Cyphers, Histories, Change and Translation – "House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics (Spoilers)

House of X #1 is published today. A big fat comic with a glossy cover and plenty of pages. And plenty of them containing text, as Hickman gives us something even closer to Nightly News than he did in Avengers, with pages of infodumps adding to the narrative and the history of what has happened to mutants in the six months. And it is intrinsically tied into the Len Wein, Chris Claremont, Grant Morrison, Ed Brubaker, Jason Aaron/Kieron Gillen, Brian Bendis and Charles Soule runs on the title as well.

As Bleeding Cool told you four weeks ago, it begins with a single phrase,


And in previews, those beautiful previews drawn by Pepe Larraz, who has to be Marvel's premiere superhero artist right now, we saw flowers being planted across the world, on the moon, on Mars, the Savage Land, New York, pretty much everywhere. The Mars note, with the emphasis on floral arrangements, did most to tap us on the shoulder that this may be something to do with X-Nihilo – sorry, Ex Nihilo  – and Hickman's run on Avengers. But if so, we are not here yet.

What we have is the abandonment of Professor Xavier's dream of integration of mutants and humans. This is the big change.

Through the comic, Hickman goes out of his way to point out that this is now impossible – and is something neither side is moving towards. Instead, you are getting something closer to the Olympia of Miracleman with the new Island of Krakoa. Gifts are given to humanity, in return for utter mutant/human independence – and a very central change in the mutant/human relationship. And what gifts they are. The flowers of Krakoa being turned into medicines, and supplied to humanity if only they'll stay off the lawn. And inspired by Giant-Size X-Men, from Len Wein and Dave Cockrum, when everything changed for the first time, as well as the retcons from Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine that introduced the lies of Vulcan. But also giving us the weaponised/domesticated use of Krakoa from the Jason Aaron/Chris Bacahlo comics.

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

Life extension, new antibiotics that won't stop working and a cure for mental illness – so one can live longer without dementia, without many of the costs of healthcare. And the symbols in the new Krakoan language there for L, I and M. And the flowers have their own benefits for mutants as well.

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

Unknown symbol, G and N, there. Gateway portals from Krakoa, anywhere, where the flowers are planted – so that includes the Moon and Mars. The creation of embassies, grown around the world, linked by Gateways to Krakoa. And No-Place, setting up Krakoa's potential defeat. Betrayal. Lampshaded from the beginning… for who would want to hide from Krakoa?

This Charles Xavier is the one from Charles Soule's run on Astonishing X-Men, the back-from-the-dead Charles in young, fresh Fantomex body. But how did any of the other mutants killed off in recent months come back? If they did? Well, there's no mention but at the beginning…

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

…we do see Krakoa growing people. Pod people. And growing signs too.

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)


It says GALM in Krakoan. Because there is a cypher code with Hickman used to tease the announcement of the Dawn Of The X books. It turns up a bit, as you saw above. G for Gateway maybe? Krakoan is represented in this comic as a one-on-one English language cypher. Decoding it took me right back to doing the same for The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings, turning the Middle Earth runes into English. And I guess this may be where Hickman started too. Because, just like Tolkien's languages, Krakoan has an equivalent for the theta symbol, the 'th' sound having one symbol, rather than the English two letters conjoined. We have the symbol for T, inverted, thus.

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

So the final endcap pages of House Of X #1, translates thus:

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)


"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)



But it's the infodumps in English that will be pored over most. Such as both the definition of what an Omega Mutant is, and who counts as one.


"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

No mention for example of previously such-defined Omega-Level mutants as Nathan Summers and Psylocke. And Damage Control gets a bigger push too… taking a more active SHIELD-like role, as seen in the Marvel movies.

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

And they've nicked all of Reed Richards and Tony Stark's stuff when they were technically dead. There is a recent mutant history of increased mutant numbers, the Krakoa flower drugs and Krakoa as an independent island-state off the coasts of East Asia and Australia.

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)

With the Genoshan genocide from Grant Morrison's run buying humanity 'time' from extinction – with twenty years left. And plans to deal with the new mutant problem afoot. And here's we go to the heart of the comic, and the mutant meister Chris Claremont.

Claremont's very first writing credit on X-Men was for #59, long before Len Wein and Dave Cockrum came along. Working as a Marvel intern, he has a plot assist credit. Why? Let's hear him say it.

"Roy [Thomas] had painted the X-Men into a box with the Sentinel. He had to figure a way to get rid of them. So, not knowing any better, I just shot off my mouth. I said well if you are looking for a way to eliminates mutants the scientific thought at the time was that mutations are triggered by solar radiation. If you want to get rid of radiation, get rid of the sun. It gave Neal Adams the chance to draw one of the most spectacular pages I've ever seen. It was a full page of the sun with the Sentinels disappearing into the middle of it."

What happened to those Sentinels? Melted, destroyed, that was the conclusion. But in House Of X #1? They may be humanity's last hope…

"House Of X" #1 is the Hickmaniest of Jonathan Hickman Comics - Translated (Spoilers)


HOUSE OF X #1 (OF 6)
(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) Pepe Larraz
FACE THE FUTURE! Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (SECRET WARS, AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR) takes the reins of the X-Men universe! Since the release of Uncanny X-Men #1, there have been four seminal moments in the history of the X-Men. Giant-Sized X-Men. X-Men. Age of Apocalypse. New X-Men. Four iconic series that introduced a new era for Marvel's mutants and revolutionized the X-Men. In House of X, Charles Xavier reveals his master plan for mutantkind…one that will bring mutants out of the shadow of mankind and into the light once more.
Rated T+In Shops: Jul 24, 2019
SRP: $5.99

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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