Powers of X #5
In this issue, we see some vital formative steps within Xavier's plan for the new Mutant Nation. And, it seems that his original dream of human-mutant peaceful coexistence is not as dead, or as changed, as it's seemed over the last few issues.
Well. This issue was an info-dump. Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining, quite a lot of vital information was revealed which fans will be picking over for weeks, and the characterizations were absolutely on point, but it was an info-dump. In that spirit, allow me to dump a few observations into your brain-pan.
- Year One is not the first year of the X-Men (Hank already has a PhD, Xavier already has contacts among the Shi’ar, the X-Men are well established) but rather year one of the plan going into motion. In addition to this, the number five has some significance. Five birds circling above Xavier (being controlled by him?) in year 0, five backups to cerebro, the five Mutants whose power is resurrection…
- Namor indicated that he doesn’t believe that Xavier (who probably is under the helmet, just inhabiting an earlier version of himself — which is good, all things considered) really believes in mutant superiority — and I think that he is right. There was a lot of evidence, in this issue, that Xavier is conning a lot of people — but primarily Magneto and the villains. I would be very surprised if the ‘no humans’ policy holds out after the council has been formed. Personally, I’m taking bets as to who is on the council. I’m betting that we saw them already — on that creepy/awesome promo picture by Mike Deodato Jr. All that’s missing is cypher…
- The idea that it is difficult for experienced telepaths to reset themselves to an earlier version was a clever little way of letting us know that Xavier isn’t ‘reprogramming’ people. There was a hint of this, when Cyclops needed to wear his visor (even if he could eschew everything else) after he was reborn. This indicates that either the X-Men have all agreed to abandon their individual values and form a xenophobic nation — or else they’re all, in their various ways, in on the con and the ‘villians’ or less sympathetic members are being manipulated or outright lied to. Frankly, I find this idea far more palatable than reading two years of ‘Xaviers Island of Pod People’s.
- The information that if anyone is put into the wrong husk, they will (at best) be severely damaged and (at worst) killed is a nice little stopgap. It means that readers can (largely) believe that everyone is who they say they are while also leaving some wiggle room open for future shenanigans.
- I think that, in the Year 1000 plot, we might be seeing the very end of life 6. Remember that tiny flash of someone who looked an awful lot like Moira in the biodome glimpsed in the very first issue? This might be where she got the idea for creating the mutant hard-drive. That’s just a hunch, on my part, but it is a compelling hunch.
There. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Hickman is taking us all on a convoluted (perfectly plotted) little joyride, isn’t he? In terms of literary structure, I’ve rarely seen anything like this within the boundaries of this medium.
There is very little that I can say about the art that I haven’t said already. Silva has an absolute mastery of tone and expression. He’s one of the best artists that the X-Books have had for quite some time and I am lucky to be reading it.
This issue is not the most compelling in the series, but it is deeply interesting, vital reading. And the execution was beautiful enough to forgive its narrative faults.
Reviewed by Bethany W Pope
This issue is an info-dump, but it is a beautiful, well-executed info-dump — one which future writers will be mining for decades to come.
Powers of X #5: A Tangled Web
Writing - 8.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 8.5/10
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