Warning: This article contains spoilers for House of X #6, by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, David Curiel, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
For decades, the X-Men were guided by Charles Xavier's dream of humans and mutants peacefully co-existing. However, House of X and Powers of X gave Professor X a new dream that centers on the long-term sustainability of the mutant race.
Driven by a reincarnated Moira MacTaggert, and her memories of doomed timelines, Xavier developed a process to revive dead mutants indefinitely, established a nation on the mutant island Krakoa, successfully recruited the X-Men's villains, and brokered an uneasy peace with the rest of the world.
While Xavier may have ushered in this new age for mutantkind, he won't be the only voice leading it. As House of X #5 revealed, Krakoa is governed by the Quiet Council, a group of 12 mutants tasked with establishing laws and overseeing various aspects of the mutant government. Although Xavier, Magneto, Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw were all revealed as members of the Quiet Council in that issue, the other members of the council were unnamed.
However, House of X #6 changes that by naming almost all of the Quiet Council and revealing the existence of another branch of mutant leaders.
This issue confirms that Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Storm, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler are all members of the Quiet Council, but only identifies the council's final member as "the Red King."
For eagle-eyed X-Men fans, that list of members isn't too surprising; since Marvel featured those characters together in a teaser that was released before the crossover and inadvertently included their identities in advance review copies of Powers of X #5. Furthermore, the identity of the "Red King" has been all-but-confirmed in promotions for one of Marvel's upcoming X-Men titles.
Still, the Quiet Council is a surprising mix of mutants who have spent most of their lives at each other's throats. While this issue shows them coming together to create the three laws that govern mutantkind, it also revealed the existence of another group of mutant leaders, the Great Captains.
Although the Quiet Council rules over Krakoa, the Great Captains essentially serve as field commanders on "state-related excursions" and are responsible for defending the state in times of conflict or war. As detailed on one of House of X's data pages, the Great Captains are Cyclops, Bishop, Magik and Gorgon.
Cyclops also serves as the Captain Commander, the "first among equals" who officially has the same authority as the other Great Captains but unofficially commands the respect that comes with his seniority as the X-Men's longtime leader.
In a way, Cyclops' status is a natural evolution of his traditional role with the X-Men. While Xavier was the team's philosophical and ideological guiding light, Cyclops served as the team's field commander. Although it's not hard to imagine him as a member of the Quiet Council, his status as the ostensible head of the Great Captains plays to his strongest attributes and explains why he's seemingly set to lead Krakoa's chief X-Men team in the Dawn of X era.
Even though Magik and Bishop haven't historically been major X-Men leaders, both veteran heroes have battle-tested attributes that make them well-suited to the role.
Despite her relatively young age, Illyana Rasputin ruled over the hellish dimension Limbo where she kept legions of ruthless creatures at bay with her teleporting powers and mystical abilities. The time-traveling Lucas Bishop has a sharp tactical mind that was honed as an officer in Xavier's Security Enforcers of his home timeline and an obsessive devotion to keeping that dystopian world from taking shape.
The most surprising member of the Great Captains is Gorgon, a character who's primarily served as a Wolverine villain. With his genius intellect and the ability to turn anyone who sees his eyes into stone, Gordon was the mastermind behind Logan's brainwashing in Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.'s Wolverine. He's also led the resurrection-loving ninja of the Hand and served on Hydra's High Council, which gives him solid -- if dubious-- leadership experience.
At one time or another, all four of the Great Captains were villains who posed major threats to the X-Men. But now, the same qualities that made them effective threats make them an ideal war counsel for Krakoa.
Between the Great Captains, the Quiet Council and their affiliates, House of X has given mutants 18 official leaders. But instead of leading a few dozen mutants on a handful of X-Men teams, they'll be establishing a nation that is designed to sustain millions of mutants.
Although the final issue of the companion series Powers of X promises to rock the X-Men's world once again, Krakoa's leader seem well-positioned to lead mutants into a future that can be sustained for generations.