House Of M: Avengers TPB (Graphic Novel Pb) Paperback – 9 Jul 2008
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This time around though, instead of classic A-listers like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America, the story focuses on the good that less tradition characters can accomplish. Led by Luke Cage, this rag tag team comprised of many lesser known but equally heroic characters inspires humanity to stand up against their mutant overlords.
Great writing and artwork throughout will keep you from putting this book down until you've read it cover to cover.
The main House of M story written by Brian Michael Bendis is a very important storyline in main Marvel continuity, it's directly responsible for changing the status quo in regards to the mutants especially, but the truth is it effected just about everyone in some way. Although the story covered plenty of ground, there were several story elements and situations with different characters that felt under developed. House of M: Avengers is some of that missing story. Written by Christos Gage, this crossover contains House of M: Avengers 1 - 5.
How powerful is the Scarlet Witch? I doubt anyone truly knew or even knows, but one thing is for sure, when she created the new world more things were effected than just giving certain people what they wanted. Time itself was actually reset creating a new world entirely. Apparently at some point, Magneto waged a war against humanity and his side were victorious forcing their surrender. From there the changes began and this story covers some of it.
The world is in the process of being rebuilt from the ground up. Magneto has even went so far to claim that humans are not even suitable for certain job positions. One of his goals is to remove them from the Police Department and replace them all with mutants. He begins this by placing John Proudstar aka Thunderbird, formerly of the X-Men as police captain. Proudstar assembles a small task force made up of Avalanche, Taskmaster, Blob, and even Misty Knight, as they plan to infiltrate Luke Cage's outfit called the Avengers, with orders to either bring him to justice or kill him on the spot. From here a series of battles begin leading to one big fight to settle matters.
Gage takes steps to make this more than one big super being brawl, by giving the reader a good taste of this world. It's a complete role reversal, as humans and mutants are not treated equally at all. Mutants are taking over neighborhoods and pushing the humans to the worse parts, and they even get better and quicker service than the humans. In an attempt to try and maintain some order, there's even a facade that humans are still relevant, when Proudstar uses the Punisher as their token human, placing him as leader of the task force going after Luke. Gage handles the material well painting a rather believable world that really isn't too far from reality.
The crossover is indeed interesting but it does have its faults. It appears Gage and Bendis were not on the same sheet of music since Luke's faction are being called Avengers, when in the main storyline there were no such thing as Avengers. It does create a plot hole but thankfully nothing damaging. The main problem I can think of with this story are actually the characters. Now, a small number are slightly developed well enough, but when the only mainstream, most well known characters are Punisher and Hawkeye, you can bet the groans will be within ear shot. It's a who's who list of D list characters, with some who haven't been relevant in years, if ever; and I doubt Luke Cage had really gotten over with fans by this time. As a well rounded comic fan, I thought it was fun watching Cage's outfit trade fist with Shang-Chi if only for a little while. However, I could understand anyone coming away from this disappointed, because Gage renders many of the characters as plot devices and bodies to fill a head count.
Mike Perkins artwork is dark, brooding, and works well with the material. There are some good moments of action, with characters taking sick looking bullets to the chest and plenty of characters on one page throwing down. The character designs are glossy and well colored, plus the dialog boxes and panels are very easy to follow. On other occasions there is some obvious inconsistency with some designs feeling lazily done.
Even though I like this crossover, I think House of M: Avengers is the most difficult to recommend among the crossovers that are actually readable. Only well rounded Marvel fans with knowledge on these characters will find something worthwhile here. I would compare this book with Marvel Zombies 3 & 4, in the way those books mainly weren't well received due to the obscure characters, and I can see that dilemma here for some readers. I only recommend this to hardcore Marvel fans and House of M completest. If you decide to come into this anyway, this is a heads up that you will not see Wolverine, Spider-Man, or any other popular characters on that level.
Pros:Readable crossover that is mildly essential
Cons:Obscure characters will put off plenty of readers
It's not a particularly good one though. Each issue is narrated by a different character, but Gage never finds a distinctive voice for any of them (even in the issue narrated by the Punisher!) This device is dropped entirely by the fourth issue and then partially resurrected for the final issue. The artwork is adequate, although it's sometimes difficult to tell characters apart. The characterization in the story itself is weak as well. What epitomizes the entire miniseries for me is Luke Cage's reaction to racist humans; he actually says "Sapien please!"
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