Let's Talk About House Of X #3- SPOILERS
Hi, I’m David Harth. I review things and lately I’ve been writing Hickman’s X-Men books. We come here to get a little more in-depth on some things that happened in the issue or to talk about whatever spoiler-y kind of stuff I can’t go into too much detail about in the review.
This week’s issue of House Of X #3 doesn’t have any moment that can compete with the reveal of Moira X’s powers in House Of X #2. Or the reveal that everything readers have seen in X-Men Year One Hundred took place in Moira’s ninth life in Powers Of X #3. Instead, this book puts the X-Men and the Orchis Initiative on a collision course and ends on a cliffhanger that has the Orchis security chief sacrifice himself to seemingly destroy the X-Men.
Now, yeah, we all know that the X-Men aren’t dead. Not all of them that is. I feel like maybe Husk will get taken out because otherwise, why is she even there? I’ll be honest, after reading the issue, I had to check and see who the blonde mutant girl it was. I figured it would be Magik, because they’ve really stepped her up in prominence lately, and she’s just super powerful. Instead, I found out it was Husk and look, I like Husk. I read Generation X in the ancient 90s. She’s great, but on this mission, she’s cannon fodder. That said, I’ve read that Hickman also had an affinity for Generation X, so maybe he won’t kill her. Still, if you do kill someone on that team, it’s her. Plus, it would serve to piss Monet off, possible, and pissed Monet is best Monet.
However, that’s the thing I really want to talk about it. I got into this a bit in the review, but I’m going to go further with it here. I feel like an interpretation of what’s Hickman is doing in this issue, is exposing the hubris of both sides. We’re going to look at the mutants first, seeing as how they are the key focus of this comic.
Since House Of X #1 and Powers Of X #1, it feels like Hickman is presenting some of the mutants as hubristic. Magneto talked to the ambassadors sent to him in veiled threats. Xavier is aloof and creepy. Sabretooth is pretty much just being himself in his arraignment in this issue. But Emma Frost and the Cuckoos she brings with her are actively antagonizing the judge in the new issue. On the other hand, Cyclops, in the first issue, is rather amiable with the Fantastic Four, which is a change from how he has been presented since his return. However, the fact remains that the leadership of Krakoa is acting very differently than before.
Mutants have rarely had any real power on the world stage. Sure, at one point they had the “nation” of Utopia, but that was basically just a few hundred mutants living together on Alcatraz who was constantly in danger of attack. Krakoa has given Xavier and the mutants a pharmaceutical empire and actual power over humanity. If humanity wants the very beneficial drugs that mutants are producing, they’ll have to play by their rules. Some of the more villainously inclined mutants, like Magneto and White Queen, feel like they’ve allowed that power to go to their heads a bit.
Xavier has been strange ever since his resurrection in Charles Soule’s abysmal Astonishing X-Men run. He’s been tortured mentally by the Shadow King and went into the amoral Fantomex’s body. In most of this appearance since he’s seemed vaguely villainous and lately, that’s been played up. He has a strange line in this issue. He and Magneto are talking to Scott about his upcoming mission. He tells Scott not to worry because he “won’t allow them to die.” This is some major God complex type behavior here and not something Xavier would say before. It all points to a feeling of grandiose power.
It feels to me like Hickman is trying to make a statement on how power can affect even those who have always stood for good. Xavier’s dream of co-existence is admirable and a goal worth reaching. Mutants have been through a lot over the years, so it’s not exactly surprising that once they get a bit of actual power on the world stage, some of them would be a bit vindictive, but for even Xavier to act the way he is kind of alarming. Personally, I’m thinking that something is going to happen to change this new Xavier back into one closer to what readers have known and that Magneto is going to go back to being a full villain. That said, if my interpretation is correct, Hickman is going to wrap it all up by showing that some things are incorruptible by bringing Xavier back to who he was, but different. Like, he’s been through all this craziness all these years, even instigating it, so he knows what not to do.
Now, on the human side of the equation, Karima brings up a valid point to Doctor Gregor about the Mother Mold- what happens when the Sentinels reach a point of sentience and decide that since mutants came from humans, humanity needs to die. Doctor Gregor talks about fail-safes that would allow them to destroy the Mother Mold (which also serves as a way of telling the reader a possible way the X-Men can take out the station), but the point behind the question can be taken a lot deeper if you really think about it for a second. Karima, being part machine herself, understands the repercussions of Sentinel sentience and what it could mean for the human race. She basically stating that mankind is creating something to defend itself with that could conceivably be used against them.
Mutantkind is really the ultimate threat to humanity. Evolution is a slog towards strength and mutants will eventually start to muscle humans right out of the apex position, and slowly but surely, humanity will perish. Humans know this. Everyone knows this. So, they take the chance on Sentinels that could one day be the end of them because mutants will be the end of them if they’re allowed to propagate. From what we’ve seen of the X-Men Year One Hundred ninth life of Moira, humans became subservient to machines to such an extent that they began to try to become more like them, worshipping them. Humanity created something greater than itself that was just as dangerous to them as mutants, but being humans, hoped that by worshipping it and emulating it, they could survive.
For humanity, survival is worth anything. For years, this was how the mutants lived. The script has been flipped. Now, humanity is in survival mode. Mutants seem to be ascendant at this moment, and steps have to be taken to curtail that rise. This is a stark juxtaposition to everything readers have known.
It’s all very subtle. This issue really highlights it for me, because one of the things I had noticed from the start is the way both parties, Magneto and the ambassadors, were manipulating each other and antagonizing each other. Magneto probably isn’t the best choice for a negotiator, but he also doesn’t bluff. He wouldn’t liken mutants to gods if he didn’t think they could back it up. This rise in power has made him even more hubristic than before.
The humans, meanwhile, have already begun to activate the Mother Mold at this point and one of the ambassadors had come armed. They’re already in worst-case-scenario mode and need to get started quickly before the mutants can amass too much power. The Orchis Initiative knows there’s a chance the Sentinels could grow beyond their control, but the chances of that are much smaller than the definite extinction mutants represent to humanity. A desperation move.
We’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out. Maybe I’m reading into things too much, but that’s my big interpretation of the issue. Hickman used this one to turn the status quo on its head. He’s shifted the power dynamic in the mutant/human relationship, and he does it in a brilliantly subtle way. This is the kind of writing that the X-Men books have been missing since Morrison left.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on House Of X#3. We’ll see if I’m in any way right, but I hope by reading my wild speculation, you’ll find some of your own, and maybe one of us will be right. That would be so cool. I’d be thrilled for you. Come back next week, when we can talk about House Of X #4.