In House of X #1, Magneto began this new era of X-Men in the Marvel universe by warning humanity, "You have new gods now." In Planet-Size X-Men #1—written by Gerry Duggan with art by the same House of X team of penciler Pepe Larraz and colorist Marte Gracia—he makes good on that promise. At the Hellfire Gala's culmination, mutants force humanity's elite to behold a mutant creation myth unraveling in real-time. As the crown jewel of the Hellfire Gala event, this sizable issue features the current X-Men line at its most indulgent. Still, it meets its own hype as a showstopper set to change everything about the delicate balance of power between humanity and mutantkind at Marvel Comics.
Duggan, Larraz, and Gracia begin Planet-Size X-Men like the book of Genesis—fitting, given the X-Men line's historical fondness for that term. The first page is nothing but the empty cosmos in all its majesty. Turn the page to a splash of Magneto shaping heavenly bodies to his will as one of the gods he claimed to be, Gracia making him pop in bright white against the void, a light in the darkness.
Throughout the rest of the issue, readers see Krakoa's mutants plotting—like deities on Mount Olympus—to terraform Mars, then following through with their momentous plans. Vulcan manipulates the molten core of the planet. Iceman covers the planet in sheets of ice. Storm controls the planet's weather and a habitable atmosphere is born. These mutants are like elemental beings from legend. In one final act of power, they then teleport Arakko, an island inhabited by millions, from our solar system's third planet to its fourth, as if dredging an entire nation up from the underworld.
The mutants do all of this, in part, to solve the problem of millions of mutants suddenly occupying space on Earth's oceans. But Magneto admits things were always heading in this direction, making humanity fully aware of the power mutants now possess, both in terms of raw ability and political might. It's much the same for the X-office. There's no substantial plot to Planet-Size X-Men #1. The team behind the current X-Men line dropping a 42-page one-shot of pure spectacle speaks to the swagger and clout the X-office has garnered since House of X and Powers of X made X-Men the most buzzed about superhero comics of the moment.
But like the mutants within this story, the X-office should be judicious with how it wields that power. Push too far, and—as other issues of the Hellfire Gala have warned—you risk backlash.
Still, it's hard to argue that giving Larraz and Gracia 42 pages to play is anything but a gift here. No one has touched Gracia in depicting a lush, green Krakoan paradise. He shows he is capable of much more in these pages, providing godly acts with a fiery incandescence. Those rosy, neon purple hues recur throughout the book, leaning on the theme of this being a new day for mutants, and culminating in Mars' first sunrise as Planet Arakko.
Planet-Size X-Men #1 represents the peak of the current X-Men line on multiple levels. On one hand, it extends the already sprawling Krakoa era to yet another new frontier. On another, it's a prime example of the X-line's gravitation toward self-indulgence. The story is titled "Fireworks," which is appropriate given how much the issue leans on its dazzling visuals. It's less a story to itself and more a pivot point for an expansive line, a prologue of things to come across many series. Planet-Size X-Men may primarily be spectacle, but it is an impressive spectacle and one that will leave hungry X-Men readers even more eager to see what comes next.
Published by Marvel Comics
On June 16, 2021
Written by Gerry Duggan
Art by Pepe Larraz
Colors by Marte Gracia
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia
Cover by Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia