Colossus may throw a mean “fastball special,” but X-Men Blue writer Cullen Bunn is all about the “curveball special.” Take X-Men Blue #33, for instance. You look at this issue’s cover and maybe you expect a tale of the future X-Men. Or perhaps a story that sets the stage for next week’s Extermination #1.
Nope! What you get is the continued exploration of a Magneto wracked with guilt and regret–which itself feels like a continuation of Bunn’s Magneto solo series.
While Magneto has been present throughout X-Men Blue, he’s taken center stage in the series’ final issues, which reflects Bunn’s affection for the character. Is the master of magnetism on a journey back to full-blown villainy? It’s too soon to tell, but he’s certainly not the same man we knew at the beginning of this series.
Who would have ever thought having to kill brainwashed members of his beloved mutant race would do a number on him?
But it’s been that gradual change from the X-Men’s mentor to their enemy that’s been so nice to see. In the past, Magneto has tended to seesaw between heroism and villainy at the whim of X-Men editors. Even if the current changes to Magneto’s personality are being dictated by Marvel, Bunn is making them seem like a natural progression of the story he’s been telling since X-Men Blue #1.At the end of last issue’s vicious battle with his former students, a slightly unhinged Magneto time-jumped to the future to collect himself. There, in a New York City 19 years in his future, Magneto roams the deserted, war-torn streets haunted by the Mothervine mutants whose lives he ended. Was he responsible for the damage all around him as well? Did his actions during the “Cry Havok” arc bring about this bleak future?
And you thought you had problems!
Remember all that talk about Bunn’s curveball special? Well, halfway through the issue we learn that maybe Magneto’s worrying a little too much about his actions and their ramifications.
Overall, it’s an interesting issue and it’s always refreshing to see the different reactions Magneto stirs up in both friends and foes. At the same time, I was pretty bummed about the lack of X-Men in this X-Men comic. It’d be fine if there weren’t still a number of unresolved subplots and so few issues left to wrap them up in.
With that said, it’s hard to stay bummed for long when the visuals in X-Men Blue #33 are so pretty to look at. Artist Marcus To handles the art this issue and that’s a real treat as he’s been one of my favorite artists in Blue’s giant-sized roster of pencilers. His armored-up Magneto is the right mix of noble and threatening–just the type of mutant you want in charge when the going gets tough (so long as he doesn’t murder you, of course).
While this issue isn’t what I expected, it’s another strong exploration of modern Magneto’s mindset and will surely be a pleasant surprise for readers who miss Bunn’s monthly Magneto series.