Can we truly go on ignoring what’s happening with the X-Men? There is no bigger X-Men apologist than yours truly, but enough is enough. I refuse to accept that the X-Men we’re seeing within the Year 10 era are the same ones we’ve come to know and love. These guys are straight up pod-people. They’re drinking the Koolaid, prancing around in robes and chain-smoking cigarettes. Up until today I was willing to take anyone’s nutter-butter theory and crack-pot opinion in stride, but if this group of mutants is the same ones we left at the end of the last run of Uncanny X-Men and Age of X-Man, then Hickman’s not the genius author I’ve been making him out to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed this issue as much as the last. It’s not my favorite thus far, but it was still darn good. Better than most of the X-Men stories I’ve read in years. I could sit here and pick apart some inconsistencies I came across, but to be honest, I think these little differences are there for a reason. I believe it is proof that this isn’t the 616 we know, but yet another of Moira’s splinter timelines. Probably her missing 6th life. I’ll start with a couple of softballs. (Related: Jonathan Hickman and Marvel Comics Retcon Iconic X-Men Character Moira MacTaggert)
For instance, some of the savvier readers will have spotted Marrow and Frenzy among the throng of super-villain types. The last time we saw Frenzy (she was one of the X-Men Jean called to fight against X-Man at the end of Disassembled), she looked very much like how she does in this cameo. Braids and black leather. Even though before then, half her head was shaved. The aesthetics aren’t as big of an issue as the fact that she’s in the company of the irredeemable, such as Lady Mastermind, Mister Sinister, and Apocalypse. On the contrary, Frenzy has been an X-Man since 2010. In a way, following Age of X, she was sworn in by Xavier himself.
“Do you want to know the real difference between them and us? Until now, we were never given a chance.” – Professor X
Marrow has been in and out of the X-Men as member of the main team and even X-Force since the late 90s. The fact that she entered Krakoa alongside the villains isn’t what got my attention. She’s never been an “all-in” type of X-Man. The last time we saw her she was working for Emma Frost’s Hellfire Club as an enforcer. No. What got me thinking was her outfit and overall look. On one side, it is her most recognizable get-up. She wore it during her first stint with the X-Men, and it was even the look she had in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. The thing is, she hasn’t looked like this in more than 15 years if I’m not mistaken. (Related: Jonathan Hickman Makes Huge Change to Classic X-Men Antagonist in Powers of X)
Knit picks, I know. Let’s move onto the bigger inconsistencies, now. Namely, Storm. Seriously, what the #$#% is going on with her? Since when did one of the most observant, analytical, and skeptical minded X-Men ever, turn into a high priestess? Storm isn’t just a blind follower here; she’s leading the charge. She’s bought into this entire endeavor hook, line, and sinker! It’s scary and reeks of brainwashing. Not to mention… this doesn’t appear to be her first rodeo. Her speech along with the crowd participation are the products of rehearsal. (Related: Marvel Comics Writer Jonathan Hickman Reimagines Everyone’s Favorite X-Men Mad Scientist, Mister Sinister in Powers of X)
This process of death/rebirth has been done many times. Made all the more evident by Xavier’s statement, “Even knowing I could bring you back… a part of me dies when any of you do…” In a very specific way, it cheapens the “sacrifices” made by the team that died during the strike mission in space. There’s no telling what’s happened, or what has been implanted in the minds of the X-Men between dying and being… no – I was about to say “reborn,” but that isn’t what’s happening here. This isn’t reincarnation. It’s cloning. Plain and simple. The X-Men standing on stage, being cheered by a crowd and confirmed by Storm aren’t the real X-Men. They’re biological replicas with the latest version software uploaded into them.
There’s a good chance that every X-Man we’ve seen thus far, save for Magneto and Xavier, is a clone. It’s possible that since Xavier and Magneto’s plans have been put into play that a great number of their students have died and been reborn. The issue’s dossier did state that as the five mutants; Proteus, Goldballs, Hope, Elixir, and Eva perform their duties, it gets easier for them. The performance from House of X #5, in particular, looked effortless. Even enjoyable for them.
Even with all that monstrously out-of-character activity, there’s still yet more to consider! It’s not below Emma Frost to telepathically manipulate people for her own needs and wants. Heck, Xavier even has a sorted history of it, but he’s always been ashamed of it. Hid from his family and friends via more manipulation. It’s not something he does while sipping champagne and rubbing elbows with diplomats (he knows have been mind-screwed). At this point, some might look at his acceptance of Apocalypse as further evidence, but not me. If you understand the character, then you realize that very little of what En Saba Nur has done throughout the ages have been personal or vindictive. All Xavier and Magneto have done is further his cause without setting the world on fire. Why would he care?
So, where does this leave us? We have a nation of cloned mutants being led by an obviously morally dubious Professor X, flanked by one of the most notorious ideologues in comic history, backed by a virtual god amongst men. If this isn’t another failed attempt of Moira to solve the “mutant problem”, then I’m not sure what to make of it. I surely can’t imagine this having a happy ending at this point. I really can’t see the rest of the world’s heroes having nothing to say about what Xavier and company have been up to. That is assuming they know. Being a lifelong X-Men fan, looking at their achievements in the Year 10 era has made me proud, but it’s increasingly difficult to overlook what they’ve done to get here.