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Exclusive: Krakoa goes '90s with first look, intel on Marvel Comics' latest 'X-Men '92 miniseries
The '90s X-Men are back, and they're founding a mutant nation of their very own.
The last two years of X-Men comics rank as some of the most exciting and ambitious in the franchise's history, as a Marvel Comics team led by creators like Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, and Gerry Duggan have rebuilt the mutant world around the independent nation of Krakoa, unpacking every corner of a new mutant utopia. For same fans, though, the X-Men will never be able to recapture a certain magic they attained in the early 1990s, when they starred in everything from an animated series to Pizza Hut commercials. But why choose between these two vibrant eras when you can have them both together?
Next month, Marvel will launch X-Men '92: House of XCII, a five-issue miniseries that serves as an alternate history of the founding of Krakoa, with a distinctly '90s look and feel. Written by Steve Foxe with art by Salva Espin, the new book begins in more-or-less the same place the House of X miniseries event did back in 2019, as the X-Men set out to secure their sovereignty as a new mutant nation, with a distinctly 1990s twist.
"This is the team at, arguably, its most iconic, and we pick up with them just as they’re getting their version of Krakoa off the ground," Foxe told SYFY WIRE. "Much like [House of X and Powers of X] skipped ahead a little to the good stuff, we’re jumping right into the team having a new homeland to defend from mutant-hating threats…although not exactly the same ones you might be familiar with from HoXPoX."
In the exclusive pages below, you can see exactly how X-Men '92 jumps right into things, as the classic 1992 era team launches an assault on a Master Mold satellite in an attempt to cripple the Sentinel program. Check it out, then read on below for more from Foxe.
Because this is X-Men '92, but it's also a story of the founding of Krakoa, Foxe and company had a few distinct narrative challenges when putting the book together. Foxe set a rule for himself that he couldn't use any more recent X-Men character introductions in the story, limiting himself to mutant heroes and villains of the 1990s, but he also made it clear right away that he wanted to explore beyond the main story beats set out in House of X and Powers of X. The result is a book that might look a little familiar to House of X readers, but will quickly find ways to depart from that event's formula.
"While the series may be subtitled House of XCII [Roman numerals for 92], we definitely do not stop the fun at the end of HoXPoX," Foxe said. "In fact, by a few pages into the second issue, we’re blazing ahead into other parts of the current era. Anything that’s happened in the line since 2019 is fair game here, from otherworldly tournaments to fancy parties...wink wink.
"The goal from the first conversation I had with X-editor extraordinaire Jordan D. White has been to use the in-continuity events as a jumping-off point to tell a fun, unexpected, ’92-in-spirit story worth the cover price. If we just faithfully retold recent comic arcs with a somewhat different cast and classic costumes, I’m not sure that would really be worth it for fans—or particularly exciting to write! So I approached the big beats of the Krakoa era with an eye toward little changes that could pay off in big ways.
"For instance: what does Orchis look like if we assemble it from classic anti-mutant X-foes? How do The Five work if we exclude mutants who were created after the mid-nineties? How would X of Swords unfold if it took place in the most EXTREME decade of all time? Think of it like a butterfly effect: if we change one thing at the beginning of HoX, how does that reverberate through to the end of Inferno? If we did our job right, no one will get to House of XCII #5 and say, 'Wow, this is totally unrecognizable, why did they even call it that!?' But you will have read a bonkers story that could only take place at the intersection of modern Hickman-and-co. ideas and the iconic ‘90s X-Men roster and tone, unburdened by needing to play nice with other books or line-wide continuity."
Of course, the merging of '90s-era sensibilities and characters with modern story beats also meant that Foxe and Espin had to make some very clear decisions when it came to the design of the book, blending elements of the past and the present while always preserving the X-Men feel fans remember from the animated series days.
"Landing Salva Espin and colorist Israel Silva, as well as cover artist David Baldeon, was such a huge boon for this project," Foxe said. "Salva adjusted his approach to lean into a more animated style, which has the benefit of helping to marry more modern elements, like a plant-based cityscape or Xavier’s ever-present helmet, with the classic ‘90s designs of the hovering wheelchair, Cyclops’ pouches, and so on. So many nineties masters are still doing career-best work, so rather than trying to mimic them, we’re paying tribute to that energy and design philosophy while also honoring the huge impact animation had on launching X-Men into the stratosphere 30 years ago.
"Especially since characters in the current line wear costumes from across their publishing histories, it was important to think beyond just the surface level when approaching the look of the book. One of my favorite changes—maybe my favorite detail from the book overall—is that the Krakoa in our series is visually based off of Krakoa’s earliest appearances, so Salva has drawn these amazing little monster heads all over the island. On top of the gates, in the trees, blooming from the flowers—just precious little Krakoa monsters. Who wouldn’t want to live on an island like that?!"
X-Men '92: House of XCII arrives, little Krakoa monsters and all, on April 6.