This issue of Powers of X is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is the final issue of both House of X and Powers of X, bringing the first segment of Hickman’s tenure on the X-Men to a close. While the line will continue, and Hickman will continue writing X-Men beyond this series, this issue marks a conclusion to a story, and all the implications that brings. In addition, this issue is marked red on the reading order for House of X and Powers of X. The only other issues marked red were the issues of House of X that revealed Moira’s mutation and revealed the immortality of the mutants. This final issue’s red marking implies a massive game-changing reveal on the level of those past two, and Hickman is able to deliver a less bombastic but just as impactful final issue to meet all of these expectations.
The big reveal in this issue is definitely not as massive of a status quo shift for the X-Men as the two red-marked issues prior, but it changes the entire dynamic of Moira’s motivations and adds an incredible amount of intrigue to her already nebulous plans. This issue finally goes back and reveals the fate of Moira’s mysterious, unseen sixth life, the life that radicalized her the furthest. The way this life ends for Moira changes her entire philosophy going forward, and recontextualizes her next three lives even further, setting up the true enemy of mutantkind and what their goals are. This reveal also changes every action that Moira has taken in her tenth life, which is confirmed to be the present day of the Marvel Universe. Rather than dealing with the obvious threat of humanity, Moira has been spending this entire time preparing for the inevitable enemy that will arrive.
The back end of the story reveals Moira’s place in the present day, where she is hidden in Krakoa (as revealed in House of X #6) and the role she has taken alongside Charles and Magneto. This is a surprising status quo for Moira, as her role is mostly one of a watcher, unable to do much to interfere with the direction that Xavier and Magneto are taking mutantkind. The reason behind Moira’s lack of presence in the modern day throughout House of X and Powers of X is made clear through the exchange she has with both Charles and Erik, as it becomes clear that they are not listening to her input. It’s incredibly interesting how the character who Hickman has given the most narrative agency throughout her own lives is suddenly left with almost no agency, and this dynamic is clearly going to come to a head as Dawn of X progresses. The issue ends just after the celebration that caps off House of X, as Magneto and Xavier issue a challenge to those who would try to stop mutantkind’s ascension.
R. B. Silva’s art on this issue is just as stellar as his art on the series before this, and the final pages are drawn by Larraz as an extension of the final pages of House of X, and are likewise gorgeous. Aside from one scene that is a repeat of a scene from Powers of X #1, the issue is entirely colored by David Curiel, who does an excellent job coloring Silva. A small quibble is that Curiel’s colors are more visibly different from Marte Gracia’s style in this issue, and Silva’s art looks less distinctive and more like Larraz’s style as a result, but the book still looks beautiful. Silva’s mastery of facial expressions continues to be on full display in this series, and the announcement that he will be returning on the main X-Men title is a welcome surprise.
As always, the data pages flesh out the story more than just comic pages would be able to do. The main data pages in this issue feature Moira’s journal entries during the major events of her tenth life, beginning with her recruitment of Charles Xavier and ending with her decision to fake her death. There are some redacted entries here that will likely be revealed later on in X-Men, but the entries that exist feature Moira reacting to events of the past, with the context of her perspective adding a significant amount of depth to her voice. For example, her entry for the events of Mutant Genesis are heartbreaking, as her relationship with both Xavier and Magneto has been revealed to be even deeper than it was thought when that story came out. Hickman’s ability to use data pages to tell a story rather than standard sequential art has been what made House of X and Powers of X stand out from standard X-titles, and that continues through the end of the series.
Powers of X #6 is an excellent conclusion to the opening salvo of Hickman’s X-books, leaving many questions unanswered and a lot of room for the ongoings to move. After this conclusion, X-Men is easily one of the most exciting upcoming Marvel series, and the rest of Dawn of X also has a lot to offer readers.