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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Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas is right! I def got the feeling that we were supposed to be appalled by the fascistic nature of the new regime. That it includes Sabretooth, Magneto and Apocalypse pretty much says it all. Storm is acting so out of character that I'm guessing she, too, is being mentally influenced. Cassandra Nova is looking more and more likely.

As to the pod people, there are all sorts of ethical and theological questions that deserve to be addressed. But since I'm a comics fan, my first questions had to do with continuity. If these are new-body versions of the existing characters, then they should not carry the physical results of the originals' adventures. IOW, Wolverine shouldn't have adamantium, and Cyclops shouldn't need his visor. 

Wow.....I actually didn’t need an instruction manual to read this issue.

“So it appears that the suicide mission actually takes place before the emergence from the pods.”

I took it they emerged from the pods, were killed, then another set was created…?

“If these are new-body versions of the existing characters, then… Wolverine shouldn't have adamantium, and Cyclops shouldn't need his visor.”

I was going to make that same point.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

I took it they emerged from the pods, were killed, then another set was created…?

Could be. But it was the exact same art from the first issue which leads me to believe it was the same resurrection just being shown again.

Powers of X #5

Unfortunately I’m a bit pressed for time this week and probably the next few but I did read this issue and make a few notes.

-Mr Sinister on the cover but not featured in the story.

-Year 1: Professor X meets with Forge to discuss the creation of a new Cerebro technology that makes backups of mutants. Xavier is depicted in a way that makes him look… well… “sinister”

-Year 10: Magneto and Xavier recruit Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw to represent Krakoa’s business interests. This appears to occur prior to the Mother Mold attack

- Year 10: Xavier contacts the world’s evil mutants to invite them to Krakoa. Appears to occur prior to Apocalypse and the others arriving on Krakoa. Xavier invites Namor to join Krakoa but Namor refuses, stating that Xavier is only pretending that he thinks Mutants are a superior species.

-Year 100: The Phalanx accepts Nimbus into the fold but consumes the planet. An immense amount of information and techno jargon is imparted. A lot of it appears to be more world building and is extremely dense and abstract. This has to be going somewhere but it’s a lot of work to digest all of the information. I will probably have to come back to it later.

I'm  glad I'm not the only one having trouble with the Phalanx segments. Not only is it jargon-heavy, not only does it involve characters we don't know (so we can't adjudge their behavior) but I don't even understand the idea behind it. What, all of Earth's mutants want to become Borg? That doesn't make any sense. Why are they pursuing it? What else is going on on Earth that might explain this behavior? I don't understand any of it, and the technobabble isn't helping.

'Tec, I also noted the change in how Xavier was depicted, but all it did was remind me of how Kirby (and later Werner Roth) drew the character in the early days of the series, with Mr. Spock eyebrows. Maybe it's more than that -- hey, he's been replaced, too! -- but Xavier has been acting like a bad guy throughout this series, like most of the X-Men, so I don't see anything unusual about his behavior.

It's gonna be Cassandra Nova, isn't it? Or Krakoa. Or Mr. Sinister. Someone's up to no good!

I still think that this series is portraying Moira's tenth life, while previous continuity was the sixth.

Speaking of Moira, she has not been seen since Sinister came on panel, IIRC.  I think that we will see her return in the last two issues, and I expect something to be made of how her role in the events involves an ability to remember things, while "Xavier"'s plans are largely based on forgetting and shaping memories.

The inclusion of Sebastian Shaw is at first glance pointless, but it might indicate that "Xavier" and Magneto intend to avoid wasteful conflict by assimilating as many factions of mutants as they can.  Shaw had somewhat similar ideas when he fought Magneto at the tail end of Acts of Vengeance, and this assimilation strategy closely mirrors the Phalanx-based antics of the year 1000 events.

This last issue was the first, or one of the first, to not drop information bombs on us. So it was an easy read for a change, but also a little disappointing. All the "reveals" we had been told before or could infer.

Hey, Luis, it had not occurred to me that we were seeing any parts of Moira VI. Which parts do you think come from her sixth life? I'm not sure I buy it -- I think Hickman's holding that hole card for later shocks -- but you could easily convince me.

The last we saw of Moira X, IIRC, is that the timeline showed that she faked her death (and disappeared). I actually don't remember how Moira was killed off back in the day, and that would be good information, given that we now know it was faked. She's obviously off somewhere doing something significant, or Hickman would have simply re-introduced her with the rest of the resurrected characters.

Show of hands: Who think the resurrection scene in House of X #1 came BEFORE or AFTER all the deaths on Mother Mold? I think AFTER, because it makes more narrative sense -- Xavier wouldn't have reacted so severely if it was only the latest time all these characters died, instead of the first. (Although, for most of them, especially Jean Grey, that's actually true.) But if you think it's BEFORE, I'd be interested to hear your reasoning (because it might convince me).

"I still think that this series is portraying Moira's tenth life, while previous continuity was the sixth."

I agree completely. Someone suggested earlier that "Year 100" and "Year 1000" (or whichever) were not the "real" continuity. I maintain nothing we have seen so far is "real"... because it can't be (for reasons we have already discussed). What if... every division we have seen is an alternate reality. that is, Moira's seventh life is X0, her eighth is X1, her ninth X10 and so on? I haven't thought this through yet, but I will (barring a definitive canonical answer). 

"I agree completely."

I "agree completely" that previous continuity was Moira's sixth life; the current continuity may or may not be her tenth life (but if not her tenth, her eleventh). Because I (for one) cannot discern the need for two series (why not one 12-issue series?), I set out to see what might set them apart. (Going forward, "H1" means "House of X #1," "P2" means "Powers of X #2," and so on.) The series began House, Powers, House Powers, but at that point became Powers, Powers, House, House before alternating again. Why? Why not just keep the pattern going? My first step was to examine what's in each issue.

H1 = X1 (present day)

P1 = X0, X1, X2, X3

H2 = Moira's history*

P2 = X0, X1, X2, X3

P3 = X2**

H3 = X1

H4 = X1

P4 = X0, X1, X3

H5 = X1***

P5 = X0, X1

Now that I've "mapped" the contents, my next task will be to read them in chronological order to see if a "different" story emerges.

DISCLAIMER: Of course, this is all guesswork and assumption on my part; I could be totally off-base. take it FWIW.

*We learn that "X0" = "Life Ten"; H2 leads directly into P1

**We learn that "X2" = "Life Nine"

***This has the duplicate scene which leads into H1; I see that now.

Hickman apparently meant to spotlight how Moira often seemed to be oddly prepared for exotic situations that arose from her connection with Charles, and how much of it she seemed to take on stride in an almost presentient way. 

In retrospect, even and perhaps particularly in her early appearances she gave a lot of hints of having past history with Xavier that she did not want the X-Men to learn about just yet, and her transition from the early characterization as an accented caretaker to a sophisticated, self-reliant, wealthy researcher with her own foreign headquarters left quite a few dangling questions that I don't think were really addressed before Hickman.  I had explained that rapid, unremarked change of characterization as Claremont finding his way while shaping the mutant corner of the MU, but Hickman has now provided a better, retroactive explanation.

When I first learned of her power (in House of X #2, naturally) and the general tone of each life, I thought that from the seventh life onwards she would carry too much of specific knowledge and psychological scars to be retrofitted into the histories published pre-Hickman. 

The same issue also spells out that Moira only began to truly consider Xavier as a romantic partner with her fourth life.  We saw surprisingly little of that relationship until now, but a key issue was 1979's Uncanny X-Men #117, which established unequivocally that they used to have a serious romantic relatioship and that it was severed with little explanation or ceremony by Moira.  That does not seem to have happened during nor before her fourth life, when apparently they were still a couple when both died.  What little we see of her fifth life looks incompatible with past continuity as well (it is essentially "what if Moira and Xavier were a couple when Grant Morrison's run began and it all ended with a massive Sentinel attack").  And as I said above, I don't believe that past histories showed us Moiras VII or later.  So I am fairly convinced that Moira VI and pre-Hicknan Moira are one and the same.


Incidentally, I also think that the Moira that we saw in a recent X^2 segment is Moira IX, since the timelines in House of X #2 give specific, previous years of death for all Moiras excelt VI, IX and X.


Captain Comics said:

This last issue was the first, or one of the first, to not drop information bombs on us. So it was an easy read for a change, but also a little disappointing. All the "reveals" we had been told before or could infer.

Hey, Luis, it had not occurred to me that we were seeing any parts of Moira VI. Which parts do you think come from her sixth life? I'm not sure I buy it -- I think Hickman's holding that hole card for later shocks -- but you could easily convince me.

The last we saw of Moira X, IIRC, is that the timeline showed that she faked her death (and disappeared). I actually don't remember how Moira was killed off back in the day, and that would be good information, given that we now know it was faked. She's obviously off somewhere doing something significant, or Hickman would have simply re-introduced her with the rest of the resurrected characters.

Show of hands: Who think the resurrection scene in House of X #1 came BEFORE or AFTER all the deaths on Mother Mold? I think AFTER, because it makes more narrative sense -- Xavier wouldn't have reacted so severely if it was only the latest time all these characters died, instead of the first. (Although, for most of them, especially Jean Grey, that's actually true.) But if you think it's BEFORE, I'd be interested to hear your reasoning (because it might convince me).

"In retrospect, even and perhaps particularly in her early appearances she gave a lot of hints of having past history with Xavier that she did not want the X-Men to learn about just yet..."

As good of an explanation as I've heard for one of Claremont's many dangling plot threads.

The next time I read X-Men you can bet I'll be looking for evidence to support this theory.

House of X #6

Some bullet points for this week:

  • The Final issue of HoX is presented as just that, the end of the story, so to speak.  Even though we have one issue of PoX to go.

  • This is easily the most disturbing issue yet, and Hickman has done a good job of slowly revealing this new creepy status quo. (If indeed this is mainstream continuity)

  • We finally see Moira in a scene on Krakoa, which appears to take place prior to the Mother Mold attack.  She meets with Xavier and Magneto in a secret hideaway within Krakoa.

  • We see Xavier without Cerebro on his head for the first time but we only see the back of his head. There HAS to be a reason for that.

  • Xavier's actions appear more and more villainous as he sentences Sabretooth to a fate worse than death.

  • The mutants have now positioned themselves as gods who reside over men on their own Mount Olympus in the form of Krakoa.

  • It's not clear what Hickman's ultimate goal is in reshaping the X-universe but what he has established here is ominous to say the least.

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