It has been a long time since at least X-Men: Red that I have felt this excited looking forward to the next release of an X-Men book. To say that Hickman had big plans for the X-Men felt like an understatement at this point. With each passing issue I think we have all found ourselves picking our jaws off the ground because nothing is ever going to be the same for mutantdom. As I said last month, this right here is as daring as it gets. These two books challenge you to think harder than you ever have about the mutant’s place on not only Earth, but the entirety of the universe
The story of Moira really did change everything. It took a bit to properly process how he threw everything out the window that we initially knew about this character. Making her a mutant added so many layers to this one character who suddenly became mutantkind’s greatest wildcard in their history. After getting her story, what followed was the anxiousness in how she and Xavier would proceed building the current state of mutantdom that we see in House of X. This issue of course started with X0, or in other words, Year One. Who they turned to next made sense for the first steps they took towards setting a foundation. There was one person who they needed on board more than anyone else, and their approach was endearing for someone who you don’t break through to so easily.
In year X1 (Year Ten), this takes us back to the present. This is where things started to come full circle quickly from our initial introduction to Orchis not too long ago. I enjoyed that this wasn’t a development that was so soon forgotten because it really would have to be special circumstances when scientists who normally hate each other work on the same page to find a solution to their mutant problem. This is where Hickman also thought big. When the mutants have become this kind of superpower, it takes a threat on an equal scale to create an actual conflict. There is no better way to get the mutant’s attention than to create what is probably humanities greatest army of sentinels. In other words the army that would inevitably be led by the terrifying Nimrod. I think what has impressed me most is the change in Charles. Bringing reality to his dreams was one heck of a way of changing his perspective. When you take away those lofty goals, all you have is someone who is now genuinely able to do what has to be done for the sake of mutants taking their place, and keeping it.
Jumping to X2 (Year One Hundred), of course this is where we see how the X-Men failed to stop Orchid in developing this sentinel threat. The greater question to come being how a situation like this could even turn around. Especially when their numbers have been scatter across the stars in such a way that there is actually only one army to combat against the forces of Nimrod. Till that time comes, I loved seeing how the machines outgrew humanity. I always found it humorous that they put so much time and faith into machines fighting their war against mutants, that they never truly questioned what would happen after that. Wouldn’t they simply end up being the lower lifeform? Through the perspective of Nimrod, its hard not to see that as the reality.
I only find one concern with the story, and that is when we go all the way to X3 (Year One Thousand). That is where we begin to lack some clarity to events. As I’ve said before, some things from Hickman will have the tendency to go over your head. This is that part of the story since it’s hard to say what exactly has happened to either machine or mutants.
The art team of R.B. Silva, Benedetto, and Marte Garcia continue to amaze you through the visual storytelling of these different points in time for the mutants. These past two issues have blown me away because they do not skip a beat in detail, effect, or colors. Every page is a full rendering which impresses you for the time that they put into every character and setting without sacrificing quality for the sake of fitting everything into a panel or page. In House of X you marvel at the natural beauty that comes from the application of Krakoa, but here in Powers of X you get the same feeling with everything technological. We are seeing more of the machine world explored as well, and the only way to show that they have evolved is to really get technical with these future advancements. Where they took me by surprise as at the end of the issue with this new race that makes an appearance. Their ink-like appearance is nothing new, but it was still brought to life in a way that grabs your attention. The faded outlines and overlapping of a light source gave them a mysterious vibe that worked for the questions raised about them.
For anyone who is still on the fence about Powers of X, I believe this second issue gives you a bit more confidence in this creative team’s attempt at telling a story of mutants from start to finish within the span of six issues. Some things were expected to be a bit reaching, but the context to this grand plan is something you can’t take for granted.