Tag Archives: x-men

Magneto: Issue #12 – Is Peaceful Coexistence Possible?

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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.

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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.

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Magneto: Issue #11 – What is a Hero?

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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.

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Magneto: Issue #9

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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.

Cheers!

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Magneto: Issue #8 – The Angry Old Man Archetype

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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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Magneto: Issue #6 – Collective Memory and Information Overload

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This issue continues where Issue #5 left off. Magneto is tracking down the Marauders, who were responsible for brutal assaults on mutants. It is made known that the individuals who make up the Marauders are genetic replicas, so when one dies, that Marauder is replaced by another. The issue concludes with the implication that Magneto has a plan to reprogram a group of inactive Marauders to do his bidding.

There is a great passage in this issue that addresses collective memory and how media overload has impacted it.

What the Marauders did all those years ago… is almost forgotten now… a dozen other, more terrible tragedies jockeying for room in the collective memories of those who might have cared.

I find this a powerful critique on our society. In the information age, we are fed a continuous stream of news, data, information, opinions, ideas, and so forth. While the nerd in me finds this exciting, I am not a fool and therefore recognize the downside, which is that there is too much information for people to digest adequately. Out of necessity, we must forget past events to make room in our minds for the new, which never ceases to demand our attention. We have 24-hour news stations constantly pushing stories at us, forcing us to stay focused on what they deem to be the important news story of the moment.

I have gotten rid of cable TV and hence stopped the pseudo-news stream which bombards most individuals. Still, I read the news everyday online, which means I am exposed to a lot of news stories. But at least I can take it in digestible doses so as to prevent overload. Hopefully, this will allow me to maintain a memory of important historical events, because in my opinion, history is important.

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Magneto: Issue #5

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This issue begins with Magneto hiding out in a small town in New York. As he walks back from purchasing items from the store, he contemplates what it is like to be ordinary, to spend your days engaged in ordinary and mundane activities.

I can see how “ordinary people” fall so easily into ruts. There’s comfort in the mundane. Catching a quick breakfast at the local diner. Although the eggs were a little too runny for my taste. Buying groceries. Apple, crackers, granola bars—staples that weather the road. Razors too. I’ve found I now dislike the feeling of stubble upon my head. If I were someone else… if I were ordinary… I might find security in the day-to-day grind. But I am not ordinary.

He then has an encounter with a woman named Briar Raleigh who wears a leg brace. Briar convinces Magneto that she can help him in his quest to defend mutants. She offers him information on S.H.I.E.L.D. task force agents, as well as information on the Marauders, a group “responsible for one of the most vicious mutant hate crimes ever.” Magneto appears interested and accepts her offer; at least, that is how it seems.

The issue ends with uncertainty, though. It is revealed that Briar’s leg was crushed during one of Magneto’s assaults. We are left unsure what the motives of each person are. The story is to be continued. Expect my review of the subsequent installment soon.

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Magneto: Issue #4

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While this issue is less interesting for me than Issue #3, it is still good and serves to move the story forward. Essentially, Magneto is remembering his fight against the self-righteous “Purifiers” who sought to do God’s work by purifying the world of mutants, who they viewed as the offspring of the Devil.

Magneto draws upon his memory to give him strength to face his impending challenges.

I remind myself… while nature might strengthen my spirit… it is just as vital to my efforts to strengthen my mettle…to sharpen the weapons I need.

The weapons he refers to are his resolve, commitment, and perseverance. He feels alone, like he is the only one fighting to protect his kind. And while it would be easy to give up, he knows he must forge on, and it is the memory of those who have died before him that spurs him forward.

It’s strange. Earlier today I was talking about how difficult it is to continue fighting for a cause which seems insurmountable. After years of trying with few or no positive results, how can one continue the struggle? One begins to feel like Sisyphus. As I think about Magneto in this issue, I see him as undertaking a Sisyphean task, as yet another incarnation of the archetype of the one who struggles on, regardless of the outcome.

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