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411’s Comic Reviews: House of X #6, Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2, More  

October 3, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
House of X #6

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 #6

Review by Jeremy Thomas
It’s been a wild ride for the last several weeks as Jonathan Hickman and his collaborators have launched their new era for the X-Men in House of X and Powers of X.  There’s been a foreboding sense over it all, with ominous hints here and there might be something more nefarious going on underneath Xavier’s Cerebro helmet.  With only two issues to go, there’s been a popular feeling like there’s another shoe about to drop on the whole utopian nation that Xavier, Magneto and Moira have set up.

And in all fairness, that’s a completely understandable feeling. There’s a reason that utopias don’t work well within comics, or in narrative storytelling as a whole.  We’re drawn to dystopia, not its opposite. The concept of heroism is often diminished when there’s no system to fight against, no overwhelming inevitability for the hero to fight.  In addition, there are a lot of questions about how Krakoa and the new normal for mutant will fit within the Marvel Universe as a whole.

And that’s why House of X #6 is such a fascinating story. Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracie and Tom Muller aren’t interested in blowing it all up – quite yet, at least.  (There’s still Powers of X #6 and the Phalanx future for that, after all.) Instead, this issue explores what it means to be one’s own nation, and what happens when a dream changes.

And that’s really what the crux of Hickman’s new vision seems to be. Xavier’s dream is, in its truest form, exactly that.  There has been a lot written and said over the years about Magneto’s dream versus Xavier’s dream, which one is valid, and which one isn’t.  We have and have had many other “grand designs” in the mutant population as well: Apocalypse, Nate Grey, Haven, Cable, and Sinister to name just a few. Hickman’s new course is now clearly less about which dream is valid, and more about establishing a new dream.

We learn more about that dream in this penultimate issue – or ultimate issue, if you just consider House of X.  The primary laws of Krakoa are set down, and we learn how justice is meted out.  The governing council (mostly) and the first steps to opening this story up to the wider world are presented.  It’s all as fascinating as anything we’ve seen up to this point, aside from a few things (the Resurrection process and protocols and Moira X).

What’s impressive here is how, even in an issue as potentially banal as debating laws and the like might be, Hickman is still able to wonderfully convey characterization.  His dialogue says volumes with just a few words, and his small scenes amidst a large gathering tell so much.  That’s also credit to Larraz and Gracia, of course, who convey some exceptional detail.  Perspective angles, body posture and expression quirks position the new leaders and contextualize them against each other.  We learn so much more by the way bodies react than via word balloons, and one little exchange between two former enemies at a party will have people speculating nonstop until we have a definitive answer on the matter.  And as usual there are some truly wonderful
establishing shots – including one featuring Krakoa in the council chamber that captures how awe-inspiring they really are.

I’m still fully expecting this to get torn down at least a little next week in Powers of X.  The mutants still have a lot of odds stacked against them, but Hickman and his creative teams have done a lot to put them in a position they haven’t been before and turn them from dreamers and freedom fighters into people willing to claim their position.  Not everyone’s going to love this change of the dream, and some might even say it makes them less noble.  I see it as a people who have let themselves be oppressed for too long and are just done with it.  House of X #6 sees Hickman and company look toward the
future of the X-line in the Dawn of X books, and the future remains as exciting as it was after the first issue of this series.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

The Illuminati Ball HC
Preview by Steve Gustafson

Acclaimed author and visual artist Cynthia von Buhler (Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini) brings her hit immersive theater production The Illuminati Ball to the page in an all-new graphic novel which merges the myth and mystery surrounding the secret organization of the rich and powerful who supposedly control the world with a story about human-animal hybrids who have escaped an experimental lab. Inspired by the legendary 1972 surrealist masquerade party that influenced Stanley Kubrick’s film Eyes Wide Shut — hosted by the Baron and Baroness de Rothschild at their mansion in Paris — The Illuminati Ball combines elements of the fantastical with reality to tell an unforgettable story about power, cruelty, deceit, betrayal, and the insatiable hunger for freedom.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1
Preview by Steve Gustafson

BOOM! Studios, under license by Hasbro, Inc. and in partnership with IDW and Nickelodeon, revealed a first look at MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #1, the premiere issue of an all-new five-issue limited series event! Written by Ryan Parrott (Power Rangers: Necessary Evil) and illustrated by Simone di Meo (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Venom Annual), the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fight – and maybe team up with – the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the first time in comic book history beginning December 2019.
The Power Rangers arrive in New York City to find Tommy Oliver – AKA The Mighty Morphin Green Ranger – and discover him in combat with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Rushing to his aid, the Rangers get caught up in battle with the Turtles. But afterwards, the Rangers find out that Tommy has joined forces with the villainous Shredder and the Foot Clan! Reeling from this betrayal, the Power Rangers must somehow find a way to work with the Ninja Turtles to defeat the true villains and save the world from total destruction!

Phantom of the Opera Graphic Novel
Preview by Steve Gustafson

Titan Comics and the Really Useful Group are pleased to announce that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart’s multi award-winning musical, The Phantom of the Opera, will be adapted into a graphic novel – due in stores June 2020.

“I’m thrilled Titan Comics is adapting The Phantom of the Opera,” said Titan publisher, Nick Landau. “It’s an honour to be working with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group on this project and I can’t wait for fans to discover the Phantom in this lavish new graphic novel.”

Widely considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular productions in history, The Phantom of The Opera has played to over 14 million people in 41 countries, 183 cities and translated into 17 languages. It is the longest running show in Broadway history and the only show to have celebrated 30 years on both sides of the Atlantic. Next year will see the 34th Anniversary of its West End debut which opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre on 9th October 1986, starring Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford.

Packed with illusion, suspense, romance and tragedy, the musical – which is based on the classic novel by Gaston Leroux – tells the tale of a disfigured musical genius known only as ‘The Phantom’ who haunts the depths of the Paris Opera House. Mesmerised by the talent and beauty of a young soprano, Christine Daaé, the Phantom lures her in as his protégé and falls fiercely in love with her. Unaware of Christine’s love for Raoul, the Phantom’s obsession sets the scene for a dramatic turn of events where jealousy, madness and passion collide.

Now, the award-winning and much-loved musical with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), will be adapted into a beautiful, full-colour graphic novel by author Cavan Scott (Star Wars Adventures, Doctor Who) and illustrated by artist José María Beroy.

“Adapting a musical as iconic as The Phantom of the Opera is an interesting challenge and a real honour,” said Cavan Scott. “I think fans of both the musical and gothic romance will find much to love in this graphic novel, an entirely new way to come under the spell of the music of the night.”

House of X #6

Review by Andrew Dang
IG: DvngAndrew  

House of X’s final issue feels more like an intermission than a conclusion, understandably and justifiably so. Nonetheless, if you’re like me and expecting something a little more frenetic after last week’s exposition-heavy entry, you might walk away a just tad bit underwhelmed.

World building seems to be the main focus once again, this time establishing the judicial system of the Krakoa nation. This includes a rather informal deliberation process leading to the first three laws, and the introduction of the Council of X, whose selection of members I find a bit questionable. All in all, the character interactions here were interesting but I wanted to move past the politics, an impulse Hickman might have very well intended.

The highlight of this issue was easily the mutant celebration, spanning a few pages and set to another inspirational speech by Xavier. I absolutely loved it. Hickman has done a masterful job of portraying joy and promise with an underlying darkness that’s bound to make any X-Men fan nervous. And make no mistake, if you weren’t already suspicious, the last few panels should clearly suggest that things are far too good to be true for our mutants on Krokoa.

Am I being pessimistic about the fortune of our X-Men? Only time will tell. But from what I gather, Hickman’s laying it on real thick here, and I’m waiting for him to pull the rug from underneath us at any moment, quite possibly the next issue. This run by Hickman looks like it could very well be considered an all-time great, and I’m feeling confident he’s going to stick the landing.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2

Review by John Pumpernickel 

I’ve been emailing with Steve Gustafson, who as you know is a huge Legion fan, and decided to pick this one up to see what all the hype was about. 

I’ll be emailing him a lengthy email tonight about the mess I just read. Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2 falls flat and given the talent on this book, I’m more than a little confused. Millennium has me believing the Legion relaunch is dead on arrival. 

Let me back up and admit that I’m not a huge Legion fan or even know anything about the team outside the basics. Still, when I read a book, especially one that’s been given as much attention as this one, I expect it to…you know…make me interested in seeing what comes next. 

The exact opposite occurs here.

The issue is a hodge podge of ideas and while some might tell me that I have to look at the big picture, this issue doesn’t work for new fans. Nothing has me excited or anticipating something greater. 

Hopefully Steve is open minded and I’m back next week but this Legion thing doesn’t live up to the hype at all. I give the art some merit but otherwise a hard pass. 

Rating: 5.0 out of 10

Editor Note: John can write however he feels…except when it comes to the Legion! To be continued!

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