Warning: this article contains spoilers for X-Men #15 and X of Swords: Destruction!
Cyclops and Jean Grey have brought the X-Men back to the Marvel Universe. It is a time of change for the mutant race. Professor X and Magneto have successfully united the mutants of Earth on the living island of Krakoa. They have learned how to synergize mutant powers and Cerebro technology in order to resurrect the dead, and are restoring the millions slain in previous acts of attempted genocide against the mutants.
Marvel’s X of Swords event has seen the mutants of Krakoa face their greatest challenge to date. Apocalypse had intended to correct an ancient wrong, restoring Krakoa’s twin island of Arakko to Earth and reuniting with his wife Genesis and his children, his beloved First Horsemen. Unfortunately it has all gone terribly wrong, because the forces of Arakko are intent on conquering Krakoa. Apocalypse agreed to a tournament, fought in Otherworld, for the fate of Krakoa and Arakko. The stakes are high, because a death in Otherworld will be for real, overwriting the X-Men’s Resurrection Protocols.
But in this week’s X-Men #15, Cyclops and Jean Grey decide it’s time to bring these games to an end – by reforming the X-Men. The Krakoan Quiet Council had decided to officially disband the X-Men, considering this name to have too much history. But, in a stirring speech, Cyclops tells the Quiet Council he rejects their decision. “I know the difference between right and wrong,” Cyclops insists, “and I know that necessary evil has nothing to do with it… You formed the Quiet Council to be the government of Krakoa. Well… the X-Men are its heroes.” And with that, Cyclops and his wife lead a team of volunteers into Otherworld to deal with the threat and rescue their friends and family.
The X-Men are back. And they’re proving it by rejecting the best interests of Krakoa, which would dictate closing the Krakoan gateways and avoiding sending anyone to Otherworld, where their lives would be put at risk. But the X-Men don’t leave anyone behind, and they find another way into Otherworld, using Magik’s teleportation portals. What is truly impressive is the size of the army Cyclops and Jean Grey muster, proving just how many mutants are willing to stand up and serve as heroes. Some of them have been X-Men since the beginning, with all five of the original X-Men joining the charge, while others are more surprising additions – the likes of Gwenpool, Wolverine’s son Daken, and even former members of the Mutant Liberation Front. The scene is a tremendous one, rendered beautifully by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, and longer-term readers will find it reminiscent of a similar moment in the classic ’90s X-Men event X-Cutioner’s Song. There, the X-Men assembled to rescue Cyclops and Jean Grey; now, they are led by them.
Cyclops has introduced a whole new dynamic into Krakoan civilization, one that operates independently from the Quiet Council. The rulers of Krakoa disbanded the X-Men because they believed the mutant society was fragile, and that the X-Men would be seen as a rival power-base. They are right. Cyclops and Jean Grey have just created an inevitable fracture in Krakoan civilization, and it’s going to be thrilling to see what it leads to.
X-Men #15 by Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, and Sunny Gho, and X of Swords: Destruction by Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia are available now.