Warning: SPOILERS for Captain Marvel #44
Marvel’s Captain Marvel has revealed the X-Men’s greatest strength is also a terrible weakness, and mutant resurrection will never be thought of the same way again. In the world of Marvel Comics, superheroes have a habit of repeatedly dying and returning to life again and again, but the X-Men have turned a comic trope into a plot point: they have weaponized mutant resurrection for all of their kind. Captain Marvel #44 reveals a potential downside, however, and not just for the X-Men.
2019’s X-Men reboot by writer Jonathan Hickman introduced a number of new concepts into the franchise. For the first time, all mutants were united in creating and protecting their new island home of Krakoa, a mutant nation. This was accomplished in part by revealing the secret mutant heritage of Moira MacTaggart; this seemingly-human character was a mutant the entire time and has the unique power to resurrect in her younger body after dying in the future. The most important change, however, was the system of resurrection known only to the X-Men. Using the powers of five special mutants, the X-Men can return from the dead, albeit with slight memory loss after the experience.
In Captain Marvel #44, written by Kelly Thompson with art by Sergio Davila, Carol Danvers and a group of superheroes travel into space to answer the X-Men Rogue’s distress call. Unfortunately, they’re too late; she’s already transformed into a member of the Brood, an alien race bent on invasion and destruction. After exhausting all other options, Carol resolves to destroy Rogue’s ship – with her still inside it. “I’m sorry, Rogue,” Carol thinks as the heroes prepare to destroy the vessel. “When you wake on Krakoa, you won’t remember this, and I hope that’s for the best.”
Captain Marvel Reveals X-Men Resurrection Is A Weakness
Captain Marvel’s mission reveals how trivial resurrection has made the lives of X-Men: if one of their number is in danger, it is occasionally simpler for them to die and resurrect than risk more people during a rescue mission. But this line of thinking reveals another danger: it teaches the wrong lessons. An X-Men member can commit suicide and simply resurrect, but this leaves a rather bitter taste in the mouths of readers: at best, it robs the story of any tension, and at worst, spins self-harm and suicide into a real strategy in comics.
The vast majority of readers, of course, are able to separate fact from fiction and are fully aware that superheroes and their abilities are not real. But the lessons that comics teach remain long after the books are closed; the X-Men have trivialized life through resurrection, and in the process, teach that is not nearly as precious as readers believe it to be. This is, of course, a false narrative, and Captain Marvel’s latest adventure (in which killing a friend is a solution) certainly does the situation no favors.
Next: Thor & Captain Marvel’s Greatest Fears Make Them Total Opposites