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Feb 9

X-Men / Fantastic Four #1 annotations

Posted on Sunday, February 9, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

COVER / PAGE 1. Franklin Richards, with Kate Pryde and Sue Storm behind him (each with a hand on his shoulder), and behind them, Professor X and Storm. The title shown on the cover is X-Men + Fantastic Four, but I’ll go with the solicitations.

PAGE 2. Recap – which in this case means spelling out the status quo of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. Reflecting its semi-X-book status, this issue keeps some of the stylistic quirks of the Hickman-era X-books but eschews the monochrome in favour of a yellow and white colour scheme. It’s worth mentioning that this series isn’t edited by the X-office but by Fantastic Four editor Tom Brevoort. It’s the most significant interaction with the rest of the Marvel Universe that the X-Men have had since House of X.

PAGES 3-4. Franklin Richards recaps his life and status quo.

Franklin Richards is the son of Fantastic Four members Reed and Sue Richards. We saw him in House of X #1, when Cyclops was transparently pitching for him to come to Krakoa and claiming that mutants were his real family. This series picks up on that thread.

I’m a few months behind on Fantastic Four, since I’m reading it on Unlimited, but as far as I know this is a pretty straight summary of his status quo. The first panel is a generic flashback to Franklin’s infancy (though for some reason Franklin identifies his mother by her maiden name); the second is equally generic, and yes, Franklin really did wear that 4-and-a-half costume for a while. As a child, his power was to see the future in dreams.

The third panel is Franklin recreating the multiverse at the conclusion of Hickman’s Secret Wars. As Franklin says, he’s traditionally been presented as a major character in the Marvel Universe, but right now, he has a finite amount of power which he can’t replenish, so if he keeps using his powers, eventually they’ll run out.

PAGE 5. Credits. This is “The Impossible Boy”, written by Chip Zdarsky, drawn by Terry & Rachel Dodson, with colours by Laura Martin.

The recap talks as if Franklin is the only mutant not to be on Krakoa, which is obviously an overstatement.

PAGES 6-10. The Marauders arrive on Krakoa. Kate is enlisted to help recruit Franklin.

The Marauders. So let’s deal with the big continuity question: when exactly is this supposed to be happening? It doesn’t fit perfectly anywhere, but the main considerations here are (a) the Marauders exist, (b) Kate Pryde is there, and calling herself Kate, and (c) Pyro doesn’t have the huge facial tattoo that he picked up in Marauders #2. If we assume there are no art errors, that really only leaves two options. The first is that this takes place after Kate returns from her apparent death in Marauders #6 (with Pyro getting rid of his tattoo at some point, perhaps via resurrection).

The other is that it takes place between Marauders #1-2, which is awkward but not too awkward – X-Force already shoehorned an extra Marauders mission into that gap, so there’s no real problem with another one. Bishop would have to be torn away from his mission in Marauders #1, but that’s not impossible. Kate has dropped the pirate accoutrements from her costume for no apparent reason, but she could. (It would make more sense for her to do this for Franklin’s purposes.) The only outright error is that she ought to have a bandage on her nose, and that’s pretty minor. (The script says nothing about Kate’s choice of costume, so presumably Dodson has simply drawn her with the reference he was given.)

Kid Omega. Quentin helpfully reminds us – and Fantastic Four readers – that Kate can’t go through the Krakoan gates. (He also calls her “Kitty” to annoy her.) The other guy who’s joining him on the trip to London isn’t identifiable in the art, but according to the script, it’s meant to be Daken.

Charles and Magneto’s meeting room. According to the script, this is meant to be the same room where they briefed Cyclops in House of X #3-4. Hence the image of Franklin appearing from a pool of water, as in those issues.

Recruiting Franklin Richards. As Charles points out, the X-Men have been aware of Franklin for years, and they’ve never previously tried to recruit him. He and Magneto cite two main reasons for why things are different now. First, thanks to time travel shenanigans, Franklin is now a teenager, ready to make his own decisions. Second, something is wrong with his powers, and they want to help him and see if the problem might affect other mutants too.

Whether we should take this explanation at face value is a little doubtful. Magneto certainly seems a little smug when he thanks Kate for agreeing to help. (The script describes him as “unsetlling” and “cocky”.)

House of X #1 had a data page which listed Franklin among the known Omega level mutants and said that “it is a current priority for the mutant nation of Krakoa to protect and nurture its greatest natural resource: Omega level mutants. All efforts are to be expended in order to secure the future of the state.” Franklin was the only person on the list who was identified as allied with humans. Almost everyone else on the list is actively allied with Krakoa (Jamie Braddock, Iceman, Elixir, Marvel Girl, Magneto, Proteus, Storm, Exodus, Kid Omega, Vulcan and Hope). There are still two Omega mutants who haven’t surfaced in the Hickman run: Mr M, and Legion. So if you wanted to think that the X-Men have other reasons for wanting to get Franklin to Krakoa… well, House of X #1 has literally told you so.

Nonetheless, this issue raises a tension which has been present in the X-Men’s set-up in recent years. The vast majority of mutants are first generation, and so in coming to Krakoa (or, before that, coming to study with the X-Men), they’re presumably leaving a whole other life behind. No doubt some of them were rejected by their parents, or had powers so dangerous that they needed mentoring, or were so visible as mutants that they were persecuted in the outside world… but not all of them. Despite that, few characters have shown any signs of divided loyalties or of wanting to maintain contact with the outside world. Franklin, who has peculiarly little need for anything the X-Men can offer, is a good character with which to explore all that.

The history of Kitty and Franklin. This calls back to the first Fantastic Four vs X-Men miniseries, from 1987. If you haven’t read it (and it’s on Marvel Unlimited), it’s basically four extra issues of Uncanny X-Men – it’s written by Chris Claremont and it deals with a major X-Men storyline, namely Kitty losing control of her phasing powers after the Mutant Massacre.

The plot basically involves Reed Richards failing to save her after a crisis of confidence, and the X-Men accepting an offer from Dr Doom instead. Doom seems to want to cure Kitty partly in order to get the X-Men in his debt, and partly to prove his superiority over Reed. The key scenes so far as we’re concerned come in issues #3 and #4, where Kitty decides to kill herself rather than let Doom exploit her. (Killing herself, in this context, means leaving her life support system and allowing herself to drift apart.) Little Franklin shows up as an astral projection, befriends Kitty, talks her down from suicide, and then helps to talk sense into the X-Men and the Fantastic Four when they’re having the obligatory fight.

Fantastic Four vs X-Men seems to be a key reference point as far as this series is concerned. In that series, Franklin and Kitty were the bridge between the two teams, and the characters who rejected the argument that was preoccupying everyone else. Their role here seems somewhat similar, with Franklin torn between the two and Kate offering to support him instead of pushing him to come to Krakoa. And of course Kate herself, with her inability to use the gates, is a semi-detached member of Krakoan society at best.

Wolverine. Logan pops up briefly to ask Kitty if she’s going to do what was asked of her. It’s notable that he seems to regard this as a decision for her, which implies that he’s rather equivocal about the official line too. But he does shoot down the particular point that Kitty offers, about Franklin being too young – which certainly is a bad point considering the number of other kids already on Krakoa.

PAGES 11-12. Reed can’t figure out how to cure Franklin. Franklin is annoyed; Sue offers Reed support.

Reed takes the line (though not to Franklin’s face) that even if he can’t be cured, there’s nothing wrong with just winding up as a human. Sue makes the point that Franklin isn’t just losing his powers but the future as a major player that everyone has always been bracing him for; it goes to his identity in a more fundamental way. Note that this analysis is not particularly about Franklin being a mutant.

PAGE 13. Data page, though not in the X-books’ usual design. Basically, Reed Richards notes a theory that superhumans get their power (which would otherwise break the law of conservation of energy) from some sort of interdimensional energy source. The suggestion is that something has happened to interfere with Franklin’s connection to this “Godpower”.

Reed credits this theory to Rachna Koul, a character from Zdarsky’s run on Marvel Two-in-One. She ran a clinic where she claimed to be able to fix problems with anyone’s superpowers, at a high price.

PAGES 14-15. Franklin and Ben discuss why Reed can’t fix them.

Franklin makes clear that he’s not accusing his father of deliberately failing to cure them, but does suggest that he may have some sort of mental block – he doesn’t really want Franklin to be so powerful, he doesn’t really want the FF to lose the Thing.

PAGES 16-20. The X-Men and the Fantastic Four argue about Franklin, and about the X-Men’s whole direction. Kitty and Franklin sneak off.

The fact that Professor X and Magneto actually show up in person for this mission tells you what a high priority it is – though bringing Magneto seems a bizarre decision in terms of the likely reaction from the Fantastic Four.

Understandably, Reed and Sue are a bit put out by the X-Men casually insisting that Franklin’s mutant nature is an overriding consideration, though they’re also playing the role of the parents being overly controlling towards a teenager who’s able to take his own decisions. Equally, the X-Men are written as caring exclusively about what Franklin is, and not who he is – or rather, as seeing the two as interchangeable. (Franklin certainly takes it that way, since he says in the next scene that nobody cares what he thinks – he obviously doesn’t find the X-Men’s pitch especially empowering.)

“Nearly every mutant on the planet is on Krakoa now.” This surely can’t be literally right, not least because helping mutants find their way to Krakoa is part of the premise of Marauders. More generally, the idea that “nearly every” mutant is up for leaving friends and family to move to the happy island defies belief.

Genosha. The Thing isn’t the first character to point this out, but the history of mutant nations on island is pretty catastrophic. From the perspective of the outside world, and arguably from the X-Men’s perspective too, there’s no real reason to have such confidence that things will go better this time.

PAGES 21-28. The X-Men and the FF go after Franklin and fight; Franklin tries to go through the gates but finds that Reed has secretly done something to him so that the gates don’t work.

We all know how these stories usually work – the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are being unreasonable, Franklin and Kate represent the middle way of compromise, in the end they will be proved right. So far, so good, with Kate positioning herself as the character who will defend Franklin against pressure. She’s also the only person to point out that the Krakoan gate is very convenient, so that Franklin doesn’t really have to choose at all; he can do both.

It’s strange that the rest of the X-Men don’t take this line, which is surely an obvious low-conflict pitch to the FF – though Charles does try to stop Magneto escalating things even further. Reed reiterates the point that there’s something a little bit suspect about Charles’s urgency to the press the issue. He’s probably right about that, but interfering with Franklin’s mutant gene is just weirdly controlling.

For some reason, Franklin just passes straight through the gate. This is probably a continuity error, since we saw in Marauders #1 that Kitty experienced the gate as a brick wall.

PAGES 29-30. Valeria sides with Franklin. Everyone else yells at Reed.

This is the emotionally illiterate take on Reed – which is interesting, since in the original Fantastic Four vs X-Men, his human connection with Franklin is a key plot point.

PAGES 31-34. Franklin and Valeria stow away aboard the Marauders, promptly attracting the attention of Dr Doom.

Doom was the main villain in the original series too.

Valeria is usually portrayed as hyper-intelligent, but this is apparently meant to be trait inherited from her father, not a mutant power.

Bring on the comments

  1. Luis Dantas says:

    Cyclops mentioned Franklyn, but I don’t think that he appeared on-panel in HoxPoX. At least not during that fight involving Sabretooth.

  2. Luis Dantas says:

    This was well-written, arguably more than the X-Books are being written currently. It really drives home how the current batch could use better characterization.

    I like that the 1987 series is being acknowledged. There is an underlying common theme between the two series that has not been directly stated so far: back in the day Claremont had the Fantastic Four, even Reed himself, doubting his own priorities about the decision of powered superbeings versus normal lives. Franklyn raises the very same concern to Ben this time, and I don’t expect him to have forgotten how he felt at the time.

    Reed’s decision to mask Franklyn’s mutancy from the gates was very much a mistake, all the more so because he did not even discuss it with Sue or Frankly himself. He seemed to be halfway towards admitting as much, and I hope that he does.

    My take on the gate scene is that there are different mechanics at work here. The gate did not work with Franklyn because Reed tricked the gate into not perceiving Franklyn as a mutant. Presumably a normal human would simply walk through the gate and remain in the same place as Franklyn did. Whatever happened with Kate is something else, and may involve some form of rejection from Krakoa herself.

    This series lampshades my reasons for doubting that Xavier is in his right mind. Beyond being far too judgmental of Reed and bringing Magneto of all people with him, he does indeed fail to point out that the gates are supposed to bring easy access to NY City whenever Franklyn wishes.

    Then again, I don’t really expect this Xavier (if it is Xavier at all) to be quite so diplomatic in the first place. His role is no longer that of a teacher, but rather that of a political leader seeking to consolidate his rule. I don’t expect him to encourage Franklyn to think of Genosha as a part-time commitment. His cover story is that he wants to provide a form of medical assistance, but we have every reason to believe that he thinks of Franklyn as at least a potential soldier of sorts. In fact, that may be why he brought freaking Magneto with him: in order to underscore what the expectations are.

  3. Chris V says:

    Are you sure the whole thing isn’t simply badly written, in order to create artificial conflict?
    Xavier could’ve said that he wanted Franklin to spend some time on Krakoa.
    Reed, the smartest man in the world, could have figured out that a compromise would have made sense.
    Then we get, “Reed, allow Franklin to spend six hours every day and the weekends on Krakoa.”
    Reed replied, “OK, sure. I guess we’ll allow that, if that is Franklin’s wish.”
    Whoops! There’s actually no plot for this series!

    Instead, it read like a Silver Age plot to me.
    Two overbearing idiots acting out-of-character so the writer can set up a fight scene.

  4. Salomé says:

    I enjoyed this issue a lot more than I would have expected to.

    I think Franklin Richards could play a tremendously interesting role in mutant mythology if writers set their imagination to it, and especially so because he is the child of two superhumans/metahumans (if we take these categories seriously, and set “posthuman” aside to the specific sense Kirkman attributes to it). It places him in a different place in terms of genetic filament (compare: X-Man), which feeds well into the insistence on mutancy as an evolutionary plateau. Also, the fact that he grew up as a mutant outside of mutantdom (as narrowly defined by Xavier & co.) could afford interesting story material regarding discrepancies in experience and in perspective, which the series seems keen on addressing.

    I was surprised by how congruous the intersection between the two teams (well “collectives” might work better) felt under this premise, thanks to the right execution. The decision to ground this in some sensible and compelling characterisation is key: Kate actually reads as Kate, which I for one appreciate. And for all its x-futurism, the Dawn of X line could do with a more lived-in sense of long-term continuity.

    Also, this question of Kate not accessing Krakoan gates: does anyone have any theories? Maybe the quaintest explanation holds here: her powers of intangibility interfere, in some unspecified way, with the actual mechanisms of transportation. I kind of wish it’s because she’s being rewritten as Neo or some other genetic offshoot, because the drama that would cause in terms of her sense of self and belonging would read great against the backdrop of mutant nationalism.

  5. Luis Dantas says:

    One more thing is that this is a perfect story for some Rachel Summers spotlight. After all, she was in a serious relationship with an alternate Franklyn in her original timeline.

  6. Salomé says:

    Chris V:

    “Instead, it read like a Silver Age plot to me. Two overbearing idiots acting out-of-character so the writer can set up a fight scene.”

    I would tend to agree, were it not for the case that Xavier actually is an overbearing idiot and has proven as much over the decades, with a tremendously disproportionate sense of confidence in his moral compass and his better judgement.

    (Plus, this iteration does in a vivid sense read as Silver Age: alien, fantastic, inflated. He speaks and acts as if he is the spirit of a nation.)

    I don’t think it actually reads as OOC for the X-Men (if they even exist as X-Men), mutant separatists that they are, to be this absolute in their positions and opinions: to put things in terms of in/out.

    There, my question isn’t the high stakes, or the drama, or the fiery reactions. More so that no one seems to have considered a phone call would have facilitated this tremendously.

  7. Chris V says:

    Reed was always written as an out-of-touch ass during the Silver Age too.

  8. YLu says:

    A lot of people are reading the cliffhanger as Doom showing up because of Franklin and Val’s presence, but I see no reason to assume he even had any idea they would be there.

    The line “…And where is your father?” sounds like the sort of thing you’d say if you happened to bump into some kids alone at the mall. It sounds like he’s surprised to see them. If he knew they’d stowed away, he’d know their dad’s not with them.

    (And that’s if he’s even referring to Reed in the first place. Considering his previous line was “the children of Xavier,” there’s a reading of his line where he’s speaking to the Marauders.)

    Oh hey, what if the Marauder’s mission, which Kate didn’t get to finish explaining to Franklin and Val, is to pick up Latverian refugees?

  9. Luis Dantas says:

    @Salomé: Not all mutants are separatists. As a matter of fact, they can’t be. Being such would further weaken their already feeble grasp on the claim of being underappreciated heroes.

  10. Luis Dantas says:

    @YLu: I will be very surprised if it turns out that somehow Doom sees fit to call Xavier “father” of random mutants, let alone Franklyn and (particularly) Valeria.

    Doom of all people will think of Reed as Franklyn’s father to the exclusion of anyone else. As for Valeria, he may well feel a bit split between Reed and himself, due to the rather exotic circunstances surrounding her conception, gestation and birth.

    Even for Scott it is rare to think of Xavier as enough of a parental figure to actually call him “father”. Doom would not do that referring to Reed’s children except perhaps as a particularly flippant attempt at bugging Reed.

  11. YLu says:

    @Luis Dantas

    I’m not saying he’s saying that to the kids. I’m saying he -might be- saying that to the Marauders.

  12. Salomé says:

    Luis Dantas:

    “Not all mutants are separatists. As a matter of fact, they can’t be. Being such would further weaken their already feeble grasp on the claim of being underappreciated heroes.”

    I’m not sure I grasp where you’re disagreeing with me, here?

  13. Michael says:

    Let’s face it: Charles Xavier has always been a not-so-secret mutant supremacist whose entire modus operandi was finding attractive mutants, taking them back to his fancy house, and teaching them how to fight other mutants and other things. Sure, they say it was for the good of mutant acceptance, but what he was clearly doing was trying to set up his X-Men as heroes in the hopes of being admired and envied.

    Also, that whole “Gifted Children” thing sounds rather dodgy when you think about it.

    When you get right down to it, he’s never been good at assimilating with humans or other heroes. In the original Secret Wars, he and the X-Men were basically a third faction rather than a cohesive part of the heroes as a whole, and even after that, he seemed to keep his team at a remove from the general public.

    He’s a creepy weirdo who reads minds, alters memories, does shady shit on a regular basis, and doesn’t play well with others.

    This current treatment of him is really just in line with how he’s been all along, only with much less of the politeness and indirectness removed.

    🙂

  14. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    It’s not really a revolutionary reading of the character. Between Deadly Genesis, ‘Dangerous’ arc of Astonishing and various stories in Carey’s Legacy, Xavier’s goals and methods have been repeatedly questioned. It was basically the only story beat for him between 2005 and 2012. Though for me the character is best when forced to face his past shortcomings and failures, so I liked Legacy – and generally Xavier stories from that period – a lot.
    And listening to X-Plain the X-Men it seems like there were parts of that trend even back in the 90s.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure there are many instances of Xavier actually being a good mentor, teacher and leader. He gets lionized a lot – to an unbearable degree when he was dead – but it seems to be mostly lip service?

  15. Ben says:

    I mean, the X-Men come off as straight bad guys here to me.

    Sure maybe Reed’s being too controlling.

    But Franklin is still a minor he’s responsible for, right?

    Minors don’t get to move off to an island full of strangers even if they want to.

    Especially when the people in charge come to force the issue with a squad of soldiers to back them up.

    Would you want your teenager to move to an island that is itself an energy sucking monster- populated with supervillains like Magneto, Mr Sinister, Apocalypse, Sabertooth, Sebastian Shaw, etc?

    This is crazily one sided.

  16. Luis Dantas says:

    That it is, Ben.

  17. Ben says:

    Has Marvel ever done one of these blank VS blank books or events in which one side wasn’t clearly in the wrong?

    Civil War kind of started out interestingly ambiguous until the Pro-Reggers started tossing people into Negative Zone prison and pardoning mass murderers.

  18. neutrino says:

    It’s interesting that Franklin thinks his father has a mental block that keeps him from curing the Thing. In FF #245, his powers flared up and he turned into an adult. He tried curing the thing, but realized the Thing subconsciously didn’t want to be cured. He then reverted back to childhood, imposing blocks against using his power. https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Fantastic_Four_Vol_1_245

    Everyone’s yelling at Reed, but remember Xavier made a copy of Frankilin’s mind without permission. Also, Reed would have doubts about Franklin going off to an island controlled by a mutant telepath who’s starting to talk about us vs. them. There’s also a few serial killers and madmen, including Mister Sinister, who was shown in Incoming to want a sample of Franklin’s DNA.

    Kitty’s coming off totally different than in Marauders. Either Zdarsky botched her characterization, or she’s adopting her previous persona to fool Franklin, or she’s been resurrected and changed.

    My theory about Kitty? She’s possessed by Malice. That explains why she chose the name Marauders, and her recent brutal behavior.

  19. Thom H. says:

    Yes, Charles’ questionable decisions have been the main focus of the character for a while. So his turn to mutant nationalism is maybe not so surprising now.

    But I think he’s definitely acted as (an ethical) mentor/leader in the past. Simply opening the school and teaching students how to control their powers was life changing for characters like Jean who were grappling with Omega-level talents and severe emotional trauma.

    The school also acted as a safe haven for mutants who couldn’t blend into human society as easily as Jean, Scott, Bobby, etc. Nightcrawler being an early example of that kind of character. Of course, encouraging someone with low self-esteem to name themselves after a worm is maybe not a great choice, but there you go.

    Whether Charles has been successful at putting a positive spin on mutantkind in general is debatable. I can think of better ways to accomplish that than dressing up in wacky costumes, engaging in terrifying fights in the middle of NYC, and then retreating to a secluded mansion upstate. I recall at least a couple of Claremont-written issues where characters were concerned that all the property damage they were causing was doing more harm than good for the mutant cause.

    In any case, I think Charles has earned some goodwill over the years, although that is quickly running out now that he’s tipping more toward mutant dictator and less toward benevolent teacher.

    On a different note, Reed acts like an ass in this story. Tinkering with your child’s DNA is not a great idea. And why hasn’t he considered that masking Franklin’s X-gene is the reason why Franklin’s powers are fading? It seems like a pretty obvious first place to look.

  20. Luis Dantas says:

    Did Reed tinker with Franklyn’s DNA? I guess he may have, but that was not how I read his statements. I understood it as a mechanical device or perhaps a biochemical one.

  21. Si says:

    I don’t know if Xavier’s been portrayed as negative, any more than any other authority figure in Marvel comics. Iron Man, Nick Fury, every male superhero’s dad, they’ve all been there.

    I personally think Xavier works best as a remarkable paragon, in the background, serving as an inspiration and maybe as an occasional deus ex machina. That characterisation doesn’t work if he’s front and centre of course, which is why we get the sinister daddy issue stuff.

  22. Chris V says:

    I’m pretty sure this will end up with the X-Men and FF finding a common cause in opposing Dr. Doom, and there will be some sort of deal reached between Xavier and the FF with Franklin.

    What would have made this series so much better is if Xavier and Magnus started acting cool and trying to lure Franklin to the island.
    Have them dressing like hipsters.
    Magneto is smoking dope.
    Xavier calls Reed “boring old man Reed.” He just doesn’t understand us muties, man. Am I right?

  23. Dazzler says:

    One thing I’ll say about Xavier is that his hook was that he has this fragile, disabled body but he’s got the most powerful mind on the planet. It’s a good hook. He’s less interesting when he’s up and walking around. This is one example of the ways I think modern Marvel seems to lose sight of what makes these characters special.

  24. Chris V says:

    Ben-X-Men vs. In humans was pretty well what you are describing.
    It was a plot that didn’t need to happen.
    The X-Men understandably didn’t want mutants to die.
    The Inhumans were never portrayed as villainous.
    Especially when the resolution was just to have the X-Men ask Medusa to not kill all the mutants, with Medusa calmly deciding that she didn’t want to kill mutants.
    If only the X-Men would have done the sensible thing from the start, and just discussed the matter calmly with the Inhumans…
    Wow, was that a horrible story.

  25. Mark Coale says:

    I’m not reading Slott’s FF, so I’m completely thrown off by Franklin’s hair color.

  26. CJ says:

    Neither side is coming off well here. I guess that’s the point.

    I was mainly interested in this series to see other characters critique the Krakoa era, and I was happy to see a little bit of that. The story explicitly references a story in the past, whereas the Hickman era has soft-rebooted a lot of the past. It grounds this era as more “real” to me.

    @Dazzler
    Whether it’s because of a Shi’ar body or Magneto holding his spine together, or…crutches?! in the Silver Age, Xavier has had a choice whether or not he wants to be in a wheelchair. Since at least the Claremont era Marvel have been unable to decide on his disability status.

  27. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Honestly, the ‘most powerful mind / fragile, disabled body’ isn’t a story hook, it’s a cliché.

    Or rather – it could be a story hook, but x-writers haven’t been interested in exploring Xavier’s disability. It was only ever a visual shorthand. A cliché.

    (The closest the x-books have come to exploring this, I think, was a story or two when Xavier was briefly able to walk again and then was conscious of it soon coming to an end. Rollerskating with Jubilee and such).

  28. Chris says:

    Professor X explicitly doesn’t have the most powerful mind on the planet. He is NOT an Omega level mutant.

    He might as well walk around.

  29. Chris says:

    I’m surprised no one brought up Magneto wearing his X-Men uniform from back in the 1980s in the meeting room before being all Magneto the White and threatening.

  30. Luis Dantas says:

    Argh. Dope-user Magneto, @Chris V?

    No thanks. I have plenty reason enough to dislike him already.

  31. Dimitri says:

    @Krzysiek Ceran

    In conjunction to your point, it’s worth noting that the “weak body, powerful mind” thing doesn’t match how we culturally look at disability anymore, for the obvious reason that it never reflected the truth.

    Many paraplegics are really fit badasses because (a) physical activity is often essential to their maintaining a quality lifestyle and (b) a majority of survivors of spinal cord injuries used to lead highly physically active lives with high-risk behavior, so many continue living physically active lives after the injury.

    In this day and age, I suspect the “weak body/powerful mind” thing would be called out as not just a cliché but as an offensive or problematic or whatever-the-word stereotype at that.

    Having said that, I love the issue with rollerskating Jubilee! I think it was after Xavier came back from the moon following X-Cutioner Song. Also of note is that it’s a story about Xavier’s disability, yes, but neither about his being weak nor having a powerful mind.

  32. Evilgus says:

    I seem to remember at the conclusion of Dream’s End, Xavier is working out at the gym and reminiscing about his history with Moira… He’s still paraplegic but dude is basically doing acrobatics!

    Agree with Dimitri… A couple of my friends who have unfortunately had accidents and are now in wheelchairs are still very physically fit.

    I always viewed the wheelchair as Xavier’s burden to overcome… Kind of like Storm’s claustrophobia, Cyclops not being able to turn off his optic blasts, etc. Every powerful character needs a limitation…!

    Question: has the resurrection of Xavier in Fantomex’s body as “X” been dealt with in-store? Or just handwaved away? I enjoyed Soule’s run, inconsistent artwork aside.

  33. SanityOrMadness says:

    Evilgus> has the resurrection of Xavier in Fantomex’s body as “X” been dealt with in-store? Or just handwaved away? I enjoyed Soule’s run, inconsistent artwork aside.

    Well, even Soule didn’t do anything with that – he had “X” explicitly not have Fantomex’s powers, such as his healing factor, he just had Xavier somehow make it over into a copy of his own (hair notwithstanding).

    In any case, it’s largely been handwaved. You could read Krakoa as “X”‘s undefined “new dream” from the end of AXM #12, but Xavier is back and bald. And Fantomex is also back (or going to be shortly), since he’s getting an issue of Giant-Size X-Men.

  34. Ben says:

    Yeah it hasn’t been addressed yet at all but I figured that’s what the Fantomex issue is going to explain.

    Chris V- X-Men vs Inhumans is an odd duck. They all just fight for no good reason.

  35. Arrowhead says:

    Re: Possible forms of mutant culture…
    – Telepathic simulations/art installations/video games
    – Ballet performed by teleporters/animalistic mutants
    – Alternatively, new types of ballet or circuses where telekinetics lift and support the performers
    – Mutants with matter-control powers as architects
    – Mutants with matter-control powers as chefs or brewers
    – Forge designing machines with the express purpose of “being beautiful”
    – New sports or athletic competitions

    These aren’t even necessarily good or interesting ideas. But it took me 10 minutes to make that list. This stuff isn’t difficult to come up with. The fact that literally the only mutant “culture” we see is one panel of a Siren/Dazzler concert is beyond disappointing, it’s absolutely baffling.

    Mutant culture/national identity is something that HoX explicitly promised, and it could be effortlessly included just by putting a performance or exhibition in the background while the characters talk.

    Marauders is doing some interesting stuff with the politics and economics of Krakoa, but otherwise we’re getting standard X-Men stories where the only difference is that the background is a biomechanical jungle instead of a school. Not even bad X-Men comics, necessarily – but at this point, I’m entirely comfortable stepping back and waiting for trades.

  36. Arrowhead says:

    Whoops, wrong thread. Sorry to derail the discussion.

  37. Adrian says:

    As Luis points out, this is far better written than any of the X-Books. Every single character here from the X-Men is written much more skillfully.

    I really dislike the ridiculous fake conflict set up here. Nothing needed to go this far and nothing justifies it even in a broader context. I can forgive it for the Fantastic Four as Zdarsky does a great job with their characterization. I have never read an FF comic but I got the tensions and conflicts immediately.

    The X-men (aside from Kitty) come off as obnoxious and arrogant. Not a great look but it lines up with their creepy characterizations in House of X.

    Still, even with that, the book is just written so much better. He has a handle on most of his cast even though they are large.

  38. Pasquale says:

    @Dimitri The issue with rollerskating Jubilee is also a big favorite of mine!

    I agree that this read like a Silver Age conflict to me, but I still really liked it.

    I guess we’re all still trying to figure out the reasons why Xavier and others are acting out of character, i.e. purposeful narrative choice vs. new character voices? I can’t figure out which one it is. I can’t even figure out whether I have a problem with either answer. The best I can say is that I’ve read everything else Hickman did at Marvel and he no characters seemed wildly off (though I hate his Sunspot), so I assume something has to be going on?

  39. Moo says:

    Rollerskating Jubilee? Rollerskating Jubilee?!? There was no rollerskating Jubilee!

    She was rollerblading.

  40. Chris V says:

    I would hazard a guess that Xavier is purposely acting in a certain manner, for the sake of selling wherever things are going with whatever is the plan.
    I base this, specifically, on Xavier’s conversation with Namor during House of X, where Namor told Xavier that he didn’t believe Xavier had truly changed.

    Magneto isn’t really acting out-of-character. Hickman seems to write Magneto as highlighting more of the mutant supremacist aspect of the character.

    Although, I can’t explain other characters acting strangely.
    There can be jarring transitions/contradictions in the way a character is portrayed from one series to another also.
    That certainly doesn’t help.

  41. Pasquale says:

    @Moo it was an unforgivable error. Any fool knows 90s = rollerblading

  42. Dimitri says:

    I protest and contend rollerblading is impossible!

    A blade cuts. It is its only defining feature. If a blade rolls rather than cuts, then it is no blade at all, sir. No blade at all!

  43. MasterMahan says:

    Kitty rollerskated, Jubilee rollerbladed. Based on this pattern, we can conclude Pixie had a Razor scooter, and Gabby has a hoverboard.

  44. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Evligus

    Back to Fantomex/Xavier – Adventures In Poor Taste run an interview with Hickman today in which he answers this question. So according to Hickman Xavier WAS still in Fantomex’s body throughout HoXPoX and up to the X-Force issue in which he was assassinated.
    After which he was brought back as himself and has shown the world – and the readers – his face.

    Except – and this is me, not Hickman – this doesn’t quite work with the Xavier and Cypher on Krakoa flashback, where we’ve seen Xavier sans helmet/mask and he was himself. Which logically would mean that this took place way before Avengers vs X-Men.

    I mean, it doesn’t work in as much as it’s a retcon that results in Doug knowing about the plan – or at least the nation-creation part of the plan – for most of the last decade. And considering the stories he’s been involved in during that time, it… raises some questions. Like, he was sort of losing his mind due to ‘internet addiction’ around the Return of Wolverine – but know there could, potentially, be an ominous layer to that. What if that crisis was brought on by what he knew? What he… interpreted from Xavier’s mind? His body language?

    I mean, it’s not because nobody cares much about continuity at the x-office nowadays… or so they want us to think!

    Anyway. Tl;dr. Hickman says Xavier was riding Fantomex’s body up to his most recent resurrection. It turns a scene from HoXPoX into an awkward-ish retcon. Also there was no way for the readers to tell and it had no bearing on the plot whatsoever.

  45. SanityOrMadness says:

    Krzysiek Ceran> Except – and this is me, not Hickman – this doesn’t quite work with the Xavier and Cypher on Krakoa flashback, where we’ve seen Xavier sans helmet/mask and he was himself.

    That’s not actually contradictory – Soule had Xavier explicitly make over Fantomex’s body into a copy of his own, just younger and with hair. (Hence why he had his telepathy, but not Fantomex’s healing factor). Since he’s predisposed to hair loss, it all fell out some time after the AstXM Annual Rosenberg wrote and before the HoXPoX FB you mention.

  46. Thom H. says:

    If that’s the real reason we didn’t see Xavier’s face in HoXPoX, then I will eat my copies of those comics. There has to be something else going on, or that’s the dumbest red herring in the history of red herrings.

    How long was the span of time from AvX to now in story time? Cypher probably didn’t have to keep the truth hidden for that long.

  47. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    I believe there were at least two universal 8-month timeskips (around Secret Wars) during that period of time, so that’s over a year and a half on top of however many months/years it’s supposed to be in comic-book time.

    Not that anybody pays much attention to timeskips either.

    As for the ‘Xavier remade Fantomex’s body’ – I’d say it’s muddled. He didn’t look much like himself in Astonishing. Then again, it’s a comic book, so Xavier being bald is basically his only consistent visual trait. (And it’s not like Fantomex had a distinct, recognizable appearance known to readers under his mask).

    He also didn’t look like he was a younger version of himself in the HoXPoX flashback, just… himself. But, again… comic book.
    I guess it works with that explanation.

    Though honestly, the Krakoa plot would have been so, so much easier to swallow if it was developed organically from Jean Grey’s ‘mutant nation’ ideas from X-Men Red and ‘call me X”s new dream teased at the end of that Astonishing arc. All the pieces were there, if only anyone bothered to pick them up.

  48. SanityOrMadness says:

    Cypher can’t have been brought in on the plan until after AoXM/Rosencanny anyway – according to the HoX #1 script, his T-O arm is Warlock.

    (Besides, he was tied up in Soule’s Daredevil until the end of that run.)

  49. Adam Farrar says:

    Neutrino: “My theory about Kitty? She’s possessed by Malice. That explains why she chose the name Marauders, and her recent brutal behavior.”

    Maybe this series is leading to a showdown between Malice (the Marauder) vs Malice (evil Sue Richards).

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