The Hellfire Gala continues the biggest party in the Marvel Universe with a new one-shot named Planet-Size X-Men. There have been several major moments that have taken place already in the Hellfire Gala across all the different chapters of this crossover. Now with the name Planet-Size X-Men this one-shot by Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz has a lot to live up to. Especially with Emma Frost showing everyone in attendance something that left everyone with their jaws on the floor in previous chapters of Hellfire Gala there we could see something big happen in this one-shot. Let’s find out with Planet-Size X-Men #1.
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Across the universe Magneto uses his powers to fly many large asteroids and drive them straight into Mars to provide the planet with necessary iron ore for the plan he presented to the Quiet Council.
Hope Summers and Vulcan (Gabriel Summers) then teleport to Mars surface. Hope proceeds to mimic Vulcan’s powers and amplify Vulcan current power levels at the same time. They then proceed to use both their powers to reach the core of Mars. From there Hope and Vulcan combine their energy powers to overcharge the core so that Mars can have the potential to fully support life and develop a proper atmosphere.
Iceman is the next one to show up and he uses his powers to create polar ice caps on Mars, in the process providing water to the planet.
Four days earlier, on Arakko, Magneto confronts Isca about a group of Arakkil attempt to declare sovereignty over Chichibu in Saitama, Japan. Isca is unconcerned as they were just humans, which concerns Magneto even more as it could’ve caused a war between Japan and Krakoa. Isca pushes that Arakko will do what they wish while living on Earth.
The next day, Magneto meets up with Emma Frost, Kate Pryde, and Sebastian Shaw. Emma, Kate, and Sebastian reveal they cannot produce their medicines fast enough to meet increased demand, especially after the farms on the Savage Land were lost. Magneto promise to get them the help they need. This makes Emma wonder what secrets Magneto is keeping from them.
The next day in Westchester, New York, Cyclops meets up with Captain America at the ruins of the old Xavier Mansion. Captain America talks with Cyclops about how Krakoa’s population grew rapidly by 500% with the arrival of Arakko. Captain America goes on to say this has caused a massive amount of panic and alarms to be sounded by many. Cyclops says that they are addressing it and asks Captain America if he is attending the Hellfire Gala. Captain America says after what’s happened he is now.
The next day Magneto meets with the rest of the Quiet Council to talk about his plan on how Earth is both their home and the past. He goes on say with his plan they will be able to speak for Sol. The Quiet Council unanimously vote in favor for Magneto’s plan.
Early the next morning Magneto gathers Krakoa’s Omega-Level mutants (Jean Grey, Iceman, Storm, Vulcan, Hope Summers, Proteus, Exodus, Kid Omega, and Elixir) on a spaceship above Earth. There he explains his plan to show humans their power at the Hellfire Gala. Kid Omega brings up that they need Franklin Richards powers. Magneto states they don’t need pretenders and Franklin Richards is not their family.
Magneto then reveals he made a call to Otherworld to get Monarch (James Braddock Jr.) to help with his plan instead. He goes on to reveal that he convinced the Great Ring of Arakko to also lend him the help of Lactuca the Knower, Sobunar of the Depths, and Xilo the First Defender of this Broken Land.
In the present Monarch and Hope (who is now mimicking and amplifying Monarch’s reality warping powers) team with Sobunar of the Depths to change Mars oceanic ecosystem Iceman created. This process allows for life to now grow in the water that now exists on Mars.
Storm is the next to show up. She proceeds to use her powers to mold the climate of Mars to what she wants it to be. Storm proceeds to connect the climate with the land and sea so Mars can sustain permanent source of nourishment.
After this is done Magneto brings Elixir and Xilo the First Defender of this Broken Land to Mars. Elixir and Xilo combine their powers to create the different elements needed for Mars to have a complete livable environment. This process includes Mars now having breathable oxygen.
With a breathable atmosphere Jean Grey and Exodus team-up Lactuna the Knower (whose powers allow her to knows the location of “everything,” that includes things in the multiverse). The trio combine their powers to successfully invert the External Gate to Otherworld. This allows them to bring the entirety of the island of Arakko, including its population, to Mars. The process allows the island of Arakko to quickly adapt and become a permanent part of Mars.
On Nili Beach, as they are discussing Arakko’s situation, Kid Omega and Hope are surprised at how quickly Arakko adapted to being on Mars.
On another part of Arakko Jean thanks Lactuca the Knower for her help. The people of Arakko then look on at the new planet their island is now on.
To mark this occasion the island of Arakko teams with Storm to create a new landmark on Mars at one of the planet’s new lakes. This new landmark is called Lake Hellias Diplomatic Ring that is intended to be a place were the diplomats in Sol can speak and achieve peace across the solar system.
Elsewhere Xilo the First Defender of this Broken Land uses his powers to create massive statues of Apocalypse and Genesis within a valley on Mars that is claimed as a sacred land.
Elsewhere Jean Grey and Kid Omega use their respective telepathic powers to enter Monarch’s mind. There they kickstart Monarch’s reality-warping powers to give birth to a second S.W.O.R.D. space station that will act as Arakko’s new planetary defense.
Monarch then creates what he dubs Port Prometheus, a docking port on Mars for people across the galaxy to arrive and be greeted at when visiting the planet.
Later that night Storm meets up with Magneto to assist him planting a Krakoa Gate on Arakko.
Magneto then brings and welcomes all of mutants from Krakoa who are attending the Hellfire Gala to the planet. Magneto then proceeds to rename Mars to Planet Arakko. End of issue.
The Good: Up to this point the Hellfire Gala crossover event has been a showcase for the X-Men franchise. Whether its been giving us a look into the chemistry of the different mutant teams on Krakoa or the debut of the new X-Men team, its all been one big show that Emma Frost has been hosting. That is where Planet-Size X-Men #1 enters the crossover event as presenting something completely different. This one-shot is a statement that is made for how far Krakoa has come since officially being founded during House of X and Powers of X.
Framing Planet-Size X-Men #1 around addressing the ongoing situation with the island of Arakko and its mutants now being on Earth was the right move. Since X Of Swords ended we’ve seen how Arakko’s situation has hovered over the franchise without fully being dealt with. But now with Krakoa getting ready to host the biggest event of its young life as a country there was no avoiding the problems Arakko was causing.
Presenting the case of why addressing Arakko can’t be avoided anymore by reminded the reader of how the island’s mutants are warriors and conqueror’s at heart set the tone for the rest of Planet-Size X-Men #1. Gerry Duggan doing this by having Arakko almost causing a war with Japan just because they wanted to claim a specific product fit with what we know of the Arakko mutants up to this point. It got you right into what was at stake as the Hellfire Gala is something Emma Frost and the Quiet Council want to go off perfectly.
Magneto being the one to step up and put everything on his shoulders to come up with a plan was a great way to shine a different light on the character. As we’ve gotten deeper into this current direction for the X-Men franchise the focus on Magneto’s character has been his pairing with Charles Xavier in leading Krakoa. Giving Magneto his own story to show what kind of individual leader he is without painting him as someone who could cross a line at any point was strongly showcased. We saw how Magneto can properly act as a diplomat amongst the mutants as he never lost his cool. Instead, Magneto took in what everyone from Isca to Emma Frost told him about their current situation in order to come up with a plan.
And boy was the plan that Magneto came up with was sure a major statement. The statement made is one that uses how Jonathan Hickman remade the definition of Omega-Level mutant classification in House of X #1 and took it to the next level. Seeing all the current Omega-Level mutants together already raises an eye brow as you know something big is about to happen. Revealing that all the Omega-Level mutants are going to be working together to turn Mars from a dead planet to one where anyone can live and visit safely just made you want to watch how this would happen.
To Duggan’s credit he has Magneto maximize all of the Omega-Level mutants powers in proper stages. Magneto, Jean Grey, Iceman, Storm, Vulcan, Hope Summers, Proteus, Exodus, Kid Omega, Elixir, and Monarch were all placed in a position where they could showcase their max level. Starting out with Magneto moving iron-rich asteroids through the galaxy and bringing them to Mars so the planet can have the suffient ore needed was a strong way to kick things off.
Starting in this way with Magneto set-up for each following Omega-Level mutant to use their powers to terraform Mars to be even bigger. Vulcan and Hope Summers following up by overcharging Mars core pushed all of that to firmly get over that we are going to see something that is amazing. They kept the momentum Magneto created moving for Iceman to come in and follow-up to finally show his own max level by creating the polar icecaps for the planet. The same goes for Storm introducing the elements to the planet through her weather manipulation powers that are on a whole new level as she is now able to use her powers on other planets as well.
I can go on about how Jean Grey, Kid Omega, Elixir, Proteus, and Monarch just as big of a part in terraforming Mars. Each of these characters got their own showcase of why they are part of the Omega-Level mutant class. As impressive as they all were it was important that Planet-Size X-Men #1 also established why Arakko is equally as powerful.
Slowing things down by revealing that to make sure the process to covert Mars into a living planet Magneto needed to recruit Lactuca the Knower, Sobunar of the Depths, and Xilo the First Defender of this Broken Land from Arakko was a good way to make their mutants be part of all this. This helped drive home how the mutants of Arakko are just as powerful as the ones we know on Krakoa. With Mars becoming Planet Arakko having Lactuca, Sobunar, and Xilo also establishes in the minds of the reader how the new planet is a powerhouse right out of the gate.
Making the whole creation of Mars becoming Planet Arakko even more important was how this provides a new avenue of resources for Krakkoa. Duggan reminds the reader that across other X-Men books in the lead-up to Hellfire Gala there have been resource problems starting to pop up for Krakoa. And with Hellfire Gala being seen as a way for Krakoa to move away from working within the black market they needed access to more resources. With Planet Arakko’s creation now Emma Frost, Kate Pryde, and X-Corps have a new place to gain
Another standout scene was the meeting between Cyclops and Captain America. This scene was the backstory needed to establish why the Avengers accepted Krakoa’s invitation to the Hellfire Gala. It wasn’t simply just because they wanted to see the debut of the new X-Men. The Hellfire Gala represents the new start to the X-Men’s relationship with the rest of the superhero community. Especially with how much Krakoa has done the X-Men actions will be watched even more closely because of the stir they’ve caused in House of X/Powers of X and X Of Sword.
With Planet-Size X-Men #1 putting all of the Omega-Level mutants full powers on display Pepe Larraz stepped up huge to make every power stand out. Magneto, Jean Grey, Iceman, Storm, Vulcan, Hope Summers, Proteus, Exodus, Kid Omega, Elixir, and Monarch all came across as the powerhouses they should be seen as. There was a unique way of presenting their powers to be something the reader must be in awe of. It hammers home how they each represent the top level of what each type of power they represent. The final page of Planet-Size X-Men nails how the Hellfire Gala is this big celebration for the next phase of the X-Men franchise.
The Bad: The only thing that kept Planet-Size X-Men #1 reaching that next level is the narrative connection to the previous chapters of the Hellfire Gala. Even though this issue is a middle chapter for the Hellfire Gala crossover Planet-Size X-Men just feels like a separate story. Even the final page just came across as being forced into this issue in order to remind the reader that the Hellfire Gala is something that is still going on.
The big missed opportunity in the narrative was not connecting how Mars became Planet Arakko to Emma Frost using her telepathy to show everyone attending the Hellfire Gala this happening. That is how X-Men #21 ended and got you interested in seeing what Emma showed everyone. Not having this major Hellfire Gala moment connect to the events in Planet-Size X-Men makes it look like every comic book in the crossover is just doing their own thing. Which has been a major problem with the crossover, especially in comparison to how tightly connected X Of Swords was before this.
Overall: Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz set out to make a statement with Planet-Size X-Men #1 and they did just that. All of the Omega-Level mutants in the X-Men franchise uniting to make Mars into a livable planet like Earth was incredible to watch. Adding in the ongoing politics for Krakoa and tying that into Magneto to turn Mars into Planet Arakko created greater depth to the story taking place. Putting all this together makes this a can’t miss comic book for X-Men fans.
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