Review: House of X/Powers of X

House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is Hickman at his most Hickman. There are repeated timelines, conspiracies, and a semi-non-linear story that goes out 1000 years from the time of the first book. It’s more sci-fi than a typical X-Men book. It’s also, almost 100% setup. Interestingly, I heard this is just phase 1/3 and Marvel hasn’t even begun phase 2 yet. (COVID and other stuff got in the way, I think)

I think if you’re wanting to get into modern X-Men this is the book to start at so you have all the setup for what’s going on in the other books. Hickman, like Grant Morrison, has dug deep into the canon with lots of references and easter eggs, but you really don’t need to know any of that to move forward from here. You just need to know the basics about the X-Men – they are mutants with super powers and are usually despised/hunted by humans. (Ignore the fact that they don’t seem to have the same animosity towards Avengers or Fantastic Four who have similar powers, but just happen not to be mutants)

I think the story, as a whole, could be seen as the consequences of Charles Xavier taking a more radical position than he has since the X-Men was created in the 1960s. But, with the arc unfinished, that’s hard to say for sure. Either way, it is an interesting beginning to a story about what happens if you’re pushed and pushed and pushed. How long do you remain the “perfect” good guy who never kills etc? (Which has also often been explored in the X-Men black ops team – X-Force)

That said, since this is just a book kicking off what’s been something like a 4 year arc (and isn’t even close to being done), it’s a hard book to recommend on its own. Unlike some other trades or graphic novels (eg Batman: The Killing Joke) this is not a self-contained story and you will (most likely) not feel a sense of having experienced a whole story by the time you’re done. So – recommend if you want to jump in (or back in) to the X-Men or love everything Hickman does. Otherwise, you’re probably best served staying away from this one.

Contains obligatory Hickman self-absorbed Namor.

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