Jonathan Hickman’s House of X #1: What Does it Mean for the X-Men?
Jonathan Hickman's X-Men Summer mini-series House of X #1 presents us with a brand new world for our favorite mutants. Let's talk about what's changed for our heroes.
“Humans of the Earth. While you slept, the world changed.”
I’m not one to toot my own horn but… HONK, [email protected]#@$$#% I called that #@#@! Well, I called several things. Mind you, it was all based on covers, and those can be quite revealing. I just interpreted a couple of things very well. From the first page nearly to the last, Krakoa plays a huge part in this book. Also as predicted, Sentinels will be important factors as the story develops. This isn’t meant as some sort of spoiler dump, or even a review of House of X #1 (but it was dope- probably one of the best individual issues of X-Men I’ve read in very, very long time). I want to chat about what writer Mr. Jonathan Hickman has set up in the world of the X-Men.
When I told you all that Hickman is a world builder of the highest order, I wasn’t playing. Nor was he, for that matter. Where many writers fail to engage their audience, Hickman excels. He understands how to make a reader want to turn the effing page. Though we don’t know how all this will pan out, the sandbox that House of X plays in is very different from anything we’ve been shown on the covers of the half dozen X-Men books debuting this fall. So, I wouldn’t get too attached to it. Without further ado, let’s get down to it, shall we?
The name no longer references just a giant living island that sucks the life out of people or terrorizes a school campus. I apologize- I mean, it’s still a giant living island, but it’s so much more now. Krakoa is the home of mutant-kind on Earth. The physical location is within the Pacific Ocean just northeast of Australia but thanks to extensions of itself placed strategically across the planet and solar system- Krakoa is also everywhere else. These places include; Mars, the Blue Area of the Moon, the Savage Land, Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and of course, Westchester, New York. At these sites, any mutant or guest can step through a portal and be transported to any of the other locations. The portals are actively monitored by Krakoa and it only lets through other mutants.
One People. One Tribe. One Family.
This is amazing all by itself, but as I mentioned earlier- Krakoa is more than a place. It was only a matter of time before a race of superior beings grew tired of being called “mutants.” Meant derogatorily or not. They’ve adopted the name Krakoa as their own. For the moment, mutants are Krakoa. After being telepathically gifted the language, they speak Krakoan, they read in Krakoan. It’s quite a feat, especially because it’s something the mutant race has attempted in the past. During District-X, before House of M and the Genosha massacre, mutants had begun developing their own culture and identity. Sadly, it was snuffed-out before anything could take hold.
Cyclops also took a swipe at this. Even with their numbers only being around 300, Cyclops (with help from Magneto) created Utopia. A piece of Asteroid-M they excavated from the bottom of the ocean just outside of San Francisco. Cyclops and the X-Men deemed it a sovereign nation and dared the entire world to come at them (…bro). I suppose, they got what they wanted because the world did just that. This time around, things are a bit different. In a way, it’s similar to what the Inhumans did following Secret Wars.
“I have a new word for the lexicon of man: Krakoa. And in the future, when you speak it, make sure you do so softly and with proper deference. For we will be listening.” – Magneto
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They, like the X-Men are doing now, didn’t challenge the world, so much as they demonstrated the new order of things. Instead of threats of fire and blood, it’s told to us that Xavier offered the world of man gifts in the way of miracle drugs. This immediately gave the Krakoa nation an instant economy. By showing the governments of man that they could move effortlessly not just across the planet, but the stars, they quietly displayed some military might without so much as flashing a pistol.
The Human Response
It’s still early in the game, but there’s no way humankind just sat back and let all this mutant-prosperity go unchecked. For years, humankind has been able to let mutant-kind cannibalize itself. The Decimation (the real one, not what happened in the MCU) that led to 99% of their kind being depowered, was caused by one of their own, the Scarlet Witch. The Genoshan massacre which ended with the deaths of more than sixteen million mutants was again something of an internal matter having Cassandra Nova at the center of it all.
From what I can tell, House of X #1 takes place about 6 months after the end of the Age of X-Man. The Krakoa have their portal network in full swing. Krakoa, the landmass, is firmly situated in a semi-tropical location right around the equator line (though I don’t doubt that it can move if need be). The nation is supported by a global economy that they have a stranglehold over and enjoy international legal amnesty for its citizens. Also, somewhere near the sun, there’s a Sentinel factory getting ready to rain down destruction on them all. So, there’s that. The name of the organization behind said interstellar factory is Orchis. It’s constructed of varying amounts of other Marvel organizations including; S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., A.I.M., S.T.R.I.K.E., H.A.M.M.E.R., A.R.M.O.R. Hydra, Alpha Flight and any other imaginary acronyms you can think of. Outside of them mining heavy metals on Mercury, not much else is revealed. But again, it’s still early.
Another organization that is bound to make its presence known this Summer is Damage Control. Apparently, they’ve got more under their belt than a TV show that failed to lift off. Other than cleaning up after heroes and villains, they serve another purpose within the government that makes a whole lot of sense. They don’t just clear the streets of debris. They catalog and store technology acquired during salvage jobs. That includes caches of tech left behind by billionaire playboys and not-so-mad scientists, such as Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic. Whether these unutilized lost treasures will be used against Krakoa-kind is yet to be seen, but with Orchis having such strong ties to the government, it’s quite likely.
It might be a small change to the status quo, but it was one we sorely needed. Thanks to Jonathan Hickman we now have an official number of Omega Level mutants. Thankfully, it’s not what it used to be. Sorry, Emma Frost fans. She’s not one of them. The list itself is only 14 names deep and is essentially a who’s who of the most powerful mutants on the planet. Not just creator pets and favorites that randomly received a power buff to push the story along.
- Jamie Braddock
- Mister M
- Hope Summers
- Jean Grey
- Franklin Richards
- Quentin Quire
Judging by the way Hickman spoke on the subject in the past, I don’t think he’ll be allowing writers to add characters, new or old, to this list any time soon. He also laid some rules on how someone can be labeled Omega Level. Basically, they have to be the strongest of their particular type on the entire planet. While some characters can have other powers, most often they excel at one, and that is which they are judged upon. For instance, Proteus has a measure of telepathy, but his power lies within his ability to psionically manipulate matter, no one does it better than him, the way he does it. Though Jean and Quentin Quire may be equals in terms of their telepathic power potential (both being hosts of the Phoenix for this reason), if Polaris suddenly dethroned her father as the Master of Magnetism, Magneto would no longer be considered Omega Level. It’d be his daughter. Omega does mean “the end” or “last”.
There’s surely more to be revealed over the next 11-weeks. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you haven’t picked up or downloaded your copy, I suggest you do. House of X #1 is a big recommend from me. I know we’ve heard “everything changes with this issue” before, but I can’t see things going back to normal after just this one issue. Let us know your thoughts below!