House of X-Pectations: Spoiler Filled Reaction to House of X #1
Last Wednesday, Jonathan Hickman’s return to Marvel Comics kicked off with a bang in House of X #1. The hype train set a near-impossible level of expectations for Hickman, and the task at hand, elevating the X-Men back to their rightful place of prominence within the Marvel Universe, presented no small challenge. There was never any real doubt that Hickman could pull it off, the only question was how. The issue has received wild praise from all corners of nerd-media, drawing comparisons to Grant Morrison’s revered New X-Men run.
Project-Nerd writers Chris Burns and Patrick White react with full spoilers, and speculate on what is to come in this week’s Powers of X #1, below:
Again: FULL SPOILERS BELOW. Ye be warned!
CB: So… House of X #1… WOW!
PW: Yeah, it was something. I honestly haven’t been following the X-Men comics, so I had to reread it a few times before I was able to follow all of it, but I’m fascinated. Marvel definitely has a new X-reader in me.
CB: I haven’t been keeping up with the X-Men for quite a while either. I dropped off at some point during the Bendis run. I have no idea what the status quo was heading into this event.
PW: I’ve read that Hickman said that was okay, but man, he packed so much into it. Word is that the next issue is even more mind-boggling.
CB: I don’t know if my mind can handle being more boggled!
CB: Ok, opening splash: I know that’s supposed to be Professor X, but that looks an awful lot like The Maker (Ultimate Universe Reed Richards, gone evil) from Hickman’s Ultimates run. Could that be the Ultimate Xavier, or a similar “evil” alternate Prof X? Also looks like Jean, Cyclops, and other hatching from pods very reminiscent of those in Hickman’s first Avengers arc.
PW: Great question! I think that it definitely isn’t the Professor X we usually see, if it’s him at all. In that arc, were the pod people explained?
CB: I’d have to go back and re-read (I’ll never pass up an excuse to re-read Hickman) but iirc, Ex Nihilo was speeding up and tweaking human evolution to see if the human race was worth salvaging, as the Builders were considering destroying it. Something like that.
PW: Got it.
CB: A bit further in, we get a consortium of Human representatives, meeting with Magneto, who always looks DOPE in white.
PW: He definitely does. Yes, some appear to be intrigued by the drugs offered by “Professor X” and others see it as problematic. What do you think about the locations where the Krakoan flowers are planted? He’s not going to set those up and never use them.
CB: If there’s one thing true of Hickman, it’s that he LOVES seeding ideas that come to fruition later. It wouldn’t shock me if those flowers end up being a plot point he has planned for the year 2025.
You’ve got flowers extending human life, serving as a powerful antibiotic, and “curing diseases of the mind.” Where do you think that’s going?
PW: Obviously, it’s being used for leverage to broker a peace treaty of sorts between mutants and humans, but perhaps, all is not as it seems. We don’t know how well these drugs have been tested and only five months have passed since Colossus picked the flower for the first time? There could be horrifying side effects that have not been seen yet. In fact, these drugs could be a clever way to extinguish mankind.
CB: It definitely feels sinister. Could be a way to evolve mankind as well. Perhaps some kind of mutation trigger?
PW: Oooh, I like that idea too!
CB: Do you have a favorite scene? Wolverine playing with kids made me smile.
PW: Either Magneto’s first panel or Cyclops shaking hands with Ben (the subtext in that scene after reading the issue is great). There are so many others that standout to me though.
CB: I loved Cyclops pushing the “your son is a mutant, the mutants are his real family” button!
PW: That Cyclops moment was awesome! How could I forget that?
CB: What did you think of the A.I.M./ S.H.I.E.L.D./H.A.M.M.E.R./Hyrda/etc. team up, taking over what appears to be a Sentinel space station?
PW: I think it is really interesting that those organizations are teaming up. It’s especially intriguing because A.I.M. and S.H.I.E.L.D. have the strongest representation. Do you know what the current status of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in comics?
CB: I didn’t, but Google says S.H.I.E.L.D. has been dead since Secret Empire.
We haven’t even touched on the art yet, but Pepe Larraz KILLS IT on this issue!
PW: I think that Pepe Larraz drew phenomenal panels. Whether it was a panel of action or dialogue, the art was dynamic and engaging. He also effectively communicated the emotions of each character, which was critical. The humans that interact with Magneto are drawn with paranoia stitched to their face and Magneto (and later Cyclops) portray confidence. Magneto’s confidence is stoic and intimidating while Cyclops’ is prideful then superior. However, I think that Larraz’s excellent work is accentuated because Marte Gracia’s coloring is so exquisite. Each panel is a work of art with their combined efforts. Again, this is not an action heavy book, but together they keep it engaging with eye-popping visuals that are more intriguing than action splash pages.
CB: So, next week, Powers of X (which my comic shop guy explained to me is “Powers of TEN”) #1. What are you hoping for/expecting? I’ve read it’s a re-spinning of X-Men history? Knowing Hickman, I hope it has all the charts and diagrams our brains can handle.
PW: Yes, I bet it will, and I’ll be dissecting every line as meticulously as I did House of X.
CB: I probably spent an hour reading just that one comic. The hype was pretty much impossible to live up to, but for me Hickman delivered the goods.
PW: I agree. I’ve read comics off and on over the years, but this is an event that makes me want to hit the comic shop first thing on Wednesday morning. I anticipate that Powers of X will take some time to read and unpack everything Hickman includes. What are you expecting?
CB: So the solicitation plug reads:
“FEAR THE FUTURE! Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (INFINTY, NEW AVENGERS, FF) continues his revolutionary new direction for the X-Men. Intertwining with HOUSE OF X, POWERS OF X reveals the secret past, present and future of mutantkind, changing the way you look at every X-Men story before and after. You do not want to miss the next seminal moment in the history of the X-Men!”
I guess we’re headed to the future? Powers of X is supposed to be somewhat re-framing their history, but a lot of X-Men “history” is set in the future, so that kinda makes sense.
PW: I wonder if the issues set in the future will reference “Days of Future Past.”
CB: Yeah, that was my thought as well. Maybe exploring how what is happening in HoX might be creating that future? Wouldn’t be X-Men without some crazy time travel shenanigans.
PW: I like that theory. I think it’s unlikely that most of our questions will be unequivocally answered in Powers of X. It’s more likely that we’ll receive more related clues or possibly brand new clues.
CB: I still have questions about Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D. from way back in 2010 , so yeah, we’re probably not getting all the answers.
House of X #1 hit comics shop shelves on July 24th, 2019, and Powers of X will be available on July 31st.