Review: Powers of X #6

Powers of X #6

With Powers of X #6, writer Jonathan Hickman cements his manifesto. It’s a bold new direction and vision of the X-Universe for years to come. The finale continues his split storytelling focusing on three eras of the Marvel Universe revolving around the X-Men. With some callbacks and some final reveals, the picture is clear.

Hickman has positioned the future of the X-Men not as the allegorical representation of the struggling minority. Instead, Hickman’s X-Men has taken on the role of nationalist. Specifically, the white nationalist raging against their inevitable loss to demographics and the future.

As far as stories go, Powers of X and its sibling series House of X has been top notch science fiction. As far as X-Men stories go, the two have ripped the essence of the characters out from them. It has featured massive shifts in character outlooks and their overall position in the greater narrative.

The X-Men, and specifically Charles Xavier, are no longer the heroes but manipulating the system in an attempt to hold on to dominance. It’s a villainous role that Xavier and Magneto admit to in a pivotal scene involving Moira. While some might still see this as a fight for survival their actions are no longer one of equality. Their statements are those of superiority.

Moira being the deus ex machina that has made this shift possible. Moira is the lynchpin of it all. She is what the narrative, and now the Marvel Universe, revolves around. That becomes clear in the far future as neo-humanity faces the Phalanx and the reveals there.

It’s also clear a future conflict over all of this is on the horizon and years down the road when sales falter and things need to be redone again.

The art for Powers of X #6 by R.B. Silva and Pepe Laraz is amazing as expected. For the insidious nature of it all, the art for everything is beautiful to look at. The colors by Marte Gracia and David Curiel make it all pop. The lettering by Clayton Cowles helps evoke the emotion of dialogue. The X-Men haven’t looked this good in a long time.

While I’m excited as to where this all goes at the same time it feels like the heart of the X-Men has been ripped out from them. They have often reflected the socio-political reality of the time and here they take on the role of the bad guys, nationalists fighting for dominance due to a perceived superiority. And much like those nationalists in all reality they will lose… when Moira dies down the road and this is all rebooted again.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: R.B. Silva Pepe Laraz
Color: Marte Gracia, David Curiel Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

14 comments

  • Thanks, you’ve summed up my feelings too, both good and mainly not so good. This is a huge reboot and I don’t know to what extent each character will resemble what we had seen before Hickman took over. Supposedly this House of X story line takes off some time (rapidly) after the Age of X-Man and Rosenberg run, You can still fit much of the X-men comic history into this story’s timeline, but the characterizations are just so inconsistent with what had gone on before, in my opinion. For example we’re supposed to believe that Charles had this perspective in mind from the beginning and that a few journal entries showed that he wavered about the full vision until now. And the way Storm, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler unquestioningly judged Sabretooth doesn’t seem like the more human and questioning characters we had known before.

    They did leave an out about the 11th timeline. Maybe in that one, Moira learns to intentionally forget everything she ever learned and we’re back to our original comics timeline…

    • You can excuse some of the personality issues in that in this current timeline that the history has changed and thus personalities. Everything that happened, happened before but possibly in other timelines.

      I think the thing beyond the personality shifts, is that it just fundamentally changes the perspective of the X-Men. They used to be stand-ins for a minority fighting for survival and equality. Now it’s a fight for dominance, it’s more a nationalist stance and separation (it echoes more modern white nationalists, than their previous MLK). They’ve all taken on Magneto’s viewpoint. In the end, Hickan has given us an alternate world where Magneto was right.

      • I don’t think there’s any real evidence to assert that any events of the X-Men’s past have been removed from Earth-616 continuity.

        And, my reading of Xavier’s speech in House of X #6, coupled with Moira’s diary in this issue, makes me think that even with her memories shared, it took until the modern cascade of Genosha, Decimation, Terrigen, Rosencanny, for Xavier to come around to Moira’s side completely, in regards to cooperation. And took that long for Magneto to forgive.

      • Seems like my comment got eaten… anyways, what I was saying is that I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest events have been redistributed across Moira’s lifetimes, resulting in a new history of the X-Men. Everything that happened still happened.
        I think HOX6 implied that despite everything, Charles and Erik only recently actually came around on all this. It took Genosha, Decimation, Terrigen, and finally Rosencanny to get them to where Moira was the whole time.
        I also think that Moira’s 11th life won’t result in a reset of any of this — either it happens in the second act of the grand arc and is undone, or it happens in such a way that doesn’t reset the timeline.
        As to your greater concern… I am reminded of Hickman’s Avengers run. It started with “Everything Dies”, pretty pessimistic, but came around in the end to “Everything Lives”.
        If I had to wager, Hickman will eventually bring the X-Men back to an optimistic point of view on humanity. They’ll just have to earn it first. After the events of the last 17 years of X-Men comics, it makes sense that Xavier’s old dream is dead.

  • This… is a very poor read of HOXPOX that makes me think this reviewer has read remarkably little X-Men and grabbed the newest headline off of Twitter before jumping in to try to combine the two.

    Like, this is the equivalent of “anti-racists/anti-fascists are the real racists/fascists.”

  • Why do you see them as white nationalists over, say, Zionists. which feels a more natural fit?

    • Good question. It has aspects of both, especially when you look at the quasi-religious aspects of Krakoa/X-Men. But, they go beyond just the establishment of a homeland. No non-mutants are allowed to live, or really enter, their community. That’s beyond Zionism. They also make numerous statements of their superiority of which the first issue has one of the most memorable stated by Magneto in the beginning with “we’re your gods now.”

      If you want to go the Zionist route, the analogy gets more disturbing and borders anti-Semitic in that you have to factor in the manipulation with telepathy to gain recognition, Moira’s manipulating history, and the use of drugs to gain recognition. It all echoes the idea of Jews manipulating the world so of which is in the shadows. That concept can also apply to white supremacy (the term for nationalism before it got a PR shift) then it’s not as problematic and the analogy can still fit.

  • Richard Logan Powell III

    Brett, you make the assertion that the X-Men are now a placeholder for “white nationalist[s] raging,” but you do not illustrate it at all. How can you possibly know Hickman’s intent here? What evidence do you have to support your claim.

    Moreover, as you’ve “been reading X-Men since the early 80s”, you know that ascribing white nationalist intent to Erik Lehnsherr, a holocaust survivor, is more than a little flimsy.

    Like so much on the internet, your article is poorly formed, and your argument is just your activism thinly veiled.

    • Hey Richard, this is a review which is a relatively short take on a comic I read. A longer think piece is coming but those take time.

      I do know Erik Lensherr is a Holocaust survivor. He’s also been a supremacist and a nationalist. So no, that assertion is not flimsy at all.

  • God forbid those uppity muties start asserting their rights and actually telling those flatscans enough with the genocides, mutant killing robots, mutant-depowering medicines…uncaring super heroes who only come around when they need something…yes how dare they start acting in this….white supremacist vein. Uncalled for.

    Why do fans get all up in a huff when the X-Men story telling vein veers in this direction? Like the basics can only like X-Men who are assimilationist ‘good’ mutants who always toe the line and don’t make the normies uncomfortable. It’s so irritating and I’m over it.

    Did you HoX #6? One of the laws are ‘kill no humans’….Jean Grey even gave a big speech about how the greatest crime isn’t killing a mutant, who after all can all come back now from the dead, no problem…but rather killing humans…who can never be brought back. How is that deep and incontrovertible respect for human life squaring with this ‘review’?

    This isn’t X-Men as white nationalism…which quite frankly is such an unfounded, ugly, inaccurate, and utterly stupid thing to say. This is X-Men as Queer Nation. This is X-Men as the Black Panthers. This is X-Men as ANTIFA. And this kind of gaslighting is just utterly reprehensible.

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