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.
Ohhh ... I was confusing Reavers and Marauders. My bad.
The last two members of the unnamed X-team have been announced, and the team is unnamed no longer. Here's the PR:
NEW X-MEN TITLE HELLIONS UNITES MUTANTKIND’S BIGGEST TROUBLEMAKERS!
Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia bring you the X-Men team you’re going to love to hate!
New York, NY— December 6, 2019 — Earlier this year, Jonathan Hickman revitalized the X-Men franchise in HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X, ushering in a new age of stories for mutantkind. Dawn of X kept the momentum going with six exciting launches, each exploring the X-Men’s new status quo in distinct ways, and this March, this bold era continues with the most unexpected lineup ever seen in an X-Men title… Introducing the new HELLIONS!
When the X-Men invited all mutants to Krakoa, they meant ALL mutants, even forgiving the past sins of some of their fiercest enemies. Chief among them was Mister Sinister who now tasks himself with finding purpose for mutantkind’s most dangerous outcasts: Wild Child, Nanny, Orphan Maker, Empath, and Scalphunter! Also on hand to do Sinister’s dirty work will be X-Men favorites Psylocke and Havok! Will they be able keep these murderous baddies in line or will the team’s deadly missions have them succumb to their own sinister natures?
Taking us along for this twisted ride will be writer Zeb Wells (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, NEW MUTANTS). No stranger to dark humor and in-depth character studies, Zeb is the perfect guide into the unhinged minds that round out this cast. “I can't believe I get a chance to play in the sandbox Jonathan Hickman and company have so brilliantly created,” says Wells. “For my money it's the most exciting game in town and I can't wait to let this merry band of psychopaths loose in it.”
Joining him on this journey will be artist Stephen Segovia who’s made a name for himself in high octane books like CONTAGION and SUPERIOR CARNAGE. "I am HUGE fan of Zeb Wells' work. The moment I read his HELLIONS pitch, I was blown away,” says Segovia. “It's a new level of mutant stories and I was overjoyed and pumped to begin drawing it immediately. I can't wait for you guys to see the magic we're cooking up and I promise you'll enjoy the ride!"
If you think the book’s lineup is shocking, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Brace yourselves for more jaw dropping revelations and twists when HELLIONS #1 hit stands in March!
Written by ZEB WELLS
Art and Cover by STEPHEN SEGOVIA
Wow. This team makes X-Force look like a group in the straight and narrow.
I think that the character at the front is Empath. I should have guessed that it was someone with the original Hellions' uniform; those gloves were very telltale for that team.
Havok and the current Psylocke will have an interesting time if they are to fight alongside these people.
Haven't had the time to go in depth on most of the new X-Books. I'll probably come back to most of them when they're released in trade form.
But I have been reading the main X-Men title by Hickman. So far it's been a mixed bag in my view. Hickman wants to tell a sprawling epic tale spread out over many characters, environments, sub-plots and themes. And he has been somewhat successful in that regard. But it also makes it hard to for the reader to get fully engaged and really locked in to one compelling narrative.
The conflict between the mutants and the humans of Orchis that we saw in HoX/PoX is the most interesting part of all of this to me, and it took until issue #6 for Hickman to revisit it. And then he went in yet another direction for issue #7. I think it might be more effective if Hickman used a version of Paul Levitz's A, B and C rotating plot cycle to keep the reader engaged in all the different characters and sub-plots.
One unexpected development: Issue #4 outlines the mutant agenda for establishing their standing as a global socio-economic power. And during this story Xavier removes his helmet to reveal... well... nothing out of the ordinary. Don't know if this was already addressed in any of the other books, but it almost seemed designed to dispel any of the readers' notions that there was something strange going on.
I've said it before.....and no doubt will again....
One day someone's going to find the 'Real' X-Men hidden inside Krakoa being fed on and the whole line will be re-booted.
My best friend from high school's name is Jon Hickman. He knows I read comic books, and when I spoke to him last, he asked me if I know of a comic book writer who shares his name. (They've been getting each other's e-mails.)