X-Lapsed, Episode 062 – X-Men #7 (2020)
Let’s get ready to rumble!
It’s time for the first-ever Krakoan Crucible… and, boy-oh-boy, do we have A LOT to talk about. Topics we will discuss will include a mutant’s right to die, the concept of being (and/or becoming) “whole”, how context and consequence are the basis of continuity, and we will theory-craft the ever-loving hell out of just about every nugget of “food for thought” this amazing issue gives us.
Also: This issue features “that” scene between Wolverine and Cyclops… that set many a “comics journalist” to clickbait their way to fleeting (and relative) internet fame. We’ll talk all about that as well.
Plus: Great listener mail and another X-Lapsed “Call to Arms”. If you’re digging the show — or at the very least, appreciate the time and effort that goes into making it every single day, please consider telling a friend that it’s a thing that exists in the world! Thanks gang!
@acecomics / @cosmictmill / firstname.lastname@example.org
2 thoughts on “X-Lapsed, Episode 062 – X-Men #7 (2020)”
I have so much to say about this issue. Let's start with the Cyclops/Wolverine conversation. As you know I am a great big gay but I seem to have missed the the online discourse on this conversation. And I follow a lot of gay X-Men fans on Twitter. It is clearly a joke. I don't think Hickman is seriously trying to say that Wolverine is attracted to Cyclops. Tone of voice is hard to convey in a comic but body language is relatively easy and the staging of this scene sets them deliberately apart. There is definitely no flirtation on panel. I did see one article reference this in relation to the queer baiting vs. queer representation discourse. Queer baiting is where stories imply characters are gay to engage the LGBT+ audience but keep it deniable. They want us to be able to identify with characters without having to scare off any homophobic readers. I don't know if we can accuse Hickman of queer baiting as he also has a number of characters who are identified as LGBT+ in the X-books but, as you said, he's happy for people to see what they want to see.
I would happily see Wolverine presented as bisexual, he's about 150 years old surely he'd have experimented at some point. If only through boredom. What I find unbelievable is that he would be attracted to Cyclops. His past romantic history shows him to be attracted to fiery women. Cyclops is far too controlled for Wolverine. I'm definitely anti this relationship.
Moving on, I loved the Douglock transition. I think this is our first sighting of Warlock in the HOXPOX/DOX era and it was great to see him back. It seems odd that Doug is hiding him but hopefully that will lead to a future story. It's a bit of a spoiler but there's a scene in Ecchs of Tens when Warlock being on Krakoa is treated as an open secret. Everyone knows he's there but they're humouring Doug by ignoring him. Obviously when I see Doug, Warlock and Krakoa together it brings to mind the theories we've all had about man/machine/plant hybrids.
The opening of the Cyclops/Nightcrawler conversation with the talk about the tower sat heavier with me on rereading. I skipped over it on my first reading presuming it belonged to one of the more magical characters like -|A|- or Exodus. Reloooking at it (particularly being halfway through Ecchs of Tens) I see it as looking very Otherworldly. Is it a structure from before the islands separated? It looks like a tuning fork combined with a sword but there are organic elements. Sometimes I think I over analyse this stuff.
The theological discussion between Scott and Kurt is almost designed for me. I have a degree in theology and I'm always up for a bit of a debate. Of course we often find ourselves comparing it to our real World religion when the Marvel Universe is a very different place. There is empirical evidence of souls existing separately from bodies in the MU. They know that there is an afterlife, Kurt lived in Heaven, and that your soul can return. Within their World the conversation about souls is different. We could spend hours debating whether there is such a thing as a soul, in fact many people would determine that the soul is a part of the body made of chemicals and electrical impulses. Still though, they require the leap of faith. Is it the same them that is resurrected? They have memories of their previous lives but it's entirely possible that the Kurt who died on the Orchis Forge is sat in Heaven and this is an all new, all different Nightcrawler.
Kurt suggests creating a mutant religion but really Exodus is way ahead of him. The way he's indoctrinating the youngsters about the Scarlet Witch and the Decimation is eerily reminiscent of a cult leader. It seems unlikely that setting up Wanda as an anti-Christ figure is going to end well. The Crucible itself is presented like a sacrament. You compared it to an adult baptism which is appropriate but doesn't get across quite how gruesome this is. -|A|- slices Melody apart in full view of her friends and family.
We are shown that Sam has to be held back to prevent him from intervening but the people who live on Krakoa are not shown reacting to the death of Melody only to her resurrection. Maybe they are trying to imply that most people agree with Wolverine that it is Melody's choice so they shouldn't interfere but I can't imagine being in that audience and not trying to stop it. I like to think most people would protest even if they accepted her free will. If only because it is a natural instinct to preserve life. Don't forget this is a crowd of superheroes. They have trained themselves to protect life at all costs and yet they are able to just stand by. I can only see this working if Krakoa is having an effect on their decision making. It was stated that Krakoa feeds on mutant energy but it doesn't have a negative effect as it's spread out over so many people all of whom lose a small bit of energy. Maybe this energy-loss makes them more docile, more credulous. Having said that Professor X holds his hand up to his head just before the killing blow which is usually a signifier that he is using his powers. Maybe he is live-editing the crowd.
This issue really is a big one. It opens up so many questions and by putting them in Kurt's mouth it shows that they are deliberately being highlighted and implies that Hickman has answers. You finished your review by imploring anyone who is following X-lapsed but not buying the books to go out and buy this one. I would concur but it also highlights part of the reason I dropped X-Men a couple of issues later. I realised that there are key issues like 6 and 7 and a lot of other stories that you can safely skip. I knew that I would hear about these key issues through social media so I could drop the book and just pick up the issues I hear are unmissable. Of course this didn't last very long as I came back in with Ecchs of Tens which grabbed me enough that I've bought all 16 issues so far.
Ultimately it comes back to what you said during the feedback no matter how often I give up the X-Men I'm always primed to jump back on.