House of X and Powers of X Review
House of X and Powers of X are six part books staggering each other, each week. With this, it felt appropriate to review them both at once since they should be enjoyed together. Of course you could read one without the other, but I can assure you they would make even less sense than the X-Men series has in the past two years.
The X-Men have been through a lot, and I’m not just talking about their exploits inside their books. I’m speaking about the ups and downs of writers, artists, continuity, and constantly changing titles. I’m a 90’s kid and have been reading X-Men books off and on for years, most of which after the Claremont era. For the sake of this review and my close ongoing knowledge of recent books, I can indefinitely say I know everything that’s happened to the X-Men since AvX (Avengers vs X-men) back in 2012. That is until X-Men Gold/Red/Blue/Black happened. It became too much. There were small glimmers of hope during this time however with Charles Soule’s run of Astonishing X-Men, Ed Piskors X-Men: Grand Design, and Max Bemis’ Worst X-Man Ever. But without Brian Michael Bendis at the helm, the X-Men books seemed to flounder and struggle to find their stride.
This was however until Uncanny X-Men: Disassembled. The splinter of the X universe into Age of X-Man stopped the scrambling of all other X-Men titles and kept the train on the rails, side by side, creating a cohesive universe into the birth of House of X and Powers of X. I believe this to be Jonathan Hickman’s hope for the X-Men.
If this all sounds confusing, I assure you it very much is. I can however help you try to make sense of things before diving into House of X. It starts with the “Life Seed” found in a large trade covering issues 1-10 of Uncanny X-Men (2018). The Age of X-Man is then born. From here it splinters into side titles, but keeping with Age of X-Man Alpha/Omega/and Prime will suffice. I very much enjoyed Zac Thompson’s Marvelous X-Men and would highly recommend it alongside Age of X-Man. After these, you’ll be ready to tackle Hickman’s dream.
The House That Xavier Built
You absolutely don’t have to read the recent X stories however, picking up at House of X and Powers of X will still satisfy all of your X-Men cravings. Jonathan Hickman has written a heavy and powerful story. Even going as far as creating his own mutant language “Krakoan”, a la J. R. R. Tolkien’s Quanya. Although Magneto will reiterate it means nothing in its written form.
Hickman has given the mutants their power back. No longer will they be enslaved or held back. They will be who they were meant to be, superior yet peaceful. Early on in these books it seems the X-Men and the mass of mutants just want to be left alone in their “utopia” they’ve created. Yet I can’t help but feel a chill as something on the surface of it all isn’t as it seems.
Both House of X and Powers of X are a sci-fi dramatic puzzle aching to be pieced together, with Powers of X raising the most questions. Without a doubt Hickman, with the help of art from Pepe Larraz and R. B. Silva, has risen to the challenge of returning the X-Men to their glory atop the Marvel pedestal. We’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg here, and if that’s any indication of what’s to come, the Dawn of X and later X-Men featuring Leinil Yu are going to be must read material.
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