Jonathan Hickman's reinvention of the X-Men franchise continues with the release of Powers of X #1, and if you hoped that this companion to House of X #1 would be a little lighter of a read than its predecessor, you were dead wrong. Power of X #1 (literally) increases the scope of Hickman's story by exponential degrees, and in doing so, confirms a crucial bit of math regarding how long the X-Men saga has been running.
Be warned, MILD SPOILERS about Power of X #1 follow!
The very first panel of Powers of X #1 lays out four separate time periods that writer Jonathan Hickman's story will apparently cover. The first is the retro era of Professor X's youth, when he first came up with the vision of the X-Men. From there Hickman jumps years by exponents of ten, creating the three more epochs to explore: the modern day X-Men; a new vision of the "Days of Future Past" dystopian future; and a new era in the very distant future where a mysterious being ("The Librarian") is trying to restore the decimated mutant population through a collective consciousness of mutants created by Nimrod.
While there is certainly a lot to unpack in each one of these four time periods introduced in Power of X, the immediate standout is no doubt the X² era, which is described as being "The X-Men. Year Ten."
That's right, in Hickman's version of the X-Men timeline, the entire saga of X-Men stories that extends from 1963 to 2019, only equates to ten years of time that has passed within the Marvel Universe.
Of course, like everything in both House of X and Powers of X, it's hard to simply take things at face value. For one thing, The full identifier for the X² era is actually " X²: The X-Men. Year Ten. The World." That last part may be a crucial clue that perhaps this new modern day vision of the X-Men and their Krakoa isn't actually the modern day world we're led to believe. Any fan of Grant Morrison's 2000s run on New X-Men knows that The World is secret experimental facility created by the Weapon Plus program, to create new generations of Super Soldiers. The main power of The World is artificial evolution, and a later chart in Powers of X reveals that Mr. Sinister ran an experiment of essentially creating his own mutant soldiers from divergent strains of existing mutant DNA.
That's all to say: "Year Ten" may not in fact be the length of time the X-Men have been active in the Marvel Universe, but rather how long Sinister's batch of mutant clones have been put through the artificial evolution of The World, up to that point. But until that Matrix-like twist is revealed in later issues, we have to take Hickman's math at face value.
Both Powers of X #1 and House of X #1 are now available for purchase.