House of M and Black Panther #7

House of M was a miniseries in 2005 that took over the Marvel Universe for 8 or so months. The Scarlet Witch got sick and reshaped reality into a world that was governed by her father, Magneto and his "House of Magnus." It changed the lives of every Marvel superhero and touched or created over 10 different titles.

I had the pleasure of reading through the full series (see the full list: http://www.comicbookherald.com/the-complete-marvel-reading-order-guide/guide-part-4-house-of-m/), and figured I would spend some time talking about them. Today we're looking at a single issue of Black Panther, along with the complete 8-issue story event.

Read 'em all!
House of M: Fantastic Four
House of M: Spider-Man
House of M: Incredible Hulk
House of M: Black Panther #7 and House of M

Black Panther #7
"Soul Power in the House of M"
by Reginald Hudlin, Trevor Hairsine, et al.

Black Panther #7 happens at some point when Doom is still in control of Latveria, so anytime before the last few issues of House of M: Fantastic Four. The official placemark is between Issues 5 and 6 of the main storyline. I'm really fond of this issue, for the way it dives into the lives of major players of the House of M, and for the way the characters "act" through the art.

And for how bad-ass Black Panther is in this issue. Straight-up, there's a 4-page fight sequence between Black Panther and the assassin sent by Magneto, the mutant Sabretooth, which ends in Black Panther beheading him! On every page, Black Panther fights off his pursuer, and every page, you think he's done, until Sabretooth's healing factor kicks in and you get a new page of hurt. It's my favorite sequence in the issue.

T'Challa, the Black Panther, mails the head back to Magneto, and it's one move in the game of political chess that they play out. I really enjoy the macroscopic view of this political war between Magneto and his appointed rulers, with the microscopic view of the actions that they take, and the romances that arise in the war. Quicksilver professes his love for Storm, both because he truly loves her, but also because his father is intent on breaking up the marriage between her and T'Challa.

The boiling royal tension erupts when Magneto sends Apocalypse to lay siege on T'Challa's kingdom, and the results are glorious with a great twist from Black Bolt. Expertly written, meticulously drawn. Black Panther #7 might just be the best single issue to come out of the House of M.

House of M #'s 1-8
by Brian Bendis, Olivier Coipel, et al.

I wish I could say the same for the storyarc proper. House of M is a lot of an action movie; you don't really get to dwell on characters so much, but you need to move from plot point to plot point. Character A needs to get McGuffin Z in order to save Character/World/Girl B, while killing bad guys X and causing explosions Y. And that's not to say that I don't love action movies; it's just that nothing remarkable happens in the 8 issues that much mattered, other than characters talking about how awesome/terrible/mediocre it is to live in a world ruled by mutants.

You read and read about how strange this role reversal is, how mutants control society now, and wait until you hear what actually happened to the world, in issue 7 or 8, and then, yay, everything's back where it was, mostly. The stuff that's different, well, that's going to tie in to this new story we have for you, told in the next super secret crisis event.

House of M promises you the story of what would happen if mutants ruled the world, and I suppose it delivers, assuming that a story is a connection of plot points. But there isn't any heart in the story that engages the reader. Maybe it's event fatigue, maybe it's my cynicism setting in, maybe it's my 6-year separation from the comic book, but House of M is an art gallery at best, and a shell of a story at worst.

As much as I rag on it, here is this sweet two-page splash from Coipel when Spider-Man gets his memories back. Even when he gets a break, he doesn't get a break from the Marvel Universe. . .

If you too would like to read through the House of M series, there are a few series that you can skip, and some one-offs that are surprisingly good. Some surprisingly good one-shots include: Black Panther #7 and Captain America #10.

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2 comments:

Arion said...

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Kevin said...

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