet things are going suck again very soon!