The struggle of the Marvel Universe's mutant population to co-exist with humanity had a huge impact in virtually every reality that made up the now destroyed Multiverse. It's no surprise, then, that the patchwork planet known as Battleworld, the site of Marvel's "Secret Wars" and sole remaining locale in the multiverse, is home to a number of domains where the X-Men play key roles. In some realms, like the Sentinel Territories, the fight for mutant freedom continues, but in others, like the Monarchy of M, the battle is over and mutants have taken their place as the dominant force in society.
The Battleworld domain is inspired by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel's 2005 "House of M" series, which saw the Scarlet Witch use her reality warping powers to create a mutant dominated world ruled over by Magneto. At the end of the series, the main Marvel U was returned to normal, but "House of M" lived on as a separate reality that has been revisited a number of times in subsequent years.
This August, writer Dennis Hopeless and artists Marco Failla and Ario Anindito -- along with co-writer Cullen Bunn on Issue #2-4 -- introduce readers to the Monarchy of M's lavish halls of power and its mean streets with the "Secret Wars" series "House of M." As Magneto rises to power once more, CBR News spoke with Hopeless about how being part of Doctor Doom's Battleworld may have changed the titular setting. We also discuss which characters the series focuses on, and the enduring popularity of the "House of M" reality.
CBR News: Does "House of M" reimagin the world of the titular reality, or is it what would have happened if the heroes of the 616 never disrupted it? Basically, when we enter the borders of the Monarchy of M in your first issue, have things changed all that much since the last time readers visited this reality?
Dennis Hopeless: Our story revolves around an established and thriving House of Magnus. Magneto is the king of his domain and rules over a mutant-centric Genosha. Obviously the Battleworld of it all shifts things around a bit, but our status quo is more or less the original "House of M" premise. Wanda has her chaos magic powers in our story, but she doesn't use them to remake the universe. She's just a scary powerful princess and doting mother. Quicksilver is a headstrong prince who thinks he knows better than Daddy. Lorna thinks they're all crazy.
The original "House of M" series featured a sprawling cast. How many characters are you playing with in this series?
We're mainly focusing on the royal family, Namor and a handful of human rebels. Hawkeye, Black Cat and Misty Knight play big roles in the story. We threw a "House of M" Death Locket in there (because nobody said I couldn't). I always really enjoyed this version of the Marvel universe and jumped at the chance to tell a royal family story focusing on Magneto as king. This guy has always been a warrior and he was a great one. What's it like for Magneto to hang up the helmet and play king to a bunch of happy mutants? This series is our answer to that question.
With the Monarchy of M, Magneto has achieved his goal of creating a sort of mutant utopia, but his domain is part of Battleworld, which is made up of a lot of realms where mutants are persecuted and suffering, like the nearby Sentinel Territories. How big a role does the rest of Battleworld play in your "House of M" series?
This story is very self-contained. Magneto and his family rule this one domain and don't really concern themselves much with the others. The plot keeps everyone pretty busy, so it was easy enough to keep it localized. You could definitely read this series with no prior knowledge of "Secret Wars" or Battleworld.
Focusing in a little more on some story specifics, how big is the scope and scale of "House of M?" What sort of genres are you playing with here? Seems like the monarchy element might make thing rife for courtly intrigue.
It's a bit of a be-careful-what-you-wish-for story. We open on a bored Magneto lamenting the loss of his old exciting life. He's a warrior who has run out of wars, living this slow monotonous life of royal luxury -- and he hates it. We spend much of the book reminding him what his old life felt like. Magneto's children feel very differently and yeah, they're right in the thick of the drama.
Artist Kris Anka, was originally slated to bring "House of M" to life, but I understand he had to depart the project because of scheduling issues.
Yes, the new artists are Marco Failla and Ario Anindito. We just started getting art in from Marco (Which looks incredible), and I can't wait to see what Ario has in store.
This isn't the first time Marvel has taken readers back to the "House of M" reality. What is it about this particular reality that makes it such an intriguing place to revisit, both for writers and readers?
It's just a really fun twist on mutants. Nearly every hero in the Marvel Universe is some kind of celebrity who gets to live pretty large off of their gifts, but mutants have always been the second-class citizens. "House of M" flips that on its head and shows us the opposite. There's a lot of potential in that setting. It helps that the original event gave us a tiny taste of this world, and then yanked it away. There were so many stories left untold, and I'm really enjoying this opportunity to tell one.
My good friend Cullen Bunn is stepping in to co-write issues #2-4 of "House of M" with m,e and so far we are having a blast. Nobody knows Magneto better than Cullen, so he was a perfect addition to the team. I can't wait for fans to see what we have in store!
"House of M" #1 arrives in August.