House of X-Pectations: Spoiler Filled Reaction to Powers of X #1
Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman has been melting the minds of comic readers with his return the Marvel Comics to write X-Men. Hickman’s books, House of X and Powers of X, have received astronomical praise. 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. For those familiar with his previous work, however, there was never any real doubt that Hickman could pull it off, the only question was how. We are now two weeks into seeing that “how” with another issue in comic shops today.
Project-Nerd writers Chris Burns and Patrick White react with full spoilers of Powers of X #1, and speculate on what is to come in today’s House of X #2, below:
Again: FULL SPOILERS BELOW. Ye be warned!
CB: So, Powers of X #1, what did you think? I was blown away by the first issue of HoX, but PoX I had a much harder time getting into. I think the lack of familiar characters set me up for a lower level of emotional investment, at least here at the start. I definitely enjoyed it more reading it a second time, but it was still a tough one for me.
PW: That’s fair, and I had a similar experience, but I am love deciphering Hickman’s layered storytelling. There are so many mysteries to solve, and Powers of X provided some fascinating new clues. I frantically flipped back and forth between PoX and HoX to see how the “Sinister Line” might be one of the connecting points between these books.
CB: I feel like a lot more of the “good stuff” in PoX was in Hickman’s infographics, rather than the story. There’s a lot of really cool world building happening in those text boxes that I really dig. How did you feel about it? More, or less excited to see what’s coming?
PW: I’m definitely still excited. I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much though if I wasn’t diving deep into it with you. I tend not to work hard when reading comics. One of my favorite books from the last few years was “Spidey” because it was simple Spider-Man entertainment, and I could read the issues randomly without issue.
CB: I totally get that. Hickman’s work is a lot of fun to overthink.
CB: Starting at the beginning, I think it’s pretty crazy how the first page suggests that if X0 is Xavier and X10 is Xavier, then what of X100 Nimrod and the X1000 blue guy? Maybe they’re all one person? Or maybe none of them are, suggesting that X10 is not actually Xavier in HoX?
PW: I’m confident that X10 is not the original Xavier and is likely a Sinister clone. Therefore, I believe that they are all different entities. That said, two (maybe three) are possibly linked as creators. Xavier in X10 creates the pod people, Nimrod may have created the HOUNDs, and the Librarian might have created the humans in the zoo. You could also argue that Xavier X0 created the X-Men.
CB: Splitting the story between 4 points in time is a unique approach. Reminds me a bit of what Jason Aaron has done on Thor, where’s he’s built a really cool new addition to that mythology by following young Thor, current Thor, and “Old Man Thor” near the end of time.
What did you think of the exchange between Xavier and Moira MacTaggert? It seems to be some version of Moira with knowledge of the future.
PW: I think Moira has some tie to the future, and this might be too far-fetched, but perhaps her future consciousness has somehow gained control of her past self. Is it possible that she has gained mutant powers, and can transfer her consciousness? I suppose she might also be a shapeshifter who has traveled to the past. I wonder if she is tied to the “Sinister Line.” You’ll find that many of my theories tie back to that.
CB: Care to elaborate on connections to the “Sinister Line?”
PW: What if Cylobel is the one who is reaching Moira while in her catatonic state in “the bath”? That said, it has to be a shocking realization for Charles. Cylobel would be shocking, but maybe not in the way that is portrayed in the panel.
CB: OOOO, that’s a good one! That’s definitely some sort of shock on his face.
PW: Yes, exactly! But Moira seems relatively sure of her surroundings as if she is someone who has been there before.
CB: Yeah, my money is definitely on a future version of MacTaggert. I’ve gotta admit though, my entire knowledge of that character is based on her appearances in the 90’s X-Men cartoon.
PW: Mine too, and her brief appearances in the films.
CB: So in X100, which is where Sinister’s programs are in full effect, you think that Moria’s consciousness somehow reaches back from that point? I gotta admit, that’s exactly the kind of stretch I would expect from my X-Men.
PW: It really is! I haven’t been this intrigued by comics in a while.
CB: So many mysteries! One of the big ones that crosses over from HoX is the flash drive Mystique stole last issue, when Sabertooth got caught by the Fantastic Four. The facility they were stealing from housed a lot of Tony Stark and Reed Richards’ technology.
PW: Yes, I’m honestly surprised to see that continuation. I was also surprised to see Charles using telekinesis. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t he telepathic, not telekinetic?
CB: Good catch, I didn’t even question that! More evidence that not all is right with Prof. Xavier. Or that maybe it’s not Charles at all.
PW: I’m becoming increasingly more suspicious. My theory is that he is a first generation Sinister mutant.
CB: The Google machine confirms Xavier doesn’t have telekinesis, but guess who does? Ultimate Universe Xavier. Last week I hypothesized that maybe there was an Ultimate connection based on his weird helmet that looks like Ultimate Reed Richards, the Maker.
PW: Yes, I saw that in my research too, and didn’t Hickman work in the Ultimate Universe previously?
CB: Yeah, he did some amazing, really weird stuff with The Ultimates, Hawkeye, and Thor.
So in the Year 100, Cylobel is captured by Sinisters’s breeding programs, right? But we don’t actually see him.
PW: I think Sinister was murdered by the Man-Machine Supremacy. Then I think Cylobel was created by the Man-Machine Ascendancy.
CB: So many new factions to follow. So. Many.
PW: That’s the truth. Can I expand on my Xavier as part of the Sinister Line theory?
CB: Please do!
PW: I think that black suit Xavier is the first generation of the Sinister Line, and he is the one creating the second generation (we see in HoX). I think that’s the case because Hickman wrote that the breeding pits of the Sinister Line were on Mars, and Mars’ color scheme in HoX page 6, panel 4 has similarities to the panels featured on pages 2 & 3.
CB: Ok, that makes sense. It’s clear that Xavier isn’t Xavier, and there’s gotta be some link to that future.
PW: Most definitely. Dare I say, something “sinister” is afoot.
Also, I just thought of something else. Perhaps Cylobel isn’t the one entering Moira’s consciousness. It could be Rasputin because she has Kitty Pryde’s DNA.
CB: The amalgamations of X-Men from the breeding program were quite interesting.
PW: Also, in the notes about the Sinister Line, Hickman writes, “These ‘lost years’ of mutant leadership followed the almost universal death or disappearance of senior leaders, and preceding the fall of Krakoa and Mars, many believed that the ‘lost years’ were not accidental but purposeful.” I think it’s possible that the original X-Men’s DNA was absorbed by Krakoa and somehow Sinister extracted it. I think Hickman is going to throw us back to Krakoa’s first appearance in Giant Size X-Men #1. At the conclusion of Giant Size X-Men Krakoa was launched into space.
CB: I forgot that’s how Giant Sized ended, it’s been a while! Krakoa is probably the clearest connection between the two stories at this point. We’ve still got mutants in X100 using the seeds to plant portals to and from “Asteroid K” so I guess that’s an element that is going to be around a while.
So on Krakoa, in X100, Asteroid K is the last refuge of only eight remaining Mutants in the Sol system. I thought that bit was very interesting, all the Mutants basically now live in Shi’ar space.
PW: Yeah, that was very interesting. So we are left with Rasputin, Cardinal, Wolverine?, Magneto? Xorn? Groot look alike, and two others?
CB: My money is definitely on that being a Groot relative.
PW: Do you think that is the original Wolverine or an amalgamation?
CB: I think that’s OG Wolverine, but interesting that they didn’t lean into the “Old man Logan” version that is so hot these days.
So, at the end of PoX, we get a scene that really grabbed me: The very last panel reminds me of the first panel in HoX, there’s an Adam and Eve looking couple in a garden that looks identical to the one in HoX. It’s hard to tell if it’s the same place or not. It’s one of the few points Hickman doesn’t preface with a date, and they’re nearly identical. It would be quite interesting if they are, and that first scene with “New Xavier” actually happens in the future.
PW: Yes! Also, in the HoX panel, you have a burst of sunlight coming into the pod location, so that fits nicely. I think they are two separate locations in time, but I think what we can recognize is that history repeating itself in imagery will be a growing theme. I think it’s curious too that the Librarian refers to humanity as a “great sin of history,” and she hopes that “they never have dominion again.”
CB: Yeah, that is certainly ominous. It’s tough to really figure out what any of that means. Hickman is seeding mysteries on top of mysteries, and my head is spinning. I think that’s why I had such a hard time getting into this one. There’s so little to grab hold of, you don’t know which way is up. Maybe that will end up being it’s best feature though.
PW: I think it will be the best feature of this series, but I don’t know if it’s ideal when trying to hook readers. Die-hards will love it, but I disagree with the assessment from some critics that this is a good series for X-Men fans to jump into.
CB: Up next we have House of X #2. Previews says we’re getting “Moira MacTaggert’s big secret.”
The solicitations are SUPER skimpy on details:
“Learn the truth about one of the X-Men’s closest allies…and then begin the fight for the future of mutantkind!”
What are you hoping for, expecting, or excited for?
PW: Oh, goodness. I can’t possibly imagine the next step. I hope that there is an explanation of Moira’s secret. I hope we also get more time with the mutants living on Asteroid K and some explanation of who they are or who they are an amalgamation of. I think that Hickman will continue to drop clues about the Sinister Line, and finally, I hope for more Cyclops. How about you? Also, have you seen the cover? It’s trippy and wonderful.
CB: It is! I spent 10 minutes trying to decipher it! And came up with… nothing.
For the next HoX, I hope we get more creepy not-Xavier. He’s by far the biggest mystery, and I want to know everything RIGHT NOW!
PW: I love reading these so far, and I’m just as excited for tomorrow as I was the previous Wednesdays. In fact, I’ll be up at 6:00 am tomorrow to hit the shop that opens the earliest just so I can get my hands on the next book.