Inferno will be Jonathan Hickman's last X-Men comic for now
X-Men comic fans have been fearing this day, but alas, it has arrived. EW can confirm that Jonathan Hickman, the writer behind the celebrated 2019 comics House of X and Powers of X (illustrated by Pepe Larraz and R.B. Silva) that relaunched Marvel's mutants with a radical new status quo, will be departing the X-Men line after his upcoming Inferno series wraps up.
But though this sounds like bad news, readers should take it as a sign of just how successful this new era of X-Men comics has become. Hickman tells EW that his initial plan for the X-line has been massively expanded, thanks to contributions from the other writers and artists who came in to write comics alongside him (including Vita Ayala, Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing, Tini Howard, Benjamin Percy, Si Spurrier, Zeb Wells, Leah Williams, and more).
"Oh, plans have changed entirely," Hickman says. "When I pitched the X-Men story I wanted to do, I pitched a very big, very broad, three-act, three-event narrative, the first of which was House of X. And while this loosely worked as a three-year plan, I told Marvel upfront that I honestly had no idea how long the first part would last because there were a lot of interesting ideas that I had seeded that other creators would want to play with, and so, we left this rather open-ended. I was also pretty clear with all the writers that came into the office what the initial, three-act plan was so no one would be surprised when it was time for the line to pivot."
Hickman continues, "However, I also knew that I was cooking with dynamite, and it was very possible that what I had written in House of X, and the ideas contained within, was not actually the first act of a three-act story, but something that resonated more deeply and worked more like Giant-Size X-Men, where it would represent a paradigm shift in the entire X-Men line for a prolonged period of time. So, during the pandemic, when the time came for me to start pointing things toward writing the second-act event, I asked everyone if they were ready for me to do that, and to a man, everyone wanted to stay in the first act. It was really interesting, because I appreciated that House of X resonated with them to the extent that they didn't want it to end, but the reality was that I knew I would be leaving the line early."
And so, Hickman has slowly been bowing out. The flagship X-Men comic, which Hickman had been writing since House of X and Powers of X concluded in fall 2019, was recently relaunched by Duggan and Larraz. The current New Mutants book, which Hickman originally co-wrote with Ed Brisson, was taken over last year by Ayala (though artist Rod Reis remains).
Last week, Hickman and other high-profile comic creators announced they were beginning new projects on Substack. But though the timing matches up, these things aren't closely related. Hickman will continue working at Marvel even as he launches 3 Moons, 3 Worlds with artists Mike Del Mundo and Mike Huddleston. He just won't be writing monthly mutant comics for a while.
"Marvel doesn't really pay me to just write ongoing monthly books, there's an expectation for me to write bigger books that have a wider reach than that," Hickman tells EW. "In an effort to facilitate both things, we've all spent the last six months or so reorienting the line, me creating Inferno to assist with that, and then bringing in some new writers to add to the existing team, and then plan for the next several years of X-books. So after Inferno, I'll be leaving to go work on my 'Next Big Marvel Thing™' and starting in January the X-Line will rocket forward starting with a weekly series that leads into the very cool, refocused, line of books. Yes, it's taken us a little while to get everything assembled correctly, but the end result — everything that's coming after Inferno — is going to be pretty great."
Speaking of Inferno, check out some teaser art above, and the cover of the first issue below (it hits stores in September, illustrated by former S.W.O.R.D. artist Valerio Schiti). But this isn't just a time for looking ahead. EW has also spoken with Hickman and many of his collaborators about the highlights of the past two years of radical new X-Men comics, and you can read that full story here.
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