Jonathan Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X summer series has done a lot for the X-Men comic book franchise. His soft reboot has led to a legion of new books, all doing fairly well on the charts.

With no notice, he thrust the entirety of the mutant race into uncharted waters. Sorta. Us fans were dropped into the story mid-stride. Six months had passed since we lost saw our heroes, and from the get-go, something wasn’t quite right with them. Is it possible the whole island of Krakoa is the victim of mind control?

1. Stranger than Normal Behaviour

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

Remember that whole “from the get-go” thing I mentioned earlier? One of the first scenes we got in House of X was an almost dream-like sequence involving Jean Grey.

Dressed in her classic Marvel Girl uniform, she led new arrivals through a Krakoan gate and into the island. Upon arriving, just past the gate in a picturesque setting, she’s met by Professor X and Wolverine.

What kicked the weird into overdrive is what Wolverine was doing. Laughing and playing with children as they treated him like a big teddy bear. The scene was brought to a close as a teary-eyed Jean and Xavier shared a touching stare.

# Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

It wouldn’t be so odd, had Jean and most of the X-Men not just returned from an alternate reality to an Earth where most mutants, including X-Men, were either in hiding, dead, or jailed.

Even with six-months removed from that, it’s hard to believe they’d be able to come so far, so fast. The odd behavior would continue with Cyclops’ smugger-than-usual arrogance while negotiating with the Fantastic Four for Sabretooth’s release. One could chalk that up to questionable characterization choice by the writer, but it just got worse from there.

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

Upon discovering the existence of a Mother Mold, a giant Master Mold manufacturing Sentinel, Professor X dispatched a team of X-Men to its position in orbit of the sun to dispose of it.

In essence, it was a suicide mission from the start, and Cyclops knew it. Scott’s not opposed to taking a hit for the good of the team, but he’s not so liberal with the lives put in his hands. He’d never turn the mission down, but he’d also never go into something like that without a semblance of a back-up plan. No one he brought with him gave them the option of making it home or at least evacuating to safety. I know what you’re thinking; “they knew they could be resurrected.” Well, that’s another problem…

2. The Resurrection Protocols

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

Death has never been a deal-breaker for the X-Men. Just about everyone on the team has died at some point. I’d go so far as to say, you’re not a real X-Man if you haven’t died at least once. It’s like a right of passage or initiation.

With that said, I can’t imagine the X-Men being ok with participating in a one-way trip, then using a mixture of tech and mutant powers to clone bodies and reinstall an earlier version of their minds into those bodies. It’s all very morbid.

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

What makes it all the stranger is how the rest of the mutant population and the X-Men, namely Storm, embrace the process. Storm, who is also part of the ruling council of Krakoa, has become something of a high priestess over the entire process. With her experience as a village deity, she may be best suited to lead a crowd, but one should ask; why’s it happening at all?

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

The five mutants responsible for the process include two I can almost guarantee that wouldn’t get involved in something like this without giving a lot of grief to whoever was in charge of it.

Hope is well known to be a royal pain the butt to anyone outside of Cable. I mean, she even shot her grandfather in the face. With a gun. Then we have Proteus, Moira MacTaggert’s sociopathic, uber-powerful, nearly unkillable, son that has fought the X-Men on several occasions. Now he’s just on board to save the mutant race from extinction?

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

The final part of the resurrection protocol involves a telepath transferring the stored mental imprint of a subject into a freshly cloned body. The last copy of the mind of a mutant is installed and the subject continues as if nothing happened. However, we don’t know for sure that’s the whole process. For all we know, the mind that’s implanted into the cloned body is an altered version of the one that once existed or perhaps it includes something a bit extra? Scandalous.

3. Learning the Language

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

The establishment of a sovereign nation and the means to maintain a steady economy aren’t the only accomplishments of the Krakoans. They’ve also developed their own spoken and written language. At the moment, we’ve got no idea what it sounds like but its written form resembles a system of glyphs not unlike Asian cultures. Entire names can be expressed within a single character. As we’ve seen in the instance of Apocalypse’s name.

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

Krakoan is quite complex, and that’s probably by design. It was created by Douglas Ramsey via his ability to decipher any type of communication. They most likely don’t want just anyone being able to pick up the language.

To learn it, a mutant with telepathic powers must tap into the mind of the new citizen and then literally uploads the information. Like most of what we’re presented, all this occurred off-panel during the six-month gap. If there is anything to worry about with telepaths, it’s blindly trusting them with people’s minds while their guard is down. What if something else comes along with the upload?

4. Professor X and Cerebro

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

Since the beginning of the Summer, we’ve only seen Professor X’s face a total of three times in the present. We saw it all the time during flashbacks, but since Hickman’s story has caught up with the present, the only time we got to see his face was after he was shot. That’s what it took to get Xavier’s head out of the bucket. It’s not due to some OCD-thing. The helmet is the latest version of Cerebro.

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

During the summer crossover, we learned that Xavier approached Forge to create the most advanced form of the machine ever built. Classicly, the apparatus boosted the telepathic powers of whoever was in use of it. This version may still do that, but it has a more important role now. Cerebro isn’t used just to amplify mental powers, it continuously tracks, downloads, and backs up every mutant mind on the planet. How many times is unknown, but seeing as Xavier has it on 24/7, I’d say it’s constant.

It needs an active mind to do this, thus why it’s always on the head of a particularly talented telepath such as Xavier, with Jean Grey acting as his reserve. Why’s this a problem? Well, during HoX/PoX Moira MacTaggert admitted in her journals that she went to great lengths to break Professor X. To radicalize him to the point he’d be willing to go through with their plans. Krakoa’s actions may seem benign on the surface, however, there’s more than enough shady activity going on that most X-Men may not agree with all the ‘whys’ and ‘hows.’ That is until all this started.

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

Seeing as Xavier is aware of and allowed Emma to telepathically garner favor in the UN or was willing to send some of his most precious X-Men to their deaths- would it be a stretch to assume Moira succeeded? He’s even gone further off of the deep end when he and Magneto recruited Mister Sinister, a move that Moira didn’t support. Moira could have very well corrupted Xavier to the point where he sees everything and everyone as expendable means to ends.

Would it be that hard to imagine a man that thinks like that is capable of using an amplified version of Cerebro to subtlely manipulate everyone around him? Especially if he believes he’s doing the right thing?

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

At the moment, one of the biggest undertakings for the X-Men and Krakoa, in general, is to bring all mutants onto their island nation. Even at the cost of inciting an international incident, as we saw in Marauders #1. But what if it’s more than just providing protection? Cerebro gives the user access to any mind across the planet, but like any wireless system, the closer a receiver is to the source, the better the connection.

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

So far, we’ve at seen least two subjects that weren’t exactly buying into the idea of Krakoa. Betsy Braddock and Kitty Pryde- both women were among the last to arrive on Krakoa. Then there’s Wolverine. In the beginning, he was sold as anyone else, but his view is changing.

Years ago, as seen in House of M, his mind can resist tampering due to being able to snap back into shape over time like his body. In Marauders #1, while everyone was happily eating and drinking off of various trees on the island, he seemed displeased with what it had to offer. He even gave Kitty a shopping list of contraband to bring to the island. Then in X-Force #1, he commented on how living in peace will eventually make them soft.

5. Jonathan Hickman is a Squirrely @#$#

5 Reasons the X-Men Might be Brainwashed

There’s more to talk about, such as everything that’s happening on the moon in the Summer House. Corsair, Cyclops and Havok’s father, also showed concern about the situation. It’s good to keep in mind that while all these books have individual writers, Jonathan Hickman is still riding over everyone. Nothing is happening outside of his greater narrative.

Chances are, these are all not so subtle hints to the bigger picture. Throughout the various books, pieces of what we read this summer, especially from the more prophetic Powers of X, have been weaved into plots including; the merging of man and machine, Benevelonce (the Shi’ar space station), Arakko, and Apocalypse’s first horsemen. Everything Hickman put into play will come back to haunt the X-Men. Let’s keep a cautious lookout for the other shoe. Here’s hoping it doesn’t drop on our heroes.

What do you think? Is this just the fruit of a heavy-handed retcon? Or are our merry mutants being manipulated? Let us know below.

  • About The Author

    Phillip Pratt

    Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Phillip is the first-generation American son of a Jamaican mother and a Bahamian father. His interest includes sports, cars, gaming and most things comic book related, the latter a passion of his since 1993.