Making Exceptions

Jun 13, 2024


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Uncanny X-Men #700

Over 60 years ago Marvel Comics exposed the world to a superhero “team” from writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby that, if the team’s founder’s ideology is accurate, should never have needed to exist.  With it’s opening page, Uncanny X-Men #700 summarizes and romanticizes both the dream and the dreamer himself.  It’s all there, from the team’s first mission which took place in Uncanny X-Men #1, all the way to that fateful night at the Hellfire Gala.  With this issue signifying the end of the Krakoan Age, Uncanny X-Men #700 allows readers to look at the nightmarish landscape that remains of Xavier’s legacy and ask, what dreams may come?  

Uncanny X-Men #700 / #35
Dream’s End

Nightcrawler: Getting To Know You

Marvel Comics

Writer: Gerry Duggan; Al Ewing; Kieron Gillen
Artists: Joshua Cassara; Phil Noto; Lucas Werneck; Leinil Francis Yu; Walter Simonson; Mark Brooks; John Romita Jr.; Scott Hanna; Jerome Opena; Luciano Vecchio, Stefano Caselli; Sara Pichelli
Color Artitsts: Romulo Fajardo Jr.; Phil Noto; David Curiel; Laura Martin; Sania Oback; Marcio Menyz; Matt Hollingsworth; Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Uncanny X-Men #700 Int

As the present day story in Uncanny X-Men #700 – or #35 – commences we come upon a transport taking Charles Xavier to an unknown detention center.  This scene follows directly from the final pages of Rise of the Power of X #5 where Professor X, after alienating his allies while also aiding them in defeating Enigma, allowed human authorities to take him into custody.  Obviously not everyone is in agreement that imprisonment is enough after all Charles has done over the last few months, since readers already witnessed ShadowKat make an attempt to “Get Xavier” in Fall of the House of X #5.  This time the task falls to the Best There Is and Logan has prepared a roadblock for the security detail that is escorting Xavier into custody.  

Wolverine makes quick work of the guards before cutting through the vehicle’s armor in order to confront the X-Men’s friend, mentor, and at times father figure.  With his claws still extended after dispatching the guards Logan approaches Chuck in a frenzied state that is equal parts loss and furious.  As he begs Professor X for either an excuse to end his life or a reason to spare it, his claws and then entire body are surrounded by a purple energy signature.  This of course signals another mutant’s arrival, one who promptly dismisses Wolverine from the proceedings in order to speak with Xavier, privately.  

Uncanny X-Men #700 Int

It seems if Xavier is to answer to anyone, Magneto feels he should be first.  This is a complex and conflicted conversation considering how far each of these mutant leaders have evolved in their views of others, and themselves.  Of course this leads to the only topic Erik Lehnsherr really wants to tackle with his longtime friend.  Looking back at mutantkind during the Krakoan Age, it might not be so obvious why it failed.  The last few months give the impression that the destruction of the X-Men’s island nation is due to the mechanizations of Orchis, AI or even Enigma.  But there were plenty of other reasons for this fall, and they all seem to stem from questions of purpose and privy.  What and Who was Krakoa For?  

Back in 2019, when the Jonathan Hickman led X-Offices were laying the groundwork for the Krakoan Age, they immediately broke from tradition.  By introducing resurrections and a ruling body into the lives of Marvel’s merry mutants the livelihood of all mutants on Earth were inadvertently linked to Krakoa.  We saw this when Professor Xavier welcomed all mutants, even villains to Krakoa in House of X #5, and then with his psychic broadcast to the globe in House of X #6.  That same issue also introduced us all to the first iteration of the Quiet Council.  

So if “Krakoa is For All Mutants”, does that statement end with a period, question or exclamation mark?  Was it for the Arakki, Sabertooth or Irene?  For a society that on the surface consisted of only three laws, these are just three of many exceptions to the rules.  And like Xavier and Max’s discussion in Uncanny X-Men #700, all of this occurred in secrecy.  Unfortunately, the Quiet Council’s decisions governed all mutants and after all the recent tragedies, the leaders of the X-Men must face judgment day.  Though this time it is not the Eternals orchestrating it, but their own heirs shining a light on their errors.    

Uncanny X-Men #700 Int

Several compelling, and equally confusing recent plots play out in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #700 from the mutants left behind in the White Hot Room to Kurt’s backstory and even what life beyond Krakoa will look like for the X-Men.  First up, as Xavier ends his talk with Max by asking his friend to return him to the authorities, the sudden arrival of the missing portion of Krakoa captures the attention of both men. 

Though abandoned by the X-Men, with Exodus promising to bring them back, the other half of Krakoa arrives from another dimension.  Kafka, now known as Speaker, comes out to meet Cypher and the X-Men, introducing them to a much different looking Krakoa.  With a different Quiet Council that doesn’t rule other characters but rather listens to them. With time and the absence of both temptations and traps, these Krakoaons were able to resurrect the mutants who died on Genosha. 

Kafka goes on to explain their return is merely temporary with their return merely a chance to their achievements, recombine Krakoa and allow any mutant who wishes to return to the “old ways” a chance to reunite with their loved ones on Earth.  After this brief visit he explains their plan is to leave for good.  This news doesn’t sit well with several of Krakoa’s original Quiet Council members, particularly -[A]-.  

Of the Council members, the first story presents Kurt as the one most agreeable to Kafka and the Krakoan’s vision for the future.  Unfortunately, the same positive sentiment doesn’t carry over for Nightcrawler’s personal story that takes place in Uncanny X-Men #700.  Writer Chris Clarement and artist Salvador Larraco continue to chronicle Kurt coming to grips with the knowledge of his lineage. 

There is no mistaking how this story preaches the same message from the previous portion of this issue in terms of trust, looking to tomorrow and the temptation to alter another individual’s trajectory in life.  Nightcrawler’s parentage in the pages of 1994’s Unlimited X-Men #4 doesn’t do justice to the revelations made in X-Men Blue and the Wedding Special.  If you’ve never considered Kurt’s journey as an X-Men before, the Krakoan Age should have changed the way you look at Nightcrawler.    

The best way to describe Uncanny X-Men #700 in terms of continuity would be establishing epilogues.  Not only does the issue offer conclusions to a few of the lingering plots left over from Fall/Rise of the House of X series, but the final pages also offer the first look at the From the Ashes initiative that follows from this period for Marvel’s mutants.  While it isn’t much, with little to spoil readers since much of it merely confirms solicits we have already seen, this portion still serves a significant purpose.  While it highlights that things aren’t great for the X-Men at the moment, at least he knows the kids are or will be alright.  

Uncanny X-Men #700 Int

At several points during Uncanny X-Men #700 we get a glimpse of how several X-Men leaders see fit to handle the Krakoa situation. In fact part of the issue’s presentation creates an incidence of art imitating life – or vice versa.  It seems practically every artist who contributed to the Krakoan Age lends their inks to this issue.  This provides amazing portrayals plus distinct perspectives of how that character seeks to or is viewed by their peers.  But a look at the list of writers – Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing and Kieron Gillen – finds something oddly similar to the affairs of mutants throughout the Krakoan Age. Even this very issue offers one last look at this during a brief scene featuring Doom, Volta and Fauna. Only a few people are allowed to carve out the story that will affect so many.   

But after the events of Uncanny X-Men #700, at least some mutants no longer have to endure a dream deferred.  

Score: 8.6