After the Scarlet Witch suffered a nervous breakdown due to the side effects of her reality-altering powers. Her father Magneto brought her to Professor Xavier for help. Xavier and Dr. Strange attempted to cure her but both have failed. Now Xavier must figure out what to do with her, because she can instantly wipe out all life across the planet or even further beyond. He calls in the X-Men and the New Avengers to decide her fate.
House of M - Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, & Uncanny X-Men:
When the Scarlet Witch reshaped the world handing it over to her father Magneto, this lead to the mutants taking over and humans reduced to being second class. In the process superheroes were effected in different ways with the Scarlet Witch giving those close to her their hearts desire. But is this the world they really wanted? -summary
This may be the first time I ever encountered something like this in Marvel by this point. Now that I think about it, quite possibly in DC comics as well. It's unusual in regards to big events that major crossovers starring the most popular and mainstream characters could feel like the biggest waste of time. I know it may sound weird or even unbelievable to some, but the House of M tie-in's featuring the most important faces in the Marvel Universe is a complete bomb overall. It seems as if none of the writers were the least familiar with Brian Michael Bendis' work. It feels like starting a conversation with that guy who is always out in left field, "hey Chuck what color is the sky?" "ummm... cat?" Some may think I'm exaggerating but this is the truth.These stories are way off from the main premise; I know the Scarlet Witch's powers are bizarre but this is ridiculous. Written by various writers such as Chris Claremont, Fabian Nicieza, Mark Waid, and John Layman, this TPB collects Spider-Man: House of M 1 - 5, New Thunderbolts 11, Fantastic Four: House of M 1 -3, Black Panther 7, and Uncanny X-Men 462 - 465.
The first story begins with Spider-Man, and man, does it have such a magnificent set up only to yank the carpet from under your feet. In this reality Peter Parker is a well known mutant, and he uses his powers for making movies. Uncle Ben, Captain Stacy, and Gwen Stacy are alive and well with Gwen being his wife. Mary Jane is the co-star in his latest movie. Everything is on the up for Peter and this definitely seems like a world he would want. Eventually things begin to change for the worse, and this new life crumbles completely all around him when he's exposed as a fraud. The story is very interesting, and it follows the House of M concept and main story for a good while, to include it seems as if you're getting that missing story from the main storyline. Then all of a sudden.... it just.... fizzles out and becomes something else; very awkward plot twists take place and I remember finding myself completely clueless. Without spoiling anything it begins to feel like a "What If" story, instead of a House of M tie-in. The ending is completely out of sync and it contradicts Parker's story in House of M. Mark Waid sets it up so well with there being a possibility Parker knows this entire life is fake, but he does nothing with it. It's like having this kick-ass conversation with a hot girl, and everything is clicking just so she can tell you that she's a lesbian.
The New Thunderbolts story is barely worth a mention. It follows the son of the original Captain Mar-Vell, Genesis-Vell, as he joins Ms. Marvel tracking down the Thunderbolts who have become human freedom fighters. He somehow begins to realize that the world isn't real as well, and what ensues is a redundant story of him catching flashes. The Uncanny X-Men which is made up of the four part story Season of the Witch deals with the outside effects of the Scarlet Witch's powers. It appears that her powers have an effect on the space-time continuum where Otherworld resides, which is inhabited by the Captain Britain Corp. Brian Braddock aka Captain Britain is sent to the House of M world to prevent a reality collapse. This also draws in Psylocke and Rachel Summers of the X-Men. This story is more straight forward than it sounds, but the falling Chris Claremont goes out of his way to inject different sub plots which results in quite a bit of confusion if you read it too fast. However, if you take it easy you'll still find an uninteresting story here that feels too forced into the House of M arc. It doesn't feel like it belongs in House of M, and it's quite misleading to even call it an X-Men story, because it features founding members of Excalibur. This story only did two things, set up the ground work for the New Excalibur series which would take place as a result of this story, and prove that Chris Claremont is now a hack writer who is stuck in the 80's; something that will go on to damage the New Excalibur series rendering it damn near unreadable.
The only stories worth a damn here are the Fantastic Four and Black Panther; as both of these stories can in some way work as tie-in's. In the former, Reed and Sue Richards died in the space accident that gave them their powers, and through dark magic and science Dr. Doom who's face was never disfigured, gives the powers of the Invisible Woman and Human Torch to his wife and son, plus turns Ben Grimm into his slave calling him "The It". Together they become the Fearsome Four and he attempts to overthrow Magneto, because Doom being Doom will bow to no man or especially mutant. This story alone saved the book from a lower rating. It's fun to read, plus the action and story are entertaining. To a certain degree as well, it can actually fit into the main story, and even though it seems strange that the Scarlet Witch would give Doom any of his wishes yet kill her friends Reed and Sue; I think it goes back to the Beast's original thoughts in Avengers: Disassembled, when he wonders why she killed and injured some people but only humiliated others. This part probably has something to do with her unstable state of mine. The Black Panther story is very good, as he prepares for the inevitable war with Magneto. This sees the Panther taking on Sabretooth, and even Apocalypse attacks his kingdom. In some ways I can see this story fitting the main storyline.
This book is seriously more miss than hit though. X-Men fans coming into this will definitely feel jerked, because almost none of the members they know as X-Men make appearances. It also doesn't help at all that the character's aren't even developed to the point where anyone would even want to follow any future stories starring them. Those searching for an expansion on House of M will find most of this book very hard to get through. The character development in Spider-Man is done well I will admit that, but I already stated why that story just doesn't work.
The artwork is probably the best feature as multiple artist turn in some good work. I think Fantastic Four and Black Panther stand out the best here. Dr. Doom's new look is very good with his mask appearing to fit perfectly on his new face, he resembles a cross between Colossus and Mr. Sinister. Plus the designs for the new Invisible Woman and the demon influenced Inhuman Torch are awesome. Storm looks great and goddess-like in Black Panther, plus there are some good action panels and nice backgrounds, with one stand out moment being the devastation left behind from Black Bolt's super ability called The Master Blow, which is a sonic scream with highly destructive force. Another thing I will mention from the pages of X-Men, Captain Britain got into a fight with a group of X-Men from an alternate reality, and the females of the group were actually men. It's so disgusting to see male versions of Psylocke and Rogue, it actually makes my stomach turn just thinking about it.
To wrap this thing up, I only recommend trying to get your hands on the Fantastic Four: House of M book. I'm not sure which TPB the Black Panther is found in, but if it's in either one of those other TPB's in this book, it's not at all worth the purchase. Unless you're a diehard Marvel fan or a House of M completest, I highly recommend not spending a black penny on this. If you come into this searching for a real expansion to the House of M, then you'll just be throwing money away for the most part.
Pros: -Some good artwork, Fantastic Four and Black Panther
Cons: -Near worthless for the most part.
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