Comics Reviews

The Longbox: Marvel’s Merry Mutants enter a new world with House of X #1

A bold & brave new era has begun for Charles Xavier and his X-Men, one that brings new life to Marvel's long-running franchise

Once upon a time, Grant Morrison & a bevy of artists, colorists, inkers, letterers & editors came together and revolutionized the X-Men. They took Marvel’s Merry Mutants in directions that hadn’t been seen before, expanding the world of mutants beyond Westchester and the usual cabal of villains that Xavier’s team fought.

Then all that progress was halted as Morrison left and other books picked up on it from time to time but the era of extinction, depression and misery picked up with House of M/Decimation and continued on into the most recent dark turn of Uncanny X-Men.

That’s over now.

Hope & strange new concepts and the X-Men being taken further than ever has returned as the era of Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva, Marte Garcia, Clayton Cowles and so many many many more talented writers, artists, colorists, inkers, letterers and editors begins.

Marvel’s much hyped House of X #1, the first of a six part bi-weekly series intertwined with the other six part bi-weekly series Powers of X, has arrived and as one would expect from the mind of Hickman who worked to revivtalize the Fantastic Four, SHIELD and the Avengers in the past, it’s similar but also vastly different from the X-Men stories we’ve gotten in the past.

Concepts and characters that have been floating around the X-line for sometime are dusted off & given a new polish & a new way of being perceived as Hickman and company place mutant kind in a spot similar to where Morrison was leading them but takes it a hundred steps further.

As is typical for a Hickman written book, House of X is chock full of graphs and charts and other graphical elements to help further explain elements that have been changed witht his new run. While this might be jarring for some when it comes to comics, its a very welcome addition that makes the comic even denser and worth the price as it gives you so much more than you would exect.

Some comics, and this is not a slam against them as it’s very nice most times, are a quick read as you jump through the 20 or so pages and move on. This is the type of book that you will spend much more time on, and likely will have to go back and read again just to make sure you didn’t miss anything the firs time.

Hickman might have had the seeds, Krakoa or otherwise, to plant for the ideas behind this series, it can’t go anywhere without those that will graphically bring it to life. Pepe Larraz has been on the rise as an artist at Marvel for quite some time getting pretty big gigs, and this is probably one of the biggest in many senses and his art is more than up to the task. This is a stunningly gorgeous book helped by the great colors that Marte Garcia brings to the plate and finished off by the veteran talanted lettering of Clayton Cowles. Visually this is a buffet of a book, your eye wanting to dart around and pick up on all the characters, nuggets, easter eggs and everything else that has been added in here.

While Jean Grey being back in her 60s mini skirt costume still bothers me a bit, it’s hard to deny that the looks of all the X-Men characters and other mutants within the book and even some Marvel Hero guest stars from previous Hickman works all are detailed so wonderfully. Magneto in his regal white costume in so many scenes just looks like he could float off the page and be menacing without actually having to say words. There is a scene, no spoilers, where Cyclops and a big time Marvel character have an interplay and their words say one thing while the panels of their faces say something else & its is fantastic.

Should you pick up House of X #1? Yes, you most certainly should. Even if you’ve been off X-Men forever or never got into it, that is fine. This book, while dense and not laying out all things for you right away becuase it has to build across the 12 issues of the two books, is very reader friendly in the sense that you can just know the base information about the X-Men and be pretty fine.

A new era has begun, and it’s a pretty great one.

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