am 16. Mai 2006
Brian Michael Bendis' "House of M" is obvious an important event in the Marvel Universe, since virtually every comic book title has to deal with its consequences in some way or another. The eight-part crossover event is collected in this trade paperback volume is really just the beginning, so that the end is not so much the conclusion as it is setting the stage for what is to follow. So be forewarned, that if think picking up this book is going to get you totally up to speed on what is happening in all of the "House of M" titles, that is not going to happen. What is here, is prologue.
"House of M" follows up on a previous set of story arcs, most prominently "Avengers Disassembled," also written by Bendis, in which Jack of Hearts detonating killing Ant-Man and destroying half of the Avengers Mansion, She-Hulk tore the Vision in two and put Captain America, Captain Britain, and the Wasp in the hospital, and Hawkeye sacrificed his life to save his teammates from a Kree warship. The Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, turned out to be behind the attacks, having lost control of her reality-altering powers and suffered a total nervous breakdown over the loss of her children. Stopped by Dr. Strange, Wanda is taken away by her father, Magneto, to the devastated island-nation of Genohsa.
The story begins six months later with the New Avengers and the X-Men meeting to discuss the fate of Wanda. Professor Xavier has been working to aid Wanda in her recovery, but he has failed and Wanda is back to trying to alter her reality, now bringing back her children and her husband. So the superheroes have gathered to debate whether Wanda should live or die. Captain America, Wonder Man, and Spider-Man are against the idea, but Wolverine wants to know how many more people Wanda has to kill before they stop her. But when they get to Genosha, Wanda is gone, taken by somebody. Emma Frost finds Wanda, but when they approach the world goes white-and when it fades away Peter Parker is awaken from a sleep by the crying of a baby. When he gets up to take care of it we notice that the woman in the wedding picture and the one sleeping in the bed has blonde hair.
"House of M" stands for the House of Magnus and the world that Wanda has created is one in which mutants rule the world and it is now humans who are the oppressed minority. Everybody knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, who is married to Gwen Stacy, and has a son named Richie. Steve Rogers is an old man, retired from the U.S. Air Force living in the Bronx, Kitty Pride is teaching grade school in Cincinnati, and Stephen Strange is a psychiatrist. We see what has happened to many of the superheroes who attended the meeting, and then Wolverine wakes up and remembers-everything (including, apparently, his real name). Now all he has to do is convince the others that they are former superheroes that they are living in a world gone wrong that needs to be set back to rights.
All I have done here is sketch out what happens in the first of the eight issues, and touched on the first couple of pages of the second issue and the crux of what is to come. The importance of the story comes from the general idea, but the fun in reading the story comes in the details. Oliver Coipel did the pencils, with Tim Townsend with Rick Magyar, Scott Hanna & John Dell doing the inking. The cover art is by Esad Ribic, although you will find alternative covers by a variety of Marvel artists, from Joe Quesada to Chris Bachalo. As I indicated above, the fact that not everything is neatly tied up at the end of this one, which ends with a big question as to what happens next, will proven maddening to some readers.
On the side binding of this volume there is the "H" and the left side of the "O" of "House of M," which means if you get all of the "House of M" paperback collections up on the shelf in the right order it will spell out the title. That sort of marketing ploy could set you off as well, but having read "House of M: Spider-Man" (in the original comic books), I know that you do not need to move beyond this one unless you really want to. But at least from this one you get the set up for the brave new world Bendis has created in the Marvel Universe.