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.

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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.