Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Recently Read: House of X/Powers of X, by Jonathan Hickman

Jonathan Hickman's massive reboot of the X-Men universe is visionary and complex. Hickman's at heart a science fiction writer and this 12-part journey has so little to do with the immediately previous X-Men series (so poorly written as to be nearly unreadable) that it's as if Arthur C. Clarke had been hired to take over. In fact, House of X has the kind of cosmic scope and sense of import that Clarke's novel Childhood's End exemplified.

Originally released as twelve comic book chapters, the series jumps back and forth from storyline to storyline, giving glimpses of the evolution of mutants (and mankind) over many hundreds of years of time. In the "present", Professor X and Magneto have joined forces to congregate all mutants, regardless of their moral character, on the sentient island of Krakoa, and willing to make diplomatic deals, difficult to refuse, with world leaders. I won't spoil the story's surprises, but can say the series creates an entirely new and endlessly varied sandbox for current and future X-Men series writers to play in. Hickman has returned the series to its science fiction roots.

Aiding understanding and appreciation of this new world is a cohesive design for the packaging, by Tom Muller, incorporating logos, a new language/typography, charts and maps. The design has gone on to be used by subsequent X-Men series.
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