Posts Tagged ‘House of M’

Northstar’s leg in New Avengers Finale #1

May 21, 2010

New Avengers Finale #1
June 2010

Nothing could make Alpha Flight Collector happier than seeing the word “Finale” next to “New Avengers” on the cover. I giddily snatched this off the rack to silently cheer at the end of the line for the much hated Brian Michael Bendis (who I hate and who is a stupid jerk for killing off Alpha Flight in issue #16), but my smile turned upside down into a frown when I realized I would have to buy this for the collection: Northstar’s leg appears!

The book itself takes place at the immediate end of the Avenger-centric Siege story line and right before the Heroic Age story line begins. After the actual story ends, many major events that took place during the New Avengers title run are shown in flashback as narrated by Luke Cage. The flashbacks are in the form of reprinted 2pg spreads of iconic images from the run, including the opening 2pg spread from House of M #7 (2005) featuring an inverted Northstar just to the left of Spidey and to the right of She-Hulk. Here is an inset from the original spread:

This book ought to be found in a fifty cent bin at some point in the near future, so please don’t give Bendis (who I hate and who is a stupid jerk for killing off Alpha Flight in issue #16) the satisfaction of the direct sale.

Note: there are two variant covers, featuring two of the two page spreads from interior art:

New Avengers Finale #1 – Battle Ready Wraparound variant
New Avengers Finale #1 – Unmasked Wraparound variant

Sasquatch and Northstar in What If? Spider-Man: House of M #1

January 16, 2010

What If? Spider-Man: House of M #1
Feb 2010

The What If…? line of comics continues its tradition of offering up alternate versions of events in the Marvel Universe with this issue, based on Spider-Man’s experiences in the House of M reality, where his dead girlfriend Gwen Stacy was alive and well, along with their son, Richie Parker. This issue deals with two scenarios based on her continued existence post-House of M and the problems it causes. There’s also a very funny section of cartoon foolery at the end that would belong in a FUNday post if this were a “Spider-Man Collector” blog. In the first story, Sasquatch appears in one panel as a member of Magneto’s Red Guard. Northstar also appears very tiny in a panel reprinted from House of M #7.

In the first story by Frank Tieri, “What if… Gwen Stacy Survived the House of M?” Gwen (Parker) discovers the heroes’ plan to battle the House of M in Genosha, as depicted in the main series House of M, issues #6-7. She travels to Genosha with her little roller bag to find Peter, and stumbles across the major battle where the heroes encounter Magneto’s Red Guard. Sasquatch is painted by Tom Fleming, resplendent in his Red Guard uniform and helmet, getting socked in the jaw by Luke Cage in one panel, recreating a scene from House of M #6.

An introductory page to this story briefly describes the general House of M reality and includes several panels taken from various issues of the storyline, one of which is a greatly reduced inset from a 2pg splash panel from House of M #7. You can see Northstar in that spread, identified by the starburst on his leg.

Can’t find him? Don’t worry, he’s hard to see. He can be found just to the left of Spidey and to the right of She-Hulk, inverted. Here is an inset from the original panel to aid in identifying this very tiny appearance:

HULK SMASHES puny Wild Child in Hulk: Broken Worlds #1

November 19, 2009

Hulk: Broken Worlds #1
May 2009

This two-issue series contains short pieces by various artists and writers that feature the Hulk in eight different alternate realities. The first of four stories in the first issue is titled, “Punyville” and takes place in the House of M reality. Wild Child appears as a member of Magneto’s Red Guard, having previously joined at some unspecified point.

It’s very helpful to have read the corresponding Hulk issues for the House of M crossover (#83-87) to understand the plot of this story. Those issues explain what Punyville is (a coastal shantytown in Australia for human refugees), why Bruce Banner is in Australia, how he became its leader (by deposing Magneto’s appointed mutant governors), why he’s marked with aboriginal tattoos and most importantly, why the leader of an entire country is wearing tattered shorts with a rope sash for a belt.

One stark omission from those issues was Betty Ross, who now arrives at Punyville as Betty Talbot. Her husband, Glenn Talbot is a resistance fighter who intends to use a superpower inhibitor collar on the Hulk. Joining Talbot in their assault on the Hulk are three other human refugees who agree to help. The three are actually undercover agents from Magneto’s Red Guard sent to take out the Talbots: mutants Arclight, Mentallo and Wild Child.

They break into Prime Minister Banner’s home and Wild Child bursts into action. He breaks a guard’s neck, snatches the collar from Talbot’s hands, slaps it around Banner’s neck and slashes him across the chest. Unfortunately, the collar doesn’t work or the Hulk’s power is too great for it to inhibit, and he transforms into the jolly green giant. The Hulk smashes Wild Child with both fists really hard into the ground, possibly killing him.

KyleGibney@JeanneMarie: lol just got smashed by Hulk ūüôā awesome HULK SMASH this is teh awesome zOMG ribs are killing me BTW how r u?

If it weren’t such a distinctive honor to be smashed by the Hulk, it would be disappointing to see Wild Child taken down so quickly. Similar to the surprise revelation that Diamond Lil turned out to be a member of Magneto’s Red Guard in House of M: Masters of Evil #4, we had no clue about Wild Child’s whereabouts during the crossover, as he made no other appearance in any House of M book. It was nice of Fred van Lente to include Kyle in this issue as one of the three mutant infiltrators, and even nicer for him to have remembered, of all Kyle’s various incarnations and personas, that Kyle was once dashingly handsome as Wildheart, so much so that he caught Aurora’s eye (mentioned in X-Factor #116), and could easily pass as a Homo Sapiens. Note that at the time of the House of M crossover in 2004, Kyle was still the grey-skinned gargoylish version from Tieri’s Weapon X series, so Fred van Lente got this just right, as it would make perfect sense for Kyle to look like he did in the House of M reality, where characters generally live out their heart’s desires.

Alphans appear in House of M: Masters of Evil #4

November 10, 2009

hommoe4coverHouse of M: Masters of Evil #4
Jan 2010

Set in the alternate reality of the House of M storyline where Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) warped reality into a mutant-centric world in which her family ruled, the Masters of Evil spin-off series concludes with the defeat of the title characters. Sasquatch and Diamond Lil appear as members of Magnus’ elite Red Guard.

Sasquatch first appeared in the House of M storyline in issue #6 of the main series as a member of the Red Guard, but this story pre-dates those events, as Wolverine and the other heroes haven’t been made aware of the divergent reality yet. The Alphans appear on a splash panel naming several members of a strike force sent by Magneto to take out the Masters of Evil, who had just defied him in issue #3 by conquering the tiny nation of Santo Rico, formerly ruled by the Jeffries brothers.

hommoe4aSasquatch and Lil jump out of a helicarrier, without parachutes, all bad-ass, of course, and attack the members of the Masters of Evil who choose to remain after the coup. Diamond Lil isn’t shown in the attack, except very tiny at the top of the opening battle sequence, but Sasquatch is shown in a few panels, fighting the Wrecker and again later alongside fellow Red Guard member Sebastian Shaw, taking him out with a nice right cross. After the events of Omega Flight when a super-charged Wrecker beat the crap out of Sasquatch, it’s very satisfying to see the tables turned and see the guy go down, in this or any reality. Sasquatch is also shown about to battle Titania, but the Absorbing man scoops her up and tosses her to Mexico before they can fight.

Diamond Lil hadn’t made any other showing in the House of M storyline, so it was a bit surprising to see her, and it’s a shame she wasn’t used more extensively in the battle. Her membership in the Red Guard explains in part why she wasn’t with Madison Jeffries earlier in Santo Rico. This is also the first time we’ve seen her wearing this costume, a uniform similar to the ones worn by Northstar and Aurora in New X-Men #16.

hommoe4b

It’s still not clear why Sasquatch would be a member of the House of M Red Guard, as he isn’t a mutant, but speculation whether or not it was actually him or not in House of M #6 can be put to rest after this issue, especially since he’s identified by name. How they got him to put on a pair of pants is even less clear.

Jeffries brothers killed in House of M: Masters of Evil #3

October 14, 2009

hommoe3coverHouse of M: Masters of Evil #3
Dec 2009

Set in the alternate reality of the House of M storyline where Wanda Maximoff (the Scarlet Witch) warped reality into a mutant-centric world in which her family ruled, the Masters of Evil spin-off series features a nasty bunch of human baddies. Led by the mysterious Hood, this crew of criminals seeks to liberate the fictional country of Santo Rico where none other than Mister Madison and Doctor Lionel Jeffries share power.  The two brothers appear extensively in this issue as enemies of the Masters of Evil and are ultimately defeated.

In the mainstream universe, we knew that Lionel Jeffries suffered from a sort of traumatic stress brought on by his inability to re-animate fallen comrades in battle (as described in Alpha Flight #30). ¬†Cured of this disorder by his own organic shaping abilities combined with his brother’s sheer will in that same issue, he remained an associate of Alpha Flight but was unable to maintain a healthy mental state and was eventually killed mercifully by his brother Madison after fusing with Roger Bochs into Omega (Alpha Flight #49). ¬†It’s a moving story of healing, redemption and sacrifice, poignant sentiments that could not possibly be more removed from the plot of this issue.

hommoe3aIn this reality, the brothers were exposed to highly stressful conditions during the human/mutant war when they were forced to use their mutant powers against other mutants. ¬†Similar to the mainstream reality, the extreme conditions of their captivity induced a psychotic state in Lionel, and to some degree in Madison as well. ¬†It also causes Lionel to want to look more like Romulus’ multiple earring version of Wild Child. Installed to power by Magneto in Santo Rico, the Jeffries brothers’ seemingly unstoppable combination of powers bring upon the citizens of the tiny country, a majority of which are human, a reign of terror marked by horrific abuses and atrocities.

The Masters of Evil swoop in and quickly take over the country, ostensibly for financial gain, but not before an epic battle with the Jeffries brothers.  Madison fights in his armor, but is not shown physically merged with the armor, but rather, enclosed by it in old-school Iron Man fashion.  This is completely different than how we are used to see Jeffries, but still consistent with his power set and quite a step up from the coiled tentacle scene from Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1.

hommoe3c

Madison fights with completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts and absorbs metal from his enemies’ costumes and nearby cars into his bulk. ¬† Lionel takes on a similar tactic, absorbing nearby bad guys into a grotesque blob of face-studded flesh. ¬†They defeat Bulldozer and Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew this way. ¬†Lionel then absorbs the Hood.

Completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts

Completely awesome hand-repulsor blasts

Unfortunately, the Hood shoots through Lionel’s organic bulk and causes a failure mode in Lionel’s power due to the fact that the Hood isn’t 100% human. ¬†Lionel rejects the Hood’s body and reverts to a non-blobby state. ¬†After pleading for his life by offering to fix the scars beneath Madame Masque’s mask, the Hood shoots him in the face and kills him.

Meanwhile, Madison has risen to an enormous size as he¬†directly engages an unmanageably large group of Masters of Evil, at one point getting attacked simultaneously ¬†by Absorbing Man, ¬†Blizzard, Chemistro, ¬†Sandman, Thunderball and Wrecker and maybe some more bad guys who I (and I suspect the artist as well) can’t identify or lost count of. ¬†The combined attack is too much even for him and he is taken down, demoralized further by his brother’s death and fatally stabbed in the back by the Wrecker’s magic crowbar.

hommoe3d

Following in the tradition of resurrected characters we haven’t seen for a long time, only to have them warped into a state of complete insanity and quickly killed (see Dark Reign: The List – X-Men #1 for Marrina’s similar fate), we see Lionel in the worst possible psychological condition and brutally executed with little remorse. ¬†His brother fares no better, as the battle is fought between very bad guys and otherwise heroic characters who are portrayed as gleefully sinister, mentally unstable and psychotically cruel. ¬†This morally bankrupt issue lacks anything resembling heroic action on anyone’s part, denying readers the chance to re-live what was a closed chapter of pathos in Alpha Flight history. ¬† The issue does bring up the notion of how incredibly powerful the combination of techno- and organo-morph mutant powers could be, a notion ruined by the juxtaposition of overly simplistic versions of post-traumatic stress disorders and a complete disregard for any dignity and respect that the mentally ill deserve. ¬†Fortunately, it all took place in an alternate reality that has since winked out of existence.