Tie in to the House of M event.
Collects Fantastic Four: House of M 1-3 and Iron Man: House of M 1-3.

Writer: John Layman (FF), Greg Pak (Iron Man)
Artist: Scott Eaton, Don Hillsman III (FF), Pat Lee (Iron Man)

Now this is what I want from alternate universe stories!
The Fantastic Four is now the Fearsome Four! It’s led by Victor von Doom himself who has the ability to change into metal. Others are the Invincible Woman, Doom’s wife Valeria who has telekinetic powers, the Inhuman Torch, Doom’s adopted son Kristoff who controls fire, and the It, Ben Grimm changed into a monster by cosmic rays.

Finally it looks like Doom has everything he’s ever wanted, a family, his mother still alive, and he’s also the absolute ruler of Latveria. But one thing this still irks him (and his mother): as a human he’s just Doom’s lackey. And so he starts to plot House of M’s downfall. He’s still the same power hungry despot and views everyone who isn’t in his family as lower beings. His family is much the same way, enjoying killing people or letting them live in fear. They’re pretty much opposite of the real FF.

In the second issue we see the sad fates of Susan Richards, Reed Richards, and John Jameson, the astronauts who crashed into water near Latveria where Doom found them. Still, Ben was alive and Doom decides to keep him that way. But poor Ben is barely capable of speech, even though he does seem to understand everything going around him, and his appearance scares other people. So, he’s kept in a cage when he isn’t going out to fight Doom’s enemies and even then, Doom keeps him on a leach.

Victor’s mom turns out to be a nasty character. She belittles Doom’s achievements and wants him to be the Emperor of Earth. Doom’s, Kristoff’s, and Valeria’s powers seem to be the result of magic and not science.

The plot has some great action scenes but it also gives Doom time to reflect and scheme from time to time.

I also greatly enjoyed the Iron Man miniseries, too. In this wold, Tony is still the brilliant inventor and business man but not Iron Man because he’s still just a human. Dr. Pym, Dr. McCoy, and Forge work for him. As a hobby, Tony fights against mock-Sentinels alongside sports stars Johnny Storm… and Howard Stark, Tony’s dad. They all fight in power armors, otherwise they wouldn’t have a chance. Howard has retired from business and Tony is still trying to win his dad’s approval. Tony finds out that Pym has been working on mapping the mutant gene which would cause the House of M to turn against Stark Industries and maybe the mapping would even be used by the Sapiens resistance to kill thousands of mutants. Pym disappears with his work. Tony turns to his secret project: a power armor to rival the Sentinels. He strongly suspects that Pym is working with the human terrorists and so he tracks Pym down with his power armor. True enough, he finds a group of terrorists and attacks them, looking for Pym. However, a couple of Sentinels attack him first; Tony is after all a human in an illegal power armor. To his surprise, Howard Stark is in control of one of the Sentinels.

This story has lots of familiar characters who have been twisted around: Tony, Johnny, Pym. The limited cast allows the writer time to really explore the different circumstances that characters are in rather than moving breathlessly from one action scene to the next. Tony has a lot of inner demons to fight. Howard is alive but he doesn’t seem to have the best relationship with his son. Tony is also walking a tightrope between pleasing House of M and trying to keep them from hurting people with technology Tony’s company has developed.

The series happens before Wolverine and the X-Men come to remind Tony of the real history. The FF series also happens before the events in the major series.

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