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Review: X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2

I was a bit mixed on X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2. The issue was full of emotion and action but it played it’s hand a bit too much making it clear that the death of the Scarlet Witch wasn’t as clear cut as the “shocking” reveal. In a country where almost everyone has mutant powers, why would it be? The second issue continues to reveal its hand a bit too much with another issue full of conflict that makes it clear there’s some heavy manipulation going on.

Written by Leah Williams, X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2 has some really solid moments. It lays out and makes clear that Krakoa and the mutant nation aren’t “heroes”, they’re doing some downright evil. It’s been an interesting theme since this new direction for the X-Men began as they took their nationalist stance. Williams opens up the issue with a debate as to what to do about Magneto. In a nation where the truth could potentially be pulled out of someone’s mind against their will, what are the ethics surrounding that. Xavier and Hope debate the topic with the use of the word “torture” thrown about. Xavier, as he has since the relaunch, shows some ethical issues regarding the issue continuing the dark path the character began a long time ago. It’s the most interesting aspect of the comic which spends far too little time exploring the ethical dilemma.

Most of the time is spent with the Avengers who have traveled to Krakoa to retrieve the body of their murdered teammate. This again throws the X-Men in a weird spot as talk of state secrets are thrown about during the tour of the island. Again, unethical directions are debated as to what to do to protect those secrets and how far the X-Men should go to protect them. It’s an interesting contrast to that opening and again we see some glimpses of the political direction the X-Men have gone since their relaunch. But, all of that is put to the side as a battle breaks out, one that has a classic feel to it all. But, that battles tips the hat too much that there’s greater forces at work here.

A lot of the characters feel a bit… “off”. Magneto feels like a caricature of this classic self. Iron Man also feels like an extreme caricature of himself. Captain America is almost too stiff in his dealings with the X-Men. It’s all a bit choppy in some ways that makes the reader tilt their head in confusion.

The art by Lucas Werneck is good. There’s some really good action and some scenes look great. With color by Edgar Delagado and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic looks good. Where it hits bumps are some of the close-ups of the characters where they don’t quite look like heroes and then some visuals far away feel a bit more comedic than anything. For such a “serious” tour there’s an odd aspect to the visuals at times.

While I’m not completely sold on X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2, the issue has some intriguing moments. This feels like a miniseries where the whole will be stronger than the individual parts. There’s some odd characterizations that might be explained by the mystery going on but we’ll have to wait and see. Overall, it’s a story that needs to be told and some truths that need to be said and shown.

Story: Leah Williams Art: Lucas Werneck
Color: Edgar Delgado Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Primordial #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Batman ’89 #2 (DC Comics) – It’s been fun going back to the “film universe” of Batman and we want to see where it goes, especially with what has been hinted at.

Batman: The World (DC Comics) – Batman stories from creative teams from around the world in a new anthology.

Black Widow #11 (Marvel) – This series has delivered with every issue. It mixes great action, with real emotion, and the sexiness this sort of “spy” story can deliver. It’s just perfect entertainment.

Campisi #2 (AfterShock) – The mob vs. dragon. That’s all you really need to know about this one.

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 (Marvel) – The Eternals have been shaken up in their own series delivering a story that makes them “A” level in the Marvel Universe. What this spin-off brings to the table has us intrigued.

Hellboy & the BPRD 1957 Family Ties (Dark Horse) – Hellboy is always fun. This one-shot focuses on an unwanted house guest that Hellboy and BPRD agent Susan Xiang need to take care of.

I Am Batman #1 (DC Comics) – John Ridley has been delivering an interesting take on the next Batman with a story that features a lot of emotion and depth.

Kang the Conqueror #2 (Marvel) – The first issue did a solid job of streamlining the character’s convoluted history. We’re excited to see where this second issue goes as a young Kang begins to confront his different versions in a twisted version of “this is your life”.

MAW #1 (BOOM! Studios) – What happens when one woman becomes the real monster society has always made her out to be? That alone has us intrigued to read this one.

Nobody’s Child #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Albino rhinos have a genetic code that holds the properties to regenerate man. This leads to their near extinction. This is the story of a boy who decides to dedicate his life to protecting this rhino.

Primordial #1 (Image Comics) – Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino launch this new series about some of the animal test subjects during the early years of the space program. The animals never came back… they were taken and all of these years later, they’re coming home.

Stray Dogs (Image Comics) – If you missed this series as individual issues, you need to get the trade. It’s a murder mystery from the perspective of the dogs that might have witnessed it. Amazing art and full of tension.

Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story (DC Comics) – A new take on Jessica Cruz’s origin story. We’re fans of the character and interested in seeing what new ideas can be done with her.

Warhammer 40,000: Sisters of Battle #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a good introduction to this faction and the world delivering solid art and action. Individuals who enjoy a straightforward “space marine kills alien” type story should check this out.

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2 (Marvel) – The debut was full of emotion as the attempt to figure out who killed the Scarlet Witch began. But, we’re expecting a lot of twists and turns before this one is over.

Marvel Announces Four New Printings

Four of Marvel’s biggest recent launches will be getting new printings! These currently sold out issues will be hitting stands on October 13th. Complete with new covers including a brand-new piece by Iban Coello for Dark Ages #1, these exciting new printings will give fans a chance to dive into the start of some of Marvel’s biggest upcoming stories!

Dark Ages #1 presents an all-new saga of the Marvel Universe as you’ve never seen it before from Tom Taylor and Iban Coello! This is what the Watcher has been watching for! A danger older than the Earth threatens everything. For once, the heroes who have saved the planet so many times are almost powerless in the face of it. X-Men and Avengers assemble. Spider-People and Fantastic Four come together. Heroes for Hire fight alongside Champions. None of it will be enough. The lights are about to go out. The world outside our window…is about to end.

Kyle Higgins and Juanan Ramírez start a new era of an all-new Darkhawk in Darkhawk #1. Connor Young is a seventeen-year-old star basketball player with the world ahead of him, until a surprising medical diagnosis changes everything. But what happens when a mysterious amulet finds him and gives him powers beyond belief? What will he do with these new abilities?

Darkhawk #1

Now in its third printing, the critically acclaimed Moon Knight #1 by Jed MacKay and Alessandro Cappuccio is the start of a brand-new journey for this complex and intriguing Marvel super hero. The mysterious Mr. Knight has opened his Midnight Mission, his people petitioning for protection from the weird and horrible. The Moon Knight stalks the rooftops and alleys marked with his crescent moon tag, bringing violence to any who would harm his people. Marc Spector, in whichever guise he dons, is back on the streets, a renegade priest of an unworthy god. But while Khonshu languishes in a prison that Moon Knight put him in, Moon Knight must still observe his duty: protecting those who travel at night. Let it be known – Moon Knight will keep the faith.

Moon Knight #1

And X-Men: Trial of Magneto #1 presents a mutant mystery that will shake Krakoa to its core! A horrific murder. A shocking revelation. A trial that will divide the new mutant nation. Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck bring you a new epic that threatens the Reign of X and will upend the world of mutants. The truth is hidden, the danger is far from over, and the trial has begun.

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #1

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

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Kang the Conqueror #1
Mike Del Mundo

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

1984 the Graphic Novel (Houghton Mifflin Company) – George Orwell’s classic book gets a graphic novel adaptation.

The Box #1 (Red 5 Comics) – A private detective is framed for kidnapping as a plot to take his magical box away begins.

Eat the Rich #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new psychological horror series. Under the affluent perfection lies a dark, deadly rot…

Kang the Conqueror #1 (Marvel) – Discover the history of the man who will become Kang the Conqueror in this miniseries.

Killer Queens #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – Meet Max and Alex. Reformed intergalactic assassins for hire. On the run. Also super gay.

Moon Knight #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was an interesting new take on the character that has him focused on a small area and taking on things that go bump in the night. With new opposition, it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes.

Nocterra #6 (Image Comics) – The first story arc for the series wraps up in an oversized issue! It’s been a solid series so far and we’re excited to see how the arc ends.

Sam & His Talking Gun #4 (Scout Comics) – The title really says it all in this tale of revenge.

Second Chances #1 (Image Comics) – The Second Chance Hotline allows you to get a new identity, as long as you have some cash, referral, and good reason to start over.

Serial #6 (Abstract Studio) – The series keeps getting better with each issue in this horror/crime series.

Superman and the Authority #2 (DC Comics) – We loved the first issue that had Superman stepping out of his comfort zone and putting together a new team.

Warhammer 40,000: Sisters of Battle #1 (Marvel) – The second entry in Marvel’s take on Games Workshop’s popular setting is here. The series shifts the focus to a group of Sisters of Battle dealing with an uprising on a planet.

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #1 (Marvel) – The Scarlet Witch is dead… who did it?

X-O Manowar #5 (Valiant Entertainment) – A jumping-on point. X-O Manowar must battle a nanite monstrosity devouring the earth.

Almost American