Looking Back at the Rack #3 – House of M

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Photograph: 'Comics' / Jareed

Last month we looked at Civil War, but in terms of chronology it’s important to understand the events leading up to that. Notably, House of M.

As someone that sometimes would only be able to grab one or two issues when I had time, I was rather keen on the ‘what if’ series because they were one-part stories. Marvel (similar to DC’s Elseworlds) would release ´what if something else´ stories on the pretext that they were never permanent canon. They were entertaining alternative scenarios.

What if Tony Stark became Doctor Doom? What if Doctor Doom had become the Thing? What if General Ross had become the Hulk? What if the Beast and the Thing continued to mutate? What if the Venom Symbiote had managed to control Deadpool? (admittedly this one is a four-parter, but is highly amusing).You need only a basic understanding of the Marvel universe to appreciate them.

This concept has spawned many other titles under the notion ´what if the Marvel Universe was set in a different period of history?´giving us Marvel 1602 and Marvel Noir.

What House of M does differently is that it turns a novelty into a reality on a much more industrious scale. It’s like a ‘what if’ comic that’s actually canon. Scarlett Witch with all her reality altering craziness pretty much turns the world inside out and mutants become the dominant ones, and humans are the ones living in the shadows as the inferior species. That’s pretty much what Magneto has wanted to do for years anyway. And everyone just believes the back-story that’s been created for the world. It’s well written and I particularly like the vision of what that world might look like. You’re probably already asking questions like, ‘so no more sentinels?’,- no they are still included – ‘and S.H.I.E.L.D?’. Sort of, kind of still there.

Not to give too much away, but the only person that sees through it all is a certain adamantium infused wonder. It might be the fact that his mind has been scrambled so many times before it just won’t work again. It might be that his healing factor is rejecting this other reality. It might be something else entirely! Frankly I’m none too bothered, because House of M’s story focuses on the rejection and resistance against Magneto being the official big cheese.

Now House of M itself is pretty good. Especially as it’s something different, but similar to my thoughts on Civil War, as a cross-title universal event affecting all characters, it’s some of the other characters I found myself enjoying more. My favourite House of M spin-off (if you can call it that) is Spiderman. If you followed the 90’s cartoon, you might remember an episode where there was this confusion between X-Men mutants as a species and Spiderman being a mutant that was mutated. This confusion is played upon heavily in House of M’s Spiderman, as to the world he is a mutant with the mutant x-gene, but in actuality he’s just some kid that got bitten by a spider. And he may have written it in his journal…. And someone may get hold of it…. And that may ruin him…. And… that’ll be enough of me giving away the story. It is tense and fun approaching the reversed Spiderman angle from a different perspective.

I’m not going to go through all the details and importance of House of M, but I would say it’s a key event in the Marvel universe chronology leading onto Civil War, but also because at the end they essentially retcon the last fifty years or so of work on the X-Men, which severely disappoints me. I used to be an avid X-Men follower, but I stopped shortly after House of M. However, this is where the Avengers (and other super groups) start to pick up a bit more, with more emphasis on politics, so I would highly recommend reading House of M (and the Spiderman House of M) to understand the exact chaos that follows.

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About Ross Graham 5 Articles
Ross Graham's hometown is a tie between the cultural city of Edinburgh, the rural county of Shropshire and the vibrant Hong Kong. He graduated from Queen Margaret University in Film & Media. He fights crime by day at the office and is an avid watcher of science fiction.

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