Powers of X #1 Review - Jonathan Hickman A.K.A The X-Men's Dungeon Master
Updated: May 17, 2020
• Marte Gracia (Colorist) • R.B. Silva & Marte Gracia (Cover Artists)
• Marvel (Publisher) • Recommend (Yes)
Powers of X #1 is a really good comic but it doesn't feel like an X-Men book. The issue does feel like a spiritual successor to Grant Morrison's last arc on X-Men, "Here Comes Tomorrow". That arc was also a non-traditional X-Men story with a similar thematic backdrop.
In the Morrison story, the reader is transported into a far future. A rag-tag group of X-Men come together to take down John Sublime, a minor villain who had possessed Beast at some point. The most notable thing about the story was the art from Mark Silvestri. It's not a story referenced often and usually only gets any mention at all because the linework was absolutely stunning.
"Here Comes Tomorrow" is similar to Hickman's Power's of X. Once again we're transported into a faraway dystopian future and following a ragtag band of unfamiliar X-men.
The issue itself is great. Hickman is simply a master at worldbuilding as noted in House of X #1. Once again I found the most interesting aspects of the book to be the lore sections, which work to fill in the background of the setting.
The lore drops mostly resemble role-playing modules. They work to flesh out the setting making the events feel bigger than they would otherwise., I'm pretty sure Hickman would have been a god-tier dungeon master.
We learn that the New Mutants introduced aren't directly related to any modern X-Men. They look similar but have had their powers blended together via the machinations of Mr. Sinister. Most of the events in this book are a direct result of his experiments. Mr. Sinister has a huge presence in this issue without actually being in the comic.
The book splits up into four distinct segments the past, present, future, and far future. There isn't much connecting tissue established here but there was enough information presented to hold my attention. I'm not an avid Marvel reader, but I want to know what the hell is going on because. I say this as someone that hasn't been interested in X-Men in over a decade.
I enjoyed the art from R.B. Silva. He gets a lot to do throughout the issue. Running the gamut of different time periods. The settings are all distinct and credit must also be given to Marte Gracia for setting the tone of each time period with his color direction.
There are also a few callbacks that connect to the earlier scenes and House of X. The blended X-Men are visually striking and part of the fun is guessing which established characters the power sets are pulled from. It's almost as if Hickman created these characters via a dice roll system.
There isn't much overlap between the series yet, but there is connective tissue established throughout the book that I assume will weave together and form a cohesive whole.
Not feeling like an X-Men book is about the only knock I can give to the issue. Powers of X #1 also suffers from the same problem that the Morrison Arc ran into. The events are so far removed from the present day that it's hard to connect what you know of the X-Men with what's going on.
If you changed the names and power-sets of the characters involved in POX, the title could have launched as an original series unrelated to the X-Men at all. I also believe that even with all of the information provided that the comic would be a challenge for new readers to get into. I appreciate what Jonathan Hickman is doing here but the drawback is that it won't be for everyone.
Those gripes may be big or small depending on what you're reading the comic for. It's too early to pass judgment. We're still in the setup phase of the storyline and passing definite judgment at this point wouldn't be fair to the creators involved. Power's of X # is a good book. I invite you to check it out and form your own conclusions.