Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Where is Genosha in 'X-Men' located?


The X-Men side of Marvel had been woke way before superhero comics were woke. Mutants have been written and held up as allegories of queer struggle (mutant pride!), and parallels have been drawn between the Legacy Virus and the HIV pandemic. 



In 1988 or right around the final years of Nelson Mandela's imprisonment, Marvel introduced Genosha, a fictitious island where the mutant populace existed to become disenfranchised properties of the state. The comic books put the island northwest of Seychelles and northeast of Madagascar off the eastern coast of mainland Africa. 



If you think this nation sounds a lot like South Africa during the apartheid, then you'd be right. 



Like South Africa, Genosha has two major cities, Hammer Bay and Carrion Cove. Hammer Bay, the capital, may well be Cape Town in the real world. 



Hammer Bay, Genosha in happier days (above) and Cape Town, South Africa (below) with Ridgeback Mountains Table Mountain in the background. Credit: Daniel Case

The story of Genosha has since wildly deviated from its analogies with the real-life African country. Genosha later became Magneto's stronghold, a mutants-only nation ceded to him by the United Nations. It was also the place where his daughter Scarlet Witch set off the events of the House of M. In 2019's Dark Phoenix, the first time Genosha was ever depicted on film, it appeared as a hippy island commune set aside by the US government for Erik and his Brotherhood. Dark Phoenix's Genosha scenes were shot near Montreal



Genosha in Dark Phoenix (2019)

Genosha has been largely uninhabited since Professor X's evil twin Cassandra Nova programmed Wild Sentinels to wipe out the nation. Real genocides had actually transpired in Africa years before Cassandra's gruesome storyline came to pass: Rwanda in 1994 and Congo from 1996 to 1997. 



Around 800,000 people were slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Photo by Gil Serpereau

Efforts to rebuild Genosha proved futile after the fight between the Inhumans and the Office of National Emergency (O.N.E.) laid waste to the island once more. Enter the megalomaniacal External-cum-vampire Selene, who populated the island briefly with mutants resurrected by the Techno-organic virus.



The ruins of Genosha as seen during the events of Necrosha

With the fall of Selene's Black Rome, Genosha is a complete wasteland these days, save for the occasional alien (Cotati) or zombie (created by Wanda).



Remember that this is just one version of Genosha (Earth-616). Marvel has entire multiverses with alternate realities of the fictional island, each with a history as colorful as the last. 



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