by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Chris Bachalo
Welcome to Uncanny X-Men. No wait, that would be Magneto #0. Sorry, I have not had an opportunity to make that joke for a quite while now. This is a complete ‘back-door’ pilot issue for the upcoming Magneto solo series. To avoid being completely absent from the entire comic they luckily get remember on the very last page and even then the focus is solely on Magneto. I do not know if I should be upset that Marvel uses their big titles to push other series in this manner, but there is a difference between advertisiThing their presence in X-Men Legacy to boost its sales and completely hijacking this comic to set up another one.
Anyway! Enough of my whining because, despite missing the X-Men, this is actually a really good comic with one noticeable issue. This does not look like Magneto. At the beginning of the issue he looks like a very tanned Charles Xavier and the only reason why you actually know it is him, is he has a slightly psychotic episode where he dreams that he murders a whole bunch of people with a truck and in that he morphs into his costume. Later on in the issue he has grown a silly little beard and when he takes the sun glasses off he looks identical to Obadiah Stain as portrayed by Jeff Bridges, especially when he looks down and gets all dark and broody.
I rather did it again, going off on another mini-rant about ‘stunt casting’ in this comic. However I have finished now and on to explaining why this is a brilliant first issue of Magneto’s solo series. We have been seeing less and less of him in this comic and he was almost a non-entity during Battle of the Atom, which was very hard to accept because he has never been one to shrink back into the shadows and keep quiet. I do not see him as a backup character to anyone save for perhaps Xavier and when you having him behind Cyclops, Emma and Magik and being pushed around by Dazzler in a series then you know you are misusing the character. Therefore this change is definitely for the best and gives him the prominence he deserves, or at least that he thinks he deserves.
The comic starts with Magneto being given some information by his SHIELD ‘minder’ Dazzler that there are a lot of mutants gathering in Madripoor, that wretched hive of scum and villainy. So off he goes without even mentioning anything to his ‘friends’ back in their super secret base. On arriving he gets himself in a bit of a fight and it is so enjoyable watching just a small piece of the master of magnetism at work because he is still diminished from AVX, or at least his mind thinks he is. The fight is brutal, but brilliant and shows what we can expect from the rest of his series.
We do not have to wait for long because if you thought he fight in the middle was fun, the one at the end is about as impressive as they come. It is totally fitting for Magneto to get a send off from this series in this fashion, it is like there has been something building all the time he has kept quiet. He has put away the mask of the man in the background and has come roaring back like the force of nature he used to be. I do fear however that something that happens at the beginning of his own book will completely undo everything he did, but if they let it stand as it is in this book, then that is a pretty bold event.
This is hardly a ‘classic’ issue of Uncanny X-Men, partly because they are barely in it, but also because the story does not fit in the series run as a whole; it is however a really solid issue in its own right. The issues since Battle of the Atom have almost all been either place holders explaining something or tying the series to another event such as Inhumanity or the joining of the All New X-Men. It has been a while since this comic actually had a through story and hopefully with Magneto now off loaded this comic can now get back into its own storyline rather than being used to drive sales on other lines and events.