The X-Men want a Home
All that Mutantkind wants is to be acknowledged as a sovereign nation, respected and not threatened with death at every turn.
To help ensure that, they have to interact on an international stage with other countries to sell them on the idea that they are here to stay and they deserve a voice like anyone else. With Krakoa emerging onto the world stage and upending most political and pharmaceutical markets, their presence could not be ignored for any period of time.
X-Men (2019) #4
With Jonathan Hickman at the helm and Leinil Yu on the pencils, this issue was absolutely very near perfection in every regard. This is the stuff legendary runs are made out of – issues exactly like this.
This book, though the calmest of all of the issues of X-Men so far, doubled as one of the more tense given the gravity of the situation at large. Xavier, Magneto and Apocalypse simply sit and meet with representatives from Wakanda, the US, China, Brazil, India and others while Cyclops and Gorgon wait outside in case of any unpleasantness and well…
It’s not very long before Charles figures out that not everything is on the level, so it’s up to Scott and Gorgon to ensure that the meeting goes swimmingly. I’ve been waiting with bated breath to cover this issue because this is absolutely one of the most fantastically done issues since Hickman began his Dawn of X initiative.
One of my favorite things in media is political intrigue and this had that in spades. While Cyclops and Gorgon fight off some anti-mutant spec-ops unit, Magneto enjoys Watermelon Gazpacho and Olive Wagyu while explaining what the end game to Krakoa’s existence is. It’s an astounding set of circumstances made even better by how calm Erik is.
As Magneto explains that eventually Krakoa will own the world of man through their dependence on Mutantkind and the vast amounts of wealth they’ll attain through Krakoan drugs, he just eats his steak. Normally where he’d be angry, he tells the others that there won’t be another war between humans and mutants.
What I like about this is that Magneto makes the point that several of the countries in attendance know their own histories and know that they are guilty of the same thing. The only difference between them and Mutantkind is that the mutants know of human greed and know how to exploit it to their own benefit, seeing them at the top of the food chain.
Leinil Yu makes excellent use of the seven to nine panel grid to give these pages the sophistication that they deserve, an homage to Watchmen at the same time. Yu and Sunny Gho work in tandem to give this book life through simple expressions, amazing body posturing and excellent color choices throughout.
Magneto conveys his strength through slight smirks and relaxed movements contrasted to who he was in years prior. Charles keeps his head high and even smiles, still offering humans the peace and love that he believes could unite them. However, Apocalypse looms behind both of them, managing to look terrifying in a suit and acting as the living destroyer that he is while giving stoic expressions and looking down on the humans.
Gho makes sure to contrast the two stories as they happen as well. The polite talk is given a bright and sometimes warm feel with muted yellows for the backgrounds and excellent lighting on the mutants and representatives. Cyclops and Gorgon’s scenes are darker with these panels colored in blue hues, accentuating the darker nature of their mission.
One of the stand out things about this issue is the use of Gorgon as the Captain of the Council Guard for Xavier, Magneto and Apocalypse. Gorgon is arguably one of the most dangerous mutants in the community with fighting skills on par with Wolverine and the ability to turn people into stone just by looking at them.
He wholeheartedly believes in the cause of Krakoa, even managing to not kill a single guard because of the law against taking human lives. However, he’s still an absolutely terrifying foe as the only scene we see with him AFTER his own offscreen battle is him surrounded by hands and arms. He tells the spec-ops unit that he would have just killed them in the past, but leaving them to live with the shame is a mercy.
I had never been super on board with Gorgon until now. That’s just an incredibly cool and scary way to show how formidable a guy is when he’s surrounded by blood and dismembered limbs as he calmly walks away. After Charles death at the hands of assassins in X-Force, Gorgon is absolutely the security they needed.
Soon after everything is over, Magneto calls out the American representative and his plot to kill the mutant trio. Initially, he denies any wrongdoing, but Charles opts to forgive the transgression one last time as he continues to offer the hand of friendship. As he leaves, he makes it very clear… that it is, in fact, the last time without a response.
This issue as phenomenal. Not only because it functioned more as a tense sit down, but also showcased just how strong the mutants case for supremacy is. Magneto knows how society works and how to exploit it. Charles wants to bring it all together in peace and Apocalypse is capable of destroying it all.
Xavier managed to beef up his protection without seeming paranoid, choosing his most capable warriors to be at his side without having to worry about anything and because of that, the meeting went off without issue. Jonathan Hickman is doing an amazing job of pacing everything out and building the tensions between nations.
Similar stories have been done over time, but never with the true leaders being at the head and that’s what makes this amazing. Leinil Yu, Sunny Gho and Gerry Alanguilan also continue to impress with amazing art, issue by issue and sell us on the strength of the story with even more impressive visuals.