Rise of the Powers of X #5 Review

Rise Of The Powers Of X #5 Review

The end of the Krakoa Era is near with Rise of the Powers of X #5 being its penultimate chapter. It has been a long five months for the latest X-Men crossover to tell the final tale of the Krakoa Era. After things continued to seemingly get worse and worse the X-Men finally defeated Nimrod and Omega Sentinel in Fall of the House of X #5. As that issue came to a close Charles Xavier was able to escape being caught by the X-Men. While he evade those he now not only has the X-Men to worry about as Jean Grey is poised to make her return as the Phoenix. How will things go in the penultimate chapter of the Krakoa Era? Let’s find out with Rise of the Powers of X #5.


Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Luciano Vecchio

Colorist: David Curiel

Letterer: Clayton Cowles


“THE BATTLE FOR ALL TIME! The X-epic concludes in a battle between those who are outside time and that which is now and forever…and the result is being decided by whether someone can ultimately make the right choice. The end of the Krakoan Age barrels our way as the two series that are one conclude!” – Marvel Comics


With Rise of the Powers of X #5 you feel the weight carried by it being the penultimate chapter of this X-Men crossover event. We see here everything from both the two main series and mini-series merge together. Because of that Kieron Gillen and Luciano Vecchio are forced to balance everything out so no one feels left out. That is a task that turned out to be easier said than done for Rise of the Powers of X #5.

More than anything this issue confirms how necessary X-Men: Forever was to read alongside Rise of the Powers of X and Fall of the House of X. The final two issues of X-Men: Forever in particular clearly act as Rise of the Powers of X #4.5 issues. They are absolutely required as Gillen goes all in on characterizing the Phoenix Force as Hope Summers. All of the dialogue for the Phoenix Force centers around the “mother-me” dynamic it now has with Jean Grey thanks to what we learned about the Hope Summers connection. Without that knowledge the entire Jean and Phoenix dynamic will fall flat.

Even with that knowledge Gillen does try a bit to hard on getting over the new Jean and Phoenix dynamic that waste some valuable panel and page count. The opening could’ve been simplified to just have Vecchio show the White Hot Room be revived by Jean’s return as the Phoenix. This in turn would give time to continue to develop the X-Men side of things that we’ve seen play out in the pages of Rise of the Powers of X and Fall of the House of X. The X-Men are nothing more than cameo appearances here.

That said, once Gillen simply focuses on the God-level battle between Phoenix and Enigma this issue is at its best. All of Enigma’s cosmic allies recognizing he is on the losing side got over how powerful Jean returned as the Phoenix. That made Enigma’s attempt to manipulate the timeline further showcase the God-level power Jean controls with the full control of the Phoenix Force. It worked as a full-circle battle with how House of X and Powers of X started with the manipulation of the timeline.

Phoenix - Rise of the Powers of X #5
Jean Grey uses her mastery of the Phoenix Force to empower all of the X-Men to defeat the original Nathaniel Essex, aka Enigma, in Rise of the Powers of X #5. Credit: Marvel Comics

Which brings to focus the most mixed bag aspect of Rise of the Powers of X #5. That is how we return to Charles Xavier and Moira MacTaggert. From a narrative perspective, if the Krakoa Era has to end it has to come back to paying off Charles and Moira’s development. So it is understandable that the key for Jean to defeat Enigma would come down to Charles and Moira “working together.”

That said, Gillen can’t avoid how convoluted the deus ex machina Charles made Moira. While it fits with Moira X’s story the way it was done comes across as a way to rushed. Even Gillen’s attempt to utilize the infographics that Jonathan Hickman made a cool element played into how rushed this was. What was once a cool element to properly explain what went on just worked into how Moira X and Xavier’s final moment fall flat.

That disappointment is furthered by the fact Xavier gives himself up to random soldiers rather than paying off the X-Men looking for him. After spending so much time showing Shadowcat and Wolverine hunting for Xavier the fact we don’t get a payoff to that is a massive, missed opportunity. It does put into question how much collaboration Gillen had with Gerry Duggan that the set-up for a cool X-Men moment was forgotten. Now even if the X-Men do meet with Xavier in prison he’s locked in that won’t hit the same since they weren’t the once making their former mentor and leader answer for his crimes.

On the art side of things Luciano Vecchio did his best to deliver big event artwork. Though not having R.B. Silva for the final issue of Rise of the Powers of X is certainly felt. Vecchio artwork just doesn’t hit the same as what has been established by Silva. That said Vecchio does deliver when the big moments call for once Phoenix finds Enigma. The way Phoenix defeats Enigma did look rewarding for everything the A.I. God villain did.


Rise of the Powers of X #5 is unfortunately a mixed bag for being the penultimate chapter of the latest X-Men crossover. Kieron Gillen could not avoid falling into the trappings of how convoluted things were to tell a fully satisfying final battle involving Phoenix, Enigma, Charles Xavier, and Moira X. The way things end leaves a lot of responsibility on Uncanny X-Men #700 to ensure the Krakoa Era gets the great ending it deserves.

Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10

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