The beginning of Marvel’s latest X-Men relaunch ends this week with the release of Powers of X #6. Writer Jonathan Hickman, along with artists R.B. Silva, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, David Curiel, and designer Tom Muller, has redefined what it means to be a mutant in the Marvel Universe, and the grand finale brings a few more twists and turns to the proceedings.
Then, the ruler of Latveria finally gets his due in the debut of a new Doctor Doom ongoing series. The book is written by Halt and Catch Fire co-creator Christopher Cantwell, and illustrated by Salvador Larroca.
We’ve got discussions of both of those titles, plus your weekly Rapid Rundown of other new releases, all ahead in this week’s Marvel Rundown!
Powers of X #6
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Illustrated by R.B. Silva and Pepe Larraz
Colored by Marte Gracia and David Curiel
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Design by Tom Muller
Cover by R.B. Silva & Marte Gracia
Joe Grunenwald: The end is here for the latest X-Men relaunch! Sam, Chloe, what are your impressions of Powers of X #6? Did Hickman and Co. stick the landing?
Samantha Puc: We see the payoff for lots of small moments that Hickman laid out in his HOX/POX saga, which felt good, especially as certain theories that had been floating around online were confirmed (Timeline Six!). I have a personal bias toward this issue because it finally put the spotlight back on Moira, whose reinvention in this arc has been my absolute favorite thing about it.
Chloe Maveal: Ya know…as much as I’ve really enjoyed the series and it’s partner series House of X , I feel like this was one of the more cynical, existential ways that it could have ended. I won’t say that I didn’t enjoy it, but I also felt a little bummed out on a number of levels by the last page.
Grunenwald: It really does kind of put a dour spin on the absolute joy on display in last week’s House of X. I actually really liked that sense of existential dread, though, that feeling that This Is It. This is the last, best chance they have to change their fate. I also loved the return of Moira, and the way this issue looped back to the first issue of POX and realigned what I’m sure most readers suspected had happened during that initial meeting between Moira and Charles.
Puc: Personally, the joy in House of X #5 had a very false ring to it, perhaps because the far future stuff in POX hadn’t yet been wrapped up… which, in Powers of X #6, it is. I have to say there’s some poetry in learning what happened during Timeline Six in the sixth issue, but aside from that, I enjoyed this issue so much because of how much character insight we get. Up until now, we’ve understood the radical changes Hickman made to Moira as a character, but not necessarily how she thinks or feels — and we got so much of that here, and it lends credence to so many brewing theories about what’s to come, especially with the teasers Marvel has been releasing for Dawn of X.
Maveal: I can definitely get behind the payoff of seeing Moira’s actual feelings surrounding what’s happened. It’s all been fairly clinical in that aspect up until now (which is appropriate considering the bombshell that…well, that is Moira’s arc). The addition of her diary entries in this issue was an excellent touch as well. Reading the progression of her thought process has been fascinating every time it comes up throughout both series.
Grunenwald: I agree completely on the necessity of the diary entries in illuminating Moira’s thoughts. Honestly I would read a full miniseries that’s just illustrated entries from Moira’s diary. I kind of hope Marvel does something like that, representing big moments in the history of the X-Men from Moira’s perspective. Even just an issue or two of that could be really fun.
Regarding Moira’s sixth life…maybe I’m dumb but I’m not sure I followed all of that and how it fit in with the previous Year 1000 sequences. Are those set in a different timeline than the one in this issue? I probably I just need to go back and read all of them in sequence.
Maveal: To be honest, I think that is probably the best way to go about reading these at this point. There’s probably a lot to benefit from as far as re-reading everything in it’s entirety. I can only imagine how much I’ve missed just waiting from week-to-week.
Puc: I could absolutely go for a Moira X mini-series. That would be so fascinating to read. I plan to re-read the entire saga in order this week, not only to chat with Nick Kazden about his weekly column but also to gain a better understanding of my own. There are layers upon layers of time at play in this series, all of them held together by Moira — who is also manipulating key figures in every instance. It’s a lot of moving parts.
Grunenwald: Speaking of manipulations, I love the post-mortem we get between Charles, Erik, and Moira on the formation of the Krakoan council, and the insight into just how everyone has been brought on board and just how tenuous this all is to begin with despite outward appearances. There are bombshells in that sequence that I can’t wait to see explode in Charles and Erik’s faces.
Puc: Erik’s behavior there is also very calm, considering there’s a schism right before that… it makes me question things.
Maveal: “Calm before the storm,” etc, etc.
Grunenwald: In my opinion this has been a remarkably consistent 12 issues, both in terms of Hickman’s writing, and in terms of the visuals. Both R.B. Silva and Pepe Larraz are on-hand for this issue, and placing their work side-by-side really highlights each of their strengths and how well their styles work together.
Maveal: There’s plenty to be said for their use of “mood lighting” or “mood coloring” as well. There could be zero dialog and the message would still get across based on the expressions, body language, and use of color. That’s a pretty impressive feat for any comic and it’s gone on for 12 issues. Like…they took two comic titles and made them look like one. I mean, c’mon.
Puc: Marte Gracia, Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller really pull things together. It’s a pretty remarkable feat.
Grunenwald: Agreed. I applaud Muller in particular for taking text pages, which I’ve found are often really hard to get into in comics, and making them work without being overly ‘graphic design-y’. There are some comics I can think of (actually, other Hickman-written books) where the graphics are kind of unbearable, and I’m glad that wasn’t the case in these books.
Puc: The graphics lend themselves well to the story, which I think helps with the overall reception of them.
Maveal: An info-dump that doesn’t feel like an info-dump with the use of rad graphics and graphs is something that other creators could definitely afford to adopt, honestly.
Grunenwald: Do either of you have anything else you want to discuss, or is it time for verdicts?
Maveal: After 12 issues, I think everything that needs to be said has been exhausted. It’s been a revelatory journey through a new type of story for the X-Men, and one that I totally hope gets to continue and expand with Dawn of X.
Grunenwald: As the culmination of a total revamp to the X-line, with storylines spread across multiple timelines and time periods, I honestly think Powers of X #6 might be flawless. It’s a fantastic end to what has felt like a truly unique journey. This issue gets a hearty BUY from me.
Maveal: I said at the beginning that this series may be the one that was meant for people trying to rediscover their love of X-Men after years of stagnation, and that theory has definitely held strong. It’s a BUY from me as well.
Puc: I look forward to these issues every week, and although I’m kind of bummed to see this part of the saga end, I’m so pleased with how it wrapped up and I’m very excited to see what happens next in Dawn of X. Powers of X #6 is truly excellent — it’s a BUY from me!
Final Verdict: The Rundown agrees, this one is a BUY.
Doctor Doom #1
Written by Christopher Cantwell
Illustrated by Salvador Larroca
Colored by Guru-eFX
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Cover by ACO
Reviewed by Chloe Maveal
When I saw that Christopher Cantwell‘s and Salvador Larroca’s first issue of Doctor Doom was out this week, I basically just started making loud foghorn-like noises at my desk. Why? Because a) I love Doctor Doom b) Cantwell is a narrative wizard c) Larroca is an art wizard d) I LOVE DOCTOR DOOM. Take all of those things and mix them together and you have one very happy comic fan in me. And I have to tell you, I was expecting to be pleased with it; but I had no idea just how nuanced and fresh Cantwell’s take on dear Vicky Von D would be.
For those of you like me who have been fans of Victor Von Doom for his bombastic speech patterns and strangely niche iron fist, this will ring very true to what you know and love. The beauty, however, is that Cantwell has taken Doom’s oddities, sternness, and arrogance and turned it into something much more human than you’d expect. Sure, he insults a newscaster on live TV by calling him a “picnic ant” (which you, me, and everyone we know should adopt immediately), and yes he still has a questionable relationship with the people of Latveria (specifically women), but there’s an element of alternate reality being explored as well.
Part of the story revolves around Victor viewing — in real time — alternate reality versions of himself; including himself, totally normal, with a wife and kids. There’s also an appearance from Kang, who seems to be jumping through time on accident, tethered (somehow) to Doom. While those things alone are enough to be a great setup for the story, Cantwell also includes subtle — but incredibly clever — Easter eggs; including the repeated use of “Buffalo Gals” from the film It’s A Wonderful Life (about a man viewing an alternate version of the world) as Victor views his own alternate realities. Little things like that make all the difference and it’s clear that Cantwell had exactly that in mind.
Larroca adds additional depth to all of this by creating fluid and expressive movements that give Doom a personality and emotional depth that could otherwise be missing under the mask. Additionally, there’s a lot of playing with the lighting and shading of the characters that sets the mood and gives the not-quite-campy but not-quite-menacing feel that we expect and deserve from a Doctor Doom title.
Final Verdict: THIS COMIC PLEASES DOOM AND HE DEMANDS THAT YOU BUY.
- Invaders #10
- Things are coming to a head for Namor and the escalating tensions between Atlantis and the surface world. Chip Zdarsky continues to do a fantastic job conveying just how badly Namor is losing control, and how desperate the other Invaders are to somehow bring him back to his senses. Artists Carlos Magno, Butch Guice, and Alex Guimarães present some impressive underwater sequences both in flashback and the present. The final page cliffhanger has me truly excited for next issue’s showdown. —JG
- Magnificent Ms. Marvel #8
- This issue introduces one of the scariest, most gruesome monsters I’ve ever seen, and he is an excellent commentary on capitalism and big business, which is quite meta, considering the publisher. It also seems Kamala is having some disagreements with her fancy new suit — which makes me worried for the future, especially with everything else she’s trying to tackle. — SP
- Miles Morales: Spider-Man #11
- Miles cannot catch a break! This week’s issue piles on the complications, from every angle. Saladin Ahmed‘s scripts embody the kind of long-form storytelling that is so often missing from superhero books, and I hope he gets to keep telling this story for a long time to come. Plus, the color work here by Dono Sánchez-Almara and Protobunker is just phenomenal. This issue has me on the edge of my seat! — SP
Next week, the Dawn of X begins with X-Men #1!