As Marvel’s premiere event for the 2005 season, “The House of M” series sets into sequence the direction of much of the entire Marvel Universe for the next few years. Indeed, the events of this series led directly into the X-Men’s mini-series “Deadly Genesis” and influence Marvel’s upcoming Universe-spanning series “Civil War.” But was it worth it? That is, did the hype of the “House of M” live up to its delivery, or did it flop like the rise of the four supermen in the wake of Superman’s “death” or the recovery of Batman after breaking his back?
After the Scarlet Witch’s powers of probability cause her to kill a few of her teammates on the Avengers, she goes into hiding. Known as Wanda Maximoff and a child of the most powerful and dangerous mutant in history, Magneto, she certainly has her burden to bear. But when her powers prove erratic, Professor X and others must decide her fate. Before action can be taken, the Scarlet Witch reorders reality into a vision that no one could ever imagine. In the new world order, humans, not mutants, are the minority and face discrimination at the behest of mutankind.
Mutants everywhere live their greatest dreams—but one mutant has awoken from the dream. Wolverine realizes something is horrible wrong with the world, but no one believes him, until he runs into Luke Cage and Layla, a powerful young woman who can restore the memories of each person she encounters. The story takes off from there as Wolverine, Layla, and others continue to gather more allies to figure out how to restore the reality they once knew and loved. But not everyone wants to go back to the life they once lived, particularly in a world where they maintain some higher level of acceptance and happiness. Despite hesitations, the group realizes that in order to restore reality, they must find the missing Professor X and the Scarlet Witch, a non-mutant member of the most prestigious mutant family in the worldP: the House of M.
As an eight-comic series, the first few issues were a bit slow. Yet for the graphic novel, this works to its benefit in allowing some decent buildup for the grand scale action and events that happen later in the story. Brian Michael Bendis, a popular and talented writer, provides the storyline which in and of itself proves enjoyable, though at times it feels too formulaic without any real challenge. While the characters face challenges, there’s a certain amount of “leaping through hoops” that goes on that can be a bit cumbersome. The striking reality at story’s end proves most provocative and will be the hallmark by which this series will be judged for years to come. If within a decade, the stark universe left in the wake of this series still holds, then its merit will be considered significant. Yet, if in ten years, the status quo has returned, this series will be relegated to another gimmick of the industry.
Though mostly pertaining to the X-Men universe and series, “House of M” can be read by any fan of the Marvel Universe. With lots of cameos and appearances by other characters, “House of M” proves versatile, particularly in the endgame events, and can be enjoyed by all.