The X-Men’s Mutant Paradise Is Making Them Worse Heroes

Krakoa is making Marvel’s merry band of mutants, the X-Men, really bad at their jobs, and now the Runaways are the ones paying the price.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for Runaways #34

The most recent issue of Runaways shows how the X-Men have gone from the heroes of mutantkind to the world’s worst rescue team. This entire affair shows that while the island nation of Krakoa may have been a game-changer for Marvel’s mutants, it hasn’t done the X-Men any favors.

Runaways #34, written by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Andrés Genolet and Dee Cunnifee, opens with Wolverine carrying off Molly Hayes with Pixie in tow. The two arrived at the Runaways HQ claiming Molly sent a distress signal, and that they are there to cart the young mutant back to Krakoa. Molly responds by countering Wolverine’s hold on her and lugging him over her shoulder almost effortlessly. She then explains she didn’t send a distress call, but just went on their website and asked for more information. What’s even more humiliating is that the distress call was simply two anonymous e-mails sent from the area, which Wolverine and Pixie immediately assumed were sent by Molly.

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The entire episode is far cry from the old days, when Professor X would pinpoint a mutant in trouble using Cerebro, and send the X-Men on a mission with pretty accurate coordinates. Instead, Wolverine and Pixie are flying by the seat of their pants, using faulty intelligence and flat-out assuming the worst about the Runaways, Molly’s found family. Pixie stops short of accusing Nico of casting a spell on Molly, leading to even more tension between the two teams. Eventually, the two X-Men apologize to the Runaways for the mishap, and join forces to search for the distressed mutant. Their search takes them to a pocket dimension, which they fight off strange creatures, ending in a budding romance between Pixie and Nico.

Charles Xavier in Cerebro

This isn’t the first time the mutants’ post-Krakoa tactics have gotten them in hot water with the superhero community. The X-Men came to blows with the Fantastic Four over Professor Xavier’s aggressive attempts to recruit Franklin Richards. But what makes the episode in Runaways so infuriating is everything stems from honest good intentions bungled by incompetence. As Chase points out, the source of the e-mails—Griffith Park—is some 4,300 acres wide, plenty of space for a mutant to slip in undetected. While the mutants can’t be faulted for investigating the distress call, they instead barge in on the most powerful mutant in the area without asking questions or confirming the location. It’s a wonder things actually worked out.

Krakoa might have given the mutants their own powerful nation, but their run-in with the Runaways shows that the island is also making the X-Men sloppy. In days past, the primary duty of the X-Men was rescuing persecuted mutants from threats all over the world. How far have the X-Men truly fallen if they can’t even handle that?

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