Vita Ayala – former writer of the Age of X-Man miniseries, Prisoner-X – has been tapped to helm the new X-Men series The Children of the Atom. Not much has been revealed about the project outside of a few covers and the creative team that includes artist Bernard Chang.
According to the Marvel.com interview that we spoke of here in an earlier piece, Ayala stated that the book will revolve around several familiar styled characters that idolize the X-Men. It’s a strange premise to base a book off of. That is, of course, if these characters aren’t the 1st generation Chimera that were part of Moira MacTaggert’s 9th life. If it is about the Chimera, originally detailed in the House of X and Powers of X series, I believe it’d make for a great story.
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Here’s why The Children of the Atom should be about Mister Sinister’s Chimeras – and also why it probably isn’t…
Why it Should Be
Hickman has been actively seeding portions of Powers of X in the books
For the moment, Jonathan Hickman is the Chief Creative Officer of the X-Men comic line. Though he may only have writing credits on X-Men and New Mutants – every ongoing currently on the stands, or on its way, operate under his direction. Since the beginning of the Dawn of X era of X-Men books, we’ve seen bits and pieces from Powers of X sprinkled in throughout the franchise.
The New Mutants included the Shi’ar space station Benelovence; X-Force has been dealing with the first examples of man/machine hybrid soldiers; in X-Men, they’ve hinted at the resurfacing of the Children of the Vault, which could link to Post-Humanity. All topics previously addressed as part of Moira’s 6th and 9th lives. The later where Mister Sinister’s Chimera were birthed.
How and Why they Grew Up Idolizing X-Men
A quick recap of what Chimera are; Chimera are laboratory manufactured mutants created by Mister Sinister on Mars – by order of the mutant leadership – to make war against the Man-Machine Supremacy. The first generation of soldiers weren’t called ‘Chimera,’ as they only had a single set of mutant powers, unlike later iterations that held up to 5.
These single power-wielding warriors were often mockingly referred to as “fodder.” It suggests that their lives weren’t held in high regard and given many high-casualty rate missions. Seeing as they had to fight against multiple Nimrods and the such – these first gens most likely didn’t enjoy long lifespans.
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Exactly how they are created is still unknown. Chances are it’s pretty close to what occurs on present-day Krakoa (the Resurrection Protocol). The Chimera, most likely, emerged fully grown or something close to it. With that said, there’s little chance they didn’t know what they were bred for or what was happening outside of whatever pens they hatched from.
If this was indeed the case, it begs to reason that mutant leadership had to manufacture ways to keep up morale. To inspire their troops to continue despite the grim future that awaited them. This is just a theory of mine, but Ayala states that her group of characters “grew up with posters of Storm and Wolverine.”
Well, folks, that’s impossible, unless all this takes place in the future. It’d also make a whole lot of sense. The only way to justify a war to people outside of a nation’s leadership is to spin some form of propaganda to the masses. Its likely mutant leadership propped the X-Men up as legends to inspire and excite.
War is ugly and brutal, however, if soldiers believe that by giving their lives, they are honoring heroes of the past – they’ll be more willing to sacrifice. Especially if it’s beat into their heads since they gained sentience.
Related: Marvel Announces Jonathan Hickman-era X-Men Crossover Event is Coming
Explains why they have identical powers of X-Men, yet not their children
Mutants powers aren’t an exact science. Sometimes they are inherited from a parent. We’ve seen in several instances several things can result from a second-generation mutant. The child can take on one parent’s powerset, both parents’ powers in the case of two mutants, or a completely different ability altogether.
The chances of five characters developing identical powers to five unrelated mutants are impossible, not to mention, them all being part of the same generation. There are slight differences in each character, such as the Archangel look-a-like seemingly having wings not made of techno-organic metal – but the ones like the Gambit, Nightcrawler, Jean, and Cyclops appear to be exact copies.
What would make sense is them being the results of genetic manipulation and engineering. It’d make a lot more sense for them to have been intentionally created to have these abilities – instead of a series of flukes that just happen to also be teens in a world where mutants are still struggling to make up 1% of the population.
Opportunity to explore the last unseen portion of that timeline
There was far too much going on during the 9th life of Moira MacTaggert for the story to simply end as it did. Hickman constructed an entire world, but only really showed us a glimpse of it – one-hundred years from the current timeline.
Related: X-Men: 10 Mutants That Can Out-Think Iron Man
The world 100 years into the future was war-torn. There are only a handful of mutants left in the entire solar system. The rest were banished to deep space – made refugees within the Shi’ar empire in Brood-infested space. The most powerful among them used to bolster the Shi’ar Empire’s fighting force.
While that story was interesting, the data pages are where we are introduced to the concept of the Chimera – though we do get to see several in action; namely North, Rasputin, and Cardinal. As you know, they are developed and created by Mister Sinister, but by the start of the story, they are the last of their kind.
What we don’t see is how mutant-kind fell to such a sorry state. A story of that would be sorrowful, dramatic, and full of duality. While we’d be rooting for the ‘good guys’ we’d also be faced with the reality that they are sending hordes of sentient men and women to their deaths in a war they are fated to lose. Opportunity for a great story.
Why It’s Probably Not
They could be Mutant Worshippers
When Professor Xavier, Magneto and Moira MacTaggert created a mutant nation-state, they disrupted life across the world socially, politically, economically and also religiously. With the introduction of Krakoa’s miracle drugs and Xavier’s worldwide telepathic broadcast, some people – though already jaded by a world where people fly and aliens invade sporadically – began to see mutants as something more than human.
Related: X-Men: Great Despite a Lack of Diversity?
The ‘Order of X’ has been talked about more – if not exclusively – in the pages of the Marauders and it’s worth exploring. However, not as an ongoing title. As much as I couldn’t imagine reading a book about such a topic – if Twitter is any indication, there seems to be a market for a book centered on mass psychosis and people wearing “super suits.”
Ayala’s Twitter Post of a Storm Figure
A week or so following the announcement of the book, Ayala took to Twitter and shared a photo of a stack of House of X books and an action figure of Storm that she received from editor, Chris Robinson. After confirming it was connected to a current project, fans immediately began speculating about its meaning.
While some assumed it meant Storm would become some sort of mentor to the group, it could also tilt the opposite way. House of X was the sibling title of time-jumping Powers of X, the origin of the Chimera concept. Adversely, having Storm as a mentor would mean they exist in current-day, thus entering back into nonsensical territories.
Hey, let’s be positive. Maybe Storm’s some sort of interactive hologram. I can hope, right?
An Easily Pleased Fandom
The last two options, in my opinion, are less than inspired. Sadly, today X-Men readers tend to be satisfied by just about anything Marvel throws at them. Take Excalibur’s Twitter stans for example. If either of these options were pitched, I don’t see editorial getting in the way.
It’s crazy. Today, a book about cosplayers, ridiculous copycat sidekicks, or weirdo obsessives is appealing to some fans. For them, it’s more interesting than a story detailing the plight of doomed, semi-brainwashed, super-soldiers fighting a battle they’ve already lost.
Related: X-Men: Does the Marvel Universe have a Clone Problem?
The utter lack of imagination that plagues Marvel Comics today is astounding. Being the ‘house of ideas,’ I find them recycling old concepts and story ideas that aren’t even all that old. Yet, there are still so many poor souls out there willing to eat it up. Which is the problem. Low standards.
Listen, my theory isn’t me claiming to be better than those writing the series. It’s more of a plea and my way of hoping that isn’t some uber pedestrian attempt at a cash grab. Visually, the book has potential, but thanks to recent history – I have my doubts. I could be right – I could be wrong. What do you think?