WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Powers of X #5 by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Marte Gracia, VC's Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller, on sale now.
As a handful of X-Men know, it's not easy to build a nation. Cyclops declared the island Utopia to be a sovereign land, but he couldn't even convince half of the X-Men to stay there for long. While Emma Frost and Xorn were given New Tian by an evil Captain America, that country collapsed before Secret Empire ended. And when Magneto almost turned Genosha into a sustainable mutant homeland, that effort infamously ended in tragedy.
In House of X and Powers of X, Charles Xavier has established an ambitious mutant homeland on the living island Krakoa. While the ongoing X-Men relaunch has focused on the fantastic technology and larger geo-political ramifications of Krakoa so far, Powers of X #5 takes a look back to how Xavier and Magneto built their new mutant nation.
In a flashback sequence, Xavier and Magneto bring Emma Frost and the Hellfire Corporation into the fold to oversee international trade relations for the mutant homeland. In return for exporting Krakoa's miracle drugs to the rest of the world, Xavier gives Emma three seats on the Quiet Council, Krakoa's first governing body.
While most of the 12-mutant Quiet Council is only teased, this issue still reveals a quarter of its members. Unsurprisingly, Xavier and Magneto both have seats on the council, which isn't surprising considering their long-time roles as leaders of major mutant factions and Krakoa's founders.
Emma Frost also gets a seat on the Council, since she's both the head of the Hellfire Corporation and essentially serves as Krakoa's chief ambassador to the wider world. Xavier and Magneto also order Frost to bring in Sebastian Shaw, the longtime Black King of the Hellfire Club, to operate Hellfire's covert smuggling operations. They also give Shaw a seat on the Quiet Council, which will "handle external conflicts and the internal laws of the island itself."
While Emma has the right to appoint another member to the 12-person council, the identity of that mutant and the council's other eight members are not revealed in this issue. However, a data page about the Quiet Council of Krakoa divides the larger group into three season-based sub-groups.
It's also worth noting that both Krakoa and Cypher are mentioned on that data page as part of the nation's ruling body. Although they sit outside the Quiet Council, their presence is likely meant to represent the interests of Krakoa itself.
Even though the identities of the Quiet Council are still largely a mystery, this isn't the first time that a dozen mutants have been identified as key players in the future of mutantkind. Starting in the late '80s, a sub-plot that went on for over a decade teased a group of influential mutants called "the Twelve," who would lead mutants to their final victory over humanity.
That long-simmering plot seemingly ended in the 2000 crossover "Apocalypse: The Twelve," where the whole ordeal was revealed to essentially be one of Apocalypse's schemes. However, the Twelve storyline has a striking number of connections to House of X that could bring it back into play.
The first character to mention the Twelve was Master Mold, a predecessor of the Mother Mold Sentinel that was destroyed to save mutantkind's future in House of X. In Louise and Walter Simonson's X-Factor #13, the Sentinel made a vague reference to the Twelve and explicitly named Cyclops as one of the group. In Jon Bogdanove's Power Pack #36, Master Mold identified the young Omega-Level mutant Franklin Richards as one of the Twelve, and several other X-Men were teased as potential members over the next few years.
While the storyline was largely ignored for the next several years, Tanya Trask, a time-traveler from the future, went to the past and programmed the identity of the Twelve into Master Mold in 1997's Uncanny X-Men #-1, by Chris Claremont, Scott Lobdell and Bryan Hitch.
Another two key House of X players, Apocalypse and Destiny, both made reference to the Twelve again in the lead-up to that 2000 storyline, where Apocalypse identified himself as one of the Twelve and Destiny's diaries explicitly named the Twelve.
Even if "Apocalypse: The Twelve" didn't embrace the ambitious promise of the Twelve, Krakoa's Secret Council seems set to fulfill that promise and cement mutants as Earth's dominant species. While more than a dozen mutants were mentioned as members of the Twelve at one point or another, Master Mold's potential knowledge of their identities raises the possibility that later generations of Sentinels or the anti-mutant operation Orchis could use that information against Krakoa in an inversion of the way the X-Men stopped the creation of the Nimrod Sentinel.
While those initial Twelve teases don't guarantee characters like Cyclops or Apocalypse a seat on the Quiet Council, they are the kind of mutant leaders who could logically have a role in the Krakoan government. There's also a possibility that the Quiet Council could feature some rotating seats, which would increase the pool of potential candidates past a dozen.
Even though Powers of X makes multiple mentions about the Quiet Council only being a preliminary government, the Secret Council already seems well positioned to play a major role in mutant history that falls in line with established lore.
Regardless of who ends up sitting on the council, it remains to be seen whether these mutants will doom mutants to another dark future or help establish a bright new dawn for the X-Men.