Magneto #1 Review


August 4, 2023

Magneto is one of the most complex characters in the Marvel Universe. Originally bursting onto the scene as the ultimate diabolical foil for the X-Men, he has since taken on many different roles. Over the last 60 years, Magneto has evolved from villain to hero, friend, and teacher and managed to move between the roles in organic ways. Magneto’s tenure as headmaster of Xavier’s School in the professor’s absence become a fan-favorite and critical era for the character. Magneto #1, written by J.M. DeMatteis with art by Todd Nauck, colors by Rachelle Rosenberg, and letters by VC’s Travis Lanham, takes readers back to that beloved era for a new tale further exploring the contradictions and complexities of the Master of Magnetism.

This issue starts with the New Mutants training in the Danger Room. Danger Room sequences are always great at establishing team dynamics and orienting readers in the narrative. The way this scene is structured around the New Mutants battling the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants also plays into the larger themes in Magneto’s story. The issue showcases the friction between the team and Magneto and moves into Magneto reflecting on how he could move from villain to hero for these children. This reflection allows for the second major action sequence of the issue, a rendition of Magneto’s first clash with the X-Men at Cape Citadel. At 36 pages, this issue has space for a third battle with the introduction of a new villain linked to Magneto’s past. While there’s a lot of action on display, it all feels intensely grounded in the emotional core of the characters.

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DeMatteis explores every element of Magneto’s character to great effect here. This time period is full of uncertainty and doubt about whether Magneto can be anything more than a villain for the X-Men. DeMatteis gives voice to those concerns directly through Magneto. His original mission statement is recontextualized, shining new light on all his past actions. This, combined with an obvious desire for change, creates a compelling arc for the character.

Nauck delivers stellar action and dramatic emotion from cover to cover. Between the three major conflicts in this issue, Nauck renders a full suite of mutant powers. The action is kinetic, creative, and powerful. The entire cast features a wide range of designs and personalities, and those differences are felt in the art. Each character is visually unique, the environments are rendered and then destroyed in great detail, and the emotional moments bring intense drama.

Rosenberg’s colors are very vibrant. The glow of Scarlet Witch’s magic, Magneto’s magnetism, and everything in between. The low light of Xavier’s School at night brings a soft ambiance, while the sun shining through the windows creates an entirely different feel during the day. Lanham’s lettering is top-notch, as usual. This issue has a lot of internal monologue from Magneto, but Lanham’s bubble and box placements keep the text from feeling overwhelming.

Magneto has been indisposed in the current X-Men comics for some time now, so it’s nice to see him appearing in a new book again. Marvel has been successful with their series set in past eras lately, and this issue seems to indicate a continuation of that trend. This issue is action-packed with an exceptionally strong emotional center. With Magneto #1, DeMatteis and the rest of the creative team deliver a captivating character study while kicking off a new series.

 Magneto #1 starts a compelling new limited series set during the Master of Magnetism’s tenure as headmaster of Xavier’s School. Here’s CBR’s review.  Read More