House of X #1

Issue Date: 
September 2019
Story Title: 
The House that Xavier Built

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Pepe Larraz (artist), Marte Gracia (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia (cover artists), Mark Brooks; Marco Chechetto; John Tyler Christopher; Dave Cockrum & Jesus Aburitov; Mike Huddleston; Joe Madureira & Peter Steigerwald; Phil Noto; Sarah Pichelli & Dean White; Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado; Skottie Young (variant cover artists), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Things have surprisingly changed for mutants, after Charles Xavier made Krakoa their homeland. Krakoa has developed a network of habitats around the world, connected by teleportation portals (developed by Cypher), and after several revolutionary medicines offered by Xavier to all countries have been officially accept them. Jean Grey and Banshee lead several mutant kids to the main island, where they are welcomed by Xavier. Magneto and the Stepford Cuckoos take members of the United Nations Security Council on a tour through several habitats, though Magneto makes it clear that mutants are arguing from a position of strength here, and he doesn’t really give a fig about their guests’ opinion. In the meantime, Mystique, Toad and Sabretooth steal data from Damage Control and are discovered. Sabretooth kills several guards, despite orders to the contrary. When the others escape though a Krakoan teleportation portal, Sabretooth is captured by the Fantastic Four. A little later, Cyclops tries to barter for his release and makes it clear that he isn’t too unhappy when the FF refuse. However, when the Invisible Woman mentions her unease regarding what’s going on on Krakoa, he schools her regarding mutant problems and leaves. In the meantime, enemies of mutantkind have already gathered on a space platform, where they are enacting the “Orchis Protocols,” the ultimate weapon against mutants. They are aided by former X-Men ally Karima Shapoandar aka Omega Sentinel. At an unclear point in time, Xavier awakens several mutants out of cocoons.

Full Summary: 

“Humans of the planet Earth. While you slept, the world changed.”
Professor X

Charles Xavier, dressed in a form-fitting dark bodysuit and wearing an X-shaped Cerebro helmet, stands at the foot of a strange tree. At its roots lie several glowing cocoons. They open and people crawl out at his feet. One is a red-haired woman. He takes another by the chin, a man whose eyes both glow red. Professor X smiles, pleased. “To me, my X-Men,” he announces.

Five months ago, Krakoa:
Colossus picks a pinkish glowing flower.

Four months ago, Westchester:
Storm carries another of those flowers into the house inside a pot.

Three months ago, the Blue Area of the moon:
Nightcrawler plants a flower in the ground.

One month ago:
Armor does the same thing on Mars.

One month ago:
Beast watches the flowers flourishing in the Savage Land.

Three weeks ago:
Kitty Pryde and Lockheed do the same outside Washington DC.

Two weeks ago:
Four Stepford Cuckoos plant some plants in what is to become the Jerusalem Habitat.

Now, exactly there:
The plants have overtaken the building. Several ambassadorial cars stop outside it and ambassadors from several superpowers meet outside, discussing matters. Charles Xavier sends a message to the world, making an offer they cannot refuse and here they are at a habitat they never knew existed, about to recognize the sovereignty of a nation state they’d never heard of four days ago, one of them summarizes.

A sour-faced Russian ambassador joins them, announcing she’d settle for a bit of predictability and a good night’s sleep. She doubts she will get either. She admits to being apprehensive about the designer drugs. The Chinese envoy smiles mildly, as he summarizes Xavier’s offer: a drug that extends human life for five years, another that prevents diseases of the mind and a third that is the most effective antibiotic the world has ever seen. She says it’s a problem. He would call it a gift. It’s not a gift if you have to pay, a young ambassador reminds them. Xavier is only offering those miracle drugs to nations who recognize this. An older ambassador gently mocks none of them would ever dare using leverage.

The Chinese ambassador muses that treaties and trade deals are things they are all familiar with. What should concern them is the amnesty. He seems to remember something someone said once, something about appearing to be one thing while actually being another. The older ambassador asks, he is not actually quoting Sun Zu, is he? It’s not a war, if they’ve already won, comes the reply. The older ambassador frowns and asks about the position of the Chinese government. The Chinese ambassador replies that they will accept the deal.

They are interrupted by two Stepford Cuckoos, dressed in white ponchos and who stand at the building’s organic entrance that has now opened. They apologize for the delay and welcome them to this Krakoan Habitat.

Inside is a hall consisting of a mix of plants and high tech. The Cuckoos introduce themselves as Esme and Sophie (though Sophie mutters, it’s her human name and she’s been thinking of taking another). Esme continues that they and their sisters are acting as the staff of this habitat until it is fully up and running.

The ambassadors ask when they will be meeting Xavier. A new voice announces that Charles won’t be joining them today, as he is otherwise engaged. He admits he is a poor substitute but hopefully he will manage, Magneto announces (probably not quite without sarcasm). Next to him stands Irma Cuckoo dressed in a black poncho. Magneto! the Russian ambassador calls out. “Ambassador” is fine, he replies.

The Graymalkin Habitat (Xavier’s school, now overgrown with plants), Westchester, New York:
Jean Grey, dressed in her old, green Marvel Girl dress, leads several youngsters to the Krakoa gateway, where Banshee is already waiting. She holds the youngest, a green boy, by the hand. Worried, he asks if anyone can travel through the gateway. Not anyone, Jean explains. Mutants can, of course. Krakoa recognizes its own, but non-mutants have to be accompanied by mutants and then they still have to ask. Jean and the boy are the last to step through.

On the Krakoan side, Cypher (with a techno-organic arm) and Sage are expecting them as they work with Krakoa’s interface. Sage marvels that last week Cypher built an entire system to manage the traffic of the Krakoan network from scratch, coded in a language only the island and Cypher can speak and bio-engineered to run on light. She can’t believe she doubted him, she says somewhat sarcastically. Grinning, he tells her it’s time to bury that cynicism and replace it with good, old-fashioned hope. The professor has changed all the old rules and they’ve entered a whole new world.

Jean, Banshee and the kids have arrived on the Krakoa main island. Jean tells the boy the plan is for most of the younger mutants to live in the habitat near the lagoon, but there really aren’t any rules regarding that. Excited, the boy shouts as he sees Professor Xavier over with that hairy guy. Jean suggests he introduce himself, and the hairy guy’s name is Logan. The boy runs over to where Xavier, wearing the Cerebro helmet, stands smiling and Wolverine is roughhousing with some kids.

Telepathically, Xavier welcomes Jean home and tells her she is safe here. They all are. Jean cries a happy tear.

A spaceship docks onto the space platform, the Forge, orbiting the sun. One of the people describe it as the last Hail Mary for humanity. Captain Erasmus Mendez tells Dr. Gregor that she is the first to board but reminds her the first ship of the Orchis convoy is approximately 22 hours away. He suggests they start with diagnostics to find out if the place can support human life, before they arrive. Dr. Gregor, a young woman in her 30ies, sharply retorts she is perfectly aware of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. But she’s already had breakfast and maybe she doesn’t want to spend her entire morning beholden to her baser instincts. Protocol is boring, be bold, she says.

Another crew member informs the Captain that she is engaging the safety override of her suit. Of course she is, he sighs. And this is why they don’t have kids.

Testing the air, Dr Gregor announces it’s colder than she’d like, but she supposes that’s the preprogrammed environment control for a whole crew. The air is fine.

She orders Dr. Smith to handle the diagnostics, so Captain Erasmus will be able to sleep tonight, and for Dr. Cain to control the power grid. She really doesn’t want to die of radiation poisoning.

She orders Karima Shapandar – Omega Sentinel – to come with her. They walk the station. She asks Karima what she thinks. She thinks mistakes of this scale should take longer than six months to build, Karima deadpans. Gregor informs her it would have been finished sooner, if the machines hadn’t gotten the nitrogen and matter levels wrong. It turns out doomsday plans need a bit more flexibility, the closer you get to the sun. Karima is not surprised. These are the kinds of mistakes men make when being overly aggressive. Gregor doesn’t accept the blame. As soon as the predictive model forecasted what Xavier was planning, the Orchis Protocols were enacted – they were activated – and the automated refit of this station began. Karima remarks she sees no machines. She sees no brothers. She sees no sisters. Gregor informs her that, when reconstruction was finished, all machines were re-tasked for mining duty. They are going to need the resources, so they’re on Mercury excavating heavy metals. But if they need more, they’ll have her build them. She looks outside at a giant Sentinel’s head.

A Damage Control storage facility:
Mystique, Toad and Sabretooth are on a heist that went south quickly, Mystique realizes, as Sabretooth is decimating guards right and left. She asks Toad how much longer. Toad is hunched over a computer, copying the databases. He complains, asking if she thinks this is easy? He is interrupted mid-rant by a sound, telling him his work is finished.

As they begin fleeing, Mystique tells him he shouldn’t have wasted time leaving no traces. Others weren’t so careful. Toad nervously titters he thinks Sabretooth broke a few of them. Sabretooth retorts they were fragile. They jump outside a window and Mystique chides him for his recklessness. The plan called for them to quietly, get in and out, then lay low before transmitting the data. Now they are going to need a more direct exit strategy. Toad suggests Washington Square. That’s the closest, she begins. Sabretooth sniffs and orders them to shut up. Moments later, he is hit by a flameblast. The Thing and the Human Torch have arrived. Mystique orders her team to run. If they don’t get out of there with the data, it was all for nothing.

In the meantime, Irma and Magneto have led the ambassadors through the gateway into the Hub, a surreal landscape, though which other gateways and habitats can be reached. Each one a part of the interconnected Krakoan ecosystem.

One ambassador asks how they don’t get lost. Irma explains that it wasn’t easy at first, but then they asked Krakoa to grow some signs, so no one would get lost. She points to some symbol above a doorway. The ambassadors protest it’s just gibberish. Magneto calmly interjects, informing him that it is a language: theirs. It’s Krakoan, and every mutant who lives among them has it telepathically imprinted in their cerebral cortex the day they arrive.

So they made their own language, the Chinese ambassador states. Of course, they did, Magneto replies. One cannot create a distinct culture without it. And make no mistake, that is exactly what Charles Xavier is doing.

Irma beckons them to follow her though a gateway. They step into what seems to be the Australian Outback, where mutant kids ride kangaroos. The route takes them through the Himalaya, where the Xorn brothers are waving at them, under water and finally back. Irma states that, as they can see, Krakoa is not limited by distance or elevation or even environment.

The American envoy impatiently wants to talk about the military aspects of all this. Being able to move large groups of people everywhere throws out thousands of years of military strategy. People are going to have a problem with this.

Magneto coolly replies where the other man sees an instrument of war, he sees an unassailable refuge. The ambassadors aren’t buying it. Magneto states there has never been a mutant war. They’ve never conquered a people, stolen their land or made slaves of the vanquished.

The Chinese envoy asks when are they actually going to Krakoa? Irma replies they are not going to the island. Why not? the Russian ambassador asks. Magneto bluntly replies they have heard Xavier’s offer. Mutants are the evolutionary inheritors of the world but, instead of claiming it, they only take a small part for themselves. The island is theirs alone. Man is not welcome there.

In New York, Mystique’s group have reached the portal. Mystique and Toad jump through it but, when Creed tries to do the same, the Invisible Woman’s forcefield blocks then traps him.

A moment later, the portal becomes active again from the other side. Cyclops arrives through the Krakoa Gate and greets the Fantastic Four, then congratulates the Thing on his recent nuptials. After some small-talk, he asks if he should take Mr. Creed off their hands. Why would they do something like that? Reed Richards asks. He is a smart man, Cyclops replies. He knows that Reed knows what the word “amnesty” means. Richards calmly replies that Sabretooth broke any number of laws within the last hour, including possibly fatally injuring those guards. Are they really offering amnesty from that? Cyclops agrees it is upsetting. But they are. New beginnings demand a wide berth. Reed announces he has a problem with that. After a moment, Cyclops tells them fair enough. He can see they feel strongly about that. He suggests they keep Creed. They’ll deal with this some other time… some other way. Creed protests and is ignored.

Sue Richards asks Cyclops what the X-Men think about the amnesty and the other things Xavier is offering. Scott replies his family has spent their entire lives being hunted and hated. The world has told him he was less when he knew he was more. Did they think that they were going to sit around forever and take it? Of course not, Sue replies, but… It’s very simple, he interrupts, as he turns away. He believes in what Charles Xavier’s doing. As a parting shot, he asks her to greet her son for him and tell him when he is ready he has family on Krakoa waiting for him.

The Krakoan Habitat, Jerusalem:
So, what have they learned? Magneto asks. One of the ambassadors replies that, in exchange for recognizing Krakoa, they will…

He wasn’t speaking to him, Magneto cuts him off. Irma Cuckoo replies their host ambassador from Israel decided to join her fellow representatives from the Security Council today. She is with them… but not with them. She’s also ex-military and doesn’t really care for them… or Magneto, but that’s no surprise.

Irma continues that the others have been trained to withstand telepaths, but not well enough. They are all plants. She begins introducing them. The Chinese envoy Ma Mingyu is actually the head of the State Science Office. Both he and influential members of parliament are eager to agree to the X-Men’s terms. Jean Pierre Kol actually is an ambassador, but he bought the position with his private sector pharmaceutical money. He’ll agree to their terms, if they allow him special access to Xavier’s drugs.

Natalie Vollock is a Red Sky senior operator who would have never agreed to their terms. It’s even more true now that she knows that the others would. The icy blonde announces that, if this is what they have to become, it might be better they were replaced.

Irma moves to the older British man, Walter Reppion. He’s an agent of STRIKE. But he actually doesn’t care about any of this. He’s just here because he’s been assigned to watch… Reilly Marshall, who is an ex-SWORD and SHIELD black-ops agent. There’s some other affiliation, but he’s fighting her.

Marshall orders her out of his head. Unimpressed, Irma adds he has a weapon of some sort on him. Would Magneto like her to do something about that? Magneto magnetically lifts Marshall and takes apart his gun. Marshall claims he wasn’t going to us it. It was for protection. Of course, Magneto agrees. That’s how it always starts. Should she show him out? Irma asks.

Magneto walks towards the man on the ground and looms over him. No, he decides. Some would be offended by a wolf posing as sheep, but he has learned hard lessons from their kind, so he knows the truth: they are all wolves! He turns away and walks toward one of the Krakoan plants. Magneto continues that it’s good they are here as they really are. So, they can run home and tell their masters what they have learned. He wants them to tell them. He picks a flower.

Charles Xavier has made them an offer – one full of grace and brotherly love – but one that is also written in stone. This is not a negotiation. Things will be different now, and the sooner they realize the finality of their situation and the inevitability of mutantkind’s, the sooner they will learn to be grateful for the things they are so generously giving them.

Does he know what he sounds like? Reppion asks. He does, Magneto retorts. And it feels good to finally say it. So, he summoned them here to Jerusalem to threaten them? Volock asks.

Magneto looks over the balcony at the sun setting over Jerusalem. A promise is not a threat, he corrects her. And he summoned them to this place for wholly superficial reasons. He knows how humans love their symbolism almost as much as their religion. And he wanted them – he needed them – to understand: They have new gods now.

“I have a new word for the lexicon of man: KRAKOA.
And in the future, when you speak it, make sure you do so softly and with proper deference.
For we will be listening.”

Characters Involved: 

Professor X
Armor, Banshee, Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Cypher, Kitty Pryde, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Sage, Stepford Cuckoos (Esme, Irma, Sophie) Storm, Wolverine, Xorn I, Xorn II (X-Men)
Mystique, Sabretooth, Toad
Fauna, Sonos Rex, Wrench (students)

Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing

Omega Sentinel
Dr. Alia Gregor
Captain Erasmus Mendel
Dr. Cain
Agent Goodall
Dr. Smith (all Orchis)

Mother Mold

Jean Pierre Kol, Reilly Marshal, Ma Mingyu, Walter Reppion, Natalya Vollock, unnamed Israeli representative (UN Security Council)

Story Notes: 

The issue includes several text pages:

Describes the different flower types of Krakoa. They include three for humans:
- One that extends a person’s lifespan for five years
- One that creates an adaptive, universal antibiotic
- One that cures diseases of the mind (in humans)

And three for mutants:
- A flower that grows a gateway which creates a pathway to twin portals
 - A flower that creates a habitat – a self-sustaining environment – that is part of the inter-connected consciousness of Krakoa
 - The third one doesn’t seem to be common knowledge. This non-naturally occurring flower produces a habitat that exists outside Krakoa’s consciousness. A place within the island ecosystem Krakoa doesn’t know exists.

Is a map of KrakoaIs an explanation of the Orchis Protocol: an establishment of a doomsday protocol based on evolutionary research regarding the extinction level density of Homo superior. They have recruited assets from several organizations such as AIM, SHIELD, STRIKE, SWORD, Alpha Flight, HAMMER, ARMOR, HYDRA. The Orchis Protocols were enacted after the establishment of the nation of Krakoa

Orchis command structure includes: Dr. Kilian Devo (director), Zahra Hehry (head of engineering), Colonel Walker Kim (military command), Dr. Alia Gregor (science command), Karima Shapandar (machine Liaison)

Information regarding Damage ControlDefinition of Omega Level: a mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register an undefinable upper limit of that power’s classification
- Known Omega Mutants:
- Iceman, Elixir, Marvel Girl, Magneto, Proteus, Storm, Kid Omega, Vulcan, Hope (all affiliated with Krakoa)
- Monarch (Jamie Braddock) (no affiliation)
- Mr. M, Exodus, Legion (unknown affiliation)
- Powerhouse (Franklin Richards (affiliation humans / Fantastic Four)

Further Notes:

House of X & Powers of X are two connected limited series that shake up the status quo of the X-Men. They follow X-Men (5th series) and act as prologue to the “Dawn of X” titles.

The scene with the cocoons will be recontextualized in issue #5.

Sun Zu: A Chinese general who wrote “The Art of War.”

The issue stars several mutants who are supposed to be dead, e.g. Banshee and Esme and Sophie Cuckoo. This will be explained in issue #5.

The Krakoa situation will be given more detail in Powers of X #4.

At this point, it is unclear why Jean Grey returns to her Marvel Girl codename and minidress outfit.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs postulates the pattern of human motivation, starting with physiological needs at the bottom and moving through, safety, relationship needs and esteem to finally self-actualization.

The Thing got married in Fantastic Four (6th series) #5.

The Orchis Forge is made of the remains of the Dyson Sphere Sol’s Hammer that Stark built during Hickman’s Avengers run. The schematics to Sol’s Hammer fell into the hands of Damage Control, so presumably the intel Mystique’s team are stealing is connected to that.

There are quite a few mutants who used to be referred to as Omegas that are missing from the list, most surprisingly Rachel Summers who was the first mutant to be referred to as Omega (Uncanny X-Men #208/209) by Nimrod. On the other hand, she was a Phoenix host at the time, which might be an explanation.

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