"House of M" is a 2005 comic book storyline published by Marvel Comics. The storyline consists of a core eight-issue comic book limited series written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel, and a number of crossover tie-in books. Its first issue debuted in June 2005 as a follow-up to the events of the "Planet X" and "Avengers Disassembled" storylines, in which the mutant superhero Scarlet Witch suffered a mental breakdown and tried to alter the fabric of reality to recreate her lost children. Scarlet Witch's father, Magneto, and her twin brother, Quicksilver, played major roles in the series. Like the 1995–1996 "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, "House of M" replaced the Earth-616 as the main reality for a brief time until Scarlet Witch reverts to normal. The events of the storyline were later indicated to have occurred on Earth-58163.
|"House of M"|
Cover of House of M 1 (Aug 2005)
Art by Esad Ribic.
|Publication date||June – November 2005|
|Writer(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
The first issue was released in June 2005, with the series concluding in November 2005. The first two issues were ranked first and second in sales in the June 2005 period, with the first issue selling over 233,000 copies. The final issue, House of M #8, was ranked third in sales for the November 2005 period with sales of 135,462. In addition to the main eight-issue limited series, House of M was preceded by a story in Excalibur #13–14, and had several tie-ins to ongoing series, including Uncanny X-Men, New X-Men: Academy X, and Wolverine, and several miniseries: Fantastic Four: House of M,The Incredible Hulk: House of M, Iron-Man: House of M, Mutopia X: House of M, and Spider-Man: House of M.
Bendis, lead writer for the House of M event, stated that the series would "shake the world and break the Internet wide open." Prior to the event, Bendis also mentioned in several interviews that the event would have a lasting effect on the Marvel Universe, but remained tight-lipped as to what.
The crossover was followed by a one-shot called House of M: Decimation – The Day After, a series called Son of M that depicts Quicksilver dealing with his loss of powers, and Generation M, which devoted each issue to a different mutant dealing with the loss of their powers. Characters who appeared include Chamber, Jubilee, and Blob. Characters who lost their powers included Dani Moonstar, Magneto, and Tag. The storyline also led to the reboot of Excalibur into New Excalibur, a shift in the creative teams of several comics, and the debut of several spin-off series, including X-Men: Deadly Genesis, X-Men: The 198, Sentinel Squad O*N*E, Ms. Marvel, and a new X-Factor series.
The epilogue to the House of M and Decimation storylines, which served to answer to the mystery of the strange "energy-cloud" hovering in orbit around the Earth at the conclusion of House of M #8, was revealed in the pages of New Avengers #16–20
In this world, Magneto was attacked by Sentinels over Manhattan in 1979 (taking advantage of Marvel's sliding timescale policy, there are no heroes active in the 1970s). At the end of the attack, Magneto revealed an alleged international anti-mutant conspiracy involving Richard M. Nixon. As a result, Magneto was granted sovereignty of the island of Genosha as the leader of the world's mutants. Another result was that the protection of mutant life was judged to be the first worry of all laws (as a result, stem cell research on mutant embryos is illegal, but stem cell research on altered human embryos is permitted). Because of this, the world is a racist society, with mutants controlling governments, businesses, and culture, and humans (or "sapiens") are looked down on as inferior (essentially a reversal of the status quo in the mainstream Marvel Universe, where mutants are looked down on and despised instead).
Some exceptions apply to "sapiens" who live with privileges like Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel in Earth-616 continuity, but Captain Marvel in the World of M) and Peter Parker (Spider-Man). Danvers is widely known to be a "sapien," while Spider-Man is believed by the House of M world at large to be a mutant.
Given that the House of M reality was created by the Scarlet Witch and Charles Xavier combining their powers to give the assembled New Avengers and X-Men their hearts' desires, it appears that Magneto's heart's desire was threefold. Primarily, he wanted the entire world to acknowledge that his paranoid fantasies about baseline humans wanting to exterminate mutants were true (hence the Sentinel attack over New York in 1979, which concluded with the release of evidence that the world's human leaders were involved in a genocidal anti-mutant conspiracy). Secondly, he wanted to be acknowledged as a heroic figure and the rightful leader of all mutantkind (hence the disappearance of Charles Xavier and the timing of Magneto's rise to dominance before other superheroes had appeared on the scene to challenge him). And thirdly, a massive speeding-up of the natural evolution of Homo sapiens into Homo superior; until, by the modern era, they accounted for almost 50% of the global population, providing him with a power base sufficient to take over the governments of the world and use them to oppress baseline humans.
It is unclear whether the Scarlet Witch altered the entire Marvel Universe, or merely the structure and history of Earth, a fact further complicated by the events of Secret Invasion. The Skrull Hank Pym stated that there was no way the Skrull army could win against such a vast number of mutants, at least possibly implying the Skrull army was left intact by Wanda's reality warp. Also, Xavier's supposed death in this reality, yet with no body, combined with his own off-planet actions, further confuse the issue. There is a Kree ambassador called Genis-Vell that appears within this illusory reality, and the Kree are shown to be peacefully collaborating with Earth, indicating that such was the Scarlet Witch's power that she was indeed capable of rewriting all of reality, the entire universe.
The universe where House of M takes place is designated as Earth-58163.
Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch, is living on the devastated island of Genosha under the care of Professor Charles Xavier and her father Magneto. Professor X informs Magneto that his telepathic powers will no longer be enough to hold back Wanda's reality-warping abilities and that a permanent solution must be found. Magneto blames himself for twisting his children through the strength of his own dreams and ambitions.
Meanwhile, Xavier arranges a meeting of the Avengers, the X-Men and several lone heroes to Avengers Tower to decide the fate of Wanda Maximoff. Emma Frost concludes that killing Wanda is the only way to end her destructive magic. Captain America argues that the group should seek alternate methods of dealing with Wanda including suppression of her powers and her insanity. The X-Men argue that if word gets out that a mutant with the ability to change reality went insane, it would "send human-mutant relations back to the stone-age." As the conversation progresses, it is revealed that Professor X asked Doctor Strange to help Wanda, but unfortunately neither was strong enough to combat her magic. Wolverine speaks up, saying that there is no other way—Wanda must be killed. The rest of the group decides that they must talk to Wanda in person before making their decision.
Back in Genosha, a distraught Quicksilver rushes to Magneto and reveals that he was just in New York City where he heard that the X-Men and Avengers are planning on killing Wanda. Magneto does not know what to do, and clearly upset asks "What would you have me do?". Quicksilver falls to the floor sobbing and Magneto glances over at his sleeping daughter.
Xavier takes the two groups to Genosha, only to discover that Wanda is missing. Suddenly, the members of the group start to disappear one by one. Spider-Man is soon the only one left and becomes engulfed by a white light.
When the light departs, the world has changed: Spider-Man is a celebrity married to Gwen Stacy; Cyclops and Emma Frost are married; Doctor Strange is a psychologist; Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel, America's most beloved superhero; Gambit is a criminal; and Steve Rogers is an aged veteran. As the vignettes of their lives are followed, it becomes readily apparent that none of them remember the change. Wolverine recalls all of his lost memories and knows this new world is a lie. He finds the world has changed into one where Homo superior are the dominant species instead of Homo sapiens. Mutants rule humans—and Magneto and his "House of M" rules mutants.
Wolverine seeks help from his fellow X-Men and Avengers. Unable to find Professor X, Wolverine goes looking for Spider-Man and Tony Stark. He is confronted by his "teammates" in the Red Guard, elite mutant soldiers of S.H.I.E.L.D. Wolverine escapes and finds the Human Resistance Movement led by Luke Cage. Cage has gathered other non-mutant crimefighters to protect humans from the House of M's abuses of power. Wolverine is shocked to see one of the members is Clint Barton (Hawkeye), a hero who had died in the real world.
Wolverine explains why he knows this world was created by the Scarlet Witch. He theorizes Magneto used her to create a world where everyone's deepest wish was granted. Magneto got the mutant supremacy he always wanted. Spider-Man got a life of happiness and contentment. Wolverine is an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. but remembers the world from before 'House of M'. Cage reveals that a little girl named Layla Miller told him almost exactly the same thing days ago. The heroes begin visiting the Avengers and X-Men in their new lives as Layla awakens their true memories.
Wolverine and the Human Resistance awaken many heroes to the truth, including Cyclops, Spider-Man, Shadowcat, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Daredevil, Rogue, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Toad, and Spider-Woman. Hawkeye becomes distraught over learning of his death and briefly leaves the group. The rest travel to Genosha for a final confrontation with Magneto.
Back in Genosha, Magneto receives representatives from around the world to commemorate the mutant triumph over humanity. The heroes attack Magneto and his family directly, while Cloak, Emma Frost, Doctor Strange, and Layla search for Xavier. They find a gravestone with Xavier's name, but Cloak discovers no body buried beneath it.
The battle between the House of M and the heroes continues with great ferocity. While the chaos ensues, the Scarlet Witch disappears from the battlefield only to be discovered by Doctor Strange in a tower with her children. The two begin to talk as Doctor Strange attempts to discover the origin of the madness that is happening. Wanda reveals the answer to him in a flashback from when Quicksilver confronted Magneto about the fate of Wanda. It turns out that Quicksilver himself was the one responsible for the creation of the alternate world, suggesting to Wanda to make everyone happy in an almost-perfect world. After this revelation, Emma Frost tells Doctor Strange to ask about the fate of Charles Xavier. Before she can answer, Wanda is struck in the back by an arrow.
The attacker is Hawkeye, who begins to break down emotionally to Wanda about his death in the real timeline. After a heated exchange, Hawkeye is killed for the second time as one of the Scarlet Witch's antagonized sons uses his mutant powers to "erase" the Avenger. Meanwhile, in the memorial garden, Magneto confronts Emma Frost and Layla Miller, who reveal the truth to Magneto about all that has happened. He then unleashes his wrath on everyone, especially his son Quicksilver. He kills Quicksilver by pummeling him to a bloody pulp with large pieces of steel. Suddenly, the Scarlet Witch appears and returns her brother to life. She begins to lash out, saying "We're freaks, Mutants... You chose this over us and you ruined us... Daddy!" She then utters "No more mutants." Everything turns to white once again.
In a blinding flash, the world seemingly returns to normal. The Avengers come together to try to make sense of what happened that night, only to be confronted by a distraught Doctor Strange who states that the "House of M" timeline really took place and its effects are slowly being felt on a wider scale. They later get an alert from the ruins of Avengers Mansion. Investigating, they find Hawkeye's uniform pinned to a wall with his arrows, suggesting Hawkeye is alive.
At the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, most of the students lose their mutant abilities. Emma Frost scans the whole world with Cerebro for mutant activity. She learns the number of mutants in the world has dropped from millions to a few hundred. Meanwhile, Wolverine awakens remembering everything about his past. The X-Men fly to Genosha looking for Magneto and his children. They find Magneto is also powerless, and does not know where Wanda or Quicksilver have gone.
The heroes can only guess about what has caused the majority of the mutant population to lose their powers. Xavier is still missing, and Cerebro and Doctor Strange are unable to detect Scarlet Witch. Hank Pym warns that all these powers could not simply vanish, but are contained somewhere, and that because every action has an equal and opposite reaction, the question remains as to what the reaction to these events will be. A colossal red ribbon of energy begins to orbit Earth, implying the return of the Phoenix Force; this would also signal the beginnings of the "Avengers vs. X-Men" storyline.
The "House of M" storyline resulted in the reduction of the mutant population from millions to hundreds. Only two current members of the X-Men (Polaris and Professor X) suffered this fate, as well as the former X-Man Chamber. Several minor allies and enemies were depowered, including Callisto and the Blob, the longest-running character to be affected. Although their main adversary, Magneto, also lost his abilities, as have two members of the Avengers, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Magneto and Xavier have since been repowered, whilst Polaris and Quicksilver (and others) have either gained new powers (sometimes almost exactly like their old powers) or regained lost powers by other means, within a span of well under two years. Other reasonably popular mutants have also been repowered by technology, such as Wind Dancer and Jubilee.
Other consequences include:
In a May 5, 2008, interview, Brian Michael Bendis indicated that the events of "House of M" play into the "Secret Invasion" storyline. The activities of the Skrulls during "House of M" were covered in New Avengers #45, in which it was revealed that the Skrull agents were able to retain their memories after Wanda altered reality, her powers seemingly unable to detect their true natures and desires, and had attempted to instigate the destruction of the mutants over the alteration. The Skrull queen, still disguised as Jessica Drew, considered the resulting "Decimation" to be a boon to the Skrulls plans as they could now divert the part of their forces intended to deal with Earth's mutant population to other areas.
The five-issue limited series House of M: Avengers debuted in November 2007, written by Christos Gage and drawn by Mike Perkins. The series spans from 1979 to the present day and acts as a prequel to the original House of M miniseries, showing the formation of Luke Cage's Human Resistance Movement.
The 2008 miniseries Civil War: House of M depicts how Magneto took over the world and made mutants the dominant race, as well as confirming that Xavier is indeed dead in this reality. It also features House of M versions of Bolivar Trask, Bucky Barnes, Burner, Dragoness, Gateway, Graydon Creed, Lifter, Mimic, Nuke, Randall Darby, Slither, the Soviet Super-Soldiers (Crimson Dynamo, Darkstar, Red Guardian, Titanium Man, Ursa Major, Vanguard), Vashti Cleito-Son, and Warlord Krang.
Set right after Civil War: House of M, this miniseries depicts how the Hood assembles a gang of the deadliest "sapien" super-criminals: Madame Masque, Absorbing Man, Batroc the Leaper, Blizzard II, Chemistro III, Cobra, Constrictor, Crossbones, Nitro, Sandman, Titania, Wizard, and the Wrecking Crew (Bulldozer, Piledriver, Thunderball, and Wrecker).
In the run-up to the 2014 "Spider-Verse" storyline, the Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus's mind in Spider-Man's body) found himself temporarily trapped in the year 2099 with his attempts to return home via a dimensional portal resulting in him witnessing various alternate worlds where other Spider-Men had been killed by a dimension-hopping adversary including a dead Spider-Man in what appeared to be the world of the House of M.
The "House of M "timeline appeared in the 2015 storyline "Secret Wars". Its location on Battleworld is called the Monarchy of M.
In the domain of the Monarchy of M, King Erik Magnus wakes up on his royal bed. He is warm and safe, but he remembers a few times that he’d woken up cold and in danger like the times he’d fought against Namor or the Sentinels. He recalls how the events of this reality led all the mutants to rally under the banner of House M when he called himself Magneto. He’s just happy that he’d lived long enough to see it. With the permission of God Emperor Doom, Magnus is now the ruler here. The people feel safe though some of the elders still remember when the Sentinels who now patrol the streets to protect mutants, used to hunt them. With Agent Wolverine of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Red Guard piloting the sole sentinel flying overhead and a retinue of mutant agents with him, onlookers below gawk at the sight. In Josie’s Bar, several humans gather to discuss helping Luke Cage take over King Magnus’ throne. Just as he’s getting to the plan, he is interrupted by Wolverine’s Sentinel stepping on him, hurting him badly. The Red Guard agents Magma, Marrow, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Sasquatch, and Toad leap out and attack the humans. Wolverine kills Iron Fist and slices off Misty Knight’s cybernetic arm. Still, Misty Knight, Black Cat, and Hawkeye escape. They are chased through the streets until they are rescued by Deathlocket (Deathlok's daughter). They destroy the Sentinel that was chasing them. Back in the Royal Palace, Quicksilver is acting strangely. He is late for his meeting at the trade agreements with the Atlanteans and his sister Lorna Dane notices that he is acting out of character. Quicksilver's other sister Scarlet Witch has her own problems as her children Wiccan and Speed are fighting for human rights, embarrassing their mother. Lorna goes to tell King Magnus about Quicksilver, but Magnus shrugs her off. Meanwhile, Quicksilver swims down to Atlantis to meet with Namor. Apparently, he is in collusion with the Submariner to take over the surface world.
King Magnus sits in his study playing chess by himself. He is not alone though as someone or something is chained-up behind his throne. It threatens to kill him and his family, but Magnus is not concerned. In another part of the Monarchy of M, Deathlocket, Hawkeye, Misty Knight, and Black Cat are hiding in the underground base where Deathlocket’s father built hundreds of Deathlok cyborgs. They have limited functionality, but the rebels have a plan. Wiccan and Speed are causing havoc when Wolverine and his S.H.I.E.L.D. team show up. Princess Wanda arrives and tells Wolverine to go away as he’s trying to arrest her children. She breaks him down using her reality manipulation powers and reforms him away from her. Princess Wanda grabs Wiccan and Speed and then departs. The Deathloks attack the base, but they are only a distraction as Hawkeye and his team sneak into King Magnus's chamber. They battle and Hawkeye fires an arrow that hits Magnus. No ordinary arrow, the device on the arrowhead disrupts King Magnus’ mutant power over magnetism, causing the chains that were holding the other being to slacken. Out from behind the throne comes Fin Fang Foom and he throws Magneto into a stone pillar. Princess Lorna comes in to rescue King Magnus and they escape, but not before a huge tidal wave engulfs the entire castle - it is Namor and Prince Pietro, come to dispose of King Magnus.
Princess Lorna saved her father and incidentally the human attackers, from drowning. Before King Magnus could kill any of them himself, Lorna stopped him, claiming it would be valuable to keep them alive if they wanted to find a way to restore his powers. Lorna also convinced her father to escape from the Castle so they could figure out what happened. Meanwhile, Prince Pietro took over the reins of the Monarchy of M from the allegedly deceased King Magnus, proclaiming himself as the new King to the nation, and that the Atlanteans had helped repel the attack from the humans that had supposedly cost Magnus' life. Being able to see past his lies, Princess Wanda furiously confronted Pietro about these events, but her brother is able to convince her that the course of action he took was for the best. Meanwhile, the still-depowered King Magnus made a temporary alliance with his would-be assassins in order to achieve a common goal, to overthrow Prince Pietro whose anti-human stance made him an even worse ruler for the humans than King Magnus was.
The "House of M" storyline ties into the following comics:
The trade paperbacks collect many of the issues involved with the House of M storyline. Arranged in order, the spines of the books form the House of M logo. It should be noted that each storyline/paperback contains a mostly standalone sidestory, and can be read individually without any continuity problems. Only the House of M miniseries itself deals with the main storyline.
|Title||Material collected||Publication date||ISBN|
|House of M: Excalibur – Prelude||Excalibur #11–14||August 2005||978-0785118121|
|House of M||House of M #1–8; The Pulse: House of M Special||February 2006||978-0785117216|
|House of M: Incredible Hulk||Incredible Hulk #83–86||February 2006||978-0785118343|
|House of M: Fantastic Four / Iron Man||Fantastic Four: House of M #1–3; Iron Man: House of M #1–3||July 2006||978-0785119234|
|House of M: Uncanny X-Men||Uncanny X-Men #462–465; first half of Secrets of the House of M||January 2006||978-0785116639|
|House of M: Mutopia X||Mutopia X #1–5||February 2006||978-0785118114|
|House of M: New X-Men||New X-Men: Academy X #16–19; second half of Secrets of the House of M||February 2006||978-0785119418|
|House of M: Spider-Man||Spider-Man: House of M #1–5||March 2006||978-0785117537|
|House of M: World of M, Featuring Wolverine||Wolverine #33–35; Captain America #10; Black Panther #7; Pulse #10||March 2006||978-0785119227|
|House of M: Avengers||House of M: Avengers #1–5||July 2008||978-0785127505|
|House of M: Civil War||Civil War: House of M #1–5||May 2009||978-0785133803|
|House of M: Masters of Evil||House of M: Masters of Evil #1–5||February 2010||978-0785141662|
|Title||Material collected||Publication date||ISBN|
|House of M, Vol 1||House of M #1–8; The Pulse Special Edition; Secrets of the House of M||January 2008||978-0785124665|
|House of M, Vol 2: Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men||Spider-Man: House of M #1–5; New Thunderbolts #11; Fantastic Four: House of M #1–3; Black Panther #7; Uncanny X-Men #462–465||December 2009||978-0785138815|
|House of M, Vol 3: Wolverine, Iron Man, and Hulk||Wolverine #33–35; Iron Man: House of M #1–3; Incredible Hulk #83–87; Hulk: Broken Worlds #1; Captain America #10; Pulse #10; Cable & Deadpool #17||February 2010||978-0785138822|
|House of M, Vol 4: No More Mutants||Mutopia X #1–5; New X-Men #16–19; Exiles #69–71; House of M: The Day After; Giant-Size Ms. Marvel #1||May 2010||978-0785138839|
An issue of What If? using the "House of M" as a springboard asks, "What If Scarlet Witch Ended the House of M event by saying No More Powers?" In this story, all of the heroes of the world lose their powers with mixed results. Characters like Thing, Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk revert to human form, Doctor Strange tells Wong that he cannot connect with magic, Wolverine's adamantium skeleton becomes to too heavy for him to bear, Spider-Man is relieved at the loss of his "responsibility", etc. Iron Man believes there is still work to be done, and most of the X-Men try to resume normal lives. Iron Man speaks to the Illuminati members about this problem. Red Skull obtains a cosmic cube and uses it to take over New York, which the intent to do the same to the planet. Iron Man outfits Wolverine, War Machine, and Carol Danvers with special armored suits. The X-Men appear, using remaining Shi'ar technology in an attempt to stop Red Skull. As result of this opposition, the cosmic cube is destroyed, and the Red Skull defeated. Many years later, an older Tony Stark is shown visiting Peter Parker, his daughter, May, and May's young daughter Anna. Stark speculates that if things get bad enough again, superhuman abilities may yet emerge. As he says this, Anna is shown leaping from a monkey bars after a butterfly with uncanny grace and agility.
Two issues of What If? in the 2009 series revolves around the Spider-Man: House of M miniseries. The first one asks what would have happened had Emma Frost not wiped Gwen's mind and she had accompanied the heroes to Genosha. The second one asks what would have happened if the Scarlet Witch had allowed Gwen and her son with Peter to exist after returning reality back to normal.