The Children of the Atom’s superhero origin story has finally been revealed, but the X-Men won’t be happy to find out the team aren’t mutants.
Warning: Spoilers for Children Of The Atom #3!
Marvel Comics has finally revealed the cosmic origin of the young would-be X-Men in Vita Ayala’s and Paco Medina’s Children Of The Atom #3. Since the series started, readers have been left scratching their heads as to what, exactly, is going on with the latest “X” emblazoned super-team. With powers and codenames similar to that of key X-men like Cyclops, Angel, and Nightcrawler, these young heroes haven’t stuck to the shadows or made the journey to Krakoa as most mutants have chosen to do. All the more surprising when readers discovered the Quiet Council had no idea of their existence until they appeared on the news.
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Unfortunately, carrying out good deeds and fighting crime in the name of the X-Men, without permission, hasn’t achieved the kind of results the fledgling superheroes were expecting. The leaders of Krakoa have been so adamant in their support of who they assume are mutant adolescents fresh from discovering the gifts of their X-genes, that they’ve willingly pushed back against their longtime allies the Avengers regarding the “children’s” activities.
In this month’s issue, readers discover that the teenagers aren’t mutants at all, but clever and resourceful high schoolers who developed their powers after fooling around with an abandoned alien spacecraft and being exposed to some kind of cosmic force or unknown technology. The ship’s alien origin is evident by the indecipherable language populating all the displays, as well as its advanced technology and sophisticated onboard universal translator. The latter is apparently useless for controls, but kicks in to communicate an emergency alert announcing that the ship is going to experience a catastrophic atmosphere purge. Moments before the ship explodes, the group makes their way to what they assume are escape pods—but may ultimately have been designed to serve an ulterior function—and fall to Earth miraculously unharmed, but forever changed.
Why they chose to emulate the X-Men in the first place is tied to mutantdom’s currently booming social and cultural relevancy. The X-Men have throughout their long history stood for the marginalized, and now the mutant nation of Krakoa is on top of the world, a reality angsty teens would more readily identify with than the Avengers, for example. What’s more, mutant celebrity Dazzler has featured prominently as a role model in the storyline so far. What drew these five misfits together in the first place was their love and fan-like admiration for all things X-Men, and this, even before they developed superhuman abilities. And though they’ve had some missteps in the limelight, their comrade in arms/costume maker, who goes by the codename Gimmick, has devised an ingenious method for flying under Krakoa’s telepathic radar. By purchasing one of Magneto’s helmets from his pre-Krakoan days and breaking it down, Gimmick has successfully managed to shield herself and her fellow teammates from the powerful mind of Charles Xavier and Cerebro.
The exact nature of their powers is still a mystery, but they definitely aren’t mutants, which explains why the Children Of The Atom have been unable to step through a Krakoan gate. What is clear is that the X-Men have accepted a measure of responsibility where these teens are concerned, and this decision will have ramifications. The newest Marvel Comics heroes are about to learn there are consequences to wearing the iconic “X”.
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