Magneto: Issue #8 – The Angry Old Man Archetype


One thing I admire about the X-men comics is that they really try to incorporate thought-provoking symbolism and ideas. This issue is no different. The underlying theme is how people and places that were once relevant and important often fail to keep pace with changing times. One need only look at Detroit, once a symbol of industrial innovation and now a desolate city on the verge of complete collapse.

In this issue, Magneto is confronted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, one of whom addresses Magneto and claims that his actions are a response to the fact that he has now become a useless and irrelevant person.

“And you might have been something special once… but now you’re just a feeble old man… angry… hurting people to make yourself relevant.”

I am too familiar with this type of person. I see them on the television railing against groups that are different and pose a threat to the life they are used to living. I read their offensive comments posted online, lashing out at a world that they no longer understand. It is a sad truth that when people feel threatened by social change, they lash out in anger. For me, this is the core of the angry-old-man archetype.

I am not getting any younger and the world around me certainly changes at a rapid rate. For this reason, I strive to read as much as I can, to continue learning, and to ensure that I do not become obsolete. I hope that in my later years I embody the venerable sage archetype and not become another angry old man.

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