Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hero of the Week #23: Magneto

MAGNETO (Marvel)
Real Name: Max "Erik" Eisenhardt
First Appearance: X-Men #1 (September, 1963)
Group Affiliation: The Brotherhood (former)
Gaming Credentials: Uncanny X-Men (1989); X-Men: Madness in Murderworld (1989); Wolverine (1991); X-Men (1992); X-Men (1993); X-Men 2: Clone Wars (1995); X-Men: Children of the Atom (1995); Marvel Super Heroes (1995); Marvel vs Capcom (1998); X-Men: Mutant Academy (2000); Marvel vs Capcom 2 (2000); X-Men: Mutant Academy 2 (2001); X-Men: Next Dimension (2002); X2: Wolverine's Revenge (2003); X-Men Legends (2004); X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse (2005); Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects (2005); X-Men: The Official Game (2006); Marvel Ultimate Alliance (2006); Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (2009); Marvel Super Hero Squad (2009)
Infinite Wars Cumulative Ranking: #774

It was just last month that Magneto made his triumphant return to the ranks of a once Decimated mutant populi in the pages of Marvel's Uncanny X-Men [#516]. It was in an act of curious symmetry, Magneto suffered a similar fate to his film counterpart [X-Men: The Last Stand] when the Scarlet Witch, a mutant herself and Magneto's estranged daughter, uttered a simple incantation -- 'No More Mutants!'

Thus, in one simple act, homosuperior were reduced from millions to less than two hundred, stripped of their powers and restored to humanity! In Uncanny #516; Mags returned to reveal his powers had been restored via a one-time deal with the High Evolutionary, and now he's returning to full strength in video game DLC near you in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2!

Magneto rounds out a pack of characters that also includes; Juggernaut, Carnage, Psylocke, Cable, and Black Panther!

Curiously enough, this makes the second time PS3 and 360 users have been able to download the Master of Magnetism, having had the opportunity to add DLC to the previous Ultimate Alliance. It's arguably a testament not only to the strength of the villain-cum-hero-cum-villain, but the enduring X-brand that's earned it's fair share of spite from the comics reading audience.

I don't doubt you'll find a strong argument from many enthusiastic fans, but for the most part, the X-Men have been reduced to irrelevance over the course of the decade. It started strong with the influence of famed writer, Grant Morrison, who along with collaborator Frank Quitely, set about completely reinventing Marvel's merry mutants for the new millenium. It was, I believe, an incredibly successful project, steeped in the same kind of referencial indulgence of Morrison's recent DC work, with a healthy dose of unique twists and compromise with the then-strong film franchise.

Through the course of Morrison's run with the "New X-Men" he created a spiral of plottwists that included the reveal of an alternate identity for the thought-dead Magneto -- Xorn. Xorn subsequently became the posterchild for the convoluted dissassembly of Morrison's work that unfolded following the Scot's departure, resulting in years of regression that have returned the X-Men to a very unflattering creative position. Through the constant reshuffling, Marvel have reverted the brand to an insular continuity desperate to recapture the heydey of the eighties and early nineties, with absolutely none of the panache.

Through cartoons, film, and video games, the X-Men brand has created a very interesting cult audience for interpretations that deviate somewhat from the origins of the comics. X-Men Legends and the Ultimate Alliance sister series draw their inspirations from a unique combination of influences, both the films and animation, as well as traditional X-Men 'lore' and the Ultimate reinterpretation popular in the early 2000's.
This confluence of ideas hasn't necessarily created anything resembling a definitive interpretation of the X-Men, but it's another fascinating example of how alternate mediums are able to foster a completely different view of very similar properties [ie; Carnage].

Ever present in all of these crossmedia interpretations is Magneto, easily the greatest arch-nemesis of the X-Men, despite often falling somewhere into the company of anti-heroes. It's fair to say the X-Men have a great cast of villains beyond the Master of Magnetism, but you need only look at the above listed gaming credentials to recognise the importance of the villain. He's a very curious inclusion for the MUA2 DLC pack, but sure to be a popular inclusion amongst fans.

For more Magneto you can find Uncanny X-Men available monthly from Marvel Comics [even if you might be better served sitting it out], and, of course, check out DLC channels to get a hold of the first exciting pack of heroes and villains for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2!

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