House of X #1: Jonathan Hickman at 300% Hickman

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BY September 12, 2019

Out of all of the comic industry’s writers in the past twenty years, no one has come close to the planning and depth of detail than Jonathan Hickman. His Fantastic Four plan melted into his Avengers plan and then unified with Secret Wars. He creates weird and complex alphabets based on the needs of the series. And he loves charts and datasheets. He’s like a mad scientist pouring his energy into superhero comics. And with House of X #1, we’re getting more Jonathan Hickman than we’ve ever seen before.

The Story of House of X

House of X
(Marvel Comics)

There’s a mystery at the center of House of X #1. Mutants have once again created their own nation on the back of fellow mutant Krakoa. They also discovered plants that have marvelous benefits for humans, like an antibiotic that can adapt to any pathogen. They’re using these plants as leverage for other nations to recognize them. So…how did we get here? Throughout House of X, Hickman keeps the mutants rather cryptic. We don’t know how Charles Xavier set up this nation, or how they figured out the use of the plants. But that’s part of Hickman’s style—he spreads revelations and details throughout his arcs. By the end of House of X and Powers of X, we’ll see what Hickman has planned for the merry mutants, like the last piece of a puzzle falling into place.

House of X, Art House?

Gorgeous. Pepe Larraz is incredibly detailed. When we see the island and the bio housing coming together, it’s gorgeous. As we get into a very odd opening scene, the colors are so vivid it feels like we can feel movement in the panels. As a writer, I always find it odd to write about art, but take a look at the preview pages for House of X and you’ll see why Larraz and Hickman are a great team:

Larraz Art 1
(Marvel Comics)
Larraz Art 2
(Marvel Comics)

X-Tra, X-tra, Hickman All About It

(Marvel Comics)

The Director’s Cut is kind of a comic book educator’s dream come true. First, there are all the variants nicely collected. It’s wonderful to see so many artists shine. But then we get what I will make my students by this comic for: House of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman—the script. Yes, I know this might not sound like an amazing feature, but it is. We get to see a genius at work. And it gets better! We also have every page of the comic in both the inks only renditions and the full color, without text. This single comic, showing so many stages of how a comic comes together, is like a mini-masterclass all by itself.

Hickman Plans for the Omega

House of X Hickman
(Marvel Comics)

One of Hickman’s charts describes exactly what makes a mutant an “omega level” mutant, and a list of some of the heaviest hitters. Nothing Hickman does in House of X #1 feels inconsequential, but this page should excite everyone. For me, it was the last name on the list that got my attention the most.

The Future of X is Now

(Marvel Comics)

At the SDCC “Next Big Thing,” Marvel announced six X-Men titles launching after Hickman wraps up House and Powers of X. Now there are even more intriguing. How do these titles come out of this story? Where is Hickman taking us in House of X that resets the status quo and forms the new titles—which there are more to be announced.

If you love the X-Men, this is wonderful. And if you don’t really like the mutant side of Marvel, but loved Hickman’s work—well, he’s about to make you one of us.

Grade: A+

Seriously, what is with the pods?!

(Featured Image: Marvel Comics)


Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.

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