In the final issue of House of X, the ruling council of Krakoa meets to discuss a vital subject for both new nations and the best superheroes: The machinations of justice. The new mutant nation needs new governing laws, and the council — made up of heroes and villains alike — is called to implement them.
But even more interesting than how you handle punishment in a society that offers eternal resurrection and abhors jails, is writer Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz showing the reader how 13 mutants craft three simple laws to govern all mutants.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for House of X #6.]
As revealed in House of X #5, Krakoa will be ruled, at least initially, by a council of 14, comprised of mutant leaders and the sentient island of Krakoa itself. In House of X #6, we find out the council is a mixture of “family, friends, and allies,” as Professor X puts it, from Storm, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler, to Apocalypse, Mystique, and Sebastian Shaw.
Together, they choose the first three, and most important, laws of mutant society. The first is that no mutant shall kill a human. The issue of mutants killing mutants was raised and dismissed, as all mutants can be resurrected anyway, and it was decided that the greater crime was clearly to kill someone who cannot be brought back.
The second is that mutants should respect the sacred land of Krakoa — which, after all, is a sentient being who allows them to call it home and use its considerable sci-fi resources.
The final rule is suggested by Nightcrawler, who once aspired to become a Catholic priest. He quotes Genesis — fitting, as the mutant Exodus has just referred to Krakoa as an Eden. “And God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” Thus, the first three laws of mutants are:
Make more mutants, murder no man, and respect this sacred land.
And with laws, comes judgement, of the first Krakoan criminal, the savage X-Men villain Sabretooth. Way back in House of X #1, while on a mission for the Krakoan state, Sabretooth killed a number of guards, despite explicit orders to get in and out without leaving evidence of a break in. He was ultimately captured by human authorities.
But in House of X #3, it’s clear that Krakoa intends to take authority over their own, sending Emma Frost and two of the Stepford Cuckoos to retrieve him, based on the blanket diplomatic immunity that all mutants now enjoy as citizens of Krakoa. That was the last we saw of the murderous sociopath until now, when the Quiet Council of Krakoa calls him to account for his crimes under the second mutant law.
But what punishment befits the mutant state, when dead mutants are universally resurrected and, as Professor X says “we tolerate no prisons here on Krakoa?” The answer is “exile,” but it’s more like solitary confinement.
Krakoa’s vine tendrils drag the Sabretooth into a bottomless pit, as Professor X explains: “Stasis, deep inside Krakoa. Alive but immobile, aware but unable to act on it. And for how long? Forever, Creed. For that is how long mutant justice lasts.”
The Professor says that one day, a prisoner might be given the chance to redeem themselves, but for Sabretooth, that day is still pretty far off.
Between giving the X-Men an unlimited supply of free get-out-of-death cards, and throwing all their worst villains in a bottomless pit where they can still all be plucked out when needed — Jonathan Hickman has really done himself and the X-Men line a lot of editorial favors, huh?