Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: R.B. Silva, Marte Garcia, VC’s Clayton Cowles, and Tom Muller
Release Date: September 11th, 2019
As Cerebro does as it was intended to do, Sinister does what Sinister does best and the future comes to an end in this week’s all-new POWERS OF X #4 by Jonathan Hickman. Is Year 100 no more? Are Cyclops, Jean, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine actually dead? Let’s dive into the issue and find out!
To be fair, this series has been amazing. This reviewer has given some tremendous scores and has been inclined to overlook unanswered queries knowing that Jonathan Hickman will resolve them. That said, this issue was incredibly difficult to read and very frustrating to decipher. Hickman’s attempt at humor came off confusing in parts while portions of the narrative appeared to be sporadically perplexing. However, the issue felt like Hickman was calculated in his efforts and wanted to confuse readers, which that in itself bewildered this reviewer.
After feeling like the puzzle was finally getting put together, this reviewer left this reread feeling lost and dishearten. When POWERS OF X #3 ended, readers had direction. And, as the Year 100 storyline came to an end with Moira MacTaggert’s 9th Life, this aficionado felt like he could see some semblance of a path. Additionally, HOUSE OF X #3 and HOUSE OF X #4 continued that trend showing our Year 10 team with an objective and a blueprint to destroy Mother Mold at all costs.
Leave it to Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat to explain this reviewer’s sentiments after this issue. They said, “ I take two steps forward – I take two steps back.”. This is exactly how Hickman made this analyst feel after multiple reads of this week’s installment. Overall, the direction in Year One with Sinister made sense. However, the humorous tone of the conversation between Charles, Magneto, and Sinister didn’t flow very well and the interruptions that were meant to be funny came off as unnecessary and redundant.
Furthermore, the most confusing aspect of the entire issue was the portion containing “Sinister’s Secrets”. Not only was that section intentionally vague, but Hickman also proceeded comically and added to the complication of the opening factors of the narrative. Hickman is a very clever writer with unique ideas, tremendous vision, and extraordinary character development. However, this reviewer doesn’t believe comedy is entirely in his wheelhouse.
If the above wasn’t enough to explain my stance, readers get a glimpse into the future with more cryptic dialogue from nameless characters that are deemed important to a story with insufficient information and little guidance. This reviewer adores ending a Hickman comic with thought-provoking questions over a cup of coffee. However, this critic wouldn’t know what pertinent questions to ask after this read. When an issue is finished, questions and cliffhangers are there to attract readers to future reads while promoting positive discussion of what’s to come. There really isn’t a cliffhanger to this issue and furthermore, the issue appeared thrown in and out of place.
On a positive side, R.B. Silva and Marte Garcia continue to impress with their color choices and tones that portray the mood of the story so vividly in each scene. Whether it be a freakishly horrific environment or an outdoor excursion, each page is brought to life by this dynamic art team. Moreover, if this reviewer was to focus on the best characteristics of the issue, it would definitely be the Krakoan backstory, which this critic believes will be the direction the future X-Men series may lead. If only Hickman spent more time in this issue teasing out that plot thread, maybe this reviewer could give this issue a better score.
Look, my job is to be fair. And, if you’ve been following my reviews to this point – positivity, praise, and optimism have been the focus each and every week. However, this reviewer simply can’t give this issue a glowing endorsement with the lack of clarity, opaque questions, comedic failures, and exhaustingly ambiguous plot threads that left this reviewer unsettled and bewildered, especially after three straightforward issues in a row that appeared to spell out a direction and purpose. What happened? Where do we go from here?
Honestly, this would be the worst issue to jump in on in this series. So, please do not start here if you’ve heard the hype train and want to join in. However, if you have been following along, you really have no choice but to buy this issue and hang in there until next week. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for unequivocal explanations next week from the master storyteller I know Jonathan Hickman can be.