Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Pepe Larraz
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Designer: Tom Muller
The Hickman era of the X-Men has begun with the highly anticipated release of House of X #1 and as expected it was an incredible read for the new world order of Marvel’ s mutant population. I remember the excitement I felt when it was announced that Jonathan Hickman was returning to Marvel to become the principal architect of the X-Universe and House of X #1 easily lived up to that excitement. Hickman is well known to comic readers for his high concept independent comics such as Pax Romana and East of West but also for his magnificent runs on the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Yet after his monumental Secret Wars event in 2015 Hickman stepped away from the House of Ideas to return to his independent roots. Now that independent sabbatical is over as Hickman returns to the Marvel and one of the most popular franchises in comics history.
House of X #1 is a brilliant comic. It somehow feels both new and nostalgic as the status quo of Marvel’s Mutants is in for a dramatic change and if everything holds true the Marvel Universe may never be the same. Hickman is doing what he does best on franchise comics, mining material from the glory days and updating and transforming that material with his own creative spin for something that feels both old and new. While Marvel put a lot of time and new talent on the X-Men over the past year none of that matters here as Hickman has plans of his own, plans that go against the original intent of the X-Men.
The original premise of the X-Men was Professor X’s desire for human and mutant to co-habitat in peace. As of House of X #1 the dream is dead. Professor X and his X-Men are instead starting a Mutant Nation of the sentient mutant island Krakoa, first introduced in Giant Size X-Men #1. The X-Men are planting Krakoan seeds all around the world and in doing so have created Mutant habitats (embassy’s) and now seek nation state recognition from the world’s major countries. To sweeten the deal Professor X is offering medicine harvested on Krakoa that will extend human lives by five years, cure all diseases of the mind, as well as act as a super antibiotic. Professor X is willing to share this with the world as long as the Mutant nation is extended diplomatic status. House of X #1 shows the beginnings of this new world order as Magneto and the Stepford Cuckoos give a tour of the Krakoan Habitat, which also serves as the readers first view into this new world. The Krakoan Habitats are open to all mutants, who may use it to be transported to all the habitats around the world instantly. There is also a new mutant language they have developed as well as open amnesty to all mutants, even those with illegal or evil acts on their records. Every mutant will receive a clean slate, which doesn’t sit well with much of the world nor established super teams like the Fantastic Four who are unwilling to surrender their captured villains, even to old friends like Cyclops. The Fantastic Four aren’t the only ones wary of what Professor X is up to as the multiple intelligence and science enclaves of the Marvel universe are making a coordinated effort in the shadow of the sun to develop a contingency for the potential war with the mutants, contingencies that we’ve seen before but never in this manner. With the potential for war, a species striving for equality, and not every mutant being on the same page House of X and its sister title Powers of X have the potential to be one of the most pivotal X-Men stories of all time and it all begins here in House of X #1.
I didn’t know how much I missed Jonathan Hickman at Marvel until I read House of X #1. As I stated earlier, it’s not like all the ideas here are new but the way they are presented are so interesting and engaging. Plus it wouldn’t be a Hickman book without loads of text pieces and interesting design elements. Hickman expands upon many of the storylines by flushing out details like the impact the Krakoan drugs have on human and mutants as well as all of the agencies involved in the Forge (the human’s response to the growing threat of the mutants) and he finally gives readers a list of who the omega level mutants are. Hickman, as usual has done his homework and created a gripping first issue that only opens up more questions and builds anticipation. Pepe Larraz’s artwork is stunning. His style is detailed and his updated and retro character designs were wonderful. I love the new looks for Professor X and Cyclops while seeing Jean in her classic green mini-skirt and pointed mask was incredible. Larraz is the perfect artist for this book and I’m glad he is becoming Marvel’sbig event penciler as he is truly deserving the recognition.
Verdict: Buy! House of X #1 is a tour de force and the triumphant return of the X-Franchise! Hickman and Larraz have produced a wonderful new entry into the lives of Marvel’s Mutants.