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House of M #6

Posted: Friday, September 16, 2005
By: Shawn Hill



Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Olivier Coipel (p), Townsend, Magyar, Hanna (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Schematics: Let's see, I think I can do this like Bendis does. Here's the script:

1. Emma can do anything. The only reason she's not Charles, apparently, is that she's younger and hasn't gotten there yet.

2. The Brotherhood of X-Avengers plan to attack Magneto, only without the planning.

3. Magneto's having a party.

4. Jessica Drew's life was so bad she's got no problem with the new status quo that has everyone else foaming at the mouth.

5. This issue, everybody . meets each other.

There, done. Go draw the pictures, Olivier!

What's interesting: Coipel's art (despite the multiple inkers, who maintain a harmonious front) continues to impress. His Spider-Man is up there with the classics, and he keeps the diverse personalities, even in altered gear, clear. It's worth noting that even the "awakened" victims of the "House of M" illusion maintain their clothing and appearance from the new world; those at least are real. Which doesn't really fit with Hawkeye being able to see the real newspaper headlines under the fake ones Kat wrote in The Pulse, but whatever.

He's also got a strong bead on details of personal appearance: hair, clothes, expression (Luke's worried glance as he dials his wife's answering machine and finds her married to a dead hero instead). This serves him especially well when we greet the Royal Family itself; they're gorgeously creepy, with a tense Pietro, a camera-ready Magnus and, interestingly, a veiled Wanda fading into the background. What can't she see? What doesn't she want to be shown?

Confusing: Bendis' characters manage to sound like themselves while doing things they would never do. In fact, they talk so much about what they're doing as they're thinking of doing it that it deadens the dramatic impact when they finally do. I can't accept master strategist Scott urging a raze the ground imperative, and I'm not sure why it's Jessica that wonders aloud if mutants don't deserve this best-case scenario provided them by Magneto.

In fact, that's been the oddest part of this thing all along. The tone. It's weird that we're reading and seeing as wrong and traitorous is Xavier's dream of integration having come to pass, with blue-skinned snaky newsroom editors working alongside her human staff, and clawed hands and tendrils showing up in the greeting line as guests at state events. The horrors of this version of Erik's "Planet X" aren't the forced labor and interment camps of Morrison's tale of his last attempt at world domination. It's not quite the good by necessity heroic mutants vs. the even worse mutant overlords of Age of Apocalypse, either.

Instead, it's an harmonious society that functions, and has achieved everything Xavier has been hoping for all along. Like Wanda's babies and family, there's nothing wrong with this picture. Except it's not a real one, because of how it was achieved. Wanda made babies out of demon parts. Her father made his dreamworld without giving anyone a choice.

And that may be the most moralistic lesson of all.



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