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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“(If indeed this is mainstream continuity)”

I noted this issue takes place entirely in the “X + ten” continuity (or present day). I can’t believe this is mainstream; the status quo to too far-reaching, too different.

“There HAS to be a reason for that.”

I thought the same thing.

Very convincing, fellas! Making me re-think a thing or two.

Meanwhile, Xavier says there are "no jails on Krakoa" but throws Sabretooth into what amounts to solitary confinement. That's a contradiction on the face of it. What alternatives are there? Well, they could kill him, and bring him back later for parole or whatever. later OK, fine, that's cruel -- but so is what they did. Which is abominable. Even if it is Sabretooth. But anyway, Xavier's words and actions don't match, IMO.

Saw a lot of formerly dead mutants at that party. I assume that will continue, especially since Nightcrawler wants to be fruitful. Wolverine, Scott and Jean are buds? OK. And who is that Asian woman Logan gives a beer to?

I agree that the disguising of Xavier's face was so obvious it must mean something. And his Cerebro helmet was on a mound of ... Krakoa. Does that mean Krakoa can use it, or that the island just grew him a convenient hatstand?

I found Xavier's speech offered nothing new. We already knew it in general. I was irritated that pages were spent rehashing things we already knew. Even Xavier's evil-ish, condescending tone is nothing new -- everyone seems pretty evil in this book now. Absolutely no one has second thoughts about this? Kitty? Storm? Kurt? Hmmm.

I guess I just hate that the last issue of this series isn't as riveting as the rest of it. I suppose that if there are any more info bombs left, they'll appear in PoX #6.

Powers of X #6

OK, let’s see if we can make some sense of this.

It appears that the far flung future installments with the Phalanx exist mainly to show us that mutants always lose and humans will outlast them? And this segment occurs during Moira’s 6th life. No other information is given about her 6th life. But there sure was a lot of intricate techno-detail provided just to make this simple point.

So with the knowledge that mutants always lose, Moira has been trying to change that dynamic by manipulating Xavier in Lives 7-10. So the scene where Moira meets Xavier at the park could be any or all of Lives 7-10?

Marvel says that Life 10 (Krakoa) is actual mutant continuity past, present and future. That doesn’t really make sense to me. As we’ve discussed before there is just no way that Xavier and Magneto have always had this secret alliance going back to the early days of the Marvel Universe.

I guess maybe it could be justified if we go back to the Secret Wars event of a few years ago when Marvel did a soft reboot of it’s continuity.  Because of that, you could say that there really is no definitive canon.

In any case, it appears that all the new Mutant spin-off books will occur in this same Krakoa-Continuity.

In October and November we’ll see:
X-Men #1
Marauders #1
Excalibur #1
X-Force #1
New Mutants #1
and Fallen Angels #1
And probably more if sales are good.

Due to time constraints, I probably won’t be able to lead discussion of all those but I’ll check in to comment when I can.

“I probably won’t be able to lead discussion of all those”

I thank you again for leading this one. These two series kind of burned me out. They were grim and depressing, not very fun to read and too much work. Honestly, the only two issues I enjoyed were House #2 and Powers #6. I now desperately wish I hadn’t spent $72 to follow these “two series that are one.” Now that the preliminaries are over, I will give one issue of one of the new ongoing series (X-Men) a try.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

“I probably won’t be able to lead discussion of all those”

I thank you again for leading this one. These two series kind of burned me out. They were grim and depressing, not very fun to read and too much work. Honestly, the only two issues I enjoyed were House #2 and Powers #6. I now desperately wish I hadn’t spent $72 to follow these “two series that are one.” Now that the preliminaries are over, I will give one issue of one of the new ongoing series (X-Men) a try.

I can't argue with your critique.  Things were pretty grim and dystopian throughout. And that is a big investment to make into something that probably could have been condensed into one series with fewer total issues.

On the other hand, for me, this did spark an interest in the X-titles that I haven't had since Morrison.  And I do admire the scope and complexity of what was laid out.  I would like to think that Marvel will be able to build on this and restore these characters to their former glory but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Strangely, you guys have anticipated all of my opinions. I guess great minds do think alike! (And mine as well.)

I also found these two series a bit depressing. I assumed we'd find out something to explain why everybody was acting out of character, but evidently, to Hickman, this is their character, or at least their character now.

I also intend to give the six new series a try-out of one issue each.

I also cannot find a way to explain a secret Magneto-Xavier alliance predating X-Men #1 unless much of X-history was in a previous timeline -- or, as suggested, are relegated to pre-Secret Wars. Since Secret Wars was also set up by Hickman, maybe it looms larger in his internal continuity than in ours.

I also have more interest in the X-books since, yes, Morrison. (And outside of Morrison, my X-enthusiasm has been waning since Byrne left. And not just because of his art.)

I also found it disappointing that we spent so much time with X3 when it turns out to be LIfe VI, and isn't going anywhere. That's a lot of wasted space for a weak reveal. Maybe it's a set-up for a future Phalanx storyline. Isn't Hickman doing one or two of the spin-off books?

But like 'Tec, I feel like this is a good chance to bring the X-books to something approaching their former glory. My LCS owner says he was selling about 25 issues a month of the last iteration of Uncanny X-Men, but HoX/PoX has been selling about 500 each.

And I'll be following this thread as we go forward, whether I continue with any of the books or not. Surely there are some X-fans among us who plan to follow the relaunch!

“I guess great minds do think alike!”

Great minds run in the same channel.

Fools think alike.

Just sayin’ ;)

“I also intend to give the six new series a try-out of one issue each.”

That’s more than I’m doing.

“I also have more interest in the X-books since, yes, Morrison.”

The one run I’ve liked (of what I have read) since Morrison is Whedon and Cassaday’s Astonishing X-Men.

Is there going to be a War Moira  ("So that's what it means to be the Moira of War") or a Thirteenth Moira who's a guy?  ;)
Jeff of Earth-J said:

"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). 

A Fourteeth Moira who's a guy by my count.

Fifteenth, really.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

A Fourteeth Moira who's a guy by my count.

Hmm... I guess it depends on whether or not you count "consecutive Moiras."

X-Men #1 (2019)

I liked this?? Maybe? 

Things get off to a nice start as we continue from the Krakoa/Mother Mold story.  The X-Men are again the aggressors here, taking a proactive approach and attacking the humans or Orchis.  I still have the feeling of being a bit uncomfortable with this new philosophy. Even though it can be justified from a common sense standpoint, it's still a pretty radical departure.  And it's enough of a departure that I have some dissonance with accepting it as proper X-continuity.

Hickman's Cyclops is pretty interesting.  And I don't know if I've ever found him interesting in the past.  And the Summers clan having an outpost on the moon is a neat idea.  As is the idea that Corsair and the Starjammers can now be easily inserted into any story at the drop of a hat.

File under creepy:  The strange arrangement that sees Wolverine living among the Summers family and having adjoining bedrooms with Scott and Jean? I really don't feel like I want or need to know about that.

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