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Magneto Testament #5 *Spoilers*

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Zechs

Outhouse Editor

Postby Zechs » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:02 pm

So ends the greatest X-Men origin series. Ok, and also Goyer is toast cause unless he adapts this there's no way to top Magneto's origin. I'm just.. wow is it any wonder both Magda and Magneto remained scarred for the rest of their lives as they did.

Those expecting Magneto to don the costume your not gonna see a hint of that here just sprinkles of his mutant powers. Because Magneto doesn't truly become Magneto in this tale (that happens when he kills his US superiors after his Nazi hunting) it's how he was forged into thinking of his dream and the words he promised after surviving that ordeal, "Never again."

I'm kinda surprised at how realistic Pak made this, which is truly his magnum opus thus far. He reallly poured a ton of work into this and it show's.

Plus there's a spectacular back up by Neal Adams (dealing with another Holocaust story not involving Mags a real one). Best book of the week bar none. And really underrated.

PDH

penile prisoner

Postby PDH » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:25 pm

Yeah, this was such an odd project. The last thing I expected was for them to take it seriously but they absolutely did and turned in an excellent, very respectful story.

Great book.
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Zechs

Outhouse Editor

Postby Zechs » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:09 pm

Yeah it was so wierd how much a realistic edge Pak put this under. I mean sure he gave little hints here and there of Magneto's mutant power surfacing and I think the person Magda talked about was Sinister. But that's about it sci fi wise. I'm kinda glad Pak kept it as close as Claremont intended.
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BubbaKanoosh

2009 Most Valuable Poster

Postby BubbaKanoosh » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:12 pm

So, is this one of the best hero origins you have read?
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Zechs

Outhouse Editor

Postby Zechs » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:58 pm

BubbaKanoosh wrote:So, is this one of the best hero origins you have read?


Honestly, yes. Yes it is the best superhero origins I have ever read. You could easily see how Magneto was forged into the man he was reading this mini. I just wish Pak went even more into Magneto's history. But this was probably the most important never revealed story of Magneto that had to be told and it's a fantastic story that's told.

Honestly if your hoping for a Books of Doom approuch forget it. Magneto never puts his helmet or costume and kills Nazis, nor do Wanda, Pietro, or Lorna appear in it. This is simply how this one jewish man and one gyspy woman endured in the worse of conditions losing everything and gaining each otehr. I mean seriously every issue will have one more where you'll say, "Wow..." and be utterly speechless.

I should also note the story by Neal Adams is true and damn near rips your heart out and pissed at the people who run the museum near the camp now and refuse to give Dina her paintings she did when she was in the camp.
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habitual

Silly French Man

Postby habitual » Fri Feb 06, 2009 4:43 am

BubbaKanoosh wrote:So, is this one of the best hero origins you have read?


Without question.

Hab

PDH

penile prisoner

Postby PDH » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:13 pm

Excellent review of this series, from Paul O'Brien: http://ifdestroyed.blogspot.com/

Although the miniseries X-Men: Magneto - Testament claims to be the origin story of Magneto, it isn't really. It's a story about the Holocaust, and a kid called Max who, we're assured, eventually grows up to become Magneto. But really, he could be anyone. Nobody here is especially bothered about exploring the motivation of the X-Men's arch-enemy; they want to tell you about the Holocaust.

There is always a danger that projects like this will slip into extreme bad taste. Sensitive portrayals of genocide are not generally enhanced by the inclusion of vengeful supervillains. Nonetheless, Marvel have generally managed to avoid that trap with Magneto, largely by not dealing too directly with the Holocaust itself for extended periods. This book takes the opposite approach, pushing any remotely fantastic elements to the extreme margins. Max is just a kid; his powers do not emerge; he simply suffers under Nazi oppression for five issues, before escaping with Magda (as established continuity demands) in the final issue.

Even that could have been tackily heroic, but Pak sidesteps that problem by ensuring that Max isn't given any particular credit for getting out. He simply seizes the opportunity during an uprising. The book does offer some suggestion of Magneto's later motives, pointing out that he tried the path of peaceful resistance, and look where it got him. But this is played more as a moment of existential despair: fighting back is futile, but if everyone is going to die horribly anyway, why not?

So, the series has avoided the disasters that could easily have befallen it, and remained on the right side of sensitive. But do you need to read it?

It's clear enough that the main purpose of this series is to tell everyone that the Holocaust was a horrific atrocity. Evidently conscious that this risks being overfamiliar, the series tries to bring the point home with fresh (and, we're assured, historically accurate) detail and by the use of a somewhat familiar character as a focal point. In all this, it largely succeeds. At the end of the day, it's still the standard approach - an older Max shows up in the epilogue to give us the "never again" speech - but then the Holocaust isn't the sort of subject which people should stop discussing for want of a fresh angle.

But I do have slight reservations about this approach to the subject. Let me see if I can explain this. In 1946, you could say "never again" with some conviction. Today, it isn't quite so simple. The catalogue of humanitarian atrocities continues to mount up. To be sure, there has been nothing on the scale of the Holocaust, but that must be little comfort to the 1.7 million Cambodians wiped out by the Khmer Rouge, or the hundreds of thousands who died in Rwanda in 1994, and so forth.

Now that so much time has passed, I wonder whether there is a risk of placing too much emphasis on the unique and exceptional nature of the Holocaust, and not enough on the dismal tradition of which it forms a part. There is something almost reassuring in the thought that the Holocaust was a one-off, which ended sixty-four years ago, and which will fade from living memory in the not-too-distant future.

The message from history, surely, is the horrors of which humanity is capable, and the need to guard against them. And to keep that message alive and relevant, it needs to be seen in a wider context of human nature.

It is interesting, too, that audiences in Holocaust stories are almost always invited to identify with the Jews. But by definition, most of us are not members of an oppressed ethnic minority; the message we should be learning is how a society not dramatically different from our own lost its moral compass so spectacularly. Everyone takes away the message that they could have been a Jew; perhaps not enough take away the message that they would have been a German.

Anyway. None of this is necessarily a criticism of Testament, so much as me wondering aloud whether the wider culture gives this sort of story enough context to remind everyone why it has ongoing significance, and not merely historical interest. On its own terms, Testament manages to pull off an extremely difficult balancing act of building a serious Holocaust piece around Magneto without cheapening it. And that is something of an achievement.
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jeremiahvedder

Motherfucker from Hell

Postby jeremiahvedder » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:41 pm

This series so seriously tugged at my heartstrings that I'm very sad to see it ending. I wish it could have just gone on and on but, given the grisly nature of the subject matter, I don't blame Pak for hanging it up when he did. No doubt that would have induced Heath Ledger levels of psychosis.

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