Holiday Gift Guide 2020 Presents Heroes & Villains – ‘House of X/Powers of X’, ‘The O.Z.’

This holiday season, like everything else this year, is set to be unprecedented. Over the last several months I’ve grown to hate that word and I’ve come to view it as a smokescreen for something that could have been either prevented or minimized. I’m not particularly sad about missing out on family gatherings (aside from my aunt’s Swedish Meatballs) because it’s all for THE GREATER GOOD.

This winter is going to be a rough one and I’m not about to climb on my soapbox for this column (maybe I’ll save it for my year in review piece) but this IS a Holiday Gift Guide entry and Ive got just the recommendation for the comics fan on your list that will keep them inside and entertained.

House of X/Powers of X
Jonathan Hickman (W)
Pepe Larraz, Marte Gracia, R.B. Silva (A)
Marvel Comics

Here at BBP! we’ve spilled A LOT of digital ink over Jonathan Hickman’s re-launch of Marvel’s X-Men titles and it’s pretty easy to see why… This is the best that the X-Men titles have been in years. Aside from Matthew Rosenberg’s great run on the title that directly preceded this one, I had not read the main X-Men title since Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men ended (which was forever ago).

I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Marvel had deprioritzed the X-books once the MCU was a bonafide box office phenomenon. Until Fox was enveloped by the House of Mouse, Marvel’s Merry Mutants were kind of out in the cold. Remember when Marvel was dead set on making The Inhumans a thing? For whatever reason, comics fans didn’t connect with the property or just saw through Marvel’s attempts to spotlight a property that no one really paid too much attention to in decades past in hopes that it would be a viable enough IP to eclipse the X-Men.

As it stands now and barring any UNCANNY surprises in upcoming MCU movies (when there are movies again) we’re still a good few years off from an X-Men movie and Hickman is making the best possible use of that time by getting really weird with it. The House of X/Powers of X collection is a great jumping on point for readers (like myself) who may have strayed from the X-flock over the years. It’s odd and different, it tells a HUGE story, and it’s exciting in the way good comics should be.

X of Swords, the first big crossover of the new era, just wrapped and Hickman and the assembled crew of X-writers are definitely playing the long game with these titles. This collected edition would be a great addition to the shelf of any comic book fan and it just may hook them in reading these titles on a regular basis since Marvel is not wasting any time putting out collected editions.

Hopefully, I’ve sold you on this book and if you decide to pick it up I’m asking that you do so at your local comic shop or independent bookstore. If you’re doing the responsible thing and staying home…great! Reach out to your local shop and see if they’re shipping or doing no-contact pickups.

THE O.Z. #1
David Pepose (W)
Ruben Rojas (A)

I recently got a chance to check out The O.Z. and while I usually balk, BALK I say, at pitches that start with the “it’s X meets Y!” formula I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Also, I fully realize that those pitches are designed to entice potential readers by offering familiar reference points to stoke their interest in aforementioned pitch…and that’s good! I’ve probably just read too many bad pitches in the vein of “it’s Mission: Impossible meets Weekend At Bernie’s!”

But I digress. Here’s the blurb:

What if The Hurt Locker took place in The Wizard of Oz? Find out in THE O.Z., the smash-hit Kickstarter series from Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke, Scout’s Honor) and rising star artist Ruben Rojas (Proton)! This action-packed series follows Dorothy Gale’s granddaughter, a disillusioned Iraq war veteran who is swept up by a tornado and stranded in the war-torn land of Oz. Forced to confront her past and her grandmother’s ties to this magical battlefield, this new Dorothy will have to navigate the Tin Soldier, the Scarecrow, and the Prince of Lions if she hopes to bring peace to the Occupied Zone… or as the locals call it, The O.Z.

Previously, I really enjoyed David Pepose’s work on Spencer & Locke and was pretty stoked to see his name attached to this. Of course, since I was a fan of his previous work The O.Z. carried with it the weight of my expectations and I’m happy to say that it delivered. It was nice to see another good indie book being published in a this bastard of a year for the comic book industry. Check it out!

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