The X-Men have spent their entire lives being persecuted and scrutinised by human society. But they continued to rise above adversity and save people’s lives in order to live up to the ideals of Professor X’s dreams. But what happens when Professor X no longer believes his way is enough? What happens when he embraces the ideology of Magneto and creates a mutant society where humans aren’t welcome? You get Jonathan Hickman’s House Of X/Powers Of X.
Hickman transforms the mythos of the X-Men like never before, creating a story that spans across hundreds of years through intertwining stories like Powers of X. The graphic novel is truly a masterclass in storytelling and world building.
“From this day forward, mutants will be judged by mutant law, not man’s. These are our simple demands and they are not negotiable. In return for making our lives better, we will do the same for you.”
“And if you find yourselves asking, who are these mutants to think they can dictate terms to us? We are the future. An evolutionary inevitability. The Earth’s true inheritors. You closed your eyes last night believing this world would be yours forever. That was your dream. And like mine it was a lie. Here is a new truth: While you slept the world changed.” – Professor X
Help from a familiar source
House of X takes place on the island of Krakoa, with Professor X and Magneto setting up a mutant nation where all mutants, good and bad, are welcome. Xavier and Magneto have been brought together by Moira McTaggart, a character who Hickman redefines in a clever way.
Moira is a mutant with the power of reincarnation and in each of her lives she’s seen how her people fall. Armed with this knowledge, she shows Xavier and Magneto all the possible outcomes and they decide to rewrite the rules for mutantkind.
On Krakoa, the trio grow plants that have the power to heal all human ailments and Xavier offers to share the flowers with the rest of the world in exchange for his demands being met. Hickman’s Xavier is calculating, ruthless and creepy and this portrayal feels like the natural evolution for the character. There was only so long that he could continue to let mutants be persecuted and he needed to harden himself in order to achieve a better world for his people.
Hickman’s reputation for worldbuilding proceeds him and there’s plenty of it in House Of X. He uses a mixture of diagrams, file sheets and graphics to explain the rules of the new X-Men world, as well as explain things that have been used in the lore for decades. A great example is his definition of omega level mutants.
Another example is his explanation of mutant resurrection and the methods that Xavier uses to bring back dead X-Men such as Cyclops and Monet St Croix. Each detail is expanded on and offers extra material for readers who’re interested in diving deeper into the mechanics of House Of X. But readers have the option to skip these infographics and carry on with the story.
Bringing Krakoa to life
The art team, consisting of Pepe Larraz, R.B Silva, Adriano Di Benedetto, David Curiel and Marte Gracia, all bring their A game to the graphic novel. From sprawling treescapes to fantastical rocks, Krakoa pops with colour.
All the characters are drawn in stunning detail, particularly Xavier’s new costume. He spends most of the story wearing a giant helmet with an X symbol and all that can be seen is his mouth. To convey emotion with such a limited view of someone’s face isn’t easy but the art team pull it off and paint Xavier as the smug, self-righteous bastard he was always destined to be.
The House Of X/Powers Of X graphic novel is a great jumping on point for first-time X-Men readers and long-time fans of the franchise. It mixes old with the new and then flips everything around so that you’ll never look at the X-Men in the same way again.
Buy your copy today and let me know what you think of it!