X-tinction Agenda is a story arc from the 1990s that encompasses three mutant superhero teams: the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants. It was produced in the halcyon days before certain film depictions hopelessly mangled beloved storylines (I’m looking at you, The Last Stand).
The storyline begins in Uncanny X-Men #270, when a strike group from Genosha is ordered by its leader, Cameron Hodge, is sent to the X-Mansion to kidnap Storm and the New Mutants Wolfsbane, Rictor, Boom Boom, and Warlock. Hodge is aided by the X-Man Havok, who had a frm of amnesia at the time.
So, what is Genosha, and why did said Genoshans go around kidnapping mutants? Genosha is an island off the east coast of Africa, close to Madagascar. It operated as a free state and was a very rich country, with its wealth and prosperity a direct result of its mutant slaves. Yep, you read that correctly, all the mutants on Genosha were brainwashed government slaves.
Genoshans began testing their children for mutant genes early on. If a child tested positive their free will was stripped, and they became mutates. They could be further mutated to fill certain labor shortages on the island, ensuring that the mutants toiled away while the rich got richer. The island ended up with certain labor shortages, and this gave Hodge the supremely bad idea of kidnapping some X-Men. That did not end well for him, most of the mutants, or Genosha in general.
The arc has a bittersweet ending, rather than a happily ever after. Warlock sacrifices himself to save his teammates, and the brainwashing leaves Wolfsbane stuck in wolf form and psychically bonded to Havok. Storm, whose body had been devolved to that of a child, regains her adult form and full use of her powers. The X-Men also get their first look at the “new” Psylocke, since these events take place right after she was rescued by Jubilee and Wolverine (that’s the Lady Mandarin storyline, another excellent arc well worth your time). X-Tinction Agenda is also when everyone’s favorite Cajun, Gambit, becomes an official X-Man.
Genosha’s story is still relevant today. Political agendas around the globe tout reduced rights and/or access for certain groups of people, be it based on race, religion, or lifestyle issues. (Yes, I realize that “lifestyle issues” is a huge umbrella to stick things under, but this isn’t a political blog. Y’all catch my meaning, amiright?) In the US, the current president-elect has openly stated he’d like to have all Muslims register with the state, an act eerily reminiscent of what happened in Europe in the days leading up to World War II. You’d think these world leaders would kick back and read a few comics, and realize that holding one group apart from the general population based on differences beyond anyone’s control never, ever ends well.
Maybe Chris Claremont will run for president in 2020. Him, I’d vote for.
X-tinction Agenda spans nine issues, and has been collected into a trade paperback. It was written by Chris Claremont and Louise Simonson, and drawn by Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and Jon Bogdanove. There’s a lot of character growth packed into these issues, and it’s definitely worth your time.
Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library.) An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Connect with Jennifer online at www.authorjenniferallisprovost.com