After the massive reveal of the true nature of Cerebro and Xavier’s method to prevent such a massive loss of mutant life from ever happening again, this issue of Powers of X serves to provide further context to the creation of both Cerebro and Krakoa. The issue keeps a similar structure to Powers of X #4, traversing fairly linearly from the earliest time period all the way to Year 1000. With RB Silva and Marte Gracia on the art and colors, this issue reveals a large amount about the nature of Krakoan society behind the scenes, and its beginnings.
The scene in X^0, Year One, reveals how Xavier changed Cerebro’s functionality as described in House of X #5. The flashback involves Xavier visiting the mutant Forge, who he commissions to design a new functionality into Cerebro: The ability to store every mutant’s entire being. Xavier looks incredibly sinister in this scene, as he describes his intent and the steps he has taken to facilitate Forge’s invention. Another interesting bit is Forge describing the complexity of the task, and how much work Cerebro would need to do behind the scenes in order to do the task that Xavier has described, which is already fairly complicated. This scene did a good job depicting how much effort and resources went into building Cerebro, and how far in advance Xavier had been planning this.
The majority of the issue takes place in X^1, Year 10, but rather than continuing the story where House of X left off, it depicts Xavier’s recruitment of several notable mutants right before the events of House of X #1. The first is Emma, who Hickman writes potentially better than any other character in House of X or Powers of X. She’s regal, confident, but clearly caring about mutantkind and all of her children that she’s lost, which is a feat to display so clearly in the few pages she gets. The scene also serves to depict the structure of Krakoa’s government, and what Xavier and Magneto envision as the way for mutantkind to move forward. The scene also sets up the upcoming Marauders title, and what at least the initial status quo is set to be. The rest of the X^1 segment shows Xavier sending an invitation to all of mutantkind, but specifically from the perspective of the villains who recently entered Krakoa at the end of House of X #5. The segment ends with Xavier talking to a mutant with the potential to change the entire landscape, and trying to convince them to join.
The final portion of the issue takes place in X^3, Year 1000. The Phalanx have given their response to those who remain on Earth, and the meaning of this response is finally explained as Nimrod the Greater spends the final few comic pages in exposition mode. The importance of this scene is to provide even more definitions to cosmic intelligences, and finally explain a line from the end of Moira’s ninth life. X^3 is still the most elusive of the time frames, as the new concepts being thrown around are still a bit confusing even for seasoned readers.
As this is an issue of Powers of X, the art team for the issue is R. B. Silva on art and Marte Gracia on colors. As always, the two of them do a fantastic job making this story as visually cohesive as it is. Xavier’s facial expressions during his conversation with Forge seem quite sinister, especially compared to how Silva drew his happier faces in the past. Gracia’s colors in each scene continue to be spectacular, as changes in palettes denote changes in setting, and the various backgrounds all look beautiful. As always, the books look gorgeous on every page.
Hickman’s data pages add extra context to these revelations as they always do. The first one explains Cerebro’s function and routines more in detail, providing additional information about how Xavier himself manages the functions of Cerebro and several more implications about its storage. The second set of data pages lays out the structure of the Krakoan government, as well as the few members of the government who the readers know of. There are a lot of blacked out names, implying the rest will be revealed at a later date. The final data page is a continuation of the one earlier on in Powers of X that explained the phalanx and technarchy and their roles in cosmic society, this time going further beyond a Phalanx into even higher level societies.
As always, this issue of Powers of X feels incredibly revelatory, with some fun interactions between characters. Its implications for the future of the X-Men as Hickman writes them are profound, and the context of so many prior X-Men stories is irrevocably changed.