Most of us here at BNP haven’t had a whole lot of complaints about Jonathan Hickman’s “Krakoan Age” of X-Men comics. Yet here I am this week with a complaint, but first…context. As with any marquee superhero team of note, the time has come for a new line up of X-Men. Cyclops is holding the latest line-up to an election among the citizens of Krakoa….which somehow translates to readers in real life getting to vote on the final member…For Some Reason?!
On its face, this is already a silly idea for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I can’t imagine there’s any version of Jonathan Hickman in any world throughout the multiverse that had this in mind when he sat down to streamline the direction of this franchise. Being saddled with a character you didn’t really ask for probably isn’t less annoying just because it’s the readers doing instead of editors. Second, in the immortal words of Michael Fassbender acting out Aaron Sorkin’s idea of Steve Jobs, “artists lead and hacks ask for a show of hands.” I’m not necessarily calling anyone in particular a hack but taking a vote on someone else’s vision (no matter how little) seems less like art and more like marketing. And I suppose focus grouping comics wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t live in an era where the loudest, most toxic of any fandom seems to bum rush the stage and take the microphone, chasing creators across social media with digital torches and pitchforks.
And then look at these names they’re giving us to choose from. Forge?! The mutant who lost his mind and tried to jumpstart an interdimensional alien invasion? The dude who depowered Storm? I want to ask how this dude seems to continuously get a pass, but then Magneto and Sinister are also part of Krakoan leadership, so maybe that’s for another time.
And then we have Tempo. Are the X-Men so low on Black characters that they had to dig in the vault and pull out a mutant who voluntarily dresses like an Oscar award?
Marrow? I was pretty sure we all silently agreed that there were two things we learned from X-Men comics in the 90s: 1). that Marvel would stop at nothing to recreate the surly, faux-edgy, devil-may-care schtick that made us like Wolverine and 2). Marrow was the sorriest attempt #1 since that one guy in the old X-Calibur comics whose fingers were energy claws.
As for others like Polaris, Sunspot and Cannonball, it’s goofy to include characters that are already on existing teams at this point. There’s a whole island community of mutants to work with and they’re still cross-pollinating people from other teams we already see enough of. That’s not the freshest approach to trying to attract new readers. Meanwhile, including Boom Boom and Strong Guy is ridiculous but I don’t have any jokes for those two characters so the less said, the better.
This isn’t necessarily the first time something in a comic book was put to a fan vote, but it’s certainly the most toothless vote for anything since that time General Mills let people vote on a new Lucky Charms marshmallow. It’s hard to see the creative value this has going forward or how excited anyone could possibly be about any potential winner…unless, of course, you’re one of the three Strong Guy fans in existence. Then maybe your ship has come in.
Cover Image via ComicBook.com