While there were several big Marvel events before this one, House of M is the comic that kicked off Marvel’s event boom, as it were. From this point on, such limited series became a common occurrence, having happened nearly every year since.
Published by: Marvel
Written by: Brian Bendis
Art by: Olivier Coipel
Collects: House of M #1 – 8
PLOT: Months ago, Wanda Maximoff – the Scarlet Witch – decimated the Avengers. Driven to insanity by her reality-altering powers, Wanda lashed out against her former teammates, killing several and emotionally scarring the rest.
But before they can make their move, the world is changed – and the heroes find themselves in new lives where they have everything they ever wanted and no memories of their past selves.
Now, Wolverine, who desperately wanted to remember his own forgotten past, remembers it all – as well as the immense changes Wanda has inflicted on the world. As he begins rounding up his former colleagues to take back the planet from Wanda, Pietro and their father Magneto – the ‘House of M’ – the question arises… should they?
REVIEW: House of M is a strange comic.
It’s a pivotal moment in the Marvel Universe. Like Civil War that would follow, it presented the heroes with great stakes and an even greater fallout, the effects of which were felt for years to come.
I would assume it also did fairly well financially, due to the fact this sort of event storytelling became the norm at Marvel for better or for worse over the next decade-plus.
The strange thing about it though is the way it sets up that formula. A formula of big bits of the story being relegated to tie-in comics. Because House of M has a lot of potential. It starts to tackle interesting themes, exciting threats and earth-shattering twists and turns, but then a lot of that potential is only realised in other comics.
As a result, this comic is such a breeze to get through. Its odd pacing means that so much happens, and yet, at the same time, barely anything happens at all.
The story opens with a generally strong first issue before we’re thrown into the titular House of M’s reality. From there, the story is just a series of people having their memories restored back-to-back, the occasional look in on how it affects them, some rather repetitive dialogue about how mad they all are about the situation, rinse and repeat. In doing this, the comic flies through several issues before coming to the climactic battle at the end, and, most interestingly, the fallout.
It’s such weird pacing, due to the aforementioned fact that most of the world-building here happens in other books. But as a result, while Bendis and Coipel get a chance to create this fascinating new world, they don’t give themselves a whole lot of time or pages to play in it. As a result, the amount of issues it takes to get from A to B seems a tad excessive (although as I’m sure we’ll note, that isn’t too uncommon with some of Bendis’ stories).
Still, Coipel’s art, and the various designs he’s come up with for the House of M are glorious, offering familiar yet different takes on various characters and the lavish and miraculous world they inhabit. It’s bright and beautiful and brimming with colour.
While Bendis’ dialogue is at times repetitive, he proves himself to be a great ideas man here, and although the plot perhaps doesn’t quite live up to the idea’s potential or justify the page-count, the final few issues that set up the next few years of mutants being an endangered species are enthralling and nerve-wracking, and his examination of the fallout in the final issue is suitably harrowing. The final few issues are so hugely important if you want to get into the world of the X-Men, and Scarlet Witch’s status as one of the greatest threats to mutants is still referenced to this day.
And although that pacing is questionable, it is in many ways to the stories benefit, as you can breeze through so many of the issues before you even realise how much content you’ve consumed.
Overall though, all you really need to know about this comic is how it ends with the majority of Marvel’s mutants losing their powers (obviously most of the main ones get through unscathed though).
So, for those reasons, all-in-all, I give House of M a…
Thanks for reading! What do you think about heroes taking on a more villainous role? Let me know in the comments below!
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