The X-Men’s potential use as PR mascots is eerily reminiscent of the retcon concerning Maxwell Lord’s insidious dealings with the Justice League.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men #1 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia & VC’s Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
A team of X-Men, led in the field again by Cyclops, has again begun operating outside of Krakoa and in New York. The team of heroes is lauded for their actions, both in defending the city against a potential alien threat, as well as creating a Krakoan treehouse for the benefit of New Yorkers.
This is all in spite of the controversy surrounding Krakoa and the actions of Charles Xavier, making the somewhat sunny reception that the X-Men receive incredibly suspect. The X-Men’s potential use as PR mascots is eerily reminiscent of the retcon concerning Maxwell Lord’s insidious dealings with the Justice League.
MAXWELL LORD AND TEH JUSTICE LEAGUE
Maxwell Lord was a character introduced after DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the shrewd businessman had glaring similarities to the rebooted Lex Luthor. Despite this, he actually was a good guy and tried to honor his mother’s wishes of using his vast wealth to team up with metahumans and protect the world. This saw him becoming the financial backer of the new Justice League, which lacked many of its heaviest hitters. This incarnation of the League were featured in a book that was much more comical than usual, giving this iteration a goofy, comical and arguably pathetic reputation.
In the lead up to Infinite Crisis, it was revealed that Lord was in fact a malicious villain who used his resources and connections to the metahuman community to decipher who posed the biggest threats to the Earth. In order to operate in this manner behind the scenes, he engineered events to make his Justice League as weak and ineffectual as possible. This kept prying eyes off of him, allowing him to do as many insidious things as he wanted while hiding behind the facade of “beloved” superheroes.
THE ALL-NEW X-MEN
Professor X may very well be using his newest version of the X-Men to operate in the same manner. As mentioned, the actions of the mutant nation are incredibly controversial, as the human population, including reporter Ben Urich, have developed less than warm emotions concerning the Children of the Atom. The X-Men make sure, however, to distinguish themselves from other mutants. To be fair, this unscrupulous aura is not exactly undeserved, as Charles Xavier and many of his allies have begun acting in a more morally ambiguous manner than ever before.
Thus, by having the X-Men publicly act as superheroes again for the humans, the positive reception that they generate takes a lot of the heat off of whatever Xavier is doing in the background. This is essentially a much more pragmatic version of the X-Men’s central premise, which was to use their powers in the service of mankind and show that mutants were not to be feared. It’s also similar, however, to what Maxwell Lord did with the metahuman population in the DC Universe.
The fact that Lord eventually developed psychic powers not unlike Xavier’s makes this parallel even stronger, especially given that Lord, even as a hero, always had an air of deviousness that now surrounds Xavier. Lord’s actions were also based in distrust of metahumans, much like how Xavier and the mutants have grown tired of humanity mistreating mutants. This could result in an ultimate heel turn for Professor X, with the man with the dream of coexistence being revealed as an orchestrator of nightmares instead.
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