This week's X-Men #21 brings a key Marvel Cinematic Universe player to Krakoa and into Marvel Comics - none other than Kevin Feige, the real-world president of Marvel Studios and chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment.
X-Men #21, by writer Jonathan Hickman with artists Nick Dragotta, Russell Dauterman, Lucas Wernick, Sara Pichelli, Frank Martin, Matthew Wilson, Sonny Gho, and Nolan Woodward, also marks Hickman's departure from the title which will soon reboot with a new X-Men #1 written by Gerry Duggan, as Hickman moves onto the new title Inferno while maintaining his position as 'head of X.'
As promised, the issue includes the debut of the new official X-Men team, as well as cameos from numerous celebrities - with the inclusion of Feige making for a particularly interesting Marvel in-joke, potentially even indicating some movement toward a long-awaited moment for X-Men fans.
Amongst the heroes, villains, dignitaries, and celebrity revelers all attending 'The Hellfire Gala' - the Krakoan open house/party in which non-mutants from all over the world visit the mutant nation, which also gives its name to the current June X-Men crossover - Cyclops runs into an inquisitive Kevin Feige. While not identified by name or title, Feige's likeness is rendered spot-on, down to his trademark blazer and baseball cap combo.
He asks Cyclops simply, "What's your story?"
Cyclops gives a particularly interesting explanation of his own history and the history of the X-Men, alluding to a previously misguided belief in Xavier as a flawless leader. Cyclops goes on to state that he now realizes that Xavier's dream of mutants and humans co-existing peacefully - "which still makes me smile," he says - is "no more or less valid than anyone else's dream, including mine."
"So what's my story? I'm a dreamer," Cyclops concludes. "I'm an X-Man."
And with that, the newly formed X-Men team departs, leaving Feige and the rest of the crowd, mutant and non-mutant alike, to experience a psychic vision put forth by Emma Frost and a host of other mutant telepaths that lays out a vision of mutantkind's future.
Outside of comic books, the future of the X-Men definitely holds a new movie adaptation which will bring mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as promised by Feige himself.
There's no indicator on the page or anywhere else that 'The Hellfire Gala' or any Marvel Comics story will have a direct impact on what happens with mutants in the MCU. But the inclusion of Feige is a bit of a bright light for fans awaiting glimpses of what the new MCU X-Men will be like, showing at the very least that the behind-the-scenes connections between mutants and MCU are growing stronger. Though there's always the chance that the Krakoa story could somehow form the basis of an MCU X-Men adaptation.
What the X-Men's promised comic book future is isn't shown, per se - though a minor visual hint seems to indicate that other teases Marvel has put forth about the next big X-Men story may be coming directly to fruition. Marvel has stated that the Planet-Size X-Men one-shot, which arrives in the middle of 'The Hellfire Gala' crossover, will showcase a new direction for mutantkind - and from the visual tease given in X-Men #21, that 'Planet-Size' moniker may be more than just a turn of phrase.
X-Men #21 marks the series finale, with a new volume kicking off in August 18's X-Men #1.
'The Hellfire Gala' will also lead into August 18's The Trial of Magneto, which will put the mutant master of magnetism on trial for the murder of a still-unidentified victim in a case that will divide mutantkind. And after that, September will begin Jonathan Hickman's Inferno title, which will pull together long running mysteries and threads dating back to the start of Hickman's run as 'head of X.'
Stay on top of everything Marvel has in store for mutantkind with our listing of all of Marvel Comics' planned X-Men comic book releases through 2021 and beyond.