Warning: this article contains spoilers for King In Black: Marauders #1
In times of war, rules are sometimes tested to their breaking point. Up against the nearly limitless force the King in Black has brought to bear, the heroes of Marvel Comics have endured devastating losses and far too few victories. For their part, the X-Men have lost several of their own champions to the will of Knull, including Cyclops and Storm, and though their contingency plans have been put into effect, they’re still far from being able to turn the tide. It’s in moments such as these that the true nature of individuals and nations is shown. Under the duress of annihilation at the hands of an ancient void god, the mutants of Krakoa have demonstrated their capacity for mercy.
Since the birth of the Krakoan nation, the Quiet Council has maintained one all-important rule: only mutants are allowed to enter Krakoa and call it home. There are security concerns motivating this decision: after all, the X-Men aren’t without enemies. Then there’s the reality that mutantkind has rarely been welcomed in any part of the world, and if they were, it wasn’t for very long, which would make them less eager to share their newfound paradise. The keys to the kingdom are kept close, and any opening can leave the sentient island vulnerable to attack. And yet, three of Krakoa’s most powerful saw fit to leave the gate ajar. But why?
In this month’s King in Black: Marauders #1, from writer Gerry Duggan and artist Luke Ross, the Red Queen and Bishop have embarked upon a mission whose success is crucial to the world’s safety. The Marauders are set to rescue Storm and Cyclops from Knull’s grasp, even if that means killing them do so. Along the way, however, they receive a distress call from a nearby vessel. Rather than ignore the side-quest, Captain Kitty Pryde decides to take the detour. Having dealt with the dragons attacking the distressed ship, the Marauder’s discover its trafficking humans. After leading the slave-trading crew through a gate to South Africa’s Namib Desert, the question which remains is what to do with the newly freed refugees. What place is truly safe while the King in Black still lays siege to the globe?
After a brief but effective telepathic meeting with Emma Frost and Magneto, Kitty Pryde manages to finagle a consolation prize that’s agreeable to all parties. To bring the refugees onto the main island at the heart of the mutant nation would be out of the question; however, Krakoa has habitats connected to it all over the world, one of which, Magneto’s former headquarters known as Island M in the Bermuda Triangle, is perfect. Once there, they are given Krakoan seedlings which when planted grow to become very comfortable shelters and will provide the community with food. Not a bad deal considering the hellish fate that likely awaited them before the Marauders intervened.
The issue ends with Magneto paying a visit to the refugee community’s leader, Nyoka. What’s remarkable about this scene is what it reveals about the X-Men’s new kingdom. In an effort to assuage Nyoka’s understandable skepticism towards her benefactors, Magneto observes that only “weak nations prey upon those in need. Strong nations do not fear showing kindness.” There can be no doubt of Krakoa’s strength and power, but thanks to the workings of the Master of Magnetism, Emma Frost and Kitty Pryde, the world will soon know of their compassion.