Powers of X #6: Recap and Review

I have often pointed out that I found Powers of X to be inferior series to the House of X. A large reason for this the future timeline that I find to be uninteresting. Set a thousand years into the future, this timeline mostly depicts how “humanity” or the current inhabitants of Earth end. I think this issue makes a case for why this timeline matters or at least made the timeline more interesting. It turns out that mutants still exists, but in a zoo, the Preserve, for “near extinct species.” The Librarian encounters Wolverine and Moira that have been trapped in the Preserve. The Librarian informs them that they will be absorbed by the Phalanx, which will then merge with the god intellect, a Dominion. He will have Moira and Wolverine sent “off-world.” He believes that if Moira dies that timeline reset, resulting in the intellect of the Librarian not getting carried on.

However, if he is absorbed before Moira dies he will be absorbed into the Dominion, which exists “beyond space and time.” This would allow his knowledge to exists even if Moira does reset the timeline. He is uncertain of his decision to ascend. Would it be better to “existence as a portion of a divine intelligence or to continuing to exist as he does.” The Librarian notes that “mutants are an evolutionary response to their environment,” but humanity “stopped being beholden to the environment.” With “man” freeing itself, using the “building blocks of biology and technology,” a new “superhuman race” was born, Homo novissima. We were given the impression that the machines took over humanity, betraying them. According to the Librarian it was the opposite. Using machines to “stall for time,” humanity was finally able to transcend mutant kind.

Despite his assumption that humanity has won and he will be “immortal,” Wolverine kills him. I found this moment funny even if it was intended to be. Regardless, Moira sixth life finally ends as Wolverine kills her again. Armed with the knowledge of how humanity evolves, Moira meets Charles Xavier once again. She tells him that this time she plans to ” break him of his hope and idealism,” and “unite all mutants.” In the present, Magneto and Xavier discuss the first meeting of the Quiet Council. Moira makes it clear that they cannot resurrect Destiny, at Mystique’s request as ” they (precogs) will see the truth Moira has endeavored to keep secret; that mutant kind always loses.” This is a potentially interesting conflict that could arise. Mystique isn’t stupid so it’s only a matter of time before she realizes that they don’t intend to give her what she wants.

To that point, it seems implausible that there isn’t another precog mutant in existence or that there won’t be in the future. How would Xavier and Magneto stop those mutants, how far would they go? Anyway, that’s a question for another day I guess. Despite my criticism of the future timeline, I loved this series. I assumed the Librarian was a future mutant, but it turns out he was a future human. This and the House of X series make it clear that humanity is inferior to mutants on an evolutionary level. This issue showed us what happens when humans simply ignore evolution. House of X and Powers of X have set a new bar for storytelling in comics (or at least recent X-Men series) creating a new status quo. Unfortunately, I’m certain this quality of art and story will not be the standard. Hopefully, Hickman will continue to write new stories and I’m hoping other writers can keep up.

House of X #6: Recap and Review

Charles Xavier’s change of heart

The final issue of House of X has finally arrived. House of X #6, “I am not ashamed,” concludes the phenomenal series. Having successfully established a home for mutants on Krakoa, Charles Xavier uses Cerebro to inform humanity that they have created three miracle drugs. However, since humanity had tried too kill mutants too often, humans must pay for the drugs. This moment official marks when Xavier announces that he no longer believes in his dream for harmony. Xavier has shifted his view to more of a mutant supremacists view shared by Magneto and Apocalypse. While not hostile in terms of violence toward humans, it is a dramatic change from his initial position. Anyone familiar enough with X-Men, know that this is an important change of heart for Xavier. In a way I find it sad, even though it’s necessary.

The first meeting of the Quiet Council of Krakoa

The council consists of Professor X, Magneto, Apocalypse, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Sebastian Shaw (Black King), Emma Frost (White Queen), and empty seat for someone known as the Red King, Storm, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Cypher and Krakoa. The Great Captains were separate from the Quiet Council, they were responsible for defending the state of Krakoa. The Captain Commander is Cyclops, with Gorgon, Bishop and Magik rounding out the group. Their first business for the council to address is to pass judgement on Sabertooth. He is guilty of murdering several guards while on a mission. The council are tasked with creating new mutant laws. Apocalypse points out that mutants cannot truly be killed now, so how can they be murdered? Jean suggests that because of this, killing a human would be the crime of the highest order. Then council establishes that the other two laws are “make more mutants,” and “respect this sacred land (Krakoa).”

Punishment in Krakoa

Xavier tells Sabertooth that he will be the first to be judged. He believes that “no one is above mutant law.” The judgement for Sabertooth is unanimous. Guilty. Sabertooth of course is pissed. He threatens to kill them, their kids, their grand-kids and “make their lines extinct.” Sabertooth is sentence to “Stasis inside Krakoa.” Professor X suggests that “prisons aren’t tolerated on Krakoa.” This seems a bit hypocritical to me as prison is not just cages and bars. Exiling Sabertooth to the center of Krakoa with him remaining “alive but immobile” is far crueler than prison is. The issue ends with a big party, marking a turning point in the X-Men series.

As you know by now I love this series. It’s ending is hopefully, but it’s unlikely to last. Humanity isn’t going to tolerate this utopia, even if most of the mutants seem to. House of X marries the two things that make a comic book series great, magnificent art (Pepe Larraz) and great storytelling (Hickman). This assumes that the quality of writing will be on par with Hickman, which is unlikely. That said, the future of the X-line seems to be bright. House of X is worth the read and will change your understanding of the X-Men universe. Let’s hope that future writers and artists take the newly established world, and continue to create great X-Men stories.

Batman/Superman #1: Recap and Review

Batman/Superman #1

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: David Marquez

Letters: John J. Hill

Colors: Alejandro Sanchez


Batman and Superman join forces again

Batman and Superman are the two most iconic superheroes in comics. So putting them together in one comic series seems to make sense. I’m personally not familiar with the work of Joshua Williamson and David Marquez, but from what I’ve read they’re both great creators. The familiarity with Superman and Batman allows Williamson to jump right in. Batman/Superman #1, starts off with Clark Kent working on a story at the Daily Planet. Batman calls Clark in a panic. It’s quickly apparent that somethings wrong with Batman. His “voice sounds different,” as Superman notes. He seems petty, as he compares the tragic events that costed them their parents. He believes that “there is nothing that should make them allies.” Confusing Superman.

Batman and Superman in Gotham. Who are the secret six?
Superman arrives to meet Batman

Enter the Batman Who Laughs

When Superman arrives at the Justice League satellite, he witnesses the carnage that the Batman who laughs created. He poisons the air with “kryptonite-infused gas,” as Superman asks why? We return to current time on Earth-O, in Gotham City. Batman is explaining the Batman who laughs to Superman, while Commissioner Gordon waits. He explains that a thirteen year old boy named Danny Mills was kidnapped. According to the boys brother a “laughing Superman” kidnapped him. Batman and Superman leave to search for the boy. Batman asks Superman, “how would he stop an out of control Batman.” Superman crashes through the ground in Crime Alley (where Batman’s parent died) to enter a secret passage below.

Superman being choked by the Shazam who laughs.
Who will win?

Enter the Shazam Who Laughs

Batman and Superman encounter Batdrones in the Batcave of the Batman Who Laughs. They investigate the cave, learning that he has infected his batarangs with the serum that created him. As they question the motives of the other Batman, they notice a “message” on the chess board. When Superman moves a piece, they see an image of the Justice League, the Titans and Teen Titans with x’s on their eyes and lipstick on their mouths. Batman deduces that this is all part of his plan. They can’t know who’s infected, so they would suspect everyone. Suddenly, Batman is attacked by one of the Batman who laughs, Robins. He begins to talk about being “taken from his family and hit with a batarang.” This boy isn’t Danny. It’s Billy Batson. He says Shazam, transforming into the Shazam who laughs.


Conclusion

Batman/Superman #1 was spectacular. There can be a sense of inevitability to the outcome when both Batman and Superman are working together. Who can best them. If they encounter several members of the Justice League that have been infected with the laughing serum, they may not have a easy time. The Batman Who Laughs is a villain that can contend with these to. The writing from Joshua Williamson is magnificent. We get some insight into the relationship between Superman and Batman, while the mystery of what the Batman Who Laughs is up to is intriguing. The art of Marquez is perfect. His detailed art style matches well with the tone of this series. These two together have created a series that is worth reading. I highly recommend it.

Powers of X #5: Recap and Review

Power of X #5, begins with an explanation of who created the new Cerebro. Professor X and Forge discuss improving Cerebro so that it can copy and store minds of mutants. We discovered that Forge is successful in the last issue of House of X. The biggest hurdle is the power source. Xavier states that the storage space and energy supply limits can be solved with Shi’ar technology. Magneto and Xavier contact Emma Frost, hoping for her aid. She dismisses the idea of putting mutants in one place, so they can be easy targets. They manage to convince her that Krakoa is a good idea, but they need her help with the distributing of the miracle drugs. Using her Hellfire Corporation, she will be given an exclusive 50 year contract and two seats on the twelve person council.

Finally, they ask her to recruit Sebastian Shaw. While Emma conducts official trade and negotiations with Krakoa allies, Shaw will work with the countries that reject Krakoa. Sneaking in drugs and sneaking mutants out. Emma agrees with the terms except that she wants three seats not two. Xavier telepathically sends messages to all the Earth’s mutants offering a home on Krakoa. When Namor is offered a place he rejects it. He doesn’t trust that Xavier truly believes that mutants are superior to humans. He tells him to return when he does.

In my least favorite part of this series the future, the Phalanx agree with Man-Machine Ascendancy. They kill the Elder. Nimrod the Greater, says that the Phalanx serve “even greater masters.” These masters are a collective of machine-minds that are “so massive and dense that they have collapsed into black holes, and whose collective intellect and power is indistinguishable from that of what human stories describe as God.” Having been accepted, the Phalanx will absorb the collective intellect on Earth and consume the entire planet.

Powers of X has always been a satisfying as it fills all the holes left by House of X. That seems to have always been the purpose of the series. The best part of this issue has to be Emma Frost and Namor. They both have an arrogance about them that I find fun. I have a hard time believing that Namor would actually leave for Krakoa though. Unless, they can move his entire Kingdom to Krakoa it’s unlikely he would want to leave to become just another mutant, rather than a mutant King. Like Wakanda, I think Atlantis will remain on Earth, but will be an ally of Krakoa. While I find the future section of the story uninteresting, I’m guessing that Hickman is telling us how life on Earth eventually ends. Everything becomes part of the Phalanx hive mind. I’m think that’s a good end.


House of X #5: Recap and Review

The X-Men are resurrected

In House of X #5, Hickman once again changes the status quo for X-Men. There are three major shifts this issue introduces. In the first issue of House of X, we see the X-Men being “born” from orange pods, being welcomed by Charles Xavier. Magneto explains to his daughter, Polaris, how the mutants are resurrected. First, Goldballs uses his power to create biological eggs. Then they’re made “viable” by Proteus’ ability to warp reality. Elixir then uses his abilities to “kick-start cellular replication.” With a fully viable egg, Tempus uses her time-acceleration abilities to mature the mutants inside. Hope Summers uses her powers to boost the other four and create unison. Finally, to restore the minds of the mutants, Xavier, is able to transfer a copy of the mutant mind.

Krakoa becomes a nation

At the United Nations, the vote recognizing Krakoa as an independent nation was held. Emma Frost telepathically manipulates the voters and Krakoa is granted it’s nation status. Charles Xavier telepathically acknowledges that he knows that Emma did this. She plays the fool, having no idea of what he’s referring to. Regardless, he tells her that he’s “grateful for her sacrifice.” We get another explainer informing us of how mutant diplomacy is working. 100 nations have accepted a trade deal with Krakoa, with several rejecting it. These nations consisting of Iran, North Korea, Brazil and Wakanda are automatically considered “adversarial.”

Apocalypse and the other mutant villains arrive

Wolverine is preparing to meet the villains that Xavier has invited to Krakoa. Logan isn’t happy, believing that some are “beyond saving.” Magneto suggest that if that were true, neither one of them would be in Krakoa. The villains finally arrive, with Mister Sinister, Lady Mastermind, Selene Gallio, Callisto, Daken and finally Apocalypse being present. Krakoa greets Apocalypse (referring to the fact that Krakoa was saved by him, shown in Powers of X #4). Wolverine asks is there “gonna be a problem,” Apocalypse responds “why would it be.” Apocalypse is actually proud of them, as this is his dream. Prompted by Magneto, Apocalypse states that he and the incoming villains will submit to the laws of Krakoa, and serve it’s higher purpose.


Conclusion

I’ve said this before, but it bare repeating this series is amazing. House of X #5, continues to change X-Men for the better. Some may find that the resurrection of mutants, particularity the team that died in issue four, cheapens their death. That’s not an unreasonable feeling, but we all probably figured that they would come back we just didn’t know how. The process is more complicated than the process describe above. If you read those explainers the resurrection process does come with cost and effort. I think that’s appropriate considering how convenient resurrection is. That said I feel that it won’t remain so easy. If you think about there’s a lot to be concerned with. First, Xavier is back to acting strangely.

He was never as moral as he claimed but now he’s openly supporting Emma Frost undermining democracy. Now that Krakoa is a nation state it feels like there will be some issues with nationalism, although that may not be a bad thing. The scene were Storm is basically acting like a religious zealot and of course the arrival of villains who may not hate mutants but surely still hate humans. I predict that this will end badly. As I’ve stated before mutants like Magneto and Apocalypse, have largely come into conflict with the X-Men not because they wanted mutants to prosper, but because of how they went about reaching that goal. If they’re on the same page, conflict shouldn’t arise. However, we know that humanity will not let Krakoa stand.

Spider-Man #1:Recap and Review: Ben Parker becomes Spider-Man

I feel like Spider-man has been over exposed recently. Maybe it’s the Marvel, Fox deal falling apart and the conversations that followed. Regardless, I’m a little fatigued with Spider-man. This miniseries (5 issues) focuses on the father-son relationship between Peter and Ben, while being written by father-son duo J.J. Abrams and Henry Abrams. The art is by Sara Pichelli and Dave Stewart, with lettering by Joe Caramagna. We join Spider-man in the middle of a disaster area. It’s unclear what happened but Peter is injured. Mary Jane runs up to him (with his severely injured arm) and hey laugh at his corny jokes. An unfamiliar villain (to me at least) arrives and attacks with an group of xenomorph looking machines. The leader asks for Spider-man’s help.

MJ runs, as Peter is overtaken by machines. The villain called Cadaverous, kills Mary Jane. At her funeral we see that Peter lost that arm and his son, Ben Parker is present as well. The issue moves forward 12 years, Ben has become a troubled teen, getting in fights at school. According to his Principal (Orleen), Ben is a consistent presence in his office. Peter, now with a hook for an arm, arrives to pick his son up. They argue in the car, but it’s clear that Peter has given up on being a good father. He spends most of his time traveling the world as a photojournalist, leaving the parenting to Aunt May. She brings him to her attic, where he sees his father’s old Spider-man costume. Meanwhile, Cadaverous is still a threat. He’s searching for a cure for a mysterious woman.

So far this series is just okay. Considered the fact that this is a miniseries with only 5 issues, this one feels wasted. If you only have 5 issues to tell your story it needs to start with a bag. MJ dying in the beginning was surprising because of expectation, but not because of history. Mary Jane has died a lot in comics, so it doesn’t feel revolutionary. I feel like I know how Ben’s story is going to end. He becomes Spider-man and then takes over the mantle from his father. I love the art of Sara Pichelli but I don’t feel like this is her best work. I think it’s not her penciling but maybe the muted colors from Dave Stewart. I don’t care who the mystery woman is or have much interest in Cadaverous. Still with only four issues left, I see this miniseries to the end.

Powers of X #4: Recap and Review

The cover of Powers of X #4, art by RB Silva.

In the fourth issue of Powers of X, titled “Something Sinister,” we get some humor to go with a often dark story. Some of the gaps in the timeline are filled, as we get to see what Charles Xavier planned before the current time. During Year One, Magneto and Xavier head to Bar Sinister. Hickman present Mister Sinister a little differently from normal. Sinister is more ridiculous and flamboyant, or as he puts it “being absolutely fabulous.” Sinister has many clones, so it’s unclear which one is “in charge.” When Magneto and Xavier meet with the one they assume is in charge, he tells Magneto how much he loves his cape. He’s thinks he would look good with a cape. When his butler clone says that he “always thought he should wear one,” he has him executed for not mentioning it sooner.

Xavier offers the DNA of mutants to complete a “safe, secure and redundant,” database. This Sinister refuses to help but is killed by the Sinister with the mutant gene. He agrees and Xavier wipes his mind, making him forget why he’s doing it in the first place. Months before the current timeline, Xavier and Cypher land on Krakoa. Xavier wants to introduce Cypher to Krakoa. Cypher learns that Krakoa use to be called Okkara. The land of Okkara was torn in two, resulting in a land named Arakko and of course Krakoa. Cypher is able to build a “translation program” to allow mutants to interact with Krakoa without Cypher’s aid.

Finally, in Year One Thousand, the first of the elders are hoping for ascension. This section of this series is the most difficult to grasp. It’s has to much ambiguity and I don’t care what happens to anyone. Hickman needs to do a better job explaining why the Year 1000 timeline matters. As usual the art of RB Silva is magnificent. Despite the funny Mister Sinister moments, Powers of X #4 is the most underwhelming issue so far. The most interesting part of the issue was the fact that Apocalypse and his four horsemen came to save Krakoa. I feel like that’s the most we are going to get on that story.


House of X #4: Recap and Review

The last issue of House of X left us on a cliffhanger. I assumed that all the X-Men would be fine, with either Jean Grey protecting them or Nightcrawler teleporting them to safety. Boy was I wrong. Archangel and Husk are killed. Nightcrawler sustained some internal injuries and Wolverine arm is blown to the bone (although we know he’s fine.) Cyclops and Wolverine agree that the only course is to continue the mission. Nightcrawler transports Cyclops, Mystique and Wolverine to Mother Molds control collars. Wolverine and Nightcrawler successfully destroy two of the collars. The ship with Monet and Jean on it is breached by Orchis forces.

Monet puts Jean in an escape pod and sends her away. She then transforms into her Penance form and fights off the Orchis forces. Cyclops manages to find and release the third collar. Mystique having gotten lost, is intercepted by Dr. Gregor, who opens a hatch sending Mystique into space. In an act of desperation, Dr. Gregor activates Mother Mold. With Mystique dead, there remains one collar. Out of reach for Cyclops, Wolverine and Nightcrawler volunteer to destroy the final collar in space. Nightcrawler teleports them to the collar, instantly dying from the Sun’s heat. Wolverine manages to survive due to his healing factor, he successfully destroy’s the final collar with his claws.

Both Wolverine and Mother Mold fall into the Sun, as Mother Mold rants regarding the fact that “humans and mutants are lacking.” Mother Mold promises to destroy both humans and mutants, before being destroyed itself. With the mission complete, Cyclops tries to find a way to space. Dr. Gregor stops and kills Cyclops with a shotgun. The remaining Sentinels fail to reach the station in time but are able to intercept Jean in the pod, appearing to kill her. After witnessing his X-Men dying at the hands off humans, Xavier crying says “no more.” I was originally excited to see many of my favorite X-Men going on this mission. I didn’t expect that I would regret that. Don’t get me wrong, the sacrifice of the X-Men was impactful and I think necessary. I just glad Storm wasn’t with them. This sets up a interesting problem.

If most of the most popular X-Men are killed in House of X, how are they going to resurrect them later. I assume that Moira will prevent this in another life, but I’m not certain. I feel like Jean’s death was to easy. Mystique seemed to be acting strangely. Maybe it’s my bias because I’m use to her being up to something, but I feel like she must have done something. Seeing the X-Men get slaughtered one by one, despite succeeding in their mission was incredible emotional. Nightcrawler’s and Wolverine’s sacrifice was both epic and touching. I like Hickman’s version of Cyclops, we didn’t get to see much but I didn’t hate him at all. Finally, Xavier seemed to be more like himself finally showing emotion. I don’t know were House of X goes from here, but I can’t wait.


House of X #3: Recap and Review

Cyclops assembles a team of Wolverine, Husk, Archangel, M, Marvel Girl, Nightcrawler and Mystique to infiltrate Orchis and destroy Mother Mold. Magneto and Xavier tell Cyclops that despite his fear and doubts, they will not let him die. That the “righteous” can’t die and will be transformed into “something immortal.” While I agree that mortal beings can earn some kind of “immortal,” through being remembered, it feels like Magneto and Xavier are being manipulative. Regardless, it doesn’t seem like Cyclops are likely to survive. Marvel Girl is concerned with the “human crew.” Despite not being soldiers, neither Wolverine or Cyclops consider them “innocent.”

Due to Power of X, we know that this team fail at their goal, stopping the creation of Nimrod. However, this doesn’t ruin anything as we still want to see how they fail or at least it doesn’t for me. In Hickman’s trademarked explainers, we learn how Sentinel’s progress from “Alphas” to becoming a Nimrod. Moira and Apocalypse believed that Nimrod is the “primal threat to the long-term survival of mutants.” From the stolen information they learn that a “Nimrod almost always occurs in conjunction with a Mother Mold.” Moira uses this information in her tenth life, which is why the X-Men aim to destroy Mother Mold now.

We’re given details on “Project Achilles.” A superhuman super-max prison, it houses on thirty criminals. Sabertooth is being processed with a new law called the “twelve strike rule,” which “supersedes intent.” While this fleshes out the world, it doesn’t seem that any of these new laws matter. I think it’s a waste of time, despite the epic display by the White Queen, Emma Frost. Meanwhile, at the Orchis Forge, Omega and Dr. Gregor prepare for Mother Mold to go online. However, the problem is that if Mother Mold could create “cold emotionless machines.” Dr. Gregor explains that they built the Forge with “control collars,” that will sent Mother Mold into the sun.

Another waste in my opinion is the attempt to humanize the human members of Orchis. They particularly focus on the married couple, Dr. Alia Gregor and Captain Erasmus Mendel. There’s not enough characterization to make you care about them and the sacrifice of Captain Erasmus. Anyway, the X-Men have managed to catch Orchis unprepared, will this advantage be enough. House of x #3 focuses on a smaller narrative than previous. The X-Men team formed to attack Orchis reminded me of the animated series from childhood (only without my faves Storm and Rogue). Professor X still comes across as cold and calculating to me, I still don’t trust him. The only thing missing from this issue is action, but the next issue promises to remedy that.


Powers of X #3: Recap and Review

Powers of X #3 focuses on a narrow story in this issue. We were originally lead to believe that the alliance between humans and machine was maintain to wipe out mutants. However, in this issue it’s revealed that machine have betrayed humans as well. In the Year One Hundred, in the “Temple of Concordance,” of the “Church of Ascendancy,” we witness a priest like figure presiding over a baptism of sorts. The priest asks the people to “reject your humanity.” He offers humanity “true evolution,” as they begin to transform a baby into a machine. During the ceremony the X-Men attack. I haven’t been familiar with Xorn, but i found him and his dark humor to be enjoyable. Of course Nimrod’s craziness continues.

He refuses to care about Church burning, leaving Omega to handle it. She arrives with several Sentinels. Meanwhile, Apocalypse arrives in the old machine data-bank with Wolverine (War) and Krakoa (Famine). They are detected by Nimrod, who intercepts them. At the Church, Omega and the Sentinels overwhelm Xorn, North and Rasputin. Cornered, Rasputin threatens to remove Xorn’s masks setting off his singularity. Omega calls her bluff. She removes his mask, killing the remaining X-Men and Omega. Apocalypse tells Wolverine he needs to take the crystal of information and leave. He initially refuses, but Apocalypse insists on him doing so. After, Krakoa and Wolverine leave Apocalypse takes on three Nimrods. As he fights the three Nimrods, Wolverine awakens Moira. He inserts the crystal into her chest, force feeding her the information the collected. He kills her, ending the ninth life of Moira.

I loved this issue. It wasn’t as game changing as previous issues but I liked the simplicity of it. Seeing Apocalypse do the hero’s sacrifice for the greater good is something I didn’t think I would ever see. I also liked the relationship between him and Wolverine. It at least appeared that they cared about each other. If there’s something I would complain about it’s first I wanted to see more of the fight between Apocalypse and Nimrod. Second I didn’t care that any of the X-Men died because due to the time travel elements it doesn’t seem to matter much. Each issue continues to be great and I can’t wait for the next one.