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X-POSITION: Cullen Bunn Talks “Magneto’s” Family Tree

by  in Comic News Comment
X-POSITION: Cullen Bunn Talks “Magneto’s” Family Tree

Whether he’s hijacking nuclear missiles, living in seclusion on an asteroid, teaching a class of mutants that fear him or swallowing his pride to work alongside Cyclops, things are rarely easy for Magneto. That’s still the case for the Master of Magnetism as his first ever solo ongoing series heads into its second year of publication; mutants are still being persecuted, his family tree has been uprooted thanks to a revelatory spell from Scarlet Witch, and his new ally Briar Raleigh is up to something. Now that the dust has settled from the “AXIS” event, which saw the mutant team up with a number of Marvel Universe villains, Magneto finally has to pick up the pieces of his life and move on — if he can.

X-POSITION: Bunn Re-Introduces Polaris & Genosha to “Magneto”

“Magneto” writer Cullen Bunn joins us once again here at X-Position and answers your questions about everything ranging from Magneto’s relationship with Polaris to the universal appeal of Rachel Grey.

CBR News: First up this week, we have a question from MiddlePegasus about the setting of last month’s “Magneto.”

The super villain convention in “Magneto” #13 was so cool and unlike anything I’ve ever read before in a comic. Where did that idea come from and how long have you been waiting to put it in a comic?

Thank you! Glad you liked it!

That was one of the first ideas I had for the series, definitely in the first pitch document I sent to my editor. Years ago, I worked at a book store and it was one of my jobs to curate the true crime section. There was a very dedicated — or maybe I should say obsessed — group of customers for those books. That was probably the seed of the idea, watered with a healthy dose of [David] Cronenberg’s “Crash” and [Joel] Schumacher’s “8mm.”

Next up, Ben has a couple of questions that pretty much everyone wants to know the answer to following the events of “Avengers & X-Men: AXIS” #7.

Are you addressing Magneto’s reaction to not being the biological father of Wanda and Pietro?

I feel like I have to address it at some point. It’s something that will probably come up once Polaris enters the tale.

How will it affect his relationship with Polaris now that she is his only child?

I feel like Magneto’s relationship with Polaris has always been shockingly different than his relationship with [Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver]. He’s not been a good father by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s been a little more fatherly toward her. Maybe that’s because her powers and his are so close in nature. Maybe he sees her as his legacy. Now that she is his only child, that sentiment might be amplified.

Olatunde has a question about the power decrease Magneto suffered prior to this series.

First, I want to thank you for writing this book. Thank you for writing this series because it ties the history of Magneto perfectly in sync with the prejudices of modern day. I want a little more explanation of where Magneto’s powers have gone and will they be restored. After “AVX,” Magneto’s power drop hasn’t been addressed. He acknowledges his troubles with his powers and compensates well, but there has been no real issue devoted to the exploration of Magneto’s powers. Will he ever return as the Masterful Magnetic Man, or is this his current state in the Marvel Universe? I would at least like to know how exactly he lost his strength.

Bunn’s “Magneto” Navigates the “AXIS” of Good & Evil

Magneto’s power loss is a bit of a mystery. Unlike the other characters whose powers took a hit, Magneto had not played host to the Phoenix Force, and he was not one of the characters who were impacted by Dark Beast’s machinations. But there’s obviously something going on.

In one issue or another — I’m not sure which one — it was suggested that Magneto’s power loss might be some sort of mental block. Maybe that’s closer to the truth… but we’ll have to wait and see. Even if that is the root cause of Magneto’s reduced powers, he probably won’t be able to return to true greatness as long as he’s relying on MGH as a crutch. That’s a pretty slippery slope he’s on.

Magneto’s always been viewed as a three-dimensional character because of his clear and understandable motives. Justinian has a question about your take on what drives Magneto.

What do you see as the main motivating factor for Magneto as a character? The protection of the mutant race or revenge against those he believes has wronged him and mutants in general?

Great question! I think that in Magneto’s mind, the two have gotten so muddied he can’t separate them. Revenge and protection are one in the same. He thinks about what has been done to mutants — and that there are still those out there who would do them harm — and it fuels a cold anger within him. And the thing that is the real driving force for Magneto is that he simply cannot let go of that anger.

Magneto has a amassed a lot of continuity over the past fifty years, and XLiontamer wonders if there is anything you try to avoid.

You have done a lot of digging through the X-Men’s history in “Magneto” to come up with new storylines. Things like bringing back the Marauders to pay for the Mutant Massacre really makes your book feel part of a larger piece. Are there any parts of Magneto’s history that you try to avoid when thinking up storylines, like the whole Xorn thing?

I don’t think there are any stories that I actively try to avoid. If it’s a story that I think could work well with what I’m writing, I’ll reference it. The key for me is that I want these flashbacks and connective pieces to inform Magneto’s actions in the main tale.

Questar has a question regarding your working relationship with “Magneto’s” art team.

The coloring in “Magneto” is so powerful every single month. Jordie Bellaire and Dan Brown really do a lot to set up the atmosphere of every issue and they also differentiate between flashbacks and the main story in innovative ways. Do you make any suggestions to them in the script, or do they just work their magic?

X-POSITION: Bunn Toes the Line of “AXIS” with “Magneto”

In my scripts, I try not to get in the way of the art teams. I make suggestions here and there. I try to describe the images as I see them, but the artists have a lot of freedom. When we first started working on the series, we talked a lot about how the color would help establish the mood of the series and how we might make those flashbacks stand out. There was a little back and forth and a few different samples. And from time to time Jordie and I talk about minor color details. The colorists are genuinely concerned with how color impacts the story. Even details like a character’s eye color is important to them.

Stepping away from “Magneto” for a bit, Flight has a general X-Men question for you.

You’ve recently mentioned that Rachel Summers is your favorite X-Man. What is it about her you like so much? You’re the first x-writer I’ve ever seen say this!

I honestly don’t know how anyone who was reading comics around the time I was a kid couldn’t love Rachel. Her earliest appearances in “New Mutants” were a shocking departure in tone. She had a really interesting back story. She was edgy and angsty. She faced off against Selene. She faced off against the Beyonder. I liked the design of the character. I liked her power set. And I loved the mysteries surrounding her. And then “Excalibur” came out, quickly becoming my favorite X-book.

We just saw Magneto assemble a team of his own during his series’ “AXIS” tie-in issues. Alucard2099 has a question about future Magneto team-ups.

Are there any chances of a new Brotherhood of mutants who are willing to join Magneto’s crusade?

It’s certainly a possibility. I have a few ideas that I’ve been pitching to my editor. One of them might very well feature the term “Brotherhood.”

Considering just how many bad guy solo books you currently write, Rozen wonders what draws you to the dark side.

What makes you so compelled to write villains and anti-heroes, and what continues to inspire you to write Magneto?

A great “villain” is fun to write because their story can go in many different directions. If he or she isn’t of the one-note world domination variety, they might take actions the reader can relate to or even cheer for. If their motivations go beyond greed or power, readers might even be able to understand the more villainous actions. A character, like Magneto, who can walk that line is simply more interesting to me. Magneto is a character who still has plenty of surprises in him.

Lastly, Cmbmool has a question about “Magneto’s” role in Marvel’s next big event.

Will “Magneto” tie into “Secret Wars” in the spring?

I probably should give you a cryptic “wait and see” but instead I’ll say “definitely.”

Special thanks to Cullen Bunn for taking on this week’s questions!

Next week, X-Position welcomes “Amazing X-Men” writer Christoper Yost. Have a question for Chris? Go ahead and send ’em in via an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get ’em in quickly, because the deadline’s Friday! Make it happen!

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