[Ed. Note: Spoilers for Planet-Size X-Men #1 follow.]
Let’s say you want to throw a party, and you really want it to make a statement. There’s a lot of ways you could do this: killer passed apps, a sick DJ, maybe get some celebrities to show up. Or, you could do what the X-Men did in this week’s Planet-Size X-Men #1, and terraform all of Mars, make it habitable for mutants overnight, and declare it the capital of our solar system instead of Earth.
Planet-Size X-Men #1 is a one-off story about the climax of the X-Men’s Hellfire Gala, a high society party where the mutants of Earth, now established as a sovereign nation on the living island of Krakoa, have invited luminaries from normie human culture exclusively to watch mutants flex. Throughout the Gala, which is unfolding across most of Marvel’s X-Men comics in June, there have been hints of a huge surprise the Krakoans cooked up for the gala’s grand finale, and it isn’t just the debut of the new, democratically-elected X-Men team. It is, instead, the unveiling of the latest, audacious power move from the mutant nation: The terraforming and colonization, of Mars, which is now dubbed Planet Arakko.
That name will be familiar to readers of the recent X of Swords crossover, which culminated in the reunion of Krakoa and its sister-island Arrako, home to the Arakki, a warlike splinter of mutant-kind that were long exiled to another dimension. Few X-Men comics have delved into what this sudden reunion has been like, but Planet-Size X-Men suggests that the wider world has found Krakoa’s sudden expansion alarming, and that the relationship between the Krakoans and the Arraki are peaceful, but a bit tense. The relations between the Arraki and humans, well, the less said about that the better.
Planet Arakko, then, is both an offering to the Arraki, a peaceful solution to their attitude towards humans, and also the most aggressive play the Krakoan mutants have made in the Marvel Universe yet. In the middle of a bold new status quo that already has the human nations of Earth feeling uncomfortable, Krakoa has up and claimed a whole planet after making it habitable in a matter of hours. (Half of the fun of the comic is seeing just how, exactly, they do this. Let’s say…it doesn’t not involve some psychic mpreg weirdness.)
The icing on the cake? Magneto declares the renamed planet the capital of the solar system, to all the assembled dignitaries of Marvel’s alien civilizations.
This is an audacious, absurd comic book story that has all sorts of potential for future X-Men comics. It escalates tensions between the Mutants and the wider Marvel Universe, and shows the X-Men aggressively moving into further morally gray territory. (Is space colonization really the way forward for mutantkind? Seems awfully human of them.) It’s a fitting capstone to the Hellfire Gala, an event designed to celebrate mutant expansion and excess. What makes it extra delicious is the way that it just might be the finest moment of mutant hubris as well.