Rolling right along with Jonathan Hickman’s overhaul of the X-Men we have the companion book to House of X. Well it’s more like the twin sibling to House of X or the Ying to House of X’s Yang. Anyway, let’s dive into the next chapter of this bold new era of X-Men with the first issue of Powers of X!
In the beginning there was Xavier... Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right. The issue actually starts with a look at four time periods:
The past (Year 1: The Dream) with Charles Xavier as we know him.
The present (Year 10: The World) with Mr. X / possible Prof. X / dude in the X-helmet.
The future (Year 100: The War) with Nimrod.
The distant future (Year 1000: Ascension).
Let’s start with Year 1. Charles Xavier is attending a carnival and taking in the sights and sounds of nature, until he’s greeted by a young woman. They have a nice conversation about the weather, the carnival, etc. She mentions how she walked through the fair and saw acts like the animals or the fortune-teller selling wares. Those wares being tarot cards reading the future: The Magician (a mutant who looks like a fusion of Magik, Colossus and Kitty Pryde), The Tower (to be explained later) and The Devil (a mutant who looks like a red Nightcrawler). She finally settles on The (smiling) Strong Man (Charles). Charles is flattered by the remark and says he was smiling because he was dreaming of a better world. She responds to him by saying it’s not a dream if it’s real. Xavier, surprised by this comment, asks if they know each other and reads her mind (with her permission) to confirm…
*Cue the title sequence
In the present, Mystique returns to Krakoa from the heist from House of X #1 and meets up with Magneto to give him the data that she, Toad, and Sabretooth stole, but she wants her pay. Her demands are interrupted by Mr. X / Possible Charles Xavier / dude in the X-helmet who grabs the flash drive of data from her making some demands of his own stating that everyone has to give something in building a better world.
Turns out, that better world didn’t exactly come to be, as mutants are yet again being hunted by both humans and sentinels in the future as we jump to Year 100. Yep, it’ standard X-Men future stuff: human hatred wins; they build sentinels and breed hounds to help hunt down mutants and of course the mutant resistance. So what’s the difference this time? Well since this timeline has the whole “rise of the mutants” through Krakoa going on, there is more mutant expansion with colonies on Mars (where Mr. Sinister created a new series of mutants called Chimeras who have multiple powers derived from multiple mutants), and in Shi’ar space (with whom they made an agreement to send conscripts to the Empire in exchange for asylum). Both these places are also the last bastion of the mutant race. There’s also still a human component to the fall of the mutants and they work with the machines that rule the world to extinguish mutantkind.
Here we find a group of humans and sentinels are hunting down, capturing and interrogating a group of mutants who tried to steal some information from them. As the hunters corner a mutant, her friends Rasputin (the part Colossus, part Magik, part Kitty Pryde Chimera mutant) and Cardinal (the red Nightcrawler Chimera mutant) attempt to rescue her. Even though they take names and kick sentinel ass, they’re unsuccessful and the sentinels take the mutant back to their leader.
Their leader turns out to be Nimrod but now he’s got a personality and a sense of humor as he dumps the captured mutant in a tank full of chemicals where she’ll be broken down into nothing but information for Nimrod to download.
Meanwhile Rasputin gives Cardinal an earful for not doing anything to save their fellow mutants and they make it through to Krakoa, where they meet up with the mutant high command: Wolverine, Magneto, (because of course they’re still alive), a tree dude, and a blue-flamed skull man. They’re sad to hear of the loss of the other two mutants but are glad to hear that they have the info they’re looking for.
The next time jump is to Year 1000 where an alien librarian and a reprogrammed Nimrod comb through the large collection of data on mutantkind from Year 100 Nimrod. They discuss how there isn’t enough information to save a copy of mutant kind and how the humans destroyed most of them during the human-machine-mutant war.
This was … something...and not in a bad way. There’s more set-up for the future both thematic and in-universe. Hickman is putting more new and engaging ideas into the X-Men mythos while also revamping some old ones, and it’s all been pretty compelling to read. This issue felt a bit wordier than House of X #1, but I think that there is enough action and intrigue to move the issue along as well. I’m digging the designs of some of these Chimera class mutants especially Rasputin. I hope we get a bit more backstory of the Year 100 future because while it is a bit of Hickman’s take on Days of Future Past, it’s still an interesting approach. R.B. Silva is on art here and he does a fantastic job!
Verdict: 8/10 Chimera Class Mutants