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 the Spider-Man tie-in.
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
Spider-Man: House of M #'s 1-5
by Waid, Peyer, Larroca et al.
In the wacky world of the House of M, Peter Parker is a beloved mutant married to the beautiful, smart Gwen Stacy and who's used his public popularity to start up Spider-Man Industries and give a comfortable life to his family: May and Ben Parker, George Stacy and his son, Richard Parker. That is, he's redonk rich, owns a condo in downtown NY and even has a bodyguard called the Rhino! Like the Fantastic Four: House of M tie-in, it's an inversion of everything we know about the character. Peter has everything he could ever want -- in fact, he's the boss and J. Jonah Jameson is the employee!
The rest of the series is Peter trying to escape the anti-sapien hate that befalls him, and his family struggling with years of a comfortable life based on a lie. It's refreshing to see the classic Spider-Man story: a story of public fear, framed in the House of M story: a story of racial persecution. While the creative team handles this, there's some plotting issues in the fourth and fifth issues. It's never really explained how Peter has a mental breakdown, and the ending is a happy ending that seems to ignore his mental illness.
The final two pages in issue 4 are particularly masterful. Peter needs to hunt down his journal back from Jonah to clear his name. He's estranged from his family now to save them from the social ostracization, so his family are conducting a separate heist to get ahold of it from JJJ's office. Peter's made a buttload of money from his web-shooters, so Gwen and George are using the web-shooters to guide their heist. After Spider-Man gets ahold of it, they try to get ahold of him:
The way I read that first picture, and because there's that giant "NO!," it looked like they were trying to web shoot Spider-Man, and because of the state image, I thought they failed. But they didn't! You could only tell this kind of story in static images -- with comic books. Which makes me really happy, because it makes comic books a unique medium that can tell special kinds of stories. This series comes recommended if you're into alternate-universe Spider-Men and are OK with loosey-goosey plots.
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. The series you can skip include: Excalibur, Mutopia, Giant-Size Ms. Marvel 01 and Wolverine. Some surprisingly good one-shots include: Black Panther #7 and Captain America #10. Stay tuned for the next part: Black Panther #7.
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