Spoilers below for X-Men #15!
When the real X-Men returned to Marvel Comics, it was a triumph for the mutants of Krakoa, but another mutant team might have a serious problem with it. The mutants of Marvel’s Earth operate a sovereign nation, one more interested in statecraft than saving the world. The new X-Men rebel against Krakoa’s injustice, but if that’s their goal, the X-Force will do whatever it takes to stop them.
Since 2019’s Dawn of X reboot, Charles Xavier’s dream has changed. He’s lost his idealism and chosen to withdraw to the psychic island of Krakoa, where mutants answer only to mutantkind and conquer disease, scarcity, and even death. The downside to this paradise is that Professor Xavier no longer believes in unity between humans and mutants. He’s become detached and pragmatic, maintaining authority with the mixed heroes and villains of the Quiet Council, an executive committee that makes decisions for Krakoa.
The Quiet Council’s will is carried out by the new X-Force, a shadowy intelligence organization that acts with little to no oversight. The blue-furred scientist Beast operates the X-Force as “mutant CIA”, performing extrajudicial assassinations, biological warfare, and nationalist shame parades of X-Men heroes. Beast has a history of solving problems in ways that make things vastly worse, so these efforts have backfired massively, including when he caused an entire country to go into the fungus-based apocalypse from The Last of Us. Jean Grey was part of X-Force, but quit in issue 10 over Beast’s crimes.
In X-Men #15, the Quiet Council objected to Cyclops and Jean Grey heading into dangerous territory to rescue their son, so they formed a new X-Men team to do it without their permission. This is a big change because the X-Men didn’t actually exist in Krakoa anymore. They’d been disbanded because the Quiet Council considered them a source of potential discord and ideological conflict. When the time came to test that ban, it fell apart, and the X-Men came back as heroes that oppose the Quiet Council’s “necessary evil”.
That same issue foreshadows where this conflict is leading. An internal memo explains that because the X-Men are too “disharmonious”, the Quiet Council decided “only the FORCE protocol of a national surveillance and defense apparatus will be allowed to operate as a fully-functioning defense mechanism”. In other words, only the X-Force are allowed to act as a mutant strike force, and the X-Men are effectively outlaws.
Where is this leading? The X-Force doesn’t solve things peacefully or diplomatically, but they are willing to perform tyrannical shows of force to get their way, like when they marched Colossus on a “traitor’s parade” for the “crime” of being from Russia, just to intill fear and paranoia in Beast’s “citizens”. The X-Men are about to find out just how far the Krakoan regime’s power trips are willing to go.
No mutant conflict can go without a full-on climactic fight scene, and in this case, the spotlight has to be on X-Men captain Cyclops and the X-Force’s field leader Wolverine. These two stubborn warriors have a history of beating each other down over principles that just might flare up again. If and when it happens, it’ll have a different tone than their previous fights, because nowadays Cyclops and Wolverine share a bed. Those two X-Men are in for some awkward mornings at the breakfast table.