Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 11 — House of X #6 Review

Hanging with the HiX-Men is a series of reviews of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men comics, followed by a spotlight of a specific scene and an eventual analysis of each overall arc once it is concluded. It’s what happens when a long-time X-Men fan has his love for the franchise reinvigorated by a beloved writer who has written some of his favourite comics. With that in mind… Welcome to the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience.

House of X #6794586._SX1280_QL80_TTD_

Written by Jonathan Hickman
Pencils by Pepe Larraz
Colours by Marte Gracia and David Curiel
Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics

Cover price: $4.99 USD

The House of X series has been an amazingly written, stunningly rendered series steeped in world-building and strong characterisation. Easily the superior of Hickman’s two current X-Men series, House of X ends on a strong note, albeit not as strong as some of its previous, amazing issues.

The issue largely serves as resolution for the present day stories that Hickman has written. Sabretooth’s crimes are addressed, and the Quiet Council take the next steps towards making Krakoa a fully-realised country by enacting its first laws. There’s also a final celebration of the country as Hickman closes out this portion of his story.

Despite not much happening this issue, Hickman’s interesting setting and the resolution of several aspects of this story are enough to carry the issue. The events of the issue themselves are interesting and serve to even better flesh out Hickman’s new world for the X-Men, while furthering the moral ambiguity that has permeated his run. Despite this, there is also a general feeling of optimism, particularly in the ending scene, and the comic truly does feel like a step forward for the X-Men as a whole.

Thankfully, most of the characters still feel distinct.

The characterisation is strong, as always, but it is not nearly as present previous issues. The characters of the Quiet Council for the most part feel indistinct within their own factions — Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw are fairly interchangeable, for example. Thankfully this is not too big of a problem during the Quiet Council scene, and the party scene does a good job using the characters’ histories to convey its story and signify the importance of Krakoa for the X-Men cast.

Pepe Larraz’s art is well-drawn and he is given some scenes to cut loose with, but this issue is not as visually stunning as his previous work on the series. There are strong facial expressions and Larraz does some stunning work for an X-Men celebration, but there just isn’t as much room for interesting character work this time around thanks to the formal nature of the Quiet Council scene. For the most part, characters are smug and dismissive, since the Quiet Council scene takes up the majority of the issue. However, there are also moments that just feel off, such as a scene where Wolverine approaches a mutant as a friend and gives them a beer… this mutant’s details being muddied and barely legible, which definitely detracts from the scene given who this mutant is, and Wolverine’s history with them.

Larraz gets to deliver some stunning visuals

Part of this may be the colouring, with regular colourist Marte Gracia being joined by David Curiel for this issue. While there are pages where the colours really feel as vibrant, multifaceted and beautiful as previous issues — these are likely Gracia’s pages — a lot of the colours are just more stilted. The Quiet Council scenes in particular lack any of the vibrancy I’ve come to expect from House of X, instead being fairly standard work, which do not bring out the best in Larraz’s pencils. This is likely intentional, given the aforementioned formal nature of the scene, but it is somewhat jarring a shift, and I feel House of X has proven that Gracia’s colours are strong enough to convey tone without sacrificing the book’s usual aesthetic.

House of X #6 isn’t anywhere near as good as previous issues, but that’s only because previous issues were so stellar. This issue brings the series to a fitting conclusion while setting the stage for stories to come. Great world-building, good character work and nice art — even if it’s not as stunning as previous issues — as to be expected from the end of a brilliant series.

4/5 – Great

No scene spotlight this week because there honestly wasn’t that powerful a scene. The party was great but not for any reason beyond me liking some of how Hickman uses the characters and Larraz and Gracia’s art.

So… yeah, House of X was a good series. Sure, the last issue isn’t anywhere near as good as some of the previous, but for a series mostly devoted to world-building, the creative team did a wonderful job.

I’ve run into a problem regarding this series and upcoming issues. Namely, that New Mutants will have some issues in its first arc solely written by Ed Brisson. I’m not sure whether this will throw off the naming scheme I have planned, as I want the Hickman-written works to be “Part X” and the non-Hickman works that I look at to be, like, “Part Xa” and “Part Xb”. There’s one issue of New Mutants written seemingly without Hickman’s involvement, but it will look strange if the first few issues are an arc like they probably are. It’s not too big a deal, but it’s a bit annoying.

Speaking of Dawn of X, I’m excited for it! HoX/PoX has been a good ride, but I’m curious what this new world brings for Marvel’s merry mutants. Like I’ve said before, I’m looking forward to X-MenFallen Angels and maybe New Mutants for the most part, but the double shipping… yeah, that’s killed some of my enthusiasm.

See you all next time for the conclusion to the first phase of Hickman’s X-Men saga, Powers of X #6.

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