AUTHOR: JONATHAN HICKMAN | ARTIST: PEPE LARRAZ | PUBLISHER: MARVEL | FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Marvel’s ongoing superhero soap opera, The X-Men, is a franchise that’s a bit too easy to lose track of. The sheer number of new books, reboots, re-imaginings, and continuity busting changes means that even the most dedicated of comic book readers can sometimes find themselves a little bit lost.
House of X appears to be an ideal starting point for those who love the X-Men but have long since lost the plot. The set-up is that mutants are beginning to return. After the previous genocides and special events that knocked mutant-kind to a rare and vanishing breed, it seems that nature has found a way and mutants are set to become the dominant species of humanity.
Regular people aren’t going to take this lying down of course. Pretty much every acronymic super-team from S.H.I.E.L.D. to H.A.M.M.E.R. have united to create a response, though what that means is left unclear thus far. Meanwhile, good old Professor X is running around trying to create a paradise for mutants. There’s a new homeland called Krakoa, which appears to be a sentient island. It can grow special plants. Some of these are teleportation portals. Other plants produce wonder medicines that Professor X and chums are using to convince the rest of the world into recognising Krakoa’s sovereign rights. The message is clear; accept our gifts to humanity and leave us alone, or else.As you can probably tell, issue one of House of X is a bit of an info dump, but it’s also a fairly strong story. We’re treated to a tour of Krakoa, and the story lays out what’s in store. The mutants aren’t going to be the victims anymore, and they’re sick of having their rights ripped away from them. The parallels with real-world geo-politics aren’t at all subtle, but then this is the X-Men.
The writing appears to be a return to form for Jonathan Hickman. The pacing is strong and he nails both the characters of Cyclops and Magneto perfectly. The latter is particularly tricky to do as Magneto is easily over-written as a preening egomaniac. In House of X, we appear to have an ‘in control and wise’ Magneto. Cyclops is just as charming and as annoying as ever.Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia’s art is gorgeous, cinematic and enduring. Each page is filled with lush detail, and the various elements are instantly recognisable. Letterer Clayton Cowles also has a tough job here as the mutants now have their own language and alphabet, one that seems to have an internal logic. Overall, House of X #1 makes for a very promising start. We look forward to watching the drama unfold...