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Review: X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 begins as CSI: Krakoa and then blossoms into a goddamn operatic comic book. Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck (Plus some bombastic and beautiful colors from Edgar Delgado.) structure the issue into almost three acts. There’s X-Factor (Plus babysitters, the X-Men and X-Force) investigating the Scarlet Witch’s murder, scanning the scene of the crime with Rachel Summers’ chronoskimming and Akihiro’s senses, and an autopsy and X-Ray on her body. This is followed by Magneto being treated as the key suspect of her murder, and lots of fighting and cutting dialogue. The third act is a sad, meditative one with almost poetic captions from Williams as Scarlet Witch’s old Brotherhood of Mutants teammates share a drink together before flowing into the cliffhanger for next issue. Like a good grunge song, X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 has a good balance of “loud” and “soft” moments, and Werneck is game for it all drawing everything from an ornate double page spread of Wanda’s body in a verdant autopsy theater to showing Polaris’ shocked expression as she realizes someone close to her might be the murderer.

The main thing I loved about The Trial of Magneto is what a meaty read it was. Leah Williams packs those 36 pages with everything from Krakoan in-fighting to bonkers battles and characters showing off their abilities in a story relevant and finally just allowing individuals to grieve. She and Lucas Werneck take break from the “fighting Magneto/mystery solving” part of the plot to cut away to Vision mourning for his ex-wife, or Kyle comforting Speed, who stands vigil alone at his mother’s body wishing Wiccan was there to help figure things out. (He’s stuck in the current “Last Annihilation” crossover.) Williams shows great range as a writer coaxing a variety of tones from characters through her dialogue and narration with the help of letterer Clayton Cowles, who uses an all-caps font to great effect when Quicksilver becomes totally consumed by grief and rage. She has spent time developing the cast of X-Factor, and they are ready to be put in a stressful situations like where Magneto saying Polaris is “unhinged and inconsistent” hurts more than any metal claws or piece of debris. Northstar’s leadership abilities (and super speed) come into play as he is sassy towards the interfering X-Force and X-Men while saving the day and preventing Quicksilver from bludgeoning his father to death. Like a proper crossover/event miniseries, The Trial of Magneto has a large cast of characters, and they all get to shine.

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

Trial‘s strong characterization extends to the art where Werneck sets up some iconic panels like Laura, Logan, and Akihiro all leaping into the master of magnetism with quips and a devil-may-care attitude. I love how Wolverine doesn’t give a damn that Magneto pulled out his adamantium skeleton back in the 1990s and is just there to run interference while the next generation does the ass kicking. This bond between the claw mutants is nicely set up earlier in the comic when Laura and Logan basically finish Akihiro’s sentences as he figures out how Wanda was murdered. Edgar Delgado’s colors come in handy during the forensics sequences differentiating between the past and present using a sad red that comes back towards the end of the book where Toad, Mastermind, Blob, and Quicksilver are drinking and grieving. They’ve come a long way from the schemes and overwrought dialogue of the Silver Age and pack a real emotional punch while Leah Williams’ narration verbally captures the mood of the scene. The tiki bar has turned into a wake.

Connected to grief and emotions, The Trial of Magneto also has a lot of rage beginning with Magneto tossing his helmet to the side during a Quiet Council in an aerial panel from Werneck. He has had enough and is total unchecked id who just wants to resurrect his daughter because mutants are beyond such petty things as life and death. And getting egged on by Mystique and other members of the Quiet Council doesn’t help things. Williams’ writing for Magneto can be described as majestic and blunt as he says whatever he feels about everyone around him and fights the combined forces of X-Force, X-Factor, and X-Men featuring some big damn, wallop-packing panels. There are also some chilling panels of Krakoans celebrating her death while Magneto listlessly walks by that are probably the most disturbing scenes in a bleak comic.However, the show is almost stolen by Quicksilver, who immediately becomes this series’ beating heart and shows how much folks really cared about Wanda even though she was seen as a pariah on Krakoa.

In a truly dramatic entrance, Quicksilver arrives on the scene of The Trial of Magneto #1 almost invisibly as he startles Cyclops, and then Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck cut to the next page where Magneto’s head is being used as a punching bag with panels rocking back and forth across the page turning layout into speed lines. However, actual speed lines come into play when Northstar restrains an angry Quicksilver in a great riff on the classic speedster-on-speedster battle. Williams and Werneck know the tropes that make superhero comics so exciting and visceral and deploy them in emotionally resonant ways, which is why The Trial of Magneto #1 is such an epic read. Quicksilver also 100% lays his feelings about Wanda on the page, and Lucas Werneck draws quite a few close-ups of him crying because of his sister’s passing. He also feels guilty because he has felt responsible for her well-being since back in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants days. (Seriously, their tender interactions are the highlight of some pretty sub-par comics, Jack Kirby art aside.) Werneck’s facial expressions do the lion’s share of showing this guilt, rage, and melancholy and even though I can’t remember the last time I saw Pietro in a Marvel comic, I want to give him a hug.

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 has the melodrama, action, questionable morality, and high stakes emotions that are what make X-Men comics so great. Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles craft a comic worthy of a white cape wearing anti-hero grieving his daughter (and being a little bit dodgy), who is almost beaten to death by his son. Oedipus (Re)X sans the incest bit and with more metallic manipulation.

Story: Leah Williams Art: Lucas Werneck
Colors: Edgar Delgado Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Welcome to the X-Men Polaris… Hope you Survive the Experience

The results are in! Last month, fans were given the chance to shape X-Men history by voting for the final member of the all-new X-Men team that will debut during June’s Hellfire Gala. Originally announced in X-Men #16, readers were provided a selection of ten different mutant superheroes to select as their choice to join the team. Beating out fellow nominees Strong Guy, Forge, Tempo, Boom-Boom, Marrow, Armor, Cannonball, Sunspot, and Banshee, Polaris has tallied the most votes and will go on to star in Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz’s X-Men. Launching this July, the series will tell the adventures of the first X-Men team in the age of Krakoa, the bold new era of mutantkind that began in Jonathan Hickman’s House of X and Powers of X.

The first-ever X-Men election was a huge success, receiving mainstream press and taking social media by storm. Fans everywhere campaigned for their favorite in creative and clever ways resulting in “X-Men Vote” trending worldwide on Twitter throughout the election. In the end, Polaris outlasted Banshee and walked away with the victory thanks to a dedicated group of fans eager to see this iconic hero step up in the franchise’s upcoming flagship title. Here were the final results:

  1. Polaris
  2. Banshee
  3. Sunspot
  4. Forge
  5. Tempo
  6. Armor
  7. Boom-Boom
  8. Marrow
  9. Cannonball
  10. Strong Guy

Created by comic book legends Arnold Drake and Jim Steranko, Polaris debuted in 1968’s X-Men #49. Joining the team in the tailend of the Silver Age, Lorna Dane became a recurring character in later years before returning to the spotlight in Peter David’s classic run on X-Factor. The daughter of Magneto, Polaris inherited her father’s powerful magnetic abilities and has used them countless times in some of mutantkind’s fiercest battles. The character currently stars in Leah Williams and David Baldeón’s X-Factor where she uses her expertise to solve Krakoa’s most pressing mysteries. Now, she’ll join Cyclops and Jean Grey in becoming chosen champions of mutantkind and the world.

Super-Articulate: Marvel Legends Havok & Polaris 2-Pack

Hey, we’re back! After a bit of an overlong holiday break, I return! Before we get to the main event, I’m going to drop one picture of . . .

Marvel Legends Dani Moonstar: Okay, campers. I’ve found ONE so far. I think the base figure looks great, but I resolve to not do a full review until I find TWO MORE and can build Karma and Wolfsbane. This is my quest! (And if you’re in area that’s abundant, let me know.)

That said . . .

Marvel Legends Havok and Polaris 2-pack: First shown at cons over the summer and announced as a fan-channel exclusive, this two-pack captures Havok and Polaris in their 1991 X-Factor (originally written by Peter David with art by Larry Stroman) looks from the “Mutant Genesis” relaunch. I ordered mine as soon as they went up on Entertainment Earth in July; I got mine a couple of days ago. It’s worth the wait. Interestingly, the package is stylized after the much loved Jim Lee X-Men trading card set, with the cards replicated on the back.

As for the figures?

Hey, these are great. I’ve always liked Havok’s various black costumes, but I also thought that this was a cool take. The jacket is nicely sculpted, almost like it could be a separate removeable piece. The head sculpt is terrific, honestly. There’s also something about the general stance of the figure that’s pretty cool. I had no problem with posing or limb-movement, and it’s well-balanced for standing. The figure comes with a fair of the familiar energy blast accessories; these happen to be yellow.

When it comes to Polaris, the hair really stands out. I know it’s probably almost a running joke at this point, but I’ve been really paying attention to the fine detail in the hair sculpting that Hasbro has gotten into with the Legends. Lorna’s hair was definitely a huge part of her character and depiction in Stroman’s art (and later, when the book was drawn by some guy named Joe Quesada). What’s kind of impressive is that the well-rendered mass of curls doesn’t imbalance the figure in any way. That’s kind of a feat of structural engineering. In fact, the overall look of the figure is really strong. Unlike Havok, Polaris comes with two sets of hands: fists and gesturing. I prefer the gesturing look, and they work with the green energy blasts that also accompany the figure.

I found the costume paint and details to be strong on both. These are good looks. They also arrive at an opportune time; with recent releases of Multiple Man and an updated Quicksilver, and a Strong Guy BAF on the way, we only need a Wolfsbane in the X-Factor costume to complete that particular iteration of the group.

Bottom line: This is a really good two-pack that gives us two solid versions of characters sporting their looks from a time when literally millions of people were reading the X-titles. This release was an easy call for Hasbro to make and they did a really nice job with it. The great thing about X-figures is that you can continue to go up and down the time continuum and make figures from various eras, and you’ll always find a group of fans that vocally supports their release. Now if we could just get Storm in her Giant-Size X-Men #1 outfit . . .

Order X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 2 Now

The X-Men Marvel Legends 6-Inch Action Figures Wave 2 brings your mutant favorites to life in a stunning 6-inch scale action figure form. Each figure includes awesome accessories and amazing detail, plus a build-a-figure piece of Warlock. Ages 4 and up.

Case features 8 individually packaged action figures, including:

2x Wolverine
1x Marvel’s Cyclops
1x Dazzler
1x Marvel’s Sunfire
1x Marvel’s Polaris
1x Marvel’s Colossus
1x Shatterstar

Order your case now to get every figure!


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