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Fantastic Four: House of M #3

Posted: Friday, September 9, 2005
By: David Wallace



“King For A Day”

Writer: John Layman
Artists: Scot Eaton (p), Don Hillsman II, Rick Magyar (i), Dean White & Avalon’s Rob Ro (colours)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Dr. Doom attempts a coup on Magneto and his House of M in the final issue of this miniseries… and you should already know from that short summary whether you’re going to enjoy this book or not. You know what you’re getting here: if you want to see Doom and Magneto go at it, then you’ve come to the right place. If not, go and read Blankets or something.

The first two issues of this story provided a decent enough build-up for this final issue to be able to launch straight into a high-powered conflict of super-villains, and indeed the majority of the book is taken up with the climactic powerful struggle between the two Marvel powerhouses. However, it’s a fairly straight fight with no real twists and turns, and anyone reading the core House of M series should have no doubts as to who must emerge the victor (no pun intended) by the time the issue ends. That said, it’s fun to see the two heavyweights take each other on, and fans of either character will have at least one moment to cheer, as Layman makes sure that both of them have a moment to shine during their conflict. Also interesting is the development of the supporting characters, as the “It” gets a surprisingly straightforward role to play in proceedings (I was betting on some kind of twist on his origins at some point, but he’s used in a far more predictable way here). I also enjoyed the vicious way that the eventual winner completely destroys the life of his enemy, but leaves him alive and under his de facto control as an even greater punishment than death. It’s a lot of fun to root for the villains in this miniseries, and we’re not denied a couple of neat moments that show us just how much fun comic-book super-villainy can be.

Scot Eaton’s art has been pretty solid throughout this mini, and he maintains a good standard of superhero action here. There’s a real vibrant quality that can perhaps be attributed as much to the strong work of the book’s colourists as to Eaton’s kinetic linework, and it suits such an action-oriented issue well. However, there are a couple of moments which I thought came off as muddled due to the art, and it affected my ability to follow the story slightly. It would have been nice to see a more visual expression of Magneto and Quicksilver’s impotence in Doom’s god-forsaken dimension instead of the slightly dry explanation which Doom offers up in his slightly cliché monologue. There’s also a climactic scene involving an attack on Doom by Magneto during which the art seems unable to commit to either of Doom’s physical forms, and since he has the ability to switch between a body of flesh and one of metal, it’s obviously quite crucial to the story which particular form he chooses to take. Unfortunately, whether due to the colouring or pencilling, Doom seems to shift between the two at an important moment. Having said that, the art is for the most part very clear, dynamic and flexible enough to cope with some of the more extreme concepts thrown out by the story, and Eaton does well to maintain such a consistent visual quality. Credit to also due for this issue's cover which is so evocative of the tone, style and content of the story within. It’s just a shame that this is the exception rather than the rule for many books these days.

This book is fairly simple fun, and Layman’s writing somehow doesn’t quite reach the heights of intrigue or character insight that the first two issues managed. However, Fantastic Four: House of M #3 does exactly what it says on the tin, and if you pick up this book looking for some undemanding entertainment from two of Marvel’s big hitters, then you won’t be disappointed.



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