Wednesday, July 13, 2005

House of pain

House of M 1 - 2

It had a good start, House of M. The X-Men and the Avengers have a big conference where they decide whether or not to execute Wanda, whose rather extreme powers are threatening reality. The best way to develop this would be for them to go ahead and kill her. This would be utterly morally unacceptable to characters like Spider-Man and Kitty Pryde, their teams would be split wide open, and Pietro would want to exact a ghastly revenge. All in all, a great big bunfight, and you'd have to try pretty hard not to make it a fantastic story.

And then they spoil it all by have Wanda's powers go and change reality. We're back to the Age of Apocalypse or something similar. AoA was a classic, which is exactly why they should exert extreme caution before ever doing anything like it again. If it has to measure up to the highest standards, House of M is likely to fall short. And if they don't return to this "Should we kill Wanda" question, then House of M #1 was an entertaining waste of paper. House of M #2 was just a scene-setter.

I'm not one to dwell too much on continuity, but when did Wanda get so powerful? She used to get a fit of the vapours if she tried to cast a third hex, now she alters reality in her sleep. I'm glad I haven't ever cared about her, otherwise I'd be having a good old rant about what they've done to her. She's now simply a plot device, there to change the Marvel Universe in whatever ways Uncle Joe is planning.

Damn this internet for spoiling the surprise - I've read they're bringing Hawkeye back. But it's an alternate reality story, so that's not really a resurrection, is it? Unless they're thinking on keeping Scott and Emma in suburbia, Kitty as a high school teacher and have an ongoing plan to use Colossus as a replacement tractor engine, you have to feel none of this is permanent. Much as I'd love to have Uncle Ben back with us, obviously.

So the initial signs aren't exactly encouraging, but it's probably best to reserve judgment. Maybe this'll turn great in this end. I should also review "Countdown to Infinite Crisis", except I'm new to the DC Universe, and I'm not sure I understand what's going on.

And I'm left with the conundrum of whether to buy House of M: Spider-Man. I'm tempted, since it's got Gwen Stacy in it, and it's always good to see the old girl. But Sins Past was so bad I shudder to think what they might do with Gwen in an alternative reality. Writers often get over-excited in this type of story. Free from forty years of continuity, they contrive to have the character act as unlike their template as possible. Hank McCoy becomes an evil biologist with a penchant for live experimentation, while Sabretooth is a dapper gentleman who helps old ladies cross busy roads. Since Gwen's reputation has already been trampled into the mud by a herd of frenetic wildebeeste, what might they come up with next? Can I suggest she

- tongues Mary Jane
- becomes the Pink Goblin
- freebases cocaine
- does the big leggy with Uncle Ben

While we're at it, how about Ben Grimm as a ballet dancer? Blackbolt as a street mime? Or Aunt May as an Amsterdam whorehouse madame? You can have fun with this alternative reality lark. So much easier than consistent character development.


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