Comic Books

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.

Comic Books

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.

Comic Books

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.


Comic Books

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.


Comic Books

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.