Professor X. Cyclops. Storm. Captain Krakoa.
Is that the new Mount Rushmore of X-Men leaders? The Captain Krakoa era of X-Men doesn't begin until January 2022's X-Men #6 when he debuts, but he's already struck a nerve with fans. So we're delving into more about the man, and the mystery surrounding him - and have gotten help from some newly-revealed concept art.
First revealed in the marketing for X-Men #6 and then given some more purpose in the build-up for X-Men #7, Captain Krakoa has sprouted into the patriotic (and possibly even nationalistic) mutant hero we never knew they needed.
(Or it could all be a disguise for someone else we already know, with an ulterior motive. More on that soon.)
With interest in this new X-Men member - and X-Men leader, as it seems - high, Marvel has shared the original concept art for Captain Krakoa by X-Men series artist Pepe Larraz. Take a look:
As you can immediately see, Larraz's character design sheet here gives us more at this costume (which we'll get into), but it also reveals one of his powers.
From the looks of it, the flowers that adorn his helmet isn't just an aesthetic flourish - they belie a deeper ability to manifest plant or plant-like extensions which would have some tactical advantages - that's before even seeing that cool plant-claw looking appendage in figure 3.(opens in new tab)
In some ways, it's similar to Pepe Larraz's previous design for the Arakkoan mutant Redroot the Forest, although her extensions seemed permanent while Captain Krakoa's appear to extrude (and retract) at will.
A smaller related detail can be found in the turnarounds of Captain Krakoa's head and neck, where a tree-like design runs up his spine and out under the helmet, possibly connecting to those flower flourishes we've seen in the covers to X-Men #6 and #7.
It's important to note that Captain Krakoa isn't a florist (that we know of); these flowers would all be related to Krakoa - the sentient mutant island which the X-Men now call home (and the name of their nation).
Thanks to some help from Professor X and Cypher, Krakoa has learned how to create unique plants - called Flower of Krakoa - that have unique abilities. There's currently six known subtypes of the Flowers of Krakoa, and they'd used for everything from growing teleportation gateways to being medicinal drugs for mutant and human use, to growing self-sustaining habitat/biomes.(opens in new tab)
It seems Captain Krakoa is the first person 'powered' by Krakoa and its flowers. (I am consciously avoiding using the term 'flower power' right now.)
Outside of the flowery elements of Pepe Larraz's Captain Krakoa design, there are several other details worth noting for mutantkind's patriotic new hero. The key one is that Captain Krakoa has multiple outfits - While the helmet, the flowers, gauntlets, and boots remain relatively the same, the form-fitting outfit that covers the rest of his body has different patterns between X-Men #6's cover, X-Men #7's cover, and this design sheet (which presumably came before the two covers).
The design sheet had a vague 'm' motif (as in mutant, I presume), but the other two, while different, cast off that 'm' for an 'x' - referring to the X-Men and the X-gene specifically, which makes mutants stand out from humans.(opens in new tab)
This could just be chalked up to final tweaks on the costume, but we'd like to imagine Captain Krakoa has a deep closet of looks he's been readying for his debut.
Overall, Captain Krakoa's concept art continues a string of evocative costume design by Pepe Larraz, that has hints of the aforementioned Redroot, but also Cyclops, and even the artist's recent revamp of Darkhawk.
Look for Captain America's debut in January 5, 2022's X-Men #6 (opens in new tab) - although he could sprout up sooner, unannounced.
Keep track of this and all the new X-Men comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond.