In what can charitably be described as a poorly executed attempt to create an edgy new ‘environmentalist’ mutant anti-heroine, the most recent storyline featured in Marvel’s X-Men Unlimited digital series sees Nature Girl unapologetically murder a random store manager after finding a piece of litter from his establishment, only to be released from punishment thanks to the intervention of the sentient Krakoa.
The Gerry Duggan written, Emilio Laiso and Rachelle Rosenberg illustrated story, not-so-subtly titled X-Men: Green, begins in the digital exclusive series’ fifth issue when the botonopath, sitting upon the beaches of Krakoa with a group of other mutants, sees a dying sea turtle stumble upon the shore.
After comforting the reptile in its last moments before death and mourning its passing, Nature Girl discovers the oceanic creature’s cause of death: asphyxiation via grocery bag, courtesy of the fictional Owens Grocery in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Opening a gate from Krakoa to Sin City, Nature Girl is next seen storming into the store, confronting the manager and blaming him for the litter, despite the fact that he is, at best, a middle man between the bag’s producer and the individual who presumably discarded it.
“Do you know where I found this bag?” demands Nature Girl to the store’s understandably indifferent manager. “It was lodged in the throat of a beautiful sea turtle.”
In response, the manager fires back, “well, it may have been beautiful, but it wasn’t that smart if it ate a plastic bag, now you can buy something or—” before being interrupted mid sentence by Nature Girl, who proceeds to fatally stab the man in the neck.
After escaping from Las Vegas and charming a K9 unit, Saorise, to her side along the way, the young mutant is soon confronted by Wolverine, who has been sent by Professor Xavier to track her down and bring her back to Krakoa for trial.
However, Nature Girl manages to evade the longtime X-Men member, stealing his motorcycle while he battles a black bear whom the fugitive mutant – in a rather hypocritical move coming from someone who claims to be on a crusade to protect the planet’s wildlife and fauna – has manipulated into fighting him to the death.
After briefly returning to Krakoa to pick up a few of her personal belongings – and in the process recruiting the mutant Curse to her cause – Nature Girl next takes her crusade to “somewhere in the Dakotas,” joining a group of protestors in demonstrating against the construction of an oil pipeline by the Cynadine Oil Company.
The assembly then turns violent, with the pipeline workers turning to physically attack the protestors in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
It is here that Nature Girl kills her second victim, as under threat of being struck from behind by a wrench-wielding worker, the eco-warrior turns – quite literally – to using her horns offensively, fatally slitting her attacker’s throat.
Declaring war on the the fictional oil company’s Dakota-based refinery, Nature Girl soon encounters the facility’s resident metahuman security guard – Black Mamba – who attempts to use her ability to manipulate the Darkforce to prey upon the mutant’s sense of guilt.
However, confronted by a vision of her first victim, Nature Girl is shown to see her actions as a necessary evil.
“I’m dead because of you!” yells the Darkforce-generated ghost of the clerk. “I didn’t kill some turtle. Sure, some single-use plastic did the trick, and it might have been from our shop, but don’t ya think you overreacted?”
Unmoved by his arguments, Nature Girl – who has lost her hair due to what she describes as an ‘evolution’ – replies, “I’m not sorry you’re gone – you were just one of the problems infecting the planet.”
“I would kill you again,” she declares.
Following her successful destruction of the refinery, Nature Girl is eventually captured by Wolverine, who returns both her and Curse to Krakoa to stand trial for killing a man (it’s never specified whether she is being held accountable for the clerk’s murder or the killing of the pipeline worker) before the island’s Quiet Council.
Though Nature Girl attempts to justify her crimes on the ground that Earth must be defended because it’s the only planet she has to live on, as even terraformed locations such as Mars don’t ‘mesh’ correctly with her nature-based abilities, her arguments do little to sway the council, who eventually find the two mutants guilty and sentence them to the customary Krakoan punishment of eternal waking confinement within the dark depths of the sentient island.
The two mutants are soon relinquished to their new prison, only to awaken a short while later alive and fully conscious to the sight of both Saorise and Cypher, the omnilingual translator who serves as the communicative link between Krakoa and its resident population, who announces, “This is your only get out of jail free card. You have to leave. Now.”
“Krakoa is paroling you,” the former New Mutants member explains to the two. “The island will not abide the destruction of this world. Like you, it has nowhere else to go. But this is the end of your story in paradise. You’re disavowed. You can’t come back, you can’t use the portals, you can’t even be spotted. You’re going to need to adopt other identities and go dark.”
Despite this, the island refuses to leave them completely in the cold, gifting Nature Girl “a bespoke cudgel with a few surprises in it” made from a piece of Krakoa itself before the two fugitives go into hiding, smuggled away from their former home by boat courtesy of Pyro.
Concluding on a single shot of Saorise, Curse, and Nature Girl – Krakoa staff in hand – disembarking in an unidentified city, the X-Men: Green arc ultimately ends with the group’s de facto leader declaring, “Let’s begin.”
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