Hey gang! Another week, another Forte, another comic book classic for you and I to catch up on. This week, I’ve deviated slightly from my usual themes (read: sci-fi) and picked up a classic X-Men tale. Those of you that have been reading Pulp for a while might remember that I’m not the biggest fan of the disciples of Charles Xavier, but considering I’d been thinking a lot about the future of the MCU after watching Infinity War, I thought it’d be appropriate – especially given that this week’s title – classic X-Men centric tale House of M – had an equally catastrophic impact on the Marvel universe.
The Avengers are reeling. Three of their number are dead, at the hand of one of their own. Hawkeye. Ant-Man. The Vision. All dead to the instability of their former teammate, Wanda Maximoff (a.k.a. Scarlet Witch), daughter of infamous X-Men villain Magneto. As the Avengers gather with the X-Men to determine their next move, a panicking Quicksilver – Wanda’s brother – begs his father to save Wanda’s life. As the assembled Avengers and X-Men approach Wanda’s hiding place to judge her mental state, the heroes to start to disappear one by one, until the world goes white. Waking up in a new world where mankind is ruled by Magneto and his ruling class of mutants, Wolverine is horrified to learn that the world he knows and loves is gone – the House of M is the new world order.
While there is a lot of set up, the House of M is a really interesting “Elseworlds” style tale. House of M had repercussions beyond the limited series, however; the X-Men were devastated by this storyline and took a long time to come close to regaining their status quo. Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil) was essentially given the keys to the Marvel universe for this one, and he effectively turned it on its head. While I would’ve preferred to see more of the day-to-day repercussions of the new universe – rather than a “making heroes remember” montage – Bendis really captured just how powerful Wanda is when she can effectively re-write the entire Marvel Universe.
The cast here is massive – most of, if not all major Marvel heroes circa 2005 make an appearance – and to be honest, I think it was a little detrimental. Collecting the main team took up more time than I would’ve liked, and I felt like there was a distinct lull in story movement about half way through. It’s by no means a perfect story, but it’s still damn entertaining, and it really shook up the Marvel landscape, which I generally tend to welcome. It’s always interesting to see “what if?” scenarios, and House of M is easily one of the biggest of those types of stories. While I personally see the repercussions of the series to be a little more impactful than the story itself, it’s still a really interesting take on how the heroes we know and love deal with internal problems (though perhaps not as emotionally as Civil War). If you love your Marvel heroes – and, like me, somehow hadn’t picked up this classic – I definitely recommend it.
Written by Alastair McGibbon