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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Interesting.... It looks like the first issue of Hickman's New Mutants will feature Krakoa (probably?) and Cypher and an appearance by the Starjammers.

A silly question at this point but shouldn't Corsair, y'know, look older? 

Is that Krakoa, or is it Mondo? It could even be Mondo's clone, the one created by Black Tom, as it was plant-based. (And supposed to be dead, but you know that doesn't mean anything.) 

Ah...yes it is Mondo. Another gap in my post 80s X-knowledge.

House of X #3

Well… this is really getting good. After setting the groundwork with several issues worth of information dump, Hickman continues to transition into a more traditional storytelling style with the latest issue of House of X. And all of the buildup is really paying off with a pretty exciting narrative.

This time around we have the Year 10 Krakoa mutants, led by Cyclops embarking on a possible suicide mission to prevent the creation of Nimrod. Various pieces from the preceding issues start to fall into place as the mutants are acting on the information provided by Moira X (or is it Moira IX?)

Some of this feels a bit reminiscent of the origin of Phoenix arc from the 70s. I found it to be a nice callback for readers like me who remember that era fondly.

It’s interesting… having the story occur across multiple timelines adds an element of danger as we never know for sure who will live or die or what the outcome will be. It’s always in doubt since the timeline could come to an end at any time.

I really enjoyed the characterization in this issue. There’s not a ton of dialogue but Hickman doesn’t waste a line. Not only do we spend some time with the strike team composed of Cyclops, Wolverine, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler, Magik, Mystique, Archangel and Monet (another character from the Lobdell era that I’m ignorant of), we also get an entertaining segment with Sabretooth and Emma Frost, two characters who are complete opposites.

And maybe most importantly, we experience things from the human point of view and learn that these aren’t just one-dimensional psychotic villain types, but are actual real people who believe they are saving the world and are willing to make sacrifices. They could almost be seen as the underdogs in this issue as their viewpoint isn't entirely unsympathetic.  There's a dramatic moment where the human scientists realize that the mutants are somehow getting inside information.  It will be interesting to see if they discover where it's coming from.



Finally, a comment on the art. So far it’s been top notch on both books and this issue is no exception.

Next up: House of X #4

One additional note, I identified the blonde member of Cyclops' team as Magik but apparently it's Husk, who is yet another character I'm unfamiliar with.

Husk is Cannonball's sister with the charming ability to rip her skin off and have a different one with powers underneath.

Detective 445 said:

One additional note, I identified the blonde member of Cyclops' team as Magik but apparently it's Husk, who is yet another character I'm unfamiliar with.

"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."

I haven't read this week's House of X yet, but I did want to point out that Magneto did have an island headquarters as early as X-Men #6.

Cannonball and Husk are rednecks from Kentucky, so naturally they were assigned the charming cliche of having a ridiculously large family. All I could think of at the time were the scenes in The Simpsons with Cletus and Brandine ("You're the best husband and brother a gal ever had!") and their children, " Barry, Birthday, Brittany, Cassidy, Chloe, Cody, Condoleezza Marie, Crystal Meth, Dermott, Dubya, Dylan, Embry Joe, Gitmo, Gummy Sue, Heather, Hunter, Ian, Incest, International Harvester, Jitney, Jordan, Kaitlyn, Kendall, Kevin, Kira, Lauren, Mary, Mary Not-Quite-Right, Mary Zeke, Max, Melvis, Morgan, Noah, Normal Head Joe, Phil, Q-Bert, Rubella Scabies, Rumer, Sascha, Scout, Something New, Stabbed In Jail, Taylor, Tiffany, Wesley, Whitney, Zoe and 15 others."

I don't recall if any of Cannonball's other siblings were mutants, and I think they were all killed off (like the extended Grey family). That seemed like a waste at the time. But OTOH, we don't seem to be suffering from a lack of mutants!

Jeff's right -- the first Asteroid M appeared as far back as X-Men #6. He's had a lot of hideouts over the years, most of them James Bond-like supervillain headquarters on asteroids, on islands and even one in a volcano. When you control one of the four fundamental forces in the universe, you do pretty build some snazzy apartments.

Philip Portelli said:

Husk is Cannonball's sister with the charming ability to rip her skin off and have a different one with powers underneath.

Detective 445 said:

One additional note, I identified the blonde member of Cyclops' team as Magik but apparently it's Husk, who is yet another character I'm unfamiliar with.

"After setting the groundwork with several issues worth of information dump, Hickman continues to transition into a more traditional storytelling style with the latest issue of House of X."

I cast my vote for more traditional storytelling, less "information dump."


"...the first Asteroid M appeared as far back as X-Men #6."

Just to clarify, although Asteroid M did appear early on, I was referring to an island headquarters. #6 is the issue when Sub-Mariner considered joining the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. (I was doing some "research" for an upcoming post the the "Invaders" discussion.)

House of X #4

Some really interesting developments this time out as we pick up right where we left off from last issue’s cliffhanger.

This story is all action as we see the remaining members of the mutant strike team attempt to destroy the Mother Mold. By the conclusion of the issue, they have succeeded but at great cost.

Hickman throws a major curveball as the entire team, including some pivotal, high profile characters, are wiped out in the process of completing their mission. My initial reaction is that this can’t be the continuity/timeline that Hickman is planning to document in the spin-off titles in absence of those characters. So where do we go from here? Yet another timeline?

At the end of this issue, we see Xavier, stricken by grief, utter the phrase “No more” (the famous phrase from the landmark House of M story) and then we see the final page go all white.

There are also text pages which make reference to Wanda Maximoff being the cause of a previous “Decimation” that greatly reduced the mutant population.

Wanda is also referred to as a “pretender” in this context and is included in a list of humans who have committed major crimes against mutants. Apparently her humanity was a retcon that was done a few years ago to coincide with the Avengers movies but, I wasn’t aware of it until now.

In any case, I would say this issue opened up a whole bunch of new cans of worms.

Overall, I thought this was a fantastic issue with some really dramatic moments. Most death scenes in comics these days feel exploitative to me, but I thought these were particularly well done and had a weight and significance to that that you don’t see very often in comics.

Next week: Powers of X #4

Yes, this was a pretty grueling experience. I always feels sorry for the mutants, but this time I almost felt sorry for the humans -- until the end. OK, all bigots need to die.

I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but it's almost impossible. Let's take a breather before continuing for the unread to stop before it's too late ... 

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I was surprised at Archangel's easy death -- thought the former Death was almost unkillable. And I dunno what Husk was doing there at all, except as cannon fodder. Why not take someone more useful and dependable in combat? Armor, for example, would have survived that explosion. As to Mystique, wouldn't Sabretooth's power set be more useful on this mission?

Since the ending doesn't leave us anywhere to go, I assume it will be undone somehow. Yeah, we could jump to Moira XI, but I'm thinking about that first scene in the first issue ("To me, my X-Men" if you need a memory jog), which may be what happens next:

The Uncanny FauX-Men.

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