Published on May 30th, 2024 | by Matt Fischer

Rise Of The Powers Of X #5 Review

Rise Of The Powers Of X #5 Review Matt Fischer

Summary: WHAT? HOW? WHO? Whatever I just read makes no sense if you take its own timeline into account. The former protagonist suffers an ambiguous fate, the current anti-hero just gives up, and the rest of our heroes stand around on a beach while a cosmic bird fights a computer program. As the penultimate issue of a 5 year storyline, this doesn't come close to succeeding in telling a coherent story. It does have nice art though!



Background – Enigma loses and Moira is redeemed. Also, Jean has claws!

Writing – This was the first time in a long time that I asked myself if I was missing pages when I finished a book.

Let’s start with the first of two story threads: Jean Grey has turned into the Phoenix and is flying through time making sure that the Enigma doesn’t change anything in favor of a victory for Enigma. Jean can’t catch him until Moira activates herself (more on that in a second.) When she finally does catch up to Enigma, the fight lasts no more than 4 panels. Countless issues and 5 years comes down to 4 panels. Now I know that this wasn’t the original ending thought of by Jonathan Hickman in 2019, but the fact that it feels SO incredibly RUSHED. It is treated like an afterthought to the Charles / Moria Story…

More than anything or anyone else, Moira McTaggert has been the thing that represents the Krakoan Age. She was our entrance into the world, our main character at first before the X-Men truly took over the book’s plot. Inferno’s entire premise was that she had been discovered and Xavier and Magneto died protecting her, only for Mystique and Destiny to take her powers away in an attempt to kill her. She became an android in her battle for vengeance against the two of them and all of mutantkind for casting her aside after she helped usher in Krakoa.

THEN it turned out she wasn’t making the mutants a utopian society to help them, but instead made all this happen so she could find a cure for her own mutant power because she had gone crazy over the 10 lives she had live (which didn’t ring true because if that was the case why did she go crazy when she lost her powers at the end of Inferno?) We’ve then sat through 2 + years of her being an annoying thorn in the side of the X-men. Now that we’ve covered the timeline of one Moira McTaggert, how does her story end?

She talks to Xavier in a mindscape that is reminiscent of how they looked in HOX/POX, (which is admittedly a nice touch). Xavier’s big plan? The one that he betrayed EVERYONE to accomplish? Get Moira to act as a homing beacon that Xavier put in her head when he attempted to kill her when she was 13.

WHAT?! I read that issue, and NOWHERE was there any glimmer of anything done to Moira’s head. Moira is stunned as we are. She had no idea Xavier had done anything, but he reaches through to whatever human side of her is left and asks her to please help them. She does, her present self dies in phoenix fire, and that leads us to the ending to the book, which is the next problem. We flashback (?) to Moira after Charles leaves and she waits for her power to activate. It doesn’t and she runs away happy?

THAT’S THE ENDING? That’s the ending to the biggest plot thread of the entire Krakoan age?  WHAT?! How does that work? If she knew to stand there so her power would activate, wouldn’t her power have already kicked in at least once already? Didn’t Xavier travel back to her 2nd or 3rd life? So, to keep the timeline stable her power would HAVE TO ACTIVATE or the comic I’m reading wouldn’t exist. The book can’t even keep track of its own story! Even more egregious is the fact that apparently Charles somehow cured her of her powers after dropping the signal into her head and leaving.

WHAT?! He could do that? If he could do that this whole time, WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ANY OF THIS! He could have just gone to her before Inferno and offered to remove her powers, Mystique wouldn’t have had to attempt to kill her (yes, I know about Destiny’s vision but I’m pretty sure that was a Hickman thing and they dropped all of his plans anyways, so why not that to?) Moira would have never turned into an evil Data, and the 3rd Hellfire Gala could have most likely been avoided. Had the 3rd Hellfire Gala been avoided, MILLIONS of mutants would still be around on Earth, not just on some nebulous island in the White Hot Room.

Following this book’s logic, Xavier could have avoided this whole thing. Mutants would still be winning, thousands if not millions of humans wouldn’t have been in danger from Orchis’s tainted medicine, and everyone could have lived happily. It’s like Gillen and the rest of the X-writers room wrote themselves into a corner and said “Screw our own story! This is how it’s going to end!” In doing that, they created a mess of their own story continuity and instead of sticking the landing, ripped off a wing on descent. Not since Tom King decided that Bruce communicated a hidden message to Damian by hitting him have I read such a ridiculous contrivance in comics. Not since Raymond Reddington getting gored by a bull on The Blacklist have I seen such an important character go out with a whimper. It’s maddening!

OH! One last thing. Xavier is escorted away by a bunch of troops, which is the cliffhanger plot thread for Uncanny X-Men 700. OK then!

Artwork – The artwork saves this issue. Jean’s rebirth as the Phoenix is a delightful callback to earlier art and Enigma is rendered in an almost 3D color scheme. His (?) head almost pops off the page whenever it is shown. The best drawing is definitely Jean using claws made up of every mutant ever to pull a Wolverine and skewer Enigma through the chin with a. set of fire claws. It’s also preceded by another powerful image that shows all of mutant kind (well, all the X-men at least) empowered by the Phoenix as the Phoenix uses their power to develop the aforementioned claws.)

On the Charles and Moira side of things, it was smart to call back to the very first issues of House of X and Powers of X. Luciano Vecchio does an almost spot on copy of Pepe Larraz’s artwork from those books. While the rest of the heroes barely feature in the book they are shown in almost a cartoonish style. They look like they are supposed to, but something feels a bit more “kiddish” about them.

Final Thoughts – What the heck did I just read? While Fall of The House Of X showcased the X-Men at their heroic best, the final fight of Enigma went out with a whimper and Moira’s final fate is just utterly perplexing. The ending does leave a bit of a cliffhanger about Xavier to be resolved in X-men 35 (presumably), but for an ending to a huge part of the Krakoan storyline, this whole issue can be summed up in one word: WHAT?!

Final score: 2 out of 5

Comic Details

Publisher:  Marvel

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Luciano Vecchio

Colorist: David Curiel

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Genre:  Superhero

Format: Monthly

Release Date: 05/29/2024

About the Author'

Lover of all things nerdy. Reader of Comics for over 25 years. DC encyclopedia. Marvel lover. Indie side guy.

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