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House of M #4

Posted: Friday, July 22, 2005
By: Shawn Hill



Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Olivier Coipel (p), Rick Magyar and Tim Townsend (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: You know how dogs are with a bone? That’s our Wolverine, urgently on the trail of a foul scent that pervades his world. Luckily, mutants smell the same all over.

Comments: Well, if you’re going to do this, this is the way to do it. Bendis has given us just enough hints about this brightly reconfigured world to know and see the pieces that have gone topsy-turvy. But he’s not concerned with world-building here (and neither, really, are we). He’s concerned with world-destroying, and this issue is a speed-read as Wolverine puts piece after piece of the puzzle back together.

Of course, it helps if cute little idiot-savant children have already been priming the pumps, as it were, when you’re trying to talk people into disbelieving everything they think they’ve ever known. It’s a very touching scene, when Wolverine explains to the very confused girl why she can see the real world, the world the Maximoff family has hidden under so rosy a haze. It’s nice to see that Cage and others are almost as quick to doubt the given reality as Wolverine.

And that’s the positive side of Bendis’s message: mutant powers give you special, precious abilities, clues to fix the world (or at least your place in it) that others lack. Though it’s significant that most of Wolverine’s posse aren’t mutants, but augmented or specially trained humans.

The negative side, however, are the messages he’s building towards with that mutant royal lineage. Because despite its pervasive success, House of M is just another deluded dream of Magneto’s, and he never gets to keep those.

Wanda still doesn’t appear in this issue, but she rates a mention as, ironically, the “human” one of Lord Magneto’s children. What a genial message of tolerance he has accorded her, raising her alongside her preferred homo superior siblings. What a twisted version of a dream, and one wonders, is that hers? A life of complete normality, with none of the prices paid for her mutant might?

That’s the question, and where the rest of this series will rise or fall. Bendis has interviewed that the House of M is the most tragic of all the mutant groups in Marvel; will their fate ultimately garner hope, or grim despair, in the face of the mutant dilemma?

Most interesting: Wanda doesn’t appear, but Emma certainly does, and that panel of her coming home, composed and complacent, to find a blood-stained, scruffy Wolverine and his posse in her living room is worth the price of the issue alone.



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