From the House of Ideas: Looking at ‘X-Men ’92 House of XCII #2’ and the Massive ‘Luke Cage Omnibus’

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve been running behind with From the House of Ideas, so forgive me that this is going to be a short but hopefully sweet.

First up, the second issue of X-Men ’92: XCII arrived last week, and it is honestly as strong a series in my mind as the other in-continuity X-books that we’ve been getting. Writer Steve Foxe and artist Salva Espin have established a unique look and feel to their book which feels fresh and different from anything else I’m reading. This issue is built around the character of Jubilee, who served as the original animated series’ Kitty Pryde stand-in, and her position here makes her more appealing than I’ve found her in recent X-books overall. X-Men ’92: XCII is a lot of fun, which I think is an extremely important quality in comics these days. If you’ve got a younger comic fan at home, give them the first two issues of these series to get a kid-friendly taste of what adult readers are following in the X-Men 616 universe.

Also new this past week, and a book I’ve only just started diving into is the massive Luke Cage Omnibus that compiles the debut of the iconic Marvel character. My first real in-depth exposure to the character came when he was a part of Brian Michael Bendis’ original New Avengers run, which did an amazing job of making Cage a huge part of both the team and the 616 Marvel Universe as a whole. However, there’s so much more to the character, beginning with his debut 50 years ago in the first issue of Heroes For Hire #1. Cage was created by industry titans Archie Goodwin, George Tuska, John Romita Sr and Roy Thomas, none of whom, as highlighted in Steve Englehart’s introductory notes, were black. These creators were inspired by the blaxploitation film genre of the time, and set about trying to honour it with Luke Cage.

The Luke Cage Omnibus is nearly 700 pages and compiles Hero for Hire (1972) 1-16, Power Man (1974) 17-47, and Power Man Annual (1977) 1. There’s no doubt that the tone and stories are somewhat dated, but as a collection and arhival look at a hugely important character, the African-American to headline his own book, consider this one a must-have.

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