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Professor X’s House of X plan is big, weird, and very, very ‘X-Men’

Buckle up, ’cause we’re going full Kirby

Charles Xavier and Cyclops (left) in House of X #1, Marvel Comics (2019). Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Writer Jonathan Hickman promised a new Dawn for the X-Men this summer, and today, with House of X #1, it has arrived. Professor Xavier has a new plan for the future of mutantkind — and that plan looks like it’ll have major repercussions for humanity as a whole.

Here’s what we know about the new X-Men status quo from House of X #1.

[Ed. note: This post will contain spoilers for House of X #1.]

(LtR) Cyclops, Jean Grey, Professor X, Magneto, and Wolverine on the cover of House of X #1, Marvel Comics (2019). Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia/Marvel Comics

The cover of House of X #1 shows Professor X (front and center in his new body and new costume), Cyclops, Jean Grey, Magneto, and Wolverine doing a very dramatic superhero walk out of a swirling portal made of plant matter. Now we know where they’re coming from: Charles Xavier’s brand-new sovereign mutant nation. A literal house of X.

And that nation is made of a very, very old X-Men character. Literally.

Krakoa, the mutant sentient island, in Giant-Size X-Men #1, Marvel Comics (1975).
Krakoa in its first appearance, in 1975’s landmark Giant-Size X-Men #1.
Len Wein, Dave Cockrum/Marvel Comics

Krakoa, the Island That Walks Like a Man

The X-Men are comics juggernauts these days (no pun intended), a far cry from their original 1960s incarnation. The series didn’t really see widespread popularity until 1975, with a new incarnation of the team in Giant-Size X-Men #1 — featuring a new lineup of mutants including characters like Storm, Colossus, Wolverine, and Nightcrawler for the first time.

And the first foe that new team fought was Krakoa, “the island that walks like a man.” Krakoa was a nuclear testing site on which all the matter and biological life had developed a collective sentience and common will. It’s like a teeny, tiny Ego the Living Planet.

Krakoa has cropped up since in X-Men books, notably in 2011’s Wolverine and the X-Men, in which it is revealed that the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning was built on top of a willing spawn of Krakoa that believes itself to be a mutant. In House of X, it seems that Professor Xavier and his allies have found near-limitless potential in Krakoa’s abilities.

Krakoa provides the island home of the new mutant nation in the Pacific Ocean east of Papua New Guinea, as well as the the Flowers of Krakoa, the “primary economic resource of the mutant nation.” Flowers of Krakoa can grow “habitats,” self-sufficient offshoots of Krakoa that can serve as embassies around the world while remaining connected to its mind; and “gateways,” which provide ways to instantly travel from one part of Krakoa to another.

A mutant nation with its own culture

Declaring a new sovereign nation requires getting other countries to respect that declaration, and House of X #1 opens with six human ambassadors from Israel, China, France, Russia, the U.K., and America visiting Krakoa and being shown proof of Xavier’s dream.

Many mutant characters have attempted to create a mutant homeland before, without lasting success. Magneto’s rule of Genosha and its eventual destruction were watershed moments in X-Men continuity, and recently even Jean Grey tried to find a home for mutants in an undersea complex protected by the sovereign might of Atlantis, in X-Men Red.

So, Xavier has prepared three big bargaining chips to use as leverage. He is offering three new super drugs, produced from the Flowers of Krakoa, to every country that formally recognizes it as a nation. The first drug extends the human lifespan by five years, the second prevents human “diseases of the mind,” and the third is a powerful adaptive antibiotic, implied to solve the problem of antibiotic resistance in humans.

But he also has another natural reality that’s pressuring other nations to listen to what he has to say: The discovery that Earth’s mutant population is outpacing its human one. The various small chapters of House of X #1 are divided by pages of what seem to be dossiers or briefing documents on various relevant subjects, including one on the rate of mutant evolution, containing this:

A regression analysis of previous growth patterns of mutants revealed that, if not for [the Genoshan genocide], mutants would have become the dominant species on Earth within ten years due to cascading biological and cultural mutant-positive variables. What Genosha bought mankind was time they didn’t know they didn’t have. Doctor Gregor’s new timeline suggests that humanity has twenty years left.

Magneto speaks to a representative of the Chinese government in House of X #1, Marvel Comics (2019). Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics

House of X #1 positions Xavier and his followers in a position of already acquired strength and anticipation of even more. His plan is not merely for crafting the dawn of mutants — but the twilight of mankind. Every mutant who joins his new nation has a new language “telepathically imprinted on their cerebral cortex,” because, as Magneto explains to the Chinese ambassador, “One cannot create a distinct culture without” a distinct language.

Xavier is also seeking extremely broad amnesty for mutant criminals — including those actively committing violent crimes right now — and extending invitations to established non-X-Men mutant heroes, like the Fantastic Four’s Franklin Richards, to Krakoa’s shores.

So what’s the catch

It wouldn’t be a Charles Xavier plan if there weren’t at least one or two ethically dubious bricks in its foundation, and House of X definitely leaves some ominous threads dangling. For example, Mystique, Sabretooth, and Toad feature in the issue, when they steal ... something ... from a repository of both Reed Richards and Stark technology, and immediately flee with it to Krakoa, seemingly with the support, or forgiveness, of the X-Men.

But maybe the weirdest thing is that the issue opens with Professor X observing as Cyclops and what’s implied to be other X-Men are reborn, naked and dripping, out of these weird plant-egg things for some reason.

Professor X appears to watch as the X-Men are reborn from some freaky eggs on Krakoa in House of X #1, Marvel Comics (2019).
Hey, Charlie? HEY, CHARLIE??
Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics

And House of X #1 also gives us a look at the efforts humanity is making to create checks on all this newfound mutant economic and geographic strength, with another old X-Men story reference that’s just as deep a cut as Krakoa. But I’m not going to tell you everything that happens in the comic. You’ll have to go check it out yourself.

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