The First Issue of Magneto is Magnetic

by J.D. Cook

This week my Comic Book Commentary is magnetized to a brand new series that started this past Wednesday. I am of course talking about Magneto by Cullen Bunn. The first issue of the series drew my attention for a number of reasons but two were bigger than the others. The first was the writer. Cullen Bunn is fantastic and his run on Venom was great. It was just hitting its stride when it was canceled. Thankfully Flash Thompson is still finding his way around Marvel, surviving his tangle with the Superior Spider-Man as well as heading over to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. That said I’m still waiting to see where Bunn’s created character Mania will turn up next. The second big draw of this series was of course Magneto himself. He is one of the most interesting and polarizing (pun intended) characters Marvel has ever produced.  It’s a bit shocking that this is the characters first solo run. Naturally I ran right out to pick up the first issue from Susquehanna Comics.

The series follows its namesake as he tracks down those who have committed crimes against Mutant kind. It is very similar to my favorite part of X-Men: First Class where Michael Fassbender’s Magneto hunts down former Nazi’s seeking revenge on the man who killed his mother. In the first issue we find the character in similar circumstances as he is living out of motels and tracking his next targets using newspapers and a map of the United States. We get a fair glimpse at Magneto’s internal thought process and it’s fascinating. He fails to recognize the hypocrisy of his own thoughts as he contemplates paying for his sins early in the issue only to decide that it’s more important to punish others for their sins first. Bunn uses Magneto’s thoughts to compare the character to Lucifer from Paradise Lost more than once and the reader quickly sees that is a near perfect comparison.

Artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta does a fantastic job illustrating Magneto’s powers in a subtle and interesting fashion. In one small panel we see Magnus using push pins with his powers. In another we see Magneto assembling his helmet from various metals near him. He does an especially good job of portraying characters emotions in their eyes. It may seem like a simple thing but not every artist can do it as well as you would think. On a macro level the entire first issue has a fantastic level of dark style to it. Bunn and Walter made a wise choice by keeping Magneto in his new outfit. Its contrast between black and white almost seems indicative of Magneto’s own internal morality. It’s even the two colors chosen for Magneto’s internal monologue boxes. He is a mostly dark soul with just enough light in him to make you believe he might one day reform entirely. That is what draws most people to Magneto of course. He is a true anti-hero, emphasis on the anti.

In the climax of the issue we see Magneto moving on his target in a police station without causing much of a fuss until he reveals his power and suits up in impressive fashion. As he walks into the police station certain metal objects are highlighted in each panel. This makes the reader aware of how many weapons Magneto has to work with as well as highlighting the characters own awareness of their presence. When he finally reaches his target the issue ends with a surprising twist that I did not see coming. It’s something Bunn is sure to deal with in future issues and I am certainly going to be along for the ride.

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