Why You Should Read HOUSE OF M

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Posted by No_Name_ (16193 posts) - - Show Bio

"No more mutants."

Of all the phrases we've seen uttered by any character in comics over the last ten years, these three little words have to be the most profound. Published in 2005 and written by Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis, HOUSE OF M is a story that should be at the very top of every Marvel fan's reading list, and for good reason. Aside from the fact that the story is compelling, and the pencils by Olivier Coipel, inks by Tom Townsend and vibrant colors by Frank D'Armata are absolutely breathtaking, HOUSE OF M was the story arc that opened the door for the current state of Marvel's X-Men Universe that we see today. It is the story that paved the way for new characters to exist (like Wiccan and Hope Summers, for example) and led to story arcs like Deadly Genesis, Messiah Complex, Second Coming, Decimation and Children's Crusade. But beyond the fact that it is the essential story that led to Marvel's current landscape, it's simply an amazing story.

Those who are not familiar with HOUSE OF M should absolutely look into reading the story not only because it sets up many of the great stories that followed it, but also because it begs a very fundamental question that still plagues the Marvel Universe: should the Avengers or the Mutants have the power to decide whether or not to contain a character who has a lot of power?

The House of M story arc launches by asking this very question. The story opens with Wanda Maximoff who seems to be falling deeper and deeper into insanity. For those unfamiliar with the character, Wanda (Scarlet Witch) is the daughter of Magneto and sister to Pietro (Quicksilver). She has the ability to alter reality by simply wishing something to be. This power of hers has gone unchecked (which is, in itself, crazy) and the fact that it has gone unchecked for so long is pointed out by Avenger Dr. Stephen Strange. The thing is, the more Wanda uses her powers to alter reality to do her bidding, the more she loses her grasp on reality. The result is, essentially, a ticking time bomb: if Wanda continues to use her powers and fall further into insanity, she will eventually have a nervous breakdown and all she will have to do is wish for everyone to be dead and, well, they would be. Wanda becomes increasingly more difficult to control: so much so that Charles Xavier is forced to drug (where are your medical ethics, Chuck?!) her just to psychically force her to sleep.

Charles realizes early on that he, the most powerful telepath in the world, can no longer contain Wanda's minds. That if she loses control, there is a chance everyone could die. This is where the story's premise comes into play: should they, as Emma says, "put her down" or is it completely unethical to do so, even if there is a chance that she could destroy everything and everyone around her (just look at Genosha!)?

Beyond the moral and ethical premise of this story, is a series of really brilliant moments that are shared between Pietro and his father, Magneto in the first issue. Pietro (Quicksilder) realizes that the Avengers and the X-Men must decide whether or not to kill Scarlet Witch because she is too much of a loose cannon: but is it their right? Beyond that, she is still his sister and he loves her; there must be something Magneto should be able to do. This scene shared between father and son is revisited in issue #7 of HOUSE OF M (arguably the best issue in this arc) and leads to an incredibly profound and emotional series of panels depicting a wedge that literally drives the family apart.

The story is not from too long ago, begs a series of important questions, and it's still really relevant. It also leaves readers wondering who to sympathize with. Is this really all Scarlet Witch's fault, or was she driven into madness because of the decisions her father, Magneto, made? Are his ideologies what drove HOUSE OF M? Did Wanda really have any other choice? The story asks a lot of ethical questions: from whether anyone has the right to preemptively strike in order to contain a possible threat, to whether an individual should be held completely responsible for his or her actions and state of mind and, how much should external influences factor in?

Did you read HOUSE OF M? Did you enjoy it? What are some of your thoughts on the questions posed above, and, do you believe it is essential reading?

#1 Edited by Xwraith (31267 posts) - - Show Bio

"House Of M was the story arc that opened the door for the current state of Marvel's X-Men Universe that we see today."

And this is a good thing because...?

#2 Posted by The Stegman (32683 posts) - - Show Bio

@xwraith said:

"House Of M was the story arc that opened the door for the current state of Marvel's X-Men Universe that we see today."

And this is a good thing because...?

It's not that it's a good thing, but rather a reason why this story is so crucial in understanding current Marvel.

#3 Posted by sledgemeyers (40 posts) - - Show Bio

Such a fantastic story. Great suggestion, Babs!

My only complaint in House of M were the story sections that centered around Wolverine being our point of view into what's going on. I sometimes think certain characters are overused in big events like this and would've liked to see a more downplayed character introducing us to the world of 'House of M'.

#4 Posted by Mutie199 (140 posts) - - Show Bio

House of M was one of the best, well written stories i ever read. It showed another reality and what happened to some of the characters in this reality and their introduction was not forced, everyone had a point. Also what i loved most was that this event had real repercussions that lasted for years in the Marvel Universe.

#5 Posted by jojo111 (133 posts) - - Show Bio

@mutie199:and the fact that it shaped the marvel universe forever, without House of M ever occurring, the marvel universe would be a very different place. I loved House of M.

#6 Posted by TDK_1997 (16455 posts) - - Show Bio

The story wasn't bad but the things that came after it just ruined the X-Men a lot.

#7 Posted by Shazam78 (162 posts) - - Show Bio

Overall a great read. Excellent storyline and art and the repercussions are still felt today. I read the paperback best buy I've had in a while.

#8 Posted by blackcobalt (77 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel that a sign of a good story is that it makes you feel emotion towards its characters. This is a very good story. This story, and its aftermath, is what made me stop reading Avengers titles because they welcome a character who is literally a genocidal lunatic onto their team, and at the same time make mutant character "answer for their crimes".

#9 Posted by bane122 (30 posts) - - Show Bio

I've seen this story get a lot of hate over the years but I still think it's one of the best Marvel events (full disclosure, the last one I read was Secret Invasion).

And kudos to Marvel for making it have such repercussions. It seems rare nowadays that an event matters as much as this one did.

I also remember really liking the Spider-Man mini related to this. His reaction when the world was restored was great.

#10 Edited by Kesho_Ronin (242 posts) - - Show Bio

Never did read House of M...but am going to :)

#11 Posted by impossibilly (921 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to see more articles like this in the future, that focus on story lines, both major and minor, from the past that are worth a second look today.

I now wish I went in for Comixology's recent House of M sale.

#12 Edited by Misterkyle91 (109 posts) - - Show Bio

no more mutants...except the popular ones...

#13 Posted by SynCig (1007 posts) - - Show Bio

I just read this somewhat recently and I really liked it. I am a fan of Wolverine and I felt his characterization was superb. I also found Magneto's relationship with his children to be heartbreaking.

#14 Edited by papad1992 (7025 posts) - - Show Bio

no more mutants...except the popular ones...nny

Yeah right... funny how that happened!!

#15 Posted by QuantomMan (221 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm going to go buy this right now. My friend let me sort of read it back in 05 but now i want it for myself.

Thanks Sara

#16 Edited by kid Apollo (892 posts) - - Show Bio

love the main book, some of the offshoots were pretty good too. great art, cool 'what-if' ideas, one of the few times in the last couple years i enjoyed a book following Wolverine. the end battle is pretty sick, Magneto, Rogue, Quicksilver and Wolverine all put on a pretty good show. oh and i cant forget about HAWKEYE

the best repercussion of this whole book is the return of Hawkeye, hes got the best version of his purple costume, and a whole lot of anger towards the Scarlet Witch

Spiderman's story is pretty good too, and parts are kinda heartbreaking. as far as the offshoots go, id say his is probably the best.

#17 Posted by alex6166 (64 posts) - - Show Bio

I read all seven issues of House of M and I have to be honest, at th end I could barely remember anything that happened in it. Wolverine wakes up and remember he's some guy named 'james' and Cloak and Dagger was in it. A few other things about Mutants dominating the world. Then the last thing.

I guess it was O.K. It was no Age of the Apocalypse.

#18 Posted by Crash_Recovery (855 posts) - - Show Bio

I read this several years ago, enjoyed it at the time, and then pretty much forgot it.

Then I bought it again from Comixology a few weeks ago during their sale...

This book is responsible for the vast majority of the Marvel landscape as it exists today. Though it doesn't feel as polished as some of Bendis other work, it's a fun ride and it left an imprint on the line.

#19 Posted by Darkmount1 (1472 posts) - - Show Bio

I can respect this story's place in the history of the medium--but don't think I will read it. For me, my interpretation of the MU comes to an end before Avengers: Disassembled. I pick and choose which pieces from post-HOM MU I like and then find a way to incorporate them into my timeline from there.

On the DC side, for me, it ends after "52".

#20 Posted by SolthesunGod (323 posts) - - Show Bio

I really enjoyed House of M but I hated disassembled and decimation so it's such a mixed bag for me. However we got this amazing spread out of it so it's almost justified. If it had a decent in character ending I would have loved it. And yes the Scarlet Witch is responsible for what happened because of the revelations in Children's Crusade.

#21 Posted by Manwhohaseverything (2708 posts) - - Show Bio

I started it, but couldn't finish. I thought the writing was horrendous. if you ask me why, I can no longer give you the details why I thought that. Which tells me this story, in my view, was worse than just bad. It was forgettable.

#22 Edited by TommytheHitman (5047 posts) - - Show Bio

I read it a while ago. It was okay, although it leading into modern Marvel isn't as good as you claim.

#23 Edited by Teerack (9998 posts) - - Show Bio

House of M was an amazing event and they will never do anything like it again. It was also the first big event to really change every ongoing in marvel, so it was actually really well done. Unlike now where they made an event like this once a year.

#24 Edited by ALFMutant (186 posts) - - Show Bio

First time I've read an event that felt to happened so fast. Even the ties-in are, mostly, all worthy to buy and that is rare. Except Wolverine getting back his memory, there is nothing wrong in that story.

#25 Edited by MadeinBangladesh (12048 posts) - - Show Bio

Heard House of M sucked.

#26 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3637 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't say much for what came out of the end of House of M, but the premise was certainly captivating. Seeing the various lives of the Marvel heroes.

It was certainly popular enough to spawn a really funny parody series. I love this one, becasue they especially reference Emma's famous "put her down" line. That line was so vicious, but it was cutting right to the point of what they were discussing.

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#27 Posted by saoakden (1254 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoyed this story when I read it. It was an interesting story.

#28 Posted by thatlad (701 posts) - - Show Bio

I made a post on House of M a few weeks ago (Here):


I've just read House Of M in full for the first time ($0.99 sale on comixology) and it's give me a richer appreciation for Bendis.

Let's just look at this for a second and think about the feat Bendis pulled off. 7 and a half years ago Bendis creates a massive crossover across Marvel Universe, repercussions felt in issues long after, the only thing comparable would have been secret wars. For secret wars the writers had to come up with a macguffin in the form of the beyonder, I'm not besmirching secret wars with that, I'm just trying to make the point that Bendis carefully constructed Wanda as a plot device where her powers naturally evolved to massive scale rather than invent a 'supreme being'. In fact she's the perfect plot point, she ties both the avengers and the x-men worlds together cohesively and the mental strain of her life it's pretty much logical in comicbook world that this could happen.

Now take a look at the story. Let's throw everything on the table, what can we do that is massive I mean seriously throw everything on the table, give everyone something that will effect them for years to come.

What's the worst thing we can do to Spider-Man? Take everything bad that ever happened to him, I mean EVERYTHING and make him forget it...then give it ALL back. I mean if that was an Osborn plan it'd be probably the worst thing he'd ever to to Peter.

Logan, what do we do with him? He's been knocking about for years, we've ran pretty much every story possible about his missing memories. Let's give them back. Seems easy right? Well not really because we're going to throw a whole other set of memories on top.

Strange, yeah let's make him fail completely. Let's do something so huge that it's going to have repercussions on him for years to come

X-Men, we should do something new with them....hmmm

I could go on but the main point I'm making is, this:

House Of M is how a crossover should be done, it should be huge, it should have massive repercussions on every single person involved. Not small two-issue "oh woe is me" I mean like serious storyline makers that will last months/years to come.

House of M, might not be perfect but it is a massive feat and probably the most impressive crossover when you consider the scope, lasting effects, cohesiveness of the story. This in turn leads to the criticism of not so much Bendis but Marvel in general. Name another storyline since that hits the same notes.

#29 Edited by NICKXH (367 posts) - - Show Bio

I think this was the one of the first trades I had bought and by far one of my favourites.

#30 Posted by AgeofHurricane (7691 posts) - - Show Bio

It changed things alright and it's an event that actually had long-lasting repercussions and also had a warrant for the callously thrown banner of "something that will rock the Marvel Universe for years to come...!" but in terms of writing and schematics, it wasn't all that. Coipel, as usual, was the saving grace for Bendis' writing.

#31 Posted by mattydeNero (535 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article. A nice refresher. I didn't think much about the repurcussions of HoM until around Children's Crusade. If anyone who has never read HoM after reading this article, you MUST. Knowledge.

#32 Posted by blackkitty (428 posts) - - Show Bio

it's good cause now all the books are the same, there's no confusion. you can pick up avengers and read x-men and visa versa... life is awesome.. oh wait... no... what's the opposite of awesome?

#33 Edited by hyenascar (200 posts) - - Show Bio

@xwraith said:

"House Of M was the story arc that opened the door for the current state of Marvel's X-Men Universe that we see today."

And this is a good thing because...?

Good point, the xmen universe IS AWESOME now.

The series was great. It flipped the convention on it head. It also lead the way to a true crisis for all mutant kind.

Hell the new X-factor came out of it.Maybe inadvertently, but it still came after House of M.

#34 Edited by VioletPhoenix (335 posts) - - Show Bio

This was my introduction to comics. This story was what got me to love comics and started the obsession. Incredible story.

For a new reader, not the best place to start..but a good challenge to figure out what happened before and after. It leads you to want to know everything about these characters.

#35 Posted by sora_thekey (8705 posts) - - Show Bio

Besides Ultimate Spider-Man, House of M is the reason I read comics now.

#36 Posted by elayem98 (486 posts) - - Show Bio

Just added it to my amazon wishlist

#37 Posted by NuclearLife (53 posts) - - Show Bio

Layla Miller, you shouldn't need any other reason.

#38 Edited by emperium (84 posts) - - Show Bio

It's definitely an essential read if you plan on doing catch up on X-Men comics up to the current events. As mentioned, it's a great storyline and had such a huge impact on my own catching up. I found myself hunting for Messiah CompleX, Messiah War and Second Coming books after finishing House of M.

#39 Posted by LordRequiem (1345 posts) - - Show Bio

In the UK reprints that arc is the first one I actually started collecting. Blows my mind. Great great story.

#40 Posted by The Mast (793 posts) - - Show Bio

What I found impressive about the fall-out to this was how long it took them to get back to where they are now.

Even now, mutants are endangered. That's because of M-Day. The best, more impactful events are always ones that take things apart. However, it ONLY works if the writers allow the parts to stay apart long enough to come together naturally. It wasn't until post-Siege that the Trinity (Cap, Thor, Tony) came back together for the first time since Disassembled. It took a long, long time. A wedge driven even further in between them by Civil War (Though Thor wasn't there). In Civil War, the seeds were laid for Thor driving an even further wedge when he discovered what Tony did with Clor/Ragnarok.

It lasted so long that the when they DID come back, I didn't feel as though nothing had been learned from their absense. I felt like they were all a little wiser after Disassembled/Civil War/Dark Reign/Siege.

Though House of M was different and nowhere near as widely impactful, it still has that. We don't even know if the mutant populace WILL ever return to where it was. You'd have to assume that, yes, theoretically it will. I guess that's the difference. Yes, this event had lasting impact, but...no I don't really care about it. It only really works if they're fighting for their lives. I.E. Utopia/Second Coming. If mutants don't feel like they're gonna be wiped out anymore, the tension is gone.

Nowadays things happen and are undone within the year. It's hard to be affected by a change when the change comes so quick after a prior change you were supposed to be affected by. You need to let us grow accustomed and used to what you've changed before changing again.

I'd kill to do one of these articles on Born Again.

#41 Posted by Kerrigan (264 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree, this is a top-quality story, and possibly Bendis's high-water mark with Marvel so far.

My favorite story is not actually in the House of M trade: it's Ed Brubaker's Captain America issue following Cap's life if he never got frozen. That was just great.

#42 Edited by StMichalofWilson (5385 posts) - - Show Bio

One of Bendis's best!

#43 Edited by Arryc (2 posts) - - Show Bio

So many different storylines stem from House of M

- Mutants become an endangered species

- Magik's return and Pixie's Soul Dagger

- Vulcan awakens and conquers the Shi'ar

- Wolverine gains his memories (lots of origin series)

- tension in the superhero community (leading to the Civil War and its fallout)

It is important to read to get an understanding of the current state of the Marvel universe, especially for the X-books.

#44 Edited by -The Renegade- (149 posts) - - Show Bio

Great article Babs! This is an amazing story.

#45 Posted by alanfrancis (11 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoyed this story. I'm thinking about buying the tie-ins. I downloaded all the free ones from the Marvel 700 free giveaway, and I am thinking of buying the rest. Already enjoyed Spider-man.

#46 Posted by ThatGuyWithHeadPhones (16915 posts) - - Show Bio

What if I don't like Current Marvel?

#47 Edited by xscarletkittie (633 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoyed the story overall, but I hate how it screwed over the Scarlet Witch's character. One thing I liked about her was how strong she was portrayed over the years despite all the crap she was put through, especially concerning the loss of her children. I felt Bendis completely ignoring the fact that Wanda did remember her kids (Agatha did block her memory for a time, but lifted it) yet managed to work past the tragedy was a great disservice to the character. That's really my only complaint with it. Oh, that and the X-Men's self-righteous behavior that has continued since. Seriously, "put down" half your X-Men and then we'll talk about killing a person not in control of themselves. *cough* Okay, I'm done.

#48 Posted by M3th (2106 posts) - - Show Bio

This is the 1st book from the "must read" articles/threads that I've actually read. I loved House of M. ( + )

#49 Posted by GREGalicious (583 posts) - - Show Bio

I loved this storyline and, personally, I think it was one of the last really brilliant storylines in quite a while. Avengers vs X-Men was supposed to be another great story but it was too mediocre for my tastes not to mention the fact that im not a huge fan of Hope Summers in the least...

#50 Posted by kantrip (307 posts) - - Show Bio

I quit reading X-men in 1996. The stories were getting to complex and felt like they really had no bite to them. I kept tabs on the X-Universe over the years via fansites and found that things had not gotten any better, so I stayed away. In 2009, a friend reintroduced me to X-Men and their related books and I found that the events of House of M gave the stories that bite that I had been missing years before. I also found it a great point to start collecting issues from. Before when i looked for a good jumping on point, I didn't see any. Just one confusing mission or team-up after another that resulted in the X-men/force/factor facing down the same foes they had for years. House of M created the perfect point for me to start at. It made characters that were previously bland (Emma, Hank, Scott, Rogue) very intriguing, and forced the merry mutants to have to deal with being part of the larger Marvel U. It also meant that the traditional mutant baddies found themselves having to make friends with the X-Men and vice versa.

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