House of X/Powers of X.. the gift that keeps on giving. When I first heard of this comic, I think I audibly yelled. Beside the dope cover art, the meeting of worlds between the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Franklin Richards just sent me over the edge. I expected nothing less than pure spectacle and elite comic presentation.. and that’s exactly what I got.
X-Men/Fantastic Four continues in the world set up in House/Powers. All mutants, including the X-Men, are sequestered on the mutant island of Krakoa. They’ve (finally) claimed their rightful place as separate from, and also superior to, humanity. The story emerges because one of the most powerful mutants in all of existence—Franklin Richards, himself—has just about come of age, and the time has arrived to join his true people. Of course, the Fantastic Four are not supposed to be cool with this, and the drama of the tale begins.
This comic does several things that advance the current state of Marvel comics and also make for an abundantly exciting experience. First, it introduces the concept of “Godpower.” While experimenting with the nature of the FF’s powers (I won’t reveal why), Reed Richards mentions the research of a scientist specializing in super-powers. Reed had long wondered how superhumans expressed powers while fundamentally intaking a “normal” amount of energy, i.e. through eating and drinking. The scientist-in-question hypothesized that each and every powered individual was connected to one, or more, intradimensional sources of energy. The scientist called this energy “Godpower.” Seeing Marvel come out and name this superhero concept, as well as tacitly elevate its personnel to nigh-divinity was an unexpected and, admittedly, bold touch.
Second, the comic took explicit time out to highlight the power of Susan Storm. In addition to calling her “one of the most powerful women on the planet” multiple times, she straight up says she would have “killed” the X-Men, had they tried to take Franklin. Excuse me!? You’re talking about the team with Storm, Iceman, Wolverine, Magneto, and Charles. Freaking. Xavier?? That team, right??? This issue pulled no punches in making clear Sue Storm is understood to be one of the most powerful creatures in the Marvel landscape. Incidentally, the members of the X-Men I believe can defeat her (from the group sent to retrieve Franklin) are Kitty (now Kate) Pryde, Storm, Iceman, and Charles Xavier, himself. She may actually have a case, concerning the other members.
Finally, I also like how the issue made sure to note Reed’s tendencies toward the slightly nefarious. Some comic book fans speculate at Reed’s potentially evil nature, and several Marvel stories have pseudo-confirmed this (The Council of Reeds, The Maker, etc.). A question raised between two characters, as well as an appalling act performed by Reed, himself, brings the legitimately sketchy nature of Mr. Fantastic into the spotlight, once again.
There is almost no way I could be happier with what Marvel is doing, right now. Between Black Panther, Thor (reviews coming soon…), and now this title, Marvel is showing it didn’t expend all its best ideas back before I graduated high school. I look forward to the next issue (a surprise appearance at the end doubly-assured this) and, at some point in the series, seeing Franklin’s powers on full display. It’s always an astonishing time.
Comic grade: A+
—The Cavalier Nerd