Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Pepe Larraz (House of X), R.B. Silva (Powers of X) Marte Garcia, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller
Price: Ranged from $4.99-$5.99
Released: July -October 2019
Overall, this series was clever, intriguing, thought-provoking, and full of imagination. Jonathan Hickman continues to prove time and again what strategical planning, precision, and organization can do for any writer, creator, or architect of any story. It’s something that numerous authors just aren’t doing in today’s market. Several current writers appear to be winging it, changing stories on the fly, and using social media, podcasts, and interviews to explain their stories. If not that approach, the other avenue explored by many modern writers is to make ambiguous stories that can be interpreted or deciphered in an assortment of ways. It gives rise to the creator appearing as intelligent, masterful, and imaginative. However, it’s actually quite the opposite AND it makes readers feel stupid.
That style of composition is honestly not smart, or talented, or creative. That’s simply an excuse for poor writing and lacks commitment to their story. Here is a supporting fact about Hickman’s style of writing, as well as many other writers currently at Marvel right now. Jonathan Hickman just took a franchise, like he’s done in past, and literally revived it. Sure, the X-Men had their core fans before. These marvelous mutants had their loyal crew that’s been with them through their ups and downs. However, look at the sale numbers for this event as according to Comichron.com:
House of X #1 185,630 (number 1 for July)
Powers of X #1 167,840 (number 2 for July)
House of X #2 102,572 (number 6 for August)
Powers of X #2 107,524 (number 5 for August)
House of X #3 109,110 (number 4 for August)
Powers of X #3 100,267 (number 7 for August)
The remaining numbers are not out yet to compare. Additionally, that’s the numbers for first prints only. Therefore, some of these issues above, and many others in this series are at their third print. That means this is the lowest amount of comics sold for these titles.
Now, let’s compare that to and not excluding these examples of X-Books from prior to this event. Take a look at these issues dating back to early to mid-2018:
X-Men Red #11 30,415
Astonishing X-Men #15 32,052
X-Men Gold #35 31,615
X-Men Blue #36 31,387
Extermination #5 41,974
Age of X-Man Marvelous X-Men #1 42,021
Major X #1 43,071
Uncanny X-Men #1 176,125
Uncanny X-Men #2 62, 320
Uncanny X-Men #3 58,282
Uncanny X-Men #4 59,113
Uncanny X-Men #5 52,916
Uncanny X-Men #6 56,475
Uncanny X-Men #7 49,964
Uncanny X-Men #8 51,292
Uncanny X-Men #9 46,566
Uncanny X-Men #10 52,365
Uncanny X-Men #22 51,606
Other than Uncanny X-Men #1, which sold 176,125 copies, every X-Book sold between 30,000 and 62,000 copies. On average, the X-Books sold 46,673 books each release. Even if we include the Uncanny X-Men #1, the average would increase to 53,865 copies per X-issue. However, if we average only the first prints of House of X #1-3 and Powers of X #1-3 together, the average X-issue during that time was approximately 128,824 issues sold. That number is almost 75,000 more copies sold on average per issue.
Many readers will also notice that the Hickman issues were trending down towards the third issue, which is an accurate assumption. However, my guess is that the remaining issues were probably no lower than 85,000 copies per issue, which is still roughly 30,000 more issues of every other X-Book per copy on average. This makes Hickman’s decision to cancel the other books and give X-Men a ”fresh start” the perfect idea for a relaunch/ reboot that not only boosted sales but also boosted public fanfare literally reviving the franchise from the dead. If this critic was to use a sports analogy, sometimes a franchise needs to tank and rebuild in order to get back to their glory days of old. It works in sports and Hickman proved that it works in comics as well.
My point is; readers crave this technique of writing. Comic fans want to be stunned, amazed, and ride the wave through the comic. Comic buffs want to know the rules and they want the story to have significance, purpose, and weight. Readers don’t want their hand held and the creators don’t need to dictate directly to their audience either. That is exactly what Hickman has done throughout these opening series. There were moments of confusion. However, given adequate time, the confusion was cleared up. Nevertheless, any story should be explained through dialogue, interactions, character exchanges, illustrations, and some incredibly clever plot twists and turns that propel the narrative forward. This is what comic readers want, crave, and deserve. And readers, this is what Jonathan Hickman did throughout this relaunch.
So, why does this critic bring these attributes up now? Well, if you’ve been reading the HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X series’, they have all of the above mentioned and so much more. This is how Jonathan Hickman composes his stories and it takes time to develop them. More authors should literally adopt a page from his book. Writers need to take time off from producing this tremendous fiction and explore a story thoroughly before writing. This means that creators need to focus on the big picture and work through multiple arcs prior to releasing mini-arc after mini-arc. They need to investigate the entire road map and plan every circumstance, big reveal, and emotional bump along the way.
As the series ends and the DAWN OF X begins next week, this critic left with positive questions, a new passion for this franchise, and a faded memory of what was once a tangled mutant mess. Not only did Hickman point this franchise in the right direction moving forward, he revived a fascination and excitement in many readers that is evident in the numbers shown above as well as the online and public reaction. Any comic fan should pick up this trade as well as any of the single issues they can immediately. This series was a perfect jumping-on point for any comic fan who ever had an interest in the X-Men, new or old alike. Now is the time to hop on board. Don’t miss your chance.