“One Day in the Life of Pietro Maximoff--Homo Sapiens”
Writer: David Hine
Artists: Roy Allan Martinez, Pete Pantazis (colors)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Ariel Carmona Jr.
Plot: While Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) bemoans his loss of powers and considers what it means to be as slow as a human, Peter Parker has to deal with having lost his former life married to Gwen Stacy and having “everything he ever wanted” in the illusion which was the “House of M” reality.
Fortunately for the webslinger, he runs into a gang of thugs who are harassing a mutant boy and finds a temporary therapeutic outlet by beating them into submission. He then spots Pietro and confronts him about his part in M-Day. Spidey tells him he had a son and a wife who was long dead in the reality which was constructed for him. Maximoff asks if he can think of a reason why he should go on living.
Commentary: While the plotting seems a bit slow, Hine provides an entertaining glimpse into the aftermath of House of M through the prism of one of its principal players, Quicksilver. What makes it an intriguing read is that it’s our first look at the effects of M-Day on some of Marvel’s major characters, unlike previous series which focused mostly on the general mutant population at large. More than any other character, Spidey can identify with mutants the most since he’s always been a bit of an outcast himself, at first during his formative teenage years when he was tortured by the likes of Flash Thomson, and later in adulthood where he was shunned by bigger name heroes, including the Avengers themselves. One has to assume the events in this comic occur prior to “The Other” storyline because Spiderman makes no mention of his mysterious condition which has been a focus of the Spidey continuity of late.
One thing which bugs me about the story is the same which disturbed me about the Spiderman: House of M storylines: Mainly that I was never wholly convinced Peter actually had everything he wanted in that reality. For that matter, I don’t think he would be as distraught with the loss of such a false reality where humans are persecuted like mutants were in the unaltered Marvel universe, and knowing Mary Jane was still there to console and comfort him, even after the loss of his son.
This book has some kinetic and appealing artwork by Martinez and company (they do a good job of rendering our favorite wall crawler, especially in the action sequences) and combined with Quicksilver’s narrative, it makes for an enjoyable read, but I had to dock a half bullet for the book’s slow pacing, even if it picks up after Spidey makes his appearance.
Final Thoughts: It would be a shame for this series to focus only on Spiderman and a handful of other Marvel marquee heroes. Though I surmise by the title, Pietro will be the focus, it would be great to see the aftermath of House of M as perceived by most of Marvel’s big guns such as Wolverine, Daredevil, Iron Man and many others. It’s a promising beginning to an intriguing premise.
It’s funny; we reviewers give Marvel Comics such a hard time about putting Spider-Man and Wolverine on covers of books within which neither character appears, but after reading Son of M #1, I’m left wondering why Spider-Man isn’t on the cover. The fact of the matter is this first issue focuses just as much on Peter Parker as it does on Pietro Maximoff. Of course, if Spider-Man were on the cover, there would have been a loud contingent of readers and reviewers complaining that ol’ Web-Head’s visage is gracing yet another Marvel comic book. That’s the very definition of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
As a result of his sister’s “No More Mutants” spell, Pietro (a.k.a. Quicksilver) has lost his super-speed powers. No longer the haughty, ill tempered “rabbit,” Pietro has been reduced to an alcoholic, self-pitying slow “turtle.” And by “slow,” I mean he’s sllllllooooooowwwwww. Long Island Expressway rush hour traffic slow. Commodore64 floppy disc video game loading slow. Jessica Simpson working on an alegra equation slow.
Yes, Pietro has become that slow. In fact, it’s a bit unbelievable how slow he’s become. The reader is so beaten over the head with the fact that Pietro’s life has taken a 180 degree turn, that it becomes over-the-top: Pietro can’t run 220mph anymore…, and he’s hitting the bottle…, and he can’t catch up to the public transportation bus…, and he no longer shaves…, and I bet he doesn’t have any clean underwear (we’re spared this last revelation… unless I missed a page). Okay!! We get it! Pietro needs intervention! Understood! I though would have preferred a less trite and more nuanced depiction.
Peter Parker is as equally emotionally devastated as a result of “House of M” and “M Day” as Pietro is physically. Peter’s problem is that he hasn’t forgotten the “perfect” life he was given within the “House of M” reality where he and Gwen Stacy were married as well as the parents of a loving son. Peter’s grief is handled very well throughout the issue, and I am far more impressed with the presentation of his character than Pietro’s.
Whether or not I’m impressed with the artwork of Roy Allen Martinez is still up in the air. On one hand, many of his figures look too stiff, and background details are lacking. On the other hand, I enjoyed his rendition of Spider-Man, and combined with Pete Pantazis’s colors, Martinez’s artwork created an appropriately dejected and subdued mood.
The issue builds up well to both a confrontation between Spidey and Pietro and the last page developments, which should intrigue any long time Marvel fan.
Still, I wouldn’t recommend Son of M to readers who aren’t already vested in House of M and its aftermath. This is not a comic book for the uninitiated. Marvel has thrown a lot of titles into this “DeciMation” story (Generation M, Son of M, X-Factor, New X-Men, adjectiveless X-Men, et al.), none of which are inexorably linked to each other. That’s a good thing in my opinion as I think consumers are fed up with being told they have to purchase five other titles in order to understand what’s happening in their one favorite title. Thankfully, what’s happening in…, say…, X-Factor doesn’t affect, and isn’t being commented upon, in Son of M. Instead, what these titles are doing individually is providing separate facets of the post-M Day phenomenon. For the most part, it’s pretty compelling…, but also geared toward the already Marvel convert.
In the aftermath of “House of M,” 99% of all mutants have been turned into normal humans. Pietro Maximoff is one of them. Hated by the heroes who remember how he and his sister Wanda changed the world, he lives in hiding and self-hatred. Spider-Man runs into him and vents his anger at losing his wife and son. With no hope for the future, Pietro does something drastic.
I really didn’t read any of the House of M, so all these changes to the Marvel Universe come as a surprise to me. I’ll have to pick up the trade books.
David Hine does a good job conveying how miserable Pietro is being human. I also like Peter Parker’s despair over his lost family, and his guilt that in a perfect world, he wouldn’t marry Mary Jane. But the issue as a whole feels brief; like it’s only the first chapter in a larger story. It is, of course, but for $3, I expect a little more to happen.
Martinez and Pantazis do a solid job on art and coloring. We get a good, grimy, solid New York City and very human characters. The scene of Peter standing in the rain crying is a very powerful image. We are looking at an imperfect world that mirrors Pietro’s newly human condition.
So it’s a good start, a little light, and Spider-Man is more memorable than the title character. I’d suggest reading a couple more issues before deciding to buy the whole series.
House of M was a travesty beyond human imagination. Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but it was pretty awful, perhaps a travesty beyond the imagining of ocelots. One of the major problems was that Bendis was more interested in “realistic” and “witty” banter than he was in stuff like…, you know…, telling a story, so the more interesting bits, like the various characters’ reactions to the altered reality, were left unexplored. Never one to pass up an opportunity to fleece their readers, Marvel decided to put the interesting stuff in a bunch of ancillary titles, the latest of which is Son of M. (And what fun, B-movie-esque title that is for a sequel to House of M, almost as if Marvel acknowledge the original story’ s hideousness…)
In the spirit of fairness, I should point out that so far these spin-offs have been infinitely better than the cretinous main event, and that’s also true of Son of M. Taking his cue from Peter David’s now classic examination of Quicksilver’s personality in X-Factor #87, David Hine shows us what it is like for a character who literally lived for speed to be slowed down to a normal human level. It’s a fine character study, but it doesn’t really tell us any more than a couple of X-Factor pages did, and it fails to shed any light on how Pietro changed from misunderstood hero to reality-altering megalomaniac. That said, it is perhaps unfair to ask Hine to clean up Bendis’ mess (although, as mentioned above, isn’t that the point of all these spin-offs?), and this does set things up nicely for future issues; I just hope that there is some development to come, and we don’t just get issue after issue of Quicksilver moping about the Marvel Universe. One particular surprise in this issue is the almost-a-third that gets devoted to Spider-Man. I’d fully expected his “House of M” experience to be explored by Bendis himself (perhaps in Not Avengers, or even Ultimate Spider-Man, as Bendis seems to think they’re the same character), as none of the Spider-writers seem at all keen to go near it, and when MJ asked Spidey if there was something wrong, I at first took it to be a reference to Marvel’s other lacklustre crossover event “The Other.” This seems like a strange place to be furthering Spidey’s “HoM” arc, but I suppose that since everything about 90’s comics is cool again, it’s only appropriate that a new Quicksilver solo series should feature a gratuitous Spider-Man appearance.
The art is much more impressive; Martinez gives the book a suitably grubby, downtrodden look, quite reminiscent of the work of Alex Ronald or early Frank Quitely, and Pete Pantazis’ colouring effectively conveys the existential misery of the setting. Again, I’m baffled that hacksters like Finch and Pat Lee are getting such high-profile gigs when Marvel have such talented artists toiling away on C-list books like this, the new X-Factor and The Sentry.
The truth is that this is a pretty good comic, and a fair continuation and expansion of House of M; that said, HoM was so lacking in merit that I can’t help but feel that Marvel would be better off putting the whole mess behind them and letting these talented creators devote their energies to something other than flogging a dead Bendis.
Plot: Pietro feels pretty bad about everything. You know, pissing off his
dad. Trying to change the whole world to suit him and Wanda. Failing at that. But, mostly, losing his powers is what really sucks.
Comments: I enjoyed this issue. Martinez’ art is pretty impressive. I’m not
fond of Pete Pantazis’ colors; they’re far too muted and grim. Sure, it fits the tone of the story, but it kinda takes the fun out of the funny book. It also makes the crowd scenes very murky; the dull gray skin tones are just unappealing.
The story’s a nice, focused one. There’s another great analysis of mutant powers now lost (Pietro’s suffering is quite similar to Rictor’s in X-Factor), with an acknowledgment that being a mutant (or at least one of the pretty non-Morlock ones) had many advantages.
Spider-man is Pietro’s co-star in this issue, and he’s wicked pissed, rightfully so. However, even he doesn’t intend for worse things to happen to Pietro—he’s just happy to see him suffering.
In the end, two established characters show up to aid Pietro. All in all, aside from the power loss, this is pretty par for the course for a Quicksilver story. I’ve liked his previous stories and series, and I think there’s a lot of potential in this one (potential to use the Terrigen Mists is my first guess). Otherwise, the only new thing is the helpful contrast of a mutant who wishes he’d lost his powers, but didn’t. Understandably, since his “power” is having Cthulu for an abdomen. Deeply creepy. It can’t talk, but it hisses. Spooky. Pietro walks through this story like a zombie. As Peter says, “Ha. Ha.” At least his fate is being chronicled, while Wanda rests conveniently off-panel, again, as usual. Hine has a clear perspective on this character, and looks ready to do some much-needed character repair.
What did you think of this book?
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