Yeah, yeah, this column is a day late. Things were a little around here yesterday, with a secret project here at Bleeding Cool you should learn about soon. But you’ve waited long enough, so let’s get into recapping last week’s X-Men books…
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
What Happened in House of X #2?
HOUSE OF X #2 (OF 6)
(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) Pepe Larraz
Learn the truth about one of the X-Men’s closest allies…and then begin the fight for the future of mutantkind! Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (AVENGERS, SECRET WARS, FANTASTIC FOUR) continues reshaping the X-Men’s world with Marvel Young Gun artist Pepe Larraz (EXTERMINATION, AVENGERS)!
In Shops: Aug 07, 2019
House of X #2 is all about Moira McTaggert, specifically revealing that she is a mutant whose power is that when she dies, she goes back to her mother’s womb with all of the memories of her past life and gets to live her life again, doing things differently if she chooses. The issue details 9 of her 10 current lives.
In the first life, when she is of course unaware of this power, Moira gets married and has children and dies at the age of 74.
In her second life, she finds herself in the womb, fully sentient, which causes her to advance quickly, eventually going to Oxford and becoming a scientist to try to figure out what’s going on with her. She did not get married, being bored by her first life husband. She did learn of Charles Xavier and mutants, and thought she might be one. But when she took a plane to America to find out, it crashed and she died. Oops!
In her third life, Moira meets Xavier at Oxford, but she doesn’t care for him. She invests her efforts in creating a cure for mutants, but before she can use it, Mystique and Destiny show up and blow up her lab. Destiny tells Moira that she will live ten lives, or eleven if she makes the right choice, and convinces her (under duress) to use her powers to save mutants, as no matter what, humans will eventually always try to wipe mutants out. To add extra incentive for her to be a good girl, Destiny has Pyro burn Moira alive. We also learn that if Moira dies before her powers manifest, she will not be born again. It’s unclear whether the ten lives is a limit of her powers or a matter of fate.
In her fourth life, Moira meets and marries Xavier. The timeline of this life seems similar to the one we’re familiar with, with the original X-Men founded, the All-New All-Different X-Men, and the Phoenix Five shown in flashback, but eventually mutants are destroyed by Sentinels. As Rich Johnston pointed out, this life also seems to include Days of Future Past, or something similar.
In her fifth life, Moira goes out of her way to meet Xavier earlier and lets him read her mind to see her memories, which radicalizes him. They form a haven for mutants, but things go wrong and everyone dies.
There is no mention of Moira’s sixth life.
In her seventh life, Moira wipes out all living Trasks in an attempt to prevent Sentinels from being invented, but someone else just invents them anyway.
Pissed off about this, in her eighth life, Moira teams up with Magneto, but Earth’s Superheroes join forces to stop and kill them.
In her ninth life, Moira teams up with Apocalypse, forms the X-Men with him, and goes to war with humans. Moira’s death isn’t explicitly listed in this timeline, but it must have happened because she has a tenth life after that.
Moira’s tenth life more or less resembles the X-Men timeline we know, which is to say, nothing in the timeline contradicts anything that we know happened in past X-Men comics. But it also does not explicitly include many things, things which were present in the fourth life.
In Moira’s tenth life, Moira decides to break all the rules, the narrator tells us. Now we see the scene from Powers of X #1 with Moira meeting Charles and having him read her mind. Presumably, he is now armed with all the knowledge of her past lives as well, which means that, if the tenth life is the X-Men timeline we’re all familiar with, everything that’s happened in the past can be viewed in a new light. That is, of course, presuming this scene does indeed take place in the tenth timeline. That is also not explicitly stated.
A timeline at the end of the issue shows what happened in each of the lives (except the sixth), and it reveals that Moira faked her death in X-Men #108 using a Shi’ar golem. What else about what we think we know is wrong?
Learning to Love (Or Hate) the X-Men Reboot Part 3
This is easily my favorite issue so far of Hickman’s X-Men reboot. House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 were ambitious, for sure, and they were definitely different than the X-Men comics we’ve been used to lately. But they were also very disconnected from recent X-Men stories, and while many who have found recent X-Men comics lackluster might view that as a good thing, I don’t. The fact is, when a continuous story is told over the course of decades, you’re going to have ups and downs. I can take the bad with the good, but I’m not a fan of reboots. A great storyteller can tell a great story in an ongoing comic without discarding what came before. Anything can be reconciled. House of X #2 provides an opportunity for reconciling story developments that seem to be ignored in House of X #1, and as such, potentially alleviates my concern that this relaunch will break the continuous story of the X-Men. We’ll see.
Additionally, the use of prose pages and charts was much more reasonable in this issue. In House of X #1 and Powers of X #1, arguably more information was conveyed in the supplementary material than in the comics themselves, which feels lazy to me. If you want to write your story as what amounts to a wikipedia entry, why bother doing it as a comic at all? In Powers of X #1 in particular, far more happened in the backup material than in the actual comic pages. In House of X #2, we get a chapter describing part of Moira’s second life as prose, and we get a chart at the end showing the timelines of lives one through ten (minus six). This material was additive to the comic rather than overpowering. So that’s another one of my complaints dealt with.
All in all, my feelings on the Hickboot are vastly improved by House of X #2. This is good progress, and I hope the relaunch continues to move in this direction.
But What Happened in Moira’s Sixth Life Though?
Clearly something important happened in Moira’s sixth life, as it’s purposely left out of this issue. What could it be? We’ll learn more before this series is done, most likely. As to the timelines in general, this issue definitely raises a lot of questions, not just about House of X and Powers of X, but about all of X-Men history.
It’s possible that Hickman is planning to distribute events from past X-Men comics across several of these lives. Did the recent Uncanny X-Men series, and Age of X-Man, take place during Moira’s sixth life? Or maybe they took place during “The Lost Decade” in Life Four, a timeline similar to the one we know but with one major contradiction, Moira’s marriage to Xavier.
Either one of these would be a more satisfying explanation for the dead X-Men being back than “Xavier regrew them from pods.” The truth is that this device could easily be used to “clean up” X-Men continuity by distributing certain events to certain lives of Moira MacTaggert if you’re a person who believes X-Men continuity needs cleaning up. I’m not; I like it the way it is. But if it’s gonna happen, I do prefer it be explained rather than ignored. Hickman seems like just the right kind of anal to want to neatly organize all of X-Men continuity. We’ll find out, I guess.
If Life Ten is really the X-Men timeline we know and love, and if the Powers of X scene does take place in that timeline, then what does the new context about Moira and what she shared with Xavier mean for all of those old stories? And when House of X and Powers of X are over, will we still be reading about this tenth timeline? Or will Dawn of X take place in Moira’s eleventh life, if she makes the right choice? And what might that timeline change if so?
Anyway, House of X #2 wasn’t the only X-book out this week, so we better get to the other two…
What Happened in Dead Man Logan #10?
DEAD MAN LOGAN #10 (OF 12)
(W) Ed Brisson (A) Mike Henderson (CA) Declan Shalvey
TEN DEGREES OF EVISCERATION!
Logan’s oldest foe is back from the shallow graves Logan put him in! And he aims to repay Logan in kind…
In Shops: Aug 07, 2019
As Sabretooth and an army of Sabretooth clones who apparently grew from when Logan cut Sabretooth into pieces and scattered them around the wastelands invade Forge’s compound, the heroes mobilize their forces to stop them. But it’s all a distraction so that the main Sabretooth can infiltrate the compound, shoot Bruce Banner Jr. with tranquilizers, and kidnap him.
Logan and Dani need to give chase, but Logan doesn’t want to leave Forge alone. Forge, however, insists that they go, staying behind to sacrifice himself. After locking his protege, Dwight, in a vault, Forge encourages Speedball, who has been building up kinetic energy for decades, to blow himself up, killing Forge, his wife Elinore, and all of the Sabretooths.
Logan dies in two more issues… unless this series is one big swerve. It’s difficult to care about this.
What Happened in Major X #0?
MAJOR X #0
(W) Rob Liefeld, Eric Stephenson (A) Norm Rapmund (A/CA) Rob Liefeld
Representing the classic Wolverine (1988) #154-155 with an all-new Major X frame short story written & drawn by Rob Liefeld!
Deadpool accepts a hit from a mysterious group of overzealous techies called the Watchtower. His intended target? Wolverine! There’s a bounty on Logan’s head, and Deadpool plans to collect! But will the Watchtower prove too morally questionable for even the Merc? The beginnings of the hit Major X series can be found in these classic stories!
In Shops: Aug 07, 2019
Major X #0 features a short prequel story to the Major X mini-series, framing a reprint of Wolverine #154 and #155, which was a story plotted and drawn by Rob Liefeld from 2000, with scripting by Eric Stephenson, now the Publisher of Image Comics. The prequel introduces X-Command, a group of X-military folks from the X-istence who go by the names Lieutenant X, Captain X, Commander X, General X, and Sergeant X. And no, we’re not making that up. X-Command induct Major X into their ranks and present him with The Sword of X, which segues into the reprint.
In these classic issues, Deadpool leads The Scourge, agents of The Watchtower who include Pigskin, former Trump chief of staff Vance Rebus, Deadeye Dick, Mega Max, Mini Max, and Reckless Eric. They manage to shoot Wolverine with a bunch of tranquilizer darts and capture him. As Wolverine is unconscious, he dreams about what happened just before Deadpool attacked. He was hanging out in a bar that is normally hopping, but it’s empty for some reason except for the bartender, Leon, and a hooker, Janine. Wolverine is suspicious, and his suspicions are confirmed when Janine tries to kill him. But then The Scourge attack and capture him anyway.
At the Watchtower, Wolverine beats up The Scourge only to get bitchslapped by The Administrator and carried off again so that his healing factor can be harvested by The Watchtower to cure human disease… which honestly seems like kind of an altruistic goal. Meanwhile, we learn that Deadpool is only working with the Watchtower to save Siryn, who had her vocal cords slit in a previous issue of X-Force.
Things are looking dire for Wolverine, but then Geronimo Crowe, the mysterious son of the Admnistrator, shows up with Cargo, Hardwire, and Shooter to rescue him. While making their escape, they run into Deadpool, who is transporting Siryn in a healing tank. Wolverine is about to kick Deadpool’s ass, so he calls for help from Siryn, who busts out of the tank, all healed, thanks to Wolverine’s healing factor. They talk things over and while no one is really pleased with Deadpool’s actions, they understand he was just trying to help Siryn. Siryn and Deadpool leave, and Wolverine joins Geronimo Crowe in attacking the Watchtower. Wolverine wants Geronimo to tell him what the hell is going on, but Geronimo says Wolverine won’t understand the answers right now. Unfortunately, this mission is futile because The Administrator only appears via hard-light projections. Regardless, Wolverine vows to bring the Watchtower down once and for all.
After this, we return to the Major X prequel, where X-Command explains how they found Wolverine’s skeleton and the X-Ential forged it into several weapons, the most important of which is the sword. The X-Ential, sword in hand, is ready to begin his adventure with his faithful companion, M’Koy.
Rob Liefeld writes comics like a 12-year-old boy playing with action figures, and I mean that in a good way. There’s a 12-year-old boy inside all of us, and nothing can tickle its fancy it quite like a Liefeld comic. Eric Stephenson, however, was pretty bad at dialogue in 2000. I can’t say I’ve read any of his recent comics, so I don’t know if he ever got any better, but Liefeld’s dialog in the prequel is like Alan Moore compared to Stephenson’s dialog. That aside, this comic is awesome, just like the Major X mini was, and I’m glad to see in the interview with Rob in the back of the issue, he has another installment of this story planned. It can’t come soon enough.
Jeeze, there’s so much X-content on the web since this relaunch started. Google House of X #2 or Moira MacTaggert and go from there if you want to read dozens of takes on this issue.
Over at Xavier Files, they continue to analyze the X-relaunch panel by panel, which has been a consistently interesting read for the nerdiest among us.
Hickman was accused of plagiarism for the Moira storyline in this issue, and you can read more about that here. But come on, we’ve all seen Groundhog Day. None of these ideas are new.
This week we have Powers of X #2 and that’s it, unless you count a reprint of X-Factor #87. See you next week, hopefully on Monday.
Read more X-ual Healing here: