House of X/ Powers of X Review

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Written by: Jonathan Hickman

Illustrated by: Pepe Larraz

[Spoiler Warning]

Dang… I think this series got me hooked on X-men books now.

Here’s a quick summary of the story: Moira Mactaggert is a mutant with the ability to be reincarnated. Throughout her first nine lives she discovers that humans could possibly create a mutant decimating A.I. called Nimrod. In her tenth an final life, Moira enlists the aid of the X-men to stop the creation of Nimrod. In the X-men’s victory, they migrate the entire mutant demographic into a sentient island, Krakoa, and find a way to give Death a massive headache.

The biggest issue in this series is the formatting. It just feels a little all over the place

Moira is the linchpin for this entire event, and the plotting of this story doesn’t do a good job of showing that. Instead of starting the book off with her, we are greeted with members of the brotherhood, Professor X, and Magneto. Knowing how vast the ensemble of characters is in the X-men books, it can be daunting to be blasted with all these colorful and complex characters. Having the narrative be solely through her point of view would have made it feel less cluttered.

As it stands right now, she feels more like a plot device than an actual person.

This is going to sound like a back handed compliment, but I promise it’s truly not coming from a place of ill intent. I believe Hox/Pox is primarily concerned with delivering an enticing amount of exposition rather than telling a story.

It’s setting up pieces for a drastically different status quo for the mutant race, and functions as a stepping stone for new readers, but it requires a lot of retaining new information on the part of the reader.

It’s kind of the best and worst of both worlds. For new readers, it’s great because this is pretty much a fresh start. We don’t have to worry about who died in the past or where everybody is.

It’s also a nightmare because literally everyone is alive and the reader has to catch up on who everyone is, along with with their complex relationships among each other.

It’s great for older readers because it provides a new and exciting twist for the X-men formula: mutants are no longer on the run from non-mutated humans. Instead they’re all thriving in one living paradise.

However, something that might serve as road bumps for long-time readers is that most of the heartbreaking deaths are now undone in a flash and some people act out of character.

For example, one person I have a hard time believing would get on board is Apocalypse. He’s main thing is the genetically superior are the only ones with the right to live. Having all mutants on one island shouldn’t appeal to him.

While not entirely out of character, Kurt Wagner seems a bit off in the end. Consider how religious Night-crawler was shown to be here. I was expecting a bit of reaction after he died and was revived as a clone. Charles Xavier and his merry mutants can basically maintain everlasting life and Kurt is only concerned about how much his comrades are performing the Hanky Panky? I can’t blame the blue swashbuckler for having priorities, but come on, Kurt! Professor X just cured death!

Another character that caught me off gaurd was Mr. Sinister. Is it me, or was he always this charming in prior X-men books. I’m not complaining. This man is my favorite character in the story, but I just wish I knew why Sinister is so entertaining now.

Going back to the plot, I think it’s a bit of a contrivance that every mutant (except for Namor ’cause he’s a diva) would agree to live on one island together.

As far as I know, Emma is the only one who points out how dangerous that is and shows reluctance.

I’m a bit saddened about Charles Xavier giving up on his dream of humankind and mutant-kind living together in harmony. Especially since he’s supposed to be a Martin Luther King Jr. analogue. Imagine if the late Mr. King Jr. just turned around and said, “Screw it! I’m going home.”

I have no problem with fictional characters evolving, but I just feel there should have been more time devoted to such a vast character progression, for it to really sink in.

It would have been fascinating to so see Xavier’s gradual disillusionment in his original mutant cause. Instead, Moira just convinces him in an instant, with her former memories.

I think anyone can enjoy this book, as long as their willing to put in the work of riding along with the intricate story.