House of M #8

Issue Date: 
December 2005
Story Title: 
House of M – part eight

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Olivier Coipel (Penciler), John Dell, Scott Hanna, Tim Townsend (Inkers), Frank D’Armata (Colorists), Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer), Esad Ribic (Cover), Chris Bachalo (Variant Cover), James Taveras (Production), Molly Lazer and Aubrey Sitterson (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

The world seemingly returns back to normal, but under the exterior things are horribly wrong. Layla Miller wakes up home and finds things normal, but Spider-Man finds that Mary Jane has no clue what has happened. In fact, few people do remember, as it seems only those who were under the protection of Strange and Emma Frost remember what happened in Genosha. However, even that is not a correct assumption as even Spider-Woman and Nightcrawler do not remember anything. Strange tries to find Wanda, but cannot, and sulks in the misery of failing in preventing his sole duty as master of the mystic arts. Spider-Man demands Strange take the memories of his House of M life away, but Strange cannot and this infuriates Peter. Suddenly, their attention is called to the old Avengers Mansion, where the Avengers find a sign that Hawkeye is alive. Meanwhile, the entire world suddenly realizes that the world’s mutant population has been drastically lowered. The X-Men find most of their students have been de-powered, save for a few, and the team has suffered casualties as well ,as Iceman has also lost his powers. Emma uses Cerebra to scan the world and find that there are barely hundreds of mutants left, when there used to be around a million. She cannot find Xavier or Wanda, the latter being responsible for all of this, but she finds Magnus. The team finds Magneto powerless in Genosha, but even he has no clue where Wanda, Pietro or Xavier are. The team then leaves him in Genosha to live out the rest of his pathetic human life. As the Scarlet Witch starts her new seemingly happy life in an eastern European village, Hank Pym speaks to the world about the drastic ecological changes of the world suddenly losing so many mutants who for years warped energy and controlled the world’s forces. Where has the energy of so many energy-wielding mutants gone? Unbeknownst to the world, however, a massive energy force flares perilously close to the atmosphere in space, seemingly answering Pym’s question.

Full Summary: 

It is morning in the glorious city of New York on the island of Manhattan. Everything is peaceful and serene. Birds fly around Stark Tower, known as Avengers Tower to the group known as the Avengers, who secretly use the upper levels as the base of their heroic operations. Elsewhere, in Westchester, the Xavier Institute is just as peacefully and quiet for now. Everything seems perfectly normal. It is just another typical day in the world.

In the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City, the young girl known as Layla Miller sleeps in her bed with her mouth hanging open. Around her are pictures of her favorite super heroes, including Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and the members of the X.S.E. Suddenly, Layla is awoken by the voice of her mother yelling at her to wake up, for she will be late to school. Layla slowly opens her eyes and sits up in bed, looking around her. She is tired and confused. Layla then goes over to her window and opens it. She sticks her head out of her bedroom in the apartment complex and then looks out at the slum that is Hell’s Kitchen. Everything seems… the way it should be?

At Avengers Tower, Peter Park is in bed in his boxers. He suddenly wakes up, and sluggishly sits up in bed. Next to the bed is his wife, Mary Jane, who sits with a cup of coffee and reads the morning newspaper. As Peter rubs his head, Mary Jane asks him if he is ok. Peter simply replies that he has a headache. Mary Jane jokes that he should not get hit on the head by big mechanical octopus arms that much anymore. Yeah, replies Peter, clearly disturbed. He then looks away from Mary Jane with sadness in his eyes. He then sulks out of the room, with Mary Jane not noticing anything amiss.

Some time later, Peter sits in the Avengers conference room in his shirt, robe, boxers and slippers, depressed and resting his head in the palm of his hand. Sitting with him are She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel, while Falcon, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and Sentry stand around. She-Hulk asks the group what the hell that all was. One minute they were in Genosha, fighting everyone and everything… and the next thing she knows she is in her bed tucked in. Cleary confused, Falcon looks at She-Hulk and asks her where she thinks they were again. He admits his confusion and tells Jen that he was just here and then…

Cage cuts off Falcon and tells him to wait for everyone else to show up. He notices the sulking Peter and calls out the man’s name. Peter turns to Luke and asks him if he remembers. Cage replies that he does and then asks Peter if he is okay. Is Mary Jane fine? Peter looks away and tells Cage that Mary Jane doesn’t remember a thing. On the other end of the table, Sentry asks what they are all supposed to remember. Spider-Woman asks if anyone else feels like screaming, as she is confused as to what everyone is talking about as well.

Tony Stark walks into the room, wearing his armor and holding his helmet in his hand. He greets everyone and asks who called this meeting. Peter interrupts Iron Man and asks the others how they are here of all places. They were just over there and now they are here. Confused, Tony asks were “there” is. Cage asks Iron Man if he doesn’t remember either, but Tony asks Cage what he is supposed to remember. Frustrated, Peter screams in rage and smashes his fists on the table, cracking it. Tony steps forward to stop him, but Cage stops Tony and reminds him that he can always buy a new one. Peter continues to vent his anger and smashes the table one last time. He begins to cry.

Ms. Marvel gets up and stutters that everything is back to normal though… right? Isn’t everything ok now? A ragged voice replies that everything is not quite ok. All turn to see the weak and tired Dr. Strange enter, barely standing and his clothing covered in dirt.

At Xavier’s school, the serene external landscape also does well to cloak the confusion and horror that lies within the walls of the school, just like how it did for Avengers Tower. Lying in the grass of nearby the basketball court is headmistress Emma Frost, who sleeps peacefully. Suddenly, she begins to awaken and comes to. She lifts her head, covered in grass and with a nosebleed. Suddenly, she hears a horrible scream and quickly leaps to her feet. She races towards the doors of the school, as she hears a familiar voice call for help and more screams of horror. Emma swings open the doors to the school and what sight she sees before her makes her eyes open wide in fear. P>

The students of Xavier’s are all running around confused with many screaming, many crying. All are very confused as to what is going on. As a boy cries on the staircase and another boy consoles a crying girl, a girl with green skin and blonde hair looks at everyone with sadness and confusion. At the base of the staircase is Laurie Collins, also known as Wallflower among her school squad known as the New Mutants. Wind Dancer sits helpless as her best friend Sophia; a.k.a Wind Dancer lies motionless in the arms of their teacher, Kitty Pryde, a.k.a. Shadowcat. Shadowcat quickly spots Emma and screams about the students.

Cyclops and Colossus quickly rush into the room, as Shadowcat begins to babble about the last words of Wanda Maximoff. No more mutants, repeats Shadowcat over and over. Emma comes to Kitty and asks her if she is okay. Kitty replies that she is fine, but asks about Sophia. Emma informs Kitty that Wind Dancer merely fainted. Wallflower, who is crying, asks Emma if Sophia will be alright. Emma tells the young girl that of course Sophia will be fine. She only fainted. Everyone and everything is fine. Emma’s disillusion is swept away when Laurie tells Emma that Sophia lost her powers!

Nightcrawler enters the room and Cyclops asks him if he is ok. Nightcrawler is confused and asks how they are here when they were just over there? Confused, Colossus asks Nightcrawler where he was. No more mutants, repeats the crying Shadowcat. Cyclops informs the others that he still has his powers, but then suddenly remembers about Wolverine. Understanding, Nightcrawler continues the thought and realizes that if he lost his abilities like Wind Dancer, then the adamantium will kill him. Scott doesn’t even have to complete an order to Kurt to find Wolverine before Nightcrawler teleports away to find him.

Nightcrawler first teleports to Logan’s bedroom but finds the bed empty save a few empty beer cans. He then teleports to the Danger Room, but no one is there either. Next, he then teleports to the basketball court where he looks around and then finally spots Logan lying in the grass under the X-Jet. Worried, he teleports to Logan’s side and is about to lift him up. Logan suddenly darts up into a sitting position with his eyes open wide.

“I remember,” states Wolverine, “My whole life…I remember all of it.”

Back in the school, all the students turn to Emma and ask what is going on with them. What happened to their powers? Some students ask to call their parents. Others ask if they are being punished for being bad. As Shadowcat comforts the crying Tag, who has also lost his powers, Emma runs away towards the Cerebra chamber, with Cyclops and newly arrived Beast behind her.

Emma frantically reaches the chamber and Cerebra asks for voice identification. Emma states her name and then strides towards Cerebra, where she puts on the helmet. Emma then closes her eyes and concentrates, praying against what she thinks she will find. Tears escape Emma’s eyes and she realizes the horrible realization of what has happened.

Emma then pulls up a fiery red image of the globe. Confused, Cyclops begins to ask Emma if what she is showing them what he thinks it is, but Emma stops him. She explains that Cerebra was created to locate mutant activity all over the world. Annoyed, Cyclops reminds Emma that he has been in the mansion since he was fourteen. He knows what Cerebra does. Emma interrupts him again and tells him that Cerebra is on full power! This right now… the few tiny dots they see scattered around the globe… these are all the mutants on the planet!

Cyclops and Beast are left in awe as an image of Australia appears before them, with only five dots on the landscape. Beast speaks up, saying that there tens of thousands before. A million, maybe, continues Cyclops. Not anymore, replies the crying Emma. They are dead, Cyclops questions. No, replies Emma. Not as far as she can tell. They are just not… mutants anymore.

There is a moment of complete silence between the three, and then Emma mutters that she tried to stop Wanda. Cyclops then asks Emma where Wanda is, but Emma replies that she doesn’t see her. She doesn’t see anyone. Frantic, Beast screams at Emma to find Xavier. Emma continues to cry and hangs her head in shame.

“He’s not…” is all Emma is able to muster before she falls to silence.

Back in the halls, Nightcrawler consoles Tag, who asks if he has done something wrong as he cries. Nightcrawler tells the boy that of course he has done nothing wrong. Tag asks if his powers will come back. What happened to Sophia? Confused as well, Nightcrawler desperately turns to Shadowcat for answers, but she simply tells Nightcrawler to hold on as Tag finally asks Kurt if he is still a mutant.

Shadowcat walks over to her friend Dani Moonstar, who sits alone in the dark with her head hung low into her arms. Shadowcat bends down next to Dani and asks her normally courageous and vibrant friend if she remembers what happened yesterday. Dani does not respond, so Kitty begins to call her name. Dani finally looks up, with distress and sadness marked all over her face. When, asks Dani. With the House of M, replies Kitty. House of M, questions Dani. Kitty realizes that Dani doesn’t remember anything that has happened. Why doesn’t she remember?

Emma, Cyclops, and Beast return just in time for the frustrated Colossus to ask once more what they are all talking about. Remember what?! A boy asks Emma what they should do, while another once again asks to call his mother. Shadowcat turns to Emma with distress as well, as she realizes that more than half the school’s students no longer have powers. Emma telepathically speaks to Kitty and tells her that it is worse than that.

Colossus again asks what they are to remember, while a student asks if this is a test. The student who asked what they should do asks if the school is closing down. Not knowing what to do, Emma telepathically tells everyone to stop talking and silences them all with her powers. Emma supports herself against a wall and apologizes. She just needs to figure out what exactly is going on here. She just needs to think. Did Wanda just delete the mutant gene from everyone she could reach or… or did she merely just repress the mutation?

Sinking to desperation, Emma whispers to herself that Xavier would know. Xavier would know what all of this is. Suddenly, a voice states that he now knows that it isn’t just him. All turn to a doorway to see Bobby Drank, a.k.a Iceman, standing in his shorts, his flesh dripping wet with water as opposed to his normal recent transformation to permanent ice. Bobby jokes that he thought it was way too hot in here. So what… is that it for Iceman? Shocked, Cyclops is saddened to see that his old friend Iceman has been de-powered as well.

It is not long before the news of the mutant population being de-powered hits the news fast. Live from one station, a reporter states that information is pouring in from all over the globe. They will try to get it out to the public as fast as possible. Suddenly, the reporter receives word that the White House is about to make a statement. They are going there now.

The video feed then switches to the White House, where the press secretary speaks about the mutant epidemic. He bids good morning to all and confirms that this morning hundreds, if not thousands of mutants, as they are called in the popular vernacular, seem to have spontaneously lost that gene and the powers that come as a result.

In Avengers Tower, the Avengers, who are now joined by Wonder Man and Captain America, watch many different reports. They learn that the White House has no clue how this has happened or how widespread it is. The press secretary then goes on and states that their best scientific aides are looking over information, as well as FEMA, SHIELD, Reed Richards, and the Center for Disease Control, as well as the newly formed office for National Emergency. They will try to get information out to the public as soon as possible.

The press secretary then adds that the rumors of this dilemma being a government attack on mutants are lies and absurd. There is no anti-mutant agenda in the government or this administration. He stresses once more that there was no involvement by the US government in enacting whatever epidemic is striking mutants. A reporter asks if a mutant virus has been ruled out. The press secretary answers that nothing has been ruled out yet. Another reporter asks if there are any ideas on who is responsible, but learns that no one has stepped up to take claim yet. Another reporter asks if the UN ruled out another country with any kind of anti-mutant agenda, but the secretary replies that all the information he has right now has been given out. Yet another reporter speaks up, this time asking about the X-Men.

“Oh my god…” says Ms. Marvel as remembers about her other comrades, “…the X-Men…”

Captain America then notices the face of William Stryker, an Evangelist, on one of the monitors and asks Tony to bring up the volume. Stryker begins to speak that this incident has been foretold in scriptures for years now and the cleansing has finally begun. The abomination that is mutant kind is now seen as what it always was…a disease of their own decadence and indulgence. God’s will has been done and now it is up to man to finish the work.

Never mind, replies Captain America, who asks Tony to turn off that monitor. Iron Man turns his teammates and tells them that he does not know what to say. He has no recollection of the House of M or any of this. Neither do I, replies Captain America. Iron Man states that they believe their teammates who do remember, but they must remember that the rest of them just woke up and found themselves here dealing with all of this.

Dr. Strange rubs his head and states that it seems that those who were there at the event and under the protection of either him or Emma Frost actually remember what happened. Ain’t we lucky, states Cage. Spider-Man, who is finally dressed in costume, throws his head back and says that he is going to be sick. Captain America asks Strange if he can locate Wanda. Ms. Marvel recalls what Strange was saying earlier about tracking Wanda with her magics.

Strange’s eyes go wide open as he recalls that Ms. Marvel is talking about the map left behind when Wanda used her powers. He tried a few times to find Wanda before coming to Avengers Tower, but he cannot find any sign of her. Seeing the distress in the doctor’s face, Tony asks Strange if he is ok. Bitter, Strange tells Tony that his duties as the master of the mystic arts were simple. He had to protect the world from a magical attack like this. He failed… completely.

Speaking up, Spider-Man asks Dr. Strange if he can use some of his magic whammy to make him forget everything that has happened. That isn’t how my magic works, replies Strange. Yeah, well, replies Spider-Man, clearly disturbed… Strange has full permission to go in his head and take out the memories. Strange apologizes to Spider-Man, but he cannot. Enraged, Spider-Man leaps on the table and screams at the top of his lungs to get the memories out of his head.

Captain America stops Spider-Man, who gets off the table and apologizes. Cage speaks up and asks if they go to the press with his. Do they tell them what really happened? Iron Man asks Cage what they tell the press. He sarcastically states that they will just end up telling them to round up the rest of mutant kind before this attack can happen again. Jarvis enters the room and looks at one of the monitors. He calls Iron Man’s attention, but Tony already sees it on his armor readings. Captain America asks what is going on. Iron Man announces that there is someone at the mansion.

Soon, at the desolate ruins of Avengers Mansion, destroyed during Wanda’s initial rampage, the Avengers walk through. Captain America asks where the disturbance is and the team follows Iron Man to a wall still standing. What is this, asks the confused She-Hulk. The heroes then all gaze upon the costume of their deceased teammate Hawkeye, pinned up on the walls by arrows, with his quiver and bow on the ground beside it. As the Avengers look around at the wreckage, Captain America spots a newspaper clipping pinned by an arrow on a wall, about the death of Hawkeye. What does this mean, asks Ms. Marvel as Captain America smiles.

Some time later, at the wreckage of the nation formerly known as Genosha, a lone man walks through. Magnus walks in his tattered dirty garbs through the dust, without shoes. He steps on a fork and weakly lifts his arm towards it. The fork does not move. He tries harder to lift it wit his magnetic powers, but again it does not move. He then collapses to his knees. Suddenly, a voice behind him demands to know the location of Wanda Maximoff.

To the side of Magnus are Cyclops, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Colossus, Beast and Shadowcat. Magnus does not respond to Cyclops, so the leader of the X-Men shoots the ground before Magnus with his optic blast and once more asks where Wanda is. Magnus again does not respond. Wolverine knocks the man to the ground and pops out his claws. Magnus finally responds, stating that he does not know where Wanda is. Wolverine taunts Magneto over losing his abilities to manipulate metal. He then pops his claws in and out and states that he didn’t lose his powers.

Magnus tells Wolverine to stop. Beast asks about Xavier’s location, but Magnus does not know. Cyclops asks about Pietro’s location, but again, Magnus does not know. Where is Wanda, asks Colossus. I don’t know replies the frustrated Magnus. Emma confirms with her telepathy that Magnus is not lying. Wolverine then states that they have run out of reasons to keep Magnus on this planet.

Shadowcat then steps forward and she reminds her teammates that Magnus didn’t do any of this. Wolverine grins sadistically, agreeing. The way he sees it, Magnus deserves every last second of this crap “sapien” life. He then lets Magnus go and tells him that when they find his kids… and they will find them… The X-Men will be sure to say hi for him.

The X-Men then leave Genosha in their jet, leaving Magnus behind to lie pathetically in the dirt.

Back at one news station, before the reporter signs out, he tells his audience that they now turn to renowned scientist and adventurer Dr. Henry Pym, who joins them from their London offices. Hank Pym states that it is shocking to say these words out loud… but they may be seeing the extinction of a species. As of right now they have no clue how it happened. He doesn’t think any person of science will rest until they figure out how it happened and what was responsible. Not only has the mutant population been devastated, and his heart does break for his mutant brothers and sisters, but people should think as well about the effect on their ecosystem.

As Hank Pym continues to speak, elsewhere in a remote eastern European village, a beautiful young woman with green eyes walks through a market wearing a red cloak and smiles at the villagers as she shops. A man greets her and she greets him back as she continues her way happily enjoying her life. Wanda Maximoff may have finally found peace and happiness.

Hank Pym continues his concerns about the ecosystem, explaining that the way their world reacts to their existence has now changed. Their planet may not be ready to handle the sudden changes that have been put upon us and it. People need to think about this. How many people are they talking about; tens of thousands of mutants or hundreds of thousands? Of all those people how many could actually control energy, or entire energy fields, or how many produced energy sources? How many mutants wielded any number of elements that affect their atmosphere or the magnetic fields that hold their planet’s weather systems in place? These questions are just off the top of his head.

All that energy, the energy of thousands of mutants, well… it can’t just have disappeared. What Pym is asking is… where did it all go? It is Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of physics, which everyone knows: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

“So I’m asking,” says Pym, “What will be the reaction?”

Meanwhile, in space, as a large shadow falls over one side of the Earth, a massive burst of energy appears just over the horizon…

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Wolverine (X-Men)
Luke Cage, Captain America, Iron Man, Sentry, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman I (Avengers)
Falcon, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Wonder Man (former Avengers)
Dr. Strange

Layla Miller

Scarlet Witch

Voice of Hank Pym (Yellowjacket, former Avenger)

Mary Jane Parker

Wallflower, Wind Dancer, Tag (students at Xavier’s)
Various other students at Xavier’s

White House Press Secretary
William Stryker
Various news reporters

Story Notes: 

This is the main story of the House of M crossover and continues from the prelude in Excalibur (2nd Series) #13-14. Tie in issues include Spider-Man: House of M #1-5, Fantastic Four: House of M #1-3, Iron Man: House of M #1-3, Incredible Hulk (3rd Series) #83-86, Uncanny X-Men #462-465, New X-Men (2nd Series) #16-19, Cable/Deadpool #17, Black Panther (4th Series) #7, Mutopia X #1-5, Wolverine (3rd Series) #33-35, The Pulse #10, The Pulse: House of M Special Edition, Exiles #69-71, Secrets of the House of M, Captain America (5th Series) #10, and New Thunderbolts #11. None of the tie-ins are needed to understand the main story in House of M #1-8. The story of the X-Men continues in Decimation: House of M – The Day After one-shot.

The many and varied repercussions of the House of M can be seen in Decimation: House of M – The Day After one-shot, which serves as a continued epilogue of sorts for the House of M event, but mostly is a prologue and beginning of the Decimation event seen throughout many of the X-Titles

While serving as an Avenger, Wanda’s reality warping powers slowly deteriorated her mind and she lost all grip on reality. Desperately wanting children again, she reconjured them back and went mad, thinking the Avengers as her enemies and killing Ant-Man II, Hawkeye, and Vision during the Avengers Disassembled event in Avengers (1st Series) #500-503. In the end, the heroes could do nothing, but let Dr. Strange turn off her mind temporarily. Wanda was then taken by her father, Magneto, to Genosha where she has been from Excalibur (2nd Series) #8-14.

When Layla’s mother screams for Layla to wake up, we discover that her middle name is Rose.

Layla Miller and the mystery’s surrounding her will continue in X-Factor (3rd Series).

Bendis revealed in a post House of M interview that there are three conditions that must all be met for someone to have remembered the House of M. First, they must have been in Genosha when Wanda first warped reality. Second, they must have been woken up by Layla. Lastly, they must have been present on Genosha when Wanda changed reality back. However, why Tony Stark doesn’t remember is odd as he meets all three criteria.

Though it seems as if Nightcrawler remembers everything when he asks how they are in the mansion when they were just “there,” a later scene in this issue where he is consoling Tag seems to show that he does not remember, and later on in Decimation: House of M – The Day After there is more proof that he does not remember. The “there” he maybe be referring to is possibly Africa, as he was aiding his teammates in battle there when Wanda’s reality warp hit, as seen in Uncanny X-Men #462.

The people who officially should remember the House of M are Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Emma Frost, Cyclops, Wolverine, Shadowcat, Magneto, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Layla Miller most likely remembers, and time will tell what Hawkeye and Charles Xavier know.

A slightly different version of chaos in Xavier’s mansion is scene in New X-Men (2nd Series) #20, but the end result is the same nonetheless.

Wolverine almost died the last time he lost his powers in Uncanny X-Men #379-380 and X-Men (2nd Series) #99. The High Evolutionary had repressed the mutant gene, causing Wolverine to die of adamantium poisoning.

The story of William Stryker continues into New X-Men (2nd Series) #20.

The massive energy flare at issue’s end plays a role in X-Men: Deadly Genesis LS, but will come to its full importance in New Avengers #16.