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Botanicult Fiction: Mutant Island

April 27, 2020

By Tomasz Wiercioch, Coordinator, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System

Len Wein, Marvel Comics, 1975

A small island in the Pacific is exposed to radiation by nearby nuclear bomb testing, turning its ecosystem into a hive-mind entity that torments the X-men for decades. Between encounters with the superheroes, Krakoa, the “mutant island”, embarks on cosmic adventures, becomes a sovereign state for mutant-kind, cures many human diseases, and falls in love.

The island made its first appearance in Giant-Size X-Men “#1” (1975), a famous (and collectible — check your attic!) issue that introduced readers to a new international super-team made up of Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Storm. This new X-men team was brought in to save the original, decidedly American, team (Beast, Angel, Iceman, and Jean Grey) from the depths of Krakoa – and to resurrect the series after years of dwindling comic sales.

Working together, the X-men teams discovered that the island was a mutant and launched Krakoa into outer space – simultaneously reigniting the X-men franchise. The heroes introduced in this issue have become some of the most recognizable comic book characters of all time (seriously, check your attic).

As for Krakoa, it was captured and studied by enigmatic aliens. After an escape, it returned to Earth, seemingly made peace with the X-men, and has acted as home to all mutant-kind since. Its flowers are currently being used as “super drugs” to solve health problems and prolong life. Krakoa has recently fallen in love and merged with a neighbouring island from an alternate dimension named Arak Coral.

Comics are weird.

Botanicult Fiction is an affectionate review of plants in pop culture viewed through the lens of plant nerds and curated for your reading pleasure.