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Review: Powers of X #5 Sets the Stage for a Bold, New Future

Powers of X 5 cover

With the precision and patience of a master craftsman, Jonathan Hickman has steadily been building his vision of the X-Men across the concurrent miniseries House of X and Powers of X, alternating between the various timelines and potential distant future for the Marvel Universe. Those comics have gradually rewritten how Professor X and Magneto joined forces to rebuild the mutant nation of Krakoa together to significantly reposition the mutant race's place on Earth. In the penultimate issue of Powers of X, Hickman and artist R.B. Silva manage to keep the momentum going as they unveil the last crucial pieces to the foundation of Krakoa as Charles Xavier and Magneto's alliance gains ranks to help mutantkind stake its claim for the future.

Whereas previous issues had largely taken place in a far-future, Powers of X #5 loks to the relative past where Xavier and Magneto recruit Emma Frost into their inner circle to utilize her particular skill set and keen acumen towards ensuring Krakoa's longterm viability. As Krakoa begins to welcome the latest generation of mutants into its growing borders, we see how the nation's leaders reached out to greatest mutant enemies to join their cause including which notable figures within the Marvel Universe rebuffed their offer. And, all the while, the post-apocalyptic promise of the future seen in previous issues looms onward, teasing ominous things to be borne as a direct consequence of Xavier and Magneto's vision.

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Every issue of House of X and Powers of X to date have permeated a sense of self-assured confidence that comes from Hickman presumably having a clear vision what exactly he has been building all along. This was true with previous work in Secret Warriors, his celebrated dual run on Fantastic Four and Future Foundation and his Avengers and New Avengers run that planted the seeds for the epic Secret Wars. With its multiple timelines and expansive cast, Hickman's approach is perhaps the most ambitious it has ever been, but he still very much has the story well in hand while leaving his signature touch as seen with infographics and data pages serving as vital interludes throughout the issue.

What is especially impressive is that Hickman has managed to maintain the momentum and reader interest across both miniseries even with this issue lacking any conventional action sequences. That the prolific writer can command such attention and enjoyment from pure, unabashed world-building really is a testament to his vision in reinvigorating the venerable franchise. Essentially, he's laying a foundation for the fan-favorite property just as Xavier and Magneto are doing with Krakoa. And Hickman's confidence comes across its various characters, with the interplay between Xavier, Magneto and Emma making for an entertaining read in this issue that feels completely true to all three characters.

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With much of the issue driven by conversation, this may be Silva's most understated, low-key work on the miniseries to date. However, just as Hickman is able to capture and maintain reader interest through his tight scripting of an issue that could potentially be thrown off by its necessary exposition, Silva is able to maintain the momentum and interest through the visuals, joined by color artist Marte Gracia. The art team is well suited for each other and as perfectly complemented Pepe Larraz's work on the sister series House of X despite its difference in focus and pacing.

With only one issue left in each Powers of X and House of X, Jonathan Hickman appears well-poised to stick the landing of his X-Men relaunch. The last crucial threads of the title's expanding vision are revealed here, as the foundation of Krakoa and the Children of the Atom's future are firmly and confidently laid by the creative team, which promises even greater things to come as both miniseries move into their respective final chapters.

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