By Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia
These days, we’re used to seeing comics relaunch or get shiny new number 1’s every year. It’s hard to get attached to a book or a creative team, because they tend to stay for a bit, and then go off on another project. Having said that, there has been an extreme amount of hype surrounding Jonathan Hickman coming to the X-universe. This week we see the release of House of X, which is on part of the event that will ultimately shape the X-Men for the foreseeable future. Hickman has plotted all of this out for years to come, much like he did with the Avengers and New Avengers. With this news, it’s a great time to be an X-Men fan and a comic book fan in general.
All hype aside, House of X is an excellent first issue and absolutely revolutionizes the X-Men. What Jonathan Hickman says in this first issue, is we’re tired of being victims. Mutants are strong, and they know it, so enough with the unfair treatment. This issue does a lot of world building, which is common for Hickman. Mutants have established their own country of sorts, complete with it’s own language. Professor Xavier has developed 3 drugs, one which extends life by 5 years, one that prevents diseases of the mind and a 3rd that is a great antibiotic. All he asks in return for these drugs is allegiance. Hickman delivers air tight dialogue for all the characters in this issue. Magneto, who is the ambassador for our powerful political human guests, is written as amazingly well. He comes off as powerful, and he knows it. Hickman also gives us a scene between Cyclops and the Fantastic Four. This is a back to basics Scott Summers. He’s cordial with the fellow heroes, but lets it be known that the X-Men are done being punching bags. Not everyone appears in this introductory issue, but that just makes what Hickman is doing all the more exciting. We have no idea where the X-Men are headed, but we know it will be great.
The pencils this issue are handled by Pepe Larraz with colors by Marte Gracia. To match such a gigantic scope of this story, we need an amazing talent to draw it. Lucky for the fans, Pepe Larraz is doing all the line work for this book. Larraz has a great style that is visually appealing. As the UN ambassadors first enter Krakoan habitat and are greeted by Magneto, Larraz draws a stunning page with Mags front and center as a waterfall is located behind him. This is one of many great panels in this issue. The Fantastic Four tangle with some mutant villains this issue too. After catching one, we see a portal open up and a figure step out. It’s an oh shit moment as we see in the next panel that it is Cyclops. Larraz has a flare for keeping good moments dramatic, and keeping the reading guessing. The colors by Marte Gracia are great here as well. As Jean walks a young mutant through a portal, the child is excited to see Wolverine and professor Xavier from afar. Gracia colors the panel beautifully. The pink in the sky shines perfectly the trees. The shading by Gracia is also huge in this issue. As the Fantastic Four arrive on the scene, Sabertooth and Mystique are shaded as Johhny and Ben attack. The art work in this issue is unparalleled.
Sometimes books that have an insane amount of hype fail to meet it, House of X is not one of those books. Jonathan Hickman’s first issue is everything fans wanted and more. I’m anticipating the next chapter as I type this. The pencils and colors make this issue even more of a treasure. House of X is the X-Men story fans have been salivating for.