Shiny Shelf


House of M round-up

By Mark Clapham on 08 July 2005

WARNING! Contains spoilers!

So far, when it comes to this year’s two big summer crossovers, at concept level Marvel’s ‘House of M’ is grabbing the Shelf’s attention more than DC’s ‘Interminable Crisis’. After an unpromising start, we’re finding ourselves increasingly drawn into Bendis’ rewrite of the Marvel U. Meanwhile, over at DC, duff concepts like ‘Day of Vengeance’ and sheer dullness of ‘The Omac Project’ are causing interest to flatline.

Anyway, that’s enough big picture for now. This week, two titles.

House of M #3 (of 8)

This issue’s all Wolverine, but for once the focus on Marvel’s most overstretched and overexposed character really works. The ‘House of M’ universe is, for most of the Marvel heroes, a gilded cage where they’ve been trapped into seductive positions that stop them from challenging Magneto’s supremacy. Implicitly, the Scarlet Witch has given every one of them their fantasy, squaring the circle of putting her father on top while keeping her human friends safe.

But what does Wolverine want most of all? To know the truth of his past.

Therefore, in spite of being dropped into a cushy job as the main operative of SHIELD’s Red Guard, Wolverine knows that something is terribly wrong. He can remember the world as it should be, and goes on the run to prove it. This is the most dynamic issue so far, mainly because Wolverine has such a direct approach to problem solving – punch people until the problem is solved.

Coipel and co have kept the tourist phase of this story looking very nice, but it’s a relief to see things actually happening in this story. We’re familiar with the ‘House of M’ world, now it seems it’s going to get shaken up.

Not sure bringing back Hawkeye is going to be the thing to add interest, though…

House of M: Fantastic Four #1 (of 3)

Following on from ‘House of M: Spider-Man’, another surprisingly good spin-off mini. Slight misnomer though – this is only got ‘Fantastic Four’ in the title because ‘FF’ is a big brand right now.

In reality, the book is ‘House of M: Doctor Doom’, and all the better for it. Doom leads the Fearsome Four, brutal heroes of Latveria. He’s an important world leader, with cool liquid metal superpowers.

But in spite of all his powers, Doom is still only a human. And in a world where humans are second class citizens, this makes Doom little more than a lapdog to Magneto, an indulged pet on the world stage. He may be on a relatively long leash – but it’s still a leash.

This, Doom does not like. For, as we know, Doom bows to no man – or mutant.

There are some very nice touches in John Layman’s script. The way Doom takes out his aggression on his Thing-esque pet, The It, shows us what an unpleasant character he is. There’s something in the dynamic between Magneto’s mutant nation and Doom’s Latveria that goes to the relationship between fading regimes and new upstart countries, the old aristocracies and new emerging elites.

Scot Eaton’s art is good mainstream superhero art. Nothing amazing, but nice to look at.

Doom and Magneto are two of the more interesting characters in the normal Marvel Universe. Setting them against each other in this new timeline should be fun.

‘House of M: Fantastic Four’ is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Which, considering that aforementioned unpromising start pretty much sums up this whole crossover.


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By Mark Clapham

Mark Clapham is a Devon-based writer and editor. You can find out more about him at the egotistically named markclapham.com.




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