After M-Day, when many of the world's mutants were depowered, Johnny maintained his powers. He claimed to no longer be a mutant as well, however, and three of his associates decided to corner him in an alley and see for himself, having heard from a mutual acquaintance Sally (with whom Johnny had associated that he "had something weird" under his shirt. They ripped his shirt open and saw Johnny's second face and tendrils. One of the thugs, Bodie, was ensnared in the tendrils. Another thug, Kirk, sliced through one of the tendrils, setting Bodie free. The depowered Quicksilver intervened, and they turned on him before Spider-Man broke up the fight. Johnny, who'd collapsed against a wall, gave Spider-Man his cell phone, and the hero called an ambulance to help Johnny.
At the mutant camp at the Xavier Institute, which was under the watch of Sentinels from the Office of National Emergency, Johnny comforted new arrival Magma about her recent struggles. He touched her, offering a shoulder anytime she needed one. Magma was pulled away by Outlaw and they commented on Johnny's good looks, though grossed out by his appendage. Later, Johnny fed a strand of Magma's hair to his stomach and ingested it, soon creating a small shell from which a tiny Magma hatched.
Johnny met his new roommate, Jazz, and heard the story of how Jazz was interned. He watched Jazz shoot up with a needle, took a sample from Jazz while he was sleeping, then attended a large camp meeting where Valerie Cooper told them that they would be free to exit the camp grounds on a limited basis if they willingly submitted themselves to an electronic tag placed under their skin. Later, in his tent, he opened his case of living dolls and toyed with the Magma and Jazz ones, then noticed Jazz watching him from outside. While Jazz was visiting the city, Johnny hanged the Jazz doll, which caused Jazz to be strangled to death.
Johnny joined many of the other 198, who assumed that the recent government tags had been responsible for Jazz' death, in storming the X-Mansion. They were confronted by Valerie Cooper and the X-Men and Erg prepared to get violent, by the mysterious Mr. M revealed he could remove the tags without harm. Johnny then flushed the doll of Jazz down the toilet. Johnny touched Leech and questioned him about his powers, then remained behind when Mr. M led many of the 198 away from the camp to form their own camp. From afar, he controlled Erg into firing at Cyclops.
When things looked like they would deescalate peacefully, Johnny controlled Fever Pitch into firing on the X-Men, keeping things tense. As the situation progressed, with the Sentinels getting involved, Johnny approached the Office of National Emergency and asked for General Lazer. He told the general that he would resolve things peacefully and have Mr. M killed, though he wouldn't reveal his methods. He then controlled Leech into taking away Mr. M's powers, and had Magma kill Mr. M with a blast of lava. The 198 returned to camp, and Lazer later came to visit Johnny, who stated he was only trying to make his country grateful. Johnny told Lazer he would be in touch about what he wanted at another time, though Lazer refused to shake Johnny's hand as he left.
Domino and Shatterstar of X-Force fought their way through the Sentinels, freeing many of the 198 from their camp and taking them away.
Johnny fled the camp in the chaos, and his suitcase of eggs and dolls was dropped. Lorelei witnessed this, and saw the Magma doll, before Johnny gathered the eggs and ran for it. He was soon arrested by the O*N*E and taken to Lazer.
Johnny berated his entity for letting Lorelei see the dolls, and Lazer walked in to see the argument, surprised at the separate entities. Lazer threatened to lock Johnny away in a dark cell if he didn't explain how his powers worked. Johnny did so, and Lazer put together a plan to get the mutant situation back under his control. Lazer gave Johnny a sample of Cyclops' DNA and had a doll of Cyclops created. Meanwhile, Domino and Shatterstar had many of the 198 in a bunker, and the X-Men were trying to get into them. Bishop, Sabra, Micromax, and the Sentinels caught up to them and considered going against Lazer's orders, so Lazer had Johnny control Cyclops into instigating an attack on Bishop. Johnny sensed the vast untapped power that Cyclops wielded.
Lorelei revealed to the 198 her suspicions about Johnny, and he confirmed them by taking control of Outlaw, who aimed a gun at Domino's head, but Domino's luck powers saved her. He then took over Lorelei and had her hair attack Domino, but Shatterstar cut it free and he released Lorelei. Johnny used his Caliban doll to realize that Caliban had seen weapons of mass destruction in the bunker basement, and he told Lazer this. Lazer initiated a self-destruct sequence on the weapons just before Valerie Cooper and Sgt. Reyes burst through the wall, exposing Lazer and Johnny, who told Cooper about the weapons and Lazer that he had no power over Johnny anymore. As Lazer was arrested, Johnny touched him.
Johnny created a doll of Lazer, and read Lazer's thoughts, knowing that he was going to give in to Cooper's questioning and let the mutants be released. Hating mutants and his very own nature, Johnny wanted to stop this from happening and broke Lazer's neck. The mutants were soon saved, regardless. Johnny was then incarcerated.