Writer Cullen Bunn continues his psychoanalytical investigation of the master of magnetism in “Magneto” #9 as the story takes Magneto to Genosha. Haunted by failures that overpower anything resembling success, Bunn turns Magneto in on himself to investigate life developments from as far back as Magneto’s time in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.
Magneto is left exceptionally vulnerable as Bunn kicks around in the character’s memories. Having survived (and even instigated) a number of horrors, Magneto has much to reflect upon — both in Genosha and the annuls of his mind — but Bunn selects one particular memory that serves nicely as juxtaposition when related to Magneto’s current struggle to regain full capacity and control of his magnetic powers. That memory juxtaposes mutants and Inhumans being marched to their doom with victims from the Nazi camp performing a similar final travel of their own. Bunn shares Magneto’s thought process with readers, giving them as good a chance as any to find empathy for the frequent foe of humanity.
Drawn by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, the issue gives the artist opportunity to flip between current-day Magneto and young Magneto with effortless grace. The atmospheric, blue-toned imagery colored by Jordie Bellaire separate present day from past every bit as much as Walta’s drawings do. In addition to drawing the past and present with elegant decisiveness, Walta fills “Magneto” #9 with a dynamic assortment of emotions. Magneto is the primary canvas for Walta’s emotional studies, sporting everything from grim determination to alarmed disgust. Both young and mature Magneto perform a range of emotions and amplify the story Bunn has crafted in this “March to AXIS” issue.
As part of the lead-up to the “AXIS” event, “Magneto” #9 brings the master of magnetism into the Red Skull’s sphere of influence. Bunn seizes this opportunity and inserts the Skull’s S-Men to challenge Magneto on his quest. While that collection of characters would have been no match for a fully-powered, confident, in-his-prime Magneto, this group delivers more of a challenge right off the bat and bring Magneto to a cliffhanger conclusion in his own comic book. Mired by his power struggles and his emotional uncertainty, Magneto is as vulnerable and relatable as he has ever been, but he is also on the verge of being overshadowed by the action in “Magneto” #9. If nothing else, this story moves along nicely. It also connects what appear to be some of the biggest, most critical dots in the “AXIS” picture.