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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Two more have been announced: Nanny and Orphan. Here’s the image with knowns filled in:

This is an excellent theory. It would explain a lot. Well, except for how the pod people aren't pristine -- they have all the changes life has wrought on the originals. Like Cyclops having to wear his visor, and Wolverine having his adamantium. 

As to our missing X-people above, I agree with whoever said the top right guy is probably Sabretooth. (Although it could be Penance. But Sabretooth is meatier, story-wise.) Could the figure at bottom right be Mondo? The one with flowing hair and a gun could be Bishop.* As for Captain Pirate Gloves, the only one I can think of is Corsair. No, wait, I think Black Tom did once, but he's got a job. I dunno. I guess another problem child, like Vulcan, could have a new costume.

* How did he get to be a good guy again? Not that it matters. He's been so many different things, he is no longer a character to me -- he's just a plot construct.


Richard Mantle said:

Prediction

   (I may have said this before..?)

   The X-Men will eventually be found somewhere under Krakoa being fed on but mostly alive -- all the current X-Men are pod-people.

“The X-Men will eventually be found somewhere under Krakoa being fed on but mostly alive -- all the current X-Men are pod-people.”

“This is an excellent theory.”

If so, that will p*ss off all of the fans of the current series who thought they were buying the real deal. Did Marvel learn nothing from the Spider-clone debacle?

I see the parallels, but Hickman's X-Men, the major ones, are acting so out of character that I'd almost welcome that development. And it would be very Hickman-y to do something so high concept. And if he did it quickly, then it would lose the parallel to clone saga, which wanted to re-write decades of Spider-history.

And it would certainly cause some drama! Nobody would trust Xavier any more (not that they should anyway, IMHO), and everyone on the Quiet Council would be under suspicion of having known. And whichever X-Men were being sucked dry under Krakoa would be furious, and probably not want anything to do with the team any more. And that would certainly include Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey and Wolverine, who are all acting weird. Whither the X-Men then? 

Maybe they'd all become Avengers. And the bad guys would probably all become REALLY bad guys.

The more I write about this, the more I warm up to it. This would be legitimate drama, where people really had good reason to hate each other (instead of the idiotic Cyclops-Beast feud). And the X-Men would forever be altered into something new -- no longer just a different flavor of superhero team, but something else altogether, with no one cooperating with anyone else and the Apocalypses and Sinisters allowed to operate unhindered. The mutants would suffer a diaspora that would be almost impossible to recover from.

And it's not like it couldn't happen next month. The pieces are in place. Where are, after all, Apocalypse's original horsemen? What is the true nature of Krakoa, which just re-joined with its heretofore unknown other half? And is anyone really completely convinced that it's Xavier under that helmet?

Very few of the X-Men are characters to me at this point.  Most of them have accumulated so many contradictory, neglected traits along time that I find myself looking for clues on which role they will be playing from the blurbs and such.

That has been the case for a long time.

To be fair, that is also true of most other Marvel and DC characters.

I just now realized that this is what I find least convincing in this high concept.

There are at least a few thousand mutants living in Krakoa.  Xavier and Magneto have convinced, what, 95% of the known mutants to leave their lives behind and join the group.  Or perhaps literally all known mutants that are not under the guardianship of the Fantastic Four and are not Bruce Banner (yes, Bruce is a mutant,according to Bill Mantlo). And Namor, I suppose.  Perhaps Meggan and some of the Great Lakes Avengers as well.

Pick any two members of the Quiet Council and odds are good that one of them tried to kill or enslave each other at some point.  Some have succeeded!  Others, such as Proteus and Selene, are essentially serial killers out of biological need.

It is a very ambitious, very high concept, very unstable setup.

But the actual books go out of their ways to circunmvent it, often stretching credibility, to try to establish other situations and goals.  At the back of my mind it is very distracting. 

I keep wondering why they are trying to deal with other matters while I want to know how they are managing to keep out of each other's throats, dealing with the effective loss of their wider lives ashore, or dealing with the presence of the likes of Apocalypse, Proteus and Selene in their midst.

Interesting point, Luis. I'll talk about it later, but right now Marvel's released two more characters for their unnamed team, Mr. Sinister and Scalphunter. I don't know who the latter character is -- There was a DC character by that name, but I don't what Marvel's is/was.

Scalphunter was one of the most noteworthy members of the original team of Marauders.  He was seem mostly in the Mutant Massacre, fighting the X-Men in the Morlock tunnels alongside, among others, Sabretooth.  At the time he was working for Mr. Sinister, as we learned later (during Inferno, IIIRC).

That rings a bell. I didn't remember that any of the Marauders were mutants -- I seem to remember thinking they were all cyborgs who had to have robot parts added because Wolverine sliced them up in the first Hellfire Club story. In fact, I thought it was these guys: 

But they were actually mutants?

I read X-Men #1-3 (1991) over the weekend for the first time in many years and I am wondering how Jonathan Hickman reconciles his reboot with a story such as this. It springs from the plot point that Moira MacTaggert tried to genetically alter Magneto’s mind after he was reduced to infancy in Defenders #16. Also, consider this exchange between MacTaggert and Professor Xavier:

“If it’s answers y’want from me, Charley… all y’need do is reach into my mind.”

“In all the years we’ve known each other, Moira, I’ve never done that. I gave you my word I never would.”

Did he mean to say, “Except for that one time when you revealed all you past lives and possible alternate futures”?

HoX/PoX says in one of its text pages that Xavier has twice already written over his own memories with the contente of a previous backup.

That felt to me like a general attempt at explaining unavoidable continuity challenges such as those issues.

It may also provide a convenient explanation for temporary unbalance até some future point, thereby helping explain why he is so out of character.
Captain, most of those Hellfire Club goons became Reavers in the 1990s.

The original Marauders were mostly News characters, most of them presumed to be mutants. But also Sabretooth, and Vertigo of the Savage Land Mutates that Magneto transformed back in the day.

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