There are questions that have plagued Krakoa since House of X and Powers of X. X-Men #7 shows that those questions are not just being asked by the fans…
Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Yu, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller introduce us to the Crucible.
It’s Crucible day. For the first time the mutant race goes through the ritual to allow depowered mutants to reset themselves. But not everyone is happy with it and they begin to question the Utopia that Krakoa appears to be…
Let’s face it – no actual Utopia can be perfect. There are questions that would come from the foundations of any such society. X-Men fans are savvy- they’ve been asking many of these questions since the introduction of Krakoa. That’s one level that Hickman’s story works on- its extremely meta, allowing Nightcrawler and Cyclops to stand in for the reader. And frankly, given what the Crucible is, it’s needed to get through the issue.
To say that the Crucible is uncomfortable is putting it lightly. The ritual amounts to a ritual suicide by combat, in which a depowered mutant combats Apocalypse himself for the honor of going through the resurrection protocols (if you haven’t been reading the last decade of X-Men that sentence would be INCREDIBLY confusing). To have two high ranking, longtime X-Men question Krakoa society, especially this (extremely and perhaps needlessly violent) aspect of it, is important for the narrative, and not just on a meta level.
However, it’s not without its flaws. The vilification of Wanda Maximoff for her actions in House of M is difficult to swallow, as her actions in that story were firmly established as both a result of gaslighting and mental illness. It’s unclear whether this is simply in-universe or Hickman is editorializing himself- the former seems more likely, especially because we know the woman behind the curtain is holding grudges but it’s unclear.
Also, the lack of female characters in the narrative is painfully obvious. The majority of the X-Men who were depowered were students at the Academy. For Emma Frost, for example, to stand by and allow the Crucible to continue is a glaring flaw in the story.
Artistically though, this issue is probably Yu’s best work on the series to date. The Crucible is a dark practice, and Yu doesn’t shy away from that. Gho’s colors are actually very bright, which creates a fantastic juxtaposition of the dark tone of the story.
The House of X status quo change continues to give readers narrative gifts. It’s one of the best reads in comics today.
X-Men #7 is available now from Marvel Comics.