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Jan 13

X-Men #18 annotations

Posted on Friday, January 13, 2023 by Paul in Annotations

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

X-MEN vol 6 #18
“Wounded Wolves”
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: CF Villa
Colourist: Matt Milla
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Designer: Tom Muller with Jay Bowen
Editor: Jordan D White

COVER / PAGE 1. Synch fights vampires while using Wolverine (Laura)’s powers. And yes, they are vampires, not just random nobodies. Some of them have fangs.

PAGE 2. Opening page – a quote from both Jean and Scott. I’m sure this has probably appeared in dialogue somewhere during the series, but I don’t have time to trawl through the back issues, I’m afraid.

PAGE 3. Beast recaps the plot.

Laura seemingly died covering Synch’s escape from the Vault, and was resurrected on Krakoa, in X-Men vol 5 #19. The original, older Laura was rescued from the Vault last issue and happily reunited with Synch, her partner from her time inside the Vault, who has been pining for her ever since he escaped. (The resurrected version had no memories of their time together).

The information that she’s joined the X-Men is new – but unsurprising, since she was so happy to be reunited with Synch.

Beast clearly suspects that she’s an impostor planted by the Children of the Vault, but it’s basically his job these days to be cynical and wrong.

PAGES 4-5. Synch and Laura head to Detroit.

Laura is going to see her duplicate younger self to talk about the awkward fact of there being two of them. The younger Laura/Wolverine is in Detroit fighting vampires alongside Dazzler and Jubilee. Those three are fighting Vampire Nation in the current X-Terminators miniseries, which isn’t finished yet. The next scene clarifies that this is effectively a sequel, with the vampires making revenge attacks on Dazzler during her US tour, and Jubilee and Wolverine coming along to help once again.

“Gabby” is Laura’s younger clone sister, Scout – mostly a New Mutants character these days.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits.

PAGES 7-10. Laura, Synch and the X-Terminators fight vampires.

Old Laura has a hologram helmet for… some reason? It doesn’t really fit the colour scheme of her costume and it seems very out of place, but maybe there’ll be a reason for it in the end.

Jubilee seems to assume that future Laura is just another time travelling doppelganger. It’ll be interesting to see whether that’s the line generally taken to explain the duplicate Lauras on Krakoa – the idea that resurrection can create duplicates might give more than a few Krakoans an existential crisis.

PAGES 11-13. The rest of the X-Men rescue Orchis scientists from a space station explosion.

Orchis’s orbiting space station, the Bloom, makes its first appearance but gets some background in the next data page. Since Judgment Day, Orchis has been clearly positioned as a public and popular outfit, and presumably (like Feilong’s station on Phobos) this station is mainly being presented as a legitimate scientific outfit. In fact, this does seem to be a genuine explosion rather than a trap, though the scientists are predictably cagey about explaining what they were up to.

OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (The British equivalent is the Health and Safety Executive.)

PAGE 14. A memo from the Beast about the Orchis’ space station. Despite the Beast being a raving lunatic these days, this seems to be broadly sensible – except for the bit of the end where he suggests cloning a non-mutant spy, presumably in the expectation that they’ll get killed.

“Wolverine (Kinney) managed to infiltrate the organization’s Phobos base…” In issue #10.

“[W]e’ve … breached their Mother Mold Foundry multiple times, and at great loss of life. Mostly Wolverine’s (Logan).” As covered in Inferno #1 (2021).

PAGES 15-19. The two Lauras talk while fighting vampires.

The vampires are kind of in this story as random bad guys to make it more than just “Laura and Laura go for a coffee”.

“I wanted to see the body.” Wolverine is suggesting that she always suspected that she was a doppelganger – perhaps reasonably, given that it was always unclear how anyone had verified that she had died.

“We’d already been used so much…” Wolverine is about to say something about their long history (and origin story) of being exploited as living weapons. The interesting point is why she mentions it in this context. Is she suggesting that Beast deliberately engineered her resurrection in circumstances where the protocols weren’t actually met? It would fit with his attitude at the start of the story, and explain why he gets mentioned twice in a story that’s otherwise irrelevant to him.

“They resurrected you with a full adamantium skeleton, huh?” Laura is meant to just have adamantium claws, but Duggan wrote her with a full skeleton after her resurrection. This seems to have started out as a continuity error, but it was explained as an error on Proteus’s part in issue #10.

“If something goes bad for one of us, they’ll only bring one of us back.” This is in line with what we’ve been told before about the Krakoan policy on resurrecting clones (i.e., don’t). In particular, this general policy was a plot point in Hellions, though an exception was eventually made for Madelyne Pryor in order to appease Alex Summers. The Five were increasingly objecting to the refusal to resurrect clones with clear individual identities, though, and Scout (a clone of Laura) was in fact resurrected on Hope’s authority in New Mutants. Scout seems a pretty compelling precedent for the idea that both Wolverines should qualify for resurrection – but young Laura is technically right about it being the ostensible rule.

The two Lauras don’t apparently want to hang out with one another, despite the increasing “Wolverine family” vibe that younger Laura has had with Scout, Daken and Logan. Still, the weirdness of being such direct copies with such an extensive common history (not something Laura shares with Scout) may make the difference.

PAGE 20-21. The two X-Men return home.

Jubilee and Synch were members of Generation X together back in the 1990s, which probably explains why they’re the two who seem most comfortable together (even if the subjective age gap is now massive).

PAGE 22. Jean Grey vouches for Laura as real.

Beast continues to insist that he doesn’t trust her. But given his behaviour in X-Force and Wolverine, if he really thought that, he wouldn’t even be discussing it with the Quiet Council; it makes more sense if he’s making a show of not believing her, maybe to cover his tracks for having engineered the resurrection of a duplicate in the first place.

For some reason Beast seems to be sitting at the Quiet Council desk, which might be an art error, or might just mean that he’s making a show of importance when the Council isn’t actually sitting. The fact that he’s clearly positioned as the most cynical person in the room is especially telling when Sebastian Shaw is apparently present.

PAGES 23-24. The Starjammers have been infected by the Brood.

This is setting up a crossover with Captain Marvel next issue. The Brood, of course, are the aliens who infect people with eggs that grow and take over the host.

“To my dear sons … the ones I knew about and the ones I never did…” The sons Corsair knows about are Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan. He ‘s implying here that there could be more, though the last time somebody suggested there might an extra Summers brother it set up the notorious “third Summers brother” dangler that meandered through most of the 1990s.

PAGE 25. Carlos Pacheco tribute page.

PAGE 26. Trailers.


Bring on the comments

  1. Karl_H says:

    I’d be happy for the Krakoa status quo to go on for a while longer, but I’d want more about the gaps in the social structure, economy, etc. filled in. What all those thousands/millions of mutants are all doing day-to-day.

    When the end inevitably comes, what I really don’t want to see is any kind of status quo that has previously existed. No Westchester mansion, no hiding out in Limbo, no Decimation or desperate flight from hunters. X-Men history is littered with changes to the status quo that didn’t make any sort of lasting impact… Wreck Krakoa in some way if you must, but build on the wreckage. Use this era to build something new.

  2. The Other Michael says:

    I really, really want to see more writers go into what it actually MEANS to form a whole new society/culture based around being a mutant living on a sentient island. What does mutant music, mutant art, mutant literature, mutant cuisine, mutant religion, mutant traditions, etc MEAN? What do these things entail, and require, and signify, and where would it all go if allowed to continue for a few generations? Get some really good writers in to actually delve into this stuff!

    (or replace “mutant” with “Krakoan” if you so desire…)

    But instead, we’ll punch things.

  3. Si says:

    The biggest disappointment about this era is that Krakoa is Manhattan, but everyone lives in pumpkins instead of apartment buildings.

  4. JDSM24 says:

    “What does living as a triad do to the relations between Cyclops, Jean, Emma and/or Wolverine”

    It appears that they stopped sex-swinging when Scott & Jean moved togethet to the TreeHouse , re-establishing their original monogamous commitment to each other .
    I doubt they’ll ever address it directly as aside from Benjamin Percy (and whoever included them as an apparent throuple in a crown scene in the first Marvel Voices LGBT Edition), nobody liked it and even hated it.

    “ And how can some of these characters even abide each other, when you place their personal history in perspective (say, Cyclops and Mr Sinister)?

    Heck, why is there no conflict within Krakoa itself? Different ideas of what it should provide, of how removed it should remain, of what it’s relationship to the planet at large is? No communities, no sects, no parties, no businesses, no culture – nothing? “

    Cyclops already confided to Nightcrawler in the X-Men issue where the Crucible was introduced and Nightcrawler first conceptualized the idea of a mutant-only religion that while he is now being forced on a daily basis to do things that go against eveything he ever believed in (presumably especially sharing Jean with James , and tolerating the presence of Sinister in his immediate vicinity), he was just so sick and tired of the constant futile struggle against the status quo (that drove Ruth to suicide) that he’s willing to let let things slide so long as his family and friends can take a break to catch their breath , so to speak. Maybe thats also what all the other mutants acting “out of character” are thinking and feeding too.

    But for all it’s noise and grandeur, it feels like a huge gambit without much of a payoff.

    One of the classic evergreen genres in Japanese manga , which is now beating American corporate comics , is “Slice-of-Life” which for the most part has no real Pay-Off in the classic Western sense . For example , the infamous romcom The Daily Lives of MonsterGirls / Everday Life with MonsterGirls , which repeatedly topped the New York Times bestseller lists for graphic fiction in a way the X-books (and indeed all other Marvel Comics) have not done since the era of Bob Harras-as-EIC in the 1990’s.

  5. YLu says:

    Uncanny X-Ben:

    “You bring Scott and Jean and Logan back from the dead and skip over everything until they’re in a totally dramatically inert perfect throuple?”

    I’d take that over the tired love triangle any day.

  6. Moonstar Dynasty says:

    Re: derision against fanfiction: Can we just agree to call it bad writing instead of needlessly roping in fanfic community? Even Claremont was a comics fan before he got his start–does all his material qualify as glorified fanfic?

    Re: Fall of X speculation: Simply terminating The Five’s resurrection engine in any way would be enough to significantly change the complexion of the Krakoa premise–that, or even killing Krakoa and/or Arrako. Has it ever been discussed whether or not either of those two are being backed up to Cerebro? How would egg generation even work?

  7. sagatwarrior says:

    And let me say that this era has been very interesting with a depth of stories that I enjoy, especially after the harsh treatment that the X-Men universe received because Disney did not own the movie rights at the time. However with any era or status quo, the cracks will slowly start to form, and even Gen Z will even start to notice.

    However it is possible for Krakoa and by extension Mars can continue past its sell by date, but only if they address those concerns in a meaningful way instead of handwaving them away. Nothing to deep, but at least some glaring issues: Krakoa’s form of government seems to be represented by the oligarchical Quiet Council. But this won’t be sustainable as they continue to resurrect more mutants. They can’t continue as a hippie commune as food and shelter and other needs become a concern.

    Now there are of course other fictional countries that have existed within the Marvel Universe for decades such as Latveria, Wakanda, Atlantis, etc. As more mutants are being born around the world, the X-Men have to ask themselves is it wise for all of the mutants of the world to be in one place thus have a huge target on its back. I wouldn’t mind seeing them try to rebuild Genosha. If the X-Men feel that mutants are the true inheritors of the world, then they should definitely try to move past Krakoa and create more safe havens for mutants, as well as Krakoa making alliances with other nations, such as Wakanda, etc.

  8. Sam says:

    I think one of the biggest missed opportunities of the Krakoa era is that they haven’t taken the opportunity to integrate the X-men villains into the main cast of the books that haven’t been on an X team before. I’m discounting Immortal X-men with its rotating through the Quiet Council.

    Excalibur had Apocalypse until X of Swords. Marauders had Pyro. X-Factor had Daken. X-Corp had Mastermind, I think? I try not to think too much about X-Corp. Hellions and Sabretooth are exceptions that prove the rule in being mainly villains.

    No villain was “voted” onto the X-men (was Tempo the only one nominated?). None have been main cast members of New Mutants.

    To me, it’s just a big missed opportunity.

  9. Another Sam says:

    Just agreeing with my namesake about the villains thing – it’s by far my biggest bugbear about this era. Years of conflict between the X-Men and their foes and barely any of it taken into account now they’re sharing a space.

    Feels like so much inherently interesting drama went straight out the window so we could rush to the point of everyone working together. More villains on the teams would have been a great way to create some character moments we’d never see otherwise, and get inside the heads of some lesser explored baddies.

  10. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Salomé H. If it makes you feel any better I liked your post but it’s kind of a hassle to specifically reply to people on here so I usually don’t.

  11. JDSM24 says:

    “And even hated it”

    I originally meant to put , ‘and Everybody even hated it”

    But upon reflection since then , I realize that’s not exactly true , while MOST/a Majority of fans hated it, judging by their vehement vitriole on both 4chan and CBR , which tend to be the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, SOME/a minority of fans liked it (presumably also the same fans who ship Scott X James , and created that notorious fanart parodying the “Schism” featuring the two breaking up) shockingly enough , however they/none of them are apparently statistically significant enough for this for-all-intend-and-purposes now-canon experiment in mutant polyamory to become the status quo (since of course , Marvel cannot become too controversial so as to alienate the potential audiences who aren’t “radical far-left woke SJW’s”, which is why even if they now prominenty spotlight their LGBT characters , they tend to be so tamely wholesome as if they were on The Hallmark Channel)

    “ and feeding too “

    Likewise , I originally meant to put “and Feeling too”

    After rereading HOX/POX , I remembered that when the X-foes that were mutants came to Krakoa , they all came in a single group , or at least most of them did , which was apparently led by Apocalypse himself , who then shook hands with Xavier , so maybe thats why they behaved themselves since En Sabah Nur was keeping them in line (he managed the Crucible after all and was on the Quiet Council) and after he had gone to Amenth to be with his first family , they had already blended into Krakoa well enough that theyve become indistinguishable from the rest of the reaidents (Best example is arguably Nightcrawler’s biological father Azazel , an ancient mutant who became an actual Hell Lord [though not on the same level as the members of the Six-Fingered Hand] who has not made any waves at all since appearing with the rest of the X rogues gallery in HOXPOX)

  12. Mike Loughlin says:

    Disney won’t let the major X-characters be in an openly-acknowledged polyamorous relationship. I’m amazed the adjourning bedrooms were allowed/not noticed. Yes, Scott & Jean are an on-page couple. That doesn’t mean that they don’t get up to other things off-panel.

    I’ve always thought the Scott/Jean/Logan love triangle was tedious.

    Also: Marvel has plenty of fake countries for X-Force to mess around with. I prefer if they keep real countries and people out of the comics and stick with expies and allegories.

    Also also: I’d read “Hanging Around Krakoa with the D-Listers,” but I doubt it would sell. I think the X-Offices could make a back-up feature about Krakoan life, however. Replace the data pages with three page vignettes.

    Finally: more conflict with the villains would be welcome. I like the idea that Sinister, Shaw, etc are necessary evils. We’ve seen a little bit of conflict with former foes (Shadow King corrupting the younger mutants, Onslaught influencing behaviors, the Hellions & MLF being anti-social), but day-to-day friction would provide more drama.

  13. Chris V says:

    I believe one of Hickman’s intentions was to move Krakoa towards being a polyamorous society, but yeah, as pointed out above Marvel editorial with corporate considerations didn’t want to deal with that issue. So, we got a prototype example of it with Logan, Scott, Jean, and Emma before it was sort of quietly swept under the rug, leaving it mainly solely hinted at with that one relationship.
    It was another interesting “what if” from early days under Hickman (to separate a mutant society from human society a bit more) which was by and large left on the draft page.

  14. Si says:

    They have shown on page Jean having sexy times with Cyclops and also with Wolverine. They haven’t been coy about it. I don’t think it was the kind of relationship where they all slept in the same bed. But yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were orders from up the line to stop that nonsense. This is a publisher that had a character who exclusively wore a surgical mask until COVID 19 hit, when he suddenly stopped. They don’t want Fox News talking about Marvel if they can avoid it.

  15. Si says:

    I should add, when I say “nonsense”, I mean this relationship in particular, not poly relationships in general.

  16. Chris V says:

    I didn’t mean that X-Men was playing coy with the Scott/Logan/Jean/Emma relationship (if that was directed in response to me). I was saying that relationship was a prototype for Hickman’s intentions to evolve Krakoan society, as a whole. What are all those mutants doing all day with their parties; getting drunk and dancing and nothing more? It was pretty clearly hinted that they are having massive orgies, but Hickman wasn’t able to move any further.

    It’s also pretty funny that I would surmise any of Hickman’s (knowing Hickman’s love for science fiction novels) elements for Krakoan culture were influenced by Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein would be just so pleased to be grouped with “woke SJWs”*. heh

    *Yes, I realize that Stranger was most popular with hippies. Heinlein, however, was not a hippy.
    I also realize that Stranger states that “homosexuality is wrong”. How believable is that statement while there are massive orgies and three-ways (etc.) going on? As if there would be no same-sex action involved in such a sexually liberated society.

  17. Thom H. says:

    I’m pretty sure there was a scene between Logan and Scott that implied they were having sex, too. Something about how good Jean looked in a bikini v. how good Scott looked in a speedo?

    I’m starting to think that Hickman’s plan for the X-Men — aside from the larger plot points — was to hint at various aspects of/conflicts inherent in the Krakoa setup and see if other writers picked up on them. That’s obviously what happened once he left, but maybe that was the plan all along. So “villains living alongside people they’ve wronged” was a potential story, but only if an X-writer besides Hickman ran with it.

  18. Moonstar Dynasty says:

    Well, damn…this week’s Immortal #10 addresses a great deal of what we’ve covered here in the comments section.

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