While Apocalypse was one of the chief architects of Krakoa in its early days, a new batch of X-Men is keeping his controversial institution alive.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Marauders #17 by Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, Edgar Delgado & VC’s Cory Petit, on sale now.
Since the formation of Krakoa, the X-Men, along with their assorted allies and former enemies, have been essentially creating their own new culture from scratch. While some aspects of it mimic other real-world governments — such as X-Force essentially serving as the CIA of the island — others are wholly and uniquely mutant, such as the Crucible. With this type of ritualistic combat, mutants who had lost their powers can earn the right to have them restored by being killed.
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Even with Apocalypse gone from Krakoa, his most brutal addition to the island, the Crucible, is still active. And now, Marauders #17 has revealed how it’s still operating without the evolution-obsessed mutant who founded it.
The Crucible was developed by Apocayplse as a means for depowered mutants to go about regaining their powers. The depowered mutants must face Apocalypse in ritualistic combat in front of a gallery of other mutants. They must fight with true vigor and prove themselves worthy of their powers. If they do so, then Apocyplse would kill them, allowing them to then be resurrected by the Five with their powers intact. In the wake of the X of Swords crossover, Apocalypse left the island nation to rejoin his family in the realm of Amenth, which means that there must be changes to the way Krakoa operates, especially with the Crucible. But it turns out Silver Samurai — who also runs the Quarry — has taken over where Apocalypse left off.
Silver Samurai now presides over the Crucible on top of those other responsibilities, announcing the entrants to the assembled mutants. However, he doesn’t immediately take part in the battle. With Apocalypse gone, a new rule has been instilled. Instead of fighting one set mutant, the entrants are asked to bring a Kaishakunin, someone who can carry out the intended ritualistic killing for them. Callisto, who spends the issue going through the process, asks that Storm take on that role. Initially, Storm refuses. This leads Silver Samurai to instead volunteer his services, giving him the chance to follow in Apocaypse’s footsteps.
Silver Samurai also reveals that other mutants can volunteer to take part in the combat instead, pointing out the Fenris Twins and implying they do so on a regular basis. For the violent former mutant-hunters, the Crucible could be seen as the ultimately approved hunting ground, but it’s also notable that it appears no one has taken them up on this offer, instead of leaving the pair to sulk. Instead, Callisto is joined by Storm, who does finally take part in the combat to ensure that Callisto suffers a quick death.
It’s a fitting evolution of the Crucible as a part of Krakoan culture and keeps it going despite the loss of the founder. It also makes perfect sense as a role for Silver Samurai, who has carved out a firm place for himself within the Krakoan culture as the master of honorable combat.
But it also raises the question of how other mutants will respond to it, especially Nightcrawler, who was troubled by the founding of the Crucible and took it as inspiration to begin forming a new mutant religion. It’ll be interesting to see if and how the continuation and expansion of the Crucible affects Nightcrawler in his upcoming series Way of X. And in his role as the Crucible’s operator, Silver Samurai may become a more outspoken member of Krakoa due to his roles in ensuring combat is a part of the culture.
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