Powers of X #4's Mutant Power is Decompression [X-ual Healing 9-11-19]

Powers of X #4 is out this week, but is it worth more than padding to get to the next "red" issue in the reading order? Let's find out in the internet's number one weekly X-Men recap column with a dirty pun for a name!

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.

Powers of X #4's Mutant Power is Decompression [X-ual Healing 9-11-19]

What Happened in Powers of X #4?

My Mutant Power is DEcomX-ual Healing

(W) Jonathan Hickman (A/CA) R. B. Silva
As Cerebro does as it was intended to do, Sinister does what Sinister does best and the future comes to an end. Superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (FF, NEW AVENGERS, INFINITY) continues his reshaping of X-History alongside breakout artist R.B. Silva (UNCANNY X-MEN). The Future of the X-Men begins here!
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 11, 2019
SRP: $4.99

In X0 (X-Men Year One), Professor Xavier and Magneto visit Mister Sinister's stronghold, Bar Sinister, which is populated by various Sinister clones. They are eventually taken to see the head Sinister, who is fabulously campy, and ask him to shift his focus from collecting all of Earth's DNA to specifically collecting the DNA of mutants. Sinister scoffs, not liking the results of a clone of himself he made with mutant DNA, but the mutant Sinister clone kills that Sinister and takes over as leader, agreeing to work with Xavier and Magneto. Xavier mindwipes Sinister, ordering him to carry on with the mission but forget ever meeting them until Xavier wants him to remember.

We're then treated to a page of blind item gossip which has been endlessly dissected elsewhere.

Now we shift to X1 (ten years after the founding of the X-Men), but a few months earlier, with Professor X bringing Doug Ramsey to Krakoa. Professor X can communicate with Krakoa on a very basic level, but Doug can read much more using his mutant powers, and he explains that Krakoa is feeling sad because there was once one island, Okkara, and it was split in half many years ago by "the twilight sword of the enemy" into Krakoa and its evil twin, Arrako. Apocalypse put a stop to "the enemy" and saved the world, locking Arrako in a "chasm" along with his original Four Horseman. Now Krakoa is lonely or something. Xavier tasks Doug with staying on the island and building a way to communicate fully with it.

Finally, in X3 (1000 years in the future), the elders of the future civilization have devised a plan involving the Phalanx. They first use a copy of an elder in a machine to see if the Phalanx will absorb them and find them useful, which works. The Phalanx then prompts them for an "answer" — this is apparently some kind of workaround for the fact that Phalanx cannot merge with biological life forms, but this isn't further explained as the issue ends.

Learning to Love (Or Hate) the X-Men Relaunch Part 8

Another issue that feels like a bit of filler as we await what's promised as another landmark issue in this week's House of X #5. Most of what we got here was backstory, adding details to what we already know, though amusing backstory in the case of Sinister. The future plotline is moving very slowly, most likely because it's building to a climax that will not be resolved in these series, but rather lead into the Dawn of X. Perhaps the most interesting stuff came from Sinister's gossip column. We're treading water here, so we'll have to wait until next week for the next big revelation.

While I know that Hickmanbronies — that's the colloquial term for hardcore fans of Jonathan Hickman — take it really personally if you say anything critical about House of X and Powers of X, even if you are generally enjoying it, I feel like I need to point out that this is the sort of unnecessary decompression that worried me from the moment Hickman was announced as the new X-Men writer. It's not that anything that happened in the last two issues was bad; in fact, it was overall entertaining. But it would have been just as entertaining condensed to just a few pages. These comics cost $4.99 (and a dollar extra for the first issues), and readers are being asked to buy an issue every week to follow this story.

When parts of it start to feel like padding just to hit that 12-issue mark, to extend the mystery, to match the schedule for the big October relaunch, or whatever, then that lowers the overall value of the whole thing. Especially when this series is billed as appointment comics — you have to read it the week it comes out because everyone is talking about it — it ought to actually give people something to talk about besides the backup material.

I know, I know, Hickman is the greatest thing since sliced bread and I'm some kind of philistine for not blindly praising everything he does, but I had to say it. Still enjoying the series. Not a fan of unnecessary decompression, which Hickman has a tendency for.

Other X-Stuff

Next week: something might finally happen!

Read more X-ual Healing here:

Powers of X #4's Mutant Power is Decompression [X-ual Healing 9-11-19]

About Jude Terror

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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