Friday, 2 August 2013

X-Men Re-read: House of M

comic musings

The Great X-Men Re-read

House of M

Collects: House of M, #1-8
Writer(s): Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller(s): Olivier Coipel

Ah House of M, my second favourite reality bending alternative universe story (After Age of X, I find Age of Apocalypse a little too long and too often revisited). There were a lot of tie-in miniseries too, but I'll not be covering them. The nice fing about them is that they do make the House of M logo on the spine on my bookshelf. It was also revisited over the years with 3 more miniseries set in the world.

Spinning out of the events of Avengers: Disassembled, the Avengers and the X-Men gather to decide what to do with the Scarlet Witch whose reality bending powers had gone haywire and ripped the Avengers apart and led to the deaths of several members such as Hawkeye. (Behind the scenes, this Disassembled kick started BMB's lengthy run on the Avengers and the franchise becoming what it is today with multiple books (Secret, New, Mighty, Young, Arena etc...).

Quick Synopsis
The Scarlet Witch linked with Xavier remakes reality to give those present their heart's desires. All are effected and cannot remember their lives on the 616 (main) universe, except for Wolverine who for the first time can remember all of his past, including his 616 memories.

The M in House of M, stands for Magnus (Magneto) who rules at least America with his family (Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Polaris). Wolverine promptly rebels and goes AWOL from the royal guard he is serving in, trying to work out the conflicting memories in his head.

Wolverine meets the (unpowered) human Avengers who at first don't believe him but are convinced by the walking Deus Ex Machina - Layla Miller who has the ability to awaken the true memories in people. Hijinks ensure as Wolverine reawakens the Avengers and the X-Men leading to a climatic battle.

Never has three words had such an impact on a comic series. The seeds for pretty much every X-Men story since was set here. With "No More Mutants" the mutants in the Marvel Universe are decimated from millions to a couple of hundred, with no one being born with the X-Gene. Which behind the scenes is a response to the abundance of mutants, most notably in Grant Morrison's New X-Men.
- Some titles are cancelled:
  • Excalibur
  • Distict X
- We get a couple of new books:
  • X-Factor v3
  • New Exaclibur
- New X-Men: Academy X, becomes New X-Men and becomes a lot darker, while launching the X-careers of Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost.
- Wolverine retains his memories, which led to him exploring his Origins, firstly in Origins and Endings, then in a new book Wolverine: Origins.
- Ed Brubaker's Deadly Genesis miniseries directly follows this leading to his run on Uncanny X-Men.
- And no more Mutants, did I mention that?

Best Bits
House of M Wolverine using Mystique to fulfil his Jean Grey fantasies or Peter Parker's anguish at finding out he wasn't married to Gwen Stacey and remembering her death from Amazing Spider-man #121.

Final Words
Although the synopsis is fairly Wolverine heavy, the comic doesn't across that way, he's just our guide into the World of M (I'm not the biggest Wolverine fan, I doubt I would rate it so highly if it had been majorly Wolverine centric).

One of my favourite things is that House of M #8, explores the after effects of "No More Mutants" and the consequences of the depowering of mutants, rather than leaving it as a hangover to the next event which is all too common in comics.

Good writing, quality art and an event book where "everything changes here!" is actually true.

Essential X-Reading
9 / 10

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