Marvel's X-Men relaunch promised a bold re-invention of the X-Men mythos and lore, and Jonathan Hickman definitely delivered that with his "House of X" event series. However, the new "Dawn of X" line of X-Men comics have been much more of a mixed bag. The "Dawn of X" saga has shown Marvel fans a truly intriguing and novel new world of the X-Men (and slowly a different Marvel Universe taking shape around it). At the same time, the X-Men reboot has been meandering through its various storylines, with no clear larger purpose yet in sight. So what does Marvel need to do to make this new era of X-Men the best it can be? Let's break it down.
The big lag for many fans who gave X-Men's Dawn of X line a chance, has undoubtedly been how the line has squandered the intense stakes and momentum of House of X. Jonathan Hickman's event series not only retconned the entire history of the X-Men, it also planted some critical seeds about the X-Men's future, including threats that could consume the entire Marvel Universe. In fact, House of X was a veritable "Game of Thrones" on a multidimensional scale; the revelations about "Moira X" and her many lifetimes were an entire chess game of cause and possible effect that are now guiding the actions of present day secret architects of mutantkind's fate (Moira, Prof. X, Magneto, and possibly Sinister).
With House of X establishing multiple new threats to the future of mutantkind (The Man-Machine Supremacy under Nimrod; the Post-Human race; The Phalanx; Orchis; Mother Mold), you would think that Dawn of X would've come front-loaded with a major, over-arching conflict and/or villain to keep the momentum of House of X going, but that has not been the case. The first wave of Dawn of X books have all but forgotten the Moira X character and her overarching storyline - except through small inferences and the actions of Xavier and Magneto.
Meanwhile, the various Dawn of X books have invested a lot of time and effort in establishing new threats to the X-Men's new Krakoa nation and the miracle drugs they produce. It's understandable: House of X only had to establish the Krakoa nation as a setting and give us the basic sketches of the culture the X-Men establish there. Dawn of X has had to actually do the world-building of depicting everything from daily life on Krakoa, to the reconstituted geo-political order of the Marvel Universe since its establishment. That buckshot-pattern of storytelling has touched many things (anti-mutant response, changes to global business and the black market, even magic, mysticism and the supernatural), but only some of it seems to be connecting with fans. X-Force and Wolverine have done well examining the deadly new threats Krakoa faces, but Excalibur, Fallen Angels, and New Mutants have all stumbled off into irreverance, with only Marauders seeming to find the perfect balance between both those poles.
As the next wave of "Dawn of X" books arrive in 2020 (including the already-released new Wolverine series), it seems like we'll still be getting a mixed bag of focus. However, new books like Hellions, X-Factor and X-Corps can still learn from failed experiments like Fallen Angels and the new Excalibur, by making sure to keep relevant ties to the larger House of X storyline. Marvel could also stand to drop some of the more crucial books rumored for Dawn of X, like that Moira X solo series, which could establish and maintain the larger conflict and importance of the Dawn of X era.1comments
The bottom line is: there are so many larger concerns established by House of X that should feel like the guiding line of the Dawn of X storyline, but simply aren't being emphasized enough. As much as Marvel has tried to let each book in the line be its own thing, and set its own focus, a little more coordination seems needed at this point. At C2E2 Marvel teased a big new crossover event called "X of Swords" that will presumably pull Dawn of X together into a major storyline: here's hoping it delivers.
How are you liking X-Men's Dawn of X? Which books are your favorites? Which are failures? Let us know in the comments! New Dawn of X books hit shelves weekly. Marvel is also releasing compendiums collecting issues of every title in the line.
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