House of M: Fantastic Four #1

Title: A Doctor In The House
Published by: Marvel Comics (of M)

By: John Layman & Scot Eaton
Inker: Don Hillsman II
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Stephanie Moore
Publisher: Dan Buckley

The House of M has taken over. Magneto stands at the top of the world and slowly the clues of how his world is run is revealed in each of the ‘House’ titles. Along the way we see different views of some of the most classic Marvel stories. Similar to Age of Apocalypse, but with a much less ‘oppressive’ feel, House of M has been promised to change the status quo. How? Can’t wait to find out.

The Fantastic Four are no more. Sometime in the past they were destroyed, and in their place is a team headed by Victor Von Doom. “The Frightful Four”. Kind of neat, huh?

Story!

Doom rules Latveria. It is HIS land. With his wife, Valeria at his side, his crazy little sadist of a kid, and a victim of their former lives, Ben Grimm (now known as The It), he is the master he has always wished to be. Almost.

Victor is human. A scientific genius, and a master of magic and sorcery, but still a slight DNA twist has left him not equal with those who are in power. So with constant reminders of how he rules Latveria, but not the world. How he is ALLOWED to rule Latveria by Magneto. How he is LESSER than Magneto. These are the kinds of things that could take a guy and twist him up just a little bit, even the most even tempered and straightlaced Victor Von Doom. (Yes, this is sarcasm.)

Of course, by the end of issue #1, Victor has chosen that House of M is nothing. What will make the world a better place is House of ….

…wait for it…

House of DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Now how was the book? Fun! It gives you enough of the history, without answering all of your questions. Why is Reed dead and Ben a huge dumb hulk? How was Doom allowed to remain a ruler when the humans have all but been destroyed? Layman knows how to write Doom – as he isn’t just a hateful evil vindictive bastard.. I mean, yeah, he is, but beneath that is a man willing to bide his time. He is a man with a family and relationships that (as we’ve seen) he will sacrifice, but only when it is the difference between his heart and his power.

I wouldn’t be surprised if HoM: FF comes out to be the hit of the entire experiment.

Art!

House of M, from what we’ve seen is supposed to be a good world (for mutants), but with a seedy underbelly. Unlike the Age of Apocalypse which was completely dark and crappy, House of M has the appearance of a mutant Utopia. HoM: FF though, is dark and brooding. This is as it should be since we are dealing with Latveria, and Doom who is the ‘human black ops’ for Magneto.

The look, the feel, and the entire damn book is ideal for this. Eaton rocks the facial expressions, and the color palette was chosen with care. Good stuff.

Overall!

As one would expect, most of this issue surrounds Victor, but sadly we don’t get to see too much of the relationships involved. That is the core of Fantastic Four, and where I understand that this book doesn’t really encompass the FF, but I would have liked to see a bit more of the ‘Invincible Woman’ and ‘The Inhuman Torch’ both in and out of action.

Past that, if this is another telling sign of how House of M is going to be, then it moves quite easily from a crossover that I was interested in, to something I truly am looking forward to.