The Power of Magneto
Issue 43 begins a new ongoing story arc that will continue for the next few issues. That alone is pretty great, but what’s even better is that this is the return of Magneto! The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants lives once more. With the Professor gone and the X-Men in mourning, Magneto will now exact his revenge. But wait, where’s Quicksilver?
Scott, Jean, Bobby, Hank, and Warren are attending the funeral for Charles Xavier, but nearby a cloaked figure rushes through the streets, faster than any man can travel. It is Quicksilver, and he’s come to witness the funeral for himself. What exactly has gone on with Quicksilver since we’ve last seen him? Didn’t he quit the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and aren’t they Avengers now? Apparently not, because he’s back with Magneto. Warren mentions this when the team spots him hiding behind a tree, and before they can get answers, Quicksilver dashes away. Magneto sees this (somehow) on a big video screen, and assumes that Quicksilver has betrayed him.
I already have a lot of questions. How did Magneto escape the Stranger? How did he get back to Earth? Is Toad with him? How did he get Quicksilver to rejoin him? Where’s Wanda? Is Mastermind still a block of solid matter? Is his face the same level of crazy? Well yes, his face is definitely the same level of crazy. As for how he escaped, it seems this happened in the pages of Avengers. The X-Men seem to be already aware that he has returned. If you want that story then you’re going to have to hope that two really bored comic book geeks decide to write some lame blog chronicling the entire history of the Avengers.
After the funeral, the X-Men regroup at the mansion. Scott shows them a video message that Charles had recently recorded, meant to be played in the event of his death. It reveals that Charles Xavier had been slowly dying of some sort of disease, and that he was aware of it. This is meant to explain why he was such an asshole to them leading up to his death; he was pushing them so hard in an attempt to finish their training in a shorter amount of time. (Meanwhile, they ‘graduated’ back in issue 7.) He says that he was particularly trying to prepare Jean, and to draw out her telepathic abilities. I guess this explains the preferential treatment he had been giving her. He signs off after mentioning that he has found the location of Grotesk, and we already know where that story leads.
Charles made this video quite recently. Why? He had a huge, unnecessarily complicated projector built secretly into a wall just to play it back one time. Why? It didn’t even say anything terribly important. Surely this wasn’t his first to-be-played-after-I’m-dead movie. Did he maybe make these movies often? Every Thursday night, perhaps, updating his farewell over a hot cup of Earl Grey tea? I imagine he called it his Captain’s Log.
[So far this panel is my favorite Magneto art in the series.]
The scene cuts to Magneto in his new island hideaway, and we get some of our questions answered. His new island might be the same as his old island, but there isn’t a giant horseshoe shaped magnet on it this time. When we first see him, Magneto is out on the rocks around his fortress, sinking nearby ships just for the fun of it. Nothing like keeping it on the down low.
Quicksilver arrives, and soon we’re in familiar territory. The Brotherhood is as bumbling and self-defeating as ever. Toad is there, and if he ever had any gruff with Magneto about being left behind with the Stranger, he’s certainly gotten over it. He is as loyal and butt-licking as he ever was, worshipping Magneto in a way that’s gross and embarrassing. He is also very jealous of Pietro, as well as anyone else competing for Magneto’s trust. He’s a sniveling, groveling mess.
Pietro is reunited with Wanda, and we learn that she no longer has her hex power. She is also dying of some strange illness, while Magneto claims to be working on a cure. That explains how they’ve come to be part of the Brotherhood again. As Pietro collapses into Wanda’s arms, we also learn what he was doing at Xavier’s funeral. He believed that, if anyone, then surely Charles Xavier could find a cure. When he heard of his death, that hope died with him. Pietro needed to see proof.
Magneto storms in, still under the assumption that Pietro was deserting him. Toad is all too eager to see punishment doled out, but Magneto just throws out a lot of crazy face and they make up.
Days later, a ship passes by, allegedly carrying scientific equipment, equipment that could possibly cure Wanda. Magneto hijacks the ship and brings it in, but it was a ruse! The X-Men are on board! There never was any equipment. How did they find this place? Did I miss something? Oh well. There’s a really great fight between the two teams, but in the end Magneto has them trapped. Defeated and bound, the X-Men face certain doom.