Hey Kids, remember back in the Fall of 2012 when Marvel started rolling out new #1 Titles that gave a number of characters in the Marvel U a “Soft Reboot” under the banner MARVEL NOW? Guess What? They’re doin’ it all again, Baby!
It’s the ALL NEW MARVEL NOW! Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at the first issue of each new title as it hits the comics stands. (This only applies to REAL #1 Titles – None of this .Now stuff.) Wanna know if this series seems like a keeper or is destined for the quarter bin of our interest? Sit back and enjoy my analysis. You just might learn something.
When it comes to the ALL NEW MARVEL NOW releases, this was the one I was dreading the most. Magneto is one of the biggest names in the X-Universe and arguably one the best antagonists in the Marvel pantheon if not comics in general. But when you look at the character’s recent accomplishments, they are few and far between. Magneto is a shell of his former self since the whole “Phoenix Five” debacle and their bad leadership leaving him with power problems. It’s almost like Cyclops has taken his role in the world of mutants and he’s been relegated to second…..scratch that, third fiddle. He plays mind games in the pages of Bendis’ Uncanny X-Men but comes off as more of a creepy uncle than a master of magnetism. So when it was announced that Magneto would be getting his own book, I already made a mental note to place that title in the “books that will surely be cancelled” pile. After reading issue one by Cullen Bunn and Gariel Hernandez Walta, I don’t think this title is ready for that pile just yet.
Our story begins at a coffeeshop. The shop is currently a crime scene as we hear one waiter give his statement on what just went down. He describes an altercation between a regular customer and a mystery man that left the customer in a “death by giant metal poles” situation. The story is chilling and played subtly, not showing the events as they played out but instead the horror on the man’s face as he retells the story. We’re given an “after the fact” visual to drive the story home and then we jump to a motel. There we catch up with Magneto and how he’s living. These days, Magneto spends his ME time away from Cyclops’ X-Men hunting down those who have committed crimes against mutantkind and he executes them. Simple as that. He follows the news and picks his targets. As he attempts to take out one such target being housed in a police station, things go horribly wrong for a second but Mags gets a handle on things. After this event, one thing is for sure: Someone’s out to get the Master of Magnetism and knows how to get to him.
First off, I want to start by saying that it was nice to see Magneto actually do something of interest after such a long time of doing nothing. Instead of just being a background player, Mags gets his hands dirty in what can only be describe as the Mutant Punisher book. What Cullen Bunn does here is takes all of the attributes that we enjoy about the character in recent years and puts them on display. The interesting thing is that it’s not the attributes that have been shown in the comics but instead the movies. The characterisation of Magneto in this issue is greatly influenced by the performance of Michael Fassbender from X-Men: First Class and the depiction of Magneto in that film. The way he hunts, his expressions, his cold, calculated demeanor. All are a tip of the hat to First Class. The book feels more like a gritty spy book with a bit of super powers thrown in. That’s the best way to present this character in his own title. This gives you a reason to root for Magneto without having to enjoy his actions in other titles. It’s dark, it’s moody and feels like an intimate personal journey without getting self indulgent.
The dark, moody feel to the title can also be attributed to the art team’s work. Walta’s take on the look of the character is very humanizing. So many artists have made Magneto look like too much of a pretty boy over the years. Walta goes the opposite route. You look at Mags’ face and you see what all the years have done to him. There are age lines and stubble and a pair of almost dead eyes staring back at you. When you see Magneto in action, you can see the percision in his moves on the page. There’s no panic, no fear, just results. Jordie Bellaire chooses the colour palette wisely, going with darker earth tones for most of the piece. The flashback sequence in all blue wash was also a nice touch as it made it feel like we stepped into a Parker novel. The shot composition of the panels did a great job of building towards the issue’s climax. It was beautiful to see it all unfold so well.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but you need to pick up Magneto #1 right now. Even if you’re not an X-Men fan, you’ll want to check it out. There’s some great storytelling at work and all of it is done through the artwork with the dialogue and caption just adding character and effect…….which is how every book should be but for some reason isn’t. You don’t want to miss this amazing blend of spy thriller and vigilante action film.
Check back here tomorrow for first issue reviews of Moon Knight and Wolverine and the X-Men. Until then, stay in the NOW!
If you’re gonna geek out GEEK HARD!