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Jan 5

X-Men #6 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #6
“Whatever Happened to Captain Krakoa?”
by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz & Marte Garcia 

COVER / PAGE 1. A crowd of people photograph Captain Krakoa on their phones. We’ll find out during the issue who this guy is.

PAGES 2-4. Flash forward: Captain Krakoa debuts in New York.

He’s doing very conventionally heroic things indeed, and generally trying to be a welcome member of the New York community – precisely in line with the X-Men’s general approach to New York since they set up here at the start of the current volume. Obviously, rescuing a cat from a tree is an absurdly stereotypical piece of heroism.

“I’m kind of the greeter in these parts.” Particularly back in the 1980s, Spider-Man tended to show up at the start of a new series to cement it as being in the Marvel Universe.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits. The layout is modified to show the title in larger print, for some reason. The previous five issues were titles as chapters of “Fearless”, but this one isn’t. The solicitations say this issue is part of the first trade paperback, but you have to wonder.

“Whatever Happened to Captain Krakoa?” The title references the Alan Moore / Curt Swan story “Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel” which was the last Superman story before the character was rebooted in Crisis in Infinite Earths.

PAGE 6. Flash forward: The Quiet Council insist on Captain Krakoa joining the X-Men.

This takes place six days in the future, i.e. one day before the previous scene.

Since two seats around the Council are still vacant, this is apparently before Inferno. It’s technically possible that Colossus and Destiny are simply absent from this meeting, but unlikely to be the intention.

“[W]hen you broke away from the Council after the tournament in Otherworld…” In X-Men vol 5 #16. (The “tournament in Otherworld” is X of Swords.) That story made a big deal about the Quiet Council not controlling who would serve on the X-Men, but as we’ll see, the Council aren’t actually trying to dictate membership; they’re telling Cyclops that he can’t appear in public as Cyclops because that will expose resurrection.

“We must respect this sacred land…” This is indeed the third law of Krakoa, but quite what it has to do with the Council’s ruling here is, at best, dubious. They seem to be invoking it as a general authority for anything to do with national security.

“Krakoa gives away whiskey and medicine, yet only half the nations of man recognise us. They’re simply not ready for what you’re proposing.” The “whiskey” is Port Genosha, seen in multiple issues of Marauders. Emma seems to be exaggerating – Krakoa also sells medicine, and I think this is the first we’ve seen of any mention of them giving away whiskey. And half the world not recognising Krakoa sounds a bit much considering it’s in the UN. The closest real-world analogy would be Palestine, which is recognised by 138 states – rather more than half – and only has observer status at the UN.

By implication, Scott’s proposal was to reveal resurrection to the humans.

PAGES 8-11. Feilong arrives on Phobos.

Feilong. Issue #1 established that Feilong had been transforming his body to enable him to live on Mars, before the mutants terraformed the place and made the exercise redundant. We saw him set off for Mars as an Orchis ally in issue #4. The narration in that issue says that the journey takes him 18 days.

Feilong has a point that his annexation of Phobos – which the mutants weren’t using – is no less inherently valid than the mutants’ annexation of Mars. It might be gratuitously provocative, but that’s another matter.

PAGE 12. Data page. Feilong claims Phobos “for all mankind”. That’s an Orchis logo in the top right. The message and its layout echoes a data page from Planet-Size X-Men #1 in which the mutants announced their colonisation of Mars – although that message was directed to alien worlds, not to Earth. (“Hold fast for a message from the regent of Sol.”)

PAGES 13-18. Vornak confronts Feilong.

Vornak is a new character, but his general attitude – embrace of violence and general arrogance – is pretty much stock Arakko behaviour. The woman with him in the first two panels is Isca, a member of Arakko’s Great Ring ruling council.

Sunfire takes it as read that Feilong is going to get himself killed, and clearly misjudges the situation very badly. Feilong, as a post-human, is a Very Serious Threat Indeed.

PAGE 19. Orchis colonise Phobos.

“Dyson ring”. The term “Dyson sphere” originally derives from a thought experiment by Freeman Dyson (1923-2020), who suggested that the Sun could be surrounded with a shell that could absorb all of its energy and make it all available for use by humanity. Despite literal interpretations in some sci-fi, Dyson clarified that he didn’t mean literally a shell around a star, but rather an arrangement of orbiting devices. The simplest form of that would be a Dyson ring. Still, the basic concept was all about stars and their energy, rather than dead moons, so… whatever.

“[T]he corpse of Nightcrawler was discovered…” Nightcrawler died while preventing Phobos from crashing out of orbit in Way of X #5. The body seen here is in rather better condition than the one we saw in that issue, but that’s probably just artistic licence.

“For the attention of all petals.” Orchis refers to its departments as “petals”.

PAGE 20. Data page. Blurd Murdock advertises his services to interstellar neighbour disputes. This is a callback to similar adverts by Blurd in New Mutants.

PAGES 21-22. “Captain Krakoa” returns too the Treehouse.

Presumably we’re now back in the flash-forward timeframe, though it’s all a bit confused. People are mourning the death of Cyclops, which they apparently understand to have happened publicly and very recently. Whatever they’re referring to here, it clearly isn’t his death in House of X. It could be something that happened between issues, or it could be some sort of illusion – see the next scene. At any rate, the “next issue” tag indicates we’ll find out more.

This issue was originally scheduled to ship on 22 December 2021, hence the Treehouse being decorated for Christmas. Through the miracle of Marvel time it is now Christmas again, even though it’s also possible to demonstrate that less than six weeks have passed since King in Black, which also happened at Christmas. Marvel time is wonderful.

PAGES 23-24. Scott calls Ben Urich.

Apparently Scott wants to leak some information to the press – but Urich’s memory of his previous conversations with Scott in issues #1 and #5 have been erased by someone.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: ORIGIN.

Bring on the comments

  1. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Since we are in a flashforward, my read was that Scott is about to die in a very public way – next issue, probably.

  2. Rob says:

    Isn’t it possible that it’s just *still Christmas*?

    Did you happen to catch when issue number #7 was available in full on Marvel Unlimited last night? Hoo-boy. So was X-Men Legends #11, btw.

  3. Rareblight says:

    @Rob,

    Since it was made available by Marvel itself and not actually leaked, do you consider as spoilers for the content of X-Men 7 and Legends 11?

  4. S says:

    Just to be pedantic, the “Whatever Happened to…” title formulation was used a lot by DC back then – it was a recurring segment where they would bring back some long-forgotten character. Moore was referencing that with his title.

  5. S says:

    Also to be even more pedantic, Moore’s title was “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow”, not Steel.

  6. The Other Michael says:

    I don’t care HOW Cyclops supposedly died this time, or how public it was.

    In the Marvel Universe, death is so temporary for most superhumans that coming back from it shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, Cyclops has been dead at least once before (during the Death of X) and he got better (through all manner of temporal hijinks).

    The X-Men died quite publicly in Dallas while fighting the Adversary… and came back.
    The Avengers and FF all died publicly fighting Onslaught, and came back.
    And so on… and so on… and so on.

    In a world where aliens, shapeshifters, clones, LMDs, parallel world duplicates, time travelers, and the like are common enough to build an entire new school of legal thought around, why is “Cyclops is dead, and now he’s back a week later” even a surprise, much less one which exposes the nature of Krakoan resurrection to the world?

    Sure, you can argue that they don’t want anyone to know that mutants have conquered death completely, so it’s wise to be discreet about it, and that’s why they keep arranging cover stories for characters like Harry Leland… but if you’re bringing back thousands, even millions, of dead mutants, sooner or later people will notice anyway, especially when you bring back the ones who -aren’t- public figures (i.e. any of the typical costumed heroes and villains recognizable to the public.)

    (You can bring back heroes and villains and who’s even going to care, because those guys cheat death all the damned time. But when Sally Mutant comes back from the dead after being the victim of a Friends of Humanity lynching three years ago, is she going to settle for being background on Krakoa, or is she going to want to tell her family she’s okay???)

    I really hope this storyline can make this Captain Krakoa plotline work.

  7. Rob says:

    @Rareblight

    Yeah, obviously still spoilery, which is why I didn’t mention any plot points from them. Just curious how many people actually read the books before Marvel spotted the error several hours later.

    Marauders #27 was also leaked. I didn’t realize that wasn’t actually already out today.

  8. Moo says:

    I’m gonna hop on the pendantic train here then. Crisis didn’t reboot Superman, at least, not immediately. Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” story was published after Crisis had already wrapped up and in it, Moore acknowledged the events of Crisis by acknowledging that Supergirl had died.

    Post-Crisis Superman didn’t “officially” debut until Byrne’s “The Man of Steel” miniseries came out. I used quotation marks around “officially” because in-between Crisis and Man of Steel, Superman made an appearance in the 6th issue of Booster Gold. It was his first meeting with Booster and he used his X-Ray vision to scan Booster’s tech. Booster was wearing a Legion flight ring which Superman didn’t recognize (the pre-Crisis Superman would have immediately recognized it since he met and joined the Legion back in his Superboy days). He could only determine that it was of “advanced technology”.

  9. YLu says:

    @The Other Michael

    The ubiquity of heroes coming back from death is like Marvel time — you just can’t think about it too hard. Yes, realistically people should come to see it as not unusual, and Cyclops coming back with no explanation wouldn’t be a big deal maybe. But if you treated it realistically, it would intrinsically alter everyone’s psychology towards death, and society as a whole. Nobody wants comics where, when Iron Man or whoever’s risking their life, he knows death won’t stick anyway.* Best to ignore it.

    Unless it’s for a gag, I don’t want character acknowledging the revolving door of death anymore than I want them to reference how they don’t age.

    *Which, yes, is exactly what the Krakoa setup has done for the X-Men, but there it’s actually part of the story, a sci-fi exploration of a concept. You don’t want it to be the case for the entire Marvel universe.

  10. ASV says:

    “What do Marvel universe people actually know about super-hijinx?” is a question that’s come to me repeatedly in this era, especially regarding resurrection. Lots of “deaths” that get reversed are presented to the reader as a death, but don’t necessarily require distant observers to see them that way. Everybody that “died” fighting Onslaught really just disappeared. Same with the X-Men in Dallas, as I recall. How many super-people have been killed in ways that allowed their bodies to be recovered, or who could be seen in public injured or mutilated, and then came back?

  11. Chris V says:

    Captain America getting assassinated after Civil War.

  12. ASV says:

    Yeah, that was the only one I could think of. Very public, killed in a very human way, known identity. Everyone else who came to mind wasn’t visible to the public, or just disappeared, or the public wouldn’t have known if it was the same person.

  13. Michael says:

    Mockingbird’s death wasn’t public but her death was explained to the public as her being impersonated by a Skrull. (Which it was.) There’s no reason why the X-Men couldn’t the public Scott was impersonated by a Skrull. Similarly, a couple of Nick Fury’s deaths turned out to be LMDs. There’s no reason the X-Men couldn’t claim it was an LMD.

  14. YLu says:

    It’s not just about fooling the general public but all humanity, though. Saying it was a Skrull is enough for Joe on the street but Reed Richards is going to have questions.

  15. Taibak says:

    To be fair, Christmas decorations in Manhattan tend to go up in early November….

  16. Chris V says:

    Yes, but why would Reed Richards question it?
    Superheroes would have far less reason to question returning from death, considering they have been witness to multiple deaths which were just a brief inconvenience.

    Reed: OK, we know it wasn’t a Skrull. How is Cyclops still alive?
    Xavier: How did you survive when you were supposed to be dead back in the early-1990s, Reed?
    Reed: Oh. Right. Well, carry on then.

  17. YLu says:

    “Question it” not in the sense of doubt but in the sense that if you claim someone’s out there impersonating superheroes, it’s cause for concern and other heroes are going to want to want details about about the whos, hows, and whys. It’s scrutiny the mutants don’t need.

    Especially since Krakoa has no reason to believe Cyclops will be the last time they have to worry about something like this. They’ve already been concocting stories for folks like Harry Leland. It’s a critical mass thing. You can keep trotting out individual excuses, but eventually they’ll pile up and folks are going to get suspicious.

  18. Mike Loughlin says:

    Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought the storytelling on the last few pages was messy.

    Superhumans coming back from the dead may be something regular humans are used to in the Marvel Universe, resulting in cynicism or apathy. “Mutants have conquered death, and they’ve been keeping it a secret from humanity while humans die every day,” however, will produce a much stronger response.

  19. Ceries says:

    The fact that it’s Sunfire Duggan chose to confront Feilong is notable, as the text itself notes-while Duggan has stepped back from Sunfire’s characterization as a hardliners Japanese Nationalist, the character still has deep nationalist roots, being literally a rising sun-and so having him confront a Chinese man over territory and be implicitly portrayed as in the right is extremely fraught with history which goes unexamined.

    Relatedly, it sure is interesting that Feilong is the most important Chinese character in the X-books right now, huh? His closest competition is Jubilee and the Xorns. You would think the largest ethnic group in the world would have more significant mutants! He has big shades of the classic 80s “Japan is going to take over with their dangerous cultural advantages and capitalism mastery” adjusted for the modern age with a new Chinese skin.

  20. Chris V says:

    I understand why mutants want to keep their secret from humanity.

    The question we had was why would humanity blink an eye at Cyclops coming back from death when they’ve seen people who are supposed to be dead return from seeming death on a regular basis.
    Why immediately jump to “Cyclops is supposed to have died! What is going on?” rather than, “Cyclops didn’t really die. Another dull day on Marvel Earth.”

    YLu’s point makes sense though.

  21. Chris V says:

    Ceries-I disagree. Can Feilong truly be seen as the villain in this story?
    While the X-books may move in a different direction going forward, Hickman’s set-up has done away with the concept of heroes and villains.
    The notion of coexistence no longer exists and all that remains is for one side to achieve supremacy.
    He proclaims that Phobos is for “all mankind” and not just for the Chinese nation.

    In Inferno’s alternate timeline, humanity learned to work together against the common threat of mutants.

    People may cheer the X-Men due to their past stories, but Hickman has changed the idea of mutant victory to one based on amorality and a simple concern with genetic determinism rather than moral superiority (as with Xavier’s dream).
    We are now cheering on the extinction of Neanderthals as “unfit” if we take a side.
    It’s an uncomfortable narrative, but it’s what Hickman has given the reader.

    Orchis may be wrong with their agenda to stop all mutants, but their intent has been shown to be correct.
    Orchis really is the last chance for human survival.
    Mutants will rise to dominance on the planet and humanity really is going to go extinct.
    The idea of creating enclaves to preserve the human species isn’t an insane or unjustified idea.

  22. Evilgus says:

    @Ceries. I picked up on the unexplored Sunfire and Feilong tension too. It’s also an interesting point about ‘why aren’t there more Chinese mutants’. Being cheeky, you’d think that simple market forces would move Marvel in that direction…

    It’s also been highlighted by some that in all the Inferno promo art, the ethic characters (Bishop, Psylocke) appear prominently. But it’s an all white cast in the event itself. Which is both misleading, and not ideal.

    This book is beautiful, but again I long for the days where lots happened on the page. I want a team book where every issue, each character gets a moment, a relationship highlighted, gets moved forward. The high concepts are great. The pace is glacial.

  23. neutrino says:

    @Chris V:
    Where does it say Orchis wants to stop all mutants? They’ll have to ally with them against the Children of the Vault.

  24. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    The big problem with the resurrection secret is- how is it possible not one of the thousands and thousands of mutants on Krakoa we never see has ever spilled the beans intentionally or by accident?

    It’s a preposterous open secret.

  25. ASV says:

    Krakoa itself might be a more interesting story if it *wasn’t* home to more or less all mutants. If it was just the mutants who’ve been involved in mutant stuff (i.e., the X-Men and their villains) plus an open door sanctuary policy, you’d probably have most normie mutants staying in their regular lives, rather than the implication that those tens of thousands of people cut off everyone they knew to be anonymous figures at a non-stop island rave.

  26. Chris V says:

    Neutrino-Orchis didn’t exist in the alternate future timeline with the Children of the Vault.
    Omega Sentinel went back in time to found Orchis as her method to stop mutants, so that the machines could dominate the future.

  27. Jon R says:

    I don’t think Cyclops coming back would be the breaking point, but I can see why they wouldn’t want to push it. Cyclops alone isn’t the problem, but all the other stories they’ve been spinning. With Urich having been following things up before someone mindwiped him, I can see the Council trying to hold on tightly. Not to mention that Xavier’s currently enough of a cold manipulator that he probably is thinking that Scott being publicly seen as dying to save the humans is a good PR move.

    It’s a huge mistake on their part, since they’re going to get a ton of blowback for lying to the public when it does come out. And it will — Orchis knows and can always just keep feeding more reporters the breadcrumbs. At the same time, I’ve been in similar situations where a group I’m a part of needs to make an announcement. Some people push back that it’s not the right time, give them just a little longer. Others don’t want to make waves as it’s a thorny situation. And so things get pushed further and further back until information does leak, and then it’s so much worse for having been hidden.

    So Cyclops giving the Council pushback about this felt pretty familiar. I’d guess that he’s being positioned as the one who’s going to suffer for their obstinancy until it blows up, at which point he’ll be reasonably self-righteous to the Council, while also being the public face of the lie.

  28. Jon R says:

    (Okay, alternatively he also is possibly being set up as the one who just gets sick of this and blows the whistle himself, based on his attempt at the end of the issue. That’d fit the position of the X-Men as an independent team reaching out to the public.)

  29. Dave says:

    “Similarly, a couple of Nick Fury’s deaths turned out to be LMDs”.

    I remember the Incredible Hulk issue where they had his funeral, and went out of their way to have nobody believing that Fury was really dead, only to be hit with the shocking realisation that oh, no – it was for real!
    But then eventually it wasn’t for real. At the point where you’ve done that, you’re never ever going to be able to convince the reader that a character death is permanent. See also: Black Widow being annoyed at people scoffing at the idea Nicky was really dead again. He wasn’t really dead again.

    I can’t wait to see what Nightcrawler’s new fake hero identity is. Or is he just not allowed to leave Krakoa ever again?

  30. Dave says:

    Who the hell is Nicky? My autocorrect knew I’d been typing about Fury? BUCKY.

  31. Mark Coale says:

    You wonder what the average person thinks about these characters dying and coming back. Do they think it’s just a new guy in the suit? They know it’s been done with Cap numerous types, including the government making the new guy look like Steve Rogers. Or just chalk it up to magic and or super science?

  32. neutrino says:

    @Chris V

    But the Children of the Vault still exist and will emerge as a threat that requires a baseline-mutant alliance to defeat. They’re actually stronger because of Orchis’s creation, although Omega Sentinel doesn’t know that.

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