Powers Of X #1
Hickman’s mutant revolution continues in Powers Of X #1, by writer Jonathan Hickman, artist R.B. Silva, inkers R.B. Silva and Adriano Di Benedetto, and colorist Marte Gracia. This issue only briefly touches on the events of House Of X #1 before transporting readers a hundred years into the future.
The issue jumps around a lot in time, beginning in the past with Charles Xavier’s first meeting Moira MacTaggert at a fair. It then jumps to the present, as Mystique and Toad give the data they stole to Magneto and Xavier. Next, it goes to a hundred years into the future, a time when mutants are nearly extinct at the hands of humans and their machines. Finally, it ends a thousand years in the future, with mutants as the dominant race and humans being kept in a nature preserve.
The strongest part about this issue is its glimpse into the future. Readers aren’t given any clues to how things got as bad as they have, although, with human/mutant relations, the potential for the destruction of one or the other race is always there. It leaves the question open- what happened? The infographics in this issue fill in some of the backstories but leave just enough out to make readers want more. There’s no reason given for what sets off the conflict. A lesser writer would have shown the inciting event as a tease for future story arcs, but Hickman doesn’t go there at all. Tonally, there’s an undercurrent of ominousness running throughout the book. From Xavier’s meeting with MacTaggert, who doesn’t seem like the person readers have known for years, to a world with mutants ascendant and humans as a museum curio, there’s a sense of doom everywhere, of misguided actions leading to somewhere terrible.
Professor X appears for a bit in the segments of the book set in the present and there’s still a very creepy vibe to him. There’s something about the way Hickman plays the character; he’s aloof and inhuman in a way that Xavier was never portrayed as before. Again, like House Of X #1, Hickman spends a lot of time away from characters that readers know. This time, it’s not as effective as before. While the future is interesting, it would help more to have a character that readers knew in the crossfire. Later in the issue, readers get a glimpse of some more familiar faces in the future, but it might have been more impactful to have one of them around earlier in the story.
R.B. Silva’s art is pretty good, but not great. His wide shots suffer from a bit of lack of detail. However, the action sequence in the future is really nice. It’s kinetic and detailed and a highlight of the book. Another plus is the designs of some of the Sentinels and human soldiers in the book. All in all, his artwork for the story and the flaws don’t hurt anything very much.
Powers Of X #1 throws readers into the deep end, but in the best possible way. Hickman does some excellent world-building without giving away too much and lays out tantalizing clues of what’s to come. The only minor quibble with the comic is how it fits in with House Of X, but Hickman is a master storyteller so the connection is sure to be something great. R.B. Silva’s art isn’t perfect, but it works for the story. His design work and his execution of the action scenes make up for the deficiencies of his artwork. There’s a lot to love about this book and it lays out a lot of interesting stuff. Hickman continues to work his magic on the X-Men.