Standard Deviations vol. 7
House of M

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As Marvel’s Avengers versus X-Men event looms on the horizon and Avengers: The Children’s Crusade wrapped up this week, this edition of Standard Deviations takes a look back at the set of variant cover images from 2005’s House of M. The Scarlet Witch’s “no more mutants” spell has been a defining moment for the Marvel Universe and set both of these recent series in motion. While the significance of House of M‘s story is clear, the series was also one of the first high profile examples of the return of variant coves since their hey day in the 1990s speculator market.

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Marvel’s Siege of Asgard

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Yesterday saw the much anticipated release of Marvel’s Siege #1.  Advertised as “seven years in the making” (some of which is quickly recapped here), Siege promises to be the culmination of a large portion of Marvel history from 2004’s Avengers Disassembled through the current Dark Reign of Norman Osborn. All of the major series published over that time including House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion are touched on and a special edition of Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada’s Cup o’ Joe column is even included in the book to get everyone up to speed on the groundwork that’s been laid for this story.

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X-Men v. Avengers

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It’s Wednesday and that’s big day for comic book fans everywhere.  This particular Wednesday, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next chapter of Marvel‘s X-Men/Dark Avengers Utopia crossover.  To explain why, here’s some recent history.

Some yahoo “super heroes” filming a reality television show blew up 600 people in Stamford, Connecticut.  The government responded by requiring all costumed heroes to be registered and licensed in order to operate.  Some heroes agree (Iron Man) and some do not (Captain America) and a super-human Civil War breaks out.  The pro-registration side wins out and Iron Man becomes the director of SHIELD and all things related to registration.  His 50 State Initiative to put a team of heroes in every state is the perfect opportunity for a group of shape-shifting alien religious zealots to infiltrate and take over.  They believe the Earth is theirs by divine right and Stark is unable to stop their Secret Invasion.  In the heat of the battle  to drive back the alien hordes, Norman Osborn (the once and future Green Goblin) delivers the killing shot to the invaders’ leader and is elevated from his position leading a team of super villains seeking rehabilitation (right…) in the Thunderbolts program, to Stark’s replacement as master of all things super human.  In order to solidify his Dark Reign over the Marvel Universe, Orborn creates his own team of Avengers to back him up and forms a cabal with some heavy hitters (Doctor Doom, Namor, Loki, The Hood, and Emma Frost) to control the world under his watchful eye.  In the meantime, the Scarlet Witch went crazy and used her magic to reduce the powered mutant community to about 200 individuals after altering the world during the House of M.  The remaining mutants became in that moment an endangered species and Cyclops gathered all the willing in San Francisco to create a safe haven under the protection of the X-Men.

Emma Frost and Norman Osborn had an agreement.  She keeps the mutants quiet and he’ll leave them be in their new home.  Only they didn’t stay quiet, and now Norman is bringing in his Dark Avengers to regulate.  Chapter One of Utopia shipped last Wednesday and was a wild start to this confrontation and Chapter Two is available today in Uncanny X-Men #513.  I highly recommend it.