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House Of M

House Of M back

Brian Michael Bendis & Olivier Coipel


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"Previously in NEW AVENGERS BY BENDIS COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 1 (yeah, I'd seriously read that first!):"

"Wanda, please -- None of this is real. These aren't your children."
* * *
"There is a great possibility, Iron Man, that she may not even be aware of what she is doing."
* * *
"You killed The Vision, Wanda! Your own husband! Do you know that? Do you?! You killed Scott Lang! You killed Hawkeye! Janet's in a coma! You've destroyed The Avengers! All of it, it's gone!"

Six months later...

In the ruined city of Genosha four individuals wrestle with their nightmares. For Wanda, it's the knowledge of suffering she caused her friends. For fellow Avenger and brother Pietro, it's that he failed to help his sister. For Magneto, her father, it's that his mutant crusade against humans was partly to blame, and for Professor Charles Xavier, the most powerful telepath alive on this planet who has been attempting to help Wanda retrieve her sanity, it's that Wanda is getting worse, not better, and if she put what's left of her fractured mind to the task, she could now damage reality beyond repair.

"We can't keep drugging her and physically putting her to sleep. It's inhumane. And it's hardly foolproof. And it's barely working."
* * *
"What are you doing here, Pietro?"
"They're going to kill her."
"They are going to kill her! Xavier, the rest... All the Avengers. All the X-Men. They are meeting right now in New York. I was just there. They are agreeing to kill her. Why else would they meet? They are going to decide there is no other way, and they are going to come here and kill her. My sister!! Your own daughter!!!"
"Pietro... they may be right."
* * *
"What is there to say? Put her down."
"I won't even entertain that thought."
"Put her down? What is she, a dog?"
"Even though they just spent twenty minutes explaining that the girl's out-to-lunch and that the world is in every kind of danger because of her?"
"There is always a way."
"Not always."
"Someone do the math for me... How many more of you does she have to kill before you snap out of it?"

In a desperate attempt to thwart whatever final solution is arrived at, Wanda is woken up, and the world is changed in an instant. There are no Avengers, there are no X-Men, and The House of Magnus is the most powerful force on the planet. Storm is Princess Ororo of Kenya, Janet Pym is a famous clothes designer and Carol Danvers - far from being a troubled alcoholic - is the most popular superhero in America. It's all they ever wanted. On top of that, Gwen Stacy never died, Peter Parker is married to her, and they have their own son, Richie, with a doting great Uncle Ben - it's all Peter ever wanted.

Only two people remember that it was ever otherwise: a young girl called Layla, and a man who's been conditioned and mind-wiped so many times over the years that he couldn't even remember his real name. But someone's made a mistake:

"Two days ago I woke up and I remembered every single moment of my entire life. Up to and including today. It's all I -- "
"It's all I... ever wanted. Magneto got his daughter to give us all what we always wanted... so he could have what he always wanted."
"How would he even know what we've always wanted?"

I can't begin to tell you how cleverly played this is, from the false assumptions, understandably arrived at, to the tumbling repercussions as one shattered soul lashes out with a Final Solution of their own.

This is pretty near faultless, from the Finch-u-like art to the final family breakdown, and it's really quite painful in places. I mean, if you were Peter Parker, would you want to be woken up from this new, golden life at all? How could you go from bliss to the loss of almost everyone you loved in a single second? And there are those key moments you'll never see coming, where AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED really comes back to haunt them:

"Why?? You're asking me why?!! We were friends, Wanda. Teammates. I truly loved you. I'd kill for you."

Tough love, Cupid.
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