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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I'm just getting the new X-Men series and will try New Mutants. Can't buy all these books that have a character or two that I may have good feelings about!

Marauders #1 was interesting, not least due to better characterization than HIckman's, but I am not convinced that the premise makes sense. 

If it is to work, we will have to learn soon that Kate's true mission is not nearly so much rescue as it is trade and politics.  No way such a ship will be used for going all the way to Russia without other missions along the way.  It is not nearly fast enough, and we have at least one member of the Quiet Council aboard.  Besides, I must assume that Kate would have attempted other means of travel if she had any urgency whatsoever - if nothing else, she could ask Forge to build something.


Kate was impressively bloodthirsty, and we will have to learn why Krakoa is not allowing her to pass through. Even this soon, there are already many subtle hints of significant levels of inner conflict and intrigue in Krakoa.  Which is why I liked Bishop's scene the most.

I finally got to the comic shop to get Marauders #1 today, but I haven't read it yet. All I can offer is Marvel's PR: A video, and a promo:

THen there's this:

JONATHAN HICKMAN AND RUSSELL DAUTERMAN BRING YOU GIANT-SIZE X-MEN

JEAN GREY AND EMMA FROST TEAM UP IN THE FIRST OF A NEW X-MEN SERIES

New York, NY— October 25, 2019 — The plans Jonathan Hickman has for the X-Men aren’t just big; they’re giant-size. Fresh off launching the X-Men into an exciting new era in HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X, Marvel revealed at MCM Comic Con London that Jonathan Hickman will be joining forces with the industry’s top artists to craft a stellar new series: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN. Starting in February, each issue will combine Hickman’s captivating storytelling with the iconic art of a different superstar artist to depict grand-scale adventures focused on specific X-Men characters.

And it all begins with GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: JEAN GREY AND EMMA FROST #1! The new mutant nation of Krakoa is the place for fresh starts, and Jean and Emma, known for their fierce rivalry, will unite to rescue Storm from danger. The two powerful telepaths are in good hands as artist Russell Dauterman will be the first to partner with Hickman for the series. Dauterman will be accompanied by expert colorist Matt Wilson.

Known for his acclaimed work on THE MIGHTY THOR, Dauterman is no stranger to Marvel’s merry mutants, often providing phenomenal covers featuring character designs that have made him a favorite among X-Men fans. An X-Men fan himself, Dauterman is eager to use his skills to bring Hickman’s vision to life. "I’ve wanted to draw X-Men comics since I was a kid, so drawing this issue of X-MEN is a dream come true,” says Dauterman. “I’m so thrilled to be working on this with Jonathan and Matt, and it’s co-starring my favorite character, Jean Grey!"

Giant-Size X-Men was first used as a title in 1975 in a legendary special issue by Len Wein and David Cockrum. It not only marked a new genesis for the team, introducing iconic characters like Storm and Nightcrawler, but is credited for catapulting the X-Men into the powerhouse franchise they are today, a legacy that Hickman and others will now honor month after month. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements about other upcoming GIANT-SIZE X-MEN issues and the artists and characters you can expect to find within their pages!

GIANT-SIZE X-MEN: JEAN GREY AND EMMA FROST #1

Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN

Art by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
Colors by MATT WILSON

I hope jean changes costumes again soon.  This is easily her weakest ever.  The design of her Jim Lee costume with the color scheme of her late Marvel Girl phase.  Not a good look.

Hickman recently made a cryptic comment about Jean wearing her Silver Age costume in HoX/PoX.  He said:

“I’m not going to lie, this one has been disappointing. I was pretty sure everyone would figure this out as soon as House of X #1 hit the stands. And while I’m not going to spoil the story for you, I will say go back and look at the most famous time she put this costume back on. That should help."

The most famous time she put the costume back on is X-Men #137. Although we later found out that wasn't really Jean and the real Jean was in a cocoon at the bottom of a lake.  (Unless that story has also been retconned. I've lost track.)  But what exactly was Hickman hoping we would figure out?

Detective 445 said:

But what exactly was Hickman hoping we would figure out?

That it isn't the real Jean Grey, but the Phoenix-created doppelganger that died on the Moon?

Read Marauders #1. My reaction: "Well, that happened." So I'm with those above who found it underwhelming. Maybe it's my underlying disdain for pirate comics.

Hickman is running with a lot of ideas that were hinted at during Grant Morrison's run.  And one of the most noticeable traits of that run is that it seems to gloss over the distinction between Jean and Phoenix.


That said, I suppose that the most famous time was indeed X-Men #137, and Hickman probably meant to hint that this is indeed the Phoenix Force back in human form.   Or that she is craving a return to the more innocent mindset that she had before her first death. 

Perhaps Jean's reaction to the Five's treatment is unusual?  She had already died previously, and that may have changed her.  Maybe dying again reconnects her to the Phoenix Force (or memories of it) and brings her some measure of resistance to the mind-melding effects of the current status quo? The costume might be part of a deliberate effort to keep her trusting and easygoing.

That may well factor in future issues of the current volume of "X-Men", as she attempts to deal with her issues with Scott, Emma and Logan, which sure look artificially supressed at the moment.  Bonus points if they ever come to explain why she thought of Logan as important in her life a year or so back in X-Men Red.

It took me almost two weeks to gin up enough interest to read the new X-Men #1 once I flipped through it and saw it was more of the same. That's another $5 to add to the "loss" pile. "Orchis Forge" reminds me of "Siege Perilous"... in the worst way possible. That's it. I'm out. No more post-Hickman X-titles for me. I won't even read the rest of this discussion.

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!

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