Every few years, Marvel feels the need to remind readers why Magneto isn’t cut out to lead the X-Men. With X-Men Blue #32, it’s writer Cullen Bunn and artist Andres Genolet’s turn serve up the evidence, and it’s pretty damning. We’ve certainly come a long way since Magneto was calmly sipping tea back in X-Men Blue #10, haven’t we?
OK, to be fair, Team Mothervine really messed with Magneto’s head when they sent brainwashed mutants to kill him which, in turn, forced the master of magnetism to murder his own kind in self defense. As Magneto’s always a fan of some sweet revenge, he’s set his sights on Emma Frost for her role in the Mothervine master plan. And Jean Grey’s X-Men–the same team Magneto’s been instructing since X-Men Blue #1–isn’t having it.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit taken aback by how quickly I finished this issue. One of the pitfalls of these twice-monthly comics, I’ve found, is they often feel like light reads (at least that’s certainly true of X-Men Gold). Still, despite the heavy emphasis on action this time around, there’s plenty to enjoy about this comic.
For starters, Magneto and Teen Jean are never not interesting to watch. We’ve seen that telepathic Jean very much understands what drives Magneto, which is why it’s so heartbreaking to see them come undone (sorry, I went to a Weezer concert last week). Bunn wisely begins the issue with a flashback to an early X-Men-Magneto battle before cutting to the present to show that tragically, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I also love that Bunn never shies away from having characters speak the way they did back in those classic Stan Lee comics.
And there are even some digital effects over Genolet’s flashback art to make it seem semi-retro. It’s nowhere near Ed Piskor’s level of throwback art, but it’s a nice touch.What’s interesting about Magneto’s latest hissy fit is it’s clear he doesn’t want to battle the X-Men, no matter how disappointed he is that they abandoned the planet to play around with symbiotes (you and me both, Magneto). He’d rather finish off Emma and move on with his life, but the X-Men can’t let that happen. Really, this has always been the core struggle between Charles Xavier’s students and his rival: Magneto would happily embrace the X-Men… they just need to embrace his ideology.
On a sunnier note, Bunn’s Emma continues to be a treat, providing a constant stream of cutting remarks. I especially enjoy the way she talks down to young Cyclops.
Aside from the breezy nature of this comic, one other aspect of the story I took issue with was how it all just sort of ends abruptly… like the creative team ran out of pages. Of course, I know there’s more to come in August, I just wish the issue wrapped up with more of a cliffhanger, especially since this series is just issues away from its big finish.
The art by Genolet is somewhere between the styles of Humberto Ramos and X-Men Blue regular Jorge Molina. Kinetic, colorful and a bit cartoony, but consistent with much of the vibrant art we’ve seen throughout this run. All great things!
Overall, this is a good comic, but the fact that it primarily takes place in one location over the course of a few minutes left me wishing there was more to chew on. Still, that’s a minor gripe and fans of Magneto, Jean and Emma will definitely want to give X-Men Blue #32 a read, as the seeds planted here will surely play a role in the just-announced X-Men Black one-shots.