Movies & TV / Columns

411’s Comic Reviews: Powers of X #5, Detective Comics #1012, More

September 26, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Powers of X #5

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]!  

Powers of X #5

Review by Jeremy Thomas

There’s been a discussion taking place on X-Twitter (the corner of the Twitterverse where we X-Men fans congregate): are you a HoXer or a PoXer?  That means, of course, do you prefer the House of X portions of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men event or are you a Powers of X person.  It’s an interesting debate because as much as the two parts are inextricable from each other, there is a clear difference between the two.

House of X is where the main storyline thrust is and is indubitably where most people’s loyalties lie.  This is the half that has seen the lives of Moira, the X-Men’s space mission and, of course, last week’s major revelations about what exactly the nation of Krakoa can do.  Meanwhile, Powers of X is the worldbuilding half, answering many of the questions that House of X raises.  Where House asks, “What just happened and what does that mean?”, Powers asks “How does that work?” and sets up events to come.

I’m a HoXer, for the record.  Don’t get me wrong; I love the world-building that Hickman, R. B. Silva, and Marte Gracia are doing, and I enjoy seeing what is being set up for the Dawn of X titles that will follow this series.  But plot momentum is what really pulls me in. I’m a sucker for a big story moment, a heroic or tragic character choice, and all the drama that unfolds from that. And that, perhaps is why Powers of X #5 rings just a tiny bit less satisfying for me than the previous issues to date.  Don’t get me wrong here; it’s still a largely wonderful issue of comics. Hickman and Silva continue to establish the new status quo in fascinating ways, going back and forth through time as per usual to show us how we’ve come to this and, perhaps, where it all leads to in the far-flung future.  There are some great moments in here, with Silva’s art highlighting some fantastic setpieces and framing characters in visually dynamic ways.  We learn how in year zero how Xavier began creating his great mutant mind backup system, while the present-set story shows us both how Emma Frost got on board and how a certain, very significant mutant to the Marvel Universe in Namor reacts to Xavier and Magneto’s plan.

Hickman remains one of the best Emma Frost writers in recent memory; the way he writes Emma fits her to a T and helps re-establish her as one of the X-Men’s best  characters. He also gets Namor in a way that not a lot of writers do. Namor is one of the biggest jerks in the Marvel Universe, but he’s not necessarily wrong in a lot of ways. There are interesting parallels between him and Magneto that way, and his conversation with Xavier plays out in a way that shows how empowered the King of Atlantis is in terms of knowing in a general sense what the good (?) Professor may be up to.

The main sticking point with this issue is simple: it’s hard to care exactly what’s happening with the era 1000 years in the future when it’s currently so high concept and so disconnected (as far as we can tell) with what’s happening in the rest of the storyline.  Clearly there’s a point to this, and I have faith that Hickman will bring it together.  We see a few hints of what it might be here, but that doesn’t change the fact that a third of the book is still setup for an element that isn’t yet clear as to its purpose.  Even this part is gorgeous to look at, which definitely makes it more palatable.  Silva and Gracia are killing it with the wild science fiction, particularly the depiction of the Phalanx.  I’d just like to have an idea of exactly what it all means (and with two issues left, hopefully that means we’ll learn soon).

If there’s any other problem with Powers of X, it’s one that isn’t necessarily the issue’s fault: this is an information dump issue.We need these kinds of things in a series this revolutionary, and Hickman packs what character development that he can in with Emma, Xavier, Namor and the rest.  “For the Children” fills in the cracks of House of X to make the foundation stable, and there’s still a lot to enjoy.  It will simply rank, in the end, as the issue in the series to date that most feels like connective tissue than something momentous in and of itself.  That’s great for the series as a whole, and “merely” makes for a very good issue.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10  

Gods and Gears #1 (of 3)

Preview by Steve Gustafson

After a racing mishap strands Jimmy “Shotgun” King somewhere in time, he meets Eli, a young adventurer toying with magic and mysteries far beyond his control. Godlike beings, future tech, and an advanced race of gorillas round out this sword and sorcery adventure. Perfect for readers of all ages.

Life is Strange #9

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Max and Chloe return for the third arc of their hit comic: the story continues from the award-winning game!

From writer Emma Vieceli (Breaks, Back to the Future, Doctor Who), and fan-favorite artists Claudia Leonardi and Andrea Izzo.

Dan Dare: The Evil One

Preview by Steve Gustafson

Relive the first two years of adventures from this iconic, British classic reprinted for the first time ever!

Powers of X #5

Review by Andrew Dang
IG: DvngAndrew  

While the House of X series is high on drama and action, Powers of X is quieter and more focused on world building. This allows Hickman to tell riveting, captivating stories like the suicide space mission one week while also diving deep into high sci-fi concepts the next. This week’s installment is most certainly the latter, and while short on action, there’s certainly no shortage of intrigue.

The majority of the issue offers further insight on the founding of the mutant nation, specifically the involvement of Emma Frost and the Hellfire Club. But the more information we get, the more hints at some of villainy is at play here. Once again, Hickman weaves a little more mystery into the Krokoan nation in introducing the idea of the Quiet Council and who its mystery members could be. This issue also marks a notable mutant’s first apperarance in the storyline, which was a treat to see because I found Hickman’s characterization of him in New Avengers some to be some the best ever.

The jump to year 1000, and the storyline involving the Phalanx, is less enjoyable but nonetheless quite interesting. This is some pretty high sci-fi stuff by my estimation. No other comic book writer than Hickman has forced me to employ google as often to double check references; the way he blends existing scientific theories/references and his own ideas is truly marvelous and makes for a dense but satisfying read. I actually googled the “Titan theory” involving black holes that was mentioned. Still, until I see a clearer connection between this bizarre future and the X-Men, I’m not quite invested as the other aspects of the story. I have faith the a-ha moment is on its way but for now it still feels rather abstract to me.

This week’s issue continues offers more exposition than action, and though that’s not entirely negative, I can’t help but to be far more eager to return to Krakoa and find out more about last week’s revelations involving Apocalypse. This is a very good issue, just not a can’t miss one like some of the most recent outings.

Rating: 8.0 out of 10

Detective Comics #1012

Review by John Pumpernickel 

“Year of the Villain” has been quietly puttering along, delivering some great stories and character enhancements to DC’s supervillain set. Ever connected issue has done a marvelous job keeping what makes the bad guy work while adding something new that changes how we’ll see them going forward.

So why aren’t more people talking about this?

Detective Comics #1012 from the creative team of wrter Peter J. Tomasi and artist Doug Mahnke tackle one of my personal favorites, Mr. Freeze, and it might be one of my favorite stories centered on him. 

Most should know the background on Batman’s chilly nemesis. Victor Fries has one goal in life and it drives his actions in every aspect. He wants…no needs…to bring his wife Nora back to life. Any way he can. 

Thanks to “Year of the Villain” and Lex Luthor’s help, he is finally in reach of doing so. Not only that, something that’s been tied to Mr. Freeze for so long has been changed forever and it will be interesting to see how this will be played out in the future. 

A solid issue that can be read by itself and gives a nice spin to a cold character. A nice thumbs up.

Rating: 8.3 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!

article topics :

Powers of X, Steve Gustafson