Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Phil Jimenez (p), Andy Lanning (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
With his deception revealed, we see Magneto stands ready to make up for the time he spent playing the overly passive persona of Xorn by unleashing his pent up aggression on the city of Manhattan. With the students of the special class, plus Toad and Esme (one of the Stepford Cuckoos) as his new Brotherhood we see Magneto stands ready to drive humanity into an early grave.
I will concede that it is great to see Magneto back in action, and this issue stands up as one of the most impressive displays of his power I've ever come across, as those scenes of destruction are truly awe inspiring. The discovery that he's essentially destroyed Xavier's School is also one of those moments where one can't help but be impressed by the level that Grant Morrison has taken this story. However, taking a step back and looking at the entire issue I couldn't help but notice how little was actually accomplished in this issue. I mean we're introduced to the new Brotherhood, and learn not all of them are 100% committed to the cause. We also spend a fair chunk of the issue re-establishing Magneto's hatred of humanity, as he spends most of the issue delivering a villainous rant, and while it's a well crafted rant it's hardly the most unique take, as basically it's the same basic rant that the character has been offering up for decade. Now we do get a somewhat interesting twist where we see the crowds below are rather dubious that Magneto is really back from the dead, and they all seem to be suffering from a collective short attention span, which I'm guessing is Grant Morrison making a somewhat veiled commentary on the idea that as a nation America does seem to suffer from this same disorder. I did find it a little difficult to believe the crowds are so readily able to ignore the massive metal tendrils that Magneto has encased the city with though.
As for the art, Phil Jimenez has been in the news recently thanks to his signing of an exclusive contract with DC, so it does seem rather odd seeing his work on a regular basis on one of Marvel's best selling titles. Now I realize the preparation time for a comic means that an artist can been working on a comic that won't be shipping for months, but still it's a odd little scenario nevertheless. Now his art on this issue is probably why I didn't come down as hard on this issue as I might've, as the scenes of rampant destruction are truly amazing, with that double-page shot of Magneto's imagined attack being one of the most frightening displays of the character's power I had ever seen. Or at least that was the case up until we arrived at the sequence later in the book where the Kick enhanced Magneto lets the world know he's back in the saddle. I have to say that the new visual design of Toad still looks downright dreadful though, as it looks like he's been raiding Salvation Army bins to throw together his makeshift costume.
On one hand this issue acts as a fairly powerful reminder of why Magneto has always been a fan favorite, as the level of power on display in this issue is truly impressive, and Grant Morrison has a pretty solid grasp on Magneto's ideology. Now the new Brotherhood is a fairly interesting mix of personalities, and I rather like the idea that not all of them are willing to embrace Magneto's rather extreme views, and that the personalties that we saw from the students at the school remain pretty much the same in spite of the rather sweeping scope of this adventure. Still, watching Magneto tear into Manhattan while delivering his villainous rant simply isn't enough to carry the entire issue, and while there are impressive moments, I couldn't help but get the feeling that Grant Morrison was dragging his heels. The idea that the crowd below would so easily dismiss such an impressive display of power is asking a bit much, as while it's a clever idea, it doesn't stand up to any sort of scrutiny. One also has to wonder where all the other heroes that call Manhattan home have gone, as it's rather difficult to believe they're all busy elsewhere.
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