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.
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?
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.