Comics
Published August 3, 2023

The History of Krakoan Medicine, Explained

Revisit the development of Krakoan medicine as well as the impact it had on mutantkind and the Marvel Universe at large.

From Genosha to Utopia, Marvel's mutants have tried and failed to establish a mutant-run nation multiple times. But in the wake of those failures, they learned from their mistakes—and built the mutant nation of Krakoa out of that. 

To establish Krakoa in the international community, mutantkind used the island's abundant natural resources to create three medicines that could help humanity. However, while Krakoan medicine saved and improved lives all over the world, the anti-mutant organization Orchis turned it into a lethal weapon at this year's Hellfire Gala as part of their efforts to wipe out the X-Men and the rest of the world's mutants. 

Now, we're taking a closer look at Krakoa's medicine and how these mutant pharmaceuticals reshaped the Marvel Universe. We'll also break down how Orchis poisoned these drugs and why those changes rocked Spider-Man's world in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (2023) #1 by Celeste Bronfman, David Lopez, KJ Diaz, and VC's Joe Caramagna.

WHAT ARE KRAKOA'S MEDICINES?

On Charles Xavier's orders, Cypher and Warlock laid the foundations for the mutant nation by befriending the island Krakoa, a living, sentient being with a unique biome. After the island began producing seeds that would grow into portals and plant-based living habitats, Beast had Cypher cultivate three new types of Krakoan plants from dead bodies, as revealed in INFERNO (2021) #3 by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. SilvaStefano CaselliValerio Schiti, and Adriano Di Benedetto. Beast researched and refined these flowers, which formed the basis for the Krakoan medicines. 

When Xavier revealed Krakoa's existence to the world, he offered these three different pharmaceuticals to every nation that officially recognized Krakoa's sovereignty in HOUSE OF X (2019) #1 by Hickman and Pepe Larraz. One of these miracle drugs, Human Drug L, extends human life by five years. Another one of these pills, Human Drug I, functions as a universal antibiotic. Finally, Human Drug M treats so-called "diseases of the mind," such as dementia. Many of the world's nations accepted Xavier's offer, and these medicines quickly became Krakoa's chief export and the backbone of the island's economy.

KRAKOAN MEDCINE IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE

As preparations for Krakoa came together, Xavier recruited Emma Frost to help distribute the life-saving medicine through the Hellfire Trading Company, which combined the Hellfire Club's vast resources with the assets of a pharmaceutical company Xavier purchased to export Krakoan medicine. After Krakoan bases were established in the Savage Land and on Mars, Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, and his duplicates oversaw the growth of the Krakoan flowers and the process that turned those flowers into pills. Frost took charge of the medicine's distribution to countries that recognized Krakoa, while Sebastian Shaw oversaw black market circulation of the medicine in areas that did not recognize Krakoa. 

Thieves regularly tried to steal Krakoan medicine and resell it in places without a formal way to get Krakoan medicine, as the villain Whirlwind attempted to in X-MEN ANNUAL (2022) #1 by Steve Foxe and Andrea Di Vito. However, the X-Men, X-Corp, and Kate Pryde's Marauders protected Krakoan medicine across various fields.  

Although the medicine saved and prolonged millions of human lives worldwide, several villainous groups tried to use Krakoan pharmaceuticals for their own ends. For instance, the mad botanists of Hordeculture hacked into Krakoa's biotechnology in their efforts to wipe out humanity. Elsewhere, the Flower Cartel used pollen from Krakoa's flowers to make narcotics. The anti-mutant group Homines Verendi even tried to poison Krakoa's drug supply to turn public sentiment against mutants.

KRAKOAN MEDICINE AND THE HELLFIRE GALA 

As part of their devastating attack on Krakoa in X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1, Orchis activated something within the Krakoan medicine that made its users dangerously aggressive. While Krakoa was busy with last year's Hellfire Gala, Doctor Stasis—a mutant-hating clone of Mister Sinister—broke into Krakoa's pharmaceutical production facility and tampered with the medicine supply. Then, M.O.D.O.K. and the other leaders of Orchis developed a way to produce a signal that can trigger a "fight-or-flight" response in the limbic system of Krakoan medicine users, as first seen in X-MEN (2021) #22 by Gerry Duggan and Joshua Cassara.

When Orchis attacked the Hellfire Gala, Stasis and M.O.D.O.K. activated the signal, which sent many of the event's human guests into a lethal frenzy. As both a warning to Xavier and a way to encourage anti-mutant sentiment, Stasis threatened to activate that signal and target an exponential number of humans who had taken Krakoan medicine. 

One such human was Anna Watson, who took Human Drug M as a treatment for her dementia. Mary Jane even became a spokesperson for the medicine after she witnessed the way it helped her aunt. After being exposed to the Orchis signal, however, Anna fell into a blind rage and ultimately had to be restrained by Spider-Man. After AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (2023) #1, Mary Jane's Aunt Anna stands as one of the many humans suffering because of Orchis' campaign to exterminate mutants. 

Witness the devastating impact of Orchis' tampering in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (2023) #1, now on sale!

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