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The X-Men face their next great villain: deportation

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Marvel takes on the immigration issue in a new story

This is the cover art for X-Men Gold #9. It showcases Kitty Pryde back-to-back with Colossus.
X-Men Gold #9
Ken Lashley and David Curiel/Marvel Comics

They’ve faced down sentinels, supervillains and unstoppable cosmic forces, but the X-Men may be going up against their greatest foe yet in a new storyline: the United States Congress.

This week’s X-Men: Gold #9 launched a new story arc titled “Kitty Goes to Washington.” As the title makes clear, current X-Men leader Kitty Pryde has been summoned to the U.S. Capitol, where a congressional subcommittee is holding hearings regarding a controversial proposal. The so-called Mutant Deportation Act is about as self-explanatory as you’d guess: A senator wants to make it the law of the land that mutants can be deported.

Shortly into the issue, Kitty makes an impassioned speech standing up to the proposed bill.

This panel from X-Men: Gold #9 shows Kitty Pryde taking the stand to testify in front of a congressional subcommittee. She argues that a proposed Mutant Deportation Act goes against human rights and American ideals. A senator interrupts her. Ken Lashley/Marvel Comics

A congressman arguing against Pryde takes a pretty scary hardline stance:

“Mutants aren’t human. I don’t care if that sounds politically incorrect, it’s the truth.”

The same congressman goes on to use an argument that’s been used against many refugees and immigrants in the United States and Europe of late.

This panel from X-Men: Gold #9 shows a senator arguing in favor of the Mutant Deportation Act. He argues that the act isn’t about labeling anyone but that the United States has had suffered the financial and safety burden of caring for mutants. Ken Lashley/Marvel Comics

Kitty is, naturally, able to turn this around and point out how she and her X-Men have saved the United States (and the world) multiple times. She goes on to compare the idea of deporting mutants to segregation and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II:

In this panel from X-Men: Gold #9, Kitty Pryde is on the stand on a congressional hearing for a Mutant Deportation Act. She argues against the act, comparing it to segregation, which was once considered sensible. Ken Lashley/Marvel Comics

Immigration and deportation has been a particularly hot button issue in the United States and Europe in the last few years. Most recently, U.S. president Donald Trump has issued a travel ban preventing citizens of six countries from entering the U.S. and has put more emphasis on cracking down on illegal immigrants. Much of the language from X-Men: Gold #9 is borrowed from the real debates happening on these issues — on the importance of human rights, on what counts as actual American ideals and what is the most sensible or smartest economic choice.

Some comic fans might be upset at a superhero comic so directly engaging in real world politics, but it’s worth noting that X-Men books in particular have always dealt with metaphors for real-world issues. Mutants in the Marvel universe have long been considered a stand-in for various minorities, including African Americans and and the LGBT population. Marvel’s X-Men stories have often dealt with how mutants are discriminated against and how they react in the face of that discrimination.

That’s not to say that X-Men: Gold #9 is particularly realistic or subtle in its approach to this topic. Later in the comic, after some romantic drama and a little more politicking from Kitty, the congressional hearing is attacked by the supervillain Whiplash. Because of course it is. Kitty and fellow X-Men Colossus save the day, but not before taking time for a dramatic pose:

In this panel from X-Men: Gold #9, Kitty Pryde is holding an American flag and running at a supervillain who has attacked a congressional hearing. Ken Lashley/Marvel Comics

After saving the jerk congressman’s life using the power of a literal American flag, Kitty assumes he will drop the Mutant Deportation Act, and everyone can go home happy. Not so fast, though. In a cliffhanger for the issue, it’s revealed that those in favor of the Mutant Deportation Act have enough votes to send the bill to senate.

Meanwhile, some mysterious bad guys in Russia have resurrected long-time X-Men bad guy Omega Red. The book promises a trip to Russia next issue; we can only imagine how that could tie in to current events.

X-Men: Gold #9 is currently available now. Issue 10, part 2 of the “Kitty Goes To Washington” storyline, will be released on Aug. 23.