Off The Shelf: X-Men #12, “Controlled Demolition”

Hello this is Sam with Church of the Geek, reviewing X-Men #12, “Controlled Demolition”.

Story by Gerry Duggan, art by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia, and letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles

Remember way back in House of X #1 where Magneto said “you have new gods now”? Turns out he meant it.

Mutant resurrection has been the linchpin of mutant society, politics and ethics. It’s changed the game in a substantial way, allowing the mutants to change their tactics in how they engage their enemies as well as the world. Yet all this time the secret has been hidden from the general human population. That all changes though in X-Men #12.

Since the first Hellfire Gala, the X-Men team has been Krakoa’s face on earth. They serve not only as heroes but as national and brand ambassadors. And they have been very busy. This issue finishes up a fun story involving Gameworld, the fungal criminal mastermind Cordyceps Jones (which is my new favorite villain name) and the X-ladies Jean Grey, Rogue, Wolverine and Polaris. Meanwhile Cyclops further uncovers the mystery of Dr Stasis of the techno-ascendant organization Orchis. However the story with the biggest impact has been how the mutants have tried to handle the very visible death of Cyclops earlier in the series.

Mutants have become not just heroes but galactic saviors and redeemers of humanity. They’ve liberated trillions on far-flung planets, terraformed and colonized another, while still handing out life-saving pharmaceuticals for free to those nations who recognize their sovereignty. However it’s clear that all of this has left them more detached from the world they claim to protect.

You see, Krakoa has become a kind of Olympus. It’s a place where gods plot and play far out of the sight of normal humans. Sure they swoop in to pound the Mole Man or save a kitten, but they no longer make their home among men and women. In the past the X-Men have fought to save humanity whether they loved them or not. Now we aren’t so sure. It’s been clear that the leaders of Krakoa have seen their nation not as one among equals, but as a superior power acting sometimes in mercy and other times in force, but always in its own best interest.

Now that the secret of mutant resurrection is out, thanks to intrepid Daily Bugle reporter and overall good-guy Ben Urich, we can only guess how humanity will treat their new gods. Cyclops’ choice to let Urich publish the story (I’m trying to avoid spoilers as much as I can) has put him at odds with the rest of the Quiet Council. It’s a choice that will make things hard for the rest of the mutants as well as for him personally.

The issue ends with a scene of the X-Men floating above a crowd as they reach up in wonder and praise as Cyke tells the team that he hopes that after their initial anger, the Council will admit that he was right to let their secret out. His hope seems very short-sighted and naïve. What exactly is Cyclops right about? Is eternal life a gift that anyone should have, human or mutant? One can’t help but recall God’s claim that Adam and Eve should never eat from the Tree of Life and live forever because they had already come too close to becoming like Him. The quest for eternal life, in this world and the next, has led to jealousy, mistrust, worship and desperation.

Urich’s monologue after the story headlining the “Immortal X-Men” in the Bugle reveals what’s at stake now. He muses about humanity’s quest to escape death through science and religion, and leaves the question open regarding how the world will respond, and how the mutants will respond in return.

Way of X fleshed out the ethical and spiritual questions raised by resurrection among the mutants. I expect to see the mutants wrestle with these issues further in the pages of X Men. It’s great to have a superhero comic line that has been so thought provoking in the areas of ethics and religion as we’ve had post Hickman. I hope they press in to these questions rather than try and offer easy answers, like punching ethics really hard.

Thanks for listening and thanks for your ongoing support. Please, if you haven’t already, rate and review us on your podcast app of choice, don’t forget to share, and remember that you can visit us at geek.church to find past episodes. And as always, geek be with you.

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