Vulcan and Black Bolt were assumed to be dead following the War of Kings arc. A T-bomb called the Fault exploded, tearing the fabric of space and time. As X-Men #8’s data pages note, “Nothing has ever escaped it.” In X-Men #8, however, Vulcan appears to have dreams of escaping the Fault, claiming it’s all he remembers. It’s unknown how Black Bolt freed himself, but he did, reappearing in Jonathan Hickman and Greg Tocchini’s FF #6. Black Bolt wakes up inside the Fault in a scene that’s near-identical to Vulcan’s dream sequence in X-Men #8.
One reading of this scene suggests Vulcan simply similarly escaped the Fault and now, he’s remembering small pieces of his escape. However, there could be another explanation: the Vulcan on Krakoa isn’t the real Vulcan.
The resurrection protocols are essentially a cloning process, not a true resurrection. While Krakoa’s leaders have taken steps to assure that a mutant must be proven dead before they are resurrected, Vulcan’s debacle posits a new potential problem: what if a mutant isn’t really dead when they’re resurrected? This problem appears to be highlighted in a data page from X-Men #8, which reads like a report that’s been corrected. In the section about Vulcan, it says, “UPDATE: VULCAN never died.”
It’s no secret the resurrected X-Men have been acting strangely out of character, a plot currently being touched on in X-Force through Domino. Vulcan is one of the characters with the biggest personality shift, which seemingly occurred out of nowhere — but resurrection is a possible reason. Plenty of mutants were resurrected off-panel, including Sophie Cuckoo and Jay Guthrie. There’s no reason to believe Vulcan wasn’t also resurrected off-panel, since he was believed dead before House of X/Powers of X.
Another major clue comes from House of X. Sinister Secret #7 says, “Two brothers jumped out of a plane, and for the longest time, until he was discovered, many wondered if there was a third. If we told you there were more, would you believe me? Probably not.” This secret is obviously in part about the reveal of Vulcan as the third Summers brother, but it’s possible the “fourth Summers brother” hinted at here is really just the other Vulcan.
During an interview with Adventures in Poor Taste, Hickman spoke about the possibility of a mishap with the resurrection protocols, which could result in bringing back a mutant who never really died. He said, “…Then what about the duplicate copies, which one gets the soul? I dunno, that sounds like a story to me, but that’s also why they’re not allowing copies of characters on Krakoa. But what if there’s a mistake and you think someone’s dead, but make a copy anyway? Well, again, that sounds like a story…” Right now, Vulcan seems like the most likely candidate for addressing these questions.
The “soul” question was brought up regarding the characters’ deaths in House of X, right before Kurt and Logan died. It was brought up again in X-Men #7 when the resurrected Kurt and Scott pondered if they really were who they claimed to be or just husks with memories. It’s possible this question will be addressed more thoroughly with Vulcan. If Krakoan Vulcan and the real Vulcan who has just awakened in the Fault are competing for the same memories and soul, that could be an explanation for why Krakoan Vulcan’s account of what happened in the Fault is so muddled.
There’s something seriously wrong with Vulcan and answering the question of what really happened in the Fault is the first step to finding out the true nature of his existence in Dawn of X. For now, it looks like Krakoa has just had its first resurrection mishap.
KEEP READING: X-Men: Does Krakoa Fit Into Marvel’s 2099 Future?
X-Men #8 seems to hint at the possibility that there are two Vulcans in the Marvel Universe. Here's what that could mean.