Although Krakoa is the most successful island nation of the X-Men, it was not the first home of the mutants.
During the current “Reign of X” era, the X-Men are thriving on their mutant island nation. Krakoa has been a revolutionary step for mutants, elevating their status in the Marvel Universe. However, Krakoa was not the X-Men’s first attempt at a mutant island nation.
Again in X Men # 5 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Magneto unveiled his own orbiting space station, Asteroid M. This large headquarters was designed only for mutants. Asteroid M was destroyed, however, in a battle between the original X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Pieces of asteroid M fell to Earth, and some pieces served as seeds for other mutant nations or space stations.
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And in Dark Avengers # 8 by Matt Fraction, Luke Ross, Rick Magyar, and Mark Pennington, a new piece of Asteroid M was rediscovered. As part of Norman Osborn’s “Dark Reign,” mutants were captured and experimented on. To escape the chase, Cyclops enlisted the X-Club to find and bring a chunk of Asteroid M from San Francisco Bay to the surface. In this new terrain, the X-Men fought and defeated Osborn’s Dark Avengers and Dark X-Men. Cyclops nicknamed this new island Utopia, calling it a sanctuary for mutants.
While Utopia was called a mutant nation, it was more like a city. The size of the island was not that large and there were very few mutants left after the Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population. The X-Men made frequent trips to the mainland of San Francisco in search of food and water. The Marvel mutants also did their part to help the people of San Francisco, still protecting a world that hated and feared them.
Despite Utopia’s status as a mutant sanctuary, the X-Men remained under constant attack from their enemies. Lobe sent a group of Predator X creatures to attack the island and then infected the X-Men with a virus that drained power. Fortunately, the Children of the Atom enlisted the help of some unlikely allies. Namor the Sub-Mariner joined the X-Men, founding New Atlantis under Utopia. Magneto also returned to his old headquarters for shelter. In return, the Master of Magnetism kept Utopia afloat and even brought Kitty Pryde from outer space.
However, things got really dangerous when Hope Summers returned from the future in X-Men: Second Coming # 1, by Craig Kyle, Chris Yost, and David Finch. The mutant messiah was followed by Bastion, who placed Utopia under a giant dome and opened a portal for an army of Nimrod Sentinels. The X-Men barely made it out of this ordeal alive, and even then, not all of them survived.
In X-Men: schism # 5, by Jason Aaron, Adam Kubert, Mark Roslan, and Jason Keith, a giant Super-Sentinel attacked Utopia during a conflict between Cyclops and Wolverine. After putting aside their differences and defeating the Sentinels, these two leaders decided to part ways. Half of the X-Men remained in Utopia, while the other half went to New York. Later, during Avengers vs. X-Men, the Avengers arrived in Utopia. The erupting conflict resulted in an all out fight between the two super teams.
When The Phoenix Force split between five mutants in Avengers vs. X-Men # 5 by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman, and John Romita Jr., Utopia soared to heaven. Floating over San Francisco, Utopia was a mutant paradise. When the Five Phoenix were defeated and dispossessed, Utopia fell back into San Francisco Bay.
Utopia briefly resurfaced in Secret empire # 1 by Nick Spencer, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, and Matthew Wilson. When Hydra took over the United States, the mutant population was sent to California. Utopia emerged from the bay, becoming a mutant nation called New Tian. Naturally, when Hydra fell, so did New Tian.
Although Utopia and Krakoa are island nations, the two are very different. Everything about Utopia reflected the despair of the mutants at the time. The island was constantly under attack and there were only a handful of mutants left on Earth, illustrating how the X-Men struggled to survive. Additionally, Utopia was created to escape persecution during one of the X-Men’s darkest hours.
Krakoa, however, is a shining light of mutant prosperity. There are millions of mutants, heroes and villains alike, on Krakoa. The island has its own governing body, intelligence organization, trading company, space station, and more. Krakoa was created to push mutants into the future, celebrating their place as the next step in evolution. Utopia may have been the X-Men’s first island nation, but Krakoa is clearly the best yet.
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