Charles Xavier has made a lot of mistakes throughout his long career, but there’s no denying he is an ideologue at heart, willing to do almost anything to bring about the promised land he’s rhapsodized about for decades. The man who teaches children how to harness their powers is the same one who sends them out on dangerous missions in his name; they are his X-Men after all. Unfortunately, as the world corroded and turned inward around Xavier, he was forced to do the same, and as Jonathan Hickman reveals in House of X #6, he has no problem utilizing the same self-serving principles that humans have shown him for decades.
Assuming the man we are watching is the real Charles Xavier, which honestly might not be the case since we already know he has duplicated himself twice courtesy of the corrupt Sinister DNA pool, his bold actions and no-nonsense language make it clear that he feels extremely justified in his behavior. The fact that his announcement about mutant prescriptions comes across as an ominous moment, with Xavier telling the world what it will cost them to access the life changing technologies, instead of a celebration of the wonders of mutant science — you know, a real cultural achievement for the new nation — speaks to just how far the character is willing to go to carve out a space for mutants. As the book flashes between civilians, sick families in the hospital, and the world’s superheroes all receiving the message telepathically, it’s clear that Xavier has the upper-hand and everyone needs to adapt to a mutant-led world.
Sure, Xavier has been the Principal of a school, but he’s not necessarily the most loved and respected mutant in the world, so the fact that he chooses himself to be the sole messenger, rather than psychically include multiple voices in the announcement, indicates that his ego is still a huge factor in things to come.
The controversial Quiet Council that is currently tasked with governing Krakoa finally has its first meeting, giving readers a peak at the raucous, theatrical tone that will likely dictate these elite political debates for the foreseeable future. While every member of the council has a real moment to shine, voicing their different opinions on legal matters like capital punishment to property rights, Xavier’s presence has a domineering feeling.
No matter how diplomatic and group-oriented Xavier appears, constantly asking quiet members of the table to share their opinion on the topic at hand, it’s important to note that he still leads the conversation and essentially gives the final word once deliberations have ended. Most importantly, once the punishment for Sabertooth has been set, it’s Xavier that essentially pulls the trigger and delivers the final verdict. Sure, it’s Krakoa that technically opens up and sends Sabertooth to a mutant purgatory, but it’s odd that Xavier once again inserts himself in the action instead of allowing someone like his new partner in crime Magneto, who has a deeper personal relationship with Sabertooth and is more comfortable dolling out capital punishment, step in and fill that role.
No matter how sincerely Xavier promotes the idea of group rule, his ego consistently shines through on every page. Smack-dab in the center of the Council’s table, clearly Hickman’s equivalent to the Round Table from Arthurian legend, is a giant “X” in classic X-Men fashion. Sure the letter “X” is cool from an aesthetic standpoint and certainly has a strong connection to the franchise, but it makes significantly more sense for the letter on the table to be “K” for Krakoa. The “X” on Cerebro is somewhat excusable — it is Xavier’s invention after all — but the continued obsession with his own initial despite his communal message is rather smug.
Despite the degree of harshness present in Xavier’s attitude throughout the issue, Hickman also displays him tenderly, specifically with his old frenemy Magneto. Right before Xavier makes his grand announcement, Erik emotionally buries the hatchet, telling his new partner that they are forever on the same side. Instead of verbally responding, Charles simply places his hand on his friend’s hand and smiles, reassuring his former rival the same way he would a wounded child. Together, the two of them have accomplished what they once considered untenable, so ending the book on a celebratory moment featuring the two of them gazing towards the horizon, rather than Xavier standing in isolation, hopefully implies that Magneto will be just as powerful and important as a force on Krakoa as Xavier is.
Stepping away from the Persuader for a moment, it’s pretty undeniable that Krakoa is an extremely horny place. The art has been beautiful throughout the series, but artists Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia really shine at capturing the festive mood of Krakoa’s founding while giving various mutants spotlighted moment to shine at the party. The nation-state might as well be nicknamed “Mutant Summer Camp” because the island’s festivities evoke a carefree, happy mood that primarily exists at massive bonfires in movies. While the HOX/POX narrative has seen its fair share of intense action scenes, Hickman really excels at imbuing the X-Men with the soap opera, drama-filled tone they deserve. With a massive cast at his fingertips, many of whom already have steamy relationships or fantasies to revisit, Hickman is able to effectively explore the social psyche of various mutants despite the large cast. Even a simple exchange of a beer can (HELLO JEMMA) implies so much more under Hickman’s careful, flirty hand.
— Nick Kazden (@ricknazden) October 2, 2019
A true celebration of everything that makes the X-Men so wonderful, House of X #6 may be my favorite issue from the entire saga so far. Powers of X has always been the darker, more morbid of the two series, so I expect the festivities will reach a grinding halt next week, but it’s nice to reflect on this moment of victory and relish in the joy so many characters who are typically depicted as defeated and downtrodden finally feel.
Ugh, I really can’t believe it, but this amazing weekly chapter in all of our lives is coming to a close. Make sure to binge the HiX-Men columns to fully prepare for what is sure to be an explosive, head-scratching finale people will talk about for years in Powers of X #6.