Warning: Spoilers Ahead
I had the good fortune of growing up in the Chris Claremont glory days of the X-Men. In fact, one of the oldest comics still in my collection that I am the original owner of is X-Men 96. Some memories of that epic run stand out to me like they were yesterday. Among them, Wolverine’s preemptive assassination of the Savage Land sentries, the Hellfire Club and Dark Phoenix saga, being wowed by the cover of 141 when I saw it at my neighborhood pharmacy, and then being wowed by the story when I got home, and more.
For a variety of reasons, I took a few years off from buying comics from the mid to late 80’s. When I did start buying again while in college, I of course gravitated back to the X-Men and related Mutant titles that I had enjoyed so much when I was younger. While I enjoyed those late 80’s – early 90’s X-stories, they didn’t grab me the way the Claremont era stuff of my youth did. In part, I think the success of the X-Men resulted in the franchise being much bigger, and as the result, less approachable and intimate than I remembered it.
In the years since, I’ve read and enjoyed some major X-Men story lines through online sources and TPB’s from my local library, but generally speaking, the X-books had lost their luster to me. Perhaps the de-emphasis of the X-Men by Marvel due to the movie rights situation had something to do with that.
Fast forward to 2019. When I first heard about Jonathan Hickman’s restart of the X-Men through the House of X and Powers of X pairing of titles, I wasn’t committed to buying and reading the books. However, something changed my mind – perhaps some reminiscence about the 70’s and 80’s X-Men books that I enjoyed so much. I added these titles to my pull list, and am thrilled that I did.
Some thoughts on House of X #1…
In a reply to an Insta post by Earthworld Comics last week, I said that I wasn’t entirely trusting of Krakoa, based on prior events. After reading House of X #1 today, that absence of trust seems pretty appropriate.
Our beloved X-Men have a creepy feel to them in this book. Time will tell if that is due to the influence of Krakoa, or something else, but regardless as of now the X-Men pretty much come across as the bad guys.
Where prior generations of X-books told lessons of diversity and acceptance, the message of this version is about the powerful dominating the less powerful – and the X-Men and their island friend Krakoa are VERY powerful. In fact one issue in, I’ve found myself aligned with Orchis, the new organization which hopes to preserve the future of humans by re-launching the Sentinels.
The Mutants’ relations with Earth’s other heroes are clearly strained, as evidenced by Cyclops’ interactions with the Fantastic Four over their capture of Sabretooth. His parting words to the FF is a foreboding reminder that Franklin Richards, the mutant son of Reed and Susan, is welcome at Krakoa.
Of course the scene early in the book of Krakoa apparently hatching Cyclops and other X-characters leaves us guessing about what we truly know about them. Maybe the X-Men never really made it off of that island back in the 70’s and were replaced by Krakoa spawned clones, or maybe they were re-programmed prior to release to serve a future purpose, or maybe it will be something else entirely? I’m looking forward to learning the answers to these questions and more in the alternating weekly issues of House of X and Powers of X!!