With Avengers: Endgame closing a major chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel fans may be looking for a new way to connect with their favourite fandom. Well, look no further than the brand-new X-Men series by Jonathan Hickman!
Marvel Comics has confirmed that two new intertwining mini-series, House of X and Powers of X, will “be the foundation for all X-men stories over the next several years and return X-Men to their rightful prominent position in the Marvel Universe”. This is not just a new story; it’s a full reboot and will set the direction of the X-Men universe for years to come.
Here’s the top five things you need to know:
TWO FOR ONE SPECIAL
House of X explores the present-day events that will lead to a whole new future for all mutants. Powers of X (pronounced powers of ten) explores the past, present and future that are inextricably connected to the events in House of X.
While separate, the two limited-run series are designed to be read together. Marvel explains that they function “as a series of reveals and revelations where each issue makes you reinterpret the issues you have previously read”.
A total of 12 issues will be published, with six for each series. A new issue will be released weekly until 9 October 2019, when the two series will come crashing together. This will be achieved through the writing of Jonathan Hickman and a talented team of artists including Pepe Larraz (artist for House of X), R.B. Silva (artist for Powers of X), Marte Gracia (colours) and Tom Muller (design).
A FRESH START FOR OLD AND NEW FANS
With 56 years of history and almost 100 characters to choose from, it can be hard to keep up with the X-Men universe. Even the most hardcore fan will admit to feeling confused amongst all the time-travelling, resurrections and spin-offs. New fans can be totally overwhelmed by the complexity of it all and may retreat from the frustration of not knowing where to start.
Hickman has solved all that! You don’t need to know ANYTHING about past X-Men storylines to enjoy this new series. This relaunch is the perfect time for old and new X-Men fans to dive in and discover this new singular trajectory. Jordan D. White, Senior Editor at Marvel Comics, explains in the above video that “If you have been a fan of X-Men at any era, there is something in here for you”.
PLANTING THE SEEDS OF TOMORROW
Marvel has fully committed to Hickman’s vision. All the previous X-Men series have been wrapped up, and the stories that unfold in House of X and Powers of X will set the groundwork for any future X-Men comics. Hickman will be at the helm of the X-Men flagship for the next several years, and he plans to change the whole landscape.
Does this mean that they are throwing out years of amazing character development? Absolutely not! The essence of X-Men will be maintained, but Hickman has been given free rein to do something completely new with the concept of mutants. The seeds that are planted here will grow fruit and sprout vines throughout the Marvel universe.
NEW CHARACTERS AND NEW ALLIANCES
Professor X and Magneto are central to the X-Men universe and are usually positioned on opposite sides of the war between mutants, humans and machines. However, issue #1 of House of X shows these two legendary enemies working together. Familiar favourites like Wolverine, Cyclops, Mystique and Sabretooth are also working towards shared goals.
Marvel has also created new characters to support the future that Hickman has painted. The promotional junket, including three panels at this year’s San Diego Comic Con, revealed several new characters who appear to have a combination of powers from several known mutants. For example, the cover of issue #1 of Powers of X features mutants who could be the grandchildren of Colossus and Nightcrawler.
As the first few issues unfold, familiar faces appear in unlikely pairings, which shows that Hickman is not afraid to break the rules (see below for spoilers).
Eight of the 12 issues have been released. As promised, each issue has built upon the last and forces you to re-examine what you thought was happening. It is masterful storytelling, and raises enough questions to sink a battleship.
Fans of Hickman will recognise this mysterious style, and will enjoy the slow reveal of vital information. Time zips forward and backward in increments of ten (i.e. 10 years, 100 years, and 1,000 years in the future), and the reader learns that Moira MacTaggert is pivotal to both series.
In a departure from the original comics, Hickman’s Moira is a mutant with the power of resurrection, which includes retaining all the memories of ten past lives. Issue #2 of House of X reveals the many ways that Moira has tried to prevent the destruction of mutantkind, in an epic Groundhog Day-like sequence. No matter what she tries, it always ends in destruction.
In a final attempt to prevent this, Moira catalyses Xavier and Magneto into establishing a totally independent nation for mutants. This sovereign state exists on the living island of Krakoa, and Xavier plans to use Krakoa’s resources to negotiate peace with the humans.
In another shocking revelation, Apocalypse is revealed to be working with the X-Men, and Wolverine is one of his four horsemen. In Powers of X issue #3, which is set 100 years in the future, Wolverine kills Moira and she is resurrected into the timeline of House of X.
So much has happened so far, and Hickman is just getting started! House of X and Powers of X are available at your local comic book store, or digitally via Marvel.