When Jonathan Hickman gave the X-Men franchise a soft reboot last summer – it threw much of the fanbase for a loop. Some got it. Some didn’t. Most still don’t. Heck, sometimes I’m not sure I understand everything yet.
Despite all the riddles, foreshadowing and callbacks being weaved into the narrative – Hickman’s story is mainly based around one thing, Krakoa. Not just the living island itself, but the government, nation, and even a language that all share the same name.
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Other Failed Homelands
X-Men fans will note that this is by far not the first time mutants have taken it upon themselves to up and relocate to an island paradise separate from the world. Genosha is most likely the most famous of instances. It’s been featured in both the animated series as well as the movies.
In the comics, Genosha is located just South East of Africa. In the past, it was a slave state where mutants were forced to work on the isle’s infrastructure. Those that weren’t lucky enough to be involved in labor were imprisoned and experimented on.
Years later, the isle was annexed by Magneto and ironically transformed into a haven for mutants. Quickly – thanks to Magneto’s leadership combined with supernatural mutant ingenuity – Genosha rivaled most countries in terms of scientific advancement and export. Feeling déjà vu yet?
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The paradise didn’t last, however. It was leveled by a massive Sentinel attack orchestrated by Cassandra Nova. It cost millions of mutants their lives. Though it was Magneto’s latest solo attempt at creating a free land for his kind – it wasn’t his first.
Asteroid-M, and later Avalon (formerly Graymalkin, Cable’s massive time-machine) were two satellite installations he hoped to operate out of – as well as provide a home for mutant-kind, separate from humanity. Both failed to do so – but the later was due to interference from the son of Apocalypse, Holocaust.
Avalon was destroyed utterly upon reentry, but Asteroid-M fell into the sea close to San Francisco. Following the events of House of M that saw mutant-kind be reduced from millions to less than 200 – Cyclops and the X-Men relocated to the west coast. Not too long after, they were forced to flee their Frisco base by the Dark Avengers during the crossover event Dark Reign.
With the help of ridiculous technology, Magneto and Namor – Asteroid-M was brought back to the surface and renamed Utopia. It didn’t take long for Cyclops to very publicly deem it a sovereign nation and invite all mutants – good or bad – to find refuge. Sound familiar?
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Past Modes of Transportation
Right now, the X-Men’s – or Krakoans – main mode of transportation is a system of transport gates. Using strategically placed plants sourced from Krakoa, they function much like a nervous system. The gates all connect back to Krakoa and simultaneously only allow mutants to access them.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the X-Men travel by teleportation gate. Back in the ’80s – after the X-Men were presumed dead – they fell back to a town located in the Australian desert. This time is affectionately referred to as the Outback Era.
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During this period, the X-Men – very much alive – used their assumed death to their advantage. They struck at their foes by instantaneously porting where they needed to be via the powers of another mutant named Gateway. This came to an end when the cybernetic villains the Reavers returned to recapture their annexed base.
Gross Domestic Product
Most of Krakoa’s economic power comes from drugs that are produced on the island – and at least one other mutant controlled location, the Savage Land. Mutant drugs are not new to the X-Men. Not at all. Fans will remember the drug Hypercortisone D or it’s street-name ‘Kick.’
After taking the drug, the subject would receive a large boost in power. It most likely is what turned Kid Omega into what he is today after he overdosed on it.
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In reality, Kick was an extension of the bacterial villain Sublime rendered to a gas form. It would become a huge issue and lead to the deaths of several young characters – including one of the Stepford Cuckoos.
The State of the Union
The drug was one of the weaker points. A bigger one is the very concept of a “mutant nation.” We just brought up Magneto and Cyclops’s efforts on Genosha and Utopia, respectively, but there was one more instance. And it was much closer in concept to what we’re seeing in present-day X-Men comics.
In X-Men: Red, Jean’s first mission upon being resurrected was an attempt to establish a mutant nation. It was an ill-conceived notion brought forth by writer Tom Taylor – to say the least. Jean had no physical location for her nation. No capital. No resources.
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In essence, Jean was pursuing something less quantifiable than Genosha, Utopia, or what Krakoa became. She was trying to make the label “mutant” no different than “American,” or “Korean.” She even went before the U.N. to plead her case.
Because she didn’t have a homeland for her nation – she instead brokered a deal with both Wakanda and Atlantis (countries that readily engage in acts of hostilities towards each other). She was able to leverage their support to stand before the world with a bit of credit to her name. Jonathan borrowed some of this and then made it plausible – instead of laughable.
Religion and other Extra-Curriculars
A large part of Krakoa’s survival is the invention of the Resurrection Protocol. A miraculous process that takes the copied mind of a mutant and places it within a fresh body. Through these means, Krakoa has gone from a few hundred – to several hundred thousand.
Most have come to revere the process. Even worship it creating a sort of religion. Like most of what we’ve talked about – this wouldn’t be the first time. Over the centuries Apocalypse has been worshiped as a god in several eras.
As one of Magneto’s acolytes, Exodus did something similar. Even going as far as questioning the worthiness of Magneto’s half-Inhuman granddaughter, Luna, because she had yet to demonstrate a mutant ability. A little closer to home, Storm was also looked at as a goddess in her childhood.
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Krakoa is an interesting concept, but I honestly don’t think it was created to last. Since the onset of Hickman’s X-Men run, he’s been playing with the concept of history repeating itself. I don’t doubt it’s also why so many themes have been borrowed and why Moira doesn’t want any precogs resurrected. Krakoa may very well be just setting the table for something else.