And on the Third (Eye Comics) Day…

Since the 18th century, the relationship between the government and religion has been at an intersection. Though the Bill of Rights mentions the institution known as religion, its phrasing is not exact. The words “make no law” in proximity to “establishment” makes it seem that during its infancy the United States government was willing to play Pontius Pilate.

So even though the country would eventually lay claim to the Moon, with hopes of one day even Mars, the Christian – or any other – flag must forever remain on the right side of Old Glory.

What about the separation of work and home? Experts advise that in order to maintain a positive existence, you need to leave your work at the front door. So why does it seem every day National Bring Your Home to Work Day. This can sometimes be as simple as a salesperson suffering a bad day due to issues as home. Or as dangerous as a domestic situation which makes the workplace deadly. Or just dangerous and detrimental when leaders create a piece of legislature which leans to their own understanding. Those hired to serve others in any capacity can’t allow their own interests to get in the way. Eventually, individuals always advance their own agenda.

X-men religion God Loves Man Kills

They say if you want people to know something, you better spell it out. However, comics have always been about reading between the lines – and past the pages. But several scholars say the same about the scriptures. Fortunately, comic books have the capacity to speak and show. Readers have to take less on faith because of the artwork.

Even though there is no official doctrine in Marvel Comics, those who have been following the X-Men – whether throughout their history or just recently on the path to the Fall of X – may have noticed recently the mutants have been doing things a new way.

Technicolor Dream-comic

How do religions get started? Well, they’re started by the..well now that’s the tricky part. Once Upon’s Mr. Gold was always babbling about stories; he wasn’t stupid. The transmission of tales has a transformative power; amplifying the original as the audience grows. As more and more people hear and accept this tale as truth the more it seems that it becomes a reality. However, unlike rumors, religions usually use words to bless others. And while some are orally transmitted, by transcribing the text these words move one step closer to being something more; tangible, real.

X-Men character Exodus

It is even possible for a religion to come into existence because of a singular figure.  This shouldn’t be perceived as an effort to make you backslide – or bodyslide – and instead as a chance to backtrack.  

Because before this conversation goes further we need to establish a religion, or better yet a definition of the word religion.  If you play with the word then the dictionary definition will lead you to believe that football is a religion; some already do.  It wouldn’t be outside of the realm of possibilities, considering the loosest explanation of religion involves an individual engaging into a relationship with an entity, through prayer and dedication in some instances, which that person views as powerful.  

So while it may not be yours, for some folks when a series or sport’s season ends, they are losing their religion.  And that same level of support can be shown to schools or those who offer salvation.    

One person that has offered salvation to mutants in the Marvel Comic Universe is Professor Xavier.  Though his looks and tendencies may be more reminiscent of the Hindu leader Gandhi, it is in the story of the Buddha that begins this examination into the Way of Xavier.  Although Siddhartha was inspired to renounce his title after napping under a Bohdi tree, Xavier too almost had his lights put out permanently by a demon – the Shadow King.  Xavier felt that if mutants like Amahl Farouk were willing to use mutants’ souls as pawns, he would make it his mission to save them.  It was this confrontation with the equally powerful telepathic mind that first dared Xavier to dream, or was he also being led.  A dream, a voice, or confrontation with an adversary or just a burning bush have each led those of faith to take up their banner, their symbol to save the world.  

Now, how would any scared, lonely mutant view a man that can enter your mind.  Xavier’s was as much a missionary as it was a mansion.  

Once you start to look at Xavier as a religious figure, even an icon, it isn’t very difficult to see two of the X-Men’s more powerful adversaries differently.  Both Magneto and Apocalypse essentially wanted the same thing for mutants, it was always about their questionable means. 

If it is indeed good for brethren to dwell in unity, the Brotherhood and Alliance didn’t make any friends with the X-Men initially. That didn’t stop some students, Colossus and Angel, from abandoning the words of Xavier to follow these leaders for a time. Both came during periods of tremendous despair and unfortunately neither sought wise counsel, instead choosing a quick path to healing. These quick fixes, while not life ending, did drastically change these two heroes. Colossus would endure the glances of his teammates for some time, viewing the once loyal strongman as a denier. Angel’s suffering was much worse as his new wings were like a gift from the devil, requiring Warren to wrestle for control of himself.

X-Men Magneto

And there are even more sects, splinters and schisms that have occurred in this text.  

My Flock

Let’s start with the choices in some aliases among X-Men members which feel slightly tilted towards the theological. When he first arrived in this era from the future readers did not know that Bishop was part of his “government” name. Now, even with this information, there is no mistaking that the “Last X-Men” was enforcing the doctrine of Xavier in accordance with his teachings.

You may not accept Bishop as deuteronomistic, however there is no excuse for misunderstanding Exodus.  Since appearing in the pages of X-Men comics, the zealot Bennet du Paris has been following a messiah.  Reader’s didn’t know he had been this way his entire life; starting around the 12th century.  Following Magneto’s Law led to the creation of Avalon; the first attempt at a mutant (run) paradise.  

For other mutants, religion isn’t just in their name. There are those who wear it proudly as another part of their uniform; like the X, another target. For Kitty this means the Star of David, while Dust wears a hijab and chador. Their two opposing faiths cross paths in so many uncanny ways. Both, though people usually only associate them with a region or culture, are like Christianity – worldwide religions. Ones that are able to diffuse, much like the good word. Oddly enough, that describes how these two women’s abilities operate.

Other X-Men lead by example; no matter how stony the road.  The mutant Forge, indigenous to America, is both a creator and a Shaman.  This led to years of turmoil after serving in the Vietnam War as the horror of his actions would be a constant cause of conflict for this tribal leader’s conscience.  His tormentor is an entity who once took on the form of the Cheyenne’s mentor.  Known as The Great Trickster to Forge’s people, he is also known in Christianity by the name The Adversary.    

No mutant is a testimony of faith more than Nightcrawler.  Despite his appearance and the reactions it causes, Kurt responds like he has just heard the good news.  His assurance that despite being abandoned by his mother that his Heavenly father would never was always enough to buoy Kurt’s spirit.  And while he would eventually abandon his position within the Catholic church, the pull of the priesthood continues to burn in Kurt as bright as brimstone.  

Greater Things Still

Even if gaining the world may come with the price of the soul, it might be worth it depending on the alterations.  However, it is what X-Men leaders Storm and Wolverine did when confronted with losses of their godly abilities, and so much more, that proves their measure.  

While the hymn calls for believers to work for the night is coming, there are many who would say that Logan lived like tomorrow would never come.  Turns out even Wolverine would have to give an account.  With his healing factor gone; dealing with past injuries and new pains – the adamantium on his skeleton slowly  poisoning his system.  What does “The Best There Is” do then?  Meet Logan, professional plower.  Worn and weary, with the weight of the wars he onced faced, Wolverine still sought out and saved other souls from Dr. Cornelius’ experiments.  

Storm faced an even longer trial than Logan. While Wolverine’s walk was mere months, Ororo could be considered Job. As the X-Men attempted to provide shelter for Rogue from the Avengers, a blast from a power nullifier intended for the wanted mutant instead struck Storm. It would be years before the Goddess could summon even a cloud. And yet it was during this period of transition and turmoil, most noticeable the departures of both Cyclops and Xavier, that Ororo earned two crowns. Doing for the least of them (mutants), it was under Storm’s leadership the X-Men would make sure the Morlocks that remained after the massacre were safe. More flesh, her path back to her powers required her to forgive the very man who stole her powers – Forge.

The Corithians claim that “eyes have not seen” applies to all of Scott Summers’ life.  Much like the blind man the Rabbi encountered, there is no one to blame for the malady that befell the mutant known as Cyclops.  So when Charles Xavier first encountered the young mutant many years ago, for Scott it was as if his eyes had seen the glory.  There would be no turning back for Scott Summers.  Or would there?  Considered the first X-Men, has there been another who has faced obstacles – personal and professional – of biblical proportion.  What other member of the X-Men has had to act on pure faith like Abraham?  Scott was asked to make a choice and give up his child, Nathan?  Scott has also shown that it truly matters how a man thinketh and that sins start in the heart and mind; his “innocent” mental affair with Emma ended up on psychic blast courtesy of Jean.  Finally, Scott led the exodus from Xaviers in New York to the X-Men’s temporary home Utopia, which was in San Francisco.  Not necessarily Mosaic but again Scott’s leadership and direction, the faithlessness of his fellow mutants, was on display.  

Enemies of the X

X-Men Hellfire

Those who hate the X-Men rarely flee.  In fact, you could draw ethical/religious parallels between organizations and situations in our world and those faced by the X-Men.  Enemies and initiatives with names like The Right and Operation Zero Tolerance operate through prejudice and pretensions much like the pharisees.  For decades these groups whose members consist of humans, robots and even demons have had but one goal, to end the mutant race.  Fear has forced them to find anything unlike them as foreign and thus up for forfeiture.  And what is their primary weapon which they wield to show the world how evil mutants are?  The very word that would indicate they should do the exact opposite.  

A look beyond the main X–Men title shows this tendency carries on with characters like the Isolationist, a mutant who appeared in the pages of X-Factor.  With an ability that requires his total segregation from the rest of the mutant race even Josef Huber reluctantly understands how the lack of unity and fellowship can affect, even alter you to the very core.  

And with a name like the Hellfire Club, you would imagine that their weapons are indeed carnal. Such a devilishly sounding. Did you notice the number of members holding prominent positions during the Dark Phoenix Saga? If you count Sage – whose name sounds spiritual and was also a spy for Xavier – and Mastermind, along with the other official members at that time you get the 7 deadlies for the X-Men. While the parent organization set out to give Xavier’s senior students hell, Miss Frost and her Hellions were looking to drag the New Mutants there. And Kitty too if she could, after all the harvest was plentiful. With their money and influence these teams did everything possible to tempt Xavier’s followers.

X-Men Generation X X-Men

There are even thieves in the very temple; not you Gambit.  Take Legion, especially since Charles wanted so little to do with him.  If Xavier see’s Scott as his prodigal son, would that make Legion Ishmael?  Rejected by his earthly father, his mind fractured, David Heller made a name for himself by doing things to destroy his father’s.  This began in the pages of New Mutants and even included him aligning with the very entity that began the dream – The Shadow King.  Legion almost ended everything when he accidentally destroyed his father’s reality.  Feelling justified in breaking a commandment, and the space time continuum, Legion traveled to the past only to accidentally kill Xavier instead of Magneto as he had planned.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions and apparently so were those that led to the Age of the X-Men foe known as Apocalypse.  

By This All People Will Know

Another anti-hero, Loki, is often credited with the Avengers creation, based on their byline it is a day unlike any other that is the cause. The fact there are several members, some questionable, indicates that this is a common occurrence.

And in 2019 a new day arrived for the X-Men.  The X-offices under Jonathan Hickman delivered a new canon for the House of Xavier.  Though this dream was now too big for a house, or even a mega church.  Xavier opened the shores of Krakoa.  Like Tangia his cry to all mutants was that all are welcome.   

This would even include former foes, now having found common ground. The trio of Apocalypse, now simply known as *A*, Magneto and Xavier appeared together at a worldwide summit, as a means of showing everyone that the mutants of the world were no longer divided. In fact upon the establishment of Krakoa, all mutants were welcome. Even Deadpool and Sinister have access, as long as they behave. However, Essex being Essex that was not going to last long. Charles shouldn’t have bothered offering grace with Sinister at the table. No amount is sufficient and sin is practically his name.

However, Sinister paid for his seat at the table in another way. Not in silver but in a solution to the mutant death problem. Helping to create the resurrection protocols, now through a circuit created by combining the powers of 5 mutants others may live. And not just live but be new creatures as part of the process allows appearance and even memory modifications. Two members of X-Force, Domino and Quire, both have stories which show how the option of eternal life has changed some mutants. With Beatrice continuing to carry a scar of a failed mission while Quentin contemplates how he can change internally, until realizing this method was not sufficient.

For some mutants, whether recently resurrected or struggling with the concept of peace for the first time in their life, there was only emptiness upon their arrival on the island.  This has led to Kurt forming a legion dedicated to combat this hopelessness that was eroding paradise.  Along with Professor Xavier’s son Legion the two inspire and protect the spark that is so easily extinguished.  These two demonic mutants remind many that they are a light sent to illuminate this world.   Mutants like Lost and Forget-Me-Not are making a name for themselves helping others who suffer the symptoms of their codenames.  This is after Kitty, Bishop and the Marauders sail the seas to ensure that any mutant who wants to get to Krakoa does indeed get to Krakoa

Speaking of getting to Krakoa, it isn’t difficult.  In fact you merely had to pass through a narrow door.  As someone approaches a Krakoan gateway code designed by Doug has the ability to analyze their genetic makeup and allow or deny access.  With several gates across the globe, and even across the galaxy, you can get to Krakoa from any place on Earth.  

However, it is the heavens that declare God’s majesty.  Combining with several other mutants in a powerful display of mastery and majesty by terraforming Mars , Ororro earned herself  a third (or is it fourth) crown as Queen of the Sol system.  

Magneto would join her for a time after departing his role with the Quiet Council.  Until during another mutant massacre he felt compelled to give up the ghost; claiming triumphantly that it was finished.  His former acolyte, also facing the same Eternals who had fallen for his former messiah, was defending Krakoa in service of his current messiah, Hope.  

But if Xavier was always or now had accidentally established a religion, he and others certainly didn’t leave politics out this time.  The Quiet Council, featuring members of the Hellfire Club Shaw and Frost, acted in silence to establish order on Krakoa.  And where there is to be order there must be first laws.  The separation of church and state must have been crossed off early since the 3 Krakoan Laws are direct derivatives of the 10 commandments with the addition of the new word from Christ.  

A quick trip to Sunday school, for those who have been skipping, will reveal that the first five commandments of the Torah – or Bible depending on your religion – deal with man’s relationship with the Almighty and the created world.  The second five, however, deal directly with man’s relationship with his fellow man (or woman).  Finally, throughout his teachings Jesus’ message was one of life beyond individual existence; instead focusing on both eternity and prosperity.   And although the ordering is different, the laws to kill no man, respect this sacred land and make more mutants sound slightly similar.  

Still need more flames to believe this isn’t all beating around the bush.  

What exactly what *[A]* offering mutants who faced him in the Crucible. Certainly there were other means to die and come back. However, since suicide is regarded a sin in the same way it was now a sin to be a depowered mutant, dying in battle was the more solemn option among residents of the island.

If this battling makes you imagine that *[A]* is angry, he actually is having the time of his life.  He was once again reunited with the family he abandoned when Krakoa was separated from the twin island Arakko.  These new mutants, the Arakki, also had a new way of looking at what we have always referred to as powers.  Instead calling them talents, this phrase puts mutant abilities more in alignment with scripture.  And also makes mutations, however they may manifest – be it powers or appearance – into a work of the Most High.

But you can’t overlook one of the most interesting developments has been with the mutant Cypher.  Douglas Ramsey was the boy who died.  Then came back.  In all honesty, when you think about it, Cypher may be the initial mutant resurrection.  And he was among the first to set foot on the land of promise for mutantkind.  It is a panel from Inferno #3, readers get a glimpse at conversation between Cypher and Charles which sees the mutant leader leaving Douglas to his own designs.  So in terms of creation, when it came to Krakoa, exactly whose will was done?  The thought or the word?  And don’t forget the maker since Forge was also a tool used in Krakoa’s design.  Hands, mouth, and mind; an interesting intersection that could change the course of the dream. 

Still maybe it is best to look at the first last. Scott Summers. If you read issues of X-Men prior to the HOX/POX event you are aware that was the lowest for a man that at times seemed could not go any lower. After his separation from Jean, and schism with Logan he was practically a solo story during the Rosenburg run of X-Men. Yet, by the time we get to HOX/POX not only did Scott confront the Fantastic Four, preventing the apprehension of Sabertooth, he did so with almost blessed assurance. This was not the face of one who felt rejected. This was a man who had been restored. And it was with this confidence that Cyclops trudged into a tundra to face his own judgment day. Coming face to face with not *[A]* but one who was similar to the source of *[A]*’s original ascension, the celestial Progenitor, Scott did not blink. He knew he was redeemed.

However, nothing can last forever, this too shall pass.  If Judgement Day was just raising the stakes then the Sins of Sinisters may have bet the whole house.  The revelations surrounding acts committed by several members of the X-Men and the allies is about to bring about the Fall of X.  After all, a house divided cannot stand.  

It is hard not to notice that since the Krakoan era began that the X-Men have found their religion. Will that time come to an end as their paradise is lost; will it become purgatory? At a time when the world, theirs and our own(?), is full of fear and hatred of those like them the most.

X-Men Last Supper Immortal X-Men #1 Cvr Mark Brooks

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