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X-Men Finally Explains How a Hated Mutant Was Voted onto the Team

Warning: contains spoilers for X-Men #2!

A brand new team of X-Men has arrived to help protect the world as mutantkind flourishes in the age of Krakoa. Headed by Cyclops and Jean Grey, the team features an impressive roster which includes Rogue, Laura Kinney's Wolverine, Sunfire, Synch, and Polaris. But despite being a powerful hero, Sunfire stands out as a particularly bewildering addition to the squad due to his famously cold, self-serving demeanor. Thankfully, X-Men #2 sheds some light on exactly how Shiro Yoshida got voted onto the mutant team.

The recent Hellfire Gala was an eventful night for the island nation of Krakoa. On top of the already impressive feat of terraforming Mars into the new planet of Arakko, Marvel’s mutants also unveiled Krakoa’s first official team of X-Men. Using her telepathic abilities to link the minds of all Krakoans, Jean Grey made it possible for any mutant vying for a spot on the team to advocate for themselves and explain why they wished to serve as heroes. The rest of the island’s citizens were then allowed to vote for whomever they believed to be the best candidate, resulting in the team's current lineup. While many of the picks seem sensible, Sunfire is easily the most controversial, as he has historically had a rocky relationship with the X-Men. In fact, Magik even comments on Shiro’s lack of commitment to the X-Men shortly after the new roster is announced, calling back to his abrupt departure from the team just after joining in 1975. Luckily, Sunfire is already proving his dedication to his new crew, showing readers exactly what he told the rest of Krakoa during the psychic poll.

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The world is under threat as Cordyceps Jones, the host of a space casino called Gameworld, takes bets on who can wipe Earth clean of life. After thwarting the gamblers’ first attack, the X-Men are forced into action yet again as a weaponized version of the Annihilation Wave arrives in Gerry Duggan, Pepe Larraz, Clayton Cowles, and Marte Gracia’s X-Men #2. Taking on the A-Wave just as it is unleashed, the team work as a cohesive unit to neutralize the threat before it wipes out a nearby town and grows out of control. The ensuing battle shows how Sunfire has grown as a team player, as he patiently waits for Jean and Polaris to find a vital clue about who initiated the attack before incinerating the Annihilation Wave. As the dust settles, some townsfolk approach to thank Sunfire for saving them, but he is hesitant to accept their gratitude. He explains that, before Krakoa, he didn’t have much interest in fighting for mankind.

Sunfire explains that although he’s been a member of the X-Men and even the Avengers, he never found much self-fulfillment in his service. Upon his arrival in Krakoa, however, he finally found something worth fighting for. Sunfire then goes on to reveal what he expressed to the other Krakoans on the night of the election: “I have always served a powerful interest, with the goal of self-enrichment. But tonight, watching our world and Arakko’s transform, I stand before you, wishing only to be of service.” Luckily, the civilians that he saved aren’t concerned with his rocky past, and they invite the X-Men to stay for a meal.

Judging by this issue’s depiction of Sunfire, he’s made a complete transformation from a haughty, antagonistic loner into a much more humble team-player. Not only is this made clear through his telepathic message to the rest of Krakoa, but it is also apparent in the way that he works with his new team. The issue even points out that, in the past, Shiro wouldn’t have waited for Jean before engaging against the Annihilation Wave, but now he realizes that blindly following his own instincts can jeopardize a mission. It’s refreshing to see the positive impact that Krakoa has had on Sunfire. Hopefully, this trend will continue as he embarks on more adventures with the X-Men.

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