Marvel Shakes Up 'X-Men' Status Quo in 'House of X' Comic

The latest issue in Jonathan Hickman’s revival of the franchise comes with a twist.
'House of X' No. 5   |   Pepe Larraz/Marvel Entertainment
The latest issue in Jonathan Hickman’s revival of the franchise comes with a twist.

[This story contains spoilers for House of X No. 5 follow.]

As writer Jonathan Hickman’s ambitious revival of Marvel's X-Men franchise nears the end of its initial two series, House of X and Powers of X, an important piece of information about the new status quo for mutantkind has been officially revealed, confirming fan speculation and potentially changing the property forever. After killing off some of the core characters from the franchise — including Jean Grey and Wolverine — in the fourth issue of House of X, the fifth issue brings them back to life through the combination of a number of mutants’ abilities, and reveals that… well, the X-Men are clones now. As will be any other mutants who die after swearing fealty to Charles Xavier and his new mutant nation of Krakoa.

The process of cloning mutants is, as might be expected, one that is at once overly complicated and reliant on multiple characters whose appearances are sure to delight fans of the franchise, but the upshot is that cloned bodies are grown, before consciousnesses and memories are uploaded from Cerebro — which is updated on a regular basis, readers are told.

Although it’s purposefully left vague, the scene following the characters’ rebirth, where their returns are announced to mutants assembled in Krakoa, suggests that cloning the heroes is neither new information nor anything other than a cause for celebration. (That the issue ends with the many villains of the X-Men pledging to be loyal to Xavier only underscores the potential for danger and disaster in this new status quo — not to mention a moral rot in Xavier’s new worldview.)

The seeds of a disruption to the process are purposefully planted in the issue, suggesting that the resurrection/cloning fix isn’t going to exist forever, at least in its current state. But, for now, the subtext of superheroic deaths being temporary for market purposes has become, to a great extent, a textual element in the new reality for the X-Men.

House of X and its companion series, Powers of X, will wrap up by mid-October, heralding the Dawn of X launch of six ongoing comic book series further exploring the new status quo of the X-Men franchise.