Warning: Spoilers for X-Men Hellfire Gala Special
The X-Men’s leverage on the world of Marvel Comics through their monopoly on life-saving and life-prolonging pharmaceuticals is going to change now that their shadowy distribution network is about to be revealed. The newfound wealth and political capital of Krakoa has—in large part—been accrued thanks to the development and dissemination of restorative medicines. Overshadowed by other mutant technologies which have allowed Krakoan’s to conquer death and travel anywhere in the universe, it’s easy for readers to forget that mutantdom has effectively disrupted the planet’s economy.
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Predictably, not all countries were open to Krakoa’s great gifts, and some have flat out refused to recognize the mutant nation’s existence. By all accounts, the upcoming Hellfire Gala is set to play a part in an over-arching effort to increase Krakoa’s presence and prestige on the world stage. The Hellfire Gala Guide was recently released for free and stunned fans thanks to its coverage of the dazzling and over the top outfits Krakoan dignitaries are set to wear. However, nestled among the striking fashion shots is an interview between the White Queen herself—Emma Frost—and seasoned reporter Ben Urich. In this brief conversation, Urich seizes his chance to press Frost on the issue of Krakoa controlling the Black Market sale of its own goods and consequently reveals his knowledge—or at least his well-founded suspicions—of the mutant nation’s illegal activities.
To circumvent the wills of unfriendly governments, the Quiet Council pre-emptively established a Black Market which they would supply and operate themselves to reach otherwise off-limit populations. With the help of The Black King—Sebastian Shaw—and Kate Pryde—the Red Queen’s seafaring freedom fighters The Marauders, Krakoa has firmly established a multi-tiered covert distribution network whose sole purpose is the trade of their drugs behind closed borders. Their unofficial supply chain is so efficient, that even a foreign reporter like Urich is informed that there isn’t the expected shortage of Krakoan medicines in countries who don’t recognize Krakoa’s sovereignty. Considering that these drugs can only be manufactured in the heart of the mutant nation—the most protected and highly isolated island on Earth—by some of the most powerful super-beings in the world, it’s downright impossible that a third-party could be involved without Krakoa’s say-so. Before Urich can pursue this line of questioning, however, Emma Frost terminates the interview.
For decades, Ben Urich has functioned as Marvel Comics’ Lois Lane, and earned a reputation as a first-class investigative journalist, especially where superhero/supervillain affairs are concerned. Though more known for his appearances in Spider-Man and Daredevil stories, his presence in the X-Men and interest in the Hellfire Gala isn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, it’s long overdue. There can be no doubt that Krakoa’s groundbreaking pharmaceuticals will end needless suffering. However, there is a far more sinister ulterior motive behind their methodical disregard for the sovereignty of other countries. Building a world-wide distribution system for their medicines, which only they can create, has always been part of the Quiet Council’s plan to secure and maintain their status with the United Nations. More importantly, however, it engenders a critical dependence on their drugs, one that will only increase with time as the human population becomes accustomed to the higher standard of living they provide. If left unchecked, this mutually-beneficial relationship will one day evolve into a primary pillar of what some might describe as Krakoa’s tyrannical power structure.
The extent of Urich’s information may be unknown for now, but what is clear is that the cat is irrevocably out of the bag. The days of altruism and self-sacrifice being the guiding principles of the X-Men are long gone. Now Marvel Comics’ mutants are emerging as a galactic power and must answer to higher authorities.
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