Warning: SPOILERS For X-Men Red #8.
The latest issue of X-Men: Red sees the mutant Trinary saving the world (with a little help from her friends) by weaponizing online hate speech, turning it against a new breed of the mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels. This stunning and poetic turn of events is only the latest in a series of salvos that have made X-Men: Red the most revolutionary X-title in years.
The series opened with telepathic heroine Jean Grey attempting to build support for a a new mutant nation in Marvel’s universe among the members of the United Nations’ Security Council. This effort fell flat after Jean was framed for the murder of an ambassador by Cassandra Nova – a mutant-hating telepath, who was leading a new shadow war against the mutant race. Nova’s efforts also included the development of Sentites – nanite Sentinels capable of taking over a person’s thoughts and turning them into a foot soldier in Nova’s army of bigots. Grey and her new team of X-Men were eventually able to prove her innocence, but not before Nova used her new Sentites to launch attacks on the mutant-friendly nations of Wakanda and Atlantis.
With her efforts at character assassination foiled, Cassandra Nova upped the ante by mass-producing the Sentites. Though Nova had previously used the Sentites to target specific people (including the mutant hero Storm), this time she intended to infect the population of whole cities. Given that The Sentites gave humans the ability Sentinel robots possess to sense the presence of mutants and paralyzed mutants with a sense of self-loathing for what they are, this would result in the death of countless innocents.
Luckily the X-Men – who had Storm’s neutralized Sentite – were in the middle of experimenting with the treacherous technology when Nova enacted her plan. Unfortunately, while the technopathic Trinary could sense what the Sentites were doing, there was no way she could control the swarm without Jean Grey telepathically boosting her powers to work on a global scale. This presented an additional problem, as the strain of doing this would prove too much for both heroes to manage and it left Jean open to detection and manipulation by the equally powerful Cassandra Nova.
Thankfully, Trinary had an ace up her sleeve that didn’t require her controlling the Sentites. When her mutant powers to manipulate technology and read electronic media like a telepath read minds first manifested, Trinary trained herself by absorbing on-line hate speech into herself in an effort to try and keep such negative thoughts from making the world an uglier place. Several years worth of ignorance and stupidity on social media gave Trinary “zettabytes of spite” to use as a weapon in overloading the Sentinites, shutting them down for good as her fellow X-Men lent her their strength and positive thoughts through Jean Grey. It was a novel solution, turning hate against itself in a flame war for the ages.
X-Men: Red #8 is now available from Marvel Comics.