No More Mutants!
This week I wanted to read an event series Marvel made in 2005, The House of M. I’d referenced the story a couple weeks back when I spoke of the anniversary of the Fantastic Four but wanted to give the story itself some time in the spotlight.
While you’re getting a good story here, it has its flaws. One theme I find common in Brian Bendis’s work is during event stories like this, he has an antagonist that is barely in the story. In Age of Ultron for example, the title implies you have a villain who the protagonists will do their best to fight off when in fact the story itself deals with an alternate timeline where the heroes react to actions the villain has already committed.
In this story, The X-Men and The Avengers decide they have to do something about the insanity of Scarlet Witch. They reach where she’s hiding out to suddenly have the Scarlet Witch use her power to have an alternate world appear, giving everyone their hearts desires. Wolverine is the only character at the start to realize there’s something wrong and proceeds to gather folks together thanks to the help of a mysterious little girl, another trope of Bendis event stories.
The story was good. You’ll enjoy the read. Yet (there had to be a yet.) I have some problems with parts of the story that Marvel continuously adds to spice up events. The story has no real long term consequences (except from the financial ones that Marvel’s accountants love). Marvel keeps putting out these events where major characters are injured, murdered, in dire circumstances that within a few short issues they resolve and everything gets back to normal in a nice, neat bow. Life doesn’t work like that. Storytelling doesn’t work like that. To properly build drama in a universe you’re creating, each choice you make has to mean something. If you kill a character yet bring that character back a couple months later as if nothing happened, the story loses its impact.
Now comics have the ability to bring back folks that were gone. When done right, you freshen up the character and add drama and tension to the world you’re creating. Think of Marvel bringing back Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier or DC bringing back Jason Todd to the Batman universe. It can be done and done well. It adds to the story because the creators took the time to discuss why they were doing what they’re doing. They didn’t act like kids in their bedroom with some action figures making up a story as they go along.
It’s tough to get into these events from Marvel. They’re great stories, but they ultimately have no real long term impact which begs the question why? Why am I reading this if in the end it doesn’t matter? In the short term, sales sky rocket because people want to see what all the fuss is about. Think of the recent passing of a major character in Civil War 2 as an example of this. Long term, they’re not going to keep this character dead. Like a professional wrestling performing in a retirement match, this character in Civil War 2 will be back in a couple months like nothing ever happened. To me, that’s sad. When you throw so much at these people only to have them shrug it off without many long term consequences, the emotional ties the readers have to the universe are lessened. They won’t stop buying the comics necessarily but they’ll get to a point of indifference which is never a good thing.
Despite my doom and gloom, I still encourage you to read The House of M. It’s available on the Marvel Unlimited app as well as over 17,000 plus comics all on your mobile device. The app is available for iOS and Android. For $9.99 a month or $69 a year, you won’t ever find yourself without something to read again.
Writer: Brian Bendis
Penciller: Esau Ribic (Cover), Oliver Coipel (Interior)
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Inker: Tim Townsend
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
The House of M Reading List:
The House of M (2005) #1-8 (There are numerous tie in issues available to read as well.)
New This Week in Marvel Unlimited:
1. Silk (2015) #5
2. Spider-Man 2099 (2015) #7
3. The Astonishing Ant-Man (2015) #5
4. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2016) #5
5. Venom: Space Knight (2015) #4
6. The Amazing Spider-Man and Silk The Spider(fly) Effect (2016) #3
7. The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #8
8. Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill (2016) #1
9. Carnage (2015) #5
10. Extraordinary X-Men (2015) #7
11. Marvel Universe: Avengers Assemble (2016) #16
12. The Mighty Thor (2015) #4
13. Silver Surfer (2016) #2
14. Spider-Woman (2015) #4
15. Squadron Supreme (2015) #4
16. Iron Fist/Wolverine (2000) #1-4
17. Iron Fist (1998) #1-3
18. Iron Fist (1996) #1-2