Everything We Learned About the X-Men in Jonathan Hickman and Marvel Comics House of X #6
Marvel Comics' House of X #6 was light on action, but Jonathan Hickman wasn't at all selfish with providing his readers with mountains of information.
Let’s wade through everything we learned from the House of X finale.
We’re 11-issues into Jonathan Hickman’s 12-part Summer X-Men event and I’m still not sure where it’s all heading. Most of the story has been something of an information dump. Action has been sparing, but for me, not exactly missed. Hickman has been able to set up his reimagining of the X-Men franchise without boring us to tears.
Every bit of information has been served up as part of a master class in world-building. What kind of world it will be, has yet to be seen but at least we know what the foundations are being constructed of! House of X #6 is quite possibly the closest thing to a payoff that we’re going to get before the rest of the story begins to unravel in Dawn of X. Here’s everything we learned from this week’s offering.
Earth’s Hero’s found out about Krakoa the same way as the rest of the world…
Professor Xavier and Magneto didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling. Xavier, fancying himself as a civilized man, I would have thought he’d approach his old Illuminati friends before initiating his plans. My thought was wrong. When Professor-X slipped on his new and improved Cerebro-helmet he didn’t just broadcast his intentions to the world at large, but all its various heroes including the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Doctor Strange.
It harkened back to the snarky conversation Cyclops had with Reed Richards as he attempted to take custody of Sabretooth in House of X #1. If Orchis’ response to Xavier’s ultimatum is any indication of how those in power will react, it’s likely that the rest of the world, namely it’s heroes, aren’t going to be much more understanding. I doubt the Avengers or Wakanda will be planning to take part in some sort of mutant-holocaust, but I do anticipate less than sociable first contacts, not too dissimilar from what Cyclops experienced.
The Quiet Council
The concept of a governing body over the mutant nation of Krakoa was revealed to us in the pages of Powers of X #5. As I stated in an earlier piece, it was a new territory for the mutant race.
In the past, the entire race either gave their loyalty to a singular person, whether it was Professor-X, Magneto, Cyclops, Callisto, Storm, or even Apocalypse. This change of pace revealed that they were willing to adapt if it meant the survival of the species. Like normal humans, mutants are war-like by nature. The only difference is, when they quarrel, instead of a nose getting broken- a building can come tumbling down. A simple misunderstanding and/or difference in philosophy can lead the newborn nation to ruins.
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I believe this is why Hickman used just about every influential member of the mutant race to form the Quiet Council. Xavier and Magneto didn’t assemble a group of like-minded individuals. If they did it would be populated purely by X-Men and former Acolytes. I mean, they are there, but they don’t make up the majority and that was by design.
If the council is diverse enough in terms of viewpoint, there’s less a chance of hard factions arising within Krakoa. There would be no more need for Nasty Boys, Acolytes, and Horseman. Perhaps, not even X-Men.
The Quiet Council is constructed of the following:
Autumn; Professor-X, Magneto, and Apocalypse
Winter; Mister Sinister, Exodus, and Mystique
Spring; Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, and the yet to be named third member of her table
Summer; Storm, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler
Krakoa; Cypher and Krakoa
The Council itself is fairly straight forward. Autumn seems to share chairmanship between the three heads in Xavier, Magneto and Apocalypse. They don’t seem to have any more power than the rest in terms of voting, but their voices will be heard first and last in the decision-making process, or at the very least when it comes to sentencing. The other tables appear to have very distinct roles or themes. To me, Winter comes off as the extremes of the mutant race. A brilliant, but also a quite mad scientist, a quasi-religious zealot (who has served both Apocalypse and Magneto), and a politically-motivated, radical terrorist.
Spring and Summer are far more forthcoming than the rest. Summer being the voice of X-Men. In other words, the softer touch. Well, that’s what I would have said before this mini-series. Storm, Jean, and Nightcrawler arguably have the biggest hearts among the X-Men, yet from what we’ve seen of them recently, they come off as… not themselves. Edgier, perhaps? More pragmatic and less altruistic.
Spring is the part of the council that will make sure that whatever is decided will have the mutant race’s financial and economic interests considered. Especially because now their monetary well-being is tied into it. Again, something that was most likely done by design.
There was another piece of the Council presented to us in the issue, though not featured. The Great Captains. Four individuals that I’m sure are in charge of separate brigades or divisions of other mutants. They are Cyclops, Bishop, Magik, and The Gorgon. Not the Inhuman Gorgon.
Of the four, Cyclops is named Captain Commander. While they are all equals, he’s got the final word in command situations. Bishop has command experience, so that makes a lot of sense and Magik is the X-Men’s foremost expert in the ways of mysticism. The Gorgon, or Tomi Shishido, is what I suspect to be the X-Men’s form of a diversity initiative. The classic Wolverine villain is their envoy to the East.
The Laws and Manner of Imprisonment
A nation cannot be born without a constitution or set of rules which everyone will have to accept. Otherwise, Krakoa would eventually become a burnt-out husk, not unlike what we saw in the Age of Apocalypse. They had to keep it simple, lest risk running off the more dubious members of the Council and nation like Mystique and Mister Sinister.
The first law, oddly elaborated upon by Nightcrawler, of all people, is what drives Krakoa’s most shocking activity. The cloning of fallen mutants. Being the very first law of the nation, the act is built into their way of life, thus is beyond contestation. Creepy.
The second law “Murder No Man” refers to their treatment of humans. Which makes sense. The nation of Krakoa can maintain their infighting as an internal issue, but they can’t have mutants rampaging in other nations while continuing to be representatives of their own. It also leaves a gray-area. There’s no mention of killing other mutants. With their Resurrection Protocol in place, it makes me wonder how much they value their lives. It also makes me wonder what goes on in places like Bar Sinister the Wild Hunt and the Arena. Which brings us to Sabretooth’s fate.
In House of X #1, Mystique, Toad, and Sabretooth were tasked with retrieving information from a high-security installation. That information led to Krakoa’s attack on the Orchis installation to dispatch the Mother Mold. However, Professor-X and Magneto gave orders to not harm anyone.
Creed didn’t obey that order. He eviscerated several guards. According to the Fantastic Four, the hero team that confronted Mystique’s group, lost their lives or were left critically injured. Creed was taken into custody by Marvel’s first family but was later retrieved by Emma Frost through official channels.
Creed was brought before the Council as their second order of business. Sabretooth had broken their second law; ‘Murder No man.’ The Council, unanimously voted him guilty, including his former ‘lover’ and mother of his son, Mystique. After vowing to shred everyone he could get his claws on, Xavier had Sabretooth banished to the depths of Krakoa to be left in stasis. Aware, but unable to move.
My colleague Donald Edmonds has an interesting theory on this. In Powers of X #4, we learned that this wasn’t Apocalypse’s first visit to Krakoa. Centuries earlier he and his Horsemen fought back mysterious demonic forces that sprung from the bowels of the land.
The battle made mention of a ‘Twilight Sword,’ a powerful weapon more known to be part of Thor’s mythos, as a source of power namely by Surtur and Loki. The sword was shown being wielded by one of the beings and is probably still with it to this day. The demons, while their origins are still unknown, had a name. Arakko (an anagram of ‘Krakoa’) and had an intimate relationship with Krakoa, as the land itself told Cypher that they were once of the same body. Now, we have Sabretooth, a frighteningly vengeful monster of a mutant sent to the same black void from which these beings originated. What if he returns with a new toy and some friends?
The final law- ‘Respect this Sacred Land’ refers to the fact that Krakoa is a living, breathing, sentient being. It has a voice, wishes, and thoughts. It cannot be owned or subdued. It must be considered in all actions and respected as much as the other citizens of the mutant nation, which is why it holds a seat on the Council and even has more to do in the sentencing of the criminals than those that pass judgment. Though from the way Cypher relayed the order to Krakoa, the living landmass may be more forgiving than its tenants.
Krakoa Atlantic & Pacific
Krakoa’s main body lies in the Pacific Ocean not far from Australia, but it has smaller parts of itself across the world and nearer parts of the solar system including Mars and the Moon’s Blue Area. While it’s been sort of touched upon in prior issues it was all but confirmed in House of X #6 that there is another large landmass in the Atlantic. The two large pieces are connected in the same way as the rest of the body. Transit hubs are only accessible via a teleportation network controlled by Krakoa and monitored by its handlers such as Black Tom Cassidy, Sage, and, of course, Cypher.
The Pacific landmass is where the rest of mutant-kind resides and includes sites such as Arbor Magna, Arena, Wild Hunt, Bar Sinister, The Grove, Oracle, Reservoir, and Moira’s No-space, among others.
The Atlantic site consists of their version of the Danger Room, Danger Island, and The Pointe. I believe it acts as something similar to a waystation to host foreign delegates, as well as somewhere powers can be used without endangering lives or causing too much damage to critical infrastructure.
Emma Frost is far more cunning than anyone gives her credit. Since she left the ranks of the X-Men (though she still finds a way to stunt while wearing a huge gold “X” around her neck at times) she’s made quite a place for herself in the world. She used her former teammates to launch the most hostile of hostile takeovers. And when all but a handful of mutants remained on Earth following the X-Men’s banishment to the Age of X-Man and the distribution of the ‘mutant cure,’ Emma made certain she still held power. Under her guidance, the Hellfire Club remained, even if they were being bullied by the U.S. Government.
With the creation of the new mutant nation, Emma has successfully carved out a piece of Krakoa for herself. A private kingdom outside of what’s being referred to as Hellfire Bay. The coast of the bay-area holds three locales. The White Palace, Blackstone, and the Red Keep. The White Palace is most certainly Emma’s digs while Blackstone must belong to the Black King, Sebastian Shaw. The Red Keep belongs to whoever will sit in the final chair of the Quiet Council that Emma negotiated. If previews and solicitations are to be believed, that honor and piece of real estate will go to Kitty Pryde, or at the very least, it’ll be offered to her.
Though not part of, and on the opposite side of Krakoa, Mister Sinister also was given an area, Bar Sinister. Or perhaps he found a way to move his original island. It is Mister Sinister we’re talking about here… Chances are, every member of the Quiet Council has a piece of Krakoa to call their own- both Xavier and Magneto have spots in House of X and House of M, respectively. I mean, can you imagine having Apocalypse or Exodus as a neighbor? I’d assume space was a deal-breaker.
If nothing else, the level of world-building Jonathan Hickman has accomplished is astounding. From what I’ve learned, he’s not just the conductor of the X-Men comic franchise, he’s also its warden. The other writers coming aboard for Excalibur, Marauders, Fallen Angels, X-Men, X-Force, and New Mutants all have to go through him when it comes to larger story ideas. If this issue is any indication of what’s to come, I look forward to driving my wife crazy as I go back to purchasing several issues a week.