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.
Yikes! Sorry, Jeff, who probably isn't reading this.
I've been a little put off by the non-Hickman X- books because their tone was so at variance with HoX/PoX. Hickman's work was so grim and foreboding and world-building that the humor in Marauders struck me as flippant. Don't these people realize how serious the situation is?
Now that I've read Excalibur and flipped through (but not yet read) X-Force and New Mutants, I now realize that it's a feature and not a bug. Each book is tonally different, and each focuses on a different aspect of the new status quo.
Someone else will have to talk about the new Excalibur vis-a-vis the old Excalibur -- I realize it's heresy, but I didn't read the Claremont run on that book. I'll be back to talk about X-Force #1 and New Mutants #1 when my dogs allow me to. (No, kids, Daddy sitting on the couch is NOT an invitation to jump in that newly created lap.)
Meanwhile, here's the latest PR from Marvel on X-Force, complete with video:
LEARN THE HIGH PRICE OF A NEW DAWN IN THE X-FORCE #1 LAUNCH TRAILER!
New York, NY— November 7, 2019 — Newly declassified information from Krakoa has arrived! The mutant special operations team codenamed X-Force has been revealed, and the world should take note! Gain access to their first mission files in this launch trailer featuring Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski, Senior Editor Jordan D. White, and writer Benjamin Percy!
The birth of the fledgling nation of Krakoa in the pages of Jonathan Hickman’s House of X has ushered in a new era of mutant sovereignty. With new diplomatic considerations to be wary of, X-Force has been transformed from rogue strikeforce to government-backed secret service agency! Wolverine, Beast, Colossus, Marvel Girl, Domino, Sage, Kid Omega, and Black Tom join forces to undertake the clandestine missions that must be completed quickly and quietly.
“It is brutal. This is a book that pulls no punches, and that’s what we’ve been waiting to see since House of X and Powers of X,” says Cebulski.
“X-Force is going to be the most shadow-soaked, the most poisonous, the most troublesome and upsetting, but it’ll also be a hell of a lot of fun,” promises Percy.
"Yikes! Sorry, Jeff, who probably isn't reading this."
I'm reading it. :)
I still haven't managed to read X-Force #1 and New Mutants #1, but Marvel has sent out the requisite PR and videos. And because I have a generous nature, I will share them:
THE NEXT GENERATION CLAIMS THE DAWN IN THE NEW MUTANTS #1 LAUNCH TRAILER!
New York, NY— November 8, 2019 — Following the events of Jonathan Hickman’s House of X, the outlook for mutantkind has never been brighter! But with challenges still on the horizon, it’s up to the mutant youth to continue the newfound success of their species into the future! See what’s coming for mutants next in this launch trailer featuring Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski, Senior Editor Jordan D. White, and writer Ed Brisson!
The New Mutants have reunited under the banner of Krakoa, but they won’t be staying in the new home for long! Their first mission: retrieve their errant comrade Cannonball from the depths of space. Joined by former Generation X members Chamber and Mondo, the New Mutants head for the stars, but quickly come into conflict with both the Shi’ar and the Starjammers!
“Rod Reis is doing the art. It is absolutely gorgeous. It has echoes of the classic Bill Sienkiewicz art, but it’s doing its own thing and it’s really beautiful,” says White.
“It just makes for this magnificent mutant manifesto that you cannot miss,” proclaims Cebulski.
SEE WHAT CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT X-FORCE #1!
I read New Mutants and thought it was pretty decent. It doesn't read like a Hickman book so I don't know how involved he was with it. But it's definitely not what I was expecting. Kind of a lighthearted spacefaring adventure in the mold of Guardians of the Galaxy. I'll probably give it another issue or two and see where it's headed.
I keep trying to remember whether Karma and Jono were dead by that time of the start of Hickman's run.
She is still using a prosthetic left leg in this issue, and he seems to still be missing his jaw. Much like Wolverine apparently not having lost his Adamantium and Scott still having a an apparent need for artificial lenses to control his beams, those are traditional situations that we would expect to have changed if they went through Krakoa's ressurrection scheme. In Jono's case, I would expect at least an attempt at having Leech nearby at a proper time for his bodily integrity to be maintained.
Come to think of it, Warren changed from his metallic form to the organic self after being ressurrected back in HoXPoX, only to be again portrayed in metallic guise during the party. There is no obvious reason why that would happen. IIRC, even early this year during the first few issues of Uncanny X-Men it was a big and ominous deal that he was tricked into changing to metallic form the better to fight Nate.
If I had to guess, there is something as yet unrevealed about the specifics of the ressurrection process. Something that makes the expected fully-organic, healthy forms that we would expect to develop turn out to be somehow either unstable or illusory. Perhaps because some combination of the guiding telepath's conceptualization and Proteus' participation leads to restoring some form of preconception of how the ressurected "should" be?
Maybe they are reanimated corpses.
I caught up on the Hickman's X-Periment last night.
X-Force #1: I've never been a fan of this book's concept; I don't generally root for assassins. Plus, Wolverine is a killer and always has been, so I can see him doing this. But for others, who are usually depicted more heroically, it seems out of character.
Not that it matters yet. This issue is mostly set-up: a couple of mysteries, and a shock ending. I have no idea what the next issue will bring, especially since it seems unlikely that the shock ending will stick.
New Mutants: This one's a bit more light-hearted than the others, at least in dialogue, as kids will be kids. It's nice to see the original group back together, since one or more have been dead at any previous reunion. Now that everybody's alive, it's easier to keep track! And it's got Illyana, far and away my favorite new mutant (although her backstory is so convoluted it makes my brain hurt.)
Fallen Angels #1: I'm not really sure what this book's concept is. It seems to focus on Kwannon/Pyslocke, so maybe it's her book, and they just gave it a team name because she's not a household word. She is, as you'd expect, pretty screwed up from somebody else possessing her for years (in real time, decades). They do throw in (teen) Cable and X-23 for some reason, and they go off on some kinda mission that will, presumably, help Psylocke deal with her issues. This was the last book I read, and it was late at night, so that's my excuse for not really grasping the concept. I think I have to re-read it.
X-Men #2: Evidently Cyclops is the star of this book, and that's A-OK by me. This issue addresses the other half of Krakoa that was introduced in HoX/PoX, which I'm delighted to see (instead of leaving the subplot hanging for years, Claremont fashion). That brings in Apoclypse in a big way -- not only does he have a history with Krakoa/Arokka (and no doubt a hidden agenda), but he left his original Horsemen there, which I imagine we'll soon see. This book has one of the children of those Horsemen (who, therefore, must be at least partly Horsewomen), and he says he's here to stay. Yikes.
Looking forward to hearing other opinions.
There's a new team coming, and we're supposed to guess the members. Sure, we'll play. Here's the image:
A TEAM OF MUTANTS LIKE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE...
New York, NY— December 2, 2019 — This March, prepare to meet the most dysfunctional X-Men team you could possibly imagine! Just who are these guys? Visit Marvel’s official Twitter each day this week at noon ET starting tomorrow to find out!
So I figured the top left figure was either Sentinel One or a representational image of Havoc. Somewhere on the Internet today I read that it was Havok. I think Psylocke is supposed to be in there, too, but I don't know which figure that would be.
That egg-shape must be Nanny, and I think that it is Sabretooth over her. The sword-carrying figure at the left should be Magik, or perhaps Kate. At the right of Nanny, the wooden hair suggests some avatar of Krakoa. At the bottom... is it Vulcan who has gloves / gauntlets in that Aquaman style?