HEAT VISION

How 'Powers of X' Redefines Marvel's X-Men

The companion series to 'House of X' goes even further in creating a new model for the fan-favorite comic book property.
RB Silva/Marvel Entertainment
The companion series to 'House of X' goes even further in creating a new model for the fan-favorite comic book property.

[This story contains mild spoilers for Powers of X No. 1.]

A week after it started with the first issue of Marvel Entertainment’s House of X comic book series, the mutant revolution is over with the release of the first issue of companion series Powers of X — but that, it turns out, is only the beginning of the story.

Powers of X No. 1 — the title is pronounced “Powers of Ten,” in reference to the fact that the story being told takes place in multiple eras: 10, 100 and 1,000 years from Charles Xavier’s decision to form the X-Men — is, in many ways, the culmination of the story being told in House of X. The future (and far future) of the latest incarnation of Xavier’s dream as introduced in that series is revealed, and it’s not good news: A century into the future, mutantkind has been almost eradicated after the betrayal of a former villain who wasn’t quite as trustworthy as it had been presumed.

The appearance — in name only, at least in this first issue — is one of multiple connections Powers of X makes with previous X-Men comics; unlike House of X, which purposefully takes place in the “now,” Powers is a work that references and rewards the previous decades of comic book stories, with appearances from characters and concepts throughout X-Men history, whether it’s future mutant hunter Nimrod, the Shi’Ar empire or the important part played by Moira MacTaggart, Xavier’s confidant — and, it’s suggested in this issue, potentially something more.

Taken in connection with House of X, Powers of X shows the scale of writer Jonathan Hickman’s plans for the X-Men as a property, and the extent to which he and Marvel are going to recast the X-Men as a science fiction story, not just going forward, but going all the way back to the creation of the team. (This is, after all, a franchise where time travel plays a big part in a number of its most popular stories.)

The sheer scope of what Hickman is attempting with these two series doesn’t just offer a model for Marvel Studios to bring the X-Men to the big screen in a manner unlike Fox’s decades-long attempt; thanks to the revelations about what lies ahead for the characters, it also lays out a plan for a multi-movie story with a beginning, middle and more important, end. For that alone, Powers of X may be a glimpse into the future of the X-Men in more ways than one.

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