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House of M #7

Posted: Monday, October 17, 2005
By: Shawn Hill



Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Olivier Coipel (p), Townsend, D’Armata, Dell (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: Layla woke up some mutants and their friends. Everyone blames Magneto for putting them to sleep. They attack his suspiciously royal family. But it wasn’t Magneto after all. Directly anyway.

Comments: What we have here is a re-tread of Avengers #503. With different colors, but the same basic point, the same basic players, the same lack of logic, and the same repugnant themes.

Here’s a few of them:
1. Wanda’s still crazy, and still bad. But it’s not her fault.
2. It’s daddy’s fault, but he didn’t just warp her.
3. He warped Pietro too. (That’s two Avengers careers wrecked, two reformed former villains re-villainized. Needlessly. But they couldn’t help it, see, they’re mutants.)
4. And mutants are FREAKS!

That’s a readjustment of the entire Marvel myth about mutants. They’re not misunderstood at all. They’re just cursed. They deserve pity, not respect. And should probably be hospitalized.

This is hideously retrogressive as far as the subtext of mutants, the X-Men, and the Marvel universe of gifted heroes as well. It’s why Bendis never even tries to write Storm; he’s incapable of portraying a happy, well-adjusted “freak.”

Let’s try some correctives:
a.) Wanda is not crazy. One non-sequitor mumble of “(I wish I could tell if any of this was real)” in a flashback is a pitiful attempt to portray an altered mental state.
b.) Magneto didn’t warp them from childhood, as Bendis conveniently implies here. They didn’t know they were related until long after they met as adults. All he did was trick them into his service, and they made an adult decision and freed themselves as soon as they could, long ago. They were upset to find out he was their father. They didn’t let it warp them into being his victims. Until now.
c.) Their time as Avengers was not “brief.” It began in Avengers #16, and was a resounding success; even in Marvel time, that’s several years ago.
d.) Stephen Strange is not an idiot, but he acts like one here. His stunned moment of revelation is a laughable anticlimax.

What’s interesting: Coipel’s art is still pretty. His Hawkeye is especially fetching. And Wanda does actually speak, which is miles beyond what she was capable of in Avengers #503. But this entire series has amounted to an attenuated reenactment of Bendis’ murder of the Avengers, including saving “revelations” about Wanda till the near end. What was incoherent and ridiculously paced then has been slightly improved by issues focusing on other characters, especially Wolverine and Emma Frost. But their roles are limited in this issue, and Bendis is ill-suited to depicting Dr. Strange, who is our closest thing
to a narrator.

Not interesting enough: I can’t make head or tail out of the opening battle sequence, despite Coipel’s gifts. Who is Rogue absorbing power from, and why does it surprise Magneto? He does manage a nifty sequence of Quicksilver streaking like lightning through the ranks on a subsequent page, but loses focus again when Magneto vents his rage at his children and their allies.

And really, nothing could save this tripe. The final page replays issue one of this series, and is such an obvious deck-clearing move it possesses zero suspense. Next month: the X-Men will still be here, and Wolverine will still be in every book. Plus, more mini-series! That crazy witch! What was she thinking?



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