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X-Corp #1 Review: There Is A Spectre Haunting Krakoa

Hello and welcome to Krakoa! Yes I’ve decided to indulge myself and start reviewing some of the X-books because hey, it’s a good time to be doing it and my god is it gay now. As luck would have it, this week marked the debut of the newest #1 of the Krakoa status quo: X-Corp. I love Tini Howard’s work on Excalibur (though it has been a little controversial), and I was excited to see Alberto Foche (Dan Dare) on an X-Book, but I initially wasn’t as into X-Corp as other books. Warren, the lamest X-Man? And Monet, the stuck-up girl from Gen X whose backstory nobody understands? And they’re doing business? But I decided to take a chance on it after some interesting previews and, while I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, it wasn’t the strongest product launch ever.

Everything else aside, David Aja is putting out the best covers at Marvel (yes, even better than Alex Ross’s, for my money).

The focus of the issue is X-Corp officially coming out into the business world, with new CXO’s Monet St. Croix (Penance) and Warren Worthingon III (Angel/Archangel) getting all of their ducks in a row for that launch. This includes shooting a launch commercial with Wind Dancer, who’s using the media creation skills she picked up while living in the Mojoverse, getting their board set up, and meeting with corporate contacts.

Monet is in charge of recruitment, it seems, since her first stop is India to pick up the technopath and cybercriminal Trinary, last seen prominently in X-Men:Ren. She’s in the middle of a job that’s going a bit awry, and Monet has to go full Penance to help her out before she can offer Trinary a spot on the board. That’s one of the best parts of the book so far, Monet’s casual switching between hot businesswoman and terrifying devil creature. Foche does a good job with the transitions, and it’s going to be fun seeing how Monet balances her intense need for control and perfection with the anger issues she’s clearly not dealt with.

Thank her as you should

James Madrox, The Multiple Man, also makes his proper return since the start of the Krakoa era. Rather than the sort of detective he was in the past, he’s now DOCTOR Madrox and in charge of the Savage Land facility where X-Corp is growing and researching the plants that are at the core of their pharmaceutical business. I know a lot of his fans from X-Factor Investigations have been a little perplexed by his new role as well as how his powers work (he’s back to needing to re-absorb a Dupe to gain its knowledge), but I like this Jamie. He’s kind of the straight man to everything going on, and he’ll make a great foil to the others as time goes on.

The B-plot of the issue is where we kind of get the philosophical thrust X-Corp, but it’s also the least interesting part of the comic. It’s just Angel talking to an evil businessman about business while they eat and watch a weird horse race. I found myself caring more about the horses (which had things like cybernetic legs batwings) than whatever generic corporate raider stuff the villain was spouting. Essentially, the main world of business doesn’t like X-Corp so they’re going to do whatever they can to take it down, starting with an injunction from the UN to shut down their Savage Land operation. But Warren basically goes “no you won’t” and then Monet blows up the Savage Land operation up, so it’s kind of…meh. What it DOES do, however, is raise the core issue that I think lots of people have with this issue: Mutant Capitalism.

X-Corp has a flying island now, it’s fine

The politics of the Krakoa era are…complicated. There’s a lot very subjects like colonialism, minority separatism, and nationalism wrapped up in the new state that I feel aren’t quite as elaborated on as they could be, but they’ve never been so glaring as in X-Corp. There won’t ever be a book under Disney Marvel that’s critical of capitalism in the way that many of its fans would prefer. That seems obvious. But some books have been able to effectively criticize capitalism within the constraints, Immortal Hulk doing so incredibly effectively with the Roxxon Corporation. In X-Corp, however, we’re grappling with the idea of ethical capitalism. Warren, and to some extent Xavier, believe that the new company can be better than human capitalism, that the can, to paraphrase Warren, be good businessmen and good people.

The comic does take a few stabs at undermining this notion, mostly via Monet and her bullheaded approach to business, but several sci-fi elements are used to help dull the edge of mutant capitalism. Madrox Dupes can be used instead of exploiting a workforce, and the Savage Land can be exploited by mutants because it’s not a REAL place in Antarctica. Kol, as a representation of the traditional business world, presents the many ways they can fail, the many ways that the eeeevil capitalists can take them down, and so we’re in some ways forced to agree with the kinder, gentler capitalism of Krakoa because that’s our focus and our protagonist. It’s not the easiest thing for me to get on board with.

It’s hard to make predictions going forward, but there’s still a lot of room for interesting stories in this book. Monet’s anger issues will no doubt be a running thing, as will Warren’s naïve desire to run a purely ethical business. We know Mastermind is going to come aboard at some point which…is not a point in their favor ethics-wise. My hope is that this will be a great world-building book that can, like Si Spurrier is doing in Way of X, examine a corner of Krakoa that has raised a lot of questions since HoX/PoX. But we won’t know anything until next month, so I’ll see you at the Gala.

Images via Marvel Comics

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  • Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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