Best viewed in 1280x1024
The Daily Raider is brought to you by the Project for an Unamerican Century and the Ronnie Gardocki Beard Preservation Society. The Daily Raider accepts donations, but we will only use them for liquor, cocaine and South American prostitutes.
House of M #7 Review
The same week Infinite Crisis #1 came out, so did the critical issue of Marvel's big event, issue no. 7 of House of M. If you've not read any of the previous issues, here's a recap that goes over the main points of the story:
And now you're all caught up! I have enjoyed House of M up through #6 despite for some pacing issues, and #7 was purported to be so important they refused to show the real cover of the issue until the day it was out. I've always liked alternate reality stories, even Age of Apocalypse (gimme a break, the last time I read it I was a kid), and as such I had much higher expectations for it than I did for the DC event of choice, so let's see if it exceeded or fell short of my expectations.
The heroes continue the fight while Dr. Strange talks to Wanda and Emma and Layla Miller continue to look for Xavier, as it's likely he has something to do with all of this. Wanda is aware of what she's done, but is not remorseful for what she did; after all, she felt she was making everyone around her happy. We also find out Magneto is a fake; a construct 'brought back to life' by Wanda whenever he dies, like the two times he was killed in New X-Men. It's then that she reveals that it wasn't Magneto who coerced her into using her powers to change all of reality; no, it was her brother, Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver. To make matters worse, Layla accidentally zaps Magneto with her 'remembering' power, and he's royally pissed at his son. AND Hawkeye shoots an arrow in Wanda's back, fulfilling the threat he made to the House of M in Pulse #10. She's obviously stressed out from all of this, so she makes Hawkeye 'die' again and issues the decree that there will be 'no more mutants'. The issue ends with a white flash.
So, Quicksilver is a villain again. But thankfully Bendis didn't decide to make him the 'yes, now I hate all of you and will kill you even though we used to be friends thus upping the angst level' type of hero turned villain, or in this case, villain turned hero turned villain. He's much more sympathetic and has actual reasons behind what he did, other than 'bwahahahahaha' of course. It's true that Magneto has had love for his children, but it's always been overshadowed by his dream of mutant supremacy. And Wanda and Pietro have good reason to resent him for that! Don't you love it when things are actually explained instead of not? (cough Max Lord cough) In fact, even though Quicksilver is technically the villain in this miniseries, I doubt he'll stay a villain since he's basically a hero who did what he did in a moment of weakness. At least, I hope that's the case, instead of making him a mustache twirlin' criminal.
"No more mutants." That's the most important line in House of M #7. From what I've gathered from news sources, that line means that Scarlet Witch is using one last burst of power to wipe out all mutants except for 198 which Dr. Strange was able to protect at the last moment. And by 'wipe out', I don't mean Wanda's going to kill them all. She's simply going to remove the powers of nearly every mutant, and presumably keep the X-gene from activating in anyone else for quite a while. This has its advantages and its disadvantages. For advantages, many people have been complaining about the glut of mutants hanging around, and I'd be very happy if people like Gambit and Lifeguard lost their powers forever. Especially Gambit, as he's a bad Wolverine knockoff who only appeals to slavering fangirls who will grow up to be cat ladies or Jhonen Vazquez stalkers. Killing him would be nice, too. But I digress. For disadvantages to this edict, reducing the mutant population by about 95% goes against Morrison's New X-Men, a run I quite liked. And both you and I know Marvel won't depower someone major like Cyclops or Emma Frost, so instead most of the gene casualties will be third or fourth tier heroes and villains, like Jubilee, Chamber or Avalanche. But certainly, this move will please the people who wanted less mutants. Unless they complain only to be contrary. And people on the internet would never do that, would they?
Olivier Coipel's art has gotten worse with this issue, I'm afraid. For me, it's a bit too chaotic, though I know it is indeed supposed to be a scene of chaos, but I had trouble seeing what was going on at times. Some of the characters look off-model a lot of the time, like Quicksilver and Magneto. Someone like Steve McNiven would be more suited for this project (see The Sentry arc of New Avengers for why). The writing, however, is some of Brian Bendis' best. House of M starkly contrasts Infinite Crisis; instead of being a huge universe-is-hanging-in-the-balance story, Bendis crafts a story where emotions take center stage as opposed to big explosions; many fans have criticized this approach, but I think it sets HOM apart from all the other Marvel alternate history stories there have been, especially Age of Apocalypse, which in premise is somewhat similar to House of M, but definitely not sharing similarities tone-wise. This was also a good decision because Bendis' strength is strong characterization and emotion instead of balls-out action. Compare his Alias run to Avengers Disassembled or his run on Ultimate X-Men to see why.
Whereas I felt Infinite Crisis #1 told a madcap story of explosions and character deaths a plenty, House of M #7 is a gripping tale of characters instead of events. It plays to Bendis' strengths and works better than it would if it was the standard alternate-reality storyline. Pick it up.