Means to an End: House of X #4 Review

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

When last we left our merry mutants, they were trying to prevent a dark future with Nimrod from taking place by destroying the Orchis station / Mother Mold head in space. Did that explosion at the end of last issue kill our heroes? Is this the end of the X-Men as we know it? Of course not, but let's see what happens anyway.

Before the issue opens up properly, we get one of the explanatory dossiers that have been scattered throughout the series. The file shows a list of mutant crimes committed along with the people who committed them, like Bolivar Trask and the Sentinels, Donald Pierce and the Reavers, Graydon Creed and the Friends of Humanity, or William Stryker and the Purifiers. The file also singles out the Trask Sentinel Genosha Massacre and the Decimation triggered by Scarlet Witch as the bigger events of mutant hate crimes by showing the mutant population before and after each event.

The story actually begins with Xavier, Magneto, Beast, Storm and the Stepford Cuckoos at the mutant command center on Krakoa contacting the X-Men. So the good news is the explosion from last issue didn’t kill them all. The bad news is Archangel and Husk are dead, Nightcrawler has internal injuries, and an eighth of Wolverine is gone. In most situations, the mission would be considered botched and they should probably get the hell out of Dodge. This mission is far too important to fail so they soldier on. Each of the remaining members takes a section of the station where the controls are to plunge Mother Mold into the sun. To counteract that, Dr. Gregor and the head of Orchis security sent out some ships to engage the X-Men’s ship and attempt to stop the ground team. I say attempt because both Wolverine and Nightcrawler have already managed to disengage two of the clamps holding Mother Mold.

So the Orchis folks break into the X-Men’s ship as Monet St. Clair (M) shoves Marvel Girl into an escape pod and dies defending her escape. While Cyclops takes care of the third clamp, Mystique goes for the fourth only to be met by Dr. Gregor and Omega Sentinel who proceed to fire her out the airlock.The good doctor, realizing the X-Men will probably succeed, sees only one final course of action left to take: bring Mother Mold online.

With only 10 seconds to take out the final clamp, the task is left up to Wolverine and Nightcrawler. Unfortunately the only way to do so is from the outside… in space. Before going through with the suicide mission, Nightcrawler comforts Wolverine about life after death by saying that where ever Logan ends up, Kurt will be there with open arms. Kurt teleports Wolverine to the clamp and then he burns up which leaves a constantly regenerating Logan to tear apart the last clamp. A now online Mother Mold is spouting cryptic epithets about how humans are gods and mutants the titans, which would make MM the rightful heirs to the gods, stealing the fire from Prometheus and using it to burn everyone. Ranting robot fun. Wolverine succeeds in killing it at the cost of his life leaving Scott and Jean as the only X-Men still alive in space.

When Scott attempts to grab a spacesuit to rescue Jean, who is drifting in her ship out in space, he gets blasted with nanites by Omega Sentinel which prevents him from fighting back, allowing Dr. Gregor to get revenge for her husband and kill him. Jean’s ship is attacked by the space sentinels from last issue and they tear into Jean’s escape pod, killing her.

The issue ends with a distraught Xavier vowing that the humans are done killing mutants with a pronouncement of “No More”.

I’m sure everyone’s tired of me saying the same old things: “Great issue, fantastic art, can’t wait to see what’s next”. Granted, it’s no lie but I think I’ll begin this analysis with a critique just to change things up a bit.

So, the X-Men are dead again? This leads me to again speculate if they’re actually clones or pod people? To reiterate, there are going to be six X-Titles coming out after this crossover with most of these characters on the covers so why the gratuitous death? Also why didn’t Mystique shape shift once she got on board? I feel like that would’ve saved her from getting detected and then maybe the rest of the X-Men wouldn’t have died? Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch but still. Last observation, but man does Hickman have it out for Scarlet Witch. It’s understandable that a good chunk of the mutants would be pissed at her from Decimation / House of M but the dossiers call her “mutant pretender”**.

Geez, the amount of shade…

This was an action-packed issue with the classic trope of the X-Men fighting off human supremacists. Though the X-Men do take down a significant amount of them, there is still the fact that they lose, but with a couple of really cool "last stand" moments. Speaking of which, the scene between Nightcrawler and Wolverine is pure gold. As a big Wolverine fan, I appreciate when writers play on the relationship between the two, especially the spiritual/religious aspect of said relationship. With Logan being an atheist and Kurt being a pious Catholic, any time they discuss God and the afterlife is an interesting read. Hickman creates some beautiful last words between the two, illustrated fantastically by Pepe Larraz, which I’ll just leave below for everyone’s enjoyment.

Overall, a solid continuation of the story with some stellar artwork to bring it together. Til Powers of X #4, stay tuned True Believers.

**(Editor’s Note: Scarlet Witch& Quicksilver’s genetic status was changed from Mutant to Altered Humans during issue 4 of the second run of Uncanny Avengers and “proven” to no longer be Magneto’s children.)

Verdict: 8/10 Dead X-Men?

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