The past decade has been unkind to the X-Men. They’ve seen their numbers drop drastically, major characters lost, and well, they lived in Limbo. Marvel’s premiere mutant team is constantly facing persecution from baseline humans and spent a large chunk of time staving off extinction. Then, someone decided to flip everything last year. With miniseries House of X and Powers of X, Charles Xavier and his team got reset for the 1000th time, but instead of clamoring for survival, this time they’re thriving. The mutants were again given their own country, Krakoa, recognized by most of their world. And honestly, this is the out-of-nowhere kick in the butt the X-Men have needed for a while.
Before we get into how writer Jonathan Hickman (Secret Wars) reset the lives of Stan Lee’s school of wayward teens, let’s review where the major players were:
- Professor X: Killed by a Phoenix-infected Cyclops and then brought back to life, in the body of an assassin
- Cyclops: became a criminal on the run after trying to fix the world through pure alien god power, tried to start a new school in a decommissioned army base and died after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist, later revived by a teenage version of his time traveling son, Cable
- Wolverine: Left the team, started the Jean Grey school, lost his healing factor, had a hit on his life, died, had his alternate universe Old Man Logan version running around the main comic universe, got revived and owned an Infinity Stone
- Jean Grey: was dead, resurrected by The Phoenix, tried to be Mother Theresa for the mutants
- Magneto: Did not die, had to tell two out of his three children he was not their father so they could be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in case the Fox/Disney deal did not go through, became a good guy in his own fun way.
- Beast: Almost died, brought teen versions of the original team to the present, tried to save mutants from the Terrigen Mist.
- Emma Frost: became a war criminal on the run, dumped Cyclops, used his image to start a war between mutants and Inhumans, got found out, went on the run with her billions
After event series like Avengers vs. X-Men (AvX), X-Men vs Inhumans, and Age of X-Man, the merry band of mutants have somehow prevailed at surviving without a grand victory. They’ve only been living to see another day. And sure, they’ve had their own country before (Genosha), but that played out as small fish, compared to what is going on now.
Hickman has come in and launched a smaller reset, compared to his previous work in Secret Wars. He focused through a long-thought dead character: Dr. Moira MacTaggert. The Scottish doctor was retconned to be a mutant, with the power of reincarnation — restarting her life & the universe at the point of her birth, after her death. Each time she comes back, MacTaggert possesses her full memories of her prior lives. Through the issues of Powers, she revealed her many efforts to protect mutants, in several different timelines. MacTaggert has lived 10 lives altogether, with the current Marvel universe being the 10th, and possibly final, life.
In this turn, she has been a little more deliberate in how she goes about everything. She brought Prof. X into the fold upon their first meeting but later fakes her own death to work from the shadows. After Xavier’s reincarnation, he recognized that survival wasn’t enough for Homo Superior. From there, Krakoa the living island was converted into a nation for mutants. Oh, and the Professor gave every mutant eternal life.
That’s right, in addition to building a nation on a living island and creating life-saving medication as a way to buy into the United Nations, mutants can’t die. There’s a database of every inhabitant’s DNA and a group of five mutants, including Golden Balls, whose combined abilities allow for the reincarnation of anyone, but mainly Krakoans. And who does this country count amongst its citizens? Well, other than Charles, Magneto, and the standard X-Men you’d expect, Emma Frost and Apocalypse, of course.
A clear point to all of the squabbles over the years is the mutant combatants are usually arguing over the same common goal of survival, but different methods of achieving this. Not everyone wants to cohabitate with baseline humans because of the near-genocidal mania they’ve shown towards mutants, but not everyone wants to be genocidal maniacs, in return. Now, with the means to ensure what they want, and after Prof. X basically admitted, “Fuck it, they’ll never change, so I will,” they’ve come together to make it happen. The craziest part is that it’s working.
Hickman has been given a showrunner role over the X-Men titles, so he took the time to reboot them. Starting a new country has its own issues, concerning resources and security, so the six new titles have concerned themselves with that. There’s also the interpersonal politics that are in play, with the likes of the Cyclops-Jean Grey-Wolverine love triangle, the number of villains around and well, Krakoa is a living being with their own emotions and thoughts.
Literally, the Marauders series is built on the idea that Kitty Pride is now a pirate for supplies and saving mutants because Krakoa hates her and won’t let her on the island via transportation gates. Yes, they have transportation gates and they go everywhere. The mutants are living up to their potential, thanks to their 1000th chance coming along and it’s a sight to be seen.
In accord, there is bound to be conflict, because why not? They’re already prepping for a fight with the Fantastic Four, over teenaged reality bender Franklin Richards and where he belongs. Inevitably, the tension between a nation of super-powered individuals and the rest of the superhuman community, regardless of nationality, will come to a head, because it needs to. There have already been humans who will want to stop Homo Superior and find it easier, now that they’re all in one spot. There’s a variety of possibilities to explore, from one very out-there premise, but this is superhero fiction based on aliens, time travel and genetic mutation — should we expect anything else?