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House of M #5

Posted: Monday, August 15, 2005
By: Tommy Vergason



Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Olivier Coipel (pencils), Tim Townsend (inks), Frank D'Armata (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: The plot moves forward! It really does! Well, a little. This issue is primarily dedicated to the gathering and "waking up" of the hero army who will go after Magneto, who they believe is directly (and solely?) responsible for this altered world they find themselves in.

Comments: While I have been reading this title out of obligation more than because I'm excited about it (the excitement I did have for it initially has been slowly sucked from my soul by the plodding story line and development), I think I kinda enjoyed this issue. Well, "enjoyed" might not be the word, because I have to think about whether it was good or not. It was good in the sense that we finally see someone other than Wolverine waking up and realizing what is wrong, and that alone is a payoff after the four previous issues it took to get to this point. Unfortunately, the device used to wake these people is ill-conceived. This Layla girl just comes out of nowhere and seems to have these "unbelievable" powers (which include opening up people's unconscious), but the powers she has are undefined and mysterious, and she just comes off as a plot point rather than an actual character. It seems that Bendis is trying to entice us into mystery with her that will have a payoff eventually, but knowing his track record, who knows if we'll even know any more about her by the end of this series, and taking into account the end of the "Avengers Disassembled" mess, I'm not sure I want to know. It's bound to disappoint. I hate that I feel this way about Bendis (his character moments and dialogue can be incredible), but his huge "internet cracking" events are banal, over-hyped and oftentimes senseless. This, coupled with the fact that this is in essense a What If scenario, makes virtually everything that does happen seem inconsequential to me, because who knows what's going to stick when this mess is over. Even the big last-page reveal left me cold, because I can't imagine that it will stick. And if it does, well, I'll be annoyed for entirely different reasons.

The art is serviceable, although I'm tired of looking at the cookie-cutter body types and faces - everyone seems completely interchangeable to me, which becomes a real problem when they're out of costume. The inside of Layla's consciousness is portrayed as a giant human brain, literally, which seemed completely silly and uninspired to me. Maybe that's some sort of "indicator" behind her powers as well, but I have a hard time caring.

Final Word: I love Marvel comics. I love Marvel characters. I just can't love House of M no matter how hard I try. It breaks my heart. If you're loving Bendis's reign at Marvel, then by all means - read this book. If you're not into his work, however, try your best to hunker down and wait for things to eventually change.



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