[Featurama] Silver Haired Devils: Magneto
Yesterday, I brought you one of the greatest villains in all of gaming. Today it is time to pay tribute to one of my favorite comic book baddies Magneto. Here we have one of the biggest villains on one of the biggest franchises Marvel has ever had. He clearly deserves his place on the pantheon these demons rest.
Hit the jump as we explore more about everybody’s favorite master of magnetism.
What’s not to love about Magneto? Great back story, amazing (even if improbable) powers and a costume that has survived for 50 years. Magneto is humanity’s greatest foe. He is what people in the Marvel universe fear at night.
He is the Master of Magnetism and he uses this incredible talent to bring humanity beneath his heel.
Magneto through his history has adopted many persona, but his story remains unchanged. As the survivor of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, he has seen first hand what cruelty man is capable. When his powers first manifested, he was attacked by a mob of humans. This constant fear of interaction with people had dulled him to human ills. It was during his search for more answers that he stumbled upon Charles Xavier, his friend and ideological opposite.
Their debates would frame their individual mindset on human and mutant interaction and would lead the two towards similar goals but completely different intention. Xavier would set up a school for peaceful co-existance between humans and mutants. Magneto would create a society of mutants set to conquer the world and bring the better race to the forefront in an ironic twist.
His entire reason for action lies in the fact that he wants to better mutantkind. He does great evil and great good for mutants. However, everything he does is to advance his people and he will subjugate those that persecute his people.
Moment of Friendship:
Xavier’s school would grow and flourish in isolation from mankind. Magneto’s Asteroid M, Savage Land and Genosha would all eventually be crushed by outsiders. It was in these losses that he has grown closer and closer with the X-men.
His loss of Asteroid M brought him to a crossroads during Secret Wars. Through divine intervention, he had a chance at redemption and even led Xavier’s New Mutants. This proved disastrous and led to even greater tension to human and mutant relations. He took off with a new Asteroid M christened Avalon. This new haven escalated tensions and finally after Magneto crossed the line, Xavier was forced to wipe his mind.
The now docile Magneto had no ill will towards humanity and freely walked the earth care free until his memories all came back to him in an onslaught. With his powers returned and a serious chip on his shoulder, Magneto decided to manipulate the United Nations in to creating his own mutant government. Assuming control of the island of Genosha, Magneto would now have a fully realized mutant sanctuary where ostracized mutants could be allowed to live amongst their brethren.
In a single act of hatred however, the entire mutant population of that island was destroyed save for a small handful of select mutants. Magneto was listed as one of the casualties. This was all an elaborate ruse and on the ashes of Genosha Magneto finally signed a truce with Xavier.
From here he would join Cyclops in his new mutant Utopia and has become an open member of the X-men. Something that would later bite him in the butt.
Pick one. Seriously, we’re talking about a character that was the greatest villain of one of the greatest team books for decades. Even now, when he is relegated to teammate with some of the biggest egos of the mutant race, he walks in to a room like a boss.
So when I say “biggest,” take it for what it is: just another moment of Magneto being Magneto.
Just for the purpose of this list we’ll pick one. Grant Morrison’s take with New X-men probably had the greatest impact the mutants have seen in their entire run. Grant Morrison is a creative guy, but more importantly he takes risks and satisfyingly follows through with them. When he destroyed Genosha in an attack, nobody knew what was up. The biggest threats in the world, gone. Magneto was gone. This was perhaps the first time you could ever truly say that with any belief.
It brought the team back to what they were supposed to be. Teachers for the next generation of mutants. Mutants interested in developing in the wake of Genosha. Throw in some secondary evolutions and the ability to boost genetic abilities through a new drug called Kick and you have a build up to grand scale disaster that awakens close to home.
That’s exactly what Magneto came back to do.
In this reboot, we saw the master of magnetism infiltrate the X-men as the healer Xorn, just to see what Xavier does in his time since the fall of Genosha. After months of watching, he finally grows fed up and destroys the mansion.
Now from here we have one of the most deadly mutants on Earth pissed off and hopped up on so much Kick that not only is he content with destroying part of New York, he is actually threatening to flip the Earth’s magnetic poles in an attempt to cause widespread havoc. This is world changing events here.
It is in this moment of insanity that we see what has happened to Magneto after the genocide of his people. He has gone insane in his goals of revenge and it has spread to the message he represents. Magneto proved he was nothing more than a terrorist despot and when given the chance to show his intentions with the world, he would align his beliefs with the Nazis that ruined his life before evolving in to something better.
These actions however were so controversial that the entire run had to be retconned out immediately. Xorn was blamed for the attack leaving Magneto free from persecution and looking for a new home. The mutants that had grown and evolved in to higher life forms were downgraded to near extinction so Magneto couldn’t even lead a brotherhood if he wanted. Manhattan was restored with little consequence and you can still take pictures with Spider-man in Times Square. In fact, the only thing that has really stuck is his murder of Jean Grey.
She is to date, the only member of the original 5 X-men to die for any real period of time. Actually, I think that really does mean something these days.
Not only is this a big moment just on action, but symbolically its the only time Magneto has truly won. Like actually done what he wanted to accomplish. This was what Magneto had in mind when he conquered the world. Peace through genocide. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the characterization of Magneto, Grant Morrison set out to change the X-men and he did. His biggest leap forward was to break the foundations of the back and forth between the X-men and their biggest obstacle.
He brought forth a Magneto that was simply evil and Marvel would have to find a way to rewrite his deeds.
What’s Next For Our Villain:
After getting blind sided by Iron Man in Avengers vs X-men, he went on to help his fellow X-men affected by the Phoenix Force until their powers proved out of control. He then decides to take a stand against them, but when the dust cleared Marvel decided he needed to resume his mantle as fugitive. Convenient way to throw him back in the bad guy column I guess.
All-New X-men #1 is bringing the 1960s X-men in to the future to check on the current status of the mutant world. One of the first panels is a nice little shot of Emma Frost, Cyclops and Magneto walking in and saving a woman. So I guess having a nice sit down with the old team, Cyclops’ new girl and their biggest enemy should prove to be some interesting drama. With some of the ramifications of Avengers vs X-men still looming, this actually seems like a really interesting book to pick up next month.