By Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia
The first issue of House of X blew fans away. Jonathan Hickman set up the X-Men revolution in an intelligent and thoughtful way. It was honestly one of the best written X-books in the past decade. Now, here is the dilemma, he has to follow that up with something equally impressive. As we enter into the second issue of House of X, uncertainty should be in the air. As a reader, I have no idea what to expect next, and that’s a wonderful thing.
If you were hoping to see where the X-Men go next after the exciting first issue of House of X, you’ll have to wait two more weeks. Issue two fleshes out the life, or lives, or Moira Mctaggert. Jonathan Hickman essentially takes a side character and makes her one of the most important players in the X-Men universe. There is a level of brilliance to what Hickman is doing here. Moira has a great mutant gift, and it allows her to see how things would work out depending on the decision she makes. What’s really cool about all of this, is that she gets to retain certain abilities to improve on her situation. Hickman gives us some good and bad scenarios with Moira, an example of a bad scenario would be teaming up with Magneto. Hickman also allows us to really see and feel Moira too, as she goes through these progressions in her life. We see her try to do the right thing and fail, then, we see her do the wrong thing and fail worse. Hickman writes this issue so air tight, that everything seems natural, and as a reader, you kind of start to like Moira Mctaggert. This issue is amazing and Jonathan Hickman is solidifying himself as the best comic book writer in the past 20 years.
The pencils this issue are handled by Pepe Larraz with colors by Marte Gracia. Larraz is an all-star on pencils these days. He has a smooth style that is easy on the eyes and always makes a book more enjoyable. There are panels in this issue that are brutal, like Moira getting burned alive. Larraz gives us enough of an outline of Moira as the flames engulf her body. As far as mainstream comic book death’s go, this one is rough. Larraz also has a page where he gets to draw big events from the mutants history. This includes the first class, the all-new era, the phoenix 5 and days of future past. Larraz draws all of these eras wonderfully, and part of me wishes he was able to actually draw these storylines. The colors this issue are handled by Marte Gracia, who is also a stud. Gracia’s colors add a toned layer to the pencils. A panel as the sentinels descend on on the mutants is colored brilliantly dark and cold. The shading on Destiny’s face as she talks tough with Moira is also perfectly shaded. These are the little touches that Gracia does that make him one of the premiere colorists in the comic industry.
House of X #2 lives up to the expectations set by the first issue. It’s odd that a Moira Mctaggert centered issue was as fun and as exciting as this was, but Jonathan Hickman is a living wizard. The pencils and colors rule this issue and that is all due to the hard work and talent that Larraz and Gracia bring to the table. House of X #2 is another amazing installment in the Hickman X-Men era.