SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “All-New X-Men” #18, on sale now.
With “IvX” in full-swing and the various X-Men teams all unified against the threat posted by the Inhumans and their toxic-to-mutants Terrigen cloud, some major shakeups are going down. That makes sense, considering Marvel Comics’ entire X-Men and Inhumans lines are getting revamped in the wake of this major event. “All-New X-Men” #18, the latest issue to tie-in with “IvX,” has a foot in each world as it shows what the members of the teen X-team are up to during the war and foreshadows what’s to come when the upcoming “X-Men Blue” series launches as part of ResurrXion.
Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley’s issue starts off in the battle of New Attilan, right as the X-Men launch their attack on the Inhuman city. The first half of this issue follows the events from the viewpoint of teenage Cyclops as he comes into conflict with various Inhumans. He soon runs afoul of the Inhuman queen Medusa, no doubt before she was teleported out of the fray, and finds help in a strange ally: Magneto.
Magneto saves Cyclops, attacking Medusa with metal scraps. He then turns an eye towards the young X-Man and tells him to “go do something constructive.”
Knowing that April’s “X-Men Blue” will pair the time-displaced teen X-Men with Magneto gives this interaction a lot more weight than it might otherwise have. Up until this point, the teen X-Men and Magneto haven’t really interacted all that much, and definitely not in recent memory. They did spend some time together at the New Xavier School up in Canada during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on the X-books, but the teens were mostly sequestered away from the senior team by their professor, Kitty Pryde. Also, Magneto spent a lot of that time running his own solo missions, as depicted in the “Magneto” ongoing series written by upcoming “X-Men Blue” scribe Cullen Bunn.
With New Attilan secured and the Inhumans imprisoned in Limbo, the X-Men reconvene at the Muir Island Research Facility. There, we get more of a feel for how the teenage X-Men view Magneto. In private, Cyclops and the teen Angel briefly discuss Magneto. “Still so weird to me,” says Angel of Magneto. “How is that Magneto our Magneto? When did sort-of-a-good-guy Magneto happen exactly?”
This reveals a lot about how this cast of characters views their soon-to-be mentor. After all, they come from a very early point in the X-Men’s history. Magneto was not only the very first villain the X-Men fought in 1963’s “X-Men” #1 (where he took over a military base by force), he also kept coming back to antagonize the teens repeatedly during their early adventures. Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are the villains of half of the first dozen issues of “X-Men.” And that Magneto wasn’t the nuanced antihero we know today; Magneto’s origin as a Holocaust survivor wasn’t established until way later, in 1981’s “Uncanny X-Men” #150. Magneto didn’t reform and join the X-Men until “Uncanny” #200, a full twenty years’ worth of continuity past what these teens know.
Their conversation doesn’t go unheard, either.
Magneto strides away, saying nothing and doing nothing other than intimidating the young Cyclops and Angel.
Later in the issue, Cyclops gets a crash course on all the Magneto continuity he missed out on by way of a surprising source: the Inhuman body-jumper Mosaic. The intangible — and mostly invisible — Inhuman leapt into Cyclops’ mind after a failed attempt at controlling the Master of Magnetism. While Cyclops is trapped within his own psyche, he notices that Mosaic pulled a chunk of Magneto along with him, dragging it temporarily into Cyclops’ mind.
In approaching the chunk, which appears in the form of Magneto’s helmet, Cyclops gets a quick lesson on all of the Magneto continuity he’s missed — and it’s a lot to take in.
Cyclops’ crash course in all things Magneto takes him all the way up to the present, meaning that the teen is now at least familiar with the outline of the ex-villain’s life, from Holocaust survivor to X-Men leader.
That will most likely affect how Cyclops interacts with Magneto in “X-Men Blue” compared to the rest of the team. Iceman, Angel, Beast and Jean Grey are all still working with the Magneto in their heads, the nefarious supervillain from Silver Age continuity. Cyclops, on the other hand, has now seen a lot of what Magneto has went through. In a recent interview with CBR, series writer Cullen Bunn spoke about Magneto’s relationship to the team:
“I think Magneto is best described as an arch-frenemy for the team. He will not be taking the field with them, at least not any time soon,” Bunn told CBR. “He’s certainly more of a mentor and guide, almost an Xavier figure for their group, but that’s not quite right either. His motivations must remain a mystery for now… and so must the motivations for the O5 ever working with him.”
“All-New X-Men” #19 arrives on March 29. “X-Men Blue” #1 arrives on April 12 as part of Marvel Comics’ ResurrXion launch event.
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