The buzz has started to build for the next iteration of the silver screen X-Men, and Marvel is helping add to the buzz by releasing a series of “X-Men First Class”-based comics. The rating on the cover, like all of the “First Class” line, is “A” for all ages. As much as I respect Chaykin’s talents and abilities, I just don’t see a good match there between Chaykin, Magneto, and a wide open all ages audience. There are moments of brilliance as only Chaykin can deliver them, combining his artistic talent with patterns and effects. Chaykin also has Magneto use his powers in entertaining ways for humor, but throughout much of this tale, it seems as though Chaykin is holding back from what he really wants to do.
Chaykin brings Magneto to America, specifically to Brooklyn, just after the dawn of the heroic age. While taking his first cab ride on American soil, Erik Magnus looks up to see the Human Torch blazing across the sky. The image makes an impression upon Magnus as he begins to ponder whose side such heroes will find themselves on in the war of Homo sapiens against homo superior.
The story continues with an investigation of Magneto’s early days in America, including the origins of his uniform. That segment leads Magneto to Cassandra Michaels, and the rest of the issue plays the two of them off each other as Magneto sets out on his path to use his powers for the betterment of mutantkind. In donning the costume and using his powers, Erik Magnus becomes Magneto in this story, as Chaykin kindly has Magneto inform the reader through the use of caption boxes that guide the reader through the entire issue.
I had thought this was the first issue of a miniseries, but as a single, standalone issue, it just isn’t enough for me to care for more. The solicit for this issue offered me hope that this story might trace Magneto’s gathering of his earliest incarnation of the Brotherhood, (a tale that to the best of my knowledge remains untold) but such was not the case. Instead, the story is a great deal of Magneto’s posturing and stretching for self-righteousness. His deeds here are heroic but hollow, as he faces a foe that serves no other purpose than to be a foe for a one-shot never seen before and never revisited after.
If it is ever decided to pursue the tale of the gathering of Brotherhood, with a Magneto that is full of his self-righteousness, determined in his mission, and brutal in his cause, then please bring Chaykin back and turn him loose, no holds barred. That’s a Magneto story I’d love to read, and one I’m certain Chaykin would love to tell.