Title : Four the Hard Way
Penciler : Scot Eaton
Inker : Don Hillsman II
Colorist : Dean White
Letterer : Cory Petit (VC)
Editor : Stephanie Moore
Publisher : Marvel Comics
This three mini continues with the depiction of the House of M ‘universe’ through the eyes of Victor Von Doom, ruler of Latveria.
One aspect of this series that appeals, particularly when contrasted with the other ‘M’ issues, is in the intellectual interest in seeing a three-dimensional character such as Doom placed in a completely different framework. In other words, watching a megalomaniac such as Doom chafe under the oppressive rule of the ‘House of M’.
Of course, any sympathy which me may be able to muster for Doom is considerably muted by his general attitude and show of entitlement. The addition of his shrew of a mother does little to diminish this impression.
In any event, after remembering the ‘origin’ story of the Fearsome Four, Doom sees an opportunity to topple ‘Magnus’ in the request for an alternate dimension in which prisoners may be housed. We do get a padded fight scene in the second half of the issue, where the Four clear out a particular alternate dimension to make room for the sinister plans of Doom.
The re-imaginings of the four (or really, three of the four plus Doom) are sufficiently different from the originals to make for interesting reading. The Torch seems almost modelled on Ghost Rider, while the Invincible Woman conjures up images of Super-Woman from the recent Crime Syndicate arc of the JLA. The origin of the It appears to be diverging from my earlier prediction, and all the pieces certainly seem to be in place for a confrontation in the final issue next month.
I hesitate as to the consequences which I anticipate, given the fact that it is highly unlikely that ‘Magnus’ will be defeated in one of the side issues rather than the main House of M mini-series. The way in which this clash of egos is resolved is certainly worthy of my interest, at any rate. The scripting is above average as well, with Doom’s internal monologue capturing the imagination, as well as expositing without being to clunky.
The art is sufficient, although the inking and colouring together give an altogether dark and gloomy look, that may well be a conscious decision, given the overall darkness of this ‘M’ universe. The depictions of Doom and Magnus are exceptionally similiar, and this, I believe, is valid, given their obvious portrayals as mutant and non-mutant versions of identical philosophies.
In summary, I’m actually enjoying this as a valid ‘alternate’ take on these characters, particularly Doom. But the chances of this series affecting the House of M proper are modest, at best.