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Returning To The X-Men: Powers Of X #6

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


I’ve found that the Powers Of X comics have been used to fill in information holes and expand upon points made in earlier issue of House Of X. That’s largely the same here, with Powers Of X #6 expanding upon a certain scene within the finale of the aforementioned comic.

It’s that finale that has been sitting with me for several days, delaying the release of this column as I try and make sense of how the House/Powers Of X event has left me feeling. On the one hand, as a reintroduction to the X-Men after nearly six years, it has definitely set me up for success. It has laid the foundation stones for the plethora of new X-Men books coming out starting this week, and while I have no intention of picking them all up, I’ll certainly read two or three.

I’ll be entering the new X-books at a place that will allow me to enjoy the stories for what they are without trying to piece together various arcs from online snippets and editor’s notes in the comics themselves. I’ll know that the mutants have created their own nation, almost entirely exclusive to mutants. In that regard, it was an unmitigated success.

In that regard.

If you were waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it comes.

House/Powers Of X has shifted the X-Men’s place from a minority group fighting for peaceful coexistence with humanity to an elitist nation who think themselves above humanity. While there may be peaceful coexistence, it won’t be as equals anymore.

There are two prime quotes that exemplify this for me, the first has been included in every version of this column and comes from the final page of the first issue. If you need a reminder, scroll up. The second comes from House Of X #5, immediately after a large number of mutants arrive on Krakoa.

House Of X #5 p. 30

It’s with Apocalypse’s line that “you have finally become what I intended you to be. I couldn’t be more proud.” that I realized the X-Men had embraced the big blue mutant’s mantra of “survival of the fittest” in the most obvious was possible. They created a nation of the “the fittest.”

A nation where no mutant need stay dead (and I still don’t know if the new not-technically-a-clone Wolverine after his death and regrowth (read House #4 and #5 for details) has adamantium in his bones or not. If he does, how did it get put into the new body? That’s actually the least of my questions regarding the resurrection process, if I’m honest, but it’s one I focus on because it’s that kind of nitpicking detail I want. No, my bigger question is why does Professor X only copy mutants? Why not expand to humanity as a whole?

Is it because of the constraints of Cerebro as a whole? Unlikely, seeing as how Forge could overcome those with enough time as he did the initial design in Powers #5. No, instead it’s almost like Xavier doesn’t care as much about humans as he does mutants.

Which is a stunning revelation from a man who preached peaceful coexistence for decades (despite having moments of being a slight creep over the years – just google them). Yes, it’s a bold new direction for the X-Men going forward, but one has to wonder; the X-Men have for decades stood as an allegory for minorities and the down trodden. Is this shift emblematic of those minorities finally going back where they came from, or a shift toward a position of elitism as the mutants embrace the superior in homo superior?

Powers Of X #5 p.23

How the X-Men are handled from here on out will be very interesting. At the least, this event has me intrigued enough to pick up X-Men #1 when it hits the shelves this week. Though I’ll be keeping the positional shift firmly in mind as I continue to follow the adventures of the X-Men.


“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #6

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


It has taken me longer to write the penultimate Returning To The X-Men column than I expected or hoped it would. Although part of that is down to some spontaneous renovations at home, it’s also because it took me longer to digest this issue than the others. When it comes to the finale to one half of the current X-event, I had a lot of trouble deciding whether this was the end or a beginning.

House of X #6

That probably sounds cliched.

But here’s the thing; as House/Powers Of X has progressed, it has felt less like a culmination of events that led to the first issue and more of a clean slate for Hickman to restart the X-Men’s direct without rebooting or retconning anything. In fact, a knowledge of certain key events in mutant history does provide an additional depth to your understanding, but it isn’t required as Hickman does a great job in revealing the bare minimum to grasp why those key events were key events.

Yes, you probably need at least some understand as to who the X-Men are, but anybody who has read X-Men comics in the past (even if you haven’t read in years) will recognize the major characters – though some changes may throw you for a loop (such as Professor X walking again – though at least he’s still bald). Ultimately, though, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know who Glob Herman or Armor is as long as you know who the core X-Men characters are (Cyclops, Magneto, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Wolverine and Xavier to name just a few).

Because this story is framed more as a beginning than an ending, it is perhaps the most accessible event Marvel have had in years.

House Of X-#6 spends most of the issue discussing the new laws of the mutant nation and how they apply to mutants going forward. It’s perhaps one of the most unconventional finales that I have read in a long time in that it spends very little time recapping previous events before going into a balls to the wall action issue – instead, we see the new Council of Mutants calmly and rationally deciding the first three laws and passing judgement on a mutant who has violated one of them. Although this still wraps up the six issues of House Of X, it also firmly establishes the new status quo for the Marvel universe and its merry mutants, and it does so with a subtle grace that for me has come to define this event.

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes – if you start at the beginning.

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #6? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: House of X #6

HOUSE OF X #6

House of X #6 wraps up one of the two series writer Jonathan Hickman has been weaving. It has created a new status quo for Marvel’s X-Universe and shaken up what we’ve know.

The finale begins with a familiar scene of Charles Xavier addressing the world and letting everyone know about the miracle drugs that have been discovered, the establishment of a new mutant nation, and his plans for recognition. But, Hickman cements Xavier as no longer the dreamer looking for peace and equality. Instead, Xavier’s dream is more of Magneto’s. It’s of mutant dominance and inheritance. Xavier has crossed over into nationalism and echoes some of the philosophy of white nationalism in particular. Xavier is no longer the hero (as dubious as that title was based on actions) philosopher. Instead, he is now what he fought against for so many years.

Mutant law now supersedes the “law of man” and the law of other nations. The sharing of medicine comes with strings attached. Xavier is now a cold and calculating tyrant in the making with a corrupted philosophy and outlook.

And philosophy is at the top of Hickman’s to-do list for the issue. House of X #6 is focused on the establishment of law in Krakoa. We see the first meeting of the new council and their passing judgment on Sabretooth. Laws are debated in a watered-down Model UN that feels more idealistic West Wing than gritty reality. It goes through the motions as if it has depth but that depth of thought is only inch deep. It’s Aaron Sorkin for the spandex crowd.

The art for the issue is stunning. Pepe Larraz‘s line are enhanced by the colors of Marte Gracia and David Curiel. Along with lettering by Clayton Cowles, it all comes together for some of the best visuals of the series. There’s something ominous and frightening about this establishment of a nation. Angles and panels are used to throw the reader off a little making it not quite as a clear cut positive. Sabretooth’s judgment is the perfect example of delivering a bit of horror among the debate and process. Tom Muller‘s designs continue to lay out Hickman’s new world order. It feels like a sourcebook to a well thought out roleplaying game.

House of X #6 is an interesting comics. It cements Hickman’s vision but also cements these aren’t the X-Men that we’ve come to know. They no longer fight for equality, they demand dominance. They see themselves as the rightful inheritors of Earth. The X-Men are now what they used to fight against.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia and David Curiel Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.7 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #5

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


Well House Of X #4 was… well let’s just say it had some finality to it. Especially for a certain group of mutants. After the heavy death toll last issue, I was curious how Hickman was going to reverse the body count; especially with said mutants being featured in October’s relaunch of the X-Books, you knew the deaths wouldn’t stick. I wasn’t expecting to see the solution revealed in House Of X #5.

I’ve been really enjoying the House/Powers Of X event thus far, it has been an interesting reintroduction to the X-Men for me, and is an event that isn’t using huge set piece fight scenes to sell comics. No, the appeal of this event for me is that we’re getting a a story that’s going to reframe how we look at the X-Men in the Marvel Universe, an event that is more of a beginning than a culmination of several years worth of preplanning and build up.

It is perhaps the most accessible event Marvel have had in years.

But despite the eight issues we’ve had so far, I’m still not overly sure how happy I am with this comic as a whole.

The solution to the death of an entire team of X-Men last issue feels… strangely cheap. It removes the value of their sacrifice, and even with Xavier’s “a piece of me dies each time you do” line to the newly resurrected Cyclops, the resurrection process really removes almost any threat of death to the mutants going forward.

Because whenever they die, a team of mutants can just regrow a clone body for Xavier to imprint a copy of said mutant’s mind into. Which gives the term comic book death an entirely new meaning. It also makes every mutant functionally immortal.

House Of X #5 does gives us several ground rules surrounding the mutant team’s resurrection ability, justifying (or limiting) their use as a story device, but it rings oddly hollow.

Especially when you add in the oddly fanatical scenes that proceed the resurrections. There are some uncomfortable connotations with how those scenes play out, and it’ll be interesting to see whether that line of fanaticism is carried on for the finale of House Of X and beyond (and if it is, how exactly will there be a compelling reason for the X-Men to leave Krakoa?

And then you have to wander about Wolverine’s adamantium. Does the new copy/clone/whatever have the metal bones? And if so how? These are the burning questions that detail obsessed nerds will want to know.

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes – if you start at the beginning. This issue… will leave you thoroughly confused if you start here, but then what would you expect starting a twelve issue story as it nears the end?

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #5? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: House of X #5

House of X #5

House of X #5 is a ghoulish issue in numerous ways. You’ll finish it and question who the villains truly are. The issue focuses on two key plot points. There’s the “death” of so many key individuals in the previous issue. There’s also the recognition of the mutant nation through the United Nations.

It’s difficult to really give this a deep review without spoilers.

Ready?

Spoiler time.

The revelation is that Charles and Magneto have put together a system to resurrect any mutant who has died. Through a combination of mutant powers and the previously known storing of mutant DNA, they’re able to bring back anyone. All of those characters that died in the assault on Mother Mold? They’re back. The process is a key focus of the issue with so many different aspects to focus on.

The religious aspects of it are interesting introducing a cult-like experience in the new mutant homeland. That makes Charles and his five mutants gods with the ability to bring life back.

But, while a cool concept, there’s issues. Numerous of them.

The reality is, our heroes are copies. The soul and excitement of them are sucked out in a way making them cheap facsimiles. There’s also the removal of any aspect of possible death. Unless the system is destroyed, there’s no risk involved in anything. You might as well go in with a blunt instrument every time because you’ll be returned. There’s also the discussion of bringing back those murdered in Genosha, taking away the fact that maybe some don’t want to return. It’s a horror story level of weird.

There’s also the implication of manipulation in the nation recognition vote. The two concepts combined make Charles and his followers out to not finding their place for equality but instead looking for a position of dominance. The aspects are concerning and continue to change what once were stand-ins for those attacked and downtrodden to their opposit. Mutants are now nationalists who have more in common with Maga than Malcolm.

The art is fantastic as usual. The comic is beautiful to look at which makes the reading experience all the more interesting. The color, lettering, line art, all pop on the page with fantastic reinvention in design for characters we haven’t seen in some time. Perspective is used to really drive home scenes in ways that will have you debating. The comic also has so much source material that the extra design feels like something out of a roleplaying book.

The comic is an interesting one continuing to change the X-Men in ways I’m torn about. The characters continue at times in uncharacteristic ways. As if they’ve been brainwashed into the cult of Charles. They’re no longer students, they’re kool-aid drinkers. There’s an amazing story here but House of X #5 continues the shift from minority heroes to the terror of the minority.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #4

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


The explosive ending of House Of X #3 promised a follow-up issue that was going to be notable in the series for one reason or another, and Hickman wasted no time in letting us know that is exactly what we’re in for with House Of X #4.

House of X #4

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes when it comes to this comic. Simply because the issue is wall to wall action with very little plot beyond the X-Men accomplishing their mission whatever the cost.

And ultimately that’s where the main draw for this issue lies; the cost of that mission.

Above and beyond that, there isn’t much else to this comic.

Oh, the reverberations will be felt at least until the next issue, but the cost will be refunded based solely on the solicitations for the books to come after this event; which honestly leaves the book feeling a little hollow, but it’s still an enjoyable issue on the surface. And certainly not one you need a ton of X-Men knowledge to enjoy.

Which makes this issue a bit of a conundrum; although I enjoyed the story within, having seen the solicitations cheapened the impact of the comic significantly. Though not as much as the in-built Deus Ex Machina established earlier in the event. Still, it’s an enjoyable book and one that’ll likely prove integral for the event going forward.

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #4? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: House of X #4

House of X #4

The assault on Mother Mold continues in House of X #4 that ups the action and the body count. When it comes to emotion and action, writer Jonathan Hickman delivers with this issue. While it’s entertaining, the issue also rings a bit hollow. We know the series coming next and he’s created a Deus Ex Machina in Moira X to undo anything in the series.

And that’s a lot of the frustration at this point. Hickman ups the body count but we know it’ll all be undone at some point. The question is when and to what extent.

House of X and its sister series Powers of X feels less like the next X-epic and instead Hickman’s version of the manga All You Need is Kill. Mission failed? Head back in time and try it again! While many might think Hickman’s hook is original, it’s not. All he’s done is used it to make sense of the rather convoluted history of the X-Men.

Still, House of X #4 delivers some emotional moments as characters die. But, even those emotional moments are about as deep as a Michael Bay film. We even got a spin on the “I’ll die so you can live” moment that Bay loves. It adds to the “popcorn film” shift Hickman has made in his last couple of issues. The issue is Bruce Willis in Armageddon in comic form.

The art continues to be amazing. Pepe Larraz‘s pencils with color by Marte Gracia and lettering by Clayton Cowles pops on the page. The character designs are amazing and it’s the art that drives the enjoyment of the issue. The art brings the big-budget action to the screen in a sense.

The issue is driven by the action and whether Cyclops and his team will complete their mission. But, with Hickman’s hook in Moira X it doesn’t matter as things can be done over and over. The fear of finality is taken away. Along with knowing the series that are next, the deaths in the issue ring rather hallow. House of X #4 leaves us with a comic that’s an inch deep on inspection. While enjoyable, it rings rather empty in the end.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:
Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #3

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away? Join me, and I’ll tell you.

There’s nothing in Powers Of X #2 anywhere close to as spine tingling as this moment from House Of X #1. Full quote below.

Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


Much to my surprise, I was expecting to read House Of X #3 last week, not Powers Of X #3, and it wasn’t until I opened the comic that I realized just how much I had been looking forward to the comic.

If you’ve been reading the entire series so far, and by that I mean everything under the House/Powers Of X banner then you’ll have absolutely no problem reading this comic. That said, you can also get away with just having read the House series. I’ve noticed that this seems to have more of a focus on the Now of the Marvel universe, and consequently is actually a little harder for me to follow who is who (unlike the future focused Powers Of X that starts everybody off on the same footing), but House Of X has a more cohesive story that works alone or intertwined with the sister series.

House Of X #3 has got perhaps one of the most classic X-based story tropes (or at least one of the things I attribute most to the X-Men): Sentinels.

I’m not sure whether it’s because of the X-Men: Animated Series and that amazing theme music, or some of the earlier comics I read featuring Sentinels (despite reading X-Men issues across decades because of reprints, Operation Zero Tolerance was one of the first stories I read as it happened, once I was finally old enough to get to a comic shop a city away from my home town in England), but for me the X-Men’s classic enemy has always been those giant extermination machines.

And so it is, for the first time in a very long time, that I got to watch the X-Men in action, on a deliberate mission rather than reacting to threats to a school (the Jean Grey School from Wolverine And The X-Men). I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed that.

What I didn’t remember was how creepy Professor X is when he looks kinda like Ultimate Reed Richards.

Then you have the near-religious language of Xavier… and it feels like a crack in the veneer. That we might be finally seeing the villain in the story, but I think that might just be my feelings around Xavier bloody walking again. And being creepy.

Yet again, the mutant language and bonus pages return, which add a far more interactive layer to the comic than you would otherwise expect if you have the time, patience or google ability to translate it. I have none of these things yet, but I’m fond of the option that Hickman has provided us.

This issue showcases the X-Men at their most efficient. We get to see the team plan and begin to execute an operation – and crucially, we see the reactions to that. It’s a really interesting turn of events and one that I am pleased to have read in print.

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

There’s also another fantastically quotable Magneto line in this book;

“For you to die, you would have to be forgotten…”

Magneto, House Of X, #3 p.5

I feel like eventually, this column will just be full of Magneto quotes, but I am oddly okay with that. I hope you are, too.

I can’t wait to see what’s going to come our way next week.


Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, House Of X #4? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: House of X #3

House of X #3

The fight for the future of mutantkind continues in House of X #3. Jonathan Hickman‘s rewriting of X-history and the forging of its future is going full throttle. Cyclops puts together his strikeforce to take on Mother Mold and the battle begins!

Hickman continues to shift more towards a more traditional X-Men story as the issue is full of action and suspense. Gone is the philosophical worldbuilding and instead, the focus is on the battle. There’s still worldbuilding in the continuation of one-page excerpts that define aspects of the story.

While the action is entertaining, the characters still feel a bit off. An exchange between Magneto, Professor X, and Cyclops feels cold. Professor X continues to seem more like the colder Magneto than his formerly teacher-ish self. The banter between teammates too isn’t quite as quickfire as needed. Instead, most of the dialogue is focused on the crew manning Mother Mold. It’s the most interesting of the bunch in that storyline.

Where things get a bit punchier is a second story involving Sabretooth. He’s standing trial in a human court and special prison. But, he also gets counsel in the White Queen. What she says is the most intriguing and delivers a bit more details in what Hickman has set up. It’s also a concept we’ve seen before, a pattern we’ve seen numerous times in this event. But, it has lots of potential for future storylines and also helps tie up some outstanding issues involving the X-Universe’s involvement with the rest of the Marvel Universe.

One of the major draws is the art by Pepe Larraz. With color by Marte Gracia and lettering by Clayton Cowles, it stands out. This is some of the best looking X-Men comics in years. The framing of scenes and design of “sets” are above everything else. There’s just an energy about it all and a flow to the art that enhances the action. Add in the design elements of Tom Muller and you have a beautiful comic to look at and an action-packed comic to read.

House of X #3 is the most traditional of Hickman’s X-Men entries so far. It’s all about the action and the battle to come. With Cyclops in the lead, we get some of the more expected banter between teammates though dialogue as a whole feels sparse, This is one that’s about the visuals taking you along for a rocket ride of an issue.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation:
Buy

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Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #2

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with this week’s House Of X #2 I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away? Join me, and I’ll tell you.


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.

Especially this issue.


“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
House of X #2

We’re three issues in to Hickman’s story now, although this is only the second under the House Of X moniker. First thing’s first, I really enjoyed this comic. More than I honestly thought I would because I didn’t let the burning questions I could feel brewing out of the back of my mind until after I had finished a book that focuses entirely on Moira X. A mutant who’s power is reincarnation. In the same life. Each and every time. Moira gets to relive her life, free to correct any mistakes she believes she may have made along the way – and free to make more. But every time she dies, she starts again.

I suppose it does give the term “comic book death” a new meaning.

Anyway, through Moira X’s mutant power we get to explore some interesting alternate timelines that I am sure will somehow reappear in the future in a What If story of some kind (which I’m totally down for, incidentally). The many lives of Moira X revealed in House Of X #2 are touched on in brief, but I won’t go into them too much here. I don’t want to give away all the fun.

House of X #2

The big twist this issue was oddly subtle. In retrospect, it’s pretty bloody obvious, but as I go into these comics utterly blind I was a touch surprised that Moira X wasn’t a new character. You’ve probably guessed that there can’t be two characters in the X-Men’s life named Moira, and that Moira X has been more commonly known as Moira MacTaggert.

Now I’m assuming that Moira has only just been revealed as a mutant, and that’s why the entirety of House Of X #2 is dedicated to revealing this long-hidden history of the character that is in no way a brand new plot device conceived recently by Marvel’s writers room. Regardless of the choice, as someone who hasn’t read X-Men comics in a while (so take this how you will), I can say it works. Moira being revealed as a mutant, and a mutant with a very old soul, adds an entirely new dynamic to the story.

It also asks the question as to whether any of the stories we’ve read in the past have been in one of Moira’s past nine or so lives, or has everything we’ve read since the 60’s been a part of Moira’s plan?

Honestly, I don’t worry so much about the answer. I’m actually more curious as to how old Magneto is than whether Moira is a grand architect of mutantkind’s future.

The comic itself is a really good read. It’s the kind of issue that has an impact on you long after you’ve read it even though nothing really happens; Hickman’s writing is utterly gripping. Although he’s certainly a long game writer, this is a great standalone issue that is probably easier for a person to pick up than it has any right to be. Of course, I’m sure I am missing a lot of subtleties from my time away from the X-Men, but that just gives me more incentive to dive back into the issues I’ve missed.

Which, in the spirit of this column, I’ll do after the sixth issue of Powers Of X.


Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #2? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

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