The Good Shepherd
In the ruins of Genosha, Charles Xavier tries desperately to salvage the mind of Wanda Maximoff. However, after several months, Wanda has not gotten any better, and all attempts have taken a toll on both Xavier and Magneto. Realizing that Wanda needs not just a mental cleansing, but a spiritual one as well, Xavier contacts Dr. Strange, who tells Charles that for Wanda to recover it is important for the people around her to be at peace as well.
During Xavier’s next session with Magneto and Wanda, Strange comes as well to aid Xavier in his psychic journey. After walking through memories of Xavier’s time in war, his break-up with Moira MacTaggert and his relationship to Gabrielle Haller, Strange realizes that Wanda is using Xavier’s regrets and shame to hide herself from him. For Xavier to help Wanda, he must overcome his problems first. However, the two also realize that Wanda is also feeding off Magneto’s shame and the forces he controls. Strange and Xavier eventually reach a part of the journey where Strange can no longer continue. Xavier continues and confronts Gabrielle Haller about their past. After making peace with his inner demons, Xavier finds
Magnus reading a book to Wanda. Knowing that Wanda is feeding off of his power, Magnus tells Xavier to shoot him with his gun in order to end her misery and prevent her downfall, but after his journey Xavier realizes that this is not the way to save Wanda. For them to be a happy family, they must work hard. Xavier ends the psychic journey and speaks with Dr. Strange about the results. Xavier believes that Wanda and Magnus are both driven by love and for creating a better world; however, a solution to Wanda’s condition is still unknown. [Excalibur (3rd series) #13-14]
Judge, Jury… Executioner?
Unable to come up with a viable solution on Genosha to save Wanda, Xavier steals away from the island and heads to New York City, where he meets the New Avengers at their headquarters in Stark Tower, among them Captain America, Iron Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the Sentry. There, the Avengers invite Dr. Strange and several former Avengers, such as Ms. Marvel, Wonder Man, Wasp, Yellowjacket, She-Hulk and Falcon. The Avengers then have Wolverine bring in the senior staff of the Xavier Institute. Cyclops’ squad of X-Men, including Shadowcat, Emma Frost, Beast and Colossus, arrive at Avengers Tower and are shocked to see their mentor there.
The assemblage of power wastes no time in bringing up the heavy subject matter. Xavier informs the heroes that he has attempted to salvage the mind of Wanda Maximoff, but to no avail. Emma Frost and Wolverine immediately suggest killing Wanda, as she poses a threat to the delicate relations between humans and mutants. However, Captain America and Cyclops refuse to entertain such a notion, though are disturbed to see that a weary Xavier does not object. Captain America then announces that only the Avengers can decide Wanda’s fate, and the team votes to see what Wanda thinks.
However, neither team realizes that their meeting has been spied upon by Quicksilver, who rushes back to Genosha to inform Magneto. Unfortunately, Pietro’s hopes of saving Wanda are dashed when he realizes that his father, worn by attempts to save Wanda, is indecisive about what to do. Magneto hints that perhaps ending Wanda’s life is the only solution, leaving Quicksilver torn.
The X-Men and Avengers arrive at the ruins of Genosha and quickly realize that something is wrong, as Xavier cannot sense Wanda on the island. As the heroes investigate the building where Wanda was recuperating, Xavier suddenly vanishes out of thin air. The heroes are unsure of what is occurring, but suddenly Emma senses Wanda, though Dr. Strange senses nothing. Emma leads the team to another part of the island, where they come upon a church. The heroes enter to investigate the church but, when Spider-Man turns a corner and sees something, the world around him burns away in a flash of white light. [House of M #1]
Brave New World
With her powers, Wanda remakes the world, and quite possibly all of reality. When the flash of white light subsides, the world is no longer one ruled by humans. In this new world, back in the 1970s, when mutants were still a minority and hunted down by the robot Sentinels, a man known as Magnus arose from the ranks of his fellow mutants and stood up against the tyranny of human kind. With his magnetic powers he led mutant kind through the Mutant-Human War, and was victorious after the human defeat in Central Park in New York City. Mutants were liberated and now rule the world, their numbers increased immensely and they now control everything from governments, to culture and to media.
Today, the vast majority of people on Earth are mutants, while humans are a dwindling species. However, this has led to a role reversal, with humans becoming
second class citizens in some parts of the world and treated as inferior. The world is now ruled by King Magnus, father of the royal family known as the House of M, whose capital is the island of Genosha, an advanced nation once built on the backs of enslaved mutates. With Magneto are his mutant children Quicksilver and Lorna, as well as his rarely seen daughter Wanda, who apparently is human. In reward for their actions in the Mutant-Human War, Magnus has gathered his closest allies and formed them into his Royal Guard. Magneto also employs the services of S.H.I.E.L.D. to protect the world. Sentinels are still a common sight in the streets, though mutants view them as protectors instead of oppressors now. [House of M #2-3]
In order to prevent the Avengers and X-Men from coming for her again, Wanda has given most of them true happiness within the revamped reality. The various members of both groups live their lives to their hearts content, in world where they are no Avengers or X-Men. Not only this, but many people long dead in the proper version of the reality are now alive in the House of M world. Despite these drastic changes, however, no one in the world remembers the way reality was before Wanda tampered with it, and they all live their new lives as if the world has always been like that. However, not everyone is as happy as they are supposed to be. Among them are a group of human freedom fighters led by Luke Cage called the Human Resistance Movement, the outcast Bruce Banner who was run out of the United States, as well as several world leaders who are displeased with Magneto’s rule, such as Black Panther, Queen Ororo, King Namor or Emperor Sunfire.
The Life and Times in the House of M
One area in particular where mutant culture is vibrant is Mutopia X, an area of New York that is famous for its culture and its role as a haven for mutants. Surrounding Mutopia X is a destitute area known as Sapien Town, where the remnants of humanity in New York can gather. Ismael Ortega, a high ranking human officer of the X.S.E., is partnered up with street cop Bishop after it becomes clear that the Sapien League, a militant offshoot of the Human Resistance Movement, is targeting celebrity mutants instead of politicians. Ortega and Bishop are put in charge of protecting movie mogul Daniel Kaufman and his wife, Lara the Illusionist, and this necessity became apparent when Kaufman is attacked by the Sapien League at a movie premiere. However, despite having helped save the day, Ortega’s heroic actions put him as a target for the Sapien League and its leader, Popova.
Ismael’s problems do not just include the Sapien League. At home, Ortega finds himself with a mutant son, Esteban, but a human daughter, Chamayra. Ismael’s wife, Armena, wishes to take Chamayra to the Centre for Transformation and Illumination in order to cure her daughter’s Sapien “sickness,” termed Arrested Genetic Development, a term for those who have not displayed any form of mutant powers. Ismael does not feel that anything was wrong with Chamayra, but his problems grow worse when he begins an affair with Lara the Illusionist, which is caught on camera and published in The Pulse. For the sake of their children, Armena agrees to give Ismael one more chance, but only if he agrees to let Chamayra take the Rite of Transformation.
Kaufman also discovers his wife’s infidelity and, after capturing Popova, the two strike a deal that requires Popova to kill Ismael at his daughter’s Rite of Transformation, in exchange for some information. On the day of the Transformation, the Ortega’s are closely guarded by Bishop, but Popova sneaks in disguised and attacks. Ismael and Armena are protected, but a stray bullet hits Chamayra in the chest, killing her, before Popova is finally taken down. [Mutopia X #1-4]
Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous (Sapiens)
Being human does not always mean that one is relegated to being lower caste. Industrialist Tony Stark is one of the wealthiest men on the planet, and has contracts with the House of M to design weapons, as well as being a contestant on the hit show “Sapien Death Match,” where humans battle in robotic suits, alongside his father, Howard, and Johnny Storm. However, despite fame and fortune, Tony lacks a good relationship with his father, and this becomes apparent after discovering that his employee, Hank Pym, is secretly working on a project to map the mutant genome. Fearing retribution by the House of M, Howard orders the project shut down but, when Pym disappears with the data, a disgruntled Howard makes his disappointment known to Tony. Refusing to look weak, Tony tracks down Pym to a Human Resistance cell with his Iron Man armor, but Sentinels arrive and murder the Resistance members. Iron Man defeats the remaining Sentinels and thus is branded a human sympathizer.
The House of M contacts Tony and, after dropping hints that they suspect that he is Iron Man, a paranoid Tony gives into their demands that he sign over the Vision Project that Forge and Hank McCoy have been working on. Infuriated by Tony’s actions, Howard reprimands him, as the House of M actually thought Johnny Storm was the Iron Man. When Tony goes to destroy the Iron Man suit, he finds Johnny hiding, and the two agree to fight their oppressors by first finding Pym. The two are successful, but quickly discover that Pym has created a gene bomb for the Human Resistance that causes a genetic meltdown in mutants. The two heroes track down all 103 bombs in Chicago, but are attacked by the House of M and their new Vision robots, led by Magneto. Tony discovers that his father set this all up so Iron Man could kill Magneto and look like a hero, but Howard ends up perishing at the hands of Magnus. Tony refuses to fight Magneto and decides to focus his attention to clean up Chicago, despite his company facing a hostile takeover by Jason Wyngarde. [Iron Man: House of M #1-3]
Peter Parker also became famous as a wrestler, actor and business man. Marrying Gwen Stacy, Parker and she have a son, Ritchie, and live with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. However, Parker’s success is not all that it seems. In a world where mutants rule supreme, Parker hides the true origin of his powers and tricks the world into thinking that he is a mutant. He even keeps this information private from his publicist, J. Jonah Jameson, whom he humiliates constantly since Jonah treated him poorly when he was younger. Jonah’s luck changes, however, when he is attacked by the Green Goblin. The Goblin gives Jonah Parker’s diary, where Parker mentions the true origins of his powers.
Jonah takes the information to the news media, and thus the public turns on Parker. When a little boy is beaten and hospitalized for wearing a Spider-Man shirt, Parker visits him, but soon learns that his bodyguard, the Rhino, has run amok downtown. Spider-Man defeats him, but the Rhino escapes to the Green Goblin, who tells him to meet him at Parker’s house that night. Rhino complies and that night gets into a fight with the Goblin. Gwen unmasks the Goblin and discovers that it is Parker. Peter reveals that he has been having nightmares of a world where Gwen and Ben are both dead, and his family believes that Peter subconsciously created the Goblin to force his secret out into the open so he could stop living a lie. Peter fakes his death and goes into hiding with his family, but not before sending out a message to Magneto to leave humans alone, or else. [Spider-Man: House of M #1-5]
Note: The ending does not mesh well with a scene later on, in which Peter and his family freely walk around in public. Peter is still beloved in that scene and the family is not in hiding.