Magneto Resurrects a Classic X-Men Villain Team

SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Cullen Bunn and Marcus To's X-Men Blue #34, on sale now.

It feels a bit glib to admit, but, man, is it good to see Magneto back to his old self. X-Men Blue scribe Cullen Bunn has done a fantastic job of steadily navigating the principle X-Men villain back to his status quo while revitalizing the dark side of the mutant revolution in a way that hearkens back to the comic days of yore. There is a malice to his version of Magneto that is equal parts justified and zealous. While the road to X-Men Blue #34 has been a long one (starting back in 2014), the final page is worth the wait.

Returning to his timeline after seeing the horrific destruction set to occur 20 years in the future, Magneto is struck with the realization that his old ways of doing things might be the only chance the mutant race has to survive in a world populated by people who would rather see him dead than equal. Upon this realization, he destroys the lab developing the technology that would eventually lead to the mutant dystopia in question. If simply wrecking shop wasn't enough, though, Magneto slathered icing on the cake by erecting a 20-foot bust of himself atop the lab's ruins. If there is a more Magneto thing he could have done, we don't know what it would be.

RELATED: X-Men Blue Finally Returns Magneto to His Bloodthirsty Roots

The villainous Magneto is by no means alone, though. Every charismatic, quasi-genocidal demigod needs to have a crew of devotees to help see his vision through to fruition. In X-Men Blue #34, that crew is revealed as Magneto sits upon his throne (yes, throne) and utters a command that will undoubtedly send chills down long-time X-Men readers' spines: "To me, my Brotherhood." That's right, surrounding the master of magnetism is a group of mutants who are now part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the first team of mutant supervillains to face off against Xavier and his students.

The roster is all over the place, bringing in former members of the Acolytes (another more religious group of Magneto followers), Morlocks, former Brotherhood members, a former Xavier's School student and a few fairly new characters. These affiliations, of course, do have some overlap. What's really interesting is the wide range of power sets these characters boast (seriously, it's all over the place). The mutant Exodus (who has been part of the Acolytes and the Brotherhood in the past) is a real heavy-hitter, sporting gifts like immortality, telekinesis, telepathy, enhanced strength and a healing factor. On the other side of the coin we have... uh, Toad, who has his moments, but... c'mon.

The final splash page of X-Men Blue #34 does remind us of the Acolytes, who first made their appearance back in 1991 in X-Men Vol. 2 #1 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. Maybe you've read it? It only sold eight million copies. Cullen Bunn is certainly the right age for the "Mutant Genesis" story line (the last written by Claremont at the end of his 17-consecutive year run on various X-books) to have had an impact on him when it was released. Even if you were tangentially into comics in the early '90s, you probably owned a copy of that issue (probably the one with that awesome gate-fold cover).

RELATED: PREVIEW: Magneto Must Fight for the Future in X-Men Blue #34

Certainly, the image of Magneto surrounded by his followers was intentionally designed to evoke Acolytes imagery. In fact, if Magneto had called this new team by that name, a lot of readers who grew up on late '80s and early '90s X-Men would not have batted an idea. Hell, they're even chilling aboard the new Asteroid M, so...

But there is a certain broad familiarity with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that will appeal to fans both old and new. The Acolytes were basically the Heaven's Gate version of the Brotherhood, so Magneto dubbing his new team with the more familiar name is probably a good move, especially if he's looking for new recruits. From a branding standpoint, hopefully he will continue to omit the word "evil" from the name. But, then again, Magneto, a man who has dressed in a flowing purple cape for most of his career, is not known for his subtlety.

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