Warning: SPOILER for Powers of X #5
The X-Men relaunch has seen new leaders take charge of the mutant race, but now Marvel is teasing the council who will decide the path forward - and may have revealed who they are. The X-Men franchise has struggled a lot in recent years, but for the mutants' high-profile relaunch, Jonathan Hickman has envisioned a radical change in the mutant race's status quo.
Imagining a scenario where Charles Xavier founded a mutant nation on the living island of Krakoa, little information has been given. But in Powers of X #5 it's explained that the mutants of Krakoa are led by a twelve-member Council. The comic only identified four members of this Council: Charles Xavier, Magneto, Emma Frost, and Sebastian Shaw. An infographic page had the other names hidden, leading to intense speculation among comic book readers. But funny enough, Marvel seems to have already publicly confirmed eleven of the twelve members.
The publisher commissioned a range of variant covers for Powers of X #1, which released several weeks ago. One of them featured an eclectic group of eleven mutants gesturing to an unseen twelfth person to take a seat among their number. The cover was created by celebrated artist Mike Deodato, and at the time it was viewed as a strange, fairly random image. Now, however, it makes sense; it includes all four of the already-identified Councillors. Storm is there, after taking a key role in returning clones of the dead X-Men to their people in House of X #5. Apocalypse is also present, and Powers of X's future sections have already established that he has the potential to become one of Krakoa's greatest leaders. But what of the REST of the likely council?
Meet The Mutant Council Of Krakoa
It's an unusual group, featuring as many traditional supervillains as heroes. Let's run through the members one at a time.
- Charles Xavier: Founder of the mutant nation of Krakoa, Xavier is the mastermind behind pretty everything we've seen to date. He's taken to wearing Cerebro at all times, which has left many readers suspicious that he's using the technology to hide something from the other mutants. There's been speculation that his body has secretly been possessed by Moira MacTaggert's mind.
- Magneto: The Master of Magnetism has played a key role on Krakoa, and in House of X #1 he served as mutantkind's ambassador to the United Nations, telling select representatives that "You have new gods now."
- Apocalypse: Although Apocalypse is traditionally associated with the doctrine of "survival of the fittest," rather than concerned with a mutant ascendancy, he dropped that philosophy the moment he stepped on Krakoan soil.
- Mr. Sinister: Born in the time of Charles Darwin, the geneticist Nathaniel Essex is a master at genetic manipulation. His index of mutant DNA has made the mutant resurrections possible, but there have been hints that he has his own agenda.
- Storm: Raised as a goddess in Africa, the weather-manipulating X-Man seems to serve as a sort of High Priestess in Krakoan civilization. It's unclear how this role fits with Storm's long-standing relationship with Black Panther, given Wakanda has rejected trade with Krakoa.
- Sebastian Shaw: Traditionally a member of the Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw has always been motivated by greed rather than altruism. He's been placed in charge of black-market trade of Krakoan drugs into countries that have officially refused to deal with the mutants.
- Emma Frost: Leader of the Hellfire Corporation, Emma Frost is responsible for implementing the legal side of Krakoa's trade with the rest of the world. She's always been motivated by the desire to educate, so may well be serving as a teacher as well.
- Exodus: A surprising choice, Exodus was introduced as one of Magneto's most dedicated followers. He's a powerful Omega level mutant, and has often been portrayed as something of a religious fanatic given he actually originates from the time of the Crusades.
- Jean Grey: Charles Xavier's closest student, Jean Grey is another Omega level mutant who has previously made a stand on a global stage. Krakoa's Jean Grey has mysteriously reverted to the Marvel Girl identity associated with the first class of X-Men, and while on a mission to space, her power levels and expertise were dramatically reduced. That's led to some speculation Xavier implanted her body with a previous recording of her mind.
- Mystique: It makes sense for Mystique, another ancient mutant, to be a member of the Council. She's an expert in subterfuge and black ops, and was shown leading an important field mission in House of X #1.
- Nightcrawler: Although he's not usually considered a leader in the mutant race, Nightcrawler has long served as the spiritual center of the X-Men, and he's successfully led several superhero teams as well.
Is Kitty Pryde The Twelfth Member Of The Council?
But who is the still-unidentified twelfth member of the Council? Powers of X #5 saw Xavier offer the Hellfire Corporation two seats on the Council, for Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw. Emma, however, insisted on a third. The most likely candidate is Kitty Pryde, who's been confirmed as the new Red Queen of the Hellfire Club and will be a lead character in the upcoming Marauders series. Kitty and Emma have a troubled history, but oddly Emma truly respects the younger mutant, feeling her natural distrust means she can act as a moral check if necessary.
It will be fascinating to see how the Council operates. So far, the evidence has suggested that Xavier is still the dominant force, letting other members know what he feels they need to know. In fact, there have even been hints that he's hiding certain Krakoan secrets from himself; according to Powers of X #5, he's twice restored his mind to previous versions, presumably in order to scrub his mind of secrets that he wants to forget.
The interesting question, of course, is why certain mutants don't appear on the Council - most notably Cyclops. Viewed as the X-Men's greatest leader, Scott Summers is a tactical genius who successfully brought the mutant race back from the edge of extinction. While he's a controversial figure, the Council includes the likes of Apocalypse and Magneto, so that shouldn't really rule him out. It's possible he was originally intended to be part of the Council, but that Xavier dropped that idea when Emma insisted on a third seat at the table. Alternatively, it could be that he was concerned Scott Summers' tactical mind would figure things out a little too quickly if he had access to the Council's information.
Powers of X #5 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.