I’ve probably mentioned on more than one occasion that Jonathan Hickman is one of my favorite writers. I consider his runs on Avengers and Fantastic Four to be among the best ever for those titles. So I was happy to hear about his new X-Men project.

Apparently, his pitch to Marvel was that they should cancel all the X-titles and he would effectively start from scratch in an effort to refresh the franchise. This is especially appealing to me since I have not been following any X-Men books for quite a while and I wouldn’t want to have to go back and wade through all of the more recent stuff.

So the initial offerings in the Hickman “soft reboot” will be the alternating mini-series House of X and Powers of X.

House of X gets off to a pretty good start by introducing us to the new mutant status quo. In a clever call-back to Giant Size X-Men #1, Hickman is building his story around the concept of Krakoa, the living island.

Right off the bat, we see Professor X (who looks little bit too much like The Maker for my liking) summoning his X-Men from subterranean pods on Krakoa. No explanation is given but I’m guessing that Krakoa is feeding off of mutant energy via the pods as it did back in Giant Size X-Men #1.

It appears that the mutants are harvesting flowers from Krakoa which serve several different functions such as teleportation and remote habitat building. They are also used to make pharmaceuticals which Xavier intends to use as leverage with the powers that be. He appears to have a plan to turn Krakoa into a sovereign, mutants only, country that will be a powerful player in world events.

Some of this sounds a little extreme to me, especially in concert with some of the rhetoric being spouted by Magneto in his role as Xavier’s ambassador.

Hickman also introduces us to the Orchis Protocol which is a human run organization designed to prevent mutants from becoming the dominant species on earth. They have a space station which appears to be built around pieces of the Sentinal Mothermold.

Lots of interesting stuff here. I’m curious to see just how far Xavier will go to carry out his new agenda. I like the idea that he has decided that mutants should be proactive instead of waiting around hoping the world will accept them. It makes more sense to force the world to accept them. But is there a point where he will go too far and cross some lines?

One thing I really like about Hickman is his ability to construct these intricate, sweeping sagas with large diverse casts of characters and concepts. I think he’s off to a good start with House of X. Next up will be Powers of X #1.

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I am neither a fan of the X-Men, really, nor a particular fan of Jonathan Hickman. That said, I knew this would be good, technically speaking.

I thought it was brilliant the way he used Krakoa, Magneto, and the Brotherhood of Mutants. It was really interesting, and very intricate. The X-Men are on track to be a group of some-benevolent and some-not-so-benevolent beings set apart from mankind.

What is bound to unfold is a really twisty drama full of tension all-too-real emotion as the X-Men pit themselves against and for humanity.

I will watch this the way I watch a show like Sopranos, Big Love, or Breaking Bad.

The story begins very much in medias res, but I don’t know if that’s intentional or if some of the latest X-titles before the restart led into it. (Anyone know for certain?) It took me a while to get into the story (about half way through the first issue, I think), but once I did I was solidly there. As I mentioned elsewhere, my favorite scene was the confrontation between the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, which was still not as good as the one Baron Bizarre re-wrote for one of the crossovers (I forget which one) a couple of years ago. (If anyone can point me to the post I’m thinking of, I’d appreciate it; I’d like to hardcopy it.)

Thanks for hosting this discussion, ‘Tec.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

The story begins very much in medias res, but I don’t know if that’s intentional or if some of the latest X-titles before the restart led into it. (Anyone know for certain?)

Thanks for hosting this discussion, ‘Tec.


No problem. I don't know for sure if anything from the previous stories led into this but I did see an interview with Hickman where he said that you don't need to know anything going in to this story.

The first issue of Powers of X provides an almost overwhelming amount of information. The goal of this companion piece to House of X is apparently to document a complete rewrite of X-Men continuity and lore, including a complex new mythology.

The title of this series is actually “Powers of 10” and it traces mutant past, present and future in multiples of ten years. Year 1 starts the day Xavier has an epiphany about the future of mutant-kind and meets Moira MacTaggert (positioned as a very important character), Year 10 is the present day setting of House of X, Year 100 marks an era of mutant/human warfare and so forth.

The text pages sprinkled throughout these issues aren’t just anecdotal, they’re crucial to understanding this enormous world that Hickman is creating. In the first issue of House of X , he laid out parameters for mutant power levels including a definition of “Omega level mutants” among other things. In Powers of X, he gives us an info dump about all the various mutant groups and factions that have been at war over the years. I’m interested to see a lot of this fleshed out.

I thought this issue provided some interesting story fragments but maybe jumped around a little too much from one time period to the next. House of X had already hooked me into the present day storyline so I was a little disappointed that there was a minimal amount of crossover here.

Hickman is using this series to set the stage for new X-titles that will spin off from here including updated takes on New Mutants, X-Force, Excalibur and Fallen Angels. Can’t wait to get a look at those.

Next week: House of X #2

“I don't know for sure if anything from the previous stories led into this but I did see an interview with Hickman where he said that you don't need to know anything going in to this story.”

Really? Because I found this issue extremely confusing.

“The first issue of Powers of X provides an almost overwhelming amount of information. The goal of this companion piece to House of X is apparently to document a complete rewrite of X-Men continuity and lore, including a complex new mythology.”

I’m glad you’re here to help me sift through it.

“The title of this series is actually “Powers of 10” and it traces mutant past, present and future in multiples of ten years.”

This discussion is paying off for me already. I totally missed that.

“Year 1 starts the day Xavier has an epiphany about the future of mutant-kind and meets Moira MacTaggert (positioned as a very important character)…

Was that Moira MacTaggert? I thought it might be, but she wasn’t clearly identified. (That’s “Comic Book 101” AFAIAC.) This is the scene that has been touted in recent, wordless, ads as “the most significant scene in mutant history” or some such. I have a hard time believing that. Even with words, it’s unclear what exactly is going on. Also, I find it difficult to believe that the entirety of X-Men history, from prior to issue #1 through the present day, takes place in a mere ten years.

“Year 10 is the present day setting of House of X, Year 100 marks an era of mutant/human warfare and so forth.”

I found it very difficult to interest myself in anything beyond “Year 10,” the present day. The cynic in me says all that future stuff will be as relevant five years from now as the Morrison-era reboot is today (which is to say, not at all). I almost skipped those “Year 100” and “Year 1000” sequences but I forced myself to soldier on. After having read them, I almost wished I hadn’t wasted my time.

“The text pages sprinkled throughout these issues aren’t just anecdotal, they’re crucial to understanding this enormous world that Hickman is creating.”

I was going to ask that exact question. (Those I did skip.) Although I tried to read them all, I didn’t get much past the first sentence of each before losing interest.

I plan to continue reading both series for the time being, but I may end up dropping Powers in favor of House.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

Was that Moira MacTaggert? I thought it might be, but she wasn’t clearly identified. (That’s “Comic Book 101” AFAIAC.) This is the scene that has been touted in recent, wordless, ads as “the most significant scene in mutant history” or some such. I have a hard time believing that. Even with words, it’s unclear what exactly is going on. Also, I find it difficult to believe that the entirety of X-Men history, from prior to issue #1 through the present day, takes place in a mere ten years.

Yeah... it's not made clear that it is Moira.  I think Hickman's intention is to set the stage with a lot of questions to draw the reader in and then slowly unveil the answers as we go along.  But, as you point out, he runs the risk of losing some readers along the way if he doesn't provide enough answers to ground the story.  I think it's his intention to set up the Xavier/MacTaggert relationship as a pivotal part of this universe but it remains to be seen if this will be executed successfully.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I found it very difficult to interest myself in anything beyond “Year 10,” the present day. The cynic in me says all that future stuff will be as relevant five years from now as the Morrison-era reboot is today (which is to say, not at all). I almost skipped those “Year 100” and “Year 1000” sequences but I forced myself to soldier on. After having read them, I almost wished I hadn’t wasted my time.

I agree, stories set in the "far flung future" can be a bit hard to become invested in.  I thought a couple of the revamped characters in the year 100 were interesting enough to pull me in a little bit though.  The Rasputin character which seems to be a hybrid of Magick and Colossus seems interesting.  And the appearance of Nimrod and the references to the Hounds provided a tenuous link to the classic Claremont era for me.  But Hickman will really need to strongly tether these future era narratives  to the present day storyline if he wants me to stay invested.

With Powers of X #1, it seems to me that Hickman isn't only starting a new epic; he's now in charge of all of the X-Men, from their beginning to the end. Well, okay, at least 900 years from now.

Two issues in, I am enjoying what's going on in the present much more than the past or future. I do remain intrigued, which is the point, I suppose.

The thing is, Professor X's new mission is almot the obverse of his old one -- more like Magneto, in other words. Sure, that might be a realization that "the dream" has failed, and another approach is required.

But throughout American fiction, it is always the let's-get-along peacemakers who are the heroes, and the separatist extremists who are the villains. See the last season of iZombie, for example. IRL MLK and Gandhi are considered heroes. (Unfortunately, there are still those who revere Jefferson Davis.)

So Charlie's philosophical flip is not only out of character, it seems like the work of a bad guy. Especially since it seems destined to lead to an all-too-predictable war 100 years from now. The war Xavier has spent his life trying to forestall.

So how sure are we that this is really Charles Xavier? He comes back from the dead in some mysterious fashion after being held prisoner by the Shadow King and starts acting like a villain. He's using the body of a guy who literally has more than one brain. And in some of the previews, his helmet is almost identical to that of The Maker, the evil Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe, whom we know is alive.

So I think it's possible that Charles Xavier isn't Charles Xavier. He could be:

  • The Maker
  • The Shadow King
  • One of Fantomex's other brains
  • Cassandra Nova
  • Maybe even Emma Frost

Yes, I think there are definitely some questions that need to be answered about this guy in the Cerebro helmet who is supposed to be Professor X. But I like what Hickman is doing by dispensing with the MLK philosophy of peacefully waiting around for acceptance. In a way, he’s also dispensing with Magneto’s idea of conquering humankind through a violent takeover.

Instead he seems to be pursuing a method that is more akin to the way power is achieved in the real world. That is a more Capitalist approach of providing goods and services that the rest of the world will become dependent on and achieving power that way. If my guess is right and he’s using Krakoa to feed off mutant energy as a way to produce these goods and services then he is essentially exploiting his fellow mutants in much the same way a capitalist society can exploit it's labor force.

House of X #2

Well… if we thought things were going to become clearer as we went along, we thought wrong. In this issue Hickman finds yet another avenue for world building as he chronicles the origin of Moira X.

In a nutshell, it is revealed that Moira MacTaggert is a mutant who has the power to reincarnate as herself. In other words, whenever she dies her consciousness goes back in time to inhabit her fetal form with all of her knowledge and experience intact. Consequently, she has been using her power to alter the course of mutant history over and over again. So she basically has the power to reboot herself and mutant continuity.

Apparently Moira has already “rebooted” 10 times and there are some text pages with flow charts outlining the various timelines that she has created upon each reboot. This has the potential of becoming Time Trapper-esque in it’s ability to induce headaches but I think it’s also pretty fascinating.

Essentially Hickman has created a device that allows him to do pretty much anything he wants without contradicting past continuity. Once again, there was an almost overwhelming amount of information provided in this issue as opposed to a really strong cohesive story but I don’t mind too much because I think it’s being done in a really interesting way. I think we’ll probably see a more traditional storytelling approach in the ongoing titles that spin out of these minis.

***Note: I changed the title of this thread to be more of a catch-all.

Wow, this issue really clicked with me!

I loved those flow charts!

Let me see if I’ve got this right…

“Our” reality (by that I mean the one we grew up reading, not the one being chronicled now) is “Life Six,” right? (That one is missing from the flow chart, and every other one contradicts “our” reality in some way.) The implication of that is that the Moira we’ve always known has always had the memories of five previous incarnations. Right?

A further implication is that the whole “House of X” reality is not the Marvel Universe proper. Right? (Dan Jurgens did the same thing on Thor 10 or 15 years ago.)

Man, and I thought Grand Design had a reality-bending plot twist!



Jeff of Earth-J said:

“Our” reality (by that I mean the one we grew up reading, not the one being chronicled now) is “Life Six,” right? (That one is missing from the flow chart, and every other one contradicts “our” reality in some way.) The implication of that is that the Moira we’ve always known has always had the memories of five previous incarnations. Right?


It's a good question and I'm fuzzy on how the timelines fit together since I have gaps in my X-continuity knowledge. I'm curious about Life 6 as well. However, I don't necessarily see anything in life 10 that contradicts the X-Men I grew up with.

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