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Cover of Uncanny X-Men #700 with text removed
Credit: Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘X-Men’ #35 (LGY Uncanny X-Men #700) review: Krakoa’s farewell is a shocking triumph

The final word on the First Krakoan Age.

Bestowed with the Legacy-numbered moniker of Uncanny X-Men #700, today’s X-Men #35 bears the responsibility of this landmark number as well as being the final word on the First Krakoan Age. Borrowing the title “Dream’s End” for this giant-sized issue risks evoking the grim era of its origin, but in the fashion of Krakoa’s best qualities, this name finds new meaning as the story of mutantkind pushes onward.

Executing this Herculean task is a legion of Marvel creators operating at the highest level: Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing, Kieron Gillen, Chris Claremont, Jed Mackay, Gail Simone, Joshua Cassara, Phil Noto, Lucas Werneck, Leinil Frances Yu, Walter Simonson, Mark Brooks, John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna, Jerome Opeña, Luciano Vecchio, Stefano Caselli, Sara Pichelli, Salvador Larroca, Javier Garrón, Romulo Fajardo Jr., David Curiel, Laura Martin, Sonia Oback, Marcio Menyz, Matt Hollingsworth, Matthew Wilson, GURU-eFX, Morry Hollowell, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Jordan D. White, and Tom Brevoort.

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Celebrations of a 60-year-old franchise, reflections on the last five years of electric storytelling, and preparations for next month’s relaunch are all couched around one central question in Uncanny X-Men #700. Orchis, the most extensive geopolitical threat to mutantkind ever, has been razed to the ground alongside their AI supremacist masters. Existentially, the cosmic threat posed by Enigma has also been addressed, eternally recurring in the moment of its death. The question then remains: why must the X-Men leave Krakoa behind? Metaphorically, are we simply supposed to accept that victory came at the cost of the liberation being fought for?

X-Men #35 begins its response with a reminder of what Krakoa is and is not. Krakoa the nation-state was never the end goal. As a political response to mutant genocide, it was largely effective, and it boldly granted the bulk of mutantkind a space to be and define themselves beyond their oppression. However, the willing collaboration with unrepentant war criminals and a commitment to carceral institutions such as the Pit were seeds that could not be unsown. This is the root of the scenes surrounding Magneto, Professor X, Exodus, and Apocalypse in this issue. Xavier is bitter and narcissistic, and the entire exercise of this era seems futile to him. In contrast, Max Eisenhardt humbly hopes to learn from where Krakoa faltered, and extend his solidarity for mutantkind to all oppressed peoples; he takes on a Mosaic role of sorts, and Magneto will prepare the way for a new Krakoan Age even if it must exist beyond him.

With the arrival of New Krakoa from the White Hot Room, Exodus and Apocalypse are further faced with their own limitations and failures as well as those of the First Krakoan Age. Benet du Paris is the most direct standee for the passion of X-fans raging against the dying light of the First Krakoan Age, and the newly returned adult Kafka is the key counter-balance. X-Men as a franchise is constrained by the context of Marvel Comics creators: even the most diverse and radically compassionate leftist writers and artists of today would not be able to fully bring a true mutant utopia to comics, since the future will bring with it new understandings of how to achieve justice and wellbeing that will outmode current thought. The gift of Kafka and New Krakoa is two-fold: the perfect mutant utopia exists and Marvel creators do not have to bear the burden of its upkeep. In this story, the rebuke of Exodus is a rejection of the Utopian Krakoa being compressed into the context of 2024, and the rebuke of -:A:- reaffirms that New Krakoa is something beyond the ego of any single Great Mutant, something that we may not be fully equipped to handle with the help of our successors.

Of course, New Krakoa’s brief sojourn back to Earth-616 to reclaim their other half has one other major gift as well: everyone is back. To be clear, Jean and Emma only identify that all 15 million lost in the Genoshan genocide were resurrected in the WHR. However, the implied reality is that any and all mutants lost have been brought back to life, and the return to Earth is an opportunity to reconnect with their loved ones or even relocate back to this side of reality. It’s a huge boon to fans to know that all our favorites have survived and been given the choice to be part of the ongoing story of X-Men or return to paradise. Creatively, its also a big helping hand from this X-Office to those to come, since the ambiguity of the scene allows future writers and artists the opportunity to decide who stayed Earth-side and how their time in the WHR affected them.

Apocalypse beats Exodus in front of the X-Men and Kafka in Uncanny X-Men #700

Marvel Comics

But this closing chapter isn’t all that this issue has to offer. Chris Claremont returns to the X-Men alongside Salvador Larroca for an interstitial tale between Krakoa’s farewell and the introduction to FROM THE ASHES. “Nightcrawler: Getting to Know You” presents a brief family day for Kurt, Rogue, Mystique, and Destiny. Claremont getting to write these characters he co-created in the soap opera queer family drama dynamic he had attempted to for decades makes this story historic just for existing, and it goes on to resolidify what each member of this family means to one another. It seems that Raven and Irene’s vow renewal heist hijinks in last week’s X-Men: Wedding Special brought all of Kurt’s feelings of betrayal back to the surface. In the end, Claremont and Larroca layer the love and distrust in this family that feels genuine and strengthens Rogue and Kurt’s bonds to their mothers without sacrificing any characters’ morals or lack thereof.

The final ten pages of story serve as a prelude, properly setting the table for FROM THE ASHES. It speaks to the strength of all the writers involved from White and Brevoort’s respective X-Offices seeing as how naturally this short story seeds not only all three flagship X-Men books but also seven other titles coming throughout the rest of 2024. Read immediately after “Dream’s End,” Xavier’s ending can feel like a hat on a hat. He’s imprisoned, but not as Inmate X. Also, he’s not powerless except for when he decides he’s not needed. So he engineers himself to be reimprisoned as Inmate X, presumably so he no longer can use his powers to meddle. Taken like that, it can feel clunky, but I’d argue it still works. You just have to have a degree of separation between the two endings, which the issue structure attempts to supply.

The art team on Uncanny X-Men #700 makes up the lion’s share of staff behind this book, and everyone excels. Cassara’s opening brings a sense of continuity with preceding X-Men issues as well as treating the audience to a truly unserious Doom later on. Noto’s portraiture of Xavier reveals how broken and bitter he’s made himself. Werneck shows us how surprisingly hot grown-up Kafka is, not to mention some of his best action panels yet. Yu brings back his statuesque vision of -:A:- for good measure. Simonson gets to nod back to his X-Factor era with Apocalypse and the O5. Brooks’ single page with Sunfire is just beautiful. Romita Jr. and Hanna get a great money shot with Colossus as well. Opeña brings bloody heft to Kurt’s blinding attack. Vecchio delivers some of the best X-Men art of the entire era. Casselli gets to bid En Sabah Nur farewell and tease us with more story to come. Pichelli’s Mystique’s is as breathtaking as her revenge on Mother Righteous. Larroca pays special attention to Nightcrawler’s fur, a key detail that shouldn’t be missed in a story centered around Kurt. The white-hot beauty Garrón brings to the Phoenix also deserves a shoutout. Truly, not enough praise can be given to all the artists and color artists in this book.

If there are flaws to this issue, they come from the coloring. Again, all the artists and color artists deliver spectacularly on their individual pages. However, there was a sense of harmony lacking between the transitions from one group of artists to the next, leaving some page turns quite jarring. Having an art team of this size in a single issue is not common for Marvel, so it’s not surprising such a unique problem as this might arise here.

For all that these previous months of the FoHoX/RoPoX era have shown the strain of being rushed and compressed in ways that were frequently confusing and disappointing, Uncanny X-Men #700 is the opposite. Every panel and every word feels intentional and layered with thought and care behind it. For many X-fans, Krakoa was a status quo they were comfortable exploring and pushing the boundaries of for years to come. The real answer to the question of why Krakoa cannot persist is that someone with power beyond our view decided otherwise, and this team was given the unenviable task of bringing this First Krakoan Age to a close. With one foot on Earth and the other in eternity, mutantkind has astoundingly arrived at Krakoa’s best possible finale.

Cover of Uncanny X-Men #700 with text removed
‘X-Men’ #35 (LGY Uncanny X-Men #700) review: Krakoa’s farewell is a shocking triumph
X-Men #35 (LGY Uncanny X-Men #700)
For all that these previous months of the FoHoX/RoPoX era have shown the strain of being rushed and compressed in ways that were frequently confusing and disappointing, Uncanny X-Men #700 is the opposite. Every panel and every word feels intentional and layered with thought and care behind it. For many X-fans, Krakoa was a status quo they were comfortable exploring and pushing the boundaries of for years to come. The real answer to the question of why Krakoa cannot persist is that someone with power beyond our view decided otherwise, and this team was given the unenviable task of bringing this First Krakoan Age to a close. With one foot on Earth and the other in eternity, mutantkind has astoundingly arrived at Krakoa's best possible finale.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
All of the art, Werneck, Vecchio and Opeña in particular
Everyone's back! (mostly)
Krakoa lives on forever! We will build it again someday
The continuity of coloring could be better
10
Fantastic
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