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.