Warning: SPOILERS for X-Men #1
The X-Men have established a new mutant nation, Krakoa - but it increasingly looks to be a trap. Jonathan Hickman's X-Men relaunch has seen Marvel's merry mutants give up on Xavier's Dream. The X-Men had previously stood for integration, but now they've embraced an isolationist philosophy in which they gather the world's mutants on the living island of Krakoa.
Krakoa is a classic idea lifted from 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1, although it's been redesigned a little in the Hickman era. This version of Krakoa purports to be a benevolent entity, offering the mutants a paradise where they can escape from humanity. What's more, the X-Men have learned that certain Krakoan "flowers" have medicinal properties, and they've offered them to the world in exchange for being left alone on their new island home. Other flowers create gateways that only mutants can pass through, and the X-Men are planting these across the Earth and beyond, in order to allow instantaneous travel.
It's a fascinating concept, but the evidence is building that the X-Men could have unwittingly been caught in a very dangerous trap. Krakoa may not be quite so innocent as the mutant race believe - and it may not be safe at all.
Krakoa Is Trying To Put Mutants At Their Ease
The first oddity is that, so far, almost every single mutant seems to be transformed the moment they set foot on Krakoan soil. Their previous ideologies appear to be discarded at once, in favor of a dream of peace in what they perceive as a paradisical mutant homeland. The most egregious example is, of course, Apocalypse; an ancient mutant who's usually committed to the idea of "survival of the fittest," Apocalypse has reinterpreted his own history as a desperate desire for the mutants to establish their home. While there's nothing wrong with even a character like Apocalypse changing his mind, the speed with which this happened was pretty staggering.
House of X #1 confirmed that Krakoa is a psychic entity, and that it enters a mutant's mind as they travel through the gateways. It ostensibly does this for a benign purpose, granting a mutant instant knowledge of the Krakoan language, but previews for Fallen Angels #1 suggest there's more to it than that. In the preview, Kwannon - the psychic assassin who's now taken up the "Psylocke" identity - reflects that Krakoan air smells like jasmine. Kwannon is a Japanese mutant, trained in temples, so she'd associate jasmine with "home." It's hard not to conclude that Krakoa has sensed Kwannon's unease, and is attempting to put her at ease by generating smells that will encourage her to relax. It's entirely possible that Krakoa is doing a lot more to create a sense of belonging, too; that it's affecting mutants' minds as they travel through the gateways, and manipulating them while they're on the island.
Now, this might be completely innocent. But anyone familiar with flora and fauna will be reminded of the Venus fly trap, which secretes a sweet-smelling nectar on its leaves in order to draw insects in. When the insect lands on the leaf, attracted to the scent, the trap snaps shut and the creature is consumed. And the evidence is building that, just like the Venus fly trap, Krakoa is not benign.
Krakoa Still Feeds On Mutants
The Fallen Angels preview gives the mutant nation a seriously creepy twist. Kwannon is one of the handful of mutants who doesn't feel at home on Krakoa, in spite of the island's best efforts, and at one point she mulls over the fact that on this paradisical island she needs to make her pain in order to be reminded of it. She cuts her thumb on the edge of katana, and watches as a drop of blood causes a Krakoan flower to bloom. A moment later, a Krakoan butterfly lands upon the wound, as though drawn to it.
In the original comics, Krakoa fed upon the life-force of mutants. According to Fallen Angels #1, it still feeds on blood. Far from being idyllic, this is disturbing, because it suggests that mutants aren't just settlers on the living island. They're also a potential food source. What makes this all the stranger is the fact that no one is weirded out by this. Kwannon seems to be the only person so far to have noticed, and she isn't troubled by it at all.
Krakoa Is Creating Mutant Predators
X-Force #1 raised the stakes, revealing that Krakoa has begun to generate predators to hunt mutants. One of these predators, a devilish creature resembling a bear but with far too many teeth, actually attacked Beast. It would have killed him if not for Wolverine's intervention, and the road-weary mutant warned Beast that there are always predators. "Whatever the hell that thing was, you didn't see it coming," he noted. "Because you felt sheltered. That's what Krakoa does. Makes everyone feel safe."
According to Wolverine, the predator has been preying upon mutants for several days now, and has left a trail of bones behind it. Combine this with the Fallen Angels preview, and the predator could essentially be seen as a harvester, created to shed blood in order to feed Krakoa and allow it to continue to grow. X-Force #1 suggests that the living island is indeed feeding on the mutants - only in small numbers right now, so as not to attract attention, but it is preying on them nonetheless.
The interesting question is whether or not Krakoa targeted Beast in particular. Hank McCoy was exploring Krakoa, taking samples of vegetation and living organisms in order to study them. If there is something sinister about Krakoan life, then he would likely discover it during the course of his analysis That would make him a serious threat - and it may explain the coincidence of the predator encountering a high-profile X-Man. If that is the case, then it suggests Krakoa isn't doing all this by instinct, but rather by conscious design.
Krakoa Desires To Spread
Finally, New Mutants #1 suggests that Krakoa has one overriding desire; to spread. The X-Men have introduced Krakoan flowers across the globe, using them to allow instantaneous travel. They've even planted one on the Moon, and another on Mars, while Cyclops has given a flower to his father Corsair to be planted in the small biome contained on his starship, the Starjammer. In New Mutants, a group of younger mutants take a trip with the Starjammers, and in one scene they learn that the Krakoan flower is manipulating the environment in the biome.
One of the Starjammers, Ch'od, is tasked with maintaining the biome, which generate's the ship's oxygen supply and consumes its carbon dioxide. To his surprise, after introducing the Krakoan plant he started getting spikes of helium, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Ch'od realized that when two Krakoan plants are close to one another, they begin to interact with each other, beginning a Terraforming process. In other words, Krakoa has a natural imperative to grow, and the X-Men are allowing it to do just that. They've extended Krakoa across the Earth, and beyond.
The X-Men are attempting to establish a peace with humanity using the promise of Krakoan flowers, that they believe have a positive impact on humans. One extends the life of a human by five years, another is a super-antibiotic, and a third cures diseases of the mind in humans. Most of the world has agreed to trade deals, with just a handful holding out, and according to X-Force #1 the X-Men are attempting to implement a secret policy of regime change in those remaining nations. Should the X-Men succeed, then the entire human race will be dosed up on Krakoan drugs - another convenient form of expansion.
Right now, Krakoa doesn't look to be a sanctuary for the mutant race at all; rather, the evidence is building that it's actually a trap. If this is the case, then the mutants have unwisely given the living island a massive food source by relocating to Krakoa, even as they serve Krakoa's purpose by helping it to expand its sphere of influence. Worse still, X-Force #1 raises the subtle possibility that this isn't a simple act of nature; it could be an intentional plan, by a creature that's been shown to be sentient in the past.