X-Men’s Deadliest Foes Keep Trying to Assimilate Them

There are usually some consistent themes to many X-Men villains, even when the groups aren’t officially aligned. It’s not uncommon to see similar ideas utilized by multiple groups of villains, including one that seemingly become a standard process for the greatest threat to Krakoa.

The villainous force at the heart of Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird # 1 (by Steve Orlando, Nyla Rose, David Cutler, Jose Marzan Jr, Roberto Poggi, Irma Kniivila, and VC’s Travis Lanham) is following a pattern of other X-Men villains who want to steal mutant DNA and body parts for their own twisted use.

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Giant-Size X-Men: Thunderbird # 1 reintroduced the Heritage Initiative, a minor group that has previously faced off with the X-Men. Introduced in X-Men: Gold as an anti-mutant organization that sought to take mutant DNA and use it to develop technologies with it, they are revealed to still be a factor in the Marvel Universe. This is especially true now that Orchis has shown interest in their potential. It turned out the Heritage Initiative has been working to target vulnerable communities, tricking people into selling themselves to their experiments. This included native communities who’ve been increasingly targeted thanks to Orchis granting the Initiative greater political and financial power.

Luckily for the citizens of Camp Gozhoo, John Proudstar (finally revived on Krakoa thanks to the expansion of the Five’s capabilities) arrived and quickly fought the group. He was able to successfully defeat his old enemy Martynec and save the rest of their townspeople from detainment, forcing the Heritage Initiative to retreat in full view of the press. It’s implied they will continue to be a problem for multiple communities though, and that people like Proudstar will be committed to fighting back against them. But the Heritage Initiative is just the latest in a line of mutant enemies who’ve made a habit of trying to steal mutant potential for themselves.

Orchis in particular has been uniting many of these like-minded forces, with multiple sub-sets of the far-reaching Orchis conspiracy including the U-Men (who captured the teens from Children of the Atom) and XENO (who stole Domino’s skin and used it for their agents in X-Force). It’s a twisted take on the prejudice some humans have for mutants, highlighting how some humans will do unspeakable acts to be better than the mutants they fear will surpass them.

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It also adds an uneasy layer to Orchis’ schemes. Connected to the mutant exterminating Nimrod, humans have been teased in a possible future to have aligned with mutants to fight technology once it got out of control, only to fall themselves into the war with the mutants. They clearly see the advantage of mutant powers, but their hatred and fear keep them from accepting mutants as people.

Working with Orchis, some humans seem committed to the idea of ​​more or less becoming mutants themselves without having to suffer the complications such a life affords. Even though they preach destruction and death, they just want to assimilate the mutants into their own preconceived power structures.

The fact that there are multiple branches of Orch is-associated allies at work on a similar concept speaks to how important it is to Orchis. Overtaking mutants and absorbing them is a crucial part of their plans to eradicate mutant influence on the future. In this sense, mutants could theoretically survive in some form, as tools of a forcibly enacted genetic upper-class. It’s a sick and twisted scheme to claim powers while still being human and hints at the kind of motivations at the heart of the Orchis leadership.

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