WARNING: The following contains spoilers for X-Men #6, now on sale
The current era of X-Men stories have seen the team overcome some monumental challenges (and hint at future ones), achieving a universe place of importance that dwarfs almost every other advancement they've made. But that means their enemies have grown more powerful as well.
X-Men #6 by Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, and VC's Clayton Cowles gives the human first conspiracy Orchis a major victory over Krakoa and Arakko. On top of establishing a human base near Planet Arakko, it also sets up the dangerous scientist Feilong as the mortal enemy to a major classic mutant hero.
The mutants have made numerous strides forward since the formation of the mutant nation of Krakoa. One of their most notable moves has been the terraforming of Mars into the habitable Planet Arakko. While this was a major step for mutants, some factions of humanity have been enraged by this development. Chief among them are the forces within Orchis, who've been scheming against the mutant nation for some time. Perhaps one of the most dangerous among their force is the super-genius Leifong, a brilliant inventor who's ambitions to establish a human base on Mars were prevented by Krakoa's advancements. Using his ship to reach Phobos -- one of Mars' moons -- Leifong is quickly able to establish an impressive lab and base on the moon.
Although this is initially a worrisome development Leifong quickly refuses to back down from warnings of Sunfire or the threats of the Arakko mutant Vornak -- only for the scientist to massacre the warrior. Despite his attempts to end the conflict peacefully, Sunfire can't stop Leifong from eventually unleashing a blast of energy that destroys the ancient mutant warrior. Within no time at all, Phobos was able to create a major foothold for humanity in outer space. Along the way, Leifong gains an unlikely enemy in the form of Sunfire, who quickly establishes himself as an open enemy of Leifong. Leifong specifically cites their heritages in their newfound rivalry and notes that he's just happy to have a challenge for once.
As a member of Orchis, Leifong just gave humanity one of its biggest victories yet against the mutants. The base just outside the newly dubbed Arakko -- and Leifong's refusal to even acknowledge the world as a mutant one -- sets up plenty of potential for conflict. His technology means Leifong can hold his own against some powerful warriors all on his own. It's only a matter of time before he starts an international incident -- one the more diplomatic Krakoa might have trouble keeping from escalating. If anything, Arakko might see Phobos as a genuinely exciting challenge. This could play into the plans of Orchisto to jumpstart a conflict that could paint mutants in a damning light.
There are two other quiet aspects of Leifong's actions that make the base on Phobos more frightening: while on the moon, Leifong discovered the body of Nightcrawler -- left there following the events of Way of X. This could present Leifong with DNA that could allow for experimentation -- as well as give them additional proof of Krakoa resurrection. Perhaps most worrying though is this means Abigail Brand has an ally near Arakko. Despite working with the mutants as the leader of SWORD, Brand was recently revealed to have allied with Orchis. Together, Leifong and Brand might secretly be a greater threat to a mutant-led future that the X-Men have encountered in some time.
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