Writers: Mark Waid and Tom Peyer
Artists: Salvador Larroca (p), Danny Miki (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As Peter Parker wakes up in the newly transformed world of the House of M, he has everything he could have ever asked for. However, much like Charlie Brown and his continued effort to kick the football, we know Peter's perfect little world is destined to crumble apart, as his life is built upon a lie that if it was ever exposed would send it all tumbling down on his head. What's more, Peter's happy life has also earned him a couple of envious enemies who are looking to take him down.
Comments: I have a bit of a problem with this issue in that while Mark Waid and Tom Peyer take great pains when it comes to crafting this brave new world for Spider-Man's corner of the House of M universe, the character of Peter Parker is left to play the role of the casual observer, and as such, he becomes the least interesting thing in the issue which is a bit of a problem given he's supposed to be the driving factor of this miniseries. I also have to say that the big changes that were made to Peter's world feel a bit like the material that one finds in online fan fiction, as the altered elements of Peter's life are pretty much exactly what one would expect to see if a writer was given the task of giving Peter Parker his perfect life. Since this is the big idea that is driving the House of M event, I guess I shouldn't be overly surprised that this is exactly what Mark Waid and Tom Peyer have brought to the table. However, given both these men are well established writers, I'm a little disappointed that they didn't do more with this premise beyond pushing the obvious big shiny buttons. In fact, the only idea that managed to capture my imagination was when the reversed mutant/human dynamic found its way into the story, and we discover Peter is troubled by the idea that he's been passing himself off as a mutant. As such, the enemies that are gathering outside the gates now have a powerful weapon that one has to imagine they'll get their hands upon before this miniseries is finished. I'd also be curious to learn how far Peter has gone to protect this lie, as has he simply let people believe he's a mutant, or has he come right out and lied? There's also a scene fairly early in the issue where the mutants have the means to tell if a person is a homo superior or homo sapien, and it should be interesting to see how Peter has managed to slip past these various security checks, and if these efforts have been noticed by his gathering collection of enemies.
Salvador Larroca is one of the most underrated artists working under the Marvel banner. While there may be more flashy artists who earn the attention of Wizard's top ten lists, Salvador Larroca has the single most important quality I look for when it comes to a comic book artist, and that it is his ability to deliver solid art on a monthly basis. When I see his name on a project I can sit back and enjoy the simple fact that all the issues will ship on time, and that the art that he provides will be his usual highly detailed work that's also extremely easy to follow. His work on this opening issue displays his usual strong eye for the big impact moments, from the raw emotion of the opening pages that serves as a strong introduction to Peter's new life, to the wonderful work in the final two panels where a character's expression changes from terror to anticipation after he realizes what is being offered. The only quibble that I'd make about the art is that I wish Spider-Man artists would realize that that silly black hair band doesn't have to be employed as a visual aid so the readers will recognize who this character is.
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