Writer Jonathan Hickman put forth some bold new ideas in House of X #1, but Powers of X #1 takes his ideas to a whole new level. Structurally and thematically, this may be the writer’s most complex Marvel comic yet.
Powers of X takes place in four different time frames, one of which is the events of House of X. It also details the origins of the X-Men as an idea, the near future, and the very far future.
Powers of X cannot be read without House of X, or vice-versa. It reads as the other half of one big story, even continuing a scene that began in House of X #1. Powers of X provides a big picture look at the X-Men’s history and mission, while House of X serves as the most significant point for both.
Hickman, in one issue, gives a general overview of the entire history of the X-Men, rather than mutant kind. Powers of X seems focused on Xavier’s vision for mutant kind — where it began and where it will go. And according to X-Men tradition, the future isn’t always great.
Similar to House of X, Hickman introduces some big sci-fi concepts in Powers of X, some of which are grounded in material from the companion series. The ideas are tantalizing, and Hickman’s linear approach to the four time periods gives a feeling of progression appropriate to the X-Men franchise (seeing as how important evolution is to their mythos). Hickman also deserves praise for writing a version of the sentinel dominated future that doesn’t feel like a re-tread of Days of Future Past.
The four different settings of Powers of X allows artist R.B Silva to stretch his artistic muscles. Hickman’s script calls for Silva to draw quite parks, future dystopia, and superhero fight scenes — all of which he does impeccably well.
While I love the scope of Hickman’s narrative and the artwork, some of the storytelling choices don’t really work. In Powers of X, the use of text pieces and supporting documents starts to betray the storytelling rule of: “show, don’t tell”.
In House of X those text heavy pages added to the world of the story, but in Powers of X they tell a portion of the story that I’d much rather have Hickman show me. It also slows down an otherwise compelling story.
All in all, Powers of X is an enjoyable read despite the over-reliance on text pieces.
Rating – 3/5