X-Men comic fans have been fearing this day, but alas, it has arrived. EW can confirm that Jonathan Hickman, the writer behind the celebrated 2019 comics House of X and Powers of X (illustrated by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva) that relaunched Marvel’s mutants with a radical new status quo, will be departing the X-Men line after his upcoming Inferno series wraps up.
I’m an X-fan, but I won’t miss him. What did he truly bring the line? A new living quarters on the island of Krakoa. That’s hardly getting anywhere.
But though this sounds like bad news, readers should take it as a sign of just how successful this new era of X-Men comics has become. Hickman tells EW that his initial plan for the X-line has been massively expanded, thanks to contributions from the other writers and artists who came in to write comics alongside him (including Vita Ayala, Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing, Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, Si Spurrier, Zeb Wells, Leah Williams, and more).
Where are the sales figures, for the zillionth time? Is it even “successful” if you’re going to take an established civilian co-star like Moira MacTaggart, and change her into a mutant, dampening the impact of what made her work well in the first place? Is bottling them on an island almost entirely a good idea either? It definitely isn’t a good idea when Scarlet Witch is turned into a sacrificial lamb, vilified by the populace just to create drama. Superhero comics have suffered badly from insularity for many years, and Wanda Maximoff’s role in Hickman’s setup is just one example of this sad state of affairs. What’s to celebrate in all that?
And what Hickman’s doing next is writing the aforementioned crossover, which is little more than an allusion to the 1989 crossover of the same name:
“Marvel doesn’t really pay me to just write ongoing monthly books, there’s an expectation for me to write bigger books that have a wider reach than that,” Hickman tells EW. “In an effort to facilitate both things, we’ve all spent the last six months or so reorienting the line, me creating Inferno to assist with that, and then bringing in some new writers to add to the existing team, and then plan for the next several years of X-books. So after Inferno, I’ll be leaving to go work on my ‘Next Big Marvel Thing™’ and starting in January the X-Line will rocket forward starting with a weekly series that leads into the very cool, refocused, line of books. Yes, it’s taken us a little while to get everything assembled correctly, but the end result — everything that’s coming after Inferno — is going to be pretty great.”
Not if there’s more crossover events coming around the bend, and no organic stand-alone stories. Hickman is just another whistler in the dark, who won’t admit he’s contributed to much of the mainstream’s leading ill-advised issues. I don’t feel great about saying this. But if they’re not willing to do something challenging like focus on issues such as Islamic terrorism while retaining some self-contained storytelling directions, then they’re not succeeding artistically or showing the least bit of courage, that’s for sure.
Originally published here.