HOUSE OF X #4 drops this week from Marvel Comics. Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz deliver a pulse-pounding issue that doles out multiple gut punches.
***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***
If there was ever an issue that would bring to light why the reading order for both House Of X and Powers Of X, this would be it. Where this story takes us and where it leaves us by issue’s end makes everything fall into place.
The reading order for this two-series story is crucial, it’s trade collection NEEDS to be one book. These last two issues of House Of X are about this commando mission the X-Men are on to destroy a Mother Mold being rebooted in space.
All of our brave mutant heroes on this mission lose their lives in a successful but devastating effort to stop the Mother Mold. We are most likely in another one of Moira X’s lives when we thought we were all caught up. Unless they find a way to resurrect all the mainstays that were just killed, Moira will be starting anew in next week’s Powers Of X.
House Of X #4 is a masterful work in terms of pacing and motion. Readers may find themselves in a bit of a sweat as they see the drama unfold. This issue is packed to the brim with emotional action and substantial sacrifices on every other page.
Every one of these heroic moments where we lose a member of the team is devastating. Their final moments crafted and executed flawlessly–totally within each of their very own distinct characteristic ways as well. The final page shows a tearful Professor X claiming “no more” and it’s an extremely impactful image.
Hickman’s way of building a world in sometimes excruciating detail may be painful for some readers, but these last two issues were all about payoff for those along for the ride. I can’t see this issue making any sort of sense without a full grasp on the rabbit hole that Hickman is leading us down.
That being said, this issue is extremely satisfying for anyone who has taken the time to absorb each little detail and chart that’s been shared so far.
Artist Pepe Larraz dazzles with these pages, making every single action sequence and facial expression matter. Every important action carries weight and feels immediate, demanding your attention and leading into whichever emotion he wants you to feel in that moment.
The panel where Cyclops meets his untimely demise stands out as highly creative and memorable.
Marte Gracia once again fills your eyeballs to maximum capacity with color. A lot of the emotional weight and danger can be extracted from the color alone but it never becomes overbearing.
Marvel has made a lot of promises over the years to sell their comic books to old and new readers. Thank the maker that this time they were absolutely right in the amount of hype they were stirring up. Hickman and his art teams between these two titles have been nothing short of spectacular and bold.
House Of X #4 takes readers places they probably did no expect to go with five issues left in this story to kickstart the new era of X-Men comics. We’re left in a place where we have no idea what’s around the corner.
Aside from making the X-Men interesting and important again, Hickman has also managed to keep readers on their toes with a beloved franchise that was built on soap opera drama and tired tropes. This Dawn Of X era should be able to satisfy both oldschool fans desperate to love X-Men comics again and those who never cared much for them.
Bless you Jonathan Hickman, you brilliant man.