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Jun 6

The X-Axis – w/c 3 June 2024

Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2024 by Paul in x-axis

X-MEN UNLIMITED INFINITY COMIC #142. By Steve Foxe, Steve Orlando, Nick Roche, Yen Nitro & Travis Lanham. Well, at least this is finished. Clocking in at a ludicrous 22 issues, this really does seem to have been nothing more than a bunch of side quests to occupy the C-listers. There’s no interesting concept in here, and it’s ultimately just self-indulgent sprawl. The book wraps up by annoying me one last time by having the X-Men gratuitously torture their defeated prisoners, and actually express regret that they can’t do the same thing to Selene. This was terrible.

X-MEN #35. (Annotations here.) On the other hand, this is much more like it. The final X-book of the Krakoan era (well, except for the other one that comes out this week) is a massive epilogue issue, and with Gerry Duggan, Kieron Gillen and Al Ewing co-writing the main story. A price tag of £8 is somewhat alarming, but at 88 pages in digital format, that’s not such bad value. It still triggers the involuntary “Blimey, how much?” reaction, though.

Since Orchis and Enigma were already dealt with in Fall and Rise, this issue is left to try and provide some  resolution to Krakoa itself – and transition into what comes next, as smoothly as it can. When Rise exiled Krakoa and its population to the White Hot Room, I’d assumed that it was leaving a back door for future writers to bring it back. But this issue seals off that route more definitively. Weeks have passed since Fall and Rise, and Krakoa now returns for one day only, with the background characters having aged 15 years in the interim. Some of them choose to stay (off panel), but mostly it’s a case of the Krakoans turning up to explain that Krakoa actually turned out pretty well once it was left to develop on its own. At first glance 15 years seems to short for the sort of changes that the story has in mind, but perhaps the idea is to stress how quickly the mutants move on.

The three big names on the Quiet Council back at the start were Professor X, Magneto and Apocalypse. Only Apocalypse shows up for Krakoa’s farewell. Professor X and Magneto instead get to have a farewell conversation before the Professor is carted off to jail as per the new status quo. For them, the premise of Krakoa was ultimately flawed. Professor X thinks he caved in to mutant separatism and look where it wound up; Magneto has come round to the view that he ought to have been representing all the oppressed, all along. Ironically, neither of them gets to see a version of Krakoa which seems to have done absolutely fine once it got rid of the humans – but also once it got rid of the leaders. Apocalypse takes the rejection of his values and his leadership rather more badly.

There are some dodgy fight scenes that do the book no favours – Wolverine’s attempt to kill Professor X at the start seems to wildly misread the character, and expanding Apocalypse’s tantrum into an artist jam session feels like someone was casting about for a plot element that lent itself to the guest pages. But the core of what’s going on here is solid, and the art is largely on point; Krakoa gets to go out as a paradise rather than a ruin.

Of course, much depends here on how you feel about Apocalypse being very obviously repositioned for future use as a villain, but the basic angle that any true utopia would eventually reject him seems sound to me. He was killing people in ritual combat, for god’s sake. We’ll see where they’re going with Apocalypse in the upcoming X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse miniseries, and how much of a reset button it really is. It looks like he’s getting to keep Arakko, after all. But if you find the strings are a bit too visible in terms of getting us to the next relaunch, well, fair enough.

As back-ups, we have a Claremont/Larroca story which gives Chris Claremont the chance to write Mystique and Destiny’s family as he’d conceived it. It’s a perfectly decent vignette given the limitations of him not controlling where the characters are going next, and it’s nice to see Claremont occasionally get the chance to do something with the present day X-books rather than flashback projects.

The final ten pages or so, which are the lead-in for the next wave of X-books, are basically a trailer, with a bit of plot set-up for Professor X’s set-up. Since that next wave doesn’t really have a unifying theme, it’s inevitably rather scattershot. Xavier’s own plotline interests me somewhat, but I’m puzzled about the decision to go with such an Orchis-like lead villain in Corina Ellis – surely it’s too quick to go back to that well. Perhaps the angle is that this is who’s left on the anti-mutant side now that Orchis are all out of the way, and there might be something in that; but it’s not the point I’d be pushing after months of “Fall of X”.

MS. MARVEL: MUTANT MENACE #4. By Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Scott Godlewski, Erick Arciniega & Joe Caramagna. I can’t imagine the original plan was to have this story – set way back before Fall of the House of X – ship its final chapter in the same week as the end of the Krakoan era, particularly when it really is an X-book in name only. But here we are. And hey, Ms Marvel is better off when it’s an X-book in name only. This issue is mainly the Inhumans helping Ms Marvel out with regaining control of her powers, which were a bit out of control thanks to her resurrection. There’s a rather clumsy corporate synergy bit suggesting that her mutant powers would have been the powers she has in the movies, and a villain who seems to be setting up for a future arc. But this would be a perfectly solid middle issue of Ms Marvel. It’s an odd thing to run as the end of a miniseries, though, unless some of these plot points are going to be picked up in NYX. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t, mind you.

WOLVERINE: BLOOD HUNT #1. By Tom Waltz, Juan José Ryp, GURU-eFX & Cory Petit. Right, back to business. This seems to be the first main line X-book credited to the new office. It doesn’t really shed any light on wider questions of the status quo – after all, why would you do that in a random tie-in miniseries. What’s more surprising is how keen it is to present itself as a smooth continuation of Benjamin Percy’s Wolverine run. He had Wolverine fighting vampires in the first couple of years of Krakoa, so there are plots to draw on there, but he also has Maverick show up. And Ryp was drawing Wolverine stories during the Krakoan era too. It’s all quite familiar. Maybe that’s a deliberate strategy, maybe it’s just a side effect of the fact that Wolverine #1 isn’t out for a while yet and you can’t jump the gun on that. The premise of Blood Hunt is that vampires have used Darkforce to make it night all over the world, so as long as your story involves fighting vampires, you can claim it as a Blood Hunt tie-in. That’s pretty much the territory we’re in here, and I’m not sure the world really needed a Wolverine vs zombies comic, but hey, something’s got to fill out the schedule while we wait for the relaunches in July, and this is very solid for what it is. And I do appreciate that we’re taking a few weeks before diving into the new launches, by the way. It means a very quiet June, but so it should.)

X-MEN: FROM THE ASHES INFINITY COMIC #1. By Alex Paknadel, Diógenes Neves, Arthur Hesli and Clayton Cowles. So this appeared on Unlimited without warning on Tuesday, and technically is the first new X-book from the new office. Well, aside from the Free Comic Book Day one-shot. And I’ll be honest, for all that I’ve despaired of the final X-Men Unlimited arc, the Infinity Comics were one of the things that worried me about the new regime, because Avengers Unlimited was consistently the blandest of the Infinity Comics. This is promising enough, though. It’s a weird thing to release in tandem with X-Men #35, since it’s got no huge surprises – it’s Scott and Jean taking a holiday together before her planned trip into space, which is apparently something to do with adjusting to the Phoenix again. But the story itself seems to be a relatively straightforward ghost story type thing. So far, it seems promising enough.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    I remember at the beginning of the Unlimited comic, arguing that it must be setting something up, a new title or something, it can’t just be random nonsense. Others said it’s just showcasing starring Krakoa characters one more time.

    In the end, we got El Aguila namechecked.

  2. Michael says:

    I’m not buying that the reason that Kamala’s powers were failing was because the Five imperfectly duplicated the effects of Terrigenesis. First, the Five resurrected Captain America and they had no problem duplicating the effects of the Super-Soldier Serum. Second, It was a plot point that the Terrigenesis was the reason why Kamala’s mutant powers hadn’t emerged yet and why it was difficult to identify Kamala with mutant detectors.
    Some people online complained that Jean and Scott were fighting too much in the From the Ashes Infinity Comic. These people have apparently never read Simonson’s X-Factor. Maybe couples fighting is less acceptable today?

  3. Si says:

    I suppose you could argue that Captain America’s treatment was made by humans with technology that’s close to a century old a this point, while Terrigen mist was created by super-futuristic aliens with technology beyond even the five’s ability to fully grasp.

    I’m just happy that if Ms Marvel really must be a mutant, they’re at least not ignoring the mutant-inhuman animosity from just a couple of years ago.

  4. Luis Dantas says:

    To be fair, the original X-Factor run had as one of its main plot points the inability of Jean and Scott to reestablish a relationship, and it sometimes got rather difficult a read.

    Gerry Dugan wrote then with a lot of estrangement when they last interacted (about a year and a half ago IIRC, then at the last Hellfire Gala), but both went through so much since that it was an open question how they would feel about each other.

    As for Terragenesis Mists, who knows how that works? On Earth, perhaps only Reed Richards. There is no reason to assume that it can be meaningfully compared to the Super-Soldier Serum. It all comes down to Proteus’ ability to recreate the Mist’s effects, anyway – which is yet another unknow variable. And then there is the question (which may be addressed in the comics; I don’t know) of whether the ressurrection interfered with her powers or whether instead her mutant powers are in some way in conflict with ther Inhumant ones or the Mists themselves.

  5. Midnighter says:

    I think Kamala’s problem is the fact that the terrigen mists had blocked the manifestation of her gene X well before she manifested, but probably when she was resurrected by the Five the two were recreated at the same time and artificially matured, so probably the sequence was not recreated perfectly and gene X and terrigen mists interfered.

  6. Alastair says:

    From the ashes was a huge improvement from Unlimited, 2 characters acting in character. I assume the aim will be to split Jean and Scott up again so she is more independent in Phoenix series. Like the Original FTA story it seems to be based on Scott being scared of the Phoenix.

    I did like the Unlimited ended with Berto and Sam

  7. Alexx Kay says:

    I felt like the Apocalypse fight was less about the guest pages, and more about the fact that you can’t have an X-Men comic without a big ol’ fight scene. Which nicely underscored why New Krakoa was better off *without* the X-Men. I quite liked that the X-Men characters largely didn’t seem to understand that.

  8. John says:

    Piling on to thank Paul for all the care and effort he put into annotating the Krakoa era. Reading books over the last few years, I’d hit something that felt referential and feel like I’m missing something, but not sweat it because I knew Paul would fill me in in a few days.

    I’m not excited by the next era the way I was about Hickman’s, but I’m hoping we’ll still get Paul as our guide through it into what’s next.

  9. Maxwell's Hammer says:


    “I’m not buying that the reason that Kamala’s powers were failing was because…”

    You’ll never win a No-Prize with that attitude 😀

  10. Drew says:

    Nothing to add, just wanted to lend my voice to all those thanking Paul for his coverage of the Krakoa era. The fact that Marvel stopped collecting most of the series’ in oversized hardcovers meant I was usually out-of-touch with what was going on in most of the books, and your coverage was invaluable in keeping up-to-date. Thanks! HoXPoX brought me back to the X-Men after years away, and very little in the new solicits has me excited for the next era, but I’d like to be wrong. Here’s hoping!

  11. Michael says:

    Breevort said in his blog that Maddie will be appearing in From The Ashes 7 in July Presumably in that issue, we’ll find out what happened between her and Alex.

  12. Michael says:

    Jordan White had his final X-Men Monday interview today:
    Here are some highlights:
    The writer of the Fall of the House of X data pages was supposed to be Cypher. That really doesn’t seem to fit. In Dark X-Men 2, the page reads “How the X-Men were able to convince the human government of New York to allow a demonic outpost at the corner of its most peaceful and picturesque tourist attraction remains a mystery to this day, though the Quiet Council swore there was no telepathic intimidation at play”. That’s odd wording, considering that Doug sat in on the Quiet Council meetings.And in the Sinister Four data page, the author seemed to know the details of Orchis’s deliberations about Mother Righteous, something which Doug had no way of knowing. In fairness, it’s possible Doug questioned Karima before writing the book. But it still seems like not all the writers knew it was supposed to be Doug writing the pages.
    New X-Men WAS Weapon X-Men.
    The X-Man who wasn’t a mutant that Tony Stark mentioned at the end of Adamantium Agenda was supposed to be Kitty. White claims the idea wasn’t that Kitty was secretly evil- it was that she was really a non-mutant and didn’t know about it. Again, there appears to have been a disconnect between what White claims he intended and what actually made it on the page, since Tony clearly implies that the non-mutant was a sleeper agent. White also claims that he suggested the idea that Kitty wasn’t a mutant to Duggan but Duggan rejected it, which is odd because some of Duggar’s stories seem to suggest Kitty isn’t a mutant and didn’t realize it.
    Regarding Moira being evil, White pointed out that she probably did a LOT of horrible things when she was married to Apocalypse. In hindsight, this is the part of Hickman’s retcon that was probably a mistake, since Moira went from mom who didn’t treat her kid who was conceived by rape very well before Hickman (which is flawed but understandable) to woman who murdered hundreds in the name of Social Darwinism under Hickman(which isn’t very understandable).

  13. neutrino says:

    So if Krakoa turned into a utopia because it was isolated from homo sapiens, doesn’t that finish off Xavier’s dream of coexistence? The mutant isolationism of it was a feature, not a bug. Mutants even get a separate heaven, in Tiphareth of the Tree of Life. Every mutant is also a part of one of the great cosmic entities, the Phoenix. Contrary to Magneto and Xavier’s conversation, mutant essentialism hasn’t been refuted, it’s been enshrined.

  14. Chris V says:

    Not at all. It says that Xavier’s dream is important because the different sides have to coexist on one planet. The alternative is violence, conquest, and potential genocide (as seen multiple times). Hickman showed that post-humanity could also create utopia by overcoming/isolating the mutants in Moira’s Life Six. As many pointed out, the Machines could have just left Earth for an uninhabited planet and went about creating the world they wanted (which basically breaks the plot). The point was never that mutants are flawed and need humans to be better, it was that a perfect world isn’t possible under current circumstances, so Xavier’s dream of coexistence is the best choice for the Earth to avoid a dystopian scenario.
    Mutant isolationism was a problem in this world because of the dynamic that exists with humanity. Mutants could create utopia by conquering humanity and allowing humanity to go extinct (Life 10A), but that “the ends justify the means” is not something that superhero fiction would approve.

  15. Jdsm24 says:

    No-Prize time : The pseudo-X-gene-mutant X-Man is obviously Ink , who was still active at that time , and Tony Stark is just out of the loop , because he has no real reason to even know such personal details of the X-rosters . The fact that none of the X-Men are bothered the least bit by his revelation proves that they all know it’s such a non-issue it’s already a conversational non-starter that it’s doesn’t even merit a reply or any response at all based on their absolute non-reaction

  16. neutrino says:

    @Chris V: But they don’t have to share the same planet. The logical course would be to recreate Krakoa on Mars, and ferry any newly manifested mutants there, or try to get a reliable way into the White Hot Room..

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