Review: House of X #2
After House of X #1’s worldbuilding and ideological treatise and Powers of X #1’s time-skipping narrative, Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia settle down into what looks to be a character study of Moira MacTaggert, long time, underrated X-Men supporting character. On a very surface/spoiler-free marketing level, House of X #2 is this. However, in actuality, this is the first issue of Hickman’s X-Men story that will be in the proverbial history books, and the changes can already be seen on Moira’s Wikipedia page.
In effect, he makes Moira MacTaggert, or X as she is known in the comic, the new center of the mutant universe taking the crown away from Xavier and Magneto, Cyclops and Wolverine, or even Apocalypse and Sinister. Her perpetual, yet unfortunately invisible connection to the X-Men ends up becoming her power. House of X #2’s main reveal is that Moira is a mutant with the ability to reincarnate, have all memories from her past life in her new one, and have her mutant nature be undetectable. Hickman and Larraz showcase this final power in a throwdown between Moira X and Destiny where they use a nine-panel grid to flex Destiny’s ability to sense when Moira reincarnates and take her out every time Edge of Tomorrow style.
At its core, House of X #2 is a wonderful speculative fiction story about how you would add differently in your life if you already knew the outcome of your decisions and relationships. Moira’s ideology and her relationship to the major X-Men universe players, including Professor X, Magneto, Apocalypse, and Sentinels, evolves throughout the issue as she plays a variety of roles from housewife to her previously canonical one as a support scientist to co-founding the X-Men with Apocalypse and being the Terminator to the Trask family.
Larraz and Gracia keep these sequences lively with an ever-shifting visual style, especially in layouts. They can go from a three-panel progression of X-Men history a la Kirby, Cockrum, and Immonen to diagonal panels to show Moira gripping with the inevitability of AI and utter darkness when she teams up with Apocalypse. But House of X #2 also has a lot of conversations, and Pepe Larraz nails the shifts in body language in the interactions between Moira and Professor X, which range from slowly building a bond to complete disdain and finally creating the world of House of X.
Moira’s lives are truly the hidden part of the metaphorical iceberg that is the world of House of X and attempt at utopia that is Krakoa. She has seen how mutant history has developed nine times, and the tenth time is the charm as she is back to Xavier’s dream, albeit, in a radically different way from a school of gifted youngsters or team of superheroes. Moira X is the container of potential and the results of ideological struggle, and the multi-page timeline at the end of House of X #2 is a fantastic representation of this and one of my favorite Hickman diagrams this side of Black Monday Murders.
House of X #2 seamlessly works at two levels. On one level, Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz are telling the life story of Moira MacTaggart, who has played a pivotal role as a bridge between humans and mutants for decades of comics, and what you think about her is all wrong. Finally, on a macro level, they craft several visions for how the relationship between humans, mutants, and machines plays out and begin to provide a reason for why the world is like it is in House of X #1 and how it ends up in Powers of X #1.
Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz Colors: Marte Gracia
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review