- Do you like the Avengers?
- Do you like What If stories?
- Do you like Luke Cage, Hawkeye, or Misty Knight?
- Do you like good art?
- Do you like Christos Gage?
If you said yes to any of those questions, you'll love House of M: Avengers. Christos Gage has put together a story in the House of M story where the world doesn't matter, all you need to know is that mutants are on top, and Luke Cage has put together a team of humans to fight back. Gage's story follows the Avengers through a few decades and we see the ongoing battle between his Avengers and Thunderbird's FBI team, the Brotherhood. Gage absolutely packs this thing with spot-on appearances from dozens of characters. Cage gets most of the narration and the best lines, but there is plenty left over for the rest of the team, including Hawkeye, Moon Knight, Tigra, Mockingbird, and Iron Fist. We see Punisher, Taskmaster, Kingpin, Bullseye, Elektra, Black Cat, Misty Knight, Shang-Chi, the New Warriors, Boom-Boom, and more. It's Gage's work on Cage that makes this such a strong story. This "felt" more like the old Power Man Luke Cage than anything I've read in the last few years from the mainstream Marvel U.
Gage even follows through with one of my core understandings of What If? stories. Every What If? story must show us how either the Punisher or Wolverine has ended up; in this case we see an alternate Punisher. I loved this take on Frank, but I won't say anything else and ruin it.
Mike Perkins draws great looking heroes. Whether set in the 70s or in current times, Perkins' characters look dead-on. His combat scenes are great, with fluid looking shots that really sell the fighting. The eventual confrontation between Thunderbird and Cage felt important and was totally worth the wait. Perkins' ladies look wonderful too, Tigra, Misty, Black Cat, they all looked gorgeous.
This trade delivered everything I want from a What If? story, regardless of the strength of the original material.