The strength and weakness of the house of ideas that Marvel Comics built is continuity. Much of the cross- and self-referencing is appreciated by fans, but for those who just want to read a good standalone series, this unified universe approach leaves them cold. The premise of Son of M suffers from this and it is to British writer David Hine’s credit that he tries to transcend this limitation.

Hine’s approach is always to take a Marvel character and push his buttons to the breaking point. So you have the fastest man in the Marvel Universe stripped of his mutant powers as a result of the earlier House of M series. What stories do you want to tell of Quicksilver then? Hine explores the distance Quicksilver would go to regain his powers by stealing the Inhumans’ Terrigan crystals, and as a result, putting his own family at risk. Hine excels in psychological drama rather than the obligatory action sequences needed for a superhero comic. He is ably assisted by the art of Roy Allen Martinez, who works in the classic Filipino komik style of the 1960s – fine lines with lots of crazy details, and a tinge of Moebius can be spotted. The consequences of this series on the Inhumans would be played in the sequel, Silent War, also written by Hine.

It is a pity that later continuity would invalidate the storyline here – the Quicksilver in Son of M is revealed to be a Skrull (see Secret Invasion) which ‘explains’ his erratic behavior. But if it was a Skrull, how could it ‘lose’ its mutant powers when it was not a mutant in the first place? When the Marvel editors realized this, they reversed this plot twist with yet another one – Quicksilver had made use of the events of Secret Invasion to cover up for his indiscretions and blamed his theft of the Terrigen crystals on a Skrull who had supposedly had impersonated him.

Confused? Such are problems of continuity and inconsistency that have continued to plague the mainstream superhero comics.

This is also available, in the UK at least, in hardcover as part of the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection.