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Aug 29

House of X #3 annotations

Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2019 by Paul in HoXPoX, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers.

COVER (PAGE 1): The X-Men and the Mother Mold (apparently coming to life, given the light in her eye), and the sun behind. All pretty straightforward, though note that Mystique is absent from the team on the cover.

PAGE 2: This issue’s epigraph is Professor X praising Cyclops on page 4. The common theme with the closing quote (from Magneto) seems to be the X-Men’s symbolic value to Professor X’s project. They may think they’re the heroes but they’re not the ones driving the plot here – after all, this is the sixth Hickman issue and the first time we’ve actually seen an X-Men team.

PAGE 3: The credits page. The text in the bottom right reads: “The house of Xavier and the eternal war of man.” The other Krakoan text just reads “House of X” and “Three”.

PAGE 4: Professor X and Magneto’s final pep talk for Cyclops, which is decidedly paternalistic in tone. Even though they’re sending Cyclops on an apparent suicide mission, Professor X sounds like he’s talking to a small child (“Such a brave face you’re wearing for me…”), and it’s not the first time we’ve seen this sort of “there, there” tone from him – see issue #1 where he’s talking to Jean. The less than reassuring message is that Cyclops and his team won’t die, in the sense that they’ll be remembered for ever as the founders of a nation. In other words, they’re going to die, but boy, it’s really going to help Professor X and Magneto’s political project. In fact, when we get to the attack at the end of the issue, Orchis turn out to be rather underprepared for the most part.

Cyclops describes his team as “good mutants all”, which is unsurprising until we actually see them and find out that Mystique is there. We already know that Mystique is allied with Xavier in some sense, since she was on a mission for him in issue #1, but this isn’t the sort of language that Cyclops would normally use to discuss her (nor does he seem to be on particularly good terms with her when he actually speaks to her later in the issue). Cyclops doesn’t refer to his team as the X-Men, but the narrator does (on page 9).

PAGES 5-7: Cyclops briefs his team before they set out on their mission, and off they set. There’s a fair amount of recap here, but more notably, this is the first time we’ve seen any sort of X-Men team in this series.

The X-Men: Aside from Mystique, this is a fairly conventional X-Men team. Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler are mainstays. Archangel is the Angel as transformed (and powered-up) by Apocalypse back in the 1980s, when he was Death of the Four Horsemen. Since Apocalypse and the Horsemen seem to be significant elsewhere, his presence here might matter. Archangel’s mental state varies from story to story but he seems fairly normal here. M is an all-round powerhouse and a sensible choice. The blonde woman with the marks on her face isn’t named, but it’s Husk – a less obvious choice, since her powers are useful but not overwhelmingly so, and she’s generally been a bit of a second-tier character. Everyone is in familiar costumes (in Husk’s case, the one she wore in Spider-Man/Deadpool, where she was a supporting character).

It’s not so obvious what Mystique is doing here, either in terms of her willingness to help, or her potential usefulness to an attack – Cyclops doesn’t seem to get on with her very well. But Mystique is clearly an important character in Hickman’s overall scheme.

Plants: Krakoa’s seeds could be used to create a gateway back home, but the X-Men aren’t taking any with them. At first glance, the reason for this is that if the mission goes wrong, then they don’t want the Mother Mold to get a chance to analyse the seeds. But M’s explanation is slightly different: “If the Mother Mold AI gets a good hard look at what we’re doing here on Krakoa – how all of this works … Who knows, maybe they find something we haven’t.” And Cyclops agrees with this explanation. The surface reading is that the X-Men don’t know of any useful information that the Mother Mold could get from examining a gateway seed, but they’re not willing to take the risk. But on reflection, this is weird – the X-Men have been using gateways all around the world, and there was nothing to stop people coming along to examine the plants afterwards. Does it actually suit Professor X better for them to die a heroic death?

The moon: We saw the X-Men colonising the moon in issue #1, and the habitat there now seems to be based around a giant flower.

The ship: It looks a bit like the X-Men’s signature Blackbird at first, but we’re told on page 19 that it’s “a modified Shi’ar class scout.” The alien Shi’ar are long-established allies of the X-Men, and we’ve seen plenty of references to them working with the X-Men in the future. They’ve been in the margins of Hickman’s stories, but consistently so.

PAGE 8: A data page headed “Machines”, and explaining how technology progresses from the initial Sentinels, through the Master Mold and Mother Mold, up to Omega Sentinels and Nimrods.

Sentinels: They’re called “Alpha” here, presumably to show them as the other end of the spectrum from Omega. The “Mark I – Mark VIII” terms are previously established for the older, dumb Sentinels. Conventionally, Mark I is the original Sentinels from the early Silver Age; Mark II is Larry Trask’s version from the late Silver Age; Mark III is Steven Lang’s version from the very early Claremont run; and the subsequent versions are US government-sponsored versions. The Mark VIII Sentinels were actually the human-operated versions briefly used by O*N*E – the number was attached to them in All-New X-Factor #16.

For completeness: there was a nanotech Sentinel called Alpha in Marc Guggenheim’s X-Men Gold, but it seems unlikely that Hickman is intending to reference him, since he comes closer to meeting Hickman’s definition of Nimrod. Alpha is actually a bit of a problem for Hickman’s plot, since he ought to be a really obvious Nimrod candidate, but we can probably assume that either the X-Men are keeping an eye on him separately, or that they still believe they successfully contained him in X-Men Gold #29.

Master Mold: The original Master Mold, seen in X-Men #15, was really just a giant Sentinel-shaped Sentinel factory. It later wound up believing that it was its own creator Steven Lang, which is the sort of man/machine hybrid that Hickman’s quite interested in, but that probably doesn’t matter.

Mother Mold: This term seems to have originated with Hickman. The distinction seems to be that the Mother Mold has the capacity to improve itself and its Sentinels, while the Master Mold just churns them out to order

Omega Sentinel: The concept of humans infected with nanites and transformed into Sentinels originates from the 90s crossover “Operation: Zero Tolerance.” In fact, the humans in that story were called “Prime Sentinels”; the term “Omega Sentinels” seems to have been introduced by Chris Claremont when he created Karima Shapandar in X-Men Unlimited #27, and then added her to the cast of Excalibur vol 2 (the Genosha-based series). Dialogue in Excalibur #6 suggests that he intended “Omega” and “Prime” to be interchangeable. The term “Omega Cycle” seems to be new, but Excalibur #4 did refer to a “Sentinel imprinting cycle” (which Xavier and Magneto interrupted in Karima’s case, thus restoring her normal personality). These are obscure issues, but they’re key to Karima’s origin, so it’s unsurprising that Hickman’s been reading them.

Again, for completeness: the term “Omega” was first used in relation to Sentinels in Uncanny X-Men #202, where Rachel Summers used it to describe the Sentinels from the Days of Future Past timeline. But those were standard Sentinels, and Hickman’s clearly not referring to that.

PAGE 9: The plot is explained to us rather directly, but with snazzy graphic design to liven up the exposition. This is largely an expansion on Powers of X #2-3, making clear that there is indeed something which is causing AI to manifest in a specifically anti-mutant way. We’re told that the data which Moira 9 recovered was incomplete, and that it shows that Nimrods generally result from a technology shift and a Mother Mold, but note that we’re not told that this is everything she learned. The small print at the top of the page seems to list Moiras 9 and 10, and then skip forward several lines to show “Nimrod”. But maybe that’s just reading too much into it. It’s also worth noting that although we still haven’t seen the present-day Professor X without his helmet, this page refers to him unambiguously as “Charles Xavier”.

“Sleeping Giant”: Referring to the line “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve”, supposedly said by the Japanese admiral Isoruku Yamamoto (1884-1943) in reference to the Pearl Harbour attack, but actually attributed to him in the film Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). As so often with these things, there’s little evidence that he actually said it, but he would probably have agreed with the general sentiment. It’s ambiguous whether the Sleeping Giant in this context is the mutants or the machines that they’re looking out for.

PAGE 10: A data page on Project Achilles. It’s essentially Guantanamo Bay for superhumans, given the reference to “legal and extra-constitutional requirements”, which in turn suggests that it’s not in the USA’s territory.  It has a very limited capacity of 30 (so your ordinary Spider-Man villain isn’t going to wind up here). We’re told that there’s provision for family members to visit but nobody has ever asked to – it’s not clear whether this is meant to imply that it’s a fiction, or whether the inmates are so unpleasant that their families don’t want to see them, or that actually getting to Project Achilles is impractical given its presumably-inconvenient location. There was a Project: Achilles in Dan Slott’s She-Hulk series, but that was a weapons development project, so the two don’t seem to be linked.

PAGES 11-16: Emma Frost shows up at Project Achilles to take back Sabretooth. This appears to be a military court, and a parody of the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay. Note that the judge is armed, and refers to the prosecution as “we”. On the other hand, he’s also dealing with Sabretooth, who’s actually guilty and does deserve to be in jail, so it’s difficult to root too hard for Emma to come and bail him out – particularly as the X-Men are hardly likely to punish Sabretooth for anything that he did on the mission that they sent him on. The court pretty much has to be a show trial in order for us to have any sympathy for the X-Men’s side in this scene – compare the treatment of Project Orchis later in the issue, where the humans are much more sympathetic.

A.G. Tolliver: A new character, and the A.G. presumably stands for “Attorney General”.

The White Queen: Emma is back to calling herself the White Queen, despite the fact that X-Men Black: Emma Frost had her seizing control of the Hellfire Club and titling herself Black King (sic). Evidently she and Hickman prefer the iconic name. Although she calls it her “mutant name”, it was initially a Hellfire Club title, with the Club’s Inner Circle all being named after chess pieces – and they weren’t all mutants. She’s accompanied by two of the five Stepford Cuckoos, one of whom calls her “mum”. The fact that the Cuckoos are clones of Emma was established in the X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong miniseries in 2007, but they don’t generally talk to Emma in such a familiar way.

Diplomatic immunity: Emma claims that all “Krakoans” on United States soil have been granted diplomatic immunity by the US State Department, “in anticipation of Krakoa becoming a sovereign nation”. That includes Sabretooth. There are a whole load of issues raised by that. To start with the minor ones: Since it’s the President who decides whether to recognise a foreign state, why is he only “anticipat[ing]” doing so? Can the State Department really confer “diplomatic immunity” on Sabretooth, who was not on any view engaged in diplomatic business? Why the legalese when the US government could just direct Project Achilles to release Sabretooth? If this is a genuine decision, why are the judge and the prosecutor only learning about it from Emma? And why don’t they ask to see the paperwork that she offers to show them (but which we never see)? Taken at face value, this whole scene really doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. Are Emma and the Cuckoos actually just manipulating everyone? Plus, if there are really only thirty spaces in this prison, how did Sabretooth – who’s a maniac, but a relatively low power one, and contained in the court room by some fairly conventional restraints – make the grade in the first place? (I’ll be honest – this is the first scene in this series that doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t inspire confidence that there’s a reason for that, probably because parts of it are played for quite broad comedy.)

PAGE 17: A data page on the Omega Cycle – the process by which humans are transformed into Omega Sentinels. Not much to add about this.

PAGES 18-27: The X-Men attack the Orchis Forge, Nightcrawler sneaks aboard and confronts Karima, and the X-Men dock with the Forge just in time to get blown up by a desperate human. Cliffhanger! Throughout this scene, the Orchis scientists are written as genuinely concerned for the future of humanity, and motivated by self-defence. They’re doing conventionally-heroic things like laying down their lives for the greater good, and since they’re not ready to defend themselves against an attack, they come across as good guys at cross purposes – they’ve fled to set up their own space station in self-defence and the X-Men have come after them.

Note, too, that it was the setting up of Krakoa that prompted this move, so we’re in a cycle of mutual escalation based on each side being convinced that the other will move against them, and acting in self-defence in a way that proves to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. At least in a narrow sense, Professor X has himself brought about the creation of Nimrod. But that may not be a mistake on his part – if he believes that Nimrod’s emergence is inevitable, then perhaps it makes sense for him to try and control the circumstances through an act of massive provocation like establishing Krakoa, rather than just waiting around to see what happens.

Karima explicitly predicts that if Orchis lose control of their Mother Mold, then the machines will overrun the Earth and take the mutants and humans with them – not unlike what we seen in the Year 100 scenes in Powers of X, though at least there the humans are still around as slaves. Perhaps that’s Omega’s influence. Orchis actually agree that this is a risk, and their fallback plan is to fire the Mother Mold into the sun.

Omega: Dr Gregor calls Karima “Omega”, which seems to confirm that she is indeed the Omega seen in the Year 100 segments of Powers of X. But Karima’s attitude in these scenes is very different; she seems more ambivalent about the escalation of the conflict. Nightcrawler recognises her immediately, but interestingly, when he reports back to the other X-Men, he only says that “They have an Omega Sentinel in there with them.” You’d have though they would want to know that it was Karima, who was on the team for a bit.

“The Heller-Faust line”: Seems to be a Hickman invention, but it’s clearly something to do with ethical standards in AI.

PAGE 28: The closing quote calls back to the opening Xavier/Magneto scene again.

PAGE 29: The Krakoan cypher, though presumably in-universe it’s not simply a straight cypher. That wouldn’t be a new language, just a new writing system.

Autochthonous language: This just means an indigenous language, as opposed to one brought to a place by immigrants.

Cypher: His unique ability to communicate with Krakoa parallels his unique relationship with Warlock back in the 80s New Mutants; even though we’ve barely seen him on panel, he seems an important character in the man / machine / plant trinity that Hickman’s story is built around.


But wait, there’s more!

MARVEL COMICS #1000, PAGE 59: Marvel Comics #1000 is an 80-page “story” – ostensibly – with each page representing a different year from Marvel’s publishing history. In reality, it’s an Al Ewing story interspersed with a bunch of random single pages. One of those is an Apocalypse page by Jonathan Hickman and Dustin Weaver (representing 1995, the year of the “Age of Apocalypse” crossover). This page depicts Apocalypse going back to a temple to raise his first set of Horsemen from their sarcophagi. We see those Horsemen in reflection, and they include the Egyptian-looking characters who were standing with Apocalypse in the ninth-life segment of House of X #2.

The timeline in House of X #2 says that in Year 24 of her ninth life, “Moira and Apocalypse rescue the first Horsemen and return to Earth.” But from the way Apocalypse describes them here, they were his Horsemen long, long ago, so they don’t become the Horsemen at this stage. Apocalypse mentions that he’s had many other Horsemen in the interim, filling the same roles. This establishes that the First Horsemen date back to the common past shared by all Moira’s lives, and that we can expect to see them again. Technically, we already knew that a First Horsemen had to date back to the common past, because an 11th century version of the Horsemen appeared in Uncanny Avengers #6, and there’s a Victorian version of War in X-Men: Apocalypse vs Dracula #1 – but these aren’t exactly core reference points for X-Men readers, and it’s the first time Hickman has mentioned it.

Apocalypse also seems to repeat his claim to be older than the world (“I was old when the world was young”), as made in Powers of X #3.

Bring on the comments

  1. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:

    The “Alien language is – in the art – just a cypher” thing has precedent in comics. Mostly at DC (Kryptonian, Interlac, Mr Mind’s Venusian), but Hickman previously did it with the Builder language in Avengers.

  2. Thom H. says:

    Since “Sleeping Giant” was the mutant plan to watch for the creation of a Mother Mold, I assumed it referred to that machine.

    I was disappointed that this issue resorted to so much recap and explanation. The plot has been pretty straight forward so far despite a couple of “twists.” And did we really need the cypher spelled out for us?

    There are so few comic series that start out smart, challenging, and/or strange and then *stay* that way. Typically, they get watered down because they don’t trust their audience or that audience actively complains about the story’s complexity. It’s disappointing to see that happening here.

    On the bright side, the mutants continue to be creepy, especially “Charles” and Scott. So there’s still some mystery to solve, at least.

  3. SanityOrMadness says:

    I’ve seen speculation that the X-Men team sent to Orchis will, in fact, be totally wiped out (though not by what happens at the end of the issue), but because they’re just pod people (as seen grown in HOX #1), versions of all of them will still be around for the “Dawn of X” books.

    Also, speculation that the mole who told them about what’s going on is actually Karima herself. Not so sure about that one.

    On Marvel #1000 – that annoyed me. The format of “one page per year” when so few of the pages related in any significant way to that year was annoying (at best, most of them were severely tangential, like the America Chavez page being billed for the first appearance of the original Miss America). And what did the Mary Jane page have to do with “One Moment in Time”, and WTF was that considered the most significant moment of a year to commemorate?

  4. Brent says:

    Did the X-Men die in that last panel and are just going to be reborn from pods like the opening scene to HoX#1? Do they have some way to recreate any X-Man using Krakoa hence Magneto’s line about no one really dying if they aren’t forgotten?

    What if the info Wolverine gave Moria last issue wasn’t the first bit that Apocalypse had uploaded to her memory. They had the ability to make hybrid clones of just about any X-Man in that future. Couldn’t she hold the information to clone any of them? Just my thoughts after reading this issue.

  5. Kelvin Green says:

    Doop also spoke in a straight cypher. I don’t know if that’s still the case.

  6. Ivan says:

    Still curious that we have yet to see Moira in this timeline. At least this issue establishes that “Charles Xavier” and Moira are in cahoots masterminding things (despite their “schism” not long before…) — with whom is she in regular contact? Sure feels like Mystique’s ulterior motives, alluded to in PoX 01, should be related to either Moira, or Destiny — or both. (Is this why she is on the mission?)

  7. YLu says:

    “She’s accompanied by two of the five Stepford Cuckoos, one of whom calls her “mum”. The fact that the Cuckoos are clones of Emma was established in the X-Men: Phoenix – Warsong miniseries in 2007, but they don’t generally talk to Emma in such a familiar way.”

    Female leaders being referred to as mothers seems to be an ongoing thing in these books. First Pyro speaking to Destiny, then the Life Nine Moira being “Mother,” now this.

  8. PersonofCon says:

    Wasn’t there a Tolliver in 90s X-Lore somewhere? The name rings a bell. (Though I doubt they’re connected.)

  9. Andrew says:

    PersonofCon – Yes there was. Mr Tolliver was Cable’s original villain during the Liefeld-era X-Force who was behind the whole plot with Gideon/Deadpool/Kane.

    That’s who Deadpool was working for in those early issues when he captured Black Tom Cassidy.

    From memory Tolliver ended up being revealed as Cable’s son Tyler, aka Genesis.

  10. wwk5d says:

    I believe Tolliver was an alias used by Cable’s son when said son traveled to our time.

  11. Steve Cameron says:

    My take on a Cuckoo calling Emma “mum” is that she’s actually calling her “ma’am” with an English accent, which sounds like “mum” to American ears. Hickman may misunderstand what Brits are saying when they say “Yes, ma’am” or, more likely, he’s writing it phonetically. My reasoning is that she would call her “mother” or at least “mom” with an “O” if she was being familiar.

  12. Will says:

    The “mum” thing could just be a phonetic spelling of how Americans hear the word “ma’am”. I’ve seen it used as such in other places.

    Or it could be the Cuckoos giving themselves a little intimacy with their “mother” with the plausible deniability of “no, it’s just a respectful term for a female superior” if she feels like calling them on it.

  13. Chris V says:

    I don’t know. I find it unusual, because there certainly seems to be some sort of direction Hickman is going, as far as these consistent references to “mom” or “mother”.
    YLu pointed that out.

    Why would three characters act uncharacteristically by calling a female a maternal moniker?

  14. Evilgus says:

    Another enjoyable issue. Lots of nice moments for characters to shine – Sabertooth, Emma, Nightcrawler in particular. And lots of weird stuff to reflect on!

    >>Female leaders being referred to as mothers seems to be an ongoing thing in these books. First Pyro speaking to Destiny, then the Life Nine Moira being “Mother,” now this.

    Yep, that has stuck out to me, alongside “Mother Mold.” I think it’s the English use of “Mum” in an American comic that especially jars.
    Was Pyro meant to be Aussie, or English..?

    The other bit that seems like a leap to me, is that while AI is inevitable, Nimrod is not… How did Moira make that particular analytical leap?

    I also feel like Moira’s past lives revelations may have driven Charles and Magneto slightly mad. That would potentially explain the off-character behaviour. And the suicide mission (much as I like M and Husk… Odd choices to highlight?!)

    I also feel there’s some significance in Karima’s interaction with Nightcrawler, about ‘picking sides’. Did Karima feel marginalised by the X-Men, for being more machine than human? Did that lead her to separate? Would be a good motivation that fits thematically (humans resent mutants, mutants resent machines… Humans and mutants sow their own downfall through their intolerance).

  15. Chris V says:

    Pyro is Australian.

  16. Paul says:

    Pyro’s nationality is a bit of a mess. His first appearance says he’s English. The Handbook says he’s Australian and that’s what most later stories go with, but every so often somebody decides that Days of Futures Past must be correct, and goes back to making him English. (Presumably Claremont either forgot that he’d already established Pyro as English, or just changed his mind.)

  17. Dave says:

    “Dialogue in Excalibur #6 suggests that he intended “Omega” and “Prime” to be interchangeable.”
    That’s something I didn’t know. I had been thinking this info on Sentinels was missing the OZT era Primes.

    Has it been made clear that Krakoa motivated the Forge/Mother Mold in these issues? Guess I need to go back through the info pages again, but it doesn’t seem like something they could design AND get near-operational so quickly. And while some of the staff may be reasonable people, we do know there’s a lot of Hydra and AIM types running things. Plus Jean at least wants casualties minimised.

    Re:Marvel #1000 – A lot of the choices for things to commemorate were REALLY poor. Carol Danvers’ debut, as a non-super supporting character, rather than as Ms. Marvel, while completely ignoring Mar-vell’s debut OR death? Nothing about Nick Fury, NONE of the Ghost Riders get any mention for anything, Star Wars and Conan are included because Marvel currently have the rights again, Claremont’s X-Men is given a 2000s page about Sage?!? If the Ewing mask story hadn’t been interesting I’d have regarded this as a disaster.

  18. Chris V says:

    I didn’t get the feeling that the Orchis scene was meant to show that the person was acting heroic.
    I got the feeling that he was acting like a zealot, willing to die for his cause.

    The somewhat ambiguity of what is being described could play in to the idea of mutants seeming “creepy”, as seen from the perspective of humans.

  19. Joe Iglesias says:

    Wasn’t that DOFP bit Blob nicknaming Pyro as “English”? I always read that as him not knowing or caring where Pyro was from.

  20. CJ says:

    After all the big ideas from HoX #2, this issue and PoX #3 felt very…small. That’s fine though, because I’m happy to finally read the X-Men’s voices this many issues in.

    At first, I assumed that Emma was actually low-key using her powers at the end (“…so why don’t you pretend some larger American purpose is being served here…and I’ll pretend that you could’ve stopped me.”). Not sure though.

  21. MasterMahan says:

    I was bothered by Cyclops nonsensically suggesting Sabertooth would get diplomatic immunity in House of X #1, and the idea still rings false. The X-Men are clearly meant to come across as creepy bigots, yes. That’s a potentially interesting idea, since it means the usual human opposition comes across as the reasonable ones.

    But. The X-Men taking the stance that mutants should be free to murder humans, and getting governments to agree on that? The only way that works if everyone is being mind controlled.

    Also, the broad camp of the judge with a gun and the useless defender is a tonal clash in story about a time loop of genocide.

  22. YLu says:

    Re: Marvel #1000

    Yeah, it’s clear that for a lot of the pages, the year it symbolizes and the event within that year being honored were things worked out only afterward, like some back-formation. It’s a totally superficial flourish. The Spider-Man page marking the year he got the black costume not actually depicting the black costume makes that obvious all on its own.

    I don’t mind, though. Giving the writers that freedom probably leads to better material — as well as increases the number of writers eager to take part in the first place — than the alternative of “Please give me a page about the death of Mar-Vell, a character you don’t give a shit about.”

    And I -like- that they tried to make it about the full breadth of Marvel publishing by including stuff like licensed properties, Marvel UK, and entire pages devoted to nobodies like Speedball or the White Tiger. It means that some more prominent stuff gets left out, yes, but that’s unavoidable given the amount of stuff there is.

  23. YLu says:

    Re: Marvel #1000 (continued)

    That said, the X-Men as a team really do get the short end of the stick. Two pages, and they might literally be the two worst pages of the whole book. Well, not really, but definitely in the bottom five.

    They felt like unused posters/covers someone dug out of inventory and asked a writer to attach some words to.

  24. Paul says:

    @Joe: In the Brotherhood’s first appearance, Blob calls Pyro a “limey” and mentions the Union Jack.

    @Dave: The data page on Orchis in House of X #1 tells us that the Orchis Protocols were enacted in response to events over a period of ten months, culminating in the establishment of Krakoa. The dialogue says “As soon as the predictive models forecasted the extent of what Xavier was planing, Orchis protocols were enacted – we were activated – and the automated refit of this station began.” Karima suggests they’ve been at it for six months, which fits awkwardly with the data page but would still imply that they were prompted by Xavier starting to set up his pharmaceutical empire. The timescale is helped by the fact that this is a pre-existing space station from Hickman’s Avengers run.

  25. Luis Dantas says:

    The more I think about it, the more I feel that we are rooting for the X-Men out of habit alone, and we are bound to learn better sooner rather than later.

    This issue seems to have done a very good job at pointing out that the human resistance (and that is very much what they are, at least according to Magneto and, slightly less explicitly, Xavier and Emma Frost) has very good reasons to fear the rise of mutants, while the X-Men have little reason to trust even its own leadership’s goals.

    I will be delighted if this series turns out to be a warning call about the dangers of nationalism. Looks like it just might.

  26. Chris V says:

    I’m not sure about that, since the Orchis Protocol has a lot of really shady people involved in the organization.
    Hydra-Who are a bunch of fascists.
    AIM-Who have been involved in multiple attempts at controlling the world.
    Ex-SHIELD-SHIELD has been wildly discredited in the Marvel Universe, to the point where Marvel finally had to disband SHIELD, because no one could pretend that the NSA/CIA-stand-ins were good guys anymore.

    We’ve already seen a world where the human supremacists looked heroic, in the Age of Apocalypse.
    All those ranting loonies from Earth-616 looked perfectly reasonable when they were fighting against Apocalypse’s genocide.
    So, that’s hardly novel territory.

    Plus, we’ve seen in the future scenes that the creation of Nimrod is certainly not a positive for anyone…humans or mutants.

    Perhaps, at best, Hickman is making a plea for tolerance, positing that both sides are doing the wrong thing, and it’s going to lead to a very bad future for everyone.

  27. Chris V says:

    We haven’t seen the X-Men do anything that horrible, where we should be against them.
    We’ve seen them act creepy, yes.

    The Sabretooth thing was the worst thing they did.
    Even that was sort of shades of grey, since Hickman was making allusions to Guantanamo Bay and making sure we realized it was simply a show trial.

    I mean, they are open to trade with the other nations of the Earth.
    They are trying to stop the creation of Nimrod, which they realize could end with possible genocide.

  28. wwk5d says:

    Plus, didn’t the X-men in one of Moira’s timeline set up a city of their own in the middle of nowhere, not bothering anyone…and yet the Sentinels were still sent after them.

  29. Dave says:

    Yeah, looking back at HoX #1 the timeline makes it much more of a “cycle of mutual escalation” than I was thinking.
    “Initial establishment of doomsday network” and “absorption and adaptation of various organisational assets…BUILD FOR DOOMSDAY” are written as if they’re in response to just the population data, from ‘one year ago’, where they only really realise Xavier’s planning something with the financial data from ‘six months ago’.
    So, they were recruiting Hydra and AIM people just on the basis of mutant numbers growing, but only actually activated the Mother Mold phase when they knew Xavier was making a move.
    It was probaby a safe bet on the X-Men side of things, though, that the doomsday plans were always going to go very badly for them at some point.

  30. Job says:

    This is such a weird series. Taking HoX #3 as essentially issue #6, the first four issues were crammed with exposition and backstory, and issues 5 and 6 actually have plot development.

    Except pretty much the entirety of the plot of this issue was “The X-Men fly into space and get blown up, and White Queen frees Sabretooth.”

    Plus the infodump pages are getting really redundant in terms of information. I thought it was weird how PoX #3 gave us the timelines AGAIN with information that was left out before, and this time we get . . . a summary of the story we’ve been reading?

  31. K says:

    “For you to die, you would have to be forgotten…”

    Okay, the new Cerebro helmet is somehow the “collective consciousness of mutantdom” from year 1000 back in PoX #1. Cerebro is no longer for finding mutants – all mutants ever are stored in Cerebro.

    That’s why Xavier won’t take it off – it is far too important to ever take off. And this is why they can just birth any mutant out of pods.

  32. Paul says:

    That’s an interesting idea.

  33. Mordechai Buxner says:

    This will probably be confirmed or disproven in the very next issue, but the scene at the beginning of HoX #1 might what happens immediately AFTER the crash we just saw.

    @K: I’ll do you one better – what if it’s not just the mutant consciousnesses that are stored, but also the powers? Which would explain the telekinesis we saw from Xavier…

    @Job: It makes sense if you think of HoX and PoX as separate series with different readers… which seems completely implausible on so many levels, but I think they actually intended it that way.

  34. Adrian says:

    Great theory but what timeline is Year 1000 from? It cannot be 9 because Moira is already dead by then, She has no way of getting the info about the collective consciousness at this point. Assuming that Helmet Xavier is from Moira 10’s life, then it can only be Year 6.

    I believe the Moira and Charles conversation is Year 11. And everything flowing from there is her recounting previous lives. While I am not a fan of Hickman’s dialogue, the mystery is interesting enough to keep me hooked for now.

  35. Emmanuel says:

    I don’t buy the plot of this particular issue.

    Based on page 9, “Nimrod is entirely dependent on certain technology thresholds. A Nimrod always occurs in conjunction with[…] a Mother Mold”.

    Then if the humans have the technology for a Mother Mold, Moira X has already lost. They can always buy another, the technology is there.

  36. Job says:

    “@Job: It makes sense if you think of HoX and PoX as separate series with different readers… which seems completely implausible on so many levels, but I think they actually intended it that way.”

    I can’t agree with this at all. I don’t recall there being any information in PoX to clarify why Year 100 is a divergent timeline. Granted, that issue did give us another infodump with Moira’s lives, but the timeline alone doesn’t explain her mutant power or why she’s the crux of this whole series.

  37. Mordechai Buxner says:

    @Job: The moment where Moira meets with Xavier is in both series, and the revelation that she’s lived multiple times is in both series. That twist happens in House of X #2 if you’re reading that, and only at the end of Powers of X #3 if you’re only reading that. But in PoX it doesn’t need to be earlier than that, because this is the first we’re seeing of Moira other than that meeting. So you’ve got a hint that she’s important at the beginning, then she isn’t mentioned again until she shows up and it turns out it’s all about her, followed by an infographic teasing what this might mean, followed (presumably) by more explanation in PoX #4.

  38. Mordechai Buxner says:

    As I said, I think the idea that people would be reading one but not the other is really weird. If you’re invested in the story and have the money to spend, you’re buying the whole story. If you don’t have the money to spend weekly on this story, then you might be picking up random issues here and there, or you might wait for the trade, but why would you decide that this series you’re getting religiously but this largely indistinguishable series with an identical logo you have no interest in?

    It’s very similar to what they tried to do with Hickman’s Infinity crossover, where they thought you’d be able to get by just following one series or the other, though they quickly gave up and just stuck clumsy multi-page recaps in each series of what just happened in the others. At least there there was a sensible idea, in that it was two series with existing readerships and one “event miniseries” that would pull in a general Marvel Comics crowd. But here they’re both new names. This isn’t “Uncanny X” and “Ages of X”, which might have gotten readers of “Uncanny X-Men” or “Age of X-Man” to think one or the other was the continuation.

  39. Mark Coale says:

    Hard to see why someone would read one and not the other.

    Anecdotally, I was in 3 shops this week (east coast US) and they were not only sold out of the new issue, but all of Hox and Pox.

    So if nothing else it would appear to a financial success for Marvel.

  40. Job says:

    I mean, the solicitation for the hardcover collection literally collects both series. Nobody is treating them as separate.

  41. Jerry Ray says:

    My comic shop (Oxford Comics in Atlanta) is probably one of the largest in the area in terms of new comics sales. They suggested that I create a pull list for HoX and PoX, because they keep upping their orders and they’re still selling out as more people jump on based on word of mouth.

    So yeah, the books do seem to be selling and attracting the right kind of attention. I have no idea what they’re building toward or what the status quo will be in 6 more weeks when the regular titles start up, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

  42. Job says:

    @Jerry Ray

    Provided the characters in those books make notable appearances in HoXPoX, this could provide a very useful jumping on point for readers of those other series.

    But I think they’re going to have to do a bit better than one page of present-day Cypher to sell anyone on New Mutants.

  43. Steve says:

    Does anyone know what the significance of 3 of the reading order titles being highlighted in red is?

  44. Thom H. says:

    @Steve: the first one is where we learn that Moira is a mutant. The other two presumably contain equally earth-shaking revelations.

  45. Chris says:

    I thought Nightcrawler was incapable of teleporting to a location that he’s never seen yet there he is….

    When was this limitation removed?

  46. Paul says:

    Nightcrawler’s always been ABLE to teleport to locations he can’t see, but he only does it as a last resort because of the risk of materialising inside another object. Presumably he can do things like take guidance from a telepath.

    So yes, Claremont established fairly early on that you CAN trap Nightcrawler by simply locking him in a room with no windows, but only because he finds it unacceptably risky to just guess at the thickness of the door. If he can’t find a better way, then he can escape by teleporting upwards as far as he can go and hoping that’s good enough to clear the building – and then teleporting back down to a safe landing spot before he picks up too much speed. But that’s pretty exhausting because he has to allow for the possibility that he might be in the basement of a skyscraper.

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