In the company crossover event House of M reality was rewritten (yes, again!) when the sometime Avenger Scarlet Witch had a breakdown and altered Earth’s entire continuity so that Magneto’s mutants took control of society. Normal humans (“sapiens”) are an acknowledged evolutionary dead-end living out their lives and destined for extinction within two generations.

House of M: Avengers is set in a world of perfect order, but one where certain malcontents and criminals are determined not to go quietly. Rallying around escaped convict and artificial superman Luke Cage, a gang of criminals calling themselves the Avengers fight to survive and get by however they can, inadvertently becoming a rallying point for sapiens in a world only too eager to see them all gone.

Hawkeye, Tigra, Mockingbird, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Misty Knight (no relation, not even close), Shang Chi, Mantis, Swordsman, White Tiger and the Punisher are on hand, along with plenty of villains. These include Kingpin, Elektra, Bullseye, Taskmaster, Black Cat, Typhoid Mary, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and Gladiator. That being the case there’s plenty of familiar faces and lots of action, but as the countdown ticks towards a big climax and the re-establishment of “real” continuity it’s hard to muster any sense of connection. Marvel has used this plot to kill off and resurrect our favourites purely for momentary cheap effect so many times its difficult to care.

Weaving established Marvel continuity skilfully into their portion of the overarching epic Christos Gage and Mike Perkins tell an intriguing but frustratingly quick and facile tale that just can’t stand alone. You will need to read some other House of M collections for the full picture, and that doesn’t fairly reflect the creative talents nor deliver the punch we were all hoping for. Pretty, but not for the casual or occasional reader.