House of M #3 Review

“House of M” Part 3

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Oliver Coipel
Inker: Tim Townsend
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Production: James Taveras
Editor: Tom Brevoort

Published by Marvel Comics

This is not a series that I was looking forward to at all. Magneto is not a big selling point for me. I didn’t quite understand the “is he or isn’t he Xorn” story from last year. It seems like he is everywhere, behind just about everything the X-Men have to deal with that isn’t the fault of homo sapiens. So having a big crossover featuring him is not something that I find special.

The reason I picked this series up was Brian Michael Bendis. I’ve made no secret that I am a big fan of his work, particularly when he is on smaller, more character based stories like Ultimate Spider-man, and Daredevil. When he took on the Avengers last year, it produced quite a mixed bag. It felt very thrown together. In some ways, a sequel to that Disassembled story. Can Bendis redeem himself?

Being that Bendis loves to pace the beginning of his stories rather slowly, it was surprising that so much has happened thus far. The first issue was a set up (as most first issues are); we met all the key players, and found out that Magneto was still watching over his daughter Scarlet Witch, who is sort of playing with reality. The heroes of the Avengers and X-Men gathered together and took a field trip to Genosha to…I don’t know, I guess they wanted to talk to her, have a little pow-wow before they decided to kill her or not. And then…BAM!

The second issue introduced us to a different world (not that post-Cosby sitcom) where everything was…well, different. This apparently shows us what the world would be like if Magneto ruled the world. Mutants were in control for the most part, Peter Parker was married to Gwen Stacy, Luke Cage is the king of Hell’s Kitchen, along with a whole lot of other, different things.

Before we go any further, I have to compliment Oliver Coipel. I don’t know much about him, and I think the only work of his I’ve seen before this is a few issues of Avengers from a few years back. His art is great. It compliments the story very well, telling the story in a very clean, yet dynamic way. He seems to have a great balance of style and substance.

Now I remember months ago that Bendis promised that the ending to the third issue would be controversial, exciting, and infuriating. Is it? Yes it is. But let’s get to the rest of the issue first.

The story really belongs to Wolverine this time. We learned last month that he may be the only person who remembers the way things used to be, the way we’re used to the Marvel universe being. So when he wakes up on a helicarrier, in bed with Mystique (disguised as Jean Grey, mind you) and part of SHIELD (or something like it), things are weird for him. But he remembers the trip to Genosha and then waking up here.

It’s not an entirely original story in this issue. The stranger in a strange land has been done many a time before. But it totally works here. As I said before, I prefer Bendis’ character pieces more, and this actually turned out to be one of those. Instead of focusing on the world and how it’s changed, we see how it has affected one man. Because of that, we get a good look at the House of M world through a very specific point of view.

But throughout all this, we also great a great action comic. Bendis and Coipel juggle the action and drama very well, making for the best issue of the series thus far. There are fights, chases, and intrigue. The scene where Wolverine goes to the (former) Xavier mansion is a highlight, as it exemplifies just how different this world is to him. It also raises a lot of questions about Xavier’s whereabouts for us.

So as for that ending, I for one was surprised. If you don’t want to know the ending, then by all means, stop reading now.

When Hawkeye showed up on the final page, I was not happy, nor was I sad, but I was a little confused. I’ve mentioned before how his death was fine with me, I didn’t much care for him while he was around, good or bad, so it didn’t mean much to me. It raises a lot of questions about this series, and about “Disassembled” as well. Is this supposed to be Hawkeye’s big return? Did Bendis and the editorial team have this planned all along? Does this cheapen his death? Or does this mean it’s just Hawkeye from an alternate universe?

Actually that presents a bigger problem, not just for the issue, but the story of House of M in general. We’ve told there will be repercussions in the Marvel U, of course. But as loyal comic book fans, we know that things, for the most part, will go back to normal. So far, I’m not getting any indication that this story is any different than the many other alternate universe stories I’ve read throughout the years. So if Hawkeye is back, is it for good? And is it at the sake of a better story?

I waited for 1602 to transcend the alternate universe barriers to become a better story, something more. I was disappointed. And no I’m waiting for House of M to do the same. So far, it’s been an enjoyable story, better than I expected, but I fear it may just fizzle out.