Let’s forgo the pleasantries and jump into Powers of X #4 shall we?
We begin the issue in X Year 1 with Charles Xavier and Magneto working together after Moira and Xavier convinced Magneto to join their cause in issue two of the series. The first thing they do is visit Bar Sinister, island home of the brilliant and mad geneticist Nathaniel Essex, a.k.a Mr. Sinister. A guard stops them to ask their intentions but then starts to sass them about wanting to speak to “the Essex in charge” as the island is made up of different Sinister clones. Magneto sends “Guard Sinister” flying through the glass behind him and Erik and Charles move forward with meeting the “Sinister-in-charge”. This Sinister seems preoccupied with Magneto’s cape and, for not suggesting that he wear a cape sooner, dispatches his grand vizier. Then he inquires why they’ve come before him. The answer; genetics! Erik and Charles already know of Sinister’s catalog of all DNA on the planet they just want him to prioritize mutant samples for “reasons.”
Oddly enough Magneto’s answer of “we’ve seen the future and we know you do this” doesn’t exactly persuade Sinister to help them. He mentions that he already experimented with the mutant gene and it didn’t go too well. Before he explains, another Sinister (with the mutant gene and a killer cape) kills him and replaces him as the Sinister-in-charge. He’s totally in business for what Magneto and Xavier have in store. Their only caveat is that Xavier mind wipes him, making sure that he starts as soon as possible and doesn’t remember why he’s doing any of it until Xavier tells him to.
And now for something completely different…
In lieu of our now standard dossiers, in this issue we have a “Bar Sinister gossip column” about the X-Men and mutantdom. Such gossip ranges from whose mutant DNA Sinister took for himself (it was Thunderbird’s) to a joke about the third (or more) Summers brothers and even a rumor that maybe Charles didn’t mind wipe the right Sinister.
Instead of cutting to the present-day to check in on the ongoing House of X story line, in this issue we’re visiting the recent past on Krakoa with Xavier and everyone’s favorite New Mutant, Cypher!
Xavier brought Cypher to meet Krakoa so that the two can learn to communicate with each other and start on the path to creating the mutant nation. In talking to “the Island that walks like a man”, we find out that long ago Krakoa was once one large island that all creatures walked on. He was split in two by great and powerful demons who spread chaos and destruction until Apocalypse and his original horsemen defeated them and sent them back where they came from.
Meanwhile in the far flung future of X Year 1000, the blue aliens are conversing with the Phalanx about their ascendancy into the collective. It works like this; they make and send a back-up of their leaders’ consciousness into the Phalanx who accepts it and reforms it to match their pattern. They proceed to try to absorb a few organic beings while the librarian from the past issues converses with a colleague and Nimrod the Greater about if it will work.
This was a pretty fun issue!
The beginning with Magneto, Xavier and Sinister was easily the best part of the issue. I love the changes to Sinister’s character. We need more comically evil / teetering on campy super villains. The bit with the clones and the gossip column was also funny as hell and an interesting retcon for Sinister and Thunderbird. The backstory of the Krakoan language is cool, though a bit short. It’s great the see Cypher used to his full potential and the Krakoa origin tied in with Apocalypse is an interesting twist in this new era of X-Men. The future stuff with the Phalanx on the other hand is a little boring to me and I find myself not caring about it much but I’m sure Hickman has a reason. Maybe that will change by the end of the series. Once again, R.B. Silva does a solid job on art. He and Hickman continue to do a class job on this end of the X-Men re-haul.On to House of X #5!
Verdict: 8/10 Sinister Clones