WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Fallen Angels #1, by Bryan Hill, Szymon Kurdanski, Frank D’Armata, VC’s Joe Sabino and Tom Muller, on sale now.
Even though they may be outlaws to the rest of the Marvel Universe, the X-Men are governed by laws. While the independent nation Krakoa hasn’t been a nation for long, the mutant homeland already has a handful of laws and a ruling body in the Quiet Council, which is made of up several influential mutant leaders.
Despite those early steps towards sustainable nationhood, the X-Men’s world has been thrown into chaos with the assassination of Charles Xavier, Krakoa’s co-founder and de facto head of state. Even though Krakoa already has a way to raise the dead, this attack has still cast a meaningful shadow over the mutant paradise.
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As Fallen Angels #1 reveals, one of the most notorious mutants in the Marvel Universe, Magneto, has stepped into the turmoil to effectively assert himself as Krakoa’s leader in Xavier’s absence.
When the Quiet Council hasn’t been in session, the small cabal of Xavier, Magneto and their silent partner Moira MacTaggert have been quietly guiding Krakoa from behind the scenes. More than anyone else, they seem to essentially function together as Krakoa’s executive branch. While that makes Magneto the obvious choice to take on more leadership responsibilities, what he does with those responsibilities is unnerving.
When the psychic mutant assassin Kwannon — who’s now known as Psylocke — is plagued by visions of an ominous threat called Apoth, she turns to Magneto for permission to leave the island. Since Krakoa has officially been put on lockdown in the wake of Xavier’s death, Magneto officially tells her that she can’t follow her vision’s lead and travel to Tokyo to investigate the matter further.
After she pushes the issue for another moment, Magneto tells her to go talk to Mister Sinister, who has access to his own unofficial ways of coming and going from Krakoa. When Kwannon points out the irony of Magneto telling her a rule before giving her a way to get around it, Magneto simply states that, officially, that part of their conversation never happened.
In theory, the matter of Kwannon leaving Krakoa is exactly the kind of issue the Quiet Council was established to decide. It involves a number of competing interests and an issue that could become an active threat to the entire island. However, by effectively giving Kwannon a direct order that violates Krakoan policy, Magneto has effectively bypassed the Quiet Council — of which he is a member — to assert his own authority from the shadows.
Since Magneto has spent most of his existence as one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains, this is hardly the worst thing he’s ever done. However, his willingness to bend the rules reveals a great deal about his current state of mind.
Magneto has always been a big believer in the idea of mutant superiority. When he committed crimes in the past, he violated the laws of humanity, a species that he didn’t respect or consider himself a member of.
In this issue, Magneto has put himself above Krakoan law, which was designed exclusively by and for mutants. Despite all of his posturing about mutants being a brotherhood of homo superior beings, his disregard for established Krakoan policy reveals that Magneto still holds himself above the law, even if he helped create it.
Since Cyclops and his children were given leave to deal with another threat in X-Men #2, Magneto probably could’ve sent Kwannon on her way on official state business. Considering his own experience as a thoughtful leader, general and head of state, that decision could’ve been easy to justify to anyone who questioned it.
While the ink is barely dry on the first parts of Krakoan law, Sinister’s willingness to live by his own rules is hardly a surprise. However, Magneto’s actions show that he’s still subject to his worse impulses, even in a place that he’s been fighting to build for his entire life. While Magneto giving Kwannon an unofficial sidequest is hardly enough evidence to say that Krakoa is destined to fail, the cracks in this mutant utopia are already starting to show, and they could slowly turn the dream of Krakoa into mutantkind’s worst nightmare.
Fallen Angels #2 hits shelves Nov. 27.
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