Reviews from the Batcave: House of M

Brett Israel (’10)

The year is 2005 and the Marvel universe is about to be put completely upside-down. Everything thought to be right and wrong will be changed, because of one woman, and this change in the universe is in Brian Michael Bendis’ House of M. The Marvel universe has been no stranger to universe crossovers like this. A former example of this would be Marvel Super Hero Secret War. However, it will be under the new Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada that these are a conmen occurrence. Thus, the opening title of this type was House of M.

Firstly, the writer of this piece is Brian Michael Bendis. This, was one of his first big marvel pieces, but nowadays Bendis is the writer when it comes to the Marvel universe. Currently, Bendis is writing many major titles following his universe crossover Secret Invasion. His major start was in the Avengers: Disassembled, the story of which is somewhat of a prequel to the House of M. Bendis is one of the greatest comic book writers of our time, and projects like this that put him on the level of writers such as Neil Gaimen and Grant Morrison (Morrison is the DC equivalent to Bendis).

This story has its roots in the Avengers: Disassembled story. The entire story circles around the mutant known as Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a The Scarlet Witch. Her powers have the ability to alter reality and therefore she poses a terrible threat to the universe. She is in Genosha, very sick and very unstable. To save the universe, Professor Xavier calls a meeting between all of the X-Men and the Avengers. At this meeting, the Professor declares that they all must decide the fate of The Scarlet Witch. As they debate the issue, sides are taken, and one Emma Frost states how this threat must be eliminated at all costs, therefore calling for her death. On the other side, Captain America states how he will never be responsible for that death, and in turn, would like to keep attempting to cure her. They decide that to make a decision they must see her. However, once the Avengers arrive at Genosha, they are hit with a blinding white light, and next thing the reader knows, Peter Parker is waking up next to his wife. However, his wife is not this woman… this is Gwen Stacy, who was killed by the Green Goblin. The world that everyone is currently living in is a dream world; reality was altered, for everything thought true by the reader is not. Some of the heroes come to the realization of what has happened and proceed to attempt to get to the bottom of it. The story has surprises at every turn. For all your knowledge of the universe is now a lie.

This story is a great tale of who-dun-it and mystery. However, there were some downsides to the story. Some of the heroes actually become the hunted, and in the new world, many aspects are left unanswered. Also, the key to the heroes discovering what truly is happening is a small child, who has no actual character development. Therefore, while many aspects circle around her, it is hard to get a grasp on the character. Also, the ending (which I will not spoil) leaves on a note that makes you want to scream. All things considered, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give House of M 8/10. While the story is a great read, the first time though you may be very confused. However, on a second read, everything will make much more sense. Also, many aspects of the story are compelling and leave you on the edge of your seat. Thus, in true Bendis fashion, you must read on through other marvel titles to get the whole story. However, it is quite clear that this is one of Bendis’ first universe pieces and is a recommended read.

House Of M can be purchased by issues or by Trade paper back for 24.99