Jonathon Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X stories are proving to be classics and Powers of X #4 is no exception. Hickman’s dialogue is punchy and sharp, and his story is thorough and detailed. R.B Silva’s linework is equally effective, and his action scenes are visceral and destructive, and Marte Gracia’s colors are stellar as well. It can’t be said enough of what a fantastic job Hickman has done with the X-Men line so far, but my favorite innovation has been the introduction of a sassy Mr. Sinister now to be formally labeled as Sassy Sinister. Anyone with a passing interest in anything X-Men should be reading these series, and Powers of X #4 might be the best one yet.
Powers of X #4 begin with an allied Magneto and Professor Xavier approaching Bar Sinister with the intent of asking for cooperation. After that Xavier tasks his student, Cypher with constructing a Mutant language. Hickman’s introduction to Mister Sinister is perfect. As the masked sentinel removes his helmet, and it is shown that this is a Sinister clone, the irony and humor also come into play.
This sinister clone speaks as a child would with no regard for how others may interpret their words. He insults Magneto’s cape (Big no-no) and then says Xavier cannot enter the bar because he is disabled. Obviously, Mr. Sinister is a villain, so I’m not expecting him to embrace PC culture or common decency, but the forthrightness with which he says this is shocking considering he knows how powerful Xavier is. And of course how Magneto is, as Magneto throws him through the wall.
But this is also a fantastic introduction to the outright insanity of the main Mr. Sinister, aka Sassy Sinister. Not only speak like the first Sinister but even more childlike, but he also treats everything, and everyone is a plaything. When Sassy Sinister orders the execution of his Butler clone because he did not suggest that he have a cape, he does so maniacally. This action works double as it also is a showing of ruthlessness and power. The ending of the Sinister introduction cements his ruthlessness and puts his loyalty into consideration.
If there is one fault to this story, it is the number of things going on, if anything it is merely difficult to keep track of several stories happening in three separate timelines in the same book. Due to this, the scene in the Year 1000 can be a tad jarring. It is also difficult to decipher the intent of this chapter. Is this still the natural evolution of the mutant/human/machine conflict or is this the actual ending of it as the tiny blue alien Librarian is negotiating with the human/machine Phalanx. It’s exceptionally heady and convoluted, so casual readers may be turned off. However, if you have been paying attention, this is the stuff you live for.
R.B Silva, Marte Gracia, and VC’s Clayton Cowles’s combined efforts for the dream art department for Powers of X #4. Silva shows a real talent for luring the reader in with quick small frames only for them to be blown away with gorgeously detailed splash panels. The initial conversation between Sentinel Sinister, Magneto, and Professor X seems like it will just be tense dialogue, but then Silva’s’s detailed action scene shocks the reader into attention. The detail of all the tiny pieces of crystal in the aftermath of Magneto’s throw is fantastic.
Gracia’s colors add a nice touch to the comic as he gives each scene its designated color. Sinister’s is purple-red, Cypher’s mission to form the Mutant language is basked in yellow, and the future is a muted blue/gray before it’s climactic finale. These tones set the mood for each of the stories, but his colors in the individual scenes are also successful. And Clayton Cowles’s letters feel weighty. When the sinister clones are dismembering Butler Sinister, the chop in panel looks like it echoes throughout the room.
Readers should know just by following the reviews how monumental Powers of X and House of X have been. Powers of X #4 is further testament to that claim, as even a chapter with little plot advancement where no one died can feel so impactful and memorable. Jonathan Hickman, R.B Silva, Marte Gracia, and Clayton Cowles should all be commended, as this is another fantastic entry in a fantastic run of comics.