Put It Down Pick It Back Up (House of M Review)

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I started House of M in March but wasn’t inspired to finish it until watching the X-Men panel on the Comic-Con YouTube channel. The panelists spoke about the newly concluded “Hellfire Gala,” which leads into the “Trial of Magneto.” Poor Magneto seems to be the scapegoat for all mutant/human, mutant/mutant problems. They blamed him in House of M too!

In House of M, the Scarlet Witch, who has the power to change reality, has a nervous breakdown and kills several of her superhero team mates. She is convalescing on Genosha, the island sanctuary for mutants, under the care of Charles Xavier, the world’s most powerful psychic. She keeps conjuring a reality where she has two children before setting everything back to “normal” at Xavier’s admonishments. He scolds her like a parent might a pouty child (which I thought was funny).

In New York, the Avengers and the X-Men meet to discuss killing the Scarlet Witch. We are only brought in at the end when Emma Frost says firmly, “Put her down.” The naysayers respond weakly and there is no substantial further argument – In fact, no impassioned argument is presented! I felt it would have been interesting to know some of the details of the debate. It might have given me that a little bit of melodrama to engage in the story more fully.

The only character to exhibit some helpful, over-the-top emotion was Pietro a.k.a. Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch’s brother. He used his super-speed ability to race from the heroes’ meeting to Genosha to implore their father, Magneto to stop the heroes from killing her. Magneto just responds sullenly, “They may be right.”

I liked that Pietro was the catalyst for the story. However, he had such a brief appearance that he seemed more like a plot device than a character. I need to add that this is the only House of M book I’ve read so I don’t know if he becomes fully realized in Volume 2 or in one of the many associated books and storylines (so take this statement with a dash of skepticism).

I also liked that Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew and the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde question the heroes attempt to end the House. They were among a select group of superheroes to have their pre-House memories restored. On their way to attack Magneto and restore pre-House life, Spider-Woman wonders if they are only delaying the inevitable rise of mutants as the next step in homo sapien evolution. Kitty wonders,“Doesn’t trying to put the world back after what’s happened seem just as bad as what’s been done to it?”

Though never stated (only depicted) Spider-Man, Peter Parker who has joined Jessica, Kitty, and others to attack Magneto, is unhappy about returning to his pre-House life. In House reality, he is married to Gwen Stacy and they have a toddler son. If the mission is successful he wipes Gwen and his son out of existence. You have to wonder why he has agreed to join the heroes?

I enjoyed House of M because I finished with a lot of satisfying questions like what if Spider-Man or some other hero warned Magneto that they were attacking or was there a Civil War-style fight among the heroes before they joined together to attack Magneto? These are other questions make me want to read Volume 2 and some of the other House of M books.

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