Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Official: Magneto Is Going To Be a Villain Again

There was once a time when Magneto wasn’t just some misunderstood anti-hero. He wasn’t someone who would bow to Cyclops or have tea with Charles Xavier. For a good chunk of the history of the X-men, he was certified asshole villain on the same level as Dr. Doom. He once ripped the adamantium out of Wolverine’s body and did it with a goddamn smile. Yet there’s an entire generation of comic book readers that know him only as that creepy old fuck who is okay with being the silver medal winner while Cyclops wears gold.

My short-term memory might be fucked from years of weed, but I’m still old enough to remember that Magneto is a fucking villain and he’ll always be a villain on some levels. I’ve always expected that at some point Magneto will slip back into old habits. Granted, that was pretty tough when mutants were going extinct and Cyclops managed to rally them under his wing. But that era is as dead as Myspace and Friendster. Now new mutants are emerging and as we’ve seen in Uncanny X-men, the police are having an awesome time harassing them every chance they get. And now Magneto is in a perfect position to finally give the finger to Cyclops and strike out on his own.

Earlier today, USA Today reported that Magneto is getting his own solo series. He’s cutting ties with Cyclops and striking out on his own, looking to build a new army of mutants who don’t like being harassed by the authorities who only know how to solve problems by shooting at them. They all might as well be living in downtown Detroit. That’s a ripe environment for Magneto to be the villainous asshole we know him to be and just in time for the next X-men movie, no less. Is that a coincidence? Fuck no. But do I give a shit? Fuck no. I’m just glad to see Magneto being Magneto again. He’s probably tired of Cyclops’s speeches and Wolverine’s bitching as well. Below is the article that USA Today published.

The master of magnetism is on a one-man mission for mutantkind.

Written by Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) and illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Astonishing X-Men), the upcoming comic book Magneto stars the old-school leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants going his own way and playing by his rules. The solo series launches in March as part of Marvel Comics' "All-New Marvel NOW" initiative.

After having been a part of Cyclops' team on Brian Michael Bendis' Uncanny X-Men title, which found Magneto playing third fiddle and his magnetic powers severely reduced from where they once were, Erik Lehnsherr is hitting the streets to find enemies of his people and dealing with them, often with extreme prejudice.

The result is a comic with more noir qualities than most X-Men books, Bunn says. "Magneto in this story is very much a detective, seeking out and investigating threats to mutants before cutting loose with all the fury of a supervillain — or superhero, depending on your point of view."

Since his first appearance 50 years ago in X-Men No. 1, Magneto's been their chief bad guy, the mutant team's leader and ally, and everything in between in his quest to exhort the superiority of the mutant race over homo sapiens.

And while some fans may bristle when Bunn calls him one of his favorite Marvel Comics bad guys, it's those various balancing acts over the years — good and evil, hero and villain, savior and terrorist — that make Magneto a compelling character for the writer.

"We can sympathize with him even though he has been responsible for terrible crimes against humanity," Bunn explains. "He walks such a fine line. He's standing up for his people — the mutants. He refuses to let them suffer as he has seen others suffer. But he's taken steps to protect mutants that can only be seen as evil. His ideals are often 'good' while his methods are not."

One thing he will be is merciless, according to Bunn. Magneto's gone solo but his powers are still "broken" and he's retraining himself to be half the man he once was in making a difference in a world brimming with newly emerging mutants. He's also determined to be judge, jury and executioner in eliminating threats, determining who deserves justice and even surprising some comic fans along the way with his chosen targets.

"Magneto should be seen as some kind of monster by the world at large. When he cuts loose, cities tremble," Bunn says. "He might stand by the heroes from time to time, but he's terrifying for the average person.

"He's out there — wandering about, waiting — but sooner or later he's going to strike and when he does, chaos erupts. Magneto is cloaked in that sense of fear and dread."

The first few issues will feature Magneto front and center, Bunn says, but there are a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who will be doggedly on his trail, a supporting character named Briar who becomes a "tremendous asset" and a "decidedly strange" new incarnation of the Acolytes, a group of mutants who saw Magneto as a messiah for the mutant population.

Bunn also will be delving into his past. There have been various Magneto origin stories told over the years, and the writer has some upcoming arcs down the line "that will open those floodgates in major ways."

The character's connection to his children, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, will eventually play a role — though Scarlet Witch appears to be dead at the moment (see: Uncanny Avengers No. 14). "They are a big part of what makes Magneto who he is," Bunn says.

Similarly, he adds that Magneto's relationship and history with Charles Xavier, who's also currently deceased, will play a role in his journey, too. "Of course, we'll be seeing these interactions through flashbacks, but I think we'll illuminate some new aspects of Magneto's life."

Magneto offers a darker tone than most of the stuff Bunn has penned for Marvel — it has more in common with his Oni Press book The Damned with Sixth Gun artist Brian Hurtt than his recent run on Fearless Defenders. "Magneto brings an aura of menace with him," says the writer, adding that that the first few "street level" issues will be "a little more grounded than one might expect."

The character does fall in line with the kind of antihero that Bunn has explored before, including guys such as Wolverine, Eddie from The Damned and Drake Sinclair in The Sixth Gun.

"It's a lot of fun to guess how readers will perceive Magneto's actions throughout these stories," Bunn says. "Hopefully, sometimes readers will cheer for him. Sometimes they'll hate him. And sometimes they'll do both at the same time."


  1. Okay, from reading this, it's less about him becoming "the Villian" and more about him ditching the "Cyclop's Sidekick" mantle and returning to his Anti-Hero incarnation, which quite frankly, I prefer.

    It's weird, I rather enjoy GM's run on New X-Men... except where Magneto and Jean are concerned. I've never been fond of Magneto as the "mad, old terrorist twat" as GM called him. That was his 1-dimensional characterization in the 60s. Writing has gone beyond that, and so has he. I get very annoyed with writers try to force him back into his "Deranged Megalomaniac" caricature.

    That being said, the noir-esque series proposal *does* sound interesting, and I may give this a shot.

    1. That's a no-brainer, I'll give it a shot as well.

      I get what you say about him being an anti-hero, his methods are unorthodox, just like Cyclops methods have been, but, there's a big difference between them, I think people who understand those characters know what that difference is. The fact is, a lot of people get angry because they don't do things the way they like them to be done (unless you know, characters like Wolverine who throw their weight around and do things their way which the fanboys think is badass).

      But well, enough about other characters. This new Magneto series is going to be very interesting, just reading the theme that this story is going to be it drags you in.

    2. And the thing is, he CAN be The Villain, if handled properly. Claremont's final swan song on X-Men No 1-3 proved that. Hell even the Magneto of Fatal Attaction hadn't *completely* lost it, though you could see him plummeting down fast. I blamed that on the Legacy Virus and humanity's response to it. But everything after that was honestly terrible. I was enjoying the "Joseph" arc (just finished re-reading it), until the HORRIBLE ending that brought "Kill All Humans" Magneto back and made Joseph the deranged plot of some "old foe" we'd never seen or heard of before or since (I think someone HAS used Astra exactly *once* since then, and that story arc was pretty terrible too).

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  3. My one problem is less Magneto and more Cyclops. Has that guy actually accomplished anything to do with that revolution of his?

    Right now he seems to be going into negatives as he can't even keep people who actually rescued him on his side. Kids and people who should have followed him over Wolverine haven't and as far as his revolution has gone? It hasn't even started as of yet as far as I can tell.

    I just expected more after the first year. Right now it really does feel like Marvel was shocked at Cyclops popularity after AvX and created a new series but put it into idle so it could run itself into the ground.

  4. Thing is, the problem is more the storytelling. Battle of the Atom was a crossover that not only affected both factions but also the development, the event probably wasn't that good but Kitty Pryde and the Original Five defected from Wolverine's school, plus they don't see eye-to-eye with Cyclops, there's a consequence of the event...
    Plus there's S.H.I.E.L.D. and their own Sentinels...

    Which takes us to the other experienced mutants and the students, how can someone start to make a change with a little group of experienced mutants and some inexperienced mutants? That's why they train them, so they can be ready for almsot everything.

    You just have to give a good structure to a story, and not rush it... or would we like another story a la AvX?