X-Men Blue #34
Magento finds himself facing off against older versions of four of the five original, time-displaced X-Men. As he realizes that they never went back to their time period, they realize that he is from their past. They argue, Magneto telling them that he should have forced them to go back to their past himself, and them arguing that he shouldn’t be there either. Cyclops says that they can take care of themselves, which is when Magneto guilts them by asking where Iceman is. Magneto blames the X-Men for ravaging the city when Jean Grey counters by telling him that he was the one who ripped the city apart. Before the argument can escalate further, the little blue Nightcrawler-esque mutant butts in and tells Jean that Magneto saved them. Cyclops tells them that they don’t know who Magneto really is, though Magneto tells them that he doesn’t know who Magneto really is either, because he’s never really seen Magneto as the enemy – just an ally. Cyclops tells Magneto not to throw time travel in his face, and Jean and Angel explain that Magneto does some horrible things after the Mothervine attack, which Angel rightly surmises Magneto hasn’t experienced yet.
Hearing this, Jean realizes that there might yet be a way to stop the future they’re in from happening, that there might be a way to set things right. Beast warns Jean that trying to change or fix things is a bad idea, and Cyclops agrees, saying that those actions are what would turn Magneto into a monster. The little blue mutant stands in front of Magneto, asking the X-Men to leave him alone, and Magneto tells the X-Men that perhaps what mutantkind needs is a monster to protect them. Magneto asks the X-Men what happened when they faced off with him during this timeline, and he realizes that they had killed him. Putting two and two together, Magneto figures out that the X-Men don’t intend to keep him displaced in time, but intend to kill him right then, and so he lashes out at the X-Men, and a fight ensues. Jean tells Magneto that she ought to have killed him all those years ago, and Magneto tells her that she didn’t, right before using his time platform to take him back to his present.
Back in the present, Magneto parts ways with Danger – who he tells is no longer of use to him because of the fact that she feels compassion and pity – and leaves, meeting with a man named Kirk Jansen soon thereafter. This Mr. Jansen is a man who is coupling artificial intelligence with real emotions – creating life, in a way. Magneto isn’t a fan of Jansen’s work – in the future, it will create the Reavers he ran into in the last issue – and so he uses his considerable power to destroy the entire facility, and kill the people within it. As a calling card, he leaves behind a large metallic bust statue of himself before leaving.
Sometime later, Magneto is once more clad in a familiar red and purple costume, striding through a brand-new Asteroid M, which is now filled with the new mutants who have emerged from the Mothervine incident. They need guidance, and he will be the one to give it to them – not through time travel, but through the old ways. They aren’t simply his new mutants, though, nor his X-Men. They’re his Brotherhood, and they have a lot of work ahead of them.
Cullen Bunn continues to write a fascinating, complex, interesting Magneto, one torn between the future he has witnessed and the one he wishes to stop from happening. It’s good, meaty work, and Bunn is at some of his best when he’s writing the master of magnetism. The tension between Magneto and the X-Men is handled well, and seeing their conflict is interesting because both sides are in a sort of moral gray area this time around, which doesn’t usually tend to be the case between the sides. It’s a little worse for Magneto, given that over the years he’s tried to work with the X-Men, only having to flip back to the darker side of things when they inevitably don’t work out. This isn’t the bleakest of all futures that they’re in, but it’s a pretty bleak future nonetheless, and one that Magneto definitely does blame himself for in some measure.
Back in the present day, having Magneto just up and kill an entire company of scientists and other civilians is a big, big deal, one which will definitely have ramifications for the character in the months and possibly years to come. The fact that he’s built up a new Asteroid M and has built up an entire community – a real brotherhood – of mutants to oppose the X-Men is an exciting idea to play with. How will this differ from before? Magneto’s fighting against a specific future this time around, but the best-laid plans can always be messed up, and it’s possible that Magneto’s only going to end up causing the future he fears to come to pass.
As always, Marcus To’s art is a sight to behold – smooth, polished, expressive, animated without veering into cartoonish territory. His fight scenes between Magneto and the X-Men are a visual treat – his Magneto especially exuding strength and grace. To has always been great at getting characters to emote, and that works well in a story that’s all about Magneto’s current fall from grace. Matt Milla’s palette perfectly complements To’s pencils, allowing the art to pop and shine. It is, without a doubt, a beautiful looking book.
Between a strongly-written Magneto, some fascinating, tense twists, and simply beautiful art, courtesy of Marcus To and Matt Milla's near-flawless team-up, X-Men Blue is morphing into a must-read title as it hurtles towards its final issues.
X-Men Blue #34: To Me, My Brotherhood
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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