Mutant Versus Machine In Powers Of X #3

by Tony Thornley

For the last four weeks, we’ve seen the beginnings of a brutal war. Now for the first time, Powers of X #3 shows us the first direct conflict of that war- at least that we’ve seen.

Jonathan Hickman, RB Silva, Marte Gracia, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller show us the last conflict in mutant and machine war… with a killer twist.

One hundred years in the future, Apocalypse’s X-Men make their final assault on Nimrod’s forces. While Xorn leads Rasputin, North and Cardinal against the Church of Ascendacy, Apocalypse and Wolverine pursue their true goal- Nimrod’s archives. Can they accomplish their goal… whatever it is?

First of all, just for clarification, yes, this week has a second issue of POX in a row, while HOX will do two issues in a row starting next week.

After several issues of fascinating set-up, this issue dives directly into the action. Hickman has made us care enough about each of these previously unseen X-Men that their desperation and sacrifices have a real impact for us. It’s a stunning fight that has stakes we care about, despite the future setting.

Even better is the execution of the issue-ending twist (which I won’t spoil). One sharp-eyed fan a few weeks ago pointed out there might be more to this future timeline than anyone had realized. Ever since then, readers have been trying to read more and more into it. Even with many people having guessed correctly, the twist is so well executed that it still lands a major shock, and undoubtedly has been twice as effective for anyone who hadn’t guessed at it.

Silva’s line art is fantastic. The opening scene depicts a baby being converted into a cyborg, and he makes it as terrifying and visceral as that sounds. His action work is also great, with layouts that emphasize the battle unfolding on the page, and an eye for perspective that keeps us connected to everything happening to our heroes.

Gracia’s color work continues to be one of the best things about the series. There are several moments that he fills with bright light, with added effects that enhance Silva’s line work, and help draw you in. His use of specific colors with specific groups of characters sets a tone for them too, such as a hopefulness to go with the blues of the X-Men, and a sense of foreboding with Nimrod and Omega Sentinel’s reds.

It’s unclear what this issue’s revelations means for the story, but even outside of the bigger picture it’s a stunning look at sacrifice in the war the X-Men need to fight every day. I’m thrilled to see where it goes from here.

Powers of X #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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