Magneto #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by J.M. DeMatteis, art by Todd Nauck, colors by Rochelle Rosenberg and letters by Travis Lanham. Taking place several years ago, Magneto is tasked with being the headmaster of Xavier’s Mansion.
What sets the plot of this series part is the fact that it takes place in its own time, not burdened with any recent storylines. Instead, it is infused with historical stories. It opens with a classic scene that has been altered, pitting the New Mutants against a very old team of villains. This raises eyebrows instantly before the real reason for the scenario is revealed. What I love about this variation is that it uses those extremely early issues of X-Men as a reference and a point of conversation.
It reminds us that they are canon. The evil actions of Magneto in those stories are clarified by Erik, revising them with a modern perspective. It fits perfectly in a period of time, not out of place at all within the legacy of the X-Men. The action in this comic feels classic whilst being exciting at the same time. The book loves nostalgia but is also spinning a story of its own, featuring a new character by the end of the issue.
The dialogue and exploration of characters is fantastic. Magneto #1 approaches the character at a moment in his life where his villainous past was being reflected upon the most. As he takes on the role of headmaster to the New Mutants, what he is then and what he used to be is under scrutiny from his students and himself. This is why it’s so fascinating for DeMatteis to investigate those early memories through the character himself. It is also great to see the New Mutants at that stage again. They have all grown so much, dispersing, changing names, some of them dying. This issue rekindles the energy of the team whilst keeping the dialogue natural.
The incidents that Wolfsbane and others discuss happen in the first X-Men comic. Ever. It takes that one-dimensional character and adds vibrancy and depth to him. The conflict of him trying to be nice and considerate and supportive of the young heroes in his charge is sometimes interfered with due to that harsh persona he utilized previously. There is a lot of dialogue and captions, but it is all beautifully written. Parts of the spoken conversations felt reminiscent of how characters talked at the time. It’s a style that has grown and been phased out in today’s books, but it is so much fun to read.
The art by Nauck is gorgeous. The perfect choice for a classic story like this, Nauck’s love for the source material shines through on every page. The style is timeless. There are a lot of cameos in various guises and designs, and all of them are terrific. Original costumes are brought back in all their glory. That first fight carries an air of “flexing your muscles.” The battle is magnificent in a fight between the New Mutants and a set of villains. The superpowers that many of the characters use, especially Magneto, are approached in the same way they looked in the original books, rippling in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades. There are iconic sequences and covers that are reimagined with love, not purely transformed into something different. Erik’s age and the barometer of emotions he experiences in Magneto #1 are represented well. He is just as capable of kindness as he is of rage, and those extremities are witnessed multiple times. Some parts of this first chapter are surprisingly haunting.
The colors are brilliant. The vibrancy of those older comics is captured superbly, especially in the yellow of the New Mutants. But there have been adjustments to give a different perspective on the colors at the time. There are more shadows and shading, which weren’t available at the time due to the technology and just how many colors were able to go through the printer. The lettering is extremely clear and always easy to read.
Magneto #1 is a wonderful return to some unexplored moments in Marvel’s history. Magneto has been an ally of the X-Men for years now, and it is commonplace for his past activities to be brought up and scrutinized. But what I love about this iteration is that DeMatteis looks at what might be the first instance of when he is having to train and raise heroes whilst facing questions about his old self. It rewrites his intentions in comics where he is most dangerous, installing a constant admiration for the X-Men and other mutants. All of this is visually presented by a magnificent art team, who seemed to have enormous fun revisiting this time period, getting to play in a sandpit of classic heroes and villains.
Magneto #1 is available where comics are sold.
Magneto #1 is a wonderful return to some unexplored moments in Marvel’s history. Magneto has been an ally of the X-Men for years now, and it is commonplace for his past activities to be brought up and scrutinized. But what I love about this iteration is that DeMatteis looks at what might be the first instance of when he is having to train and raise heroes whilst facing questions about his old self.