The following contains spoilers from X-Men: The Hellfire Gala (2023) #1, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
What was once Krakoa’s best trait has become the X-Men’s greatest weakness. For mutants all over the Marvel universe, the living island promised a safe haven away from the people who hated and feared them. They would enjoy free shelter, endless supplies of food, and the opportunity to thrive on a tropical island. The Krakoan gates allowed them to visit any location in the solar system and beyond, and all it would take was a few careful steps. Even resurrection wasn’t beyond them. Krakoa promised peace and prosperity.
Unfortunately, peace never lasts for the mutants of the Marvel Universe. As the residents of Krakoa celebrated the third Hellfire Gala, they were met with blood, suffering, and death. The gates have been shut down, Krakoa is no longer accessible, and any chance to thrive has been completely cut off. Every current X-Men comic has been impacted by the Fall of X, and it’s all because Krakoa’s sense of community meant that the island was unprepared for its coming devastation.
Krakoa was the X-Men’s Paradise
Before Krakoa, mutantkind was scattered across the world. After the havens of the Morlock tunnels, Genosha, and Utopia all led to either full-scale assaults or massacres, it was impossible for the mutants to truly band together and feel secure. Krakoa represented a departure from the days of cowering in tunnels, living in ruined cities, or crowding into a single mansion as they were forced to after M-Day. As of Marauders #26 (by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Rain Beredo, and Cory Petit), Krakoa enjoyed world-renowned trade organizations, the love of the entire planet, and the opportunity to have representation in the United Nations.
By standing together as one powerful community, the X-Men proved that the world could no longer look down on them. After all, Magneto was speaking with honest pride in House of X #1 (by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles) when he told the human ambassadors, “You have new gods now.” Mutants were working together and even learning how to use their powers in concert. Mutant circuits became a powerful tool that allowed the X-Men to resolve Krakoa’s worst tragedy by using Genosha’s destruction to seed a new generation of mutants. They even worked together to terraform Mars in Planet-Size X-Men #1 (by Duggan, Larraz, Gracia, and Cowles). By banding together, the mutants of Krakoa appeared unstoppable.
Fall of X Made Krakoa a Target
The problem with placing an entire species in one place is that it just makes that place a bigger target. The X-Men were more powerful when they were drawn together, but like Genosha and Utopia before it, Krakoa was not invulnerable. All it would take was a single blow to bring the island to its knees, and that blow was delivered at the third Hellfire Gala. The mutants felt so secure that they exposed their vulnerability. Their enemies knew about their predictable galas, and how each would be filled with Krakoa’s strongest mutants. A single strike by Nimrod devastated an entire team of X-Men, and many more mutants fell in the initial stages of the vicious attack.
The fact that the mutants were all packed together also made them a target for outside agitators. Orchis’ plan was to decimate superheroes in general, but with the X-Men and Krakoa regularly putting themselves in the news, it was easy to demonize them. No longer were the X-Men a team of misfits fighting for a world that hated and feared them. Instead, they were a team of elected representatives of an entire island. Every mistake that the X-Men or the Quiet Council made reflected poorly on their entire species. The Avengers may often be representatives of Earth, but they aren’t elected, and they don’t speak for entire nations. Krakoa, on the other hand, offered the Council and the X-Men a vehicle to speak for them. With every publicized mistake, Orchis portrayed the mutants of Krakoa in an extremely negative light.
Fall of X Has Completely Shattered the X-Men
As far as Professor X can tell, most of Krakoa’s mutants lost their lives during the Hellfire Gala. An entirely new X-Men team was destroyed, and the remaining mutants are completely scattered. Iceman is stuck in Antarctica, Synch and his team are in New York, and the Realm of X cast is trapped as far away as Vanaheim. Firestar and Juggernaut are even in Orchis’ custody. Many others are supposedly being shepherded to Arakko, where Storm is waging a war against Genesis and the armies of Amenth. It’s a terrifying state for the X-Men to find themselves in, but being scattered takes away their greatest weakness. They no longer need to worry about protecting underpowered mutants, as most of them are already gone. Instead, they can direct their fury at Orchis and take their fight to the enemy.
The mutants have thrived for years, but they are finally returning to the classic and tragic X-Men story of unlikely heroes surviving serious blows. Krakoa’s greatest perk was that it offered a sense of community for mutants, but the community is no longer what the survivors need. Instead, they need firepower. Every scattered team will need to rely on their own guerrilla style of warfare. If they can hit Orchis in multiple places at once, they may finally be able to pose a serious threat to Nimrod. He can no longer strike at a horde of powerful mutants, and he can never again predict their movements with such ease. Instead, he needs to figure out where every single band of survivors is located.
If there was anything in Krakoa that made the X-Men strong, it was the idea of superheroes coming together for a greater cause. They could protect and train the next generation, establish rules and regulations, and use their skills in conjunction to build wonders. All of this backfired in the worst possible way. Orchis was able to target all of Krakoa’s heroes, and the island may never recover. As the X-Men return to being hated and feared by the general population, they may very well learn from their mistakes and avoid creating another singular Krakoan state to be targeted by their enemies. They put themselves at risk by choosing to live apart from instead of alongside humanity, and the cost was dire.
Fall of X has transformed the best perk of the X-Men’s island nation of Krakoa into the greatest weakness of the mutant population. Read More