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House of X #4 deals the X-Men a stunning setback

Where can the series go from here?

Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics
The X-Men battle human forces on the cover of House of X #4, Marvel Comics (2019).
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men relaunch, House of X/Powers of X, sent the X-Men on a highly dangerous trip to the sun last week. This week, we get to see the explosive results.

The goal of the mutant superhero team was to reach a space station where a coalition of human scientists have built an existential threat to mutantkind: a sentient, adaptable Sentinel factory. What’s more, the X-Men are pretty sure that this factory, known as Mother Mold, will give rise to Nimrod, an unstoppable artificial intelligence that will enslave humanity in its pursuit of mutants.

At the close of House of X #3, things looked pretty dire for our heroes, as their ship was severely damaged by the human forces protecting Mother Mold. And it only got worse this week, in House of X #4, in ways that seem to point to big consequences for the rest of the arc.

Into the breach

[Ed. Note: This post contains spoilers for House of X #4.]

In House of X #4, the X-Men succeed at sending Mother Mold hurtling into the sun, but paid the ultimate price. Their entire strike team, including Cyclops, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Archangel, Monet St. Croix, Nightcrawler, Husk, and Mystique, die in the attempt.

Archangel and Husk are the first to go, when security forces damage their ship. Mystique is ejected into the vacuum of space. Nightcrawler and Wolverine are roasted by the heat of the sun so that Logan can slice the Mother Mold from its last coupling. And, finally, Jean Grey is torn apart by Sentinels as she telepathically relays what’s going on to Professor X and the rest of the team still on Earth.

The events are horrific, and the mood of the issue is elegiac, fitting a tragedy of this magnitude. The X-Men knew they had a low chance of walking away from the mission, and, when it becomes clear their chances of survival are actually nil, they bravely, deliberately soldier forward.

Wolverine and Nightcrawler discuss the latter’s belief in the afterlife before they teleport into the sun to save the world, in House of X #4, Marvel Comics (2019). Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz/Marvel Comics

There’s just one question left: How are the X-Men going to come back? With Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Wolverine starring in upcoming X-Men books this fall, it’s not a question of “if,” but “how” and “when.”

Are we going to see another of Moira’s lives after this, starting from scratch? Does the solution have anything to do with the pod people X-Men Professor X was greeting in House of X #1? House of X #4 is the first installment of the second half of House of X/Powers of X, so there’s plenty of time for the plot to thicken even more from here.