House of M by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This graphic novel is about the day that Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, changed mutantkind forever. It happens after a sequence of upsetting events break her fragile mind, and put others at risk due to her incredibly powerful, world-shaping powers.
The X-Men and Avengers have to decide what to do about Wanda. With her mental breakdown and her intact powers, surely she will continue to pose too much of a danger to others around her. Her brother, Quicksilver, desperate to save his sister, convinces her to do something to distract the various superheroes and mutants from what she has done and is capable of doing. As a result, the world changes into what seems like a better place, but some mutants cannot believe in its false promises. Particularly Wolverine.
Wolverine and a powerful mutant child named Layla seek out various mutants and superheroes and recruit them for a mission to go to the seat of the throne of of the House of Magnus (Magneto aka Eric Mangus Lehnsherr, from which he rules over a world in which non-powered humans are second class citizens, and mutants are superior. They know this is a dangerous mission, but the world cannot stay in its broken state.
"House of M" reads like a "what if" set of stories. Some characters have a much happier life, and it's devastating to them when they realize things aren't as they seem. But they know that doing the right thing means sacrificing their own seeming happiness.
The end is even more devastating, and it sets up the events that lead to future events that unfold in various other Marvel titles. I've been reading a lot of Marvel lately, and it's enlightening to see the puzzles come together. Reading this book wasn't exactly an uplifting experience. It was quite sad and bewildering. I guess I could fully empathize with the characters and their heartbreak as they navigate through a terrible situation that only gets worse.
This is a pivotal story arc in the Marvel Universe, so it's good that I was able to read this from my splendid library, even if it was a downer overall.
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