When Jonathan Hickman's new run on X-Men began it came with some major game-changing moments for the children of the atom. Not only do they now have their own nation state in the form of Krakoa, they have also conquered death thanks to a new resurrection process that brings back dead mutants. This process has been used plenty of times already, bringing back a whole host of mutants after dying in previous issues. Speaking in a new interview, Hickman had a very lengthy and well thought out answer about the implications of the resurrection process and what it had to say (if anything) about the idea of the "souls" of the characters returning into these new bodies.
"The afterlife is ‘technically’ part of Marvel continuity (and Jack Kirby is ‘technically’ ‘God’), so if you want to make an argument that there's strict Judeo-Christian set of post-death rules for a resurrection to result in a soul-reclaimed and soul-equipped being, then cool," Hickman said to AIPT. "The problem is that we don’t do that. Almost every single character death we undo, or character we bring back through whatever story construct or general shenanigans doesn’t go on a soul quest to recover their essence (in the past, yes, sometimes, but not anymore–imagine if we did that nowadays in our current death-resurrection cycle, that’s a lotta issues)."
Hickman went on to hypothesize about other implications with regard to the resurrection process in his new X-Men series, hinting that these could be explored in the pages of the comics and revealing a new series will be released in 2020 that touches on some of these problems (perhaps the Wolverine series since he's the best at what he does, and that's dying).
"Now, if you want to make the argument that recovering your soul is a lot like William Gibson’s explanation for jet lag (souls don’t travel at the same speed as planes so jet lag is just your body waiting for the soul to catch up), and it’s just floating around waiting to reattach itself to it’s rightful reanimated host, also cool.'
"But if that’s the case then what about duplicate copies, which one gets the soul? I dunno, that sounds like a story to me, but that’s also why they’re not allowing copies of characters on Krakoa. But what if there’s a mistake and you think someone’s dead, but make a copy anyway? Well, again, that sounds like a story… and we even have a series built around resurrection problems coming out next year."
To finalize, Hickman brought up that this specific style of ressurrection was purposefully created because of its ties to the past of the X-Men and their larger history, specifically with Professor X.
"The broader point is we bring back characters all the time in much less elegant ways, and this one is actually based on an experience Professor Xavier had in earlier X-Men comics, so it makes sense he would think of something like this. He knew it worked...As for the reason it seems creepy, well, it feels that way because we did all the resurrections at (generally) the same time and presented it as a ceremonial. It feels religious. It feels other. It feels terrifying. Unless you’re them, and then it feels ascendant. It feels like victory."
The process itself involves a collection of X-Men characters including Tempus, Proteus, Hope Summers, Elixir, and Goldballs (now going by Egg) who have been rebranded "The Five." By combining their powers, this group is able to grow new bodies for dead mutants in special eggs using a DNA archive of all mutants, complete with the ability to replicate a mutant's powers. Once a body is grown and full re-powered, Charles Xavier uses the combination of Cerebro and his own psychic archive of "downloaded" mutant minds to return the dead mutant's psyche (and arguably "soul") back to the empty shell of a body.
What do you think about the resurrecction process in the new X-Men comics? Do you think its existence is a crutch for comic book storytelling moving forward or will its existence lead to new and exciting story possibilities? Sound off in the comments below!