I’ve been a very big X-Men fan since I was a very small child, one of my first comics being an X-Men comic. Instantly falling in love with the characters, their designs, and powersets. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to grow up with the X-Men what with it being the books, the 90’s cartoon and even the FOX movies! But the Mutants haven’t had the best of luck in recent years. The X-Men used to rule the comic world, being one of Marvel’s most popular titles. And with recent years and taking a backseat whilst the MCU’s stars fill the shelves, the X-Men haven’t really done much. And not really grabbed readers in a way that they used too. I’ve always had a sweet spot for my Mutants though. I’ve tried to always find the good in some of their rocky stories, and I’ve been waiting for the day they take back the crown and get back on top.
The 24th July saw the launch of Hickman’s latest Marvel project. With rumours circulating last year that he was coming back to work on a Marvel project, his last being Secret Wars, I was eager to know what would be his next big masterpiece. Skip forward a few months later and we all find out that he is working on an X book. Fans of Hickman may know that anything he touches turns to gold. His run on Fantastic Four is phenomenal, and one of my favourite runs in comic books to date and his work on Avengers and New Avengers. They were so beautifully crafted and genius with how it all intertwined, and built up to this massive Marvel event which completely reshaped the Marvel Universe. So I knew my Mutants were in good hands.
House of X, written by Jonathan Hickman and artwork by Pepe Larraz. Throws us straight into a newly crafted world of the X-Men. With Uncanny X-Men being the predecessor for House of X and ending in a not too hopeful way, this surprisingly starts with our characters embracing who they are in a world in which they are free and no longer living in fear. Inhabiting on the island of Krakoa, led by Professor X, with a unified team of Mutants. We see our fan favourite characters back where they belong. As this is our introduction issue we’re teased with various different locations with the story focusing on three key locations throughout the issue. I will admit that this issue is quite heavy worded as it serves as a set up to what may come, with Hickman giving us really strong teases involving particular characters. Hickman does well with delivering us a solid line up of characters throughout the book bringing back characters I’ve not seen in an X book for quite some time.
Of course I can’t go without saying that this is a Hickman book, so as a tradition with what he does in previous pieces of his work we’re introduced to a cryptic new language used by Mutantkind. Map locations are presented to us of what is on the island of Krakoa, and showing glyphs throughout various points of the issue. This is something I adore about Hickman, as it shows us that he really does go that extra mile to make his work quite personal.
As we know with Hickman not everything is as it seems. We’re teased with a looming threat of an enemy at hand, and this new paradise land for Mutants to co-inhabit with humans seems all too good to be true. Especially with the return of Charles Xavier, it’s all too good to be true. Something I do want to highlight is the dialogue used for Magneto throughout this book is fantastic. Some of the stuff he says truly is memorable and there’s one panel in particular which sent chills through my body. Good work Hickman!
This issue can’t go without saying that Pepe Larraz’s artwork is on form as usual. Showing us wide panoramic shots of these brand new locations, gleaming with such detail, supported by colourist Marte Garcia, it really gives the book a modern feel, with classic touches. One thing that I do love about the artwork and designs in specific are the costumes that have been designed and chosen for the characters used to bring back nostalgia to a modern world. Giving Jean her classic costume as well as Wolverine his classic brown and orange costume. We also see Cyclops donning a new costume, which is a shame as I’m such a big fan of his 90’s look with Rosenberg bringing back that design in the previous story, I didn’t want that to change. But we’re welcomed with Cyclops wearing something similar to his all in one costume from the modern era, but with a new colour scheme being blue and black. But this does make me wonder, why are the X-Men wearing costumes from particular eras?
Overall this first issue feels like a modern launch into a new X-Men world. Anyone can read this, no matter how little or how much knowledge you have on any of the characters and their previous history. Serving as a soft relaunch, this is the start of the X-Men’s journey to the top of the pile and bringing old fans back as well as introducing new fans to the series. I’m excited to see where this series goes, with what was given to us and teased within the pages of this issue, something isn’t as it seems and I’m itching to get my hands on the next part of this story. With the final page giving us a full reading order on what issues to read first, with House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 serving as part 1 and 2. Powers of X #1 which serves as part 2 of this whole masterpiece is released July 31st.