“The thing none of you will ever understand is that there are no sides. There’s no heroes or villains. There’s just what I want and how I’ll get it.” – Magneto.
Can villians reform? That is one of my questions asked in the Magneto: Not A Hero graphic novel, written by Skottie Young and drawn by Clay Mann. Magneto has joined the X-Men on Utopia, working alongside them in a peaceful manner to achieve a better world for mutants. But when footage is leaked of Magneto massacring humans at an anti-mutant rally, all eyes are on him.
Captain America and Iron Man request Cyclops and Magneto come to the Avengers Mansion, wanting to get to the bottom of the deaths. Magneto claims he’s innocent, even when DNA of his is found at the scene. When he tries to leave, it leads to a tense exchange between him and Iron Man. Magneto floats several cars outside, reminding the Avengers how powerful he can be. Steve reaches a compromise and gives Magneto a few days to clear his name.
Erik uses a machine that allows him to tap into the magnetosphere to find the culprit. It’s revealed that his clone, Joseph, is back from the dead and has started his own Brotherhood of Mutants. Joseph was brought back by Astra, a former acolyte of Magneto who was obsessed with him. She’s also cloned several other mutants, including twisted variations of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
Magneto tracks Joseph down to a steel mill and they discuss their goals. Erik says he’s changed his methods, but his desire for mutant supremacy is the same. The two of them battle and Magneto baits Astra into getting close enough to bring her back to Utopia.
Meanwhile, it’s revealed that a businessman named Christopher Bach paid Astra to ressurect Joseph. He wanted to use Magneto as a scapegoat so people will buy his weapons to kill mutants. Magneto locates Joseph and the two of them engage in an all out brawl. Magneto is able to overpower his clone and Joseph is taken into custody. The X-Men show up and when Cyclops asks where Bach is, Magneto feigns innocence, even though he killed him.
Young’s Erik is resourceful, powerful and possesses a dry wit that had me laughing several times. It’s everything you’d expect Magneto to be: strong-willed, focused and still arrogant, even if he is part of the X-Men. His relationship with Cyclops is a great dynamic, presenting a sharp contrast to Scott’s relationship with Professor Xavier.
Mann’s art is stunning, from the way he draws characters, to the blue sparks of power whenever Magneto uses his abilities. It’s a treat for the eyes and I can’t praise it enough.
Magneto: Not A Hero is a story of role reversals, morality and death. You can buy it from Amazon now.