House of M: World of M featuring Wolverine (2006)

[ Listening to BBC Radio Scotland Currently: Listening to BBC Radio Scotland ]

Quote:
“You gave him the one thing that he could not live without: you gave him back his war.”

 

This book is a bit of an odds and sods collection of House of M related stories. The main story is from Wolverine 33 -35 and was written by Daniel Way with art from Javier Saltares and Mark Texeira. The book also contains three single issue stories from Black Panther 7, The Pulse 10 and Captain America 10.

The main story features Sebastian Shaw, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., interviewing Mystique after Logan literally jumps ship from a helicarrier. He is concerned about Logan’s loyalty especially after a recent terrorist incident in which a sentinel was stolen by Logan’s old colleague Nick Fury and Logan himself disappeared. The story features Wolverine only in the flashbacks as the interview proceeds and examines further the mutant oppression of the human population and the spiky relationship between Fury and the mutant squad he is tasked to train.

The main story is good but only features Wolverine as a background character in his own book. It does explore, along with the other stories in the books, some of the prejudices of the formerly suppressed mutant majority. The Black Panther story expressly addresses the prejudices of the ruling regime towards other mutants – for instance the ruling classes tend to be white and human looking with the more extreme looking mutants not having a look in. The quality in the book shines through in the last two stories that were written by the great Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker. Bendis’ story again features the oppression of humans in the mutant controlled workplace and the censorship the press. It features a confrontation between journalist Kat Farrell and the anguished Hawkeye who has just had his memories of his death restored to him. The Captain America story features the sad decline of the formerly feted hero as he struggles to find his place in the increasingly mutant dominated world order. So a mixed bag but an interesting read exploring some of the background to the House of M universe.

House of M (2006)

 

Quote:
“They gave us what we always wanted, and … isn’t there an argument that we deserved to get this? To be happy for once?”

 

I have put The Walking Dead re-read on hold for the moment as I have reached the same point as the TV series mid-season break and I want to se what they do in the series before carrying on in the comics. Instead I am going to read the House of M books as I have collected most of them from one source or another – I am only missing the Excalibur prelude.

House of M was the Marvel crossover event from 2005 and features the New Avengers and the X-men. This book collects the eight part main story and I was looking forward to reading it as the creative team was writer Brian Michael Bendis and penciller Olivier Coipel. I recently read and enjoyed the first New Avengers book that Bendis also wrote in the same era and as an added bonus I loved Coipel’s work on Thor.

The story takes place after the Avengers Disassembled storyline. The Scarlet Witch is being stabilised by Charles Xavier in Genosha but he fears that he can do little to prevent her having another potentially disasterous breakdown. The Avengers – old and new – and the X-men are gathered together to decide the fate of their former team-mate and fellow mutant. But they arrive too late to prevent the Scarlet Witch from rewriting reality and creating a world in which mutants rule over homo sapiens. Wolverine awakes in this new reality but finds that he remembers the original reality too and sets out on a quest to find out what is going on, round up any of the powered human resistance that he can and put things back they way they were if he can.

This is another great book from Bendis that I enjoyed very much. The storyline was interesting as it offered an alternative few of a mutant dominated world where Magneto won his fight to have mutants rule over the human population. The concept of dreams coming true is explored most thoroughly through the experiences of Peter Parker who is put through the emotional wringer by Bendis when he regains his memory of his true life. The weakness of the book is that it is being used as a game changer in the Marvel universe so a lot of questions are left unanswered presumably to be further explored in the individual comic series, especially the mutant ones, after the legacy that the Scarlet Witch leaves behind. But if you can accept that then it is a fine crossover story and well worth a read.

The New Avengers: Break Out (2005)

 

Quote:
“Why wouldn’t you be wearing underwear?”
“I chafe.””I want off the team.”

Collecting the first six issues of the ongoing New Avengers series, this book was written by Marvel mainstay Brian Michael Bendis with pencils by Canadian artist David Finch. Bendis has had long runs on many of Marvel’s top books including Daredevil, The Avengers, Ultimate Spider-man and has written the lead story on a number of Marvel’s crossover events including House of M. I have come across Fincher’s art before on Volume 2 of Moon Knight.

Luke Cage and SHIELD agent Jessica Drew are accompanying Matt Murdock on a visit to Sentry on the super secure penal facility the Raft when a jail break, carried out by Electro, occurs. Captain America, Spider-man and Iron Man are attracted to the spectacle and are soon joining the others in trying to contain the prisoners as best they can. In the aftermath, Captain America suggests putting together a new Avengers team to investigate the purpose of the break out and help recapture the 40 plus prisoners who managed to escape. In the course of their investigations they are led to the Savage Land, meeting up with Wolverine along the way, and run into illegal, covert SHIELD operations there.

I liked this book a lot. It had a bit of something for everyone – epic battles between heroes and villains, comedic moments between the fledgling team, intrigue and possible institutionally approved illegal activity and conspiracy theories. The book brings the team together and ends at the conclusion of their man hunt for the villain whose escape was being concealed by the mass breakout but it left plenty of loose ends to examine in further issues. I have already placed my order for volume 2 and look forward to more of the same.

The New Avengers: The Trust (2008)

 

Quote:
My name is Parker Robbins. They call me the Hood. You know, because I have a … hood.

 

This book collects New Avengers 32 to 37 and annual #2. It was written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Leinil Yu for the chapters from the ongoing comic. Bendis has written almost exclusively for Marvel and is probably best known for runs on Daredevil and Ultimate Spider-man. Leinil Yu is a Filipino artist whose work I have seen previously in Silent Dragon from Wildstorm/DC.

On returning from a mission to rescue Echo from the Hand, the New Avengers (the renegades from registration: Luke Cage, Spider-man, Wolverine, Spider-woman, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist with Echo and Clint Barton) are in subdued mood as the body of Elektra reveals that she was actually a Skrull – a race of shape shifting aliens. Suspicion is rife as no one can know who anyone else really is anymore. This is heightened after the plane crashes and Spider-woman steals the body of the dead Skrull. Meanwhile some of the second string bad guys are starting to take advantage of the disarray after the civil war and are organising under the leadership of the Hood. While investigating each other and the fate of the Skrull’s body, the New Avengers unearth a plot to unleash Deathlok against the Avengers.

Set after the Civil War crossover and leading into the Secret Invasion crossover, this book suffers for being a staging post of a much larger story. As with too many of the leading books from Marvel a knowledge of the storylines from the last few years is required to get the most out of this book. The story it tells is entertaining enough without being more than just OK. The highlight of the book for me is a panel in which Luke Cage uncovers the hide out of the bad guys and confronts the Hood while backed up by the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four and other heroes including, in the background, Howard the Duck!