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.
Powers of X #6
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Pencils by R. B. Silva and Pepe Larraz
Colours by Marte Gracia and David Muriel
Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
Cover price: $5.99 USD
Powers of X #6 brings the first part of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men story to a close. Hickman mostly manages to pull everything together to provide a complete foundation for stories to come, but the pacing, as always with Powers of X, is just a bit off.
The issue follows the X-Men across various eras. After a brief recap of Moira MacTaggert’s first discussion with Charles Xavier, we jump to the Phalanx storyline and are provided some explanation of why it is still present and why it is important. The story closes things out with a meeting between Xavier, Magneto and Moira on Krakoa that reveals more about the previous issues before ending with the celebration from House of X #6.
Hickman provides some much greater context and much needed resolution to several plot points, in ways that feel mostly satisfying and well-plotted. Revelations about Mystique and Moira work very well given the setup of prior issues, and these twists and turns feel natural and like they will be important to future stories. Hickman also uses many pages from previous issues of this story to provide greater context, and while this proves to be a bit cumbersome, it does ensure that readers know the significance of the events that follow. Where this closure is less neatly incorporated is the Phalanx storyline. This story has only ever felt tangentially related to the story at hand involving Krakoa, its resolution here makes it feel truly like a story that did not need to be told, with a development that fails to add anything to Hickman’s overall story and instead feels like a restatement of what was implied in previous issues. The issue as a whole is strange in that it only serves to provide a greater context for the conclusion of this story that already occurred in House of X #6, which robs it of any strong impact.
What holds this issue together is the strong character work from Hickman. Powers of X has largely focused on Moira, Xavier and Magneto, and Hickman fittingly ends his story with the three. Xavier and Magneto’s brotherly relationship is well-depicted and understated, with the two united in agreement on all things Krakoa and maintaining a shared air of sophistication. Hickman’s writing of Moira in particular is interesting as a justifiably more jaded character whose moral ambiguity conflicts with the already morally ambiguous Xavier and Magneto, which Hickman does not overplay but leaves to simmer for future stories. Hickman’s writing establishes these three characters as the dominant presences in his X-Men work, while creating a divide between them.
R. B. Silva’s pencils are appropriately expressive and moody, his blocking and layouts conveying a change in the status quo. Silva’s characters, while never subtle in their expressions, convey clear emotion and intent in their actions. Heavy shadows provide the ominous tone important to this series and its moral ambiguity, and are especially prevalent during the Phalanx parts of the story where the ominous tone is replaced with a feeling of dread. The blocking of scenes implies developments between the different eras of the X-Men presented in the story, from Xavier and Moira sharing panels and being in close proximity to a distance between them and Moira being seemingly supplanted by Magneto.
The colouring by Marte Gracia and David Muriel is often more subtle in conveying tone. The contrast between the lush, warm colours of Xavier and Moira’s initial meeting stands in opposition to the duller and more sterile blues and greys of the present day scenes is notable, helping to further the loss of warmth in the world of the X-Men, as well as between Xavier and Moira. Their colouring also in general adds depth to Silva’s pencils, creating more fully realised images from what could have been stilted characters.
Powers of X is a fitting conclusion to the story of House of X and Powers of X, albeit one that has been robbed of its impact by its sister series. While some long simmering concepts are given their due, others are only made weaker by this issue. What Powers of X does achieve, however, is bringing everything in this era to a close while setting up interesting stories for the future, a future that, like the future of mutants on Krakoa, looks very bright indeed.
3.5/5 – Good
No scene spotlight this time. It was going to be the one with Xavier and Moira talking, but I pretty much would just be repeating what I said in the review, and the scene goes on for a bit. Plus, I wanted to get this out.
I totally called the Destiny thing! So ha! Also, why is this issue called “House of X”? Why… why would you do that, Hickman? I know the story overall is meant to be called that, but come on! It just looks weird!
With Phase One of HiX-Men complete, I’ll eventually need to review this story as a whole. However, I reviewing it week by week has done a good job of effectively, well, doing that. I’ll still review the overall arc, which I’ll have to call “HoX/PoX” or something rather than “House of X” like it’ll be collected in trade, just to avoid confusion. This post is also late because I’ve just been in general burnt out on life. Hopefully things get back on track.
I’m excited for the upcoming stuff from Dawn of X. While the announcement of a new Wolverine title makes me groan, it’s surprising that it took this long since his return to give him a new ongoing. Hopefully it doesn’t involve the nonsense from Marvel comics Presents, because I’d rather we didn’t encourage the speculators who bought all those issues up, which dissuaded me from buying Ed Brisson’s Ghost Rider, since I’d be missing the first part of the run that was in those series.
Anyway, see you all next week for the start of Phase Two of Hanging with the HiX-Men, and the first ongoing of Hickman’s X-run, X-Men #1.