Hush, Mark Brooks Is Trying to Show Us Something

Mar 28, 2022


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Cover/box art is the “sizzle” to the “steak” of whatever it is promoting. Offering a sensory suggestion that something really good awaits you. Now whether that is accurate depends on your tastes, but as Geeks we encounter this in several mediums we enjoy, from games to movies. Of course comic books have to be the medium I think has the most cover art. Between original and variant cover art, comics use the cover to entice the audience. Sometimes this is just for entertainment purposes, take the recent Gwen Stacy variants for example. But, sometimes it feels like there is more there, which is the case when I look at Mark Brooks wraparound cover for Immortal X-Men # 1.

Artist Mark Brooks uses Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper as source material for the cover. Parody art is fascinating as it sort of like an issue of “What If”. Except it only takes a small scene and transforms it. From Whistler’s Mother to Washington Crossing the Delaware, there is a parody for every picture (don’t confuse this with rule 34).

Now as I mentioned sometimes the art is just art, just art…I could walk a straight line before I could draw one, but Brooks’ cover feels meaningful. Between the scene the painting sets up and the scenario(s) Immortal X-Men is offering I have to wonder, is this a setup? Now if Brooks is telegraphing the tales course through the cover there is some trickery at play. And since I lack telepathy it is time to play X-Force (can they operate on Krakoan soil, cause they may have to soon), and do some investigating. Bet no one expected comics to keep me connected to the church.

12 “would be” gods

I know I went and said the “C”’d think I said the 4-letter one. But don’t blame me the X-Men are the ones who went and declared themselves “Immortal” almost “gods”.

The Upper Room scene from Davinci’s painting recreates the Rabbi and the 12 disciples at the table. Recall your Sunday school lesson and you’ll remember this is where the bread to body metaphor occurs. The “It’s all been leading up to this” moment in terms of the Messiah’s mission. It is also the moment when the betrayer and denier are spoken of, and partially revealed. Why would Marvel wish to have the mutants displayed like this? Is this a scene/unseen situation?

Unlike Brooks, Da Vinci wasn’t at The Last Supper. This means the artist was left to was left to his own dev-eye-ces. Historians and theologians interpret who is sitting where with what little scriptural reference(s) there is of the event. But the seating arrangement was left to Leonardo’s imagination, save for the possible suggestion to put Christ in the center.

My first task when I encounter this situation is to check the conversion rate. Do I accept this is a 1:1 ratio? The answer is no because Brooks’ cover omits the Messiah, though by the end Gillen’s Immortal X-Men # 1 it seems the “messiah” has arrived.

So obviously I can’t accept that where someone is sitting reflects the disciple they represent.

So let’s go with characteristics. Though little is written about each disciple there are mentions of each, whether it is who was the first, their personality or their demise. Here is what I see, with clues from Kieron Gillen‘s first issue, as each disciple’s closest match with.

Peter: the denier – Sinister

Andrew: deep love, first to follow – Emma Frost

James (the Greater): quiet/first martyr – Mystique

John: fiery but humble, loved the Messiah the most – Exodus

Phillip: little is known, but called others to follow – Kate

Bartholomew: recognized for sincerity – Storm

Matthew: tax collector/customs official – Sebastian Shaw

Thomas: truth seeker/doubter – Destiny

James (the Lesser): anonymous background character – Kurt

Simon: a mystery save for a zealous personality – Xavier

Thaddeus: tenderness and humility; questioned why they were chosen – Piotr

The Messiah…

Wait a second. Brooks’ work depicts 11 individuals. Even if I agree that the new member is the “mutant messiah” (incidentally the other major contender is their “anti”), this pushes the number of mutants at the table to 12 (with a few onlookers, who’s Mary Magadalene btw?). But there were 12 disciples plus the Messiah. Just like Da Vinci’s painting Brooks has omitted that 13th individual. So where is that someone, and what role do they play?

One of the last panels of Immortal X-Men # 1 offers a clue, and quite possibly the answer. While 12 members of the Quiet Council sit at the center table, a 13th member, one who “represents” the “interests” of Krakoa, is also in attendance, hanging from a tree. This mutant has known death (several) and recently shouldered a burden unlike others (holding Creed in the Pit for starters), enough to harden any heart, wouldn’t you agree? And as I asked once on Twitter, does anyone remember how they arrived at the Mansion? Cause as I recall it, the Cerebro helmet did not detect Douglas Ramsey. He followed Kitty home one day. And yet now he is the centerpiece of Krakoa, convenient.

Now it could be I am hot or cold on this theory, yes I guess maybe even lukewarm, though I don’t want to be. If nothing else I have found this another example of how “multi”versal things are, almost omni. A book I once read says a house, a body divided cannot stand. The House of X, the nation of Krakoa, the mutant body has cracks already. Ask any doctor or designer how these types of things begin and they will all agree. Quietly.