It’s not hyperbole to say that the House of X/Powers of X duology have completely changed the X-Men mythos for years to come, just like All-New All-Different X-Men, Mutant Genesis and New X-Men before it. However, the changes in House of X #5 are so paradigm changing that it’s safe to say literally nothing about the X-Men will be the same again…
Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller bring us these incredible changes once again.
In the opening pages of the issue, we revisit House of X #1, and the unsettling scene of Xavier walking amongst people hatching from pods (or more accurately as we learn eggs). We learn exactly WHO were bursting from those eggs- the resurrected X-Men who died just last issue in their assault on Mother Mold- but HOW. Meanwhile, the United Nations makes a decision about Krakoa as the mutant nation gains some unsettling new residents…
There is SO MUCH to unpack in this absolutely gorgeous issue. I have to say this first though- Larraz and Gracia continue to create one of the best looking comics on the stands. It’s beautiful, inspiring and haunting all in equal measure. The resurrection scene alone is one of the best looking sequences in recent comics history, and it only continues from there, wrapping up with five villain-filled pages that made my breath catch in my throat as both beautiful and incredibly disturbing. Two panels of Apocalypse greeting Krakoa, and the island responding was genuinely frightening.
However, we need to look at all three major chapters of the issue if we’re going to talk about this story. They’re all paradigm changing on their own, and Hickman packed them all together in a way that not only fit but also flowed incredibly well. Through it all, Hickman also continues the build the new (and somewhat unsettling) culture of Krakoa (perhaps with the emphasis on “cult”).
First of all, the X-Men are now basically immortal. Through a revamp of five previously B-list X-Men- Goldballs, Tempus, Elixr, Hope, and Proteus- suddenly mutantkind has a method of resurrecting themselves indefinitely. Hickman has basically taken the trope that he so effectively used last issue and said “now that I used it, it no longer matters.” And on top of that, he tells an effective story, not just winking at the camera and saying “I’m so clever.”
The most traditional chapter of the story is the middle finding Krakoa being accepted by the UN. It’s not without its interesting hooks- especially a fantastic use of Emma Frost- but the most fascinating details are in the data pages that accompany it. We learn exactly which companies that abstained or opposed the Krakoa vote, including one particular African nation that is both ominous and exciting for the future.
Lastly is the moment many have been waiting for- a five page sequence that changes the dynamic of the entire franchise in another way. Effective this issue, EVERY mutant villain in the Marvel canon have been offered sanctuary on Krakoa. Now, we don’t know what this means quite yet, outside of a few villains joining teams in the upcoming ongoing titles, but it’s clear that things won’t be better overnight (I mean, Selene was carrying a human skull as she walked onto Krakoa). It’s still interesting, foreboding and maybe a little exciting what this means for the franchise as a whole.
Just one of these things would have made this issue groundbreaking for the franchise. They flesh out the world, the culture and the direction of the stories to come. It’s not just exposition or meta-commentary though, it’s a good story, and it’s exactly what the franchise has needed for years.
The changes keep coming, and we have three weeks of this event yet. Clearly, we’re going to survive the experience, but the question now is how?
House of X #5 is available now from Marvel Comics.