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Magneto in front of the Brotherhood and the New Mutants
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Magneto’ #1 is an enlightening return to a classic era

Anyone who loves Magneto, the New Mutants, or both will adore this issue.

It’s been 60 years since Magneto first led a charge against the X-Men. Since then, he has evolved from a terrorist to a teacher to a tyrant and more. Yet, despite it all, there has always been a mysticism and fascinating element to Marvel’s first Omega-level mutant.

While Magneto isn’t around to see the fall of Krakoa, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still stories to tell about the Master of Magnetism. J. M. DeMatteis, Todd Nauck, Rachelle Rosenberg, and VC’s Travis Lanham have teamed up to dive into Magneto’s history to modernize a classic character.

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SPOILERS AHEAD for Magneto #1!

Taking place after Magneto replaces Charles Xavier as Headmaster — but before Doug Ramsey’s death — Magneto is set in the heart of the original New Mutants run. The characters feel like they were pulled out of the original book and brought to life in the modern era. Each student retains their heart and throws in the wit and humor that made New Mutants so much fun. But, while the New Mutants are an important presence, they aren’t the heart of the story.

Magneto #1 is 36 pages long, but even this supersized issue doesn’t feel like it could possibly be that small. In more ways than one, the issue feels like it’s been pulled right out of the ‘80s when entire arcs could fit in a single issue. The introductory fight between the New Mutants and a holographic Brotherhood of Evil Mutants could easily have been an issue of its own, but Magneto is less interested in typical superhero fights than it is in Magneto’s mind.

Much of the book is spent on pulling apart the titular hero. Or, really, the book asks if he even is a hero. Is he a deluded terrorist? Is he a teacher? Is he the martyr he thinks he is? Or is he little more than a child forever trapped in the horrors of his youth?

Magneto chastising the New Mutants

Marvel Comics

Magneto spends much of its time correcting older issues to fully rectify his early appearances with modern revelations about his character. Instead of being the unwieldy monster that he was in X-Men #1, he was a mock villain intending to provide the early X-Men with an enemy to play off of. All the while, he is grappling with the idea that he could be just as monstrous as his human foes. It’s an interesting way to tie in the revelations of House of X with that of his first appearance.

As much as he justifies his own actions, though, Magneto can hardly face himself in the mirror. The boy in Auschwitz is a specter on his soul, and even holiday preparations cannot banish him.

It appears to be why he takes such a liking to the New Mutants. Even as he lashes out at them for the most insignificant offenses, his interactions with the kids are touching. He tries to connect with Rahne, offers them a much-wanted party, and risks his life to keep them safe. In a character-focused book like this, that’s all that a reader can really ask for. His contradictions are fully on display, and it makes this a very meaningful explanation of the man, the villain, the Headmaster, and the hero alike.

Magneto yelling at the New Mutants

Marvel Comics

That’s what makes it so interesting that the antagonist appears to be a reflection of Magneto himself. Not the hallucinations that follow him, but a woman dressed in his costume and draped in red. While he cannot remember her, she knows him and draws the rage from deep within his soul. It’s always fun to meet a new villain, but Irae, Queen of Wrath appears to be exactly what Magneto needs. If ever he is to confront himself and his deep-seated emotions, she can make him.

When compared to the original New Mutants run, the art of this issue really doesn’t feel anything like it. Instead, it feels like a nostalgic reflection of New Mutants. Nauck does a great job of pulling out the heart of each character, and Rosenberg’s colors leap out of the page and add a youthful look to every panel. It brings out the life in all these characters, especially the students.

Many flashback issues suffer from a lack of purpose, but Magneto embraces the opportunity to delve deep into a well-planned premise. It’s hard to get Magneto wrong, but jumping back into his Headmaster era was a brilliant decision. Anyone who loves Magneto, the New Mutants, or both will adore this issue. It is absolutely worth picking up.

Magneto in front of the Brotherhood and the New Mutants
‘Magneto’ #1 is an enlightening return to a classic era
Magneto #1
Many flashback issues suffer from a lack of purpose, but Magneto embraces the opportunity to delve deep into a well-planned premise. It's hard to get Magneto wrong, but jumping back into his Headmaster era was a brilliant decision. Anyone who loves Magneto, the New Mutants, or both will adore this issue. It is absolutely worth picking up.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.6
A captivating look at a truly complex character.
The issue perfectly ties early appearances into the modern day, while fitting continuity.
This new villain is perfectly designed for a Magneto comic.
There isn't more!
10
Fantastic
Buy Now

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