One of the coolest parts of any superhero movie are the early scenes of X-Men: First Class, where Michael Fassbender as Magneto hunts down a bunch of Nazis, first in a bank, and then in a bar. It is just bad-ass, and it’s part of why this issue of Uncanny X-Men was so cool to me. This issue was Magneto going it alone, heading into a bar and kicking ass with subtle uses of his superpowers. I’m not saying that Bendis was definitively drawing from those scenes here, but it reminded me of them, and it’s enough.
This issue begins at the University protest we saw a few issues back, with some people being pro-Mutant and others anti. Magneto is at the back, watching, and he has a brief fantasy of unleashing his old self on these stupid humans and crushing them, but given the state of his powers he can’t. Magneto is there to meet Dazzler: Agent Of SHIELD, and they have a very interesting conversation about what Dazzler is doing, and also what Magneto is up to and what is role in the current Mutant status quo is. The basic gist seems to be that, without his best friend/arch-nemesis Charles Xavier, Magneto is directionless, that Xavier’s death has effect Magneto far more than it has Cyclops. Dazzler even goes so far to suggest to Magneto that his loss of power is not because of the Phoenix, but because of his own weird mixed up head after Charles’ death.
Dazzler then tells Magneto that something dodgy is going on in Madripoor, with lots of Mutants moving there, and that maybe he should check it out. Magneto heads to Madripoor, having somehow grown a bad-ass goatee, and proceeds to do the whole kick ass whilst using his powers subtly thing I mentioned earlier, to get some information out of a bunch of MGH dealers. This action scene is great stuff, and it’s very well drawn by Chris Bachalo, I really liked the way he depicts Magneto’s powers with those wavy magnetic lines.
Magneto’s digging leads him to none other than The Blob, who somehow has his powers back (anyone have any explanation for this) and takes Magneto up to the top of a skyscraper where he meets Silver Samurai and Sabretooth, as well as being introduced to the new ‘Queen of Madripoor’, AKA Dazzler/Mystique. Mystique actually reveals to Magneto that she’s been impersonating Dazzler here, which is a surprise, and she then explains her plan to him, and how she has been manipulating SHIELD to allow herself to take over Madripoor bit by bit. I really liked this scene a lot, Mystique has been planning this stuff since the first few issues of Bendis’ All-New X-Men, so it’s cool to see it all come together and really start moving faster.
Mystique and the Brotherhood want Magneto to join them in turning Madripoor into a new home for the Mutants, but he refuses, disgusted at the fact that they have been dealing MGH to get this far. He uses his powers to control Silver Samurai, fling bullets around the place, destroy the tower and escape in a Helicopter.
The issue ends with an appearance from the rest of the X-Men, as we see that Magneto hasn’t returned to them and told them what Mystique is up to, but is instead out on his own. I wasn’t planning on picking up his solo series, but I might check it out now, this issue was just great. I like Magneto a lot as a villain, but he’s even better as an anti-hero with nebulous allegiances, and this showcased that very well, as well as moving forward a subplot I thought Bendis himself had forgotten about.
Both of his issues this week showed just how good Bendis’ X-Men is, and they were completely different to boot. It’s a great time to be an X-Fan.