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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My understanding is that she was always thought to not be a mutant until this week.

Ah. Okay. That's the big surprise.

While this new continuity is complex and challenging, I get the sense that it is also considerably more welcoming for new readers than we have had in about a decade.  We have just come back from Age of X-Man, which centers on a character named X-Man that is an alternate version of Cable, who is himself a time traveller and sort-of-son of Cyclops and Jean Grey and sort-of-father of Hope.  Before that we had years of alternate, younger versions of the five original X-Men running around in the core books. And characters from the Ultimate continuity.  And clones of clones of Wolverine.  And some situation regarding Inhumans.  And Nightcrawler and Storm sort of being in two teams at once, but maybe not really, and Nightcrawler perhaps being in a budding relationship with Rachel, but maybe not really.  And Psylocke having been restored to her original caucasian body, but maybe not. I don't even know if we are supposed to know. I don't think that we are nearly as confused in Hickman's new continuity.

I find myself scratching my head with people here and elsewhere deciding which of Moira's lives is Earth-616.  I don't think that Marvel's multiverse works that way.  Or rather, I do not understand why Moira's power would create new Earths - or for that matter, why Destiny's power would extend into those other Earths even if Moira did create them.  Instead, it seems to me that Moira's power works by stacking alternate timelines over each other in a single Earth.  While she jumps back in time with every new life, she still has the memories of previous lives, and they happened in the same Earth that she was first born at, even if no one else remembers them.  They are not alternate Earths, because each of her lives can only exist as extensions from her previous ones.  She never changed Earths, although she has rewritten her own story several times.

I also feel that there is more to be learned about her second death.  It just sounds too convenient to be random.  And I expect that we will learn that Moira VI, not X, is the Moira that we have read about all in past decades.   Moiras VII-IX are a bit too extreme to quite fit into the past of the character that we knew.



Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:


I find myself scratching my head with people here and elsewhere deciding which of Moira's lives is Earth-616. 

I think we're all on the same page that these are timelines which are occurring within the main Marvel Universe (whatever that Earth is called now.) Jeff is just using the alternate earth tag as a shorthand to explain why he feels this story doesn't "actually" occur as canon.  I agree with Jeff's view on this by the way.  I view Marvel: Lost Generation and X-Men: Deadly Genesis the same way.  Marvel may tell us those stories are canon but I see them more as alternate Earth stories.

“Something I was thinking about on a re-read; how does Destiny know about Moira's power and how many lives she has left?”

It is my understanding that Destiny’s power leads her to know about Moira. (I don’t necessarily buy the inevitability that destiny will, win, though, although it is presented that way.)

“I poked around a little and found reference to a story where Destiny and Moira were somehow merged. Are they the same person?”

Wha—? (Do I even want to know?)

“Also, if Moira only has one more life left, does that mean Hickman plans to use that final life for yet another "final" reboot at some point?

It is my read that this is her last life. If it is not, however, perhaps her next one will be 616, in which she is born with no mutant power…? (Just a thought.)

“Jeff is just using the alternate earth tag as a shorthand to explain why he feels this story doesn't "actually" occur as canon.”

That’s right.

Here is what I said: “What is the difference between Moira’s ‘lives’ and standard alternate realities as we know them? Not much, I think. At first blush, the concept seems to be different because Moira’s power takes her back to the beginning of her own life. Normally, one would think of the power of reincarnation to be sequential, so it is unique in that respect.” I was just trying to wrap my head around it.

But this explanation is equally cromulent: “Instead, it seems to me that Moira's power works by stacking alternate timelines over each other in a single Earth. While she jumps back in time with every new life, she still has the memories of previous lives, and they happened in the same Earth that she was first born at, even if no one else remembers them. They are not alternate Earths, because each of her lives can only exist as extensions from her previous ones. She never changed Earths, although she has rewritten her own story several times.”

I wrote about this story in this week's column, and I'm grateful to this thread for giving me a broader perspective to do so. I'll post it tonight or tomorrow.

I have a question for X-fans about the "Dawn of X" books. None of the covers or descriptions so far have shown or mentioned Colossus or Nightcrawler. Are they currently dead? You'd think Nightcrawler would be a shoo-in for Marauders.

Also, while I read the latest Red/Blue/Gold/Astonshing books, I didn't keep track of who lived and who died. I mean, why bother? But if anyone knows who was still dead going into HoX and PoX, and they show up without explanation, that could be of importance. (Especially as it appears X is growing X-Men in Krakoa pods.)

I thought Sean Cassidy was dead, and he appeared, so I looked it up -- and apparently he was restored before HoX. Same thing with another character whose name I've forgotten. I know Prof. X, Cyclops, Wolverine and Jean Grey are all recently back from the dead, but what about Madrox? Are Siryn and M dead, or just retired? (Did they both have babies, or just Siryn?) What about Wolfsbane? Sunspot? Angel? Surely someone was still dead when this thing started!

Anyway, the pod scene is sticking with me. I'm beginning to wonder if anyone we see is who they say they are. X doesn't sound like the Xavier of old, nor does Cyclops. Jean Grey seems awfully deferential, and has gone back to her go-go look from the '60s, and why is that? Maybe I'm just paranoid.

Another thing from House of X #1 was when Jean brings some young mutants to Krakoa, Professor X (if it is him as we never see his face, just that creepy helmet) telepathically tells her that she is safe and that they are all safe. Is he reassuring her or reinforcing his manipulation of her?

Lots of people died in Uncanny X-Men.  Out of the top of my head, Blindfold, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Multiple Man, IIRC Joseph as well.  Magik, Strong Man, Havok, Chamber.

Banshee, I have read, returned in a... complicated form in later issues of Astonishing.  And apparently returned the same way in Uncanny this year.

Captain Comics said:

I wrote about this story in this week's column, and I'm grateful to this thread for giving me a broader perspective to do so. I'll post it tonight or tomorrow.

I have a question for X-fans about the "Dawn of X" books. None of the covers or descriptions so far have shown or mentioned Colossus or Nightcrawler. Are they currently dead? You'd think Nightcrawler would be a shoo-in for Marauders.

Also, while I read the latest Red/Blue/Gold/Astonshing books, I didn't keep track of who lived and who died. I mean, why bother? But if anyone knows who was still dead going into HoX and PoX, and they show up without explanation, that could be of importance. (Especially as it appears X is growing X-Men in Krakoa pods.)

I thought Sean Cassidy was dead, and he appeared, so I looked it up -- and apparently he was restored before HoX. Same thing with another character whose name I've forgotten. I know Prof. X, Cyclops, Wolverine and Jean Grey are all recently back from the dead, but what about Madrox? Are Siryn and M dead, or just retired? (Did they both have babies, or just Siryn?) What about Wolfsbane? Sunspot? Angel? Surely someone was still dead when this thing started!

Anyway, the pod scene is sticking with me. I'm beginning to wonder if anyone we see is who they say they are. X doesn't sound like the Xavier of old, nor does Cyclops. Jean Grey seems awfully deferential, and has gone back to her go-go look from the '60s, and why is that? Maybe I'm just paranoid.

Angel was seen in the short-lived Iceman series.

Wolfsbane, Magik, Multiple Man, Moonstar, Karma, Havok and Chamber were in War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men where Sunspot was killed. For awhile anyways.



Captain Comics said:

I have a question for X-fans about the "Dawn of X" books. None of the covers or descriptions so far have shown or mentioned Colossus or Nightcrawler. Are they currently dead?

I don't think it's been made clear yet. But in one of the future stories (Year 100 I think) there is a character called Rasputin who appears to be a combination of Illyana and Peter Rasputin and there is also a character called Cardinal who appears to be a version of Nightcrawler.

Powers of X #2

The latest installment of the reboot continues to generate more questions than answers.

We start off in Year 1 on “Island M.” This looks like Magneto’s island from the second Cockrum run and we see Xavier and Moira meeting Magneto there. Xavier is in a wheelchair and he gives Magneto all of the information about Moira’s timelines in an effort to recruit him. Magneto agrees to join Xavier in his plan to unite all mutants as one because all the other plans in the previous timelines have failed.

If this happens in Year 1 then I really don’t see how this can be a continuity implant. This has to be a new timeline. Which means, the timeline we know from the 60s-90s has not been accounted for.

In Year 10 (the present day House of X) we see Xavier, Magneto and Cyclops strategizing about how to take on Orchis. They believe that Orchis is close to creating Nimrod and their knowledge of the future tells them that they have to prevent this. Hickman has positioned Nimrod to be an important figure in the destruction of mutantkind.

Cut to Year 100 where we see Wolverine, Green Magneto (still alive?) Rasputin, Cardinal, a humanoid Krakoa and Xorn. They are all working for Apocalypse and looking for information that will help them defeat Nimrod.

Then we get some text pages about a planet called “Nimbus” which appears to be a sort of human created version of the Kree Supreme Intelligence which encompasses an entire world.

The Year 1000 storyline appears to take place on Nimbus where we see an evolved version of Nimrod and a character called The Librarian. They have succeeded in attracting an advanced group called the Phalanx in their pursuit of “ascension.” According to the text pages, ascension occurs when the Phalanx absorbs a society into its intelligence. This part of the narrative is still a bit abstract and very techy and doesn’t give the reader much to grab onto.

Outside of the Year 1000 segment, I found this issue to be pretty engaging and would like see where each of the storylines is headed.

Philip Portelli said:

Angel was seen in the short-lived Iceman series.

Wolfsbane, Magik, Multiple Man, Moonstar, Karma, Havok and Chamber were in War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men where Sunspot was killed. For awhile anyways.

Point the first: Wasn't Sunspot also killed in "Avengers: No Surrender"? That was in Avengers #675-690 (2017-18). Did he die twice in like a calendar year?

Point the second: Jeff, House of X and Powers of X are coming out ever week for 12 weeks, alternating. So if you don't get one every week, you missed one!

Point the third: I haven't gotten it yet, either, so I'm a little confused by what I see above. Maybe it will become a bit clearer when I read Powers of X #2. But just seeing what we see here ...

I still don't see a major contradiction with Moira's tenth life and the Marvel U. So Xavier recruited Magneto during Cockrum's second run? Fine -- that explains why suddenly Magneto was asked to run the School for Gifted Youngsters out of the blue, why the X-Men accepted  him with past sins forgiven, and all that heroic Magneto nonsense. Remember that? I do, because I couldn't believe it then, and still have trouble swallowing it now. This would explain that to me. Maybe Hickman had the same problem, and found a way to explain it away.

It also makes Cyclops' heel turn easier to accept, if he was working secretly with Magneto since the '80s and the long-term plan is what he was doing during his heel turn. Again, maybe Hickman had as much of a problem making Cyclops a bad guy as I did, and this is his way of explaining it by building an overarching storyline.

Moira's "death"? Maybe some others? All part of the plan. If Life 10 is indeed our current universe.

Of course, our universe could still be Life 6, about which we know nothing. But wouldn't it make more sense that our universe is Moira's latest life, Life 10? I just don't see how we can go back to a previous life for what is happening right now. Worse, if Life 6 is everything 1963-2019 that we saw, then Hickman is doing what he said he wouldn't do, which is render old comics irrelevant.

So I still think Life 10 is our universe. For now.

Point the fourth: As to green Magneto, my first thought was the same as yours, 'Tec: How can he still be alive? Maybe the green is a clue: He's not Erik Lensherr, he's Erik Dane, the son of Polaris. (I'm guessing on the Erik part.) Heck, he could even be Lorna's grandson, given that we're talking a century from now. But given Magneto's longevity -- he's already in his 90s, and pretty spry -- it's probably just one generation down the road.

As to Xorn, I hate it whenever he shows up. Given Morrison's misdirect -- "Xorn" was actually Magneto in his X-Men run -- I've never been sure what to make of the character. He's existed, he's not existed, he's dead, he's alive -- I have no solid grasp of his history. And I don't know what his powers are, either.

Point the fifth: "Phalanx"? We already have one of those, and in X-Men comics. It was an offshoot of the techno-organic race that gave us Warlock that tried to Borg-ize the universe. I sincerely doubt Hickman simply forgot that, or didn't know it, so this future Phalanx must be a version that has evolved beyond the one we know. But given that Hickman still gave it that name, despite no obvious similarities, probably means a surprise reveal down the road.

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