Review: X-Men: Black – Magneto #1

MAGNETO IS BACK!
…and so is Chris Claremont! For years, Magneto has done everything he can to achieve his goals for mutant domination. But now Magneto has declared that enough is enough. So what revolutionary plan does Magneto have that will change the face of mutantkind? And will anyone be able to stop him? Will anyone want to?

The villains of the X-Men are getting the spotlight in a series of one-shots whose purpose, not quite sure of that After reading X-Men: Black – Magneto, I’m still not sure.

Magneto has been a character for me whose history is complicated in every sense and that extends to his vision of his role for the world. The character’s youth and experiences during World War II are vital to appreciate him and has been used in interesting ways to help build sympathy and take a simple villain and make him something a bit more.

Writer Chris Claremont takes us to the basics of the character throwing in the current real world xenophobia and abuses by the Trump administration. Claremont reminds us that even when it comes to the villains, the X-Men are perfect vessels to explore our real world and its politics. In this case Magneto is forced to take action when the United States government places mutant children in detention camps. We’re reminded of the dark times throughout history, including multiple in the US, this has happened and left to wonder if we’ll ever learn.

There’s also a debate as to how to fight. Should these mutants flee to sanctuary, or should they use their power to prevent further abuses? It’s an interesting moment and one that hopefully is explored more in X-Men comics.

And that left me wondering, what’s the point of it all? The story is good and gives Magneto even more of a focus, bringing him back to the villain who has some valid points. But, with a muddled time frame it’s hard to place when this happens and thus what its impact, if any, will be. It’s a one-shot but is it anything vital?

Things aren’t helped by the art of Dalibor Talajic which includes inks by Roberto Poggi and Belardino Brabo, colors by Dono Sánchez-Almara, and lettering by VC’s Joe Caramagna. The art is pretty sub-par in every way to the point that outside of his costume it’s difficult to even recognize Magneto/Erik. Even when presented with dynamic scenes, the art fails to deliver never giving us that visual “holy crap” moment we’d expect and have seen elsewhere.

The issue also has a back-up story written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, with art by Geraldo Borges, color by Rachelle Rosenberg, and lettering by VC’s Cory Petit. Following Apocalypse I again have to ask “why?”. The first part of a story that’ll run through all of the X-Men: Black releases, it’s neither good or bad and feels like a bit of a throwback in look. We learn more about Apocalypse and his powers placing him into a situation that may be difficult for him to deal with. But, is it necessary? Do we want to see vulnerable villains? The art too like the main story never quite clicks with design that seems to lack the style we’d expect from a high profile comic today. It looks like something out of the 90s, and even then a secondary miniseries from the main event.

The whole release is a bit of a head scratcher never quite making the case as to why it exists. There’s nothing terrible about it but it’s also not a comic that’s a must read either. It features two characters who have polar opposite views of the world in some ways and their dynamics are never explored. Magneto has one of the most interesting histories of any comic villain and while it’s touched upon the depth is barely mined giving us just an inch deep surface exploration. Potential is never reached.

Maybe when this is over the need for these comics will be apparent, but as is, it feels like a one-shot that didn’t need to happen.

Story: Chris Claremont, Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler
Art: Dalibor Talajic, Geraldo Borges Cover Art: J. Scott Campbell
Ink: Roberto Poggi, Belardino Brabo
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg, Dono Sánchez-Almara
Lettering: Cory Petit, Joe Caramagna

Story: 6.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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