In the aftermath of X Of Swords the X-Men franchise has entered the next phase in the era that was created by House of X and Powers of X. The latest X-Men crossover left a major impact that has been felt on all the team titles for the franchise. One of the biggest things that that Krakoa is left to deal with is filling in the two empty seats on the Quiet Council after Apocalypse left Krakoa to be with his family and Jean Grey had her seat taken after she decided to help lead the X-Men alongside Cyclops to save everyone in Otherworld. Leaving their structure as is will not do for the Quiet Council with all the other things they are dealing with post-X Of Swords. Let’s see how this and other things are developed in X-Men #16.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Phil Noto
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: Cyclops brings Rachel Summers and Cable to monitor the current communication between the living islands of Krakoa and Arakko. As Arakko begins creating new formations on its island the three notice how there is still something keeping Krakoa and Arakko from merging once again to form Okkara.
Later both Krakoa and Arakko create representatives for their islands and have Cypher act as the mediator for their conversation at the mid-point between the two islands.
Later Cypher meets with the Quiet Council to inform them that due to the long period of their separation that neither Krakoa nor Arakko have an interest in merging to create Okkara again. Cypher goes on to reveal that the difference of what has become Arakko since the separation has extended to the mutants that live on the island.
The Quiet Council discuss how they don’t have much information on the mutants living on Arakko. Cypher reveals that he did discover that there are at least twenty times as many mutants that live there in comparison to Krakoa. This brings another problem that the Quiet Council realize they must discuss.
Later, on Arakko, Charles Xavier and Magneto bring Isca the Unbeaten a gateway flower so they can all travel between Krakoa and Arakko without having to travel through the water. Isca calls out Xavier and Magneto for how childish their Quiet Council is compared to the Great Ring of Arakko.
Isca then warns Xavier and Magneto to not to come to Arakko unwelcomed again. Before walking away Isca does agree to bring the topic of planting a gateway flower on Arakko to the Great Ring of Arakko.
Later, Xavier and Magneto meet with Jean Grey and Scott Summers to offer them the two empty sets on the Quiet Council. Jean and Scott both turn down the offer as they are focused on reviving the X-Men. Jean says that Krakoa needs someone who is fighting for them and that is what the X-Men will be. Scott says while he will still keep his Captain Commander role that the X-Men will be completely separate from the Quiet Council.
Xavier and Magneto ask Jean and Scott if they know who they want on their new X-Men team. Jean and Scott tell them that because the X-Men are representing the people of Krakoa they will leave it to its citizens to vote on the members on the team.
An election poster is then distributed with Cyclops image and the words “ELECTION OF THE X-MEN” on it. In the information on who can be voted on the team are the residents of the Akademos Habitat, House of M, Hellfire, Bar Sinister, Wild Hunt, and Arakkii Pillar are all eligible. Those not eligible are said to be the Quiet Council. End of issue.
The Good: X-Men #16 is one of the better Jonathan Hickman-era comics for this franchise that has been written. Even with how uneven of a crossover X Of Swords was Hickman makes the most out of the new status quo for the franchise to provide us with a strong set-up for what is to come for the X-Men.
Specifically addressing the current relationship between Krakoa and Arakko as well as the status quo for the Quiet Council made X-Men #16 come across as the most important issue to read in the start of Reign Of X. As with previous issues of his X-Men run, Hickman makes every development in this issue feel like something that will either be brought into play in this series or all the other comics in the X-Men line. That is credit to how Hickman directly deals with how impactful the X Of Swords crossover was in shaking up the developments in the franchise since House Of X and Powers Of X.
Showing that the relationship between Krakoa and Arakko is beginning on shaky grounds on multiple levels immediately created tension that will hang over all the X-Men titles. Opening with Cyclops, Rachel Summers, and Cable viewing how the merging of Krakoa and Arakko failed set the stage for what Cypher explains to the Quiet Council. Hickman does a fantastic job using the fact that Okkara won’t be reforming as something the Quiet Council deem a the results of X Of Swords a failure for their side.
Once again we see how the Quiet Council deal with how they are running things from a top level. They don’t care who of their champions survived. The mere fact that they couldn’t use the events of X Of Swords to further strengthen their status as a country made the majority of the Quiet Council view all they went through as a waste of time. Its that mentality that shows how we should never view the Quiet Council in the way we expect our heroes to act.
This attitude we see the Quiet Council show made how Isca the Unbeaten called out Charles Xavier and Magneto’s cheap showing in their diplomatic visit to Arakko stand out even more. Everything that Isca says about the way Xavier and Magneto just show up uninvited highlights how new they are to being a country. As we have seen before Xavier and Magneto walked into this entire meeting with a swag about themselves that they had the right to be in Arakko with the guise of giving the island a present. This made you further realize how true everything Isca says about the Quiet Council acting like children have truth behind it.
With this diplomatic meeting failing so spectacularly it creates greater interest in what the relationship between Krakoa and Arakko will be moving forward. The Quiet Council and the Great Rings of Arakko have not started their relationship on friendly terms. Both sides have their own interests which could cause things to become even rockier for what Xavier and Magneto have been driving towards with creating a credible country in the eyes of the Marvel Universe for mutants to live.
Given all these developments you are even more on Jean Grey and Scott Summers side about reviving the X-Men and what they need to represent. Jean and Scott both turning down Xavier and Magneto’s offer to fill the missing seats on the Quiet Council emphasized their commitment for their vision of what the X-Men stand for.
This new vision for the X-Men reminds me a lot of the JLA. Even though the X-Men will be based and connected to Krakoa they won’t be beholden to the Quiet Council governing body. Jean and Scott are going to make sure the X-Men are positioned as heroes first and foremost. That means being on the frontlines defending anyone who is in need to set a strong, positive example for all mutants to follow.
Which all made the fact that Jean and Scott have decided to hold an election to decide who would be joining their X-Men team an interesting twist. Things are made even more interesting by the fact Jean and Scott specifically state no Quiet Council members can be an X-Men and that Arakko mutants can. This emphasizes how the Quiet Council won’t hold power over the X-Men and opens the door for whole new team of mutants we have not seen together.
Phil Noto’s artwork was clean throughout X-Men #16. That is what was needed for this type of issue that was all about different characters talking with one another. Noto got over the importance of each conversation that was had. There was a good sense of escalation with how characters reacted to one another’s dialogue that made the final meeting between Cyclops, Jean Grey, Charles Xavier, and Magneto even more effective.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Jonathan Hickman and Phil Noto maximize exploring the impact X Of Swords had on the X-Men franchise and how the Reign Of X direction will move forward. Every scene in X-Men #16 built well into the next so the tension was always high with what various characters were discussing. It all made the way Cyclops and Jean Grey made it clear what the X-Men will be representing moving forward even more effective. The foundation has now been completed for a lot of intriguing stories to be crafted in the Reign of X direction.
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