Thursday, January 19, 2012

MAGNETO REX #3 - July 1999


Once We Were Kings
Credits: Joe Pruett (writer), Brandon Peterson (penciler), Batt (inker), Richard Isanove & Monica Kubina (colors), Jon Babcock (letters)

Summary: Magneto defeats Zealot by wrapping him in metal and shooting him into space. Amelia Voght takes Quicksilver to the Mutate camp for Legacy Virus victims, convincing him to stay and attempt to influence Magneto’s actions. Magneto formally takes control of Genosha, expelling most of the remaining humans. The Avengers are stunned to see news reports naming Quicksilver as a member of Magneto’s cabinet. Finally, Magneto thanks Amelia in private for pushing Quicksilver into staying.

Continuity Notes: Zealot’s mutant ability is revealed as the power to control the earth, making his claim of being “one with Genosha” a very literal one. Apocalypse makes a one-page cameo, just to remind us that he’s the star of the next big mutant event.

Review: Actual dialogue from this issue: “I will never embrace your perverted ideologies and become as corrupted in spirit and soul as you have! You have become so twisted in your thinking, so far removed from humanity that Ferris -- a thing of metal and of your own construction, is the only thing in which you place your trust -- while Amelia, who has stood by you for what she perceives to be the right reasons, has not even garnered a glance of affection -- even as she risked her life for your cause.” Yikes. And this isn’t an isolated example used to make the comic seem worse than it is -- the issue is essentially twenty-two pages of turgid nonsense.

So, what’s accomplished by the conclusion of Magneto Rex? We don’t learn any more about Zealot, aside from another claim that he’s Philip Moreau’s brother. No more information than this is given, and apparently we’re supposed to take the retcon at face value. The idea that the Gengineer would callously transform his firstborn son into a Mutate doesn’t exactly match what I remember of his original characterization, considering that Claremont at least tried to make him a sympathetic figure. Now, was there ever a point in tying Zealot and Philip Moreau together? Apparently not. Then again, was there a point in dragging Rogue into this mini? Her previous pairings with Magneto worked very well, so it’s understandable that the creators would want to use her in this series, but she clearly has no impact on the plot.

Let’s see…did Pipeline’s conversion to the other side serve a purpose? Nope, although Magneto did need a teleporter for one scene, so apparently that’s reason enough to justify his presence. How about Fabian Cortez -- did he engage in any of his famous deal making and backstabbing? Did Magneto punish him for trying to kill him, usurping the Acolytes, and kidnapping his granddaughter? Of course not. In fact, he’s gone back to using Cortez as a power battery, even though he should know by now what an idiotic idea this is. What of Alda Huxley, the mysterious new character introduced to facilitate Magneto’s rule of Genosha? Sure, she was just a plot convenience in the original “Magneto War” crossover, but surely she wouldn’t have been brought into the miniseries without some plan for her character. Eh…you know the answer to that by now.

This is Magneto Rex. A flagrant cash grab that coasted on the back of a high-profile crossover and a famous lead character. The story offers absolutely no insight into Magneto’s character, other than the repeated claims that he’s even nastier than ever before. Marvel already tried that angle earlier in the ‘90s and didn’t exactly succeed, but there was at the very least an acknowledgement of the inherit tragedy of the character in most of those stories. And even the worst of those comics, like Uncanny X-Men #304, didn’t give Magneto such horrendous dialogue, or force him to star in stories that clearly had no point outside of existing as product. The only contribution to the ongoing continuity, which would have to be the major appeal to any reader who stuck around after the first issue, is the addition of Quicksilver to Magneto’s cabinet. And, to the creators’ credit, the use of Amelia Voght as a sleeper agent luring him to Magneto’s side actually works as a surprise. But was a three-issue miniseries required to execute this idea? It honestly couldn’t have worked as a few subplot scenes, or an X-Men Unlimited issue? The audience had to pay almost eight dollars to reach this point? I can’t say that I’m shocked that an X-spinoff miniseries is this bad, but I’m genuinely surprised that a limited series that was clearly supposed to be important in many ways could be so appalling.

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