Professor Xavier and the X-Men have been going down a dark path, and the first issue of X-Corp underlines this with scenes that evoke The Godfather.
Warning! Spoilers for X-Corp #1 ahead!
The newest series in Marvel’s line of X-Men comics shows that Charles Xavier has more in common with a mafia godfather than with the professor that he once was. While he is not overtly running a criminal organization (yet), the first issue of X-Corp contains scenes that are eerily reminiscent of the classic 1974 film The Godfather. The story continues the downward moral trajectory that Xavier and the rest of the X-Men have been on since forming their own nation.
X-Corporation is the latest branch of the mutants’ business empire that has allowed them to dominate the global economy. When the mutants established the island nation of Krakoa, they also introduced a number of miracle pharmaceuticals to the world that changed their standing on the global stage overnight. The drugs were not offered as a gift to the world, but rather in exchange for human nations officially recognizing Krakoa’s sovereignty. After using the Hellfire Trading Company to handle the distribution of these drugs (both legally and on the black market), Xavier has launched X-Corp to expand the mutants’ reach into other areas of business. The company operates under the leadership of Warren Worthington III, aka Angel, and Monet St. Croix, aka Penance.
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Angel and Penance get down to business in the pages of X-Corp #1 by Tini Howard, Alberto Foche, Sunny Gho, Clayton Cowles and Tom Muller. Xavier has sent Angel down to Brazil to deal with Jean-Pierre Kol, a businessman who has worked with Xavier in the past. Kol is unsatisfied with the prices that the mutants have paid to acquire his assets, and wants to extort more money from X-Corp. Believing that he holds all the cards to get what he wants from the mutants, Kol has unleashed malware on X-Corp’s drug processing plants and prepared a complaint with the International Court of Justice regarding potentially illegal Krakoan operations in the Savage Land. However, the mutants make it abundantly clear by the end of the issue that they are never in danger of not getting what they want.
The meeting between Angel and Kol evokes a pivotal part of The Godfather when Don Vito Corleone sends his lawyer Tom Hagen to deal with Jack Woltz, the head of a major movie studio and “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Hagen is hoping to convince Woltz to cast a family friend in an upcoming film, but Woltz is having none of it. Filled with bitterness, he believes that he has the upper hand to resist the gangsters what they want. Just like how Angel deals with Kol, Hagen is perfectly polite and never lets on that Woltz is actually powerless in the situation. In on of The Godfather’s most iconic scenes, Hagen shows the consequences of messing with the mafia by cutting the head off Woltz’s prized racehorse and putting it in his bed. The mutants similarly show Kol that he should not have messed with him by blowing up their own drug processing plant and debuting their floating headquarters in the airspace over Brazil. This gains them an enormous amount of attention and good press and sends the stock market soaring while leaving Kol embarrassed. The conversations between Angel and Kol also take place at a racetrack where genetically enhanced horses are racing. In addition to serving as a metaphor for the mutants pulling ahead of their competition, it also evokes the racehorse from The Godfather.
There is more to suggest that Xavier is becoming a Godfather-type figure beyond the similarities between these two sequences. The mutants have had no problems carrying out illegal operations. They’ve run a black market for their drugs, assassinated political rivals and openly torturing and murdering each other. This trend continues in X-Corp #1 as they are suggested to be operating illegally in the Savage Land and enter the airspace over Brazil without permission. And while Xavier is never seen actively carrying out any illegal tasks, there is no question that he is the leader of Krakoa. There may be a Quiet Council to make the laws, or a Hellfire Company to deal with drugs to handle business dealings, but Xavier is undoubtedly calling the shots. Organizations like X-Corp act as a front that can carry out the dirty work while leaving Xavier’s hands clean.
In his fall from grace, Professor Xavier is beginning to more resemble Michael Corleone from the Godfather films, who started out good and pure and eventually descends into darkness. Charles Xavier was once a respected professor who wanted to avoid violence, but he has seemingly abandoned that goal. He now welcomes villains into Krakoa and embraces evil means to protect “the family” – mutants who make up Krakoa. With the X-Men set to meet with several of their foes in the upcoming Hellfire Gala, it will remain to be seen if any of those adversaries end up sleeping with the fishes.
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