From CNN Article
The prolific Stan Lee sadly passed away today at the age of 95.
Click here to read CNN article.
Lee brought us some of the most enduring characters in the genre, including X-Men, Spider-man, Doctor Strange, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel. The list goes on and on.
Personally, his characters have been an inspiration to me, and continue to inspire me. I will miss his witty cameo appearances in the Marvel films. Thanks Stan, for all your inspiration.
This is issue #18 in the Magneto arc, and this is where I discontinue reading. I’ve followed this series from the first issue and have enjoyed it, but now the story is merging with Marvel’s Secret Wars arc, which is probably a great thing for many Marvel fans, but for me, not so much. I read this and had no idea what was going on. To me it was just a choppy storyline that seemed to begin in the middle of another story, and included characters that I had never heard of before. Frankly, I wish I had not even read this. I would have been happier stopping at issue #17.
As I said, I’m sure the die-hard Marvel fans are loving this. I probably would be too if I were following the various arcs that converged together into this new series. But alas, Magneto was the only one that I was reading, so I will have to stop here. But that’s OK. It will free up some money for me to explore some new graphic novels. I’m open for suggestions. Cheers!
This was a pretty cool issue. What I liked the most about it was what was not actually said or shown. Events were hinted at and implied, but not presented in detail. It leaves the imagination room to fill in the blanks. I like that in storytelling. I can really appreciate the freedom to bring my own ideas and interpretations to a story. As such, I will not give any details in this post. I suggest you read it, let the images inspire you, and then let your imagination roam.
The issue does conclude with a note that the next issue will be titled “The Last Days of Magneto!” This makes me wonder if the series is winding down. I guess we’ll see next month. Cheers!
In this issue, Magneto is attempting to establish a safe haven for mutants on Genosha. But the sense of safety is shattered as several mutants are brutally murdered and their blood used to paint a swastika on a wall. It’s quite grisly and reminiscent of something that the Manson clan would have done. The most powerful part of this installment, though, is Magneto’s musings regarding the symbol of the swastika.
In certain parts of the world… the swastika represents life, good fortune, and well-being. In Hinduism, it represents God. In ancient Tibet, it was the symbol of eternity. Navajo used the “whirling logs” in healing rites. For more than 3,000 years, the symbol stood for peace. And then the Nazi party adopted it as the emblem of their hatred and cruelty. Thousands of years as a positive icon… and man’s evil corrupted it… turned it into something most people cringe to look upon. Now, someone has brought the symbol here as the mark of death… the promise that the peace of Genosha will be despoiled once more. And now that I have seen it… the weight of its meaning nearly crushes me.
I like to think of symbols as something transcendent and eternal, but as I read this, I considered how easily humans can alter the meaning of a symbol. In addition, the meanings of symbols can change naturally. But regardless, symbols are objects of power and they can evoke deep emotion. We should always remember to never underestimate the power of a symbol.
Thanks for reading my thoughts. Cheers!
If the prisoner believes he is a free man… who’s to say he’s not? By the same token… if the free man serves the whim of hidden overseers… is he anything more than an unwitting captive?
In the previous issue, Magneto surrendered to S.H.I.E.L.D. As he is taken into custody, he muses about the reality of freedom and whether people are truly free. I have contemplated this myself on numerous occasions. Living in a country that prides itself as a “free country” and places value on individual freedoms, I can’t help but wondering just how free we really are. Americans like to believe they are free, but is it real freedom, or the illusion of freedom? Are we the “unwitting captives” serving the whims of corporations and governments? It’s a legitimate question and I don’t claim to have the answer, but I think it is something that each individual should ask himself or herself honestly.
Anyway, as I suspected, when Magneto allowed himself to be captured, he had a plan and this was part of it. I won’t tell you what happens, because I hate to spoil it for anyone. I will say that it is an excellent issue, the writing and artwork are impeccable as always, and it is definitely worth reading.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this issue, except that I find it intriguing that Magneto has surrendered to S.H.I.E.L.D. This is definitely a set-up issue, beginning a new chapter in the saga. I have no idea what the writers are planning, but something inside me tells me that it is going to be interesting. I generally trust my gut instincts—they are usually correct. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Magneto is planning something and allowing himself to be captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. is part of that plan. I guess we will find out more as the story unfolds. Stay tuned.
Just as I was thinking about discontinuing reading the Magneto series, I was reminded of how good it is and how thought-provoking the writing is. This issue is excellent and explores something I find fascinating: how stories affect our concept of reality.
Stories, when repeated, become part of the fabric of our collective consciousness. They teach us things about ourselves and build a bond which helps hold our society together. On a level, we know that these are just stories which, although fiction, express universal truths regarding the human experience. But sometimes, as this comic points out, people begin to accept these stories as facts which lead to the birth of urban legend, and in more extreme cases, self-deception.
What is the appeal of ghost stories? Gathering around a darkened room… speaking in whispers… recounting the tales of monsters that lurk in shadows. Is there comfort there? The reminder that… while we speak of the dead… we are all truly alive, or is it purely for the thrill? The pumping heart… the racing blood… the trembling flesh. Among these tales of terror… the “true” ghost story is among the most offensive. “Listen,” you say. “This is what happened to me.” You know the entire time that your every word is a lie… and your audience realizes the same… although they force themselves to believe. And so it is the ghost stories we tell ourselves… when no one else is listening… that are the most egregious. Lies for our own benefit. “This really happened to me.” Lies we force ourselves to believe.
This hit painfully close to home. When I was younger, I lied to myself as a way to justify my actions and to absolve myself from guilt and shame. In these stories I forced myself to believe I was the hero. I twisted history to view myself as making the right decisions, to validate the choices I made, to make it easier to live with myself. It was a coping mechanism for me and one that I suspect many people still rely upon. It is painful and difficult to look at yourself and judge your actions honestly, but it is important to do so. This is the only way that you can grow as an individual.
As you know, I love stories, but I must be careful not to allow stories to distort my view of reality. It is appropriate to use stories as a way to interpret reality, but it can be a slippery and dangerous slope when we allow stories to define our reality.
This issue details the battle between the super-villains and the Red Onslaught. It basically moves the general story along, and as with all the installments in the series, it is richly illustrated and the writing is good. There is one panel that stands out for me, though. Magneto is remembering a discussion he had with Charles Xavier regarding mankind’s prospect of peaceful coexistence.
Charles: Don’t you think… can’t you imagine… that mankind has learned from past mistakes? Peaceful coexistence is more than just a dream.
Magneto: It’s madness, Charles. And it saddens me to think of the day such a realization will crush you.
This is something that has been on my mind lately. As I watch the news footage of the unrest in Ferguson, MO and the continued fighting and hatred in the Middle East, I cannot help but wonder if humans will ever learn to exist together peacefully. Are we capable as a species to learn and evolve, or is there some instinct that is hard-coded in our DNA that triggers the tendency toward anger, fear, envy, and resentment, the core issues at the heart of humanity’s intolerance toward others?
While my views on humanity are stained with cynicism, I am still a romantic and an idealist at my core. So yes, I feel that someday, although not likely in my lifetime, humans will evolve to an enlightened state where peaceful coexistence will become a reality. Unfortunately, I see a lot of death and destruction before that Phoenix can rise and become a reality.
This issue addresses with the question: What is a hero?
It is most often in times of great tragedy that heroes are born. Only the flame of suffering burns hot enough to forge one’s spirit. These men and women… these heroes… have seen sorrow. They have endured and triumphed. At times, I have been the source of said adversity. Yet they have come through the fire stronger than they were before. But none of that matters now. The Red Onslaught is upon us, and perseverance in the face of tragedy… is worth no more than the dirt upon which heroes fall.
I’ve read this passage several times and it keeps getting deeper for me. All heroes suffer. All heroes overcome adversity. But ultimately, all heroes fall. There is a cycle that pertains to the heroic. And whether the hero falls as a result of a tragic flaw or a mistake, the fall is inevitable.
I will say one more thing about this issue; Doctor Strange makes a brief cameo appearance. I confess that I am very excited about the upcoming Doctor Strange film. I wonder if Marvel is going to start dropping Easter Eggs in their comics.
This is the first part of a mini-series featuring the Red Skull. He is a pretty nasty character who runs a concentration camp for mutants. Magneto experiences a series of memories from when he was in a Nazi concentration camp. During his incarceration there, he was forced to load bodies into the furnaces. These memories cause him to act recklessly as he feels that stepping forth to challenge the Red Skull will constitute making amends for his acquiescence and his failure to fight against the Nazi atrocities.
Memories can be terrible tormentors. For a long time, I was tormented by the memories of things I did, and failed to do. It is easy to look back at our past and imagine how we could have or should have done things differently. But I eventually figured out that it serves no purpose. The past is the past. At best, we can learn from our mistakes. Obsessing about what happened serves no purpose. It is easier said than done, and I often find myself slipping back into self-obsession, but I usually recognize this when it happens and can change my thinking. The truth is, it’s much easier to change your thoughts than it is to change the past.