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411’s Comic Reviews: House of X #1, History of the Marvel Universe #1, More

July 25, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
House of X 1

Hello and welcome to 411mania’s weekly Comic Book Review! Each week we’ll be serving up a warm dish of reviews (and previews) from Marvel, DC, and anything else that captures our interest. What did you pick up this week? Let us know in the comments.Want to write a review? If you can write at least one review a week, consistently, email me at [email protected]!

House of X #1

Review by Jeremy Thomas

Marvel has clearly been trying to figure out the X-Men’s place in their comics universe for some time. The beloved mutants have were in a strange place for a long time, being simultaneously a core part of Marvel’s identity but often sidelined for other characters who the MCU broke into mainstream consciousness. There have been admirable and good stories in the last couple of years focusing on Homo superior, but the line as a whole has often seemed someone off the beat of the Marvel Universe as a whole.

Steps have been made over the last several months to rectify this, starting with X-Men: Dissassembled which led into Age of X-Man and Mathew Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men run. Those arcs had a lot of hits and a few misses; more signficantly, they were leading somewhere. That “somewhere” has been teased for months now in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X relaunch. Marvel hasn’t been reserved in their promotion of this new direction; they literally called a scene from next week’s Powers of X #1 “The Most Important Scene in the History of the X-Men.”

If Powers of X #1 is anything like House of X #1, I am inclined to believe they’re not just going over the top with the marketing.

Jonathan Hickman is one of Marvel’s most ambitious storytellers, and the first issue of House of X puts that well on display. Xavier and his people (nearly ALL his people) have made some big, Earth-616-shaking moves, and we’re coming in in medias res to some degree. Hickman, however, knows how to tell us exactly what we need to know without revealing too much of his hand, and without making the reader feel like nothing makes sense. There are a lot of questions coming out of this book, particularly in how it connects to the previous events. Characters are alive again, some of whom have been dead in comics published less than a month ago. Timeline is sketchy, and motives are uncertain. There’s plenty here to make us readers wonder exactly what’s going on, and to look for the hidden sinister (lower case S, though perhaps upper case too!) agenda for the new plans of the world.

Hickman is a student of X-Men continuity, and he presents plenty of callbacks here. Shout-outs to storylines like Dark Phoenix, Giant-Size X-Men #1, Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men and many other arcs are contained herein. Impressively, it’s done so in a way that is more than just a nostalgic Easter egg. It builds into the story, as opposed to piggybacking alongside said story.

Impressively, the series also counts as a great jumping-on point for new X-Men fans. The weight of history is taken into account, but it isn’t necessary to understand what’s going on here for the most part. That information will expand a reader’s appreciation, but the gist is still here. It’s difficult to balance the need between appealing to longtime and bringing new fans on, but Hickman is off to a great start here.

As impressive as the storytelling is, the art is just as good. Pepe Larazz and Marte Gracia illustrate the pages georgously, capturing the distinction of each character and providing some pretty stunning setpieces for the X-Men’s new status quo. The book is punctuated with in-universe graphic layouts from Hickman and details that tease at what
the X-Men’s plan is and how the world is reacting, which provide story break moments.

Make no mistake: this is big, ballsy and ambitious storytelling. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from Hickman, and he hits every right note, at least in this first issue. How he follows up will be a key here, but issue #1 has left me more intrigued and excited for my favorite band of mutants than I have been in a long, long time.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Ben 10: For Science #1

Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios today revealed a brand new look at BEN 10™: FOR SCIENCE!, the latest middle grade original graphic novel based on Cartoon Network’s global hit series, from Rainbow Award-winning writer CB Lee (Not Your Sidekick) and artist Mattia Di Meo (Adventure Time™/Regular Show™), available July 24, 2019.

Ben and Gwen go undercover at the Stars Beyond Science Camp when rumors of a strange monster kidnapping robots reaches them. Despite his apprehension at doing science projects during summer vacation, Ben quickly makes a lot of new friends in the Robotics track. But when his friend Jesse’s robot goes missing, Ben and Gwen will have to use all the tools in their arsenal to deal with what comes next.

BEN 10™: FOR SCIENCE! is the second original graphic novel release from the partnership between BOOM! Studios and Cartoon Network, following the debut of BEN 10™: THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE from Lee and artist Lidan Chen, which is currently available everywhere books are sold.

Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 has been greenlit for a fourth season and is expected to premiere globally beginning 2020. The new season will follow Ben, his cousin Gwen and Grandpa Max on adventures to some of the world’s most popular destinations including Italy, Japan and Mexico. Season four will continue to empower its worldwide fanbase through new alien transformations, action-packed battles with villains and more. Ben 10 is produced by Cartoon Network Studios and created and executive produced by Man of Action Entertainment.

Snowpiercer: Extinction

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Titan Comics are thrilled to be publishing Snowpiercer: Extinction, a brand-new prequel graphic novel set before the extinction incident that led to the events of the original Snowpiercer graphic novel trilogy.

Titan’s next instalment in the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Snowpiercer graphic novel saga will be released in September 2019, written by Matz (Triggerman, The Assignment), with art by the original Snowpiercer graphic novel artist Jean-Marc Rochette. Debuting alongside Titan’s new graphic novel, the Snowpiercer franchise will also welcome the hotly-anticipated TV adaptation.

Set more than seven years after the world has become a frozen wasteland, the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer centers on the remnants of humanity who inhabit a gigantic, perpetually-moving train that circles the globe. Class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival are questioned in this riveting television adaptation. The TV series, starring Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind) and Daveed Diggs (Hamilton, Black-ish), will air in the U.S. on TNT and internationally on Netflix (excluding China).

Batman: Universe #1

Review by Steve Gustafson

Brian Michael Bendis is a polarizing figure in the comic book industry. Depending on who you ask, he’s either the best thing happening or the devil’s apprentice. Saying that, he knows how to write a damn good Batman comic.

Batman Universe #1 feels like a story you’ve read before but done just a tad bit better. The action runs a little higher, the dialogue a little crisper, and the characters a little more focused. He takes the vast, rich history of Batman and injects both a reverence and update to things. The tone of the book feels very “on purpose” and while some might think it strays too far to the cheesy side, it’s an enjoyable take on the Caped Crusader.

Nick Derington gives us some of his best work yet and that’s saying something. He captures the essence of each character, both in action scenes and in quiet moments. Just read the first couple of pages and see how he brings Bendis’ words to the page. Truly impressive.

Yes, Batman: Universe #1 is a reprint that was originally published in the Walmart exclusives Batman Giant #3 and #4 but it reads so much better combined and on its own.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

History of the Marvel Universe #1

Review by John Pumpernickel

Wow. History of the Marvel Universe delivers in every way. I’m sitting here having a hard time typing this because I keep picking it up and flipping through it. I’m a sucker for these kinds of books because they remind me of how I first came to love comics. A got a copy of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and never looked back. Any kind of book that went through the history got my attention and my bookshelf is filled with ultimate editions, omnibuses, and the like.

The first issue here is a perfect, all-knowing, all-encompassing, all-awesome look at Marvel’s wild and wonderful history.. Bravo Mark Waid and Javier Rodríguez, who cover everything in dynamic detail.

Waid says it best:

“It’s a series made not just for hardcore Marvel fans, although they will love it. If there’s anything you loved about the Marvel Universe, it’s in this book somewhere.”

Now excuse me as I read this a few more times tonight.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

That’s all the time we have. Tell us what you’re reading below and see you back here next week! You can now find our reviews on!