In Marvel’s original “House of M,” Wanda Maximoff helped usher in a seismic change in the universe with her “No more mutants” proclamation — a charge that essentially wiped out the powers of millions of mutants.
But what if that never happened? What if the Magneto-led utopia that the Scarlet Witch had previously created had just continued?
That is the premise of Marvel’s new “House of M.” This new worldview will shape the Monarchy of M territory and will be part of the ongoing Secret Wars’ Battleworld series.
Dennis Hopeless, who’s current run on “Spider-Woman” is getting a lot of positive buzz after a brief cover controversy, is shaping this universe, with art from Kris Anka.
Hero Complex is revealing the cover for issue No. 1, and we caught up with Hopeless to ask a bit about this new section of Battleworld and the family dynamics in play in this regal, “Tudors”-with-super-powers backdrop. Hopeless answered our questions via email.
HC: First off, what did you think as a comics fan when you heard of Battleworld and the upcoming Secret Wars series?
DH: I’m a big fan of Jonathan Hickman’s “Avengers'” run so I definitely smiled when I heard his massive story was heading for a new Secret Wars (complete with a weird new Battleword). Jonathan builds these sprawling multi-year plots for his comics. Everything is always hurtling toward the eventual climax. As a fan, it’s a lot of fun to watch these plans come to fruition. I will say my fan excitement transitioned pretty quickly over to writer excitement. Secret Wars is the perfect excuse for us to tell these wildly unconventional superhero stories. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
HC: You’ll be shaping the Monarchy of M territory for the “House of M” title. How’d you approach the perceived continuation of that popular storyline/world?
DH: Initially, I approached it with a bit of terror. I was working at a comic shop when “House of M” came out, reading every book on the shelf and taking my first baby steps toward a career in comics. I loved “House of M.” Bendis is one of my favorite writers and that series really struck a chord. So, yeah, my first thought was, “Please don’t screw up ‘HoM!’”
All of that trepidation faded away when I started rereading stuff in preparation. I really love this version of the Marvel Universe and couldn’t wait to tell a story here. Kris Anka and I talked about what kind of story we’d want to tell and which characters should show up. Obviously a few things have to change to fit within the Battleworld of it all, but we decided to keep it as true to the original series as possible while focusing most of our attention on Magnus and his royal family.
HC: The family was a pretty fractured unit when the “No more mutants” line was uttered. This is a different storyline and time in this land, but how do we find the Magneto/Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch relationship currently?
DH: The original “House of M” is about the Avengers waking up in and then bringing down this Magneto dream world. Secrets were revealed, the family was torn apart and Wanda depowered most of the mutants on Earth. Our story is a different thing altogether.
This “House of M” is alive and well. Magneto, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch have the kind of complicated relationships you’d expect amongst members of a ruling family but their world isn’t crumbling around them (at least not at first). They drive each other nuts for all the normal reasons.
HC: How does Kris Anka’s art compliment the “House of M” world?
DH: We’re so lucky to have Kris on this series. He’s not just a fabulous comic book artist and storyteller, he’s also a fantastic costume designer. As I’m sure fans are aware, “House of M” is chock full of regal evening wear, ornate military uniforms and reimagined superhero costumes.
Around here even the giant robot Sentinels wear gold-filigreed helmets. Kris makes all of it sing. Namor fans can also thank Mr. Anka for the Submariner’s role in the book. Kris’s first list of potential characters consisted of the word NAMOR in 20-point font.
HC: Was there a certain character that you got to write that you found you enjoyed more than you thought you would entering the project?
DH: Fin Fang Foom … And I’ve already said too much.
HC: You’re also writing the “Inferno” storyline set in Battleworld. Both “House of M” and “Inferno” have all-powerful women – with Magik/Illyana Rasputin and Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff — at the center of those universes. Are there other similarities you’ve found?
DH: The two characters play very different roles in their respective stories. When we meet up with Illyana, she’s ruling the Inferno from atop her massive demon tower. Hers is a position of great confidence and power. “House of M” Wanda is likely even more powerful than “Inferno” Illyana but she spends much of the story using her magic trying to clean up this big out of control mess (that I won’t spoil here). You wouldn’t want to either of these women mad at you but they don’t have all that much in common.
HC: Fans may have notions of worlds colliding, so to speak, on Battleworld. If you could crossover titles, who would you like to see your House of M cast of characters cross paths with?
DH: Well, now you have me wanting to write Wanda and Illyana together so I might just cross over my two Secret Wars books. The metal-skinned Colossus vs. Magneto doesn’t seem like a particularly fair fight but it might be fun to watch.
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