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Magneto #1
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Gabriel Hernandez Walta
Color Art by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit
Review by Mike Duke

A few years ago Marvel dabbled in the world of the dime-store-novel detective and the gangster film with their Noir line of comics. I remember reading X-men Noir at the time, but I don’t remember much about it, especially in terms of Magneto, who I believe was known as Magnus for those purposes. In All-New Marvel Now’s Magneto there is a different element of the noir–this is the noir of the Cohen Brothers and Cormac McCarthy. The anti-hero on the trail of bloody revenge, the lengthy monologues, a deserted rural america. This book paints a very different picture of Magneto than the one I know, and my initial reaction was to dismiss it. The more I think about it, however, the more I’m coming around.

magneto-1What Cullen Bunn is trying to do with Magneto is both bold and a bit dangerous. He seems to be trying to reconcile all of the man’s various names and identities into one revamped and rejiggered image. For most of the book, the man of magnetism walks around without his signature helmet, looking something like a Die Hard: Die Hardest Bruce Willis. He acknowledges that very few people recognize him this way, and that seems to be the point. We find him hanging out in a motel somewhere in Missouri, tracking individuals linked to acts of violence against mutants, seemingly on some kind of vigilante vendetta. He’s driving what looks like a rusted out old Ford Bronco. As I said, this is a very different Magneto than I’m used to. I’m used to the grandstanding, theatrical, megalomaniacal, larger-than-life Magneto. So the question I have to ask myself is this: is he acting out of character, or is he just switching up his game? It’s hard for me to tell just yet, but this is the razor thin line that Bunn walks with this character. I can only hope that the risk pays off.

Gabriel Walta’s art is a pitch perfect match for the kind of story that Bunn is trying to tell here. It’s heavy on backgrounds, showcasing the strange locale’s that the character has decided to haunt. It also uses a lot of long shadows and heavy light, as though it’s perpetually sunset, further solidifying the No Country For Old Men feel of the plot. Jordie Bellaire also plays a large part in this issue’s ambiance, and his excellent colors make the whole book ring with heavy purpose.

Verdict

Buy it. In the process of writing this review, I’ve talked myself into a second issue. Magneto‘s true purpose is still something of a mystery, and the final few pages add a satisfying wrinkle to the story. A second issue will help to prove out Bunn’s gamble with this iconic character, but right now this could be the next big thing, or the next new #1 on the chopping block. Only time will tell, but comic fans should give this one a shot and see for yourselves.

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