RSS Feed
Jul 25

House of X #1

Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Paul in HoXPoX, x-axis

So I’m not ignoring the review backlog, but something tells me there’s a bit more interest in House of X #1 than there is in, say, the Wolverine vs Blade Special.  On the other hand, I don’t want to review this until it’s actually finished… and I don’t want to just post “open thread.”  So instead, since Hickman seems like the sort of writer whose stories are designed to repay scrutiny, let’s just unpick what’s going on here in continuity terms.

I’m using the page numbers for the digital edition here, which will be out of synch with a paper edition (since the double page spreads count as a single page) but I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

COVER (PAGE 1).  The X-Men step through one of those gateways we’ll be hearing so much about.

PAGE 2: This is a Jonathan Hickman comic, so we’re getting lots of black and white “data pages” between scenes – a fairly standard device in his comics.  The script at the back is heavily redacted for this page – despite it containing almost no information – but does reveal that this quote is part of a telepathic speech by Charles Xavier to the world, evidently announcing the way things are going to be from now on.

PAGE 3-4: All very mysterious.  The script confirms that this is Krakoa, now a mutant island nation – and presumably linked in some way to the Krakoa from Wolverine and the X-Men, rather than just reusing the name.  Last we saw of it, it was hanging out with Kid Omega.  The guy in black is apparently Professor X and his X-helmet is Cerebro – or so the script says – but it also prevents us seeing his face.  In the event, he looks an awful lot more like the Maker, the evil version of Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe, and a character that Hickman has used before.  He appears to be growing new mutants in pods, or at least he’s been doing something to existing mutants; one of them has glowing eyes which obviously reference Cyclops.  The woman next to him isn’t a million miles from Jean Grey either.

PAGE 5: The title page, complete with a logo that presumably reads “HOUSE OF X” in the Krakoa font.  That would fit with the word above the creator list being ONE.   House of X is, of course, a reference to 2005’s House of M, about an alternate reality ruled by mutants.

PAGES 6-7: A montage of various X-Men, in various places, planting flowers over a period of about five months – establishing a long time gap from the end of Matthew Rosenberg’s run.  The idea is that the panels all show different stages in the planting of their respective flowers, from starting on a vine to being planted in the ground.  We’re apparently meant to be able to distinguish between the various types of flowers; the script says they’re all “habitats” except for the Savage Land flower, which is Human Drug: L, and the Washington flower, which is a gateway.  The difference isn’t hugely apparent in the art.  Perhaps making them different colours would have helped.

The X-Men here are all familiar members: Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, Armor, the Beast, Kitty Pryde (with Lockheed, who hasn’t been with her much lately), and four of the Stepford Cuckoos.  The script says there should be five of them, but the art clearly only shows four.  However, in the next scene, two of them introduce themselves as Sophie and Esme, both of whom are meant to be dead, so apparently the book is (somehow) back to full strength.

As for the locations seen here, Westchester (the original X-Men Mansion) has been rebuilt.  It’s less obvious why the X-Men are growing flowers on the Blue Area of the Moon or Mars, or indeed how they got there.  The script contains a warning that the Earth shouldn’t be visible in the Blue Area scene, but that could just be an aide memoire – the Blue Area is on the far side of the moon, so you shouldn’t be able to see Earth from there.

PAGES 8-11: A bunch of ambassadors arrive at the Jerusalem Habitat in response to Xavier’s invitation; apparently, after all the X-Men’s months of preparation in the previous scene, they’ve revealed themselves to the public in the last few days (though this seems to contradict the timescales on the Orchis Protocol’s data page later on).  Basically, the X-Men are growing miracle drugs on Krakoa, and offering them to the humans in exchange for being left alone and all mutants being given an amnesty.

The two Cuckoos who welcome the ambassadors introduce themselves as Sophie and Esme, both of whom are meant to be dead (see X-23 #5).  One of the Cuckoos, unnamed, is wearing black; this happened in the recent X-23 story too, but in that case it was Esme.  Magneto – wearing an X-Men uniform – has apparently been sent to meet the ambassadors, which can only be intended as an exercise in intimidation.

PAGE 12: A data page on the flowers of Krakoa, which are evidently going to be a big plot deal.  Note that just as one of the Cuckoos is wearing black, one of the six flowers is coded in black, and described as a “tumour” that allows things to go on without Krakoa knowing about it.  In other words, you could use it to fake being part of the Krakoan ecosystem.  (Is Magneto really representing the X-Men?)  The tumour flower is described as “non-naturally occurring”, implying that Krakoa grows all the others naturally.  (What claim do the mutants really have to Krakoa’s flowers?)

Jonathan Hickman has confirmed that the “G” and “H” symbols have been reversed in error here.

PAGES 13-16: Marvel Girl leads new mutant students through the “Graymalkin Habitat” gateway to Krakoa.  This is the X-Men Mansion, back in its original place on Graymalkin Lane, though it’s now crawling in Krakoan plants.  Jean tells us that Krakoa is a mutant, and only allows non-mutants in if they have a chaperone and ask for permission.  Jean is back in her late-sixties costume, and she’s called “Marvel Girl” again.  She’s also addressed as “Mrs Grey”, so presumably she’s back together with Scott now that they’re finally both alive and in the same place at the same time.

Banshee is here too, though we don’t see enough of him to find out whether he’s recovered from the zombie-like condition he had in the Rosenberg run.  The kids are apparently generic randoms, though a computer identifies three of them as Sandra Yo (“Wrench”), Robert Wynn (“Sonos Rex”) and Desi Ochoa-Diaz (“Fauna”).  All of them are new.

Behind the scenes – and in an area that looks infinitely more creepy than the external sections, with walls full of eyeballs and the like – are Cypher and Sage.  Cypher was last seen helping out in Daredevil, and he’s looking healthier than he has in a while, though he’s also cheery to a fault.  He has a Warlock-style arm, so something’s happened there, though the idea that Cypher and Warlock would eventually merge was teased relentlessly back in New Mutants.  Sage is an 80s bit player who ascended into a major character in Claremont’s later years, but she hasn’t had a major role since X-Treme X-Men.  This backstage role is in character for her, though.

On Krakoa, Wolverine is playing cheerfully with kids and Xavier immediately gives Jean Nice Reassuring Thoughts.  This all screams “something wrong beneath the surface.”

PAGE 17 is a map of Krakoa.  Most of the names on the key don’t mean anything to us yet, but note there’s a “House of X” and a “House of M”.  We haven’t seen either yet.

PAGES 18-22: Introducing the Orchis Protocol, who seem to be our antagonists.  Following Xavier’s announcement, they’re retreating to a space station held in reserve – oddly, called the Forge, even though Forge himself gets namechecked later on.  They appear to believe that they’re protecting humanity from mutant doomsday, but then X-Men villains often do.  It’s the first appearance of all of these characters – Erasmus Mendel, Agent Goodall, and Dr Alia Gregor seem to be the main ones –  except for Karima Shapandar.  She was an Indian police officer who got turned into an Omega Sentinel in “Operation: Zero Tolerance” and went on to join the X-Men for a bit.  She’s been off the radar for quite a while, and her membership of this group is curious.

It’s not identified here, but the space station is Sol’s Hammer, a planet-destroying weapon created by Tony Stark during Hickman’s Avengers run.  There’s now a Master Mold head in the middle of the Forge, so apparently someone’s thinking of building Sentinels.

PAGE 23: The Stan Lee tribute page.

PAGES 24-25: A data page on the Orchis Protocol, which is  an alliance of segments within various groups preparing for a mutant doomsday.  Other than Karima Shapandar (again, singled out to be shown in black), the named characters in the organisation chart seem to be new.  Head of engineering “Zaha Gehry” is presumably named after architects Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry.  Alia Gregor gets some backstory: if the data page is to be believed, she’s both a scientist who started out with a humanitarian concern to rebuild the mutant population after the Genoshan genocide (from Grant Morrison’s run), only to discover that they were going to become the dominant population and a member of AIM.

Most of the groups contributing members to Orchis Protocol are broadly goodies – SHIELD, STRIKE, SWORD, Alpha Flight, and ARMOR – but AIM, HAMMER and Hydra are in there too, with AIM as the single largest contributor.  Maybe it’s the nice AIM from USAvengers?  If the names aren’t familiar, STRIKE is a British intelligence agency which Psylocke worked for back when she was a supporting character in Captain Britain; SWORD was Abigail Brand’s outfit, which used to show up in X-Men stories fairly regularly; HAMMER was Norman Osborn’s ersatz SHIELD during the “Dark Reign” storyline; and ARMOR is the alternate-reality monitoring agency first introduced in Marvel Zombies (to go with SWORD and SHIELD, you see…)

PAGES 26-28: Mystique, Sabretooth and Toad are stealing data from a “Damage Control contested storage facility” (on which, more in the next scene)  We don’t find out here what they’re actually stealing, but Mystique talks about reaching a “gateway”, so they’re evidently hooked up with Krakoa somewhere.  The Fantastic Four show up to stop them, being the embodiment of typical, non-mutant Marvel Universe superheroes.

PAGE 29: A data page on Damage Control, of all people.  Damage Control are mainly a comedic idea, though they sometimes show up as a straight building firm – the idea is that they’re the people who put the city back together between all the massive fights.  Apparently, they also look after superhuman artefacts with no traced owner, which somehow included (or was claimed to include) most of Tony Stark and Reed Richards’ stuff.  This sounds a lot like a pretext.  There’s a list of “level 5” security items here, which includes Sol’s Hammer (see above), “Sol’s Anvil” (an allegedly similar weapon also mentioned in Hickman’s Avengers run) and “the Bridge” (a device for alternate-reality Reed Richardses to talk to each other, again used before by Hickman).  Mind you, the rest of the list is stuff like early versions of the Rescue armour from Iron Man, so maybe it’s just filling out the list.

Not sure I follow how Damage Control could have taken possession of a space station.  But at any rate, it would explain why the X-Men are taking an interest in Damage Control’s data – if they already know about Orchis.

PAGES 30-33: Back to Magneto and the ambassadors.  We’re shown a hub which links the various parts of the Krakoan ecosystem (but isn’t on Krakoa), and a sign written in the Krakoan cypher.  We’re presumably not meant to be able to decipher it yet – Bleeding Cool says it reads “GALM”, which isn’t terribly enlightening.  Magneto claims that the Krakoan language exists in order to give mutants their own distinct culture; this is about separatism.  We get a brief tour of the Krakoan outposts which seems to include both versions of Xorn (shown together).

Magneto claims that “There has never been a mutant war…  We’ve never conquered a people, stolen their land, or made slaves of the vanquished.”  But this isn’t true – Magneto spent much of the Silver Age claiming that mutants should rule the world, and he claimed Santo Marco as a mutant state.  More recently, he seized control of Genosha by holding the UN to ransom and declared it a mutant homeland.  (Genosha is an obvious precursor for Krakoa, incidentally – a mutant nation on an island – and Hickman is clearly aware of it, since he cites it as the inspiration for Dr Gregor to start taking an interest in mutants.)

PAGES 34-38: Mystique and Toad make it back to Krakoa with whatever data they were stealing, but Sabretooth gets captured by the FF.  Cyclops promptly shows up to politely demand him back, but he doesn’t push the point – Sabretooth pretty clearly thinks he’s been double crossed, and he has a point, since it sure looks like the villains were on some sort of Krakoa-related business.  Cyclops is masked, so we can’t tell if he’s got his missing eye back.  He’s very keen on what Xavier is up to, which is hardly surprising given the direction of his character in the Utopia and Bendis eras.  He makes sure to remind us that Reed and Sue’s son Franklin Richards is a mutant whose real family is waiting for him on Krakoa.  The X-Men don’t exactly come off as the good guys in this issue, if you leave out of account the fact that they’ve been so badly abused in the past.

PAGE 39: A data page on Omega Level mutants.  Hickman’s definition is that an omega legal mutant is someone who has no definable upper limit on a particular specific power.  This isn’t the traditional definition of an omega mutant – which boiled down to “really really powerful” – so it allows him to rewrite the list.

The list has fourteen omega mutants, of whom nine are already allied with Krakoa: Iceman, Elixir, Marvel Girl, Magneto, Proteus, Storm, Kid Omega, Vulcan and Hope.  (Vulcan’s a surprise entry on the list, since he’s been off the planet for years, and he’s been missing since the end of War of Kings.)  The data page also tells us that locating all the other omega mutants and getting them to Krakoa is a top priority – and one of them (highlighted in red) is Franklin.  So trouble to come there.

The other four omega mutants are Captain Britain’s mad brother Jamie Braddock (listed as unaligned), Legion (“unknown” following Age of X-Man), Exodus (unaligned, which is interesting, since he was with Magneto when we last saw him) and Mister M (a character from District X who supposedly died in X-Men: The 198 #5 – again, “unknown”, but something has apparently led the X-Men to think he’s alive).

PAGE 40-44: We round off with Magneto completing his passive-aggressive show of power and then revealing that the various ambassadors are all plants from assorted underhanded organisations.  One of them, Reilly Marshall, has an affiliation which the Cuckoos can’t quite read – from the fact that he’s been associated with SHIELD and SWORD, it seems a reasonable guess that he’s something to do with the Orchis Protocol.  Magneto rounds out the issue by proclaiming mutants to be “new gods”, which doesn’t exactly sound reassuring.

PAGE 45: A rather threatening quote from Magneto.

PAGE 46: The reading order.  For no apparent reason, House of X #2 and #5 and Powers of X #6 are singled out in red.

PAGES 47-48: Two pages of Krakoan cipher.  According to Bleeding Cool, they read: “Next – It’s Not A Dream If It’s Real” and “Then – The Curious Case of Moira X”.

Well, that took longer than expected.  I doubt we’ll be doing this in quite so much detail with every issue, but there you go for now…

Bring on the comments

  1. Mark Coale says:

    Hickman tweeted the G and H were transposed.

  2. Ben says:

    Hey cool, glad you’re going to cover this a bit.

    It’s interesting to see what someone with a much larger knowledge of pre-90s X-Men makes of this.

    I’m not always the biggest Hickman guy, and a lot of the books spinning out if this don’t do a lot for me sight unseen.

    But man, this was cool and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.

    The red issues in the reading order list are supposed to be the big issues where stuff gets revealed and crazy shit happens. I guess we’ll see in two weeks.

  3. Chris V says:

    I don’t know. I like the slightly troubling aspect given to mutants with this story.
    It removes the X-Men from the superhero world.
    It calls back a bit to the first issue of X-Men (Lee and Kirby), when Professor X’s introduction made him seem mysterious and a bit intimidating.
    You didn’t realize exactly what was going on with those characters, back in 1963.
    It’s a good way to show how the world of normal humans may think of or see mutants.

    As long as it doesn’t go too far, and isn’t just set up for a reveal that this is all an ominous super-villain plot.
    It’s a completely different direction for the X-Men.
    It could definitely be interesting, if we stick to this fully science fictional world, and move away from the standard superhero tropes.

  4. Ben says:

    I don’t really see how you can keep that going for long in a line of superhero comics.

    Are we going to replace the supervillain fights with UN meetings?

    I think the broad strokes will stay around.

    But everyone acting creepy, the pod people, “Professor X”, magic blackmail drugs, declaring themselves gods all tells me this isn’t exactly the new normal.

    But then, maybe that’s the swerve.

    Who knows?

  5. SanityOrMadness says:

    Things that leap out:
    1) “Xavier” – whether he’s “X”, the Maker (who’s effectively a Hickman creation – Bendis made Ult Reed evil, but the Maker persona/etc is Hickman) or A.N. Other – is SO OBVIOUSLY evil that he almost can’t be. I mean, the issue opens with him growing(?) a bunch of X-Men as pod people!

    2) About the only “human” (for want of a better word…) moment any mutant gets in this issue is Cyclops congratulating the Thing on his wedding. Everything else, including Cyke’s own “ah, wonderful. The Richards family.” moments before comes across as creepy to some degree.

    3) Cypher’s been T-O infected since he came back from the dead, but no-one else has wanted to use it, so it went instantly into remission, so that’s not *necessarily* as much a development as it seems.

    4) The data page about mutant populations exploding… completely and consciously pretends the DeciMation never happened, and there’s been no further setbacks since Genosha. Curious. Also, hasn’t SHIELD been gone since Secret Empire, and STRIKE since, well, the 80s? Also-also, humans extinct in 20 years? Unless they’re factoring a literally inevitable active genocide in… that’s ludicrous and undermines the point. Even before you consider the pretty nebulous differences between types of superhuman, etc.

    [I may have other points on further reflection]

  6. Si says:

    This all seems like far too much work to me. I don’t want to study a bloody superhero comic book serial.

  7. Ben says:

    I do!

    It’s fun!

    I have that “Lost” feeling right now.

    I hope there’s a smoke monster.

  8. YLu says:


    I don’t think the 20 years is till human extinction. It’s 20 years till mutants become the “dominant species,” whatever that means.

  9. Moo says:

    Mrs. Grey? If she’s back with Scott, shouldn’t it be either Mrs. Summers or Ms. Grey if she’s keeping her maiden name? Mrs. Grey sounds like she married within her family.

  10. Col_Fury says:

    Iron Man #600 had a scene where Leonardo da Vinci returned to reform SHIELD into some kind of multiversal spy agency (or something). Cable recruited Miles Morales to be an agent. And then… Miles’ book says nothing about this and classic Cable is dead. No mention of da Vinci or SHIELD anywhere since until this.

    So, maybe this SHIELD is da Vinci’s new SHIELD? Hickman did a lot with da Vinci in his previous SHIELD books, so maybe?

  11. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    But the info Page doesn’t Say that Orchis is a collaboration between existing parties, it only says that these organizations are where Orchis personnel was recruited from. So these are ex-SHIELD people and SHIELD is probably still closed.

  12. Andrew says:

    Well it was a bloody interesting read. It’s got me more engaged and interested in what’s happening with the line in absolutely years which I’m excited by.

    Thank Christ we’ve finally got past the whole Decimation bullshit.

  13. Kelvin Green says:

    It’s a completely different direction for the X-Men.

    Is it? Didn’t Cyclops annex Alcatraz and set up a mutant community that was bordering enough on “supervillain” for Cable to go in and try to assassinate him?

    It’s possible I’m conflating a bunch of stories and/or making them up.

  14. Luis Dantas says:

    Being an editor at Marvel must be a difficult job. I can see that this storyline is exciting and basically had to be okayed.

    But it is fairly obvious also that it runs against several varieties of grain.

    First, the nature of the tale. The changes in personalities and goals are quite severe and make most of the characters unworkable in the MU in the long term were this to be accepted as a stable status quo. This is at least as drastic as the Morrison run, probably more. Of course, this is also apparently a 2 x 6 issues limited series meant to establish a new status quo, not to begin with one. So I fully expect that a lot of this will be reversed; despite the grooming of the last few decades, the main characters can’t really work at quite this level of creepy.

    Second, the publication time. Surprisingly, this sounds far more like a pocket universe tale than Age of X-Man ever did. That suggests that either there is some form of fallout from Age of X-Man after all (which would be a master stroke) or that editorial is not capable of planning a year ahead and Age of X-Man was entirely pointless (which, alas, is far more believable).

    Third, the world; wait, the FF exist in this new world of mutant wonder? This sure runs against the tone.

  15. Krzysiek Ceran says:


    It was the other way around – Cable was playing messiah and setting up his own island nation and the X-Men tried to stop him.

    And then Cyclops set up his own island nation, but Cable was cool with it. (Or rather, he was in the far future with Hope. And then he was dead).

    But yeah, add Magneto’s Genosha to the mix of inspirations and the ‘Wakanda and Atlantis recognise the mutant nation’ stuff from the recent X-Men Red title and this sure doesn’t look like a completely different direction.

    @Luis Dantas:
    “wait, the FF exist in this new world of mutant wonder? This sure runs against the tone.”

    Well, at this point this is still the Marvel Universe. Or an alternate take on it, but still – it’s not a separate mutant wonder world…

    …yet. October solicitations definitely suggest the mutants will be going off to one.

    Another matter altogether – what’s with the typeface? I know that lowercase wasn’t used exclusively in Ultimate universe titles (Nextwave used it and… something in recent years that was 100% in the main Marvel universe, can’t remember what), but it’s still a noticeable deviation from ‘business as usual’.

  16. SanityOrMadness says:


    Well, Wikpedia’s definition for is “Ecological dominance is the degree to which a taxon is more numerous than its competitors in an ecological community, or makes up more of the biomass.”

    i.e., makes it increasingly impossible for non-dominant species in the same niche to live, and they die off, like red squirrels in the face of greys.

    This still would require new humans to have stopped being born in favour of mutants already and/or a genocide being built in to the assumption. (Twenty years is *one* generation)

    (And this all, obviously, ignores that mutants are frequently the issue of flatscan humans the reverse occasionally happens – e.g. Graydon Creed; that mutants don’t have a common set of phenotypical traits not found in baseline humans and that mutants and humans can interbreed quite happily. Essentially, mutants still aren’t a species no matter how much they say – grey squirrels are not the product of two reds


    We already know AoXM was filler. Hickman’s been working on this for a while – and even on a nuts & bolts level, Larraz probably needed at least half a year’s lead time to draw six issues to be released fortnightly without delays.

  17. Jerry Ray says:

    “That suggests that either there is some form of fallout from Age of X-Man after all (which would be a master stroke)…”

    Maybe it was because I was only half paying attention to the Age of X-Man stuff, but I was a little confused by what was going on in the final scene of the Omega issue. I wonder if that was indeed meant as a lead-in for Hickman’s run?

  18. The Kid Nixon says:

    I went back and re-read it a few times, but I think Paul misread or misinterpreted the definition of Omega mutants. It isnt that their upper limit are infinite (a definition I have heard before), but rather that they are deemed the knowable upper limit of that particular ability that could not conceivably be exceeded. The definition is somewhat distinctive in that it creates a much more limited pool of potential candidates, though the examples given then suggest that Jean Grey and Quentin Quire are equally the most powerful conceivable mutant telepath. So that’s a bit…muddy.

  19. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    The example given in the book (Magneto vs Forge) kind of suggests that Hickman is thinking of a mutant’s potential being surpassed by non-mutant entities. So Forge isn’t an Omega because Reed Richards builds fancier gizmos, but Jean and Quentin are mutants of comparable power, so they both can be Omegas…?

  20. SanityOrMadness says:

    JR> Maybe it was because I was only half paying attention to the Age of X-Man stuff, but I was a little confused by what was going on in the final scene of the Omega issue. I wonder if that was indeed meant as a lead-in for Hickman’s run?

    Magneto liked the AOXM, but thought he really should go back. Nate arranged to clone him so he could stay & go. They got ready to start again with AOXM v2, trying to fix the mistakes of v1.

  21. Bengt says:

    Damage Control is in the new Valkyrie book as well so maybe they are getting a push.

  22. sagatwarrior says:

    The new language reminds me of DoopSpeak.

  23. Taibak says:

    Isn’t there a Damage Control TV series in the works?

    Also, WRT the original X-Men seeming kind of sinister and mysterious, that’s something I really liked from early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The first few issues of Fantastic Four, for instance, are surprisingly tense and unsettling compared to the more cartoonish things that happened later.

  24. Ben says:

    Maybe it’s Doop under that Cerebro helmet?

  25. SanityOrMadness says:


    The Damage Control TV show was canned when Marvel Studios grabbed them for the movies.

  26. Mo Walker says:

    My one complaint about the issue was there should have been more story pages for price point. I liked Hickman text/graphic info pages, but they do not entirely justify the price (IMO).

  27. Kelvin Green says:

    @Krzysiek, I’m pretty sure the entire Marvel line went lower case for a short time.

  28. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Did they? I know it’s just a matter of what one is used to, but… it just looks wrong somehow. 🙂

  29. Voord 99 says:

    I haven’t read this, and won’t until it’s on Unlimited. But reading comments here and elsewhere on it has sparked a sort of half-thought, half-question.

    When people were discussing here the prospect of Hickman taking over the X-books before it happened, one focus of discussion was the idea that Hickman’s good at the big concepts, not so good at getting you to feel invested in the characters.

    A fair amount of the reaction to HoX seems to involve the idea that Hickman’s depiction of the X-Men makes them seem disquieting/creepy/dislikable//whatever. Supposing that to be the case, has Hickman found a way to make his weakness into a strength? Is he writing the X-Men in a way that’s about the reader *not* being invested in them as characters?

    I find myself quite interested in the possibility of a version of the X-Men that doesn’t start from the position that they’re supposed to be a found family of outsiders and that the reader is supposed to identify with them and so join this found family. On the other hand, I can see ways in which the politics of a take on the X-Men in which the group traditionally regarded as a metaphor for minorities is made deliberately off-putting to the reader could go very right, but also ways in which they could go rather seriously wrong.


  30. Chris V says:

    Not actually being sure where Hickman is going with his version of the X-Men, it’s too hard to really tell at this point.

    Were those “pod people” at the beginning of the story?
    I thought it was simply the first characters going through the portal to Krakoa.
    It brings to mind the Ultimate Universe version of mutants, in that they were created and not born.
    I hope that’s not the plot Hickman is using.

    I think that after the events of the terrigen cloud and Rosenberg’s run, it is easy to see why mutants may be acting in a more threatening manner.

    I would hope to see.a situation where mutants go from a persecuted minority huddling in fear of humans, to a direction where they have established trade with other nations.
    Where they develop their own economy and culture, and no longer live in fear of the day when humanity deigns that their mutant nation should no longer exist.

    There’s a divisive issue at the core of the X-Men between mutants as a metaphor for minorities versus the idea that they are the “next stage in human evolution”.

    I think that Rosenberg’s “pretty much all of humanity is happy to see mutants go extinct” direction stretched the “mutants as metaphor” trope to the breaking point, and that something different is needed now.

  31. Ben says:

    Yeah Im generally one of the people who think Hickman is usually too much brain, not enough blood. And his dialogue can be a bit cold.

    Even with that said, I still think his X-Men are clearly acting weird.

    Is the twist going to be it actually is them acting of their own free will and they have drunk Prof X’s Krakow Kool aid?

    Maybe, but I wouldn’t get on it.

  32. Jerry Ray says:

    I wondered if the pod thing was somehow a way to get back to the status quo for all the dead/maimed characters somehow (Cyclops’ eye, Banshee and others dead). Dunno how that would work, but I assume that most/all of the recently dead will come back, and that that might be a plot point.

  33. Mark coale says:

    I’m definitely curious about his plans for Franklin Richards.

  34. Tim says:

    I really enjoyed the issue. It’s obvious that there’s more going on here than we can understand yet, but I think the scene between Cyclops and the FF is very telling. There’s nothing in the script that gives it away, so maybe I’m just reading too much into it, but everything from the angles at which he’s drawn to the sarcastic tone of his “Ah, the Richards family… how wonderful” screams “I would love to destroy these people, but now’s not the time.”

  35. Thom H. says:

    I’m curious whether “Charles” is still X from Astonishing X-men or if the new direction has hand-waved that away (along with a bunch of character deaths).

    Clearly his “to me, my X-men” at the beginning is a little creepy given that he’s surrounded by newly hatched pod people.

    Honestly, though, I like my mutants a little creepy and haughty these days, so I’m here for this story. At least through the weekly mini-series.

  36. CJ says:

    I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did.

    I’m surprised that Nate Grey didn’t show up on the Omega list–is it because he’s “dead”? (part of me wants to tie this into what Luis wondered, that this is all AoXM v2, but I doubt this is the case)

    An X-Men comic being more than “mutants on the verge of extinction” is refreshing, even if it means they aren’t really just The Good Guys.

    I liked Mystique and co. doing “unsanctioned” operations for a mutant nation.

  37. Matty MAcomber says:

    Much of the X-Men stories have centered around the metaphor of mutant as persecuted minority. What Morrison and Hickman both recognize is that the X-Men are also a metaphor for the next generation who will inherit the world. The antipathy Baby Boomers have for Millennials is that they upset the way things have always been done, they don’t want to buy the same set of things, ask for other’s preferred pronouns, and tell their parents’ generation you are doing it wrong. The Avengers fight to maintain the peace of the status quo but the X-Men seek to overthrow it. The status quo allowed the Morlock Mutant Massacre, the Genoshan Massacre, the Legacy Virus, M-Pox, Decimation, and AvX happen while their friends like the Fantastic Four just let it happen. Humans are concerned/scared that if the mutants are in control of the world, they’ll be just as selfish, sinister, and oppressive as their human forebears have been until now. If mutants haven’t evolved socially/culturally their genetic advantages can be a harder regime to undermine than the human autocracies of the past.

    Marvel/Quesada shied away from the paradigm shift that Morrison attempted and returned the series to something commercially predictable. Morrison’s run began with Beast noting that mutant kind would be the dominant species in a few decades. I think the metacommentary that Hickman is making through the Orchis Protocols is that the stuff that happened post Morrison (House of M, Decimation, IvX) were just a 10 year delaying tactic and it is returning to the problem of mutant culture back in ascendance. Are the X-Men truly sinister or do they appear that way because we haven’t followed Cypher’s advice to bury our cynicism with hope. This reflects the same kind of frustrated optimism that led Reed to launch the Future Foundation in Hickman’s FF.

    I *am* glad that Hickman not only realizes Cypher’s cool power set but also remembers that he had an actual personality. Cypher and Kitty would geek out building danger room programs. His ability to code had saved the Earth from being kidnapped/disintegrated and later devolved the Magus. He had joyful zeal in problem solving that Forge, Beast, Sage, and Madison Jeffries don’t have.

    other minor note: With the work that Hickman has done on Shield, Fantastic Four, and Avengers, the Stark and Richards families have been key players to the fate of humanity. I like that he is using current continuity to bump up Damage Control (the Richards presumed dead while they fixed the Multiverse, Tony Stark dead and replaced by a clone with his digital memories).

  38. Michael says:

    This is creepy, weird, unsettling, and like everyone else I suspect there’s a lot more going on under the surface than we suspect.

    It’s also ambitious, intriguing, and epic in scope. It draws on X-history -and- on greater Marvel Universe elements, and it promises to tell one heck of a story.

    Most importantly, it’s already undoing some of the worst excesses of the Rosenberg run, and if that means that all of the formerly dead X-Men and other characters are now Krakoa pod clones… well okay, let’s accept that and move on, if that’s what it takes.

    Because as we’ve seen from the upcoming solicitations, this is going to launch a whole slew of weird and awesome titles that speak of adventure and wonder, rather than hopelessness and bleakness and despair.

    I’d rather have Hickman on a bad day than certain other writers on any day at all.

  39. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Right, so, I know nobody is asking for it, but since we’re on this subject here’s My Problem With Hickman.

    Actually it’s two problems, but the first is ‘all thought, too little heart’ and that has been raised repeatedly before.

    So the second one. His Avengers run opens with Abyss and Ex Nihilo firing evolution bombs on Earth. There’s mention of three million fatalities. Then the first arc ends with Abyss and Ex Nihilo ceasing hostilities because Captain Universe reveals herself to them.

    And basically next time we see them they become members of the Avengers and the fact that they killed three million people is… never mentioned again?

    And I get that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ (and there’s the whole Builder War and later the Beyonders) and that ‘villains becoming heroes’ is a comic book trope, but it’s not even discussed within the book and I just… I take issue with that plot thread. To me it’s emblematic in that Hickman plans so far ahead, his designs are so grand, that three million fatalities can be swept under the rug without comment.

  40. Si says:

    Yeah, the “villains becoming heroes” trope was fine in the silver age when villains were robbing banks or stealing unfeasibly large diamonds, but in the days of grownup comics where they’re committing genocide or are straight-up psychopaths, it really doesn’t work so well.

  41. Dave says:

    I disagree with Hickman’s assessment of Reed Richards v Forge. Reed might come up with ‘better’ gizmos, and is clearly way more intelligent, but I don’t think he’d have helped the Phalanx as well as Forge did, since he doesn’t have the intuitive disposition. He could work the problem out, but it’d take longer – IMO.
    Also surprised Doug/Cypher doesn’t fit the new definition, or Apocalypse – doesn’t he have ‘complete/total’ control over his own molecules? How can that be exceeded? Even Molecule Man doesn’t change his own body (though MAYBE it’s because he doesn’t see the need).
    Would’ve liked to see some more unexpected examples, too. Maybe Leech or somebody who’s just notn yet used their power at full potential.

  42. Taibak says:

    Si: FWIW, it can work provided they use the right villain. Arguably the best thing about Chuck Austen’s run – and I realize that’s a low standard – was the rehabilitation of the Juggernaut so it can be done.

    Also, I’d point out that when Claremont had Magneto join the team he didn’t shy away from the fact that the X-Men were being led by a war criminal. IIRC, he wanted to use Magneto’s trial as the start of a storyline that would continue into the Jaspers Warp and end with the DoFP dystopia.

  43. Luis Dantas says:

    Molecule Man has rebuilt his own body at least once, IIRC.

  44. Luis Dantas says:

    I never quite understood Claremont’s take on Magneto. By extension, neither do I understand why the X-Men have so often saw fit to ally with him – was the original Secret Wars the first time? The claim that he is the leader of the “mutant people’s army” just makes no sense even at first glance.

  45. Chris V says:

    I think Claremont’s point was that seeing the Days of Future Past possibility made the X-Men rethink Magneto’s position.
    He no longer seemed so psychotic after they saw that a mutant genocide was something that could become a reality.

    Plus, Claremont made comments about how Magneto’s powers had caused him to suffer mental illness.
    Those issues were no longer a concern, so the idea of Magneto’s worst actions were considered to not be indicative of the real Magnus.

  46. Voord 99 says:

    I don’t know that Claremont had a single take on Magneto, really. He had two different and not terribly compatible Magnetos.

    The early Claremont Magneto is a (well-executed) version of the type of the villain who’s motivated by personal hatred of the heroes. There’s no political dimension to him at all – he just really, really wants to get revenge on the X-Men. Which isn’t surprising, because Claremont’s X-Men stories don’t have much of a political dimension to them at that point in general.

    So I think Chris V is right to pick out DOFP as critical, but I don’t know if it’s so much that in-story, DOFP changes the X-Men’s view of Magneto, as that Claremont in effect retcons Magneto as a completely different character to serve that sudden turn that DOFP marks, in which Claremont’s X-Men stories start to incorporate the “mutants as marginalized” stuff as a major theme. And this obviously starts with DOFP itself, in which alt-future Magneto is one of the alt-future freedom fighters.

    I think that’s pretty much the answer to Luis Dantas’s question: DOFP is the first time that we see Magneto as allied with people identified as “X-Men.”

  47. […] impressive it was, and what ends up exciting comics readers, Paul O’Brien doing annotations for House of X and Powers of X (yay!!!); and more. 1:22:39-1:29:26: Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 by Scott […]

  48. Karl_H says:

    Michael: “…like everyone else I suspect there’s a lot more going on under the surface than we suspect” is a wonderful unintentional zen koan.

    I want to give Pepe Larraz props for not drawing Toad with his GODDAMN TONGUE rolling around outside his mouth in panels where he’s talking, like most other artists.

Leave a Reply