Written By Jake Garner
It is true to say that Marvel love pumping out their ‘events’. Time and again, we witness a series in which our favourite characters from the Marvel Universe are brought together to play part in an experience which influences the general continuity. Looking back at Marvel history, it is challenging, to say the least, to pick out our preferred events and list them in some sort of order. Personally, as a huge Marvel fan, I know I would place the whole ‘Infinity’ affair at the top of the list, especially that of the Infinity Gauntlet. After this, well it becomes hazier, as I adore so many of the events that take place. Despite this, House of M is an event that always remains at the front of my mind when thinking about my favourites. Where would I place it among some sort of ranking order, well, I’m not quite sure. One thing I do know for sure though, it is most certainly up there. Welcome to ‘The House of M’.
The actual House of M run only lasted for eight core issues. Sometimes, by the end of an event’s core issue run I am ready to encounter a conclusion. For myself, I could have seen the whole occasion lengthened over another two or three issues. It helped that House of M also had a great team behind it, through the writing of Brian Michael Bendis and artwork of Olivier Coipel. Primarily it was unique, interesting and more than anything else, it sucked you right in. House of M was also a crossover story-line, which meant that the reader got to observe how all the crazy things happening in the core issues affected other independent story-lines too. Produced in 2005, over ten years ago now, House of M worked to follow on from the Planet X and Avengers Disassembled lines. The entire chronicle encompassed itself around one character in particular, Scarlet Witch, and her ‘mental breakdown’. Wanda finds herself trying to alter the very foundations of reality in order to gain a connection with her vanished children. What House of M did is to break away, like many events tend to (this isn’t a bad thing though), from the main Earth-616 continuity, or rather, reality. The whole thing truly revolved around the Scarlet Witch’s emotional balance. I like to consider the series as, in the words of Sly & the Family Stone, a ‘family affair’. Into the mix came Magneto, the Scarlet Witch’s father, and her brother, Quicksilver.
In this short article, I want to avoid looking at the actual story line and instead focus on the success and impact of the series itself. As I always say, the discovery of a series and what lies within is something that should be left for the reader to discover. The hype surrounding House of M was energetic upon its initial release in 2005. It had a very short publication life, something we don’t often see these days in Marvel events (Secret Wars). The first issue was released in June, the conclusion in November. What a good time it was to be a Marvel fan. There wasn’t much waiting at all. Upon release, the first issue sold over a staggering 230,000 copies. Even by the end of the series, when House of M hit its eighth issue, it still sold over 135,000 copies. This is evidence of the maintained interest within the event. In the words of the series writer, Bendis, he claimed that the series would “shake the world and break the internet wide open”. House Of M lived up to its name through the words of ‘Bendis the Prophet’. Though the actual series existed on a different ‘Earth’, away from the realms on 616, it would leave its footprint on Marvel as a whole. The aftermath of House of M would forever, and still does, remain the largest tragedy to date for the mutant community in Marvel. For those that are new to Marvel, or just simply haven’t got round to reading House of M, I will let you ascertain the repercussions of this catastrophic event for yourselves. I thought the series was worth a mention today precisely for its lasting affect upon our beloved super-heroes and heroines of the Marvel Universe. As I mentioned, for me, House of M has got to be up there among the ‘great Marvel events’. It’s one that can be read several times without exhausting its content. Go on, give it a try.